We refer, of course, to the new flag car for our governor, the chief representative of Mother England in the Cayman Islands.
The 2015 Jaguar XJ (in “Polaris white”) is a beautiful piece of machinery that is aptly suited to its function as “the most prestigious vehicle in the Cayman Islands vehicle fleet,” in the words of a news release from the Office of Governor Helen Kilpatrick.
The press statement, and Governor Kilpatrick herself, point out that, in addition to its aesthetics, the new Jaguar offers “good value for money,” and that the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office was able to leverage its buying power to “secure a heavily discounted price for this new vehicle.” Additional cost savings were secured in the form of free shipping aboard the Royal Navy vessel RFA Lyme Bay.
Generally, we are vocal proponents of our public sector reducing expenditures wherever it make sense. However, in certain cases, such as the governor’s vehicle or our premier’s travel accommodations, we believe that anything less than first class is simply insufficient.
When the subject is the public presentation of our country’s top executives while conducting the official business of the Cayman Islands, appearances are essential. Put another way, pomp – a cultural bequeathment from our British heritage – is important.
When Cayman’s official motorcade arrives at the Legislative Assembly for the annual Throne Speech, it is only fitting that Governor Kilpatrick (or any of her successors) steps out from a shining luxury automobile – rather than a sand-strewn, rust-encrusted beach Jeep … or even an aging, cringe-inducing Lincoln Town Car.
Likewise, when Premier Alden McLaughlin travels to represent Cayman in, for example, Bermuda at the U.K. Overseas Territories meeting, he should sit comfortably in the foremost section of the airplane, entertain guests at fine dining establishments and reside in the most excellent hotel accommodations.
She is, after all, the Governor of the Cayman Islands. And he is, after all, the Premier of the Cayman Islands. Those are offices which merit our highest respect, and the individuals who occupy those positions should project an analogous image of Cayman to the outside world.
Not only that, but, the governor and the premier have – through their corresponding responsibilities – earned those emoluments.
We eye critically the trend, in recent decades, where politicians and public figures attempt to portray themselves as homespun populists, regardless of their actual characters, personalities or policies. Indeed, one of the hallmark questions of U.S. surveys during presidential campaigns is which candidate people would feel most comfortable “having a beer with” – as if that has any bearing on the negotiation of international treaties, coordination of congressional bodies or commanding of military forces.
Frankly, we are of the opinion that our leaders actually are not “just like us” – and moreover, should not be. If they were, why on earth would we allow them to lead?
Governor Kilpatrick, enjoy your new Jaguar. Let it be a reminder of the critical duties with which you have been entrusted, and a symbol of the great faith that Cayman has in you and the nation whose authority you represent.