It seems that one of our readers in Wales doesn’t have a
lot of sympathy for our having to suffer through a cold snap with low
temperatures around 70 degrees. Many people in England, Ireland, continental
Europe, Canada and much of the United States – all of whom have already
experienced harsh weather this winter – would no doubt agree that we’re being a
little soft in complaining about our cool weather.
The truth, however, is that everything is relative.
Yes, 70 degrees in the winter is a heat wave in places up
north, but in the Cayman Islands, where the mercury hasn’t dipped into the 50s
for almost 11 years, any temperature in the low 60s is, relatively, quite
So it is with many aspects of life in Cayman. For
instance, we’ve seen a increase in certain kinds of crimes here, particularly
robberies. Relative to years past, the increase has to be considered
tremendous. But relative to many other places in our region, there is still
much less crime in Cayman.
2010 was by most accounts a bad year for Cayman. However,
we still have an extraordinarily high standard of living here compared to many
places in our region. People in poverty-ridden countries in our region like
Haiti and Guatemala would have difficulty feeling sorry for our poor economy
last year. However, relative to years past, 2010 was indeed a very tough year
for Cayman, a country whose population, for the large part, has been used to
very good times for a very long time.
The interesting thing is that “relative” isn’t
necessarily a constant; it can change over time. For instance, if the economy
stays the way it has been in recent year for the next decade, then 2010 becomes
normal in hindsight. If the relationship between Caymanians and expatriates
continues to erode as it has the past few years, then an unfriendly society
becomes the relative norm in 2020.
Relatively, we really have little to complain about, even
now. It’s only if certain negative trends continue for years going forward that
people elsewhere will start feeling sorry for us. Let’s hope 2011 is a year to
reverse these negative trends.