If Mary Street could talk
It may now be abundantly clear that we need to change the way we understand and manage our economic and social environments, rather than just change our elected government every four years; since for more than a decade we have voted out the government that we have come to dislike in order to vote in the government we can’t trust. But is it our newly discovered distrust, only the consequence of our politicians’ dishonesty, or mostly the consequence of their lack of understanding of how our social and economic institutions function or fail to function in the best of the majority of Caymanians.
Why for God’s sake do we see ourselves as having possibilities for development and the distribution of wealth that we do not have or will ever have. The fact that these Islands became inhabited in the 18th Century was more the result of the disadvantages or misfortune of those that settled rather than any intelligent and wilful calculations on their part. The Cayman Islands was never inhabited when discovered as were most of the other Caribbean islands and this tells us that our three Islands were not conducive to civilisation even at a most primitive level. The fact that life and an admirable standard of living has now been able to be developed in spite of what were once obstacles is totally a consequence of the internalisation of production and trade that took place after the Second World War.
Our first principle of social and economic management must therefore be based upon the recognition that it was independency rather than isolationism and protectionist policies that created for us our opportunity to sustain life at the standard we have become accustomed to, and any real move away from our concept of interdependency as the policy to sustain our growth and prosperity will result in our rapid stagnation and retrogression.
Unlike other newly created states, the thrust of our national political philosophy has consciously been bilateral and our economic philosophy must remain rooted in the concept of free movement of goods, services and people within and between countries. Nevertheless, because of our very limited land mass our growth, whether economic or in population, has to be planned and regulated to first of all give preference and protection to those of us with Cayman status. To help accomplish this primary objective we must not just continue to develop academic learning, we must now have serious technical and vocational learning supported by government and the private sector. Since my suggested development and management policies are by no means new I am simply suggesting that it now need to be deeply rooted in the ideological framework of government by way of our political party system. For if this system is to have any usefulness it cannot be other than that of inscribing the objectives of the people in the objectives of the party and those of the party in the elected government.
If there is further need for political parties then it must be to allow for better focus on our primary strategic management and development policies, making leadership more meaningful by giving governments the ability to fulfil these national goals rather than to simply react to unforeseen social and economic crises.
Sustainability is a familiar concept to most of us but the task of national government is not to sustain social and economic inequalities. Sustaining our society has everything to do with sustaining our core values, which are more than religious platitudes. Most of all, we must sustain our ownership, manage our society and increase our self determination.
This self determination fades and vanishes when we as a people choose economic endeavours that we cannot manage for all to benefit and prosper from by being productively engaged. Benefits to a nation is not solely the enrichment of one class or educational strata, thus there needs to be a reeducation of all of us so that we begin to value the contributions of the different occupational groups and functions in our society, so much so that government and the private sector equally contribute money and training towards the task of dismantling our perverted and lavish welfare system by training as many of those person receiving assistance as possible so that they can take up gainful and meaningful employment. For the some 9,000 persons receiving welfare payments are doing so partly because of their exclusion from the workplace and this exclusion is not just the result of skills and the lack of opportunities; it is mostly caused by the lack of a working class culture and pride.
True nation building will only begin when monies that are spent by the Premier to influence churches and other organisations’ views of him and his leadership is used for these purposes. And there is no point in building an unsustainable concept of a nation.
True national building must begin with ideological and socio-cultural values that build and sustain the nation rather than exploit it for petty political gains.