It is vogue in certain circles here these days to refer to Premier McKeeva Bush as a dictator.
This is done, probably without exception, by those who do not support Mr. Bush and the United Democratic Party and wish to see a different government in place.
The problem with such tactics is that claims of Mr. Bush being a dictator are not just sequestered in Cayman’s political realm, but repeated in casual conversation and on web blogs and forums. To observers unfamiliar with Cayman’s idiosyncratic political machinations, these claims can be quite unsettling – especially for those thinking about investing here.
Of course, the claims of dictatorship are ridiculously false. We have democratic elections every four years. We have a five-member Cabinet that makes the policy decisions for the country and a 15-member Legislative Assembly that enacts the laws.
More importantly, the Cayman Islands remains a British Overseas Territory and the United Kingdom retains executive powers to ensure nothing occurs here against the interests of the British Government.
In addition, neither Mr. Bush nor anyone who has ever held the top political position in the Cayman Islands has ever remotely resembled a dictator in the accepted definition of the word. There are no Stalins or Gaddafis or Papa Docs here. There are no Pinochets, Idi Amins or Saddam Husseins. Not a single person in the Cayman Islands has ever been jailed, tortured or murdered because he or she opposed the government. There are no government hit squads and although various governments here have complained about the press, they have never shut down a newspaper or any other media source.
The Cayman Islands has never felt the oppression of the iron boot of a true dictator and to say so is nothing but short-sighted fear-mongering.
It is detrimental to the international reputation of the Cayman Islands for residents with political agendas or gripes to go around talking about a dictatorship when it’s simply not true. This can only do more harm than good for the Cayman Islands and it’s time people stop with all the talk of dictators.