It is said that if we don’t know our past we won’t know our future yet very few Caymanians know our country’s history and even fewer have paid attention to what is known of British colonialism. If you view that statement with scepticism then I must ask you if you have ever heard of Long Celia a Caymanian slave woman who was given fifty severe lashes in a public place in Georgetown in October 1820, “for uttering seditious words, tending to stir up revolution of the Negroes”.
It were courageous individuals like Long Celia at the bottom of the social and economic ladder of our paradise islands that had a real interest in seeing slavery come to an end; and it will be those courageous individuals that are criminalised, penalised and excluded from a meaning socioeconomic existence, that will one day shout out about the end to British colonialism in these islands, if things remain as they are.
Although, I have never been a proponent of Independence for the Cayman Islands, I recognize more and more each day the strong role colonialism played in fermenting and holding intact a racial-class structure. Our elite foreign and local rely upon and defend daily the colonialist notions, values, rituals and norms which have maintained a ridged pigmentocracy; that is a system of social stratification based upon the ordering of people according to their complexions, where whites are on top and the blackish of black at the bottom.
The above statement may be considered by some as seditious but we need to understand our past in order to know our future and unfortunately few of our leaders past and present understand the importance of history and Caymanian history in particular; One reason why historical discussions are absent from just about every aspect of our lives and talking history is seditious, sometimes even in the free press. But those of you that understand the social structure of plantation economies will have recognised that the police and the judiciary in this country have been shaped rigidly by our past colonial slave society and the reconstructed society that followed. The reason is that force is the most important instrument in the creation and maintenance of inequalities between a diversity of ethnic groupings.
Traditionally our state has held tight its right to use violence to gain and maintain consensus; and has used a police force that is detached from the local community as its means of forcing those not willing or able to understand the socioeconomic benefits of abiding by laws made to protect private property and the free enjoyment of that liberty which is created by way of ownership. It is no wonder then, that our first magistrates some of whom judged Long Celia, were slave owners obsessed with protecting their rights to their private property; namely their slaves. And when there were no longer slaves in our society, their preoccupation became that of preserving “peace and good governance”, otherwise known as the status quo.
Today our police force are investigating our highest political leader, arresting former and present Ministers in the name of “peace and good governance” but who is investing the police? In the name of justice and fair-mindedness our judiciary is called upon to uphold laws regardless of whether or not these laws are expressions of the cultural aptitudes of the people. I guess what I am asking myself is how are we to achieve peace and good governance when local perceptions of the usefulness of peace and good governance are often in conflict with local cultural norms.
I have already made my views clear on the issue of whether or not the Premier should step down so as not to be perceived to be influencing the outcome of police investigations into his conduct but on the other hand I do realise that no one is investigating corruption and abuses within the police and if they do we the people are not made any wiser. For example, Tempura made us none the wiser because the Governors needed to prevent shocking details of facts from being release to the natives; so who is policing the police. We have a plethora of crime and we need the police but we must also protect ourselves against our protectors. However, if you made a complaint against members of the RCIPS, you will be told that your compliant will be filed since due to Section 99(1) of the Police Law 2010, the police are unable to investigate external complaints made by members of the public.
The Cayman Islands is not benefiting directly but indirectly from being a British colony but we pay daily to meet their international obligations in the area of regulations. Therefore, if we pay attention only to the institutions where they demand reforms, without reforming those institutions like the judiciary and police that they control in order to maintain their colonial society; what will occur if it has not already occurred, is that we will find that our political system will become useless and the idea of the rule of law regardless of how perfect our British rulers explain it, will mean only the rule of a local oligarchy made up mostly of foreigners.