Letter to Gordon Barlow

| 05/01/2009

I have read your columns and letters over the years. Some I find truly irreverent, distasteful and downright offensive and others, thought provoking and even amusing. But I admire your candour.

Fortunately for you Caymanians are accommodating, tolerant, patient and generous in spirit.

As you said in your most recent column entitled ‘Cayman at the Crossroads’, there is little point in “shilly shallying around" the issues.

The Cayman Islands are a comparatively young community with its own set of problems, but trying nonetheless to build a nation. There will be bumps along the way. We also live in tough times with tough issues. But moving beyond the Caymanian vs non-Caymanian and the Caymanian vs Status/Paper Caymanians divide will not be resolved by pejorative language and expressions designed to embarrass and or antagonize Caymanians; this rhetoric will only serve to further polarize the community and breed more cynicism and resentment.

Barrack Obama is clearly not Jesus Christ and we should temper our expectations from him. But he was initially an unlikely candidate, with a certain ‘audacity’, to rise to the highest office in the United States. But by exercising a certain sensitivity to issues that affect all people he managed to inspire the American people into believing in themselves, embracing their democracy, in the interest of moving beyond the political divide and the past into a future with possibilities. We in Cayman can learn a lot from his message of hope and in knowing that we don’t have to be trapped by the past.

So I invite you, Mr Barlow, in this New Year, to embrace the challenge posed by Barrack in suggesting that change is possible if we want it “Yes we can!”. Instead of stubbornly hammering Caymanians about our perceived deficiencies, let us discuss issues in a way that invites us all to make contributions that lift these islands up, that assists all of us in undoing past mistakes.

I am not suggesting that it will be easy. 2009 barely began when we discovered that a 17 year old male was shot to death and a 22 year old male was shot and hospitalised. I hear expressions of concerns from people about not having proper pensions, affordable medical care and unemployment, in particular the unemployment of our unskilled youth. Parents continue to be concerned about the delivery of quality education in our schools and the future of their children. People are concerned about the country’s freeze on employment in the public sector and the severity of the global meltdown and its impact on our economy. Many are of us are worried about Cayman’s fiscal and debt performance and its ramifications for our children. Employers are concerned about human resource development and management. We struggle to find ways to stimulate local investment. Environmental issues abound. As I said before, tough times and tough issues and solving our problems will involve a mix of new ideas, fresh responsible approaches and community solidarity.

Constitutional modernization discussions are vital; we need look no further than the challenges posed by, and residual consequences of, Operation Tempura. But equally important are the day to day issues that impact our lives, building a certain consensus to deal with these problems and finding solutions as the way forward, together. To quote Professor Rex Nettleford, “we can hang together or be hung separately”.

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Comments (9)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for this letter Theresa! I couldn’t have said it better myself. You know what I think though – the media are partly to blaim for allowing his never-ending negative rants to go on for so long. I’ve read his crap as long as I can remember reading the paper. Stop publishing his foolishness all the time, if you can limit so many of my comments, then limit some of his dumb letters too nah?!? At least I come in peace.

    Barlow always has some nonsense to say, but I would love to see him been so negatively vocal in the UK and get away with it. Sadly, Barlow is not alone in his local bashing, I witness this first hand on an almost daily basis, from too many ex-pats that are ungrateful and degrading to say the least. To that type of behaviour I say this – you came here knowing that you have no permanent rights, remain THANKFUL that you were allowed here. Yes we need the help of ex-pats, just as much as you need our CI dollars! Otherwise why come all this way? Just to have the right to run up ya mouths?! While here remember to RESPECT the Caymanians who have graciously allowed you here, and maybe just maybe things might be a little better off for us all down the road. Please understand that respect should be a two way street – so to Ex-Pats & Caymanians alike I say RESPECT one another, stop the nationality bashing and please for the love of our children, and their children, try so INCREASE THE PEACE!!

    Blessings,

    One Fed up Caymanian.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Richard Wadd if you look into it…I think youwill find that this country was built of the sweat of TRUE CAYMANIANS dear friend! Get you facts straight before you spew out garbage!

  3. Anonymous says:

    To the poster of the last post addressed to Richard Wadd you are much better with words that I could ever be! And 100% right in everything you said!

    I know of many Caymanians dealing with the same issues in their work place. The expats are all given preferential treatment over the Caymanians! I’ve heard of an instance where a Caymanian who had a doctor’s note saying they had to be off work for a certain amount of time but was told to come back to work or get fired! Then an expat in the same company was given weeks off of work for compassionate leave for the loss of their partner, who was not a blood relative, husband or wife! If that is not a sure sign of unfair treatment then I don’t know what is! We do not OWED expats anything! They have come to our island and grossly benefited from what we have to offer! People like Richard Wadd needs to sit back, shut up and be thankful he was fortunate enough to be allowed onto our shores to reap our benefits! I am so sick of feeling like an outcast in my own country because expats come in here and push us around and treat us like this is their country! They need to learn to have more respect for us and remember that if things were so great where they came from they would be there and not here profiting from what we have to offer!

  4. Richard Wadd says:

    Lest we forget, this Country  (as we know it today), has been built on the sweat of Ex-patriot labour, and would NOT have been possible without them.

    The world is changing, rapidly …. if we are not to be left behind, WE ‘Caymanians’ must change our attitude to those that, while they owe much to these islands, ARE ALSO OWED MUCH IN RETURN.

    The time has come for us to look closely at the world around us, it does NOT revolve around us. The world community has changed. There are new definitions of integration, acceptance, tolerance ….

    Politically, we also need to look at having greater Expat Representaion, to ensure the continued stability of theisland’s economic position.

    To my fellow Caymanians, remember we live in a ‘Glass House’, STOP THROWING STONES !!

    • Anonymous says:

      Richard Wadd,

      I doubt that you are a "fellow Caymanian" or else you have surely been brainwashed. 

      Where did you get the idea that expats are "OWED MUCH"?!

      Just consider:

      1. By and large (with exceptions) they came to Cayman and have achieved success that would not have been conceivable where they came from either because they were second-raters or there were simply no opportunities available. Unfortunately this flies to their heads and they then begin to think they are gods!  

      2. In the companies and firms which are headed up by fellow expats they are given preferential treatment over Caymanians for salary, benefits etc. In the banks they receive preferential treatment for loans etc. 

      3. They came here voluntarily on the explicit basis that they should have no expectation of permanent rights.   

      4. If not these expats, it would simply have been another lot.

      This is not acase of slave labour. They have already been well paid, RW.  

       

  5. Twyla M Vargas says:

    YOU GO GIRL

    Theresa, You go Girl.  You know I am never at a lost for words, but there is nothing left to say in your letter response to Mr Barlow.  I have always wondered what his mission is here in Cayman.

    Nr Barlow in between the lines of you letters it seems as if you do not like the people of Cayman.  Dear me if I had a wife and hated her that much I would have to divorce her.

    Peace Be Still, its a New Year.

    Blessed

  6. Anonymous says:

    Good for you Theresa.  Mr. Barlow should never forget that he gave up his native country to reside permanently in this country with the benefits of being here for as long as he has. 
    One suggestion I would like to offer to Mr. Barlow and that is if he could possibly help with the stimulating of the economy by spending some of the money he earned here over the years and purchase a new suit of clothing.  Simply put I know him personally, and note that his personal wardrobe has not changed in decades.

    With so much to say about the deficient way Caymanians express themselves, why don’t you try being a Caymanian in the future which is what you so seldomly call yourself, and I know you do as we have met and chatted on many occassions.  This honor has offered you the previlage to reap the benefits of the ‘status’ bestowed upon you by every native Caymanian in this country.

    Like a person who has earned Caymanian Status, I relish the fact that I enjoy my new nationality, I support the economy by purchasing locally, I love everything about the Caymanian history and the culture.  I am an citizen of the United Kingdom as Mr. Barlow, and would hope that one day he will see that this country has done more for him than our native country.  So my dear friend Gordie, please stop your negative rants, this country has made you, it did not break you, it caused you to be successful and it has given you a voice – can you honestly say that you would have this position back in the UK?

     

  7. Ebanks the Plumber says:

    Theresa,

    I believe Professor Nettleford was repeating Benjamin Franklin’s comment at the signing of the American Declaration of Independence.

    • Anonymous says:

      I too share your feelings in regards to Gordon, I will continue ignoring the bad and embrace the good (whatever little there is) he has to offer.

      It is time we as a people emerge from the political and social drakness and evolve with a level of self respect and dignity (while embracing the immigrants to our shores) because if we dont take control of our future there will be none to be had.