Don’t squander opportunity

I am following with keen interest the debate emanating from the proposed revised Legal Practitioners Bill and the accompanying set of regulations known as the Qualified Firm Overseas Practice Regulations 2012. Not surprisingly, I have already detected the arrogance and self-righteousness among certain of the special interest groups which the proposed legislation would regulate.

That there needs to be a more fair and balanced approach for “Caymanians” in the legal practice in this jurisdiction should be obvious even to Blind Bartimaeus. This may well be the last chance for the patient, long suffering, determined and qualified Caymanian to realise some fairness and parity in a jurisdiction in which their citizenship dictates that they at least get a fair chance.

The magnitude of the struggle and the frustration felt by those “Caymanians” who made untold sacrifices to achieve what they rightly thought should have been a rewarding vocation, is very well known by me, since in my years in public life I fought many losing battles in efforts to enable “Caymanians” to break into the profession. The formidableness of achieving this rang most clear to me during the time I served as minister of Education, Human Resources and Culture. Numerous meetings were held with representatives of the established firms, complaints of blatant discrimination and prejudice were registered and investigated. Regrettably, the arrogance, intransigence and contempt of the movers and shakers did not allow them to be fair nor neighbourly. When it suits them they berate “Caymamians” for claiming their fair share and trot out the over used and hackneyed phrase of “culture of entitlement”, as if they were some schoolboy just learning a new concept.

Perhaps their arrogance has blinded them to the reason for the birth of the “culture of entitlement” in the first place. For to educate people and then deprive them of the opportunity to earn a decent and dignified livelihood in their own society, is by my calculation, a formula for disaster. It was the late Norman Mailer, the celebrated American author, who in his own inimitable language prophesied the upheavals that emanated out of the civil rights movement in the 1960s United States, which resulted from such intransigence and prejudice.

This proposed newly revised Legal Practitioners Bill, with its proposed accompanying regulations, may be the last call for the untenable situation that exists to be put right. Let us hope that this glorious opportunity is not squandered through arrogance, intransigence and prejudice.

Roy Bodden

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