Is mine the only head shaking in dismay on these beautiful islands?
Upon winning the election, the new Premiere said “…I want to go see President Obama and ask him what our islands need to do to get back in his good graces.” The leader then proceeded to sign the financial agreements that would result in a designation on the White List. Less than a year later, he is looking around, apparently bewildered, and asking, “Where are all of the finance companies going?”
How about to financial markets around the world that thumbed their collective noses at the US and the UK when it came to giving up their legal rights to operate the financial industries in their respective countries as they see fit. The downside for them to not signing these agreements? Increases by as much as 25% in their financial sectors because of a commitment to their values and traditions. Now the wealth of the world is beating a path to their doors after leaving these islands.
We hear repeatedly that Cayman is the ONLY Caribbean cruise ship destination that tenders passengers ashore. Hmmm, that sounds like a main selling point to me. Clean up the tenders and improve that service to make them an integral part of the Cayman experience. It has been said before, but it may be time to seriously consider making the waterfront a pedestrian only zone between 8am and 2pm when ships are in port (with the exception of taxis and buses.)
Do you want to protect your heritage while growing the economy? Leave George Town Harbor just the way it is, and exactly as return visitors remember. For the future, there is no question that Cayman will need cruise ship berths and cargo unloading facilities. A suggestion – throw a dart at the princess and build a small dock (2 cruise ships maximum) in West Bay at the Northwest Point Road turn-off. Next, go out to the Frank Sound dock and build a large cruise ship berthing and cargo facility there. The growth of the island going east would be phenomenal, and Cayman would achieve a ‘wider’ tourism product while enriching the under-developed sections of the island.
It has been reported that the main reason the cruise ships leave in the afternoon (after paying port fees good until midnight) is because Cayman does not allow the ships to open their onboard casinos while they are anchored here. Daily tourists and their dollars are this country’s lifeblood and everything should be done to keep them onshore and spending money as long as possible! As an island resident, I am not allowed to hop a tender, board a cruise ship, and purchase a meal at the second seating for lunch. Why would I expect to be allowed to go aboard to gamble in the casino?
Work permit applications are down 47% and Cayman still wants to roll visiting workers over? Change the law regarding Naturalization that necessitates the rollover policy, and hang on to the talented, ‘island-adjusted’ ex-pats that benefit this society and only desire to call Cayman home. Most do not care about citizenship or voting- they just want to live and work here, continuing to contribute to the success of the Caymanians that own the companies where they work. Cayman was very different (better?) seven years ago, and many of these people were part of that atmosphere, but they are not and will not return after being ungratefully ‘kicked out.’ New ex-pats that replace these valuable, rolled-over employees have no notion about the attitudes that used to help make this country paradise.
Further to the work permit situation, can someone in this government please ‘bone-up’ on Economics 101? It should be obvious, but when your product is not selling, you do not triple the price.
Civil servants must take a pay cut, but should get a ‘poor you’ discount at island merchants including CUC, the water company, grocery stores, and cell phone service providers? That is so completely ridiculous I must not understand it correctly. At least now Cayman has a helicopter which this cash-strapped country could have done without, and there are still numerous ‘civil servants’ collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in government wages for their superior performance at sleeping in Monday through Friday.
There is nothing good about guns in the wrong hands, and this country is being dragged down rapidly by their possession among the ’wanna-be thugs’ on the island. Can we agree that nearly everyone wants to reduce crime? Arrest the people that your neighbors know are responsible for these unacceptable acts, and stop clinging to the absurdity of silence when it comes to violent crime. If the RCIPS cannot make charges stick after an arrest, at least designate some constables to stick like a smell to these people when they get back on the street (surveillance, not harassment.)
At the same time, institute a SERIOUS Gun Buy-Back Program. Find the money to offer $20,000 CI per working firearm turned in, and $100 CI per round of ammunition. This will not solve the problem, but it is a good start and it would get many illegal weapons off the streets while removing the main ingredients of deadliness from others that are not turned in. The Customs operation needs to ‘man-up’ and do whatever it takes to improve performance. It is imperative to stop weapons upon arrival, a task that Customs has unarguably been lax in accomplishing recently, with tragic results.
Finally, I am up past my eyes with seeing sunglasses on accused and convicted murderers as they are carried to and from court. No personal amenities for these people – nothing! Slap the shades off of the low-lives, grind them under your heel, and tell these criminals that they are lucky this country lets them continue to breathe when their victims are in the ground.