Bring on Human Rights

Mr. Paul Simon cautions us in your 30 October, 2012, edition that a Human Rights Monster in the form of the Bill of Rights legislation will arrive on our doorsteps and change our way of life. Beware! The Human Rights Monster must be repelled! He warns.

According to historical records, when the Conquistadors arrived from the Old World with their magnificent steeds, the natives ran away thinking that they were monsters. Some thought rider and horse were one, others thought they were gods. Over time, they came to discover that horses represented mobility and power over their enemies in war. Horses offered greater range to hunt and were magnificent and disciplined beasts of burden, relieving the women and lesser members of the tribes from much of these mundane tasks. In time, the natives became the greatest horsemen the world has ever known. The Apaches and the Sioux were described as the finest cavalry ever to grace a battlefield. What at first seemed a monster, proved a powerful revolution for a better way of life. But those who failed to adapt, faded away.

It is rather interesting to observe how the various interests in our society see the Human Rights issue and the imminent introduction of the Bill of Rights. We have heard no shortage of public cries about how this will impact religion, or marriage, or impact the Caymanian way of life. Gays will eventually take over the country, we are told, and foist their lifestyle on the rest of us clean living folk. And then there are the ‘true, born Caymanians’, who fear that ‘paper Caymanians’ will get rights and challenge for economic and political power. God forbid that the many other workers on whom the economy depends would carry on to achieve security of tenure; that would mean ‘true born Caymanians’ would be outnumbered in their own land.

Those who enjoy economic and political power view any challenge to those privileges as a problem. From the vantage point of the privileged, anything that threatens their many advantages is a threat. In one fell swoop, the Bill of Rights will make a great many of the privileged in these beloved Cayman Islands, abusers of Human Rights. For them, the Bill of Rights is not merely a threat, it is a MONSTER!!

I would like to take a bow to a certain red neck friend of mine, and say – When the 6 of November, 2012, rolls around, I would like all the people of the Cayman Islands to take a good look in the Bill of Rights mirror:

If you are a businessman and your business depends on expatriate workers who have to pay for their own work permits, work a 12-hour-day, six-days-a-week and who believes a vacation is a trip taken to Miami by your family, you might be a Human Rights abuser.

If you are a boss who chooses your worker on their physical assets and helps yourself to sexual favours in exchange for their job security, you might be an abuser.

If you are a government official:

And your expatriate contracted workers have no voice in the workplace, despite the many abuses they suffer on a daily basis;

If you hire workers from certain countries and pay them less than workers from other countries for the same job description;

If certain of your employees retire after 25 years of service and is entitled to a grand total of $50, $100, or $300 a month in pension benefits;

If you promote your friends, family, clique brothers and clique sisters without a thought to the persons who are really doing the job;

If you arrived from a first world country with all the knowledge of employment best practices but merely use it to further your own agenda and that of your friends, and at the expense of other workers;

If you are a policeman and your idea of an interview is hooking up a live wire to the suspect… you just might be a Human Rights abuser.

If you bust an inspector to the rank of constable for a trumped up charge, but ignore the criminal offences of another due to his ethnic origins or your relationship with him, you might be a Human Rights abuser.

But thank God Almighty! We who have had no voice – us second and third class citizens – finally will have recourse to justice.

And use it we will!

Amen.

Patrick Beersingh

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