This letter is perhaps difficult to understand or perhaps not? And you do not have to read it if it’s not digestible; however, a Caymanian intellectual in reference to our native land coined the phrase ‘voluntary colonialism’, which had suggested to me that he believed that Caymanians had come to accept their colonialised condition voluntarily. I believe this proposition to be a great insight of the intellect and imagination; even his. And perhaps he should have also written that once a people are colonised it is possible they will come to regard that condition as being a result of their own free will rather than the will of the other’. Therefore they may not struggle to change this condition under certain circumstances; mainly if the relationship produces little discomfort for the elite of the society.
I wrote letters long ago suggesting that the ideological and economic competition and conflict between Britain and the Cayman Islands had arrived at that crossroad where the Caymanian elite (which includes new arrivals) would begin to question the workability of our relationship with Britain. I also suggested and will continue to suggest that political independence is always bad for the poor since in most post-colonial countries the economic and political elite are never willing to make the necessary socio-political and economic readjustments to include the poor among them. Thus in post-modern colonial societies the lower occupational and social classes should view a continued relationship with the metropolitan country as more benevolent than political independence, which has also involved a state of continued economic, cultural and social dependence; examples for which we find all over the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa.
I have always been critical of the British government for having given too much latitude when it came to the Cayman Islands. For allowing the Cayman Islands to develop an elitist and corrupt economic and socio-political structure, which excludes the majority of its people while at the same time creating a need for demographic changes that now has many of us on reservations like the Indians. Read Time Longer Dan Rope, it is right in there.
This population shift may become an important reason for the lower occupational, unemployed and unemployable groups to support independence. However, it should be explained that the UK government is not directly responsible for the exercise of this peculiar economic and socio-cultural structure, which demands population replenishments and replacements. The local ruling class is responsible and it is them in conjunction with the fundamentalist Christians that will begin to echo a call for independence, especially when the restructuring of our relationship with the UK begins in 2012.
The idea that we should be thinking of independence and discussing independence when we have not encouraged our people to think of and discuss our own local challenges is preposterous to me. We need dialogue and for this simple reason I continue to think and to write about us. However, I made up my mind long ago that independence is not good for the Caymanian Islands; not now or in the future. Cayman needs to grow up and become, as difficult as it may be from a moral or religious perspective, a part of the metropolitan framework. Because although 2012 will be 50 years since a West Indian Federation was attempted, the gains made by these small island states could have also been made while connected politically to the UK. I am speaking about the development of a cultural and intellectual conscience and identity that would prevent too great a difference between the values of the UK and our own. Tolerance and respect for individual freedoms and preferences rather than moral servitude is what we must now seek and not political independence. The Framework for Fiscal Responsibility and the coming Human Bill of Rights therefore needs to be intelligently discussed and explained to the people; not resisted.