If Mary Street could talk
When one is or becomes an observer of or participant in the many unstructured social and political debates emanating and disappearing in our public forums, it is very easy to neglect those issues that may be of paramount importance. I certainly feel that at present, trying to keep up with the babblings of the Premier and his critics have caused me to neglect the pressing social issues facing this country. These issues, which should be at the heart of our political ramblings, have always been my great concern over the years. I am referring in particular to the criminalisation of several generations of Caymanians and their permanent exclusion from the positive and rehabilitating influences of the workplace. For as lightly as many may think of this very crucial situation, which the unemployment statistics does not reveal, this could cost us in the future hundreds of millions of dollars in welfare payments, political hand-outs and internal security costs, not to mention the lingering negative effects it will have on our tourism earnings.
Why then is this permanent crisis not being discussed by those willing to warn us of the negative financial impacts of direct taxation or the lack of transparency in our government? As if peace and good governance is independent from a good social order; a social order where doubt, suspicion, envy and outright hatred in the minds of our disempowered are replaced with feelings of having something to gain and be hopeful about. During a recent talk with a young man in the corridors of one of our magistrate courts I was again enlightened with facts of just how much our young people distrust our system of governance. But not just the political arm of government but our judges, our policemen and women, as well as those in other positions of authority over them; in fact the entire system. The young man told me that he believes in anarchy because to him anarchy is not disorder but instead an individually agreed upon form of order that governments destroy by destroying the individual. And this process, he said, began in the school system that demands everybody think and act the same for the specific purpose of making control of people possible by shaping each individual into groups.
It will one day shock so many of us without an ear to the ground just how many young people express hatred against the constant interferences of the government in their daily lives and with their desire to make their own personal choices about how they live. What civilised or first world country has even acted so ignorantly towards their youth, so much so that they have for decades imported, employed and retained at a comfort level well above the segment of the youth population most crippled by this conscious or unconscious strategies used by many of those who came here to protect and reserve peace and good governance. Why do these sane and civilised people not see that their failure to deal with the feelings of entitlement among many of our poorly educated and trained youth will fuel nationalistic claims and attitudes could make the present crime spree seem like our police in the 1980s? Therefore, why has the British directorate over the years tried to save the turtles, the conch, the grouper, the green iguana and other living species and plants but not the Caymanian disempowered youth crippled socially and educationally by rapid commercial development in this colony?
I recently called the Roster morning Talk Show when our Commissar and Governor were guests at the same time about the police helicopter and whether or not prevention is also an important strategy in peace and I do not have to tell you that he agreed. Question is, what would the citizens who have to live with the crime and the dysfunction and have to pick up the bills to bring in even more police, magistrates, security guards and wardens do as well as think in order to keep this important social control consideration in the public arena?
The them and us mentality has existed in the Cayman Islands for a very long time but the economic and socio-cultural polarisation caused by criminalisation and economic exclusion compounded by the embedded criminal culture and legitimacy it breeds makes it frightening even to me. Yet only armed foreigners in blue uniforms and in helicopters seem to be the prescribed medicine to an ever escalating conflict, which may soon take on a more ideological grounding. Why send community police in daylight and armed combatants when the sun sets into our communities. Combatants that in many instances care very little for the human Caymanian iguanas they may meet and search because they were suspect of being young and on the outside.
I had to appear at the George Town police station of the 7th of August and I witnessed two young men well known to me being brought into the station in handcuffs. They were released less than half an hour later without being charged because their only crime was that they ran when they saw an unmarked car with tinted windows and no sign saying it was a police vehicle. These two young men are very well known by the police and the community and there was no warrant out for them so if they ran because they were fearsome shooters may have been in that vehicle then it is understandable at least to me. But what of the embarrassment caused and once caused how do they wash off the stigma?
I am a justice of the peace and I obtained my honour from service to my country yet these same blue uniform combatants can say to me I have no respect for the law and make shameful remarks about me to other citizens and they are in my country of birth.
Why am I considered to be so ill made or raised that I would not respect and acknowledge the usefulness of citizens keeping the peace? Why is it assumed that our only peace keepers are those paid to oppose our liberty and violate if they wish to our civil and human rights.