Not too late to learn

Kindly allow me to respond to the commentary titled “The Dart conundrum” in the Caymanian Compass Tuesday, 20 March, 2012, by Mr. Alastair Patterson.

In his commentary Mr. Patterson seems to have overlooked certain realities in respect of why over 3,000 registered voters signed a petition voicing their objection to the developer’s desire to close a sizable length of the West Bay Road. This was presented to the people of Cayman as a fait accompli where the For Cayman Alliance chose to do a presentation rather than a consultation with the Caymanian people.

Mr. Patterson, from his first paragraph onwards, appears to lump the thousands of Caymanians who signed the petition with persons who, in his view, are minded towards expressing “negative opinion” and “aspersions” towards the developer, as well as being “activists”.

The robust list goes on to include the likes of those who are being “encouraged by a few politicians to condemn the Dart Group (by) continually placing obstacles in their strategic plan and all for hollow politics and self-serving ambition” being “short sighted at best and mostly fuelled by ignorance”.

Perhaps Mr. Patterson might care to educate myself and the three thousand plus other Caymanians who signed the petition objecting to the developer’s strategic plan as to where exactly they figure in his litany of condemnation. Is it that Mr. Patterson does not consider our views important? Does the opinion of thousands of Caymanians mean nothing to him compared to the developer’s strategic plan? It all seems so very one-sided and indeed rather patronising towards my people. Such a broadside against so many Caymanians leaves me questioning the sincerity of the rest of the writer’s commentary, as well as wondering exactly how much this has done towards the realisation of the ideals he writes about, in particular the one about working “in unison, in an acceptable open partnership”.

Another desirable feature alluded to in the commentary is that of transparency. Mr. Patterson complains about the Dart Group, particularly its real estate development company, currently bearing the brunt of considerable negative opinion from sections of the Caymanian community. And yet nowhere that I can see in the commentary does he attempt seriously to explore, in the reasonableness of manner for which Caymanians are well known, the root causes for this negative opinion towards the developer’s plans. One is left to wonder if Mr. Patterson might feel uncomfortable that an honest exploration of these root causes might show the developer in question in a less than stellar light.

Yes, we do need development, but not at any cost, Mr. Patterson. And please wake up to the reality that times have changed and the Caymanian public is no longer minded towards remaining silent, as was the case 30 years ago, particularly in regard to development matters.

The manner in which the developer in question has approached the public has undoubtedly disappointed many and might be regarded as dismissive and high handed.

One might compare it to someone ordering a car for you and picking not only the make but all the options, then presenting it to you, and when you question it at all, being lectured as to why the car is good for you. It’s just a problem of “understanding” why it’s good for you.

Is the public’s disquiet something surprising? Like it or not, transparency and public consultation are two responsibilities that today’s developers must value highly in order to avoid a public relations disaster. For any developer to present to the public a “done deal” and then ask for their views after a sales presentation is preposterous to say the least. Where is the flexibility to accommodate the public’s preferences? Or does the developer think that this is superfluous?

Caymanians are now a highly educated populace. The old days of “keep your mouth shut we know what’s best for you” are long gone. Sadly,Mr.Patterson appears to have learned very little from the Caymanian people, which is a pity as there is much of value for him to learn. It’s never too late.

Nyda Flatley

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you Mrs. Flatley. Very well said. Just because Mr. Patterson sees it as a big money making scheme for his company does not mean that it’s desirable for Caymanians. We don’t have to give away our birth right just because McKeeva doesn’t care and Dart wants it. That scenery is therapy to many people. Dart may have developed Camana Bay and mind you, not everything is all good about that. During the rainy season you can’t even walk around the gardens for mosquitos (the size of a penny). He has taken their home too. I would like to invite Dart, McKeeve and Alistair together, to watch the movie Dr. Seuss, The Lorax which has been playing recently at the Dart Theatre or just purchase the DVD and if they don’t see a reflection of themselves then for sure money is the only issue with them. There’s no caring or respecting of the views of the Caymanian people. Please don’t forget Hurricane Ivan though, the next time they might not have time to take a flight.

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  2. Cayman Compass should run an article asking the Caymanian people for suggestions on solutions for the current economic state of the economy. I would really like to hear what people think should be done with things like the dump for instance it may be better to remediate it at it’s current location, but would the people be willing to pay for it to avoid the move, would they rather the CIG nix these type of deals and just say to the public that taxes are going up. Would they prefer to avoid things like the For Cayman Alliance, Shetty Hospital and Cayman Economic Zone if it meant the cost of living for each and every Caymanian would significantly increase because of things like property Tax, School Taxes and Garbage fees. The CIG cannot afford the thing Cayman need and if it doesn’t come from outside it will need to come from Inside, the people….

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  3. Nj2cay

    They don’t want to hear any of that.

    They have absolutely no solutions for any of that, which you speak of. They only complain. Or do nothing, hoping all the issue’s will magically fix, or go away.

    They only want to spin the wheels. As the original poster said we did not speak up 30 years so, now we are speaking up.

    GOOD GOD do they not stop and think?! What ff they did speak up 30 years ago, and the government has listened. There would be no finance sector on this island! The island’s best jobs would be manager at a restaurant. No fancy houses, no fancy cars, no extra money. Most would be still living without air conditioning!

    So yes, maybe it’s a lesson the poster should think long and hard about, if she’s going to mention the silence 30 years ago. Maybe silence is a good thing.

    Dart is willing to solve these problems. But wants a kick back in return. Name me one business person that does everything/anything for free….I will tell you, NONE.

    The politicians know how valuable DART is. Every one of them. Doesn’t matter what party. One party will pretend to be against Dart, another for Dart, and another party will go which ever way the wind blows. It doesn’t matter, so long as they get voted in, if that is the best way to get votes.

    But sure as the sun rises. Doesn’t matter what party you vote in, Dart is still going to be there.

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