I have in my life time never known Grand Cayman to be so stagnated economically and with so much resistance to continued economic growth.
Could this be one of the result of party politics or simply because Caymanians young and old, have finally realised that developing our country with other nationalities’ money and labour places us all in a dependency relationship with those that own. In the world over those that own control and it has been and will be no different in Cayman, as is in other places of the world. Capital is the factor that structures relationships, economically, socially and politically. So is there an alternative to this situation of economic and social dependency?
Next year will be 50 years since the collapse of the West Indian Federation, which was the early attempt the small islands of the Caribbean made to create a common political and economic structure. Today those small island states that became independent politically recognise and accept that in spite of independence their governments and people have remained dependent on the same economic ties that existed before independence.
In many cases independent small island states in the Caribbean have become disadvantaged economically because they lost many of the preferential treatments they enjoyed during the colonial period.
The Cayman Islands on the other hand remained a dependency of Great Britain thereby providing a secure basis for political stability, which then fostered an unprecedented economic miracle unseen in other small island states. Caymanians were happy and travelled to Kingston and then Miami to show off their new wealth and status. I recall how proud I was when returning for a visit in 1974 and stepping onto a Cayman Airways plane in Kingston, Jamaica.
The question of who we were developing for was never asked and when I first posed that question in 1978, I was basically run from the country. Today many Caymanians are asking the same questions I asked long ago and are surprised that I now welcome foreign capital and labour. I could say that perhaps my position has to do with age but that would not be the whole story.
I think I now understand and accept the role inward investment has played here and must play especially in small Caribbean states. Many of whom are coping the Cayman model as we move to overthrow it.
Ironic! Perhaps not, because people always want what they do not have and as my ancestors use to say; we want everything we see until we get it.
In the years of economic growth, which took us from the islands time forgot to the present, very few Caymanians wanted any type of control over their ability to exchange their lands and economic dominance for commercial goods and leisure. Today many believe they can without much sacrifice reverse the situation, but it is not as easy said as done since the international banks now own our businesses and prosperities; and command our labour.
It is not wrong to ask the question, where is Caymanian ownership? But just look at Mount Trashmore! We have in a very short time consumed those things we exchanged our ownership to purchase and consume. In a world where private property is supreme, we can have no real power or control without ownership.
The government merely has the power to regulate and tax but here we have no direct taxation. So my suggestion is that before saying no to every suggested economic stimulus, we examine carefully what the social and political consequences will be the day our consumer junkies cannot get the fix they need.