If Mary Street could talk
It is said that time is longer than rope and it would appear as if the present delay caused by the inability of our Premier and Minister of Finance to present his 2012/2013 budget in time with the legal requirement is yet another case in point of the unrealistic nature of our Caymanian social economic and political model.
But it had been noted a long time ago that our belief that our small island state, unlike others in our region, could sustain a system of governance based upon uneducated political promises rather than the social and economic realities constructed by modern commercial relationships, would eventually lead us to the point where we would no longer be capable of sustaining the illusion of being the economic gem of the Caribbean and the rope around our necks would bring our illusions of grandeur to an end.
Those that have visited small Caribbean states might have recognised that those of us not connected on a daily basis to the transient economy of our Islands would one day, if we have not already, become part of the disadvantaged folks of the Americas. A sensible in-depth analysis of the structure of the Caymanian economic and social model will reveal that a large and growing number of native Caymanians are in a relationship with capital that was structured by consecutive governments.
The role of land and land ownership was the crucial element in the erosion of our Caymanian hegemony because we traded this important asset and the power which it gave us to the present owners of our country. Since land is a crucial resource of any people the creation of an economy based on the exchange of land to foreign ownership in order to create and sustain a cash economy and facilitate physical development must by now be seen as the straw that has broken our camel’s back. Thus it has been more than unfortunate that we did not and still do not appreciate that land has a more consistent and permanent value than cash, especially if that money is from the outset of an international nature; namely that its existence in our society is due to foreign incursion and dominance rather than exchange through trade over a substantial period of time.
Foreign money has thus lead to the underdevelopment of our small island state and has placed us permanently in a state of dependency. We import everything including our workforce, which also acts as a means of extracting the wealth created locally from an exchanging of our hegemony. In fact development of our lands, which is one of the main pillars of our economy and is mostly residential and therefore has no sustainable productive capacity. Residential development has acted only as a trigger for further sales of our land and entitlements.
Caymanian historian and cultural icon Roy Bodden noted as early as the 1980s that the sale of Caymanian land was leading toward the disempowerment of Caymanians but none took his message serious then and none want to now seriously examine the consequences of the Cayman miracle. In fact the branding of young Caymanian intellectuals like Mr. Roy Bodden in the 1980s as radical or communist and their removal from area where they might have been able to influence national policy directions was unfortunate because their removal meant that our country had no defence or understanding of the situation we were to face.
A quick glance to other areas of the Caribbean reveal that the citizens of these small states are struggling on a daily basis for survival but that they collectively as a people are more in control of their destinies and wealth or lack thereof than we here in the Cayman Islands. The mass importation of laws and political and administrative cultures of developed countries into our society to allow for this transfer of property and its protection has been the sole preoccupation of our political and economic leaders. And this trend more than any other has resulted in Cayman being placed in a virtual straight jacket that how disallowed us from employing cheaper methods of growth and sustainability. The planning laws and the food importation regulations are cases in point of how our laws have been designed to force our dependence on the expensive standard of living that has eroded our hegemony and prevented us from making meaningful changes to our condition.
The present budget crisis is therefore one that cannot be resolved without an acknowledgement of the follies of politicians that built a welfare state to disguise their policies of disempowerment of Caymanians. The Premier more so than any is guilty of perpetuating the myth that a small islands state can support its dispossessed without taxing those that now possess the wealth of the nation; one reason why the establishment sees no alternative to his suicidal economic policies.