I have lived in Cayman for over 80 years. And I am now saddened by the recent onslaught on our natural environment and cultural identity and feel compelled to speak out.
I believe that today our beautiful islands are at a crossroads beckoning us onto a highway of environmental and cultural loss, and a majority of our Caymanians are crying out for a change in the direction in which we are now heading.
We can hardly recognise our ‘Homeland! Fair Cayman Isle’ so lovingly described in 1930 by the late Mrs. Leila McTaggart Ross-Shier, National Hero, Cert. Hon. In fact, she would hardly recognise our Islands today.
I take this opportunity to recognise the late Dr. Marco Giglioli for his work in mosquito control, which helped us enormously in being the success that we are today.
Dr. Giglioli and so many others laboured to bring us to where we are today. However, today we are squandering our natural capital as if it were something we ourselves created and that could be easily replaced at will. Tempered growth and manifest change must come if we are to survive. It is only common sense that infinite growth in a finite environment is an impossibility.
We might be fearful of taking a stand on our choices, but it will be easier to do so if we stop and think about our children and grandchildren and what the future will hold for them.
To our would-be leaders: you must be prepared to conduct our economic affairs so as to deter further exploitation. This is especially urgent in the case of our mangrove system (providing storm protection) and our oceans with their precious resources of coral reefs and marine life. We should be careful, however, to assess electoral manifestos – they are only really useful when they come with commitment that will result in action.
So, we need discernment now more than at any time, because our decisions at April’s polls are critical. Given the way that governments have usually functioned, this is really the only time that we can truly make a significant difference in the policies that shape our Islands’ future.
The choice is clear: we either continue on our present course, or we use our influence at the polls next month to bring about meaningful change. To vote the same way over and over and expect change is sheer madness. If we really want change, this election cannot be about personalities. It must be about the future of our homeland.
Vote for the change you desire to see. Evaluate your candidates carefully. Remember that we do not have to be the biggest financial or tourism centre. Rather, let us aim to be the BEST in meaningful ways and then we will have TRUE success.
As we each cast our vote, we can assuredly become a catalyst for change.
Cast your vote without fear or favour. We can take courage from God’s goodness towards us in the past and His watchfulness over us in the years to come.
Mary Lee Rowlandson, Cert. Hon.