Editorial for 4 May: Be careful what you wish for

The past couple of weeks have seen the closure of two popular downtown eating establishments, including Bacchus and the George Town location of Al La Kebab.

It’s true that downtown has proven to be very difficult for restaurants, and last month’s closings come after the closings in recent years of the Fort Street Market and Senor Frogs, and the moving and down-sizing of the English Bakery. However, it’s not only downtown establishments that are closing. In recent months, Changs at Treasure Island closed, Vivendi at the Strand closed, MacDonald’s closed its Industrial Park and Savannah locations, and Wendy’s closed its Walkers Road location.

It’s not just restaurants that are closing. The Body Shop is calling it quits and there are a number of other businesses, particularly construction related, that have either closed or are in a battle to stay open. The fact is, Cayman’s traditional economic boom time – December and the first four months of the year – have now passed. More businesses will likely close during the long, slow summer ahead. Some business owners saw what was coming and decided to get out now; others will try to survive the year.

The closings are a reflection of a stagnant economy, which is increasingly feeling the effects of a declining population. Some might argue that Cayman doesn’t need so many restaurants and shops anyway; but besides the loss of choice in the marketplace, the closings mean the loss of jobs for Caymanians and expats.

There has been a lot of opposition toward just about every project proposal the current government has suggested as people resist change. Well, change is happening anyway in the form of closing businesses, lost jobs, burglaries and armed robberies. Without some of the government’s projects getting off the ground soon, the economic situation here will likely get worse before it gets better.

People who don’t want to see any change and who long for the nostalgic days of the past should be careful what they wish for because few will accept the hardships of the past that would go with a return to those days.