Archive for January 2nd, 2009

Cayman at the crossroads

| 02/01/2009 | 14 Comments

Recent Constitutional developments have brought Cayman to a crossroads. There are three road-options before us, each leading to a different future. We have to choose one of them.

Actually, it is the native Caymanians who get to choose, since they comprise a clear majority of the electorate. It is they who have the political power, not the immigrants. Despite all their grumbling about being pushed around by Britain, it is the natives whom Britain is anxious to appease, not the immigrants.

So, what are the three choices on offer?

The first – Option 1, let’s call it – is to keep going in the direction we’ve been going the past forty years. This is not an attractive option for progressive Caymanians, or for immigrants, because there is too much social strife in it. It will be a permanent-Rollover culture. The bulk of native Caymanians will continue to fight a defensive war to withhold full civil rights from long-term immigrants, and proper human rights from transients. The bulk of immigrants and transients will continue to be united in this war, striving to achieve those civil and human rights.

This is not the time or place to delve into the rights and wrongs of the matter; all we can do here is to recognize the plain truth, that the two sides are irreconcilable.

We should all fear that the mutual resentment will soon explode. That would destroy the gritted-teeth tolerance that exists between the two communities. An explosion would blow many expats and their capital off the island, and blow Caymanians into the second of our three options.

Option 2 is a Cayman with a permanent voting majority of bloodline Caymanians, and the permanent exclusion of first-generation immigrants from serious participation in government.

While the FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) waffles about what to do with Cayman, the bloodline-Caymanians have a narrow window of opportunity to force the FCO’s hand. If they leave it until after the next election, it may be too late for them. So if they are ever going to choose Option 2, they’d better do it now.

Choosing this option would be to choose political independence, and freedom from all Britain’s Orders-in-Council. No more pretending to accept international standards of human rights, no more forced disclosure of our offshore clients’ affairs. An independent Cayman would have full authority to negotiate with the US and the OECD on its own account, instead of being merely part of a British delegation. National dignity at last…

No more nagging from Britain about the mistreatment of Cuban refugees or the exploitation of migrant workers. No more governors once Cayman has an elected President. (It doesn’t have to be Miss Sybil, but she would be an obvious choice.) No more scratching around for government revenue. Foreigners could be taxed on their local houses and land, and their salaries and investment-incomes too. Their cars could be taxed at higher rates; maybe they could even be made to pay higher import duties.

Britain would no longer be appointing the Financial Secretary, so our MLAs would be free to tax all transfers of money passing through Cayman’s banking system. Lots of Caymanians have been urging that for years; this will be their big chance. A tenth of a percent would yield ten billion dollars a year, more or less (US Dollars, but still…). It could be doubled at any time if government needed more.

Government borrowing would be free of British-imposed restrictions. Work permits could be auctioned off to the highest bidders. Citizenship could be withheld from persons owning foreign passports. All Status grants could be revoked. The voting lists could be trimmed of all immigrants.

There might be a few disadvantages to Option 2, but no solution is perfect. There are many influential Caymanians who believe that the benefits of independence would far outweigh the costs. There is little point in shilly-shallying around the issue of independence any longer. A few more years of godless prosperity is simply not worth the wait. If the driving forces in Caymanian politics want it now, why not let them have it, for goodness sake?

The writing is on the wall for Cayman’s expats, and its offshore clients too. Our islands’ Old-Testament Christians need no reminder of the Bible story of Belshazzar’s feast and the words written on the palace wall by a ghostly hand. The prophet Daniel warned Belshazzar in terms that today’s bloodline Caymanians could use against the expats who live amongst them.

Paraphrasing slightly, this is the message for all expat residents. “God hath numbered thy financial dominance, and finished it. Thou art weighed in the balance, and found wanting. Thy kingdom is divided, and given back to the Boddens and Ebankses.”

There is a third option at our constitutional crossroads but it can be dismissed out of hand. It is the direct opposite of Option 2. In the light of the prevailing sentiment it is a forlorn hope, scarcely worth mentioning. It would require that Cayman become a non-tribal democracy with full civil and human rights for all and no discrimination of any kind. Too bad it’s just an old dead dream.
 

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Suspicious explosion in GT

| 02/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The New Year started with an unwelcome bang for George Town detectives after a car was damaged by some sort of explosion in the early hours of 1 January. The 911 Emergency Communications Centre received a call from a member of the public reporting that she had heard an explosion in the Gresscott Lane area of George Town at around 1:10 am on New Year’s Day.

Police responded to the scene and found that a Toyota Starlet had been damaged by some sort of explosion. Scenes of crime officers processed the car at the location and it was later removed for further examination. An investigation is underway by detectives and they would like to hear from anyone with information about the incident.

“We’re taking this incident extremely seriously, and would like to hear from anyone who was in the area at the time who may have seen or heard something suspicious,” said Superintendent Marlon Bodden. “At this time we are trying to ascertain what caused the damage and any information could be useful.”

Anyone with information about the incident should contact Mr Bodden at George Town police station on 949-4222 or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS). All persons calling crime stoppers remain anonymous, and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000, should their information lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs.
 

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Eleventh death on roads

| 02/01/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The police are continuing to investigate the crash which killed 26 year old Earl Lance Forbes, of John McLean Drive, East End on Tuesday, 30 December. Forbes became 11th person to die on Cayman’s roads in 2008 when his Toyota Supra flipped over by the roundabout at the new Prospect bypass near Lantern Pointe condos. Anyone who witnessed what happened but has not yet spoken to an officer should contact Inspector Derrick Elliott on 946-6254 or 916-3365.

An accountant with the immigration office Forbes was pronounced dead at the hospital while his female passenger who managed to escape the overturned vehicle escaped. The crash was reported in by an off duty constable at around 7am Tuesday who had and found Forbes unconscious inside the car when he stopped to check. Police believe the car was driving towards George Town when the driver may have lost control on the roundabout and swerved into a cement column overturning the Toyota as no other vehicles were involved.

There were a number of other reported incidents on the road on Tuesday morning including a crash in Lower valley which happened around 12.30am in Lower Valley when a man who was arrested for drink driving rammed into a light pole near the Agricultural Pavilion putting out lights throughout he eastern districts. Another driver hit a concrete wall in the Bodden Town area though there were no injuries, a truck turned over near the Red Bay roundabout but the driver was not hurt and on Crewe Road a work truck slid off the road near Palm Dale where a cracked fuel line caused a dangerous oil spill. Fire crews were called out to clean up the mess.

Forbes death brought the total of people killed to 11 as was the case in 2007. In 2006, 14 people died on Cayman roads. Compared to statistics compiled by the World Health Authority Cayman has one of the highest road death rates per capita in the world among  western nations.

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