To some, the Terpsichorean muse – the mythical Greek goddess that inspires dance – beckons almost irresistibly. “Dancing policeman” Fabian O’Connor may be one of those fortunate souls.
Indeed, Officer O’Connor has boogied into the hearts of tourists and residents alike, with his lively traffic direction ensuring smooth flow of pedestrians and automobiles on George Town’s busy waterfront intersections. (We know, it’s not, by definition, dancing, but it sure is cousin-close to choreography.)
With his crisp white gloves and good-natured disposition, Officer O’Connor is upbeat and unflappable (a survival quality for someone standing in the middle of George Town intersections). May we be the first to nominate him as a worthy ambassador of these islands?
“Instead of shouting at them, you have to give them the action, a little flavor and a beautiful Cayman smile,” he told the Compass of the flocks he safely shepherds across the lanes of traffic. “They love it, and they proceed with the instruction.”
His self-described philosophy, of “safety first, entertainment second, and respect for everyone at all times” is good advice for all of us: People are attracted to, and respond to, positive people. Genuine smiles are among the most underrated tools of success.
If only Officer O’Connor could bring his whistle, white gloves and “people moving” skills a few paces inland to the Legislative Assembly, where the Compass is encouraging Cayman’s lawmakers to address our antiquated and obsolescent Music and Dance (Control) Law.
Who can forget (we know Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell would like to) this past New Year’s Eve, which fell on a Sunday, and, therefore, fell afoul of the above-mentioned statute. The result, of course, was that thousands of tourists in Cayman for the holidays were relegated to sitting on the sidelines of many a dance floor, waiting for the clock to tick 12:01 a.m. and the rock and rollin’ to begin.
Local restaurateurs, hoteliers, club owners and musicians on what should have been one of their busiest nights of the year were victims as well – financial victims.
Now is the ideal time for legislators to act, while the issue still is fresh in people’s minds, but with plenty of time (four years, 10 months, two weeks and a day – to be exact) before the no-Sunday dancing rule again threatens New Year’s Eve festivities.
We have heard the Cayman Ministers’ Association’s concerns about the potential disruptions to Cayman’s traditional Sabbath day. We have heard the wistful nostalgia of those who fondly remember quieter “olden times.”
While we respect those views, allowing entertainment venues to – well, entertain – their guests on Sundays need not infringe on anyone’s choice to spend their Sundays in peaceful religious reflection – or in euphonious choral celebrations in church. It simply recognizes the rights of everyone else.
For example, Cayman’s robust community of Seventh-day Adventists observes the Sabbath on Saturday, with no perceivable ill effects from the lack of governmental restrictions on music, dancing or alcohol among the general public on that day.
It also acknowledges the evolving nature of our islands. When the law was instituted decades ago, Cayman did not play host to millions of visitors each year. Nor did it serve as a home to residents of all faiths and backgrounds from all over the globe.
Any remnant concerns about the dangers of dancing on Sunday could be addressed in carefully crafted legislation. There is no reason that dancing and worshipping cannot peacefully coexist on Sundays, as they do in so many places around the world.
But that is not the note we want to close on. A far better one is to applaud Officer O’Connor and acknowledge the extra ray of sunshine he brings to those who visit our shores.