Editor’s Note: Today we are featuring excerpts from some of the most interesting, compelling and entertaining editorials that have appeared in the Cayman Compass in 2016, on some of the most important issues facing our country.
While we subscribe to the basic economic principle that a rising tide lifts all boats – and generally, remain optimistic that a thriving Cuba will strengthen the Caribbean region as a whole – we find it difficult to shake concerns about the possibility of Cayman getting soaked.
Perhaps this Progressives administration hopes to “stall” action on the hundreds of outstanding PR applications until after the 2017 elections, and push the pile of paperwork onto the lap of the next elected government.
If so, that is a most cavalier, cruel, and reckless approach. The lives of these long-term residents remain in abeyance, hostage to a system which, demonstrably, has failed them – and is failing our country.
Instead of being seen as the fastest way to get home, driving drunk should be feared as the fastest way to a jail cell. Death by vehicle is far more common than death by firearms in the Cayman Islands.
The surest way to protect victims of crime is not through compassion and condolence, but through arrests and prosecution.
What is going on in regard to the Needs Assessment Unit amounts to nothing less than cruel and unusual punishment – on both sides of the door, for applicants and staffers.
The “world of Cayman” is not the world in which everyone else is living. In the wider world, it’s not the big that eat the small: It’s the fast that eat the slow.
Our country – with its 5,000 distinct flavors of work permits – seems increasingly ripe for consumption.
Generally speaking, the visible response from our police and Governor Helen Kilpatrick has not nearly been equal to the seriousness of the problem or the direness of the consequences.
Cayman’s reputation for safety is far more fragile than our coral reefs – and far more important to the economic health of our country.
If lawmakers were agitating for an emergency meeting on the subject of crime, we would be among their most vocal supporters. If they were calling for an emergency meeting on the performance of top brass at RCIPS, we might disagree with their approach, but their intentions might nonetheless be honorable.
But let’s get something straight: This motion isn’t about crime. It’s not about the police. And, as East End MLA Arden McLean said, it’s not about Commissioner [David] Baines. It’s about political opportunism and, perhaps, Mr. Baines’s “Britishness.”
In a laboratory, there are certain chemicals that, individually, are benign or even beneficial – but, when combined, create nitroglycerine. In the real world, two such substances are politics and policing.
Politicians have no business infringing on the duties of police officers. Such encroachment is invariably dangerous.
The [Ritch] report was due to be completed sometime this spring, but we’ve heard no word about its contents or recommendations. All the while, hundreds of our neighbors, colleagues and coworkers twiddle their fingers, agonize about the futures of their families, and wait, wait, wait.
We all know where this will end – in the lap of the next elected government … with possible detours through the courts.
Generally speaking, an animal population requires a couple of things for survival: habitat and food.
With wide expanses of bush and unprotected rubbish bins on every corner – not to mention litter strewn on the roadside, residences that welcome in “part-time pets” at night, and the mountain of solid waste at the George Town Landfill – Grand Cayman is a practical paradise for “village dogs,” or what scientists Raymond and Lorna Coppinger describe as “superbly adapted scavengers.”
In this protracted war, our weapons will not be batons, Tasers or firearms – or anything designed to harm the body.
Our weapons must be implements that cultivate the mind and spirit: education, accountability, employment and opportunities.
[I]n its purest form, the conflict between the police as an institution and crime as a phenomenon has only two dimensions. We know whose side we’re on (and we’re proud to declare so publicly) – the police. As for the allegiance of our legislators … well, they’ve been more reticent than declarative.
The government may regret it ever commissioned the EY Report. It shouldn’t. It did the right thing, and it received enormous value for its paltry investment.
In case government’s request for proposal includes a new global marketing strategy for Cayman, we’ll offer up our comprehensive tourism plan.
It consists of one large picture and one line of text:
The picture is the best photo ever taken of Seven Mile Beach.
The headline is, “Number One Beach in the World, says U.S. News & World Report.”
The agreement Cayman has in place with Cuba, to detain the migrants and have them returned to the land from which they tried to flee, is far from ideal. It is, to many Cayman residents, undesirable or even distasteful. It is also expensive. But, unlike the vast nation of the U.S., Cayman cannot possibly accommodate even a small portion of the Cuban migrants who might wish to stay.
In the three years since the Progressives cavalierly tossed aside the Dart Group’s offer to remedy the landfill, our officials have had some success in deflecting the issue of the still-unlined, still-combustible dump with a masquerade of studies, reports and field trips. But at more than 80 feet in height (the highest terrestrial point on Grand Cayman), the dump itself cannot be hidden.
While many people may have had genuine questions about tactical aspects of the unsuccessful search and rescue operation, some people, in our opinion, deliberately and callously seized upon public unrest in order to achieve objectives that were purely political, or personal, in nature. As is written in our “exit interview” with Commissioner [David] Baines that is published today, the “missing boaters” criticism proved to be the final instance of political maneuvering against him, and the coup de grace for his seven-year tenure.
The Progressives promised they had an onsite solution for the landfill. But they didn’t, they still don’t and, even if they did, they don’t have the $100 million-plus it is now likely to cost.
We in Cayman have seen more than enough of European-style bureaucracy and regulation – in the form of the OECD, FATF, and their liberal like. Blacklists, gray lists, white lists … please.
The June 23 referendum may be British people’s best and last chance to avoid imbibing any more of that sort of poison. They ought to seize the opportunity to run away with Usain Bolt record-breaking speed.
Rather than feeling marginalized by the U.K. as an entity with “second-class privileges,” we here in Cayman should recognize that the U.K. continues to grant us “special privileges.” One example is that Caymanians (who have British passports by virtue of living here) can pick up and move to the U.K. whenever they wish, and have the freedom to settle there, work there and take advantage of public social services there. The reverse does not hold true for British citizens wishing to move to Cayman.
Our issue isn’t with the outcome of the referendum (although editorially we supported it), it’s with the referendum itself.
Considering the magnitude of the issue, its impact over generations, and the international/intergovernmental nature of the U.K.’s relationship with the EU – the Brexit decision should have been made by the U.K.’s elected representatives, not by individual voters in polling booths throughout the nation.
We don’t want another report. We want a new landfill.
As far as the lessons the Cayman Islands can draw from the burgeoning Brexit debacle, so far they’re based largely on what has been absent: The importance of strong leadership, sound strategy and swift decision-making.
Leading a post-Brexit Britain will be no easy task – and, apparently, it seemed to be a too formidable one for several of Prime Minister May’s colleagues in Westminster, including former Prime Minister David Cameron and former London Mayor Boris Johnson.
But, knowing her background, her record while in office and her political beliefs, we trust that Prime Minister May is especially well-equipped to handle any adversarial situation and to rise to meet her moment in history.
To date, [attorney David] Ritch’s report has not been made public. Why not?
The report, which was supposed to be part of the solution to the issues highlighted by the chief justice, has instead been utilized by government as another means by which to delay or avoid addressing these immigration issues.
We recognize contempt when we see it – if not for the authority of the courts (and this may qualify) – certainly in regard for one’s fellow human beings, as well as for the public interest.
When it comes to child abuse, the only committee that truly matters, in the context of criminal justice, is extremely limited in composition. It comprises the accuser, the accused, the police, attorneys and the courts.
Anything else is at best supplementary, and at worst, deleterious.
We’re not admitting defeat, but in this particular battle of Man vs. Nature … Nature may have Man on the ropes – or up a tree.
[S]uccessive administrations have watched as a relative handful of career civil servants have presided over an inadequate school system, in effect sacrificing the future of Caymanian children – and, by proxy, the country – in order to preserve the positions of a few adults in power.
Education, in our view, is far too important to be left exclusively to the “professional educators.” Every parent, every businessperson, every resident of the Cayman Islands needs to declare with one stentorian voice that we will no longer accept a third-world education system in our first-world country.
Increasingly it appears the only way European officials will ever be satisfied with Cayman’s role in the international financial services arena is if Cayman has no role.
In practical terms, the new report brings Cayman no nearer to solving our country’s waste management woes than we were three years ago, when the newly installed Progressives government summarily terminated the deal forged between the previous administration and the Dart Group to close, cap and remediate the George Town Landfill. The plan was to build a new landfill in far east Bodden Town (between two active quarries).
The kind way to label the new report is as an “exercise.” A less-than-charitable description is “fantasy.”
While the legal analysis by HSM Chambers law firm of Cayman’s current immigration situation is complex, the overall point is quite simple: Our government’s continuing refusal to consider hundreds of permanent residence applications, coupled with flaws in the assessment criteria themselves, has put the country at great, and growing, risk of being taken to court, and losing – big time – with significant financial ramifications.
In the case of Smith Cove, opprobrium should be directed not toward the developers, but toward the government, namely the Progressives and their leader, Premier Alden McLaughlin.
You see, the government not too long ago had the opportunity to acquire the privately held portion of land adjoining Smith Cove – and walked away from it.
Of course, the reason why Premier [Alden] McLaughlin seemed so upset with us over the Smith Cove affair isn’t because our editorial was incorrect – it’s because it was correct. The development of the Smith Cove property represented a major political liability for the elected members from George Town, including the premier, in the upcoming election. Hence the swiftness, hence the spin.
[George Town MLA Winston] Connolly had it correct when he suggested that the goal of education reform in Cayman (indeed anywhere) must be to create a school system that attracts, through quality and excellence, students of all demographic descriptions – rich, poor, Caymanian or expatriate. No government has a greater obligation to its people.
Although it is unlikely Premier [Alden] McLaughlin intended for us to take it as a compliment, being labeled “relentless” is among the highest praise a newspaper could ever hope to receive.
Unfortunately, Cayman’s school segregation has been in existence long enough that the problems with public education have ossified, calcified and fossilized. “Fixing” Cayman’s public schools won’t be as simple as reintegrating them. Public schools must be improved to the extent that they are attractive to all families who live here, regardless of nationality or economic realities.
Normally, we would be critical of the time span of any government plan stretched out over a period of 20 years or more. But in regard to ensuring the dignified treatment of our elderly population, the problem is so entrenched that such a sustained effort is absolutely necessary.
Minister [Osbourne] Bodden has done well to pick up the mantle on behalf of Cayman’s seniors. Whoever becomes his successors in future governments, it behooves them to carry on this noble cause.
What is at stake is nothing less than Cayman’s dignity – and its legacy.
Don’t call it an “upset.” Tuesday night’s victory by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton was months, if not years, in the making. The people “surprised” by Mr. Trump’s win (and there are many millions of them) are those who placed too much stock in the wisdom of the elite, measured according to flawed surveys and allegiance to often-archaic norms of the political establishment.
Premier [Alden] McLaughlin and his government created this issue. They own it – and they will not be able to hold off addressing it until after the next election.
Their choices are limited: Will they decide to litigate each of the hundreds of cases, one by one, and (most likely) lose, one by one? Or will they litigate them all in a class-action-style suit, and (most likely) lose them all at once?
Premier [Alden] McLaughlin said on the radio he would announce his government’s plans for PR applications in another forum. We will offer him that forum – this newspaper.
With the sole proviso that Premier McLaughlin focus his remarks on what he and his Progressives government plan to do about the PR problem, we will donate as much space as necessary, free of editing and free of charge, in the Compass.
We would hope Mr. McLaughlin would cease trying to reframe this issue as a “Compass vs. Government” matter. It is nothing of the sort. Permanent residence is an issue of great consequence to our entire country, and the Compass is simply pointing out the obvious: Our government must face it – and fix it.
[T]he writer rightly points out, as we do, that the Progressives legislators themselves created this quagmire when they passed the immigration law, setting out specific requirements for people to obtain PR, inviting them to apply – and then refusing to follow the very law they wrote, approved and enacted.
Mr. Castro’s impact, of course, is most evident in Cuba, which he reshaped by force after his own image and which now stands, crumbling, as a fortress, as a monument and as a mausoleum to the ideals and realities of rule under Marxism-Leninism.
First, the bikes, in menacing numbers, are already here.
Second, there is nothing wrong with dirt bikes. The problem is the people who are illegally using dirt bikes and other vehicles. Dirt bikes are perfectly acceptable recreational vehicles, so long as they are confined to, well, dirt. The bikes are inanimate assemblages of metal and do not come equipped with brains, conscience or judgment. Neither do dirt bikes have responsibility or accountability.
Their riders, however, do.
The hundreds of permanent residence applications that the Progressives government has refused to consider over the past three years might as well be a stockpile of dry driftwood, begging for a match.
Last week, the inevitable came to pass. Law firm HSM Chambers submitted a court filing that packs explosive arguments against the system into a tidy 10-page document that could serve as precedent, and a template, for future litigation. The grievances enumerated in the court filing are so dire that, if proven, should never be associated with a country of the international status and stature of the Cayman Islands.
When is Governor Helen Kilpatrick going to step in to this human rights imbroglio under her constitutional obligation to promote “good governance” in the Cayman Islands?