The Cayman Islands is a host country for millions of tourists and visitors each year. Think of them as invited guests to our beautiful home – because that is what they are.
For that and so many other reasons, we as hosts must always be attentive to the importance of maintaining our public spaces – from our roadways to our parks to our historic sites – in pristine, spotless condition. Every resident here – be they Caymanian or expatriate – should take great pride in the beauty and grandeur of these islands that truth be told, has been bequeathed to us for, alas, too short a time.
As an example, there is nothing more “first world” than a resident population which can afford to drive nice cars. It is a most visible sign of economic prosperity. Conversely, there’s nothing more “third world” than a tableau of junked (or junky) cars littering our landscape.
A pair of stories published in the Compass illustrate two facets of the problem. In Tuesday’s newspaper, a story highlights automobiles that are involved in serious accidents, yet are left on the roadside for days or even weeks afterward. The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has disavowed responsibility for towing those vehicles (unless they need to be seized as evidence). In the case of relatively minor accidents, it is up to the owner to remove the vehicle, or else the Department of Environmental Health will (eventually) do the job and send the owner the bill.
Meanwhile, a story in today’s Compass features government’s efforts to get rid of an ad hoc “used car lot” that has popped up near the Butterfield roundabout, the presence of which could obstruct the expansion of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway to four lanes.
Collections of used cars for sale are a common sight in Cayman, on both private and public land. The size of the groups typically ebbs and flows, with cars accumulating until government officials react by issuing enforcement notices. The “lots” clear out, and then the cycle begins anew.
It’s not just cars. Our roadways are routinely littered with flattened iguanas, food containers and all sorts of garbage. (One Compass editor related a story of visiting downtown’s Fort George with friends on a busy cruise ship day, when they discovered scattered rubbish desecrating one of our country’s most historic sites.)
This editorial is not intended to be overly negative. Cayman is a country of great beauty, and we are merely caretakers of what our Creator “hath founded upon the seas.” Not to do so is something just short of sacrilege. Put another way, Cayman should be immaculate at all times.
This is not difficult and it need not be overly expensive.
Along with hotel properties on Seven Mile Beach, the touchstone is Camana Bay. Try this experiment the next time you are at the Dart development: Walk around until you espy a speck of litter or a fallen palm frond. Make note of it. Come back an hour or two later, and it will be gone.
If someone wrecked a car and pulled it off the road onto the median near Camana Bay, how long do you think it would be there? Does anyone have a stopwatch?
Around Christmas time, government officials hire hundreds of residents to help spiff up the country. This year, about 600 people were involved in the “National Community Enhancement Project” for three weeks, charged with beautifying public spaces, roadsides and other facilities.
“Looking our best” shouldn’t just be something our country does for Christmas. Cayman should always be beautiful.
Perhaps our government should consider making beautification efforts a year-round priority. It would enhance our quality of life, be beneficial to our tourism industry and, who knows, might even be good politics.