What’s in a name?

| 28/12/2009

It’s confusing when a word means one thing in one context and something else in another.  “Caymanian” and “expat” are two such words that we use every day. Who and what is a Caymanian?  It can mean a native ethnic Caymanian, or someone born here, or someone who used to live here a hundred years ago. 

Sometimes it covers all legal Caymanians, including “paper” Caymanians.  Sometimes it means a Cayman Islands passport-holder. 

There are several legal categories of Caymanians, and they don’t all have access to the same civil rights.  That’s an issue not addressed by our new Constitution, by the way.  How many classes of citizenship will the FCO allow in these Islands?

Some overseas Caymanians have a “right of return” by virtue of their ancestry.  In order toclaim their birthright they have to settle here.  Not all Islanders approve of this loophole.  When you hear a Cayman-born Bodden or Ebanks spoken of as “not a real Caymanian”, it usually means he or she was born and/or raised somewhere else.

Recently, Britain granted all Caymanians a similar right of “return” to Britain – based on the romantic fiction that it is our ancestral home, since we are all subjects of the Queen.  Cayman Islanders can no longer claim they have nowhere to run to if Cayman collapses into poverty.

Who or what is an “expat” locally?  Largely, it depends on the user and his context.  Native Caymanians who say “these expats taking jobs from Caymanians” mean skilled workers, usually from North America or Europe.  They certainly don’t mean domestic helpers.  “These expats clogging up the infrastructure” usually means Jamaicans or Latinos doing less-skilled work – and, recently, Filipinos and Indians as well.

Interestingly, Caymanians never use “expats” to refer to their own expat ancestors.  Perhaps it is too insulting a term in their ordinary usage. In the mouths of expats themselves, “expats” means all transient migrants and long-term immigrants currently living here. 

Most of us take it personally when any expat nationality is disrespected by our local authorities.  Strangely, very few native Caymanians seem to be aware of this feeling of solidarity.  There is a sort of freemasonry of the victims of immigration injustices. 

Sadly, it’s always “us” and “them” on both sides of the great divide.  Even the longest of long-term immigrants only ever say “we Caymanians” as a rueful joke. 

It’s hard for first-generation immigrants to feel Caymanian when we aren’t equal before the law.  Relatively few of us can vote, and virtually none of us can run for elective office.  Vassel Johnson did it once – but I was present at a public meeting where one of his native-born opponents ended a tirade against him with the muttered words, “Get back to India!”  Yes, indeed.

It’s extremely rare for expats – no matter how capable and committed – to be appointed to politically sensitive boards and committees.  How stupid it is for the political establishment to stubbornly insist that nobody outside the tiny native gene-pool is trustworthy.  Where is the sense in refusing to utilise the experience and expertise of newcomers?

A word that a great many native Caymanians don’t like using among themselves is “immigrant”.  An immigrant is a resident who has an emotional stake in his community – and, if he can afford it, a financial stake.  He wants to belong and to contribute to his new home.  As such, he is anathema to the native Caymanians’ political leaders.  If Cayman is to avoid economic catastrophe, this attitude had better change soon. 

The word “expat” ought to be limited in its usage to transients, sojourners, birds of passage – people who don’t want to put down roots and will happily move on when they feel ready to go.  There is no disrespect in my saying this.  I was a transient in half a dozen places before I came to Cayman; indeed, I came here as a transient, as so many others have done.

Even transients bring skills that are useful and needed.  Many of them are glad to help in areas that interest them, though they don’t always receive due credit for it.

It’s a strange and rather sad society that doesn’t want transients to ever identify their interests with their hosts’; and it’s a cold-blooded one that doesn’t welcome the prospect of transient migrants becoming long-term immigrants.

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  1. My is that interestingly, Caymanians never use “expats” to refer to their own expat ancestors.  Perhaps it is too insulting a term in their ordinary usage. In the mouths of expats themselves, “expats” means all transient migrants and long-term immigrants currently living there. 


  2. Lotophagus says:

    As we all know the Oracle of Delphi was famed throughout the ancient world for her unintelligble intoxicated rants.  Seems like this poster has found a very suitable nome de plume.

    • Newcomer says:

      Actually, I found Oracle’s contribution here both sensible and refreshing.

  3. Oracle of Delphi says:

    I was of a mind to let this go as it had quickly deteriorated into the category of flogging a dead horse, but a single paragraph from Gordon’s letter in today’s Net News served to perfectly illustrate how he blithely makes statements that everyone is supposed to accept as established fact.

    I am particularly interested in how the RCIPS liaises with each of the various ethnic communities in Cayman; how detectives go about their investigations in those communities, especially in respect of crimes of violence.
    Well Gordon, call upon Dr. Frank if you feel the need for assistance, but please enlighten me to the whereabouts of the various ethnic communities in Cayman? As a lover of ethnic cuisine I am very interested in visiting them. I’m not fond of English fare, but since the Dart South Sound Park now sits on what was once “English Village”, that is probably not on your list. Besides, that’s where the Chief of Police lived so I wouldn’t expect that there were any violent crimes committed there like you have established they are happening in our ethnic communities.
    With the diversity and sheer size of the UK population there will understandably be ethnic communities there, and our Chief of Police will undoubtedly have had some sort of training in “ethnic” policing. I suppose the best way to police an ethnic community would be to recruit members of that ethnic community into the police service. Will Gordon be making that suggestion to Mr. Baines?
    We have some rich people in Cayman, and it cannot be denied that we have a lot of poor people, and most native born still seem to prefer living close to their ancestral villages, but I cannot say that I have seen a community spring up anywhere in Cayman based on ethnic lines. I see communities develop based on income certainly, but ethnicity? No way.
    Before I call upon my government to pass a law of Togeterheid (that’s the opposite of Apartheid), that would allow them to go in and break apart and disperse these communities, I would first ask Gordon to visit these “communities” that he speaks of and look closely to see if the members are ethnically the same or just ethnically diverse but different from him.
  4. Oracle of Delphi says:


    Oh dear. The responses to Gordon have been so eloquent and well reasoned that it is best for me not to spoil them by posting in the same column. Of course, as an oracle I knew they were coming. Unfortunately Gordon does not appear to be the type of person that lets sound reasoning or facts sway his judgment once his mind is made up.
    Luckily for us his $10K pledge, which I doubt would have materialized if push came to shove, prevents him from writing an article about the despicable natives who sold their birthright and then complained about the people they sold it to taking their jobs. Instead I shall focus on his stated reason for writing the Viewpoint which is: Quote The purpose of my Viewpoint essay was to provoke an intelligent debate on the terms "Caymanian" and "expat": maybe even to reconcile their different interpretations. Unquote.
    I can’t imagine Gordon thinking there are many Caymanians capable of contributing to intelligent debate, but as a semi-literate Caymanian I see where Gordon says: Quote The word “expat” ought to be limited in its usage to transients, sojourners, birds of passage – people who don’t want to put down roots and will happily move on when they feel ready to go. Unquote. 
    Backup a bit here Gordon. What did you say two paragraphs above? Quote It’s extremely rare for expats – no matter how capable and committed – to be appointed to politically sensitive boards and committees.  How stupid it is for the political establishment to stubbornly insist that nobody outside the tiny native gene-pool is trustworthy. Unquote.
    I don’t know when the term "Expat" became generalised in our vocabulary, but I’m beginning to believe that it came over in the exodus from the Bahamas that brought Gordon.
    Growing up I remember people like Bill, John, Ken, Arek, Mervin, Chris, etc. They worked for McAlpine and Hadsphaltic or they were bankers, architects, accountants, former Administrator’s son turned businessman and a multitude of other professions but I never once recall any of them being called an "Expat". At times we had our differences and out of frustration they may have been called "Limeys" from time to time, (and I’m sure they had names for us in private) but there was little or no animosity between us and the fact that they preferred roastbeef and yorkshire pudding at Cayman Arms to the delicious curry goat served up late at night by Brenda was neither here nor there.
    I would like to believe that your intention was to provoke intelligent debate, but first I would have to believe that George Bush invaded Iraq because it was in the best interest of the Iraqi people.
  5. Gordon Barlow says:

    Oh dear.  From the Oracle’s posting below (his last two paragraphs), my open support for McKeeva’s 3000 Status grants has come back to haunt me.  So that is what has been driving all the vicious personal abuse from Che and the other anonymous slanderers.  It was political, after all.

    Look.  At least 90% of those grants were fully justified and shamefully belated – good people who had lived here for between ten and thirty years on annual Permits.  What shocked and horrified most of the objectors was that some of the grantees were Jamaicans and other low-paid migrants.  What does that tell us about the objectors?

    For the Caymanian Bar Association to try to annul ALL the grants three or four years later was just plain mean, and not in the best interests of the Cayman Islands.  Cayman has in general benefitted a great deal from the increase in the numbers of hereditary Caymanians.

    My pledge of $10,000 to defend the grants in court was the only pledge made public, but there were private assurances of much more than that.  In the end, the Association prudently dropped its threat; but its supporters to this day petulantly refuse to acknowledge any of the grantees as legitimate Caymanians.

    What’s in a name?  The purpose of my Viewpoint essay was to provoke an intelligent debate on the terms "Caymanian" and "expat": maybe even to reconcile their different interpretations.  Well, nice try, eh?

    • "Paper" Caymanian says:

      Oh dear oh bloody dear. Since you insist in raising it again Gordon I will try to put it in perspective.

      You suggest that 90% of the grants were fully justified and belated. If the recipients were of good character, had been here for more than 10 years, and were considered on their merits (ie.with the most deserving getting it first), I agree.

      I was close to the  CBA challenge AT THE TIME (and not, as you suggest, 4 years later). What horrified me was that it could not be said that the attributes of the recipients were even considered – unless our omnipotent leaders could really consider, discuss, process and approve 600 of these important grants in a single afternoon.

      Like you I watched many very deserving people receive grants, but I am not sure I would put the figure at anything like 90%. I will agree, most were probably highly deserving.

      However –

      I watched as a government lawyer (who had been here for less than 2 years) and his wife (who had been here for less than one) received grants, but a partner in a local firm employing Caymanians and providing scholarships for well over 20 years was "overlooked" because of  perceptions as to who his political friends were.

      Aside from the ethical/professional position (did the Government lawyer opine on the legality of his grant and that of his wife?)  neither that lawyer or his wife were comitted to Cayman and both left within a year, the lawyer under a cloud. I understand he may be arrested if he ever sets foot here again.

      I watched as a person with no Caymanian connections and who had never lived in Cayman (not even for one day) received a grant, and subsequently moved to Cayman and trumped a long term Permanent Resident   for a job based purely on the fact he was Caymanian. 

      I watched as a person who was a visitor dating a high ranking government official received a grant.

      I watched as a family which had already left received grants (and they have still never been back) while others who remained did not.

      I watched as a grant recipient demanded of social services an airplane ticket  to Cayman.

      I watched known cocaine addicts receive grants.

      I watched an undischarged bankrupt receive a grant.

      I watched people who I knew  to be dishonest receive grants.

      I watched previously unknown dependants (including significant numbers unable to speak English) arrive in large numbers  and claim a right to remain forever (over many who had been here for a long time and (for example) helped rebuild after Ivan).

      I watched as the police gave clean police records to persons with convictions (I don’t care if they were spent or the crime was committed by the person when they were 16 – and neither does the rehabilitation of offenders law).

      I watched as the Governor’s office accepted Cayman police clearance certificates from persons not residing here (making any reliance on the certificates a nonsense).

      I watched as overstayers (including some who had charges pending) received grants.

      I watched as a number of  women received grants for purportedly for no reason other than they were all sleeping with the same man who put them on a list (and was able to do so only because he "knew" the "right" people in government.)

      I watched a recipient attempt to fraudulently pretend that his land belonged to someone else to help that person in a PR application.

      I watched as recipients literally gave the homes they had bought or built overseas away to family members and then claim housing support from social services, with established Caymanians with no homes anywhere losing needed support as a result.

      I watched a recipient set up in business and illegally operate it so as to keep large numbers of Jamaican labourers in indentured servitude, making them pay for their own permits, refusing vacations, health insurance and overtime, failing to pay them the agreed amounts and then firing them all when they (the Jamaicans) complained about their treatment to the authorities.

      I watched deserving persons have their grants cancelled before they were gazetted because they were off Island that week and so could not produce a clean Cayman police clearance certificate in time. Moral to the story – don’t go on vacation, you never know if you might be granted citizenship without your knowledge that week!

      I watched a wealthy recipient openly protest that he was expected to pay a nominal fee for "a  stupid citizenship" he had neither asked for nor had any need for.

      I watched a Government Minister plainly reveal they had no understanding of what they were doing by divulging in the house "if we have made any mistakes, we can take tham back". (They are revokable but only on conviction for certain offences, not because "a mistake" was made, particularly where you did not consider the attributes of almost anyone).  

      I have watched as large numbers of recipients never paid for or received their certificates (and have left them in the Governor’s office) all while claiming all the advantages of being a Caymanian. Go on Gordon – make an FOI request for the names of those deserving souls who 5 years later canniot be bothered to collect their certificates.

      I watched as a woman and son received grants but NOT the equally deserving husband who was omitted from consideration because he exercised his right to free speech. ; – )  In fact, that is the one grant there seems to have been any deliberation on. 

      Others watched things that grated their sensibilities too.

      I decided this was wrong (even that last example Gordon, which I ironically relied on in arguments for the challenge). That was my honest, educated and balanced perception and applying the law as I understood it. I decided that a first world country ought not operate in such a manner, particularly where viable alternatives existed.  I decided with other that someone independent should be asked. I contributed funds  for the best person anyone could think of on such matters (Pannick Q.C.) to be asked. He agreed that in circumstances where there had been no proper and balanced deliberation  the grants were likely wrong, possibly unlawful, and therefore void.

      That applied to all of them. No-one had the power to "pick and choose". Either they had been made lawfully, or not. A sword of Solomon had been unsheathed. It was never about whether you were poor and Jamaican or wealthy and European, or the contrary.

      The Grand Court of the Cayman Islands agreed there were important questions to be addressed. 

      It seems that the vast majority agreed that the manner in which the grants were made was wrong. Hence the 2005 election result

      I cannot speak for colleagues who were also onbjecting but this was how I (and I believe they)  would have liked to see it play out.

      If the grants were void, everyone (including those overlooked) be given 6 months to apply through proper channels. A points system be agreed and applied. The 3,000 applicants who were most deserving under the points system receive grants. Fair, open, transparent, and (certainly) lawful..

      For that you called me a rascist and a xenophobe.

      You won. I and others paid a significant price for attempting to stand up for what was right, including the rule of law and basic democratic and human rights principles.


      I had a solution.

      What is yours?

      The 3,000 have become (or will shortly have become 10,000).

      Caymanians (for good reason) do not any longer trust that newer Caymanians are deserving, even though most are.

      In part due to the grants and the manner in which they were made the school system is overwhelmed and the quality of education is terrible.

      Unemployment (particularly amongst Caymanians) is much worse than it might have been.

      Work permit revenues have crashed. 

      Social services cannot keep up.

      Crime (including a proportion committed by recipients and their dependants) is way up. 

      There is a serious breakdown in communication between Caymanians and expatriates.

      There is a perception that there was plenty of room for corruption in determing who received grants and why, with the result that many deserviing recipients are unfairly tarnished.

      There is a perception that we are importing poverty in a manner which is hindering our ability to attract investors.  

      There is an unfortunate immigration backlash against expatriates generally.

      The UDP Government now relies on the same lawyer (Pannick QC) to advise them – so they must have confidence in his opinions. He is not a madman, nor are those which initially instructed him.

      In answereing the question, why did you give "x" status, it is always preferable in a modern democracy to say more than "because his name was on a list provided by one of my constituents who is married to my wife’s schoolfriend’s cousin, who said he was a good chap, and it seemed like a good idea… oh and also because a lost Italian who thought he was in India sailed a leaking boat past Little Cayman 500 years ago."

      A well intentioned mistake was made. Plain and simple. Injustices had to be remedied but it would have been much better done another way. The UDP members themselves privately (and some publicly) acknowledge this.

      Come on Gordon, you are a bright chap!  Any of the above make sense to you?   Like to propose a solution for a change? Like to admit that there was (and remains) some valid basis to object to the manner in which the grants were made and that contrary to your statements the objections may not have been based on a xenophobic racist frenzy?

      Everyone is now Caymanian. Fine. Let us all move forward together and overcome the past. What happened is done. Please help to bring all sides together to work for everyone’s better future and that of our home.

      Now what? 

      And just for your information I am (in your book) a "paper" Caymanian, originally from Jamaica, have long served on various Government boards, and am only ever made to feel like a "paper" Caymanian by rhetoric inspired by, or in response to, you.

      Why can’t we all just get along?

      Please make every effort to contribute more than you take and walk good in 2010..






      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you, thank you, thank you! You are both well-informed and honest. We need more new Caymanians like you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Judging from the hubris of your reaction to some intelligent responses to your article it was clearly not your purpose to provoke intelligent debate. Instead, this post is yet another of your mean-spirited attempts to smear the good name of Caymanians as racist xenophobes. Can you honestly say that you knew at least 90% of all recipients sufficiently well that you could vouch that they were "good people" and the grants were "fully justified", or is this just meaningless bluster? Not even the UDP Cabinet who made the grants could say that since they failed to conduct the necessary due diligence to make that determination. It is a shocking libel for you to state that the "most of the objectors" objected on the basis that some of the recipients were Jamaicans (and other low-paid immigrants). Since the grants were done secretly, were only gradually leaked to the public and for a long time the identities of the recipients, let alone their nationalities, were unknown to the public, it is obvious that that could not have been the basis of the objections. If you will relax your race-baiting mindset for a moment the principled objections will be quite obvious:

      1. The status grants were arbitrary and lacked transparency. There was no prior public announcement by Cabinet as to (a) an intention to make mass grants of Caymanian status and inviting suitably qualified candidates to apply, (b) the number that would be granted, (c) the objective criteria to be applied, and (d) the deadline for applying. Instead, lists of persons were generated based on personal favour. Those lists generated by UDP MLAs and their supporters met with the greatest success. It was clear that no objective criteria were consistently applied since persons were awarded a grant who did not reside in the Islands while some deserving candidates who had been resident for 15+ years were passed over. There was no level playing field. If, as some have alleged (and I still do not know if this is correct), the grantees were mostly Jamaican, then this would likely have been discrimination against other nationalities. What is curious is that you would support the UDP Cabinet in this while you have continually lambasted the Immigration Boards alleging such arbitrariness and lack of transparency. I struggle to find any principle in your position.
      2. The status grants were an abuse of power and potentially unlawful. The statutory provision had only been used by previous govts. in the cases of a few exceptional individuals. This was not a valid exercise of its discretion by Cabinet since it failed to take into account highly relevant factors such as the character and absence of convictions of the individual and instead probably took into account such irrelevant matters as whether their name appeared on the list of a UDP supporter and they were likely to be UDP political supporters. It has been stated that the AG, Mr. Bulgin, approved the legality of this process. If that is correct, and if, as I also understand, Mr. Bulgin was also a recipient of a status grant by this process, then it is clear that there was a blatant conflict of duty and interest and the whole process should have been vitiated.  
      3. No due diligence as to character, absence of criminal convictions etc. was performed to determine whether the candidates were indeed suitable. It is obvious that this could not be done in the context where literally hundreds of persons were granted status in a single afternoon’s sitting. This has put our national security seriously at risk.  
      4. The Cabinet apparently did not take into account the major burden the sheer number of grants would have on our infrastructure and our ability as a society to assimilate so many persons all at once. New Caymanians would now be entitled to bring dependents with them and the real number could actually be a multiple of 3,000. If persons are granted Caymanian status and have no means to support themselves in retirement and will be dependent upon the govt. then this is obviously an important financial consideration. Is there any wonder that we needed new schools and roads?  Notwithstanding its major national importance this was all undertaken without any mandate from the people.
      5. It cheapened the right to be Caymanian. This particular objection was shared by both native Caymanians and those by grant who had obtained their status legitimately, having passed a high threshold. In some cases grants were made to persons who had no interest in being Caymanian and have not deigned to take up what was thrown at them.
      There are other objections but the above ought to have been sufficient for any right-thinking person to object.  
      The CBA took a brave and principled stand in challenging this abuse out of concern for the rule of law and in the interests of Caymanians. It did not of course wait for 3-4 years to take action as you suggest. Since the legality of the entire process was in doubt the CBA obviously had to challenge the grants as a whole rather than the grant to particular individuals. (No doubt if they had done the latter you would  have suggested a racist motive against those individuals.) In the end the CBA members were subject to so much intimidation that an association of Caymanian lawyers could not find a lawyer to represent it. Thus ended its courageous challenge to one of the most disgraceful episodes in our political history.   
      • Chill says:

        Let it go – this type of resentment is destroying Cayman today and jeopardising its future.

        And that last paragraph shows what a cowardly self-interested organization the CBA really is.  A "brave and principled stand" would require someone to "bravely" "stand up" for "principles" – backing down and not challenging the grants at all because it might affect business says it all.

        The CBA chose not to challenge the grants.  They are now unquestionably valid.  Accept it and move on. 

        "Thus ended its courageous challenge" ie thus ended an initial concern that the status grants would increase competition and threaten the protectionist status of CBA members which ultimately was outweighed by calculating that not challenging was probably more in their interest.


        • Anonymous says:

          You have taken my comments out of context. I was responding to Mr. Barlow who insisted on revisiting his issue and the purpose of my post was to set the record straight from certain of Mr. Barlow’s distortions. It is not about not letting go of resentment or not accepting that any legal challenge is now time-barred. The initial stand of the CBA was indeed brave and principled. A cowardly organization would not have taken up the issue at all. However, regrettably, in the end it caved. Rather than using this an excuse to attack the CBA why not focus on the real issues, or is it that the points are unanswerable? 

        • Anonymous says:

          What is destroying Cayman today is people like Barlow writing articles that can only produce rancour and racial hatred. Why don’t you address your comments to him?

      • Turkeys Voting For Christmas says:

        The CBA has only one interest – increased protectionism for its members, which if it is at the expense of the operation of the legal services market (and often it is), is to the detriment of Cayman generally.  A professional association where membership is based on nationality is just improper – what role does the CBA perform that the Law Society could not do?

        Bottom line was the status grant challenge was not in the $ interests of the CBA members, so it never got anywhere.  I can imagine the vote "Will we do this good principled thing which will might undermine our leverage on protectionism to boost our incomes?"  "Oh no we won’t"

        • Anonymous says:

          I see this has now become an anti-CBA thread no doubt to distract attention from the pertinent issues that have been raised and from the fact that the bigotry of Barlow and his cohorts has been exposed.

          Obviously if it was a simple question of whether the challenge was in the $ interest of CBA members commencing proceedings would not have been approved in general meeting in the first place. Lawyers know all about the costs implications of litigation.  

          In many countries there are professional associations for black lawyers, latino lawyers, you name it. There is of course nothing improper about having an association to in part to advance the interests of Caymanians at the bar particularly where the only other professional association is completely dominated by the big firms and expat attorneys who obviously make decisions and take positions in their financial interest. As a minority within the profession Caymanians need a vehicle for their voices to be heard on important issues (e.g. as the Constitution) which the Law Society will never touch.

          If professional associations are only worthy if they are completely altruistic and do not exist, at least in part, for the benefit of their members then you should condemn all of them, but particularly the Law Society. But of course it is the "Caymanian" part that sticks in your craw rather than any concern about the interest of Cayman or the legal services market. Anything that is for Caymanians must be beaten down. Don’t be a hypocrite.    

          • O'Really says:

            I don’t see why challenging the CBA’s motivation must be seen as anti-CBA. The tone of this post is quite as objectionable as any of Gordon’s. 

            The consensus, even on this thread, is that the majority of status grants were legitimate, whether it be Gordon’s 90% or some lesser number. This means that for many years expats were unreasonably prevented from applying for or being granted status. If the CBA is the altruistic body you are making it out to be, why did they never challenge this abuse of government power?  Or why did they not challenge the clear breach of the election law in Bodden Town?

            When a professional organisation only develops a social conscience when its vested interests are threatened, it is absolutely right to question it’s motivation. If the mass status grants are still causing tension ( and from reading some of the posts on CNS this is clearly the case ) it is not the recipients stirring the pot, but the objectors, including CBA members. 

             "But of course it is the "Caymanian" part that sticks in your craw…." This is a sentence that says far more about your prejudices than the poster to whom you were responding,  as does your assessment of the Cayman Islands Law Society  when you write with obvious negative sentiment that it is " completely dominated by the big firms ", when the CBA, which you clearly support, has a council of 9 members of whom 7 are from the "big firms." 

            And you end with " don’t be a hypocrite." Hmmmm?

            • Anonymous says:

              O’Really you have clearly misread both the post I was responding to and my post. The poster basically stated that the very existence of the CBA (whose members must hold Caymanian status) is improper and harmful to Cayman’s interest and the legal services market. He/she did not merely question the CBA’s motives in initiating litigation. On any view that is obviously an anti-CBA stance.  

              Nowhere in my post did I claim that the CBA was purely altruistic. Instead I clearly stated that every professional association exists at least in part for the benefit of its members. It is therefore sheer hypocrisy to single out the CBA for acting out of self-interest when all professional associations do, particularly the Law  Society which the poster clearly favours.   

              Your last main paragraph simply does not make sense. Obviously the poster was objecting to the fact that there was a professional association for Caymanian lawyers. What I have stated about the Law Society is simple fact and you have completely missed the point. The vast majority of lawyers admitted to practice are expat, members of big firms and  members of the Law Society. Big firms typically vote en masse by proxy at Law Society meetings. It follows that if the big firms want legislation that serves their financial interest they need only get a partner from each respective firm to turn up with 100+ proxies and it really does not matter what the members of the small firms or individual Caymanian attorneys think. This was directly relevant to the point since this is what led to the creation of the CBA and for the same reason the CBA does not allow proxies. Members must attend in person and may vote secret ballots. The fact that a majority of the *Council* of the CBA are members/employees of big firms is therefore irrelevant does not necessarily imply that the big firms dominate the CBA (although I see another poster has disagreed). 

              There is no reason at all that any reasonable person should have found my post objectionable and most certainly not hypocritical. To compare it with Barlow’s diatribes is absurd. It also reflects your own bias to blame "objectors" for stirring the pot when the supposed merits of the grants were raised by Barlow.

              • O'Really says:

                This is the first sentence of the post to which you responded:  

                "The CBA has only one interest – increased protectionism for its members, which if it is at the expense of the operation of the legal services market (and often it is), is to the detriment of Cayman generally."

                This is not an absolute statement that the CBA is "improper and harmful" as you state. It is conditional. As a minimum, it allows for the existence of situations where the vested interests of the CBA and of the wider legal community are aligned and where no harm is done to Cayman by the CBA pursuing it’s own objectives. How you misinterpret this sentence indicates you are reading what you expect to see, not what’s there and this is an insight into your own prejudices. 

                The CBA chose to make a public stand against the status grants. In doing so, the CBA opened itself up to scrutiny of it’s motives. You position is that in addition to it’s self-interest, the CBA was acting in the best interests of Cayman. If the CBA had a track record of acting in the best interest of Cayman, I’d find this plausible, but it doesn’t, so yes, it does smack of hypocrisy.

                What is worse is that with tension between expats and Caymanians running as high as I ever recall, 6 years later posters such as yourself cannot move on. The status grants cannot be overturned. The recipients are for the most part here and getting on with their lives. They are not the ones causing controversy and disharmony; that comes exclusively from your camp. 

                My last paragraph had the objective of illustrating that your posts contain implicit prejudices. Nothing you have written makes me change my position on this. For example, you wrote in your previous post that the Law Society is " completely dominated by the big firms and expat attorneys who obviously make decisions and take positions in their financial interest." Given the structure of the legal profession in Cayman, this could hardly be otherwise, yet you clearly discount that they could be acting in the best interest of all, an indication of your deep "us and them" mentality. My guess is the majority of Caymanian lawyers work for the large firms, so the firms acting in their best interest should also be acting in the best interest of the majority of Caymanian lawyers, but I suspect you would never agree with this analysis because you view the Caymanian workforce in the large firms as downtrodden and oppressed.

                Sound a bit over the top? Here are your words : " Anything that is Caymanian must be beaten down." I find this objectionable and I’m sure many other readersdo to.


                • Anonymous says:

                  LOL! Give it up, OReally. I know its hard to swallow your pride but admit you messed up and move on.   

                • Anonymous says:

                  What part of "a professional association where membership is based on nationality is just improper" did you not understand, O’Really?

                  From my review of the posts Gordon suggested that "most persons" who objected to the status did so because some were granted to Jamaicans and other low paid immigrants. This was roundly refuted by a number of posters who showed that they were very sound reasons for objecting that had nothing to do with racism. Being unable to refute these, you and others of your ilk, then continued on the quest to impute bad motives to the objectors, including the CBA.

                  If you were really concerned about tensions between expats and Caymanians you would be addressing your concerns to Gordon Barlow who continues to stir the pot. More than that – did you really think that attributing bad motives to the Caymanians with whom you disagree would ease tensions? Yep, that will do it!

                  Since it is pretty clear that Gordon, you and some others on here are incorrigible and hell-bent on dividing us into "camps" rather than rationally discussing an issue, I am signing off.        

                  • O'Really says:

                    Very few problems are resolved if their existence is denied. This seems to be your solution, simply ignore expat/Caymanian tensions and they will go away, or would do if Gordon would stop stirring the pot. I wish it were that simple, but this is the attitude responsible for almost all the deep seated problems facing Cayman now. 

                    Posters here are not responsible for  dividing our community into camps, they already exist. If this were not true, responses to Gordon’s articles would be far less colourful. The issue is not whether separate camps exist, but whether you want to see them merge in a wider sense of community or continue their warring ways. I hope for the former, but fear the latter based on your responses.

                • Newcomer says:

                  Wow! It is OK for the Law society to act in the interest of its members but bad for the CBA?  It is good for you and Gordon to paint expats as downtrodden and oppressed but bad or wrong for Caymanians to complain about bad treatment? It is helping to ease tensions to tell new status holders who may be Jamaican that Caymanians opposed the grants because they hate Jamaicans?  You are one confused person.

          • Anonymous says:

            I would agree with you except that the CBA is now also dominated by the big firms and expat attorneys with status.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Gordon far less than 90% of the status grants were for people that deserved it.  Those that did derserve it should have gotten it I agree, but don’t try to sell that 90% crap because it just isn’t true.  I wonder if you are willing to speak on those that did not deserve it, the 10% according to you.  I opposed the status grants and I will never forgive my Government for doing it.  Nothing to do with Jamaicans or anyone else, but for the simple reason that they turned my birthright into a simple something that you could get by having your name written down on a scrap piece of paper.  That may be what some people think of being Caymanian, but I certainly regard it as something much more than that.

  6. Anonymous says:

    "It’s extremely rare for expats – no matter how capable and committed – to be appointed to politically sensitive boards and committees."

    Gordon, the above statement is true in practically every country on earth.

    It is only logical that if there are Caymanians willing and able to accept the appointments to these boards in Cayman then they should be appointed. 

    It would be mighty strange to have say, Nigerians, or another nationality appointed to some politically sensitive board in South Africa if there are willing and able South Africans available to serve. 

    • Confusius says:

      Check the boards out. Very few paper Caymanians.Lots of skill out there which is ignored. Pity

      • Anonymous says:

        What I love about this comment is that when businesses are giving the statistics about how many Caymanians they employ and how many are in senior positions they make no distinction bteween "paper" Caymanians and native Caymanians since this will permit them to mask discrimination. Apparently the distinction only counts for govt. boards. LOL!

        There is a lot of skill out there but not so much commitment to these Islands. Mind you there are a lot of self-seeking native Caymanians appointed to these boards as well.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Gordon is right and many posters on CNS who attack him don’t know how lucky they are.  As Mac said Cayman is not the only girl at the ball and right now she is becoming an increasingly high maintenance and less attractive date.  If Caymanians get too greedy and impose to many fees and recruitment limitations then the mid and long term prospects are unthinkable.   


  8. Da Spook says:

    We love u Gordo u da mannnnn! talk it the way you walk it bobo

  9. Oracle of Delphi says:

    I have known Gordon Barlow, or at least I have known of him, since he arrived in Cayman. His wifeappears to be a very nice lady and she has my sympathy.

    In the small pond that is Cayman, Gordon, like everyone else back then, had the opportunity to become a big fish. He did nothing to distinguish himself, and now he seems to resent that not happening, and appears hell bent on drawing attention to himself by stirring up controversy.

    Gordon, like many others, was singled out and denied Cayman Status for some petty reason or another early on. Since that time Gordon has been latching onto one bully pulpit after another to act as a catalyst trying to maximise the reaction.

    Apart from the Status issue, Gordon’s first and favourite bully pulpit was Human Rights. In a stroke of genius Alden appointed him to chair the HRC and that was the end of that. He then moved on to the disenfranchised domestics. I doubt that he ever really listened to them other than long enough to gather information for his article, or ever paid one of them more than the going rate that keeps them in perpetual poverty.

    Like a preacher who has his stock in trade material, Gordon knows that Caymanians vs Expats will always elicit a response, and he can then sit back and enjoy the rancour that permeates the debate that follows his articles.

    I no longer bother to read Gordon’s articles. I also don’t bother to read the rantings of our own "sons of the soil" either, or rarely anyone else who takes as long as I just have to get a point across.

    My main reason for ignoring Gordon rants was his vocal support, and $10,000 financial offer to fight the CBA’s challenge, for the 2003 back-door status grants.

    If Gordon can support so many undeserving people being granted Status just because a few well-deserving persons were denied status then in my opinion he is an individual that cannot be reasoned with.

  10. Concerned Reader says:

    CNS: Why did you remove the postings for Anonymous 1?

    Surely there were and still are postings more controversial than what was written including the topic. Or was it that the questions to Barlow were too pointed and exposed the true intent of his posting?

    CNS Note:I have no idea!  Given that I have read and posted or deleted a 1000 comments in the last few days by anonymous you are going to have to be an awful lot more specific than that…….It could’ve been by mistake (I’m only human), it could have been libel (we can’t afford the lawyer) it could have been capitals, perculiar font, or some lingering formatting that prevented the post (irritating) or it could have been offensive to me (refs decision final)….try it again and see what happens….

    • Grateful reader says:

      This is one of the most courteous news sources I have ever come across. 1000 posts is a tremendous amount to sort and go through for all the things mentioned. Not only that….when we do ask a question…as this person did…we are responded to. Where else does that ever happen?? Certainly not in printed media.

      We should show some patience….it’s difficult to keep up with the comments on the bunglings and report on them as well.

      As it looks like the year is off to a roaring start!

      Thanks CNS.


  11. Annoymous says:

    Gordon Barlow needs to lie down on a sofa and chat to Dr. Lockhart. 

    • Fallen Angel says:

      Sure thing.  And when he’s done, Dr. Lockhart should lie down on Dr. Terry Delaney’s couch.

  12. O'Really says:

    Since I’ve been posting here, I have slowly backed off getting involved in the Caymanian/expat debate because it tends to be the same old arguments trotted out  by the same posters. When I read this article I, like another poster, wondered what the point was, other than generating the same old conflict.

    If there is a point, then for me it is embodied in the last paragraph, because although some might find the language used offensive, the issue being highlighted is integration.

    The reality of Cayman today is that Caymanians have allowed a large number of expats of many nationalities to become Caymanian in law. They aren’t going anywhere, they are part of the fabric of Cayman society, but they are excluded from many important decision making functions, most obviously political representation and everything that goes with it.

    Fedup expat writes: " My advice to the Caymanian people is to ignore people like Gordon Barlow and to continue to fight for total control of your country." Fair enough, but at what stage does someone like myself, who has lived in Cayman longer than I lived in my original country, get the right to regard Cayman as sufficiently my country for me to be able to fight for what I want? More importantly, when do my children, born and raised here, get the same representation as their true born Caymanian peer group?

    Many of my posts are about the acceptance of responsibility, individually and collectively. My view is that true born Caymanians, through their monopoly of political power and control of immigration policies, have authorised the creation of the large paper-Caymanian population which now exists. With this authorisation comes responsibility at some point to facilitate integration, but I see no sign that any politician is prepared to grasp this thorny topic.

    That the true born powers that be want to hold onto as much control as possible, for a long as possible, is understandable, but for how much longer is this equitable? If Gordon’s articles do nothing else, they keep the expat concerns on this matter front and centre. I don’t always agree with Gordon’s words, but the concepts he is addressing cannot be ignored, no matter how much they anger true borns with nationalistic views.


    • Anonymous says:

      Excellent post O’Really. Mr Barlow has for many years written articles that have a very great many sound observations but he manages to express them in ways which annoy/offend even those of us who have been here longer than he has. Consequently, his commentaries don’t have the authority or weight that they might have were they written with a lighter, more accepting of the foibles of life in Cayman touch. The pen can be mightier than the sword, but not (in Cayman, at least) if the pen has the qualities of a flame thrower.

    • Anonymous says:

      "The reality of Cayman today is that Caymanians have allowed a large number of expats of many nationalities to become Caymanian in law. They aren’t going anywhere, they are part of the fabric of Cayman society, but they are excluded from many important decision making functions, most obviously political representation and everything that goes with it".

      If status holders wish to have political representation they need only become naturalized and register as voters. If they wish to run for office they need, in addition, to renounce any foreign citizenships – same rule as for Caymanians.  

  13. FED-UP EXPAT says:

    Once again Gordon Barlow shows his true colours, and they have nothing to do with peace, harmony, or the plight of the less-fortunate.  To anyone willing to see the truth, it becomes immediately apparent that Mr. Barlow’s comments in this piece mirror those that he constantly makes.  He is simply hateful of the Caymanian people.  He conveniently twists facts and accuses the Caymanian people of bigotry and the like for applying the same international norms that are practiced by basically every other country that experiences relatively high-volume immigration.

    Mr. Barlow also constantly uses the McKeeva Bush brush of fear-mongering in his pieces to tell the Caymanian people to abandon anything that allows them to hold on to control of their island, for no other reason than because it is to his benefit.  My advice to the Caymanian people is to ignore people like Gordon Barlow and to conitnue to fight for total control of your country.

    Mr. Barlow also speaks with such authority as if he knows the mind of every expat and every Caymanian.  Well he certainly does not speak for me.  I don’t mind the term expat at all, and while I do hope to have Caymanian status one day, I too will not be a full Caymanian, in my eyes or those of the Caymanian people.  But the difference between Mr. Barlow and me is that I don’t mind that at all.  I would not expect Caymanians to come to England and become English.  I would expect them to hold on to their roots, because that is who they are.  But I would expect them to respect England and English ways.  The problem I see is that there are too many expats in this country not willing to respect Caymanians and Caymanian ways.  And lets examine the whole point of the argument, that the term expatriate is derogatory!  Please!  A Caymanian is someone who can be identified by several mechanisms, most commonly, someone who was born here to Caymanian parents.  An expat is someone who was not born here and moved here to live and work.  Some expats become Caymanian through the granting of Caymanian status, others obtain residency, and others go back home.  The fact that this is so, in and of itself, does not mean that Caymanians are prejudiced, elitist, or expect a free ride.  It simply means that the country has a particular immigration policy, and hopefully that policy is being exercised in the way that the elected officials want it to work on behalf of the Caymanian people.  There is nothing derogatory about that.  So who takes offense at the word expat?  An expat who probably deserves to take offense because of the way that they treat the host people.

    Mr. Barlow also uses many generalizations, which is strange coming from someone who claims to be a human rights advocate, because it is in generalizing that we form prejudices.

    I have also read many of the comments written here and I am saddened by the attitude that they exemplify.  Rantings of racist, bigoted people who I would suspect harboured these feelings long before they decided to move to this beautiful country.  There are some Caymanians posting here too that should be ashamed of themselves, and I know that we can often get carried away when incited by someone like Mr. Barlow, but do try to remember that this is exactly what he wants, to unify the expat community against you, to take over your country and to place you squarely under his thumb.  The last thing Mr. Barlow is looking for is equality or understanding.

    I must also comment on the section of his article referring to the UK as somewhere for Caymanians to run.  Once again this is a distortion of fact.  The Caymanians that I talk to simply state that while I can go home to England, anywhere else that they go to will not be home.  One would think that where half of the population has come to the country to seek a better life, the expat community would acknowlege the feelings of sadness that we have that we could not create this grand life in our own countries; and therefore that we should understand the feelings of the host people when they try to ensure that they don’t have to go to another country to do the same thing.  This is not our home, this is their home, and they have every right to do what is necessary to ensure that their people benefit from it.  If we are to be honest, would any of us have it any differently?

  14. Smell the Coffee says:

    Are we really arguing about who is "real Caymanian", a paper Caymanian, a legal Caymanian, a quasi-legal, or a born-again?  We are in deep sh*# right now friends. Our finances are in a mess, tourism is down, financial services are packing, and there is rampant crime. Thanks for your insights Gordon, but I don’t actually care about the "status" of any individual or any of the nuances. We’ve had that discussion. I care about what is happening to my community. The discussion we should be having is what WE can do to bring peace to our island.

    Frankly, I don’t see it as helping in that regard.

  15. Anonymous says:

    If Cayman would not allow dual citizenship, then I think a lot of those issues would fall away, and you would easily see who really wants to be a Caymanian!

  16. Anonymous says:

    As usual Gordon Barlow distorts the facts to pit non-Caymanians against Caymanians all the while pretending that it is something which saddens him. Quite to the contrary, he thrives upon such division and without it he would be a complete non-entity. 

    Here are some gems:

    1. "Recently, Britain granted all Caymanians a similar right of “return” to Britain – based on the romantic fiction that it is our ancestral home, since we are all subjects of the Queen.  Cayman Islanders can no longer claim they have nowhere to run to if Cayman collapses into poverty".

    Barlow must be aware that this is completely false. The issue has nothing whatsoever to do with rights of return to an "ancestral home". The truth is that for decades Britain had created separate citizenships (British Citizenship, British Overseas Territories Citizenship etc.) to legitimize its discrimination amongst persons who originally had the same citizenship and rights in the UK. Even then it made exceptions for those who shared ethnicity e.g. the Falkland Islanders.   Shame finally caught up wih the UK, and it simply ought to address an injustice that it had itself introduced decades earlier by conferring British Citizenship on all BOTCs. 

    While legally we have the right of abode in the UK, anyone who has lived in the UK knows that there were be non-legal barriers to jobs, housing etc that Caymanians would encounter if the need to migrate arose. 

    2. "It’s hard for first-generation immigrants to feel Caymanian when we aren’t equal before the law.  Relatively few of us can vote, and virtually none of us can run for elective office.  Vassel Johnson did it once – but I was present at a public meeting where one of his native-born opponents ended a tirade against him with the muttered words, “Get back to India!”  Yes, indeed".

    Equality before the law does not of course imply that there should no distinctions between the political rights of citizens and non-citizens. Such a notion is contrary to both common sense and international standards. The qualifications are the same for native Caymanians as for Caymanians by grant. There are many native Caymanians who are not eligible to run for office because they hold the citizenship of a foreign country. The Speaker of the House, Mrs. Mary Lawrence raised this same issue in relation to the late Hon James M. Bodden. 

    If one did not know better one would have garnered from Barlow’s comments above that while the late Sir Vassel  Johnson had run for office he was defeated because of the bigotry of Caymanians against someone born elsewhere. Again this is patently false and misleading. Sir Vassel was revered by Caymanians. Not only did he run for office but he was solidly elected by Caymanians and served as an elected ExCo member (Minister) for 4 years before deciding to bow out of politics. Attempting to smear Caymanians generally with what was supposedly said by what must have a desparate political opponent when it is clear that the majority of the electorate disagreed is plainly dishonest and mischievous. Far from proving Barlow’s point the case of Sir Vassel proves the exact opposite: that Caymanians will embrace someone born elsewhere who has assimilated and embraced Cayman and Caymanians and identifies as Caymanian. 

    3. "It’s a strange and rather sad society that doesn’t want transients to ever identify their interests with their hosts’".

    There is of course no basis for this comment. The whole point is that most expats DO NOT identify their interests with that of their hosts and this is the source of much of the friction. As is clear from the various derogatory posts here,  many have no wish to truly identify as Caymanian although they would wish to have the papers as a temporary flag of convenience. There are two sides to this issue; as usual Barlow in his effort to demonise Caymanians he conveniently ignores anything that does not fit his rhetoric. 

    A new year is upon us. I pray that Barlow and those who think like him will have a renewed mind, a new heart and the courage to be honest about our social issues. Rhetoric like this article will only encourage rancour, division and hate.       

    • Anonymous says:

      Well written!

    • Caymanian to da bone says:

      Let’s see:

      "While legally we have the right of abode in the UK, anyone who has lived in the UK knows that there were be non-legal barriers to jobs, housing etc that Caymanians would encounter if the need to migrate arose."

      True you will actually have to work hard to get ahead in the UK as you are no longer given a free ride due to your nationality. It is a level playing field and that can be be very hard for those who feel superior and entitled due to theirbirth.

      2. the case of Sir Vassel proves the exact opposite: that Caymanians will embrace someone born elsewhere who has assimilated and embraced Cayman and Caymanians and identifies as Caymanian.

      Actually it shows that there is a very vocal minority that truely do hate, and few Caymanains will stand up against them until later, even when as you say they are clearly wrong.

      3 many have no wish to truly identify as Caymanian

      That is what the rollover has made far worse, but then how can you expect any difference. If you tell people that they are not wanted, but just there to act as a fill in for a couple of years that will be the majority of people you will get. Could you expect any different.

      • Anonymous says:

        1. Actually, my point is that it is not a level playing field at all. One can reasonably expect discrimination. In Britain it is the English in particular who feel entitled and superior. Please stop trying to perpetuate the myth that British society is free from these ills. It is well-documented.

        2. This is the result of distorted thinking. Obviously the case of Sir Vassel Johnson proves no such thing. It is preposterous to make any conclusion about Caymanian society based on the alleged remarks of one political opponent. 

        3. Aaah, yes. I wondered when someone would trot that out. Apparently any conceivable problem can be blamed on Rollover. Rollover is a reflection and not the cause of that situation.

        Oh, and you are clearly not Caymanian to the bone. If you are Caymanian at all  I will bet that you are often told by expats that you are not like other Caymanians and are special  and are stupid enough to believe this is a compliment.   

      • Anonymous says:

        This is hilarious. The hypocracy of the post is mind boggling! Sure, the UK of course has a level playing field. Whatever! Would love to be a fly on the wall when someone from India who migrated to the UK 2 years ago is getting a job ahead of someone who has been born and raised in the UK. Are you seriously suggesting that the "native" British is not having ANYTHING to say about it, and is just sitting back, telling him/herself and all others that this is ok since that person was better qualified? Come one, be honest, who do you think you are fooling?

        Anyway, the job thing is only one issue anyway, and then there is the socalizing aspect. It blows my brain when I see people who have been here for donkey years, yet they have not made one "Caymanian" friend, don’t try a local dish or embrace anything "Caymanian". I am not from here, and I know how I find it irritating when back home we have people who have lived in my home town for years, and not managed to learn anything about the country, the people, the language, the culture, and I know we all bitch about it. I bet it ain’t any different in the great UK. So stop acting that the UK embraces anything and everything foreign. That is the biggest BS I have ever heard.

        • Ta shen jerrey er jerkalys. says:

          There you go, you prove my point, it has nothing to do with people complaining but the fact that anyone fromCayman or the EU can get a job ahead of a native Briton, it is how well you can od the job that matters not that you are born British. no entitlement there.

          Thank you

          PS yep the UK accepts nothing foreign that is why the nations favourite dish was Chicken Korma for 3 years in a row, that”s very British isn’t it, LOL

          am not from here, and I know how I find it irritating when back home we have people who have lived in my home town for years, and not managed to learn anything about the country, the people, the language, the culture

          This just shows your xenopobia, accept people for what there are

          • Anonymous says:

            The entitlement was extended to the entire EU.  Its still there.

          • Anonymous says:

            It has now become so popular for expats to label Caymanians as xenophobes that the term is often indiscriminately applied to anyone who does not affirm that expats are inherently superior. The above post is a good example. There is nothing in the quote that the poster foud objectionhable that demonstrates xenophobia. Indeed there is nothing in the post that should have been objectionable at all. Quite the opposite: if an immigrant refuses to learn anything about the people, the language and the culture ad the country in which he has been received as a guest then he clearly holds them in contempt. Apparently, if you are expat contempt of your hosts is virtuous, and any complaint against such contempt amounts to xenophobia.

            The claim that anyone from Cayman can get a job in Britain over a native Briton is obviously preposterous. I have lived in the UK and know first-hand that this is simply false.  

            Re Chicken Korma, when your choice is typical British fare any foreign cuisine will be preferable. LOL!   

    • Gordon Barlow says:

      This poster (above) sounds like a highly educated expat professional – perhaps a Paper Caymanian.  It’s remarkable that such a person would make such an effort to discredit me and those who agree with me.

      Such intensity is usually found (in Cayman) only in partisan politics.  Could politics be behind all his venom?  Hmmm. 

      In comments to an earlier Viewpoint essay of mine, a highly educated expat professional – also anonymous – orchestrated a similar abusive exercise to the one we see here.  Then, the cry was "racist"; now, it’s the same sort of libel.  It’s a fair bet that the same semi-literate critics as before are being guided by the same rather nasty gang-master.  Will somebody please identify this Fagin for us? 

      It’s a bit rich for him to "pray" for "Barlow and those who think like him" to have courage, when he himself lacks the courage to confess his name.  That marks him as a coward and bully.  How dare he use my name when he is too sly to use his.  If you are on a Work Permit, you have good reason to hide your identity, sport: otherwise, not.

      • au revoir says:

        Although you make some valid points in all of your writings, people are tired of hearing the same old tune.  Simple as that.  Why not find something nice to say on occasion, instead of beating Caymanians over the head about their inadequacies, over and over again?  If you were to do that, perhaps people would be more receptive when it comes to some of your valid criticisms.

      • FED-UP EXPAT says:

        Gordon, interesting that you thought that poster was expat.  I actually thought it was a Caymanian.  Or are Caymanians not intelligent enough to write with such skill?!  But what is of even more interest is that you thought it best to jump all over this (allegedly) expat writer, who obviously disagrees with the views that you have expressed, with such certainty that those views are felt by all expats.  So yes by all means do what ever you can to shut this person up!

        The fact that you have called for an outright witch-hunt against someone for posting sensibly against your ridiculous statements is frightening to say the least.  Mr. ‘Freedom of Speech’ wants to intimidate someone into silence!?  And believe me bub, the person didn’t have to try hard to discredit you, nor was he/she abusive in any way.

        What I find most intriguing though is that your desperation shows clearly in your response; begging for help in identifying the person, trying your best to discredit the person, calling the poster a coward because he/she has responded anonymously as the vast majority of posters do.  You even go so far as to call the person a bully for not posting his/her name?!  So what about the people who posted anonymously in agreement with you, are they all cowards and bullies too?  I suspect you will have an out for them.  Gordon, you wrote a piece under your name.  That doesn’t mean that we are all bound to post our responses in our names.  If you don’t like the format, stop writing on CNS.

        But many of us know the real reason you had to respond.  It’s because the poster struck a nerve.  He/she held a mirror up in front of you and you didn’t like what you saw.  Your pride was finally shaken just long enough for you to admit to yourself that you aren’t fooling most people.  You don’t have any credibility in the human rights world, you seem full of hatred and a bitter old man.  You seem envious of the Caymanian people, and from your writings I would say that you despise us, yet you won’t leave.  Politics Gordon?! hmmmmmm  I think not.  Colonialistic mentality… maybe.

        • au revoir says:

          Precisely.  Whether the previous poster was wrong or right, he wrote a sensible post to Gordon’s commentary.  On the other hand, Mr. Barlow’s reply was abusive and unmerited.  Politics?  Certainly not.  Colonialistic mentality?  Most likely not.  Old Age and Hubris?  Possibly.

      • Anonymous says:

        1. There was no venom or abuse in my post, Mr. Barlow. I wrote in good faith with the best interests of our Islands at heart and directly addressed a number of your arguments. Your post, which did not even attempt a substantive response but instead launched a personal attack, reflects the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of your position. Clearly, I struck a nerve. 

        2. Why would you suppose that I am not Caymanian? Are all Caymanians "semi-literate" and inarticulate? Are Caymanians so inept that they would need an expat "Fagin" to lead them?  Why the derogatory name-calling? As another poster has pointed out generalizations are at the heart of prejudice. You have succeeded merely in exposing your own prejudice. Why would a supposed champion of free speech want to silence a detractor?  

        Search your own heart, Mr. Barlow.

        • au revoir says:

          Brilliantly written.  Mr. Barlow’s venomous retort to your response was unsubstantiated and unmerited.  It is sad indeed that he cannot see the irony in the fact that he tries to silence exactly that which he supposedly champions.  Mr. Barlow, you certainly owe this gentleman or gentlewoman a considerable apology.  Shame! 

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh it always holds true, those who dish out so eagerly, can’t take any criticism or the fact that anyone disagrees with them. You wouldn’t have the nerve to go on like that in any other country as you would be quickly reminded that when you CHOSE to move somewhere else, you should aim to fit it, understand and respect the culture and the society. I never thought I would ask this question  but here it goes: Why are you here? It must be sooo exhausting to constantly try and change your environment and criticize anything local. It seems that there is nothing you like or there is anything positive you ever have to say. Why bother to live somewhere when you have a constant desire to put down everybody and everything around you?

        Maybe you need to move to China, then you can tell them how they should run their country, how they should conduct their politics and what laws should be implemented. Good luck!

  17. Anne Admirer says:


    You are a true Caymanian hero.  I am very proud of your bravery in speaking out against the prejudice and racism of the vocal minority of ‘nth’ generation Caymanians who are simply greedy, fearful or a fully paid up member of the Mafia of the Mediocre.

    Anne Admirer

    • Anonymous says:

      So native Caymanians who speak out against the injustices they experience in their own country are by definition, prejudiced, racist, greedy, fearful and mediocre. Written like a true bigot. Ignorant posts like this only serve to get Caymanians backs up and confirm why Caymanians have every right to feel threatened.  

      • Anonymous9 says:

        To poster 10:43

        You are yet another one that just doesn’t get it.

        You need to read ‘Viewpoints’ with an open mind, not your usual defensive one. See the bigger picture instead of your self-centered one.

        Gordon Barlow is not CAUSING a dvide. It already exists, he is only writing about it.

        • Anonymous says:

          No, YOU don’t get it.  Writing about the issue can be either constructive or destructive.  Barlow is encouraging the divide. His articles are typically devoid of any appreciation of the perspective of Caymanians, distort the facts and deliberately inflammatory. Since you do not know who is writing it is silly and presumptuous to write about my "usual defensive mind". Be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.    

        • Anonymous says:

          Perhaps you should be the one open minded! I don’t think that anyone said that GB is causing the divide, however, he is making a good attempt in fueling it further, rather than aiding to resolve the issues. I can write about fire all day long, unfortunately, that won’t help putting it out!

  18. Anonymous says:

    I just don’t get the purpose of Gordon Barlow’s posts. It seems that he enjoys to purposely stirr up some sort of controversy? Why does Gordon Barlow not spend to unite all people living in Cayman, rather than constantly aiding in dividing them further? You must be a very miserable, unhappy man Mr. Barlow. Perhaps you could post about something positive or cheerful for a change.

    • thankfully not says:

      Considering what Cayman islands is showing lately about what it means to be a Caymanian I for one do not want to be confused with being Caymanian. So for me and I am sure many others Thank you Gordon for trying to set the record straight.  For all of you that don’t like Gordons reviews or anything not Caymanian thank you for standing up and not being afraid to tell the rest of us that we are NOT Caymanian.

    • anonymous says:

      The very definitions of "Expat" and "Caymanian" taught in the Cayman Primary Social Studies Text Books engender the intolerence and hostility towards non-Birth Caymanians and contribute to the friction between all our people.  Go to the bookstore and check it out!

      • Anonymous says:

        If that is true, that is very scary and disgusting. Glad I wasn’t educated here.

      • Anonymous says:

        That is a very serious charge. Care to support it with an actual quote from said text books?

        • Anonymous says:

          It is a fact that this is what is taught in the text books. (I have no connection with the first writer). Furthermore, one text book has an entire section on Central America. However, it exclude Honduras entirely. Why would this be?


          • Anonymous says:

            Merely repeating a claim does not validate it. Actual quotes, please.

            • Anonymous says:

              Cayman Primary Studies, The Wold at a Glance Book 6

              Page 65

               "Sometimes people who are not Caymanian citizens wish to become Caymanians, or acquire Caymanian Status. We call them paper Caymanians."


    • Anonymous9 says:

      You are just another one that doesn’t get it.

      So, what then, let’s all tiptoe around and pretend the divide doesn’t exist??

      Ever heard of ‘Food for Thought’ , no? Shhhhhhhhhhhhh might make someone mad…..

      Do you think this stuff is just made up?? If so, get your head out of the sand and see a different viewpoint in someone else’s shoes.

      • Anonymous says:

        No, I am not pretending the divide doesn’t exist, but I am not trying to be purposely increasing the divide further. What has Gordon Barlow accomplished with this post? Why doesn’t he offer solutions, or make suggestions that are actually positive for both sides? That was the point I was trying to make.

        So now, what are you going to do based on his post as it was such food for thought to you? What changes are you going to make to make the situation better?

        Also, you would be a much better person if you could actually admit that his posts tend to be very very biased.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Please do explain, your simple one line response seems inadequate to such an article.

  20. noname says:

    Well said Gordon as usual.  Your open and commen sense attitude screams (Paper Caymanian)!  Just a joke!  If you didn’t get the joke and are now mad at me then congradulations you are a true Caymanian. (Another joke for all you non Caymanians)

        Everyone will have a different idea as to what makes a person Caymanian.(usually its what makes them think they are Caymanian) And they will use that to tell themselves and all that will listen what makes everyone else NOT Caymanian.  Good enough.

      The problem seems to be Who gets to be part of the paid to be a Caymanian.  And Who dosen’t get anything from the (now empty) Caymanian pot.  Just my own Humble (non Caymanian) opinion.


  21. Anonymous says:

    Gordon – it is easy. Who is and who is not a Caymanian is set out in the Immigration Law. Persons who have BOTC Passports are only ever Caymanian if they also possess the "Right to be Caymanian" as defined in the Immigration Law (formerly known as status). Accordingly someone who is only a Cayman Islands Passport Holder, and does not also possess the right to be Caymanian,  is not and cannot ever be referred to as a "Caymanian" (except perhaps in your imagination). To try and blur clear lines of distinction confuses people and furthers mistrust.

    The Law does not differentiate between persons who are Caymanian by right, entitlement, or grant. All are Caymanian. Everyone else is an expatriate unless and until they become Caymanian.

    That is not divisive, or wrong. Every country and territory differentiates between its own nationals and the nationals of other countries who reside there. The latter are called expatriates – and most are welcomed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please forgive my ignorance, I am a bit confused.  How could someone hold a Cayman Islands passport and NOT be Caymanian?

      So if the children born here in Cayman of an expat mother (Mother NOT born in Cayman), and a Caymanian father (he was born here, his parents were born here, their parents born here, etc.) are given a Caymanian passport, are they or are they not Caymanian?

      And do they have to do something special when they turn 18, or are they considered born Caymanians and will always be able to get a Caymanian passport and call themselves Caymanian?

      I am just wondering, and would appreciate anyone’s input to clear this up for me!


      • Anonymous says:

        You have asked several questions, and I do believe that at times the answer depends upon the person asking as well as the person answering. But I will give it my best shot.

        A passport is a travel document, and not necessarily proof of citizenship. It would appear as if passports were issued to people who were not necessarily entitled to them, hence the answer that someone could possibly have a Caymanian passport but not be Caymanian.

        My wife is American and my children were born here. They are Caymanian, but being Caymanian is something you have to fight for sometimes. I am sure that the "powers that be" would have been quite happy for my children to have the nationality of their mother only if I had not demanded that they be Caymanian by birthright as well.

        At the time that my children were born Bostock was the Chief Immigration Officer and his deputy was a nice Scottish gentleman whose name eludes me. This nice Scottish gentleman did not see anything wrong in my wife coming to Immigration Department every three months to ask HIM for an "extension of time" to remain in MY country.

        Since I did not feel the need for my wife to go into town to ask a foreigner for permission to remain in my country this did not happen. She traveled in and out of the country and resided here "illegally" raising our children for the better part of 15 years before she applied for and was granted residency.

        If your children are born here and one parent is Caymanian then they are Caymanian, and don’t let anyone try to tell you different.

        As one of the most vocal critics of the Great Status Giveaway of 2003 I would like to add that I also believe that any child that was born here and has lived here for the last 18 years is a Caymanian regardless of his or her parent’s nationality.

        How could we possibly say they are not Caymanian when they have known no other home?

        • Anonymous says:

          You are right except for your last paragraph. It is simply not true that any child born here and has lived here for the last 18 years is a Caymanian regardless of his or her parent’s nationality. Perhaps they ought to be, but as a matter of Law and of fact they are not necessarily.

          • Anonymous says:

            It was an attempt to get across the point that I believe being Caymanian is more than just documentation, and it is very apparent by the way someone answers the question "Where are you from?".

            Some might say I am from XXXXX, but I have been in Cayman for 30 years and have citizenship.

            Another might say I am Caymanian, but I was born and raised in XXXXX, and came here etc.

            To me, the very subtle difference says a lot.

            Nature has implanted in each and every breast a sacred and indissoluble attachment towards that country whence you derived your birth and infant nurture.

            When the attachment to Cayman is stronger than to the country of your birth, then you are truly Caymanian.

            This is not to say that Caymanians should not hang the flags of their native countries from the rear view mirror on their car, or rejoice when their native country is basking in glory with international sporting success. But if your native country should compete against Cayman and you feel like a loser regardless of the outcome then you are close to being one of us.



            • Anonymous says:

              My, my, my…….."Nature has implanted in each and every breast a sacred and indissoluble attachment towards that country whence you derived your birth and infant nurture."  

              I wonder which Freemason wrote this?

        • Anonymous says:

          No – if your children were born here after you (or the other parent) was already Caymanian, then they are Caymanian.

          If your children were born here before you or the other parent became Caymanian then they may be Caymanian depending on particular circumstances, including their residence and the length and lawfulness of it.

          That is as a matter of fact what the Law provides, and that is what provides the answers – which are consistent in the letter of the law, if not unfortunately, in its application.. 

      • Anonymous says:

        The person responding at 14.16 has given a fair partial response.

        Lots of people hold Cayman Islands passports and are not Caymanian.  

        Anyone who has been granted PR can, after 1 year, apply to be Naturalized as a BOTC, and will then be given a Cayman Passport. They are not (in many instances) eligible to even apply to become Caymanian until 5 years later.

        Anyone born to a Caymanian parent AFTER that parent became Caymanian is Caymanian but may need to obtain acknowledgment of that fact for practical purposes. Others may cease to be Caymanian (for example if they receive a grant as a child but then leave the Islands as a child without returning to live for some years) but will still be entitled to a Cayman Passport as long asthey are a BOTC by virtue of a connection to the Islands.

        To make matters even more confusing, there are many people who are Caymanian who are not entitled to a Cayman Islands passport because they are nopt BOTC’s. Some, due to absences abroad or even character issues may not even be entitled to become BOTC’s.

        If you really want to make your head hurt consider this: There are people (including persons born here 30 years ago and who have never left) who have work permits stamped in their Cayman Islands Passports.

        However – the issue of who is, and who is not, a Caymanian is still easy, provided you leave passports out of consideration. In reality and in Law, passports are irrelevant to that question.



        • Anonymous says:

          The UK should cut down all this apartheid BS and impose a sensible rights compliant system on its territory.

          • Anonymous says:

            You moron – equating it to apartheid is deeply insulting. And – our system is the British system. 

        • Anonymous 1.1 says:

          So when can you as a new Caymanian put yourself forward to be voted into elected office.

          • Anonymous says:

            First Generation Caymanians are not eligible to run.

          • Anonymous says:

            The eligibility requirements are the same for everyone. You must possess (a) Caymanian status, (b) British Overseas Territories Citizenship by virtue of your connection to Cayman and (c) no other citizenship (except a RIGHT to  a citizenship by virtue of your birth, or British Citizenship by virtue of the Overseas Territories Act).  There is also a residency requirement.

            Having a Cayman passport only means that you have fulfilled (b) above. If you are both a US Citizen, for example, and a BOTC then you must first renounce your US citizenship.  

      • Anonymous says:

         My personal experience is this….. my mother is Caymanian (long-standing heritage… we’re talking both of her parents’ families have been here since the early 1800s), but my father is an American, Cayman-status holder. My brother & I were both born in Miami because of high risks encountered during the pregnancies. Subsequently, we are both US citizens, & had to apply for status once back on island & later on be naturalised (@ 18+ years old) in order to get a Cayman passport. We were told that had my father been Caymanian & my mother American, then the situation would have been different. I grew up calling myself Caymanian, but in my late teens Ibegan ‘owning up’ to being a half-breed =). I don’t think it would be correct to call myself solely Caymanian, even though I have lived here for the majority of my life, because that essentially would ignore my American genes.

        I hope my little anecdote hasn’t served to make you even more confused. 

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a bit too Cayman-centric a view and avoids the implications of higher laws, most importantly the human rights position.  Without doubt many of these distinctions are illegal and would not survive a well timed legal challenge.  Ask the dentists in Bermuda.  In terms of legal nationality there is no such thing as a "Caymanian".

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes there is – and I quote from the Law that defines the concept:

        "Caymanian" means a person who possesses Caymanian status under the repealed Immigration Law (2003 Revision) or any earlier law providing for the same or similar rights, and includes a person who acquired that status under part III.


        Stop being divisive.  


        • Hardy says:

          That sort of Nelsonian blindness to the bigger pciture risks the whole system falling to pieces if a well-judged legal challenge ended up in the Supreme Court or the Privy Council.

          • Anonymous says:

            Kiss me Hardy – and I can see. 20:20


            If you read the law, you could too.

          • Anonymous says:

            I gather you are not a lawyer. What on earth does the issue have to do with the Supreme Court (by which I assume you mean the U.S. Supreme Court)?. The Privy Council’s job is to apply the law. There is no reason to believe that this offends any international human rights obligation.

            • Anonymous says:

              I gather from your post that you are not a very good lawyer at all.  The Supreme Court referred to would have been the Supreme Court in the UK which would hear any challenges in the UK to the FCO’s conduct based upon the Human Rights Act (admittedly after the High Court and the Court of Appeal).  A little knowledge is a dangerous thing and you have just shown that a little knowledge is all you have.

              • Anonymous says:

                Oh, I see, you meant the UK Supreme Court.  Why do you suppose that the issue would be dealt with differently from in the High Court and the Court of Appeal which would hear the matter first? Please enlighten me with your vast knowledge.  

  22. Danger Mouse says:

    The concept of "Caymanian" is a relatively recent domestic political construct following the separation of governance from Jamaica.  However now it attracts such great rights, privileges and access to largesse that those who have the benefit of the title wish to exploit the resource and prevent access to it.  It has nothing to do with history or culture. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes when Cayman became a country.  I’m not surprised it attracts great rights like voting, medical care, and supposed preference in jobs that non-Caymanians don’t have.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nonsense. Caymanians as a people have always been quite distinct from Jamaicans. Although we were legally a dependency of Jamaica (for less than 100 years) we were always a separate society with its own customs,  culture and dialect.  Caymanians who went to Jamaica for work or education were not regarded as Jamaicans but often despised, called insulting names etc. Please at least acquaint yourself with the facts before trying to superimpose your silly theories.  

  23. Anonymous says:


    The real issue is not that the "Born & Bred" feel entitled.  

    It is the fact that  Gov. Jack and the FCO endorsed this piece of s**t "Constitution" without proper Human Rights guarantees and immigration reform, that is unconscionable.

  24. anonymous says:

    Whoever granted Gordon Barlow Cayman Status should be fired, deported and lynched !

    what a draaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaag!

    Is he one of those McKeeva is developing for?


    goodgrief !


    • solo mio says:

      Oh poor baby, don’t let the truth sting so much – take it as constructive criticism…

      • Anonymous says:

        There’s nothing constructive about it.  It shows a lack of insight, and has a heavy bias.  

  25. John says:


  26. Anonymous 1 says:

    "I was a transient in half a dozen places before I came to Cayman; indeed, I came here as a transient"

    If the above is true, then why did you settle here – did the other places not accept you, or did you find our tolerance level extremely high, and too good an opportunity to miss for the plundering of your rhetoric?

    You also imply that Sir Vassell was from India, although you disrespected him, his family and our only knight so far, by not including his title. Sir Vassell was from Indian ancestry I believe but born in Jamaica and came here as a little child I understand.

    In addition to things Caymanian, you also seem to have a h–d-n with "freemasonry" which is a Noun, and should begin with a capital letter which is disappointing given your previous posts to this medium concerning spelling. Did the Freemasons not accept you as well?

    Barlow you need to get your facts straight old boy, and learn to respect people including Caymanians.

    Tink you can do dat? ( I suppose you will also criticise the spelling or Caymanian dialect now)

    • Confucius says:

      Anonymous 1

      Go check what Gordon said. No where did he say Sir Vassell came from India. What we do know is like many successful Caymanians he was not born in Cayman. So what.

      Many expat sons and daughters were born here and are well into their 30/40s and indeed contribute to our community. So what?

      Your response failed to make any sense. As a transient perhaps you got thrown out of your previous stayovers. Now that makes sense!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t worry – what GB writes is irrelevant.  He will be criticised on what many of these posters think that he might have written if their prejudice against him was true.  They will call him all kinds of things but then refuse to provide any quotes to back it up. 

      • Anonymous 1 says:

        To Confucius:

        The post said imply. It did not say he said.

        Please re-read my post and watch what you write also in future.

        It would seem that you are also intent on seeking controversy like Barlow.


        • Anonymous 1.1 says:

          He did not even imply an Indian nationjality, he is stating that a scared true born accused him of it by saying

          Go back to India!

          which does seem very likely

    • Caypolitics Truthseeker says:

      From the Concise Oxford Dictionary:

      Freemasonry    n. 1 the system and institutions of the Freemasons.

                                      2  (freemasonry) instinctive sympathy or understanding. 

      It is not a question of spelling or dialect; just facts.

    • Dick Shaughneary says:

      "[W]hich is a Noun, and should begin with a capital letter"  Why capitalise the "N" in "noun"?  Only proper nouns are capitalised.  Unless you want to German grammar adopt.

      • Anonymous 1 says:

        Dick,  it was written for emphasis only, and not necessarily for grammatical correctness on our part, but to prove the fallacy of the previous argument by Barlow that he is all perfect and the rest of us mere mortals are incompetent which is far from the case.


        • Hey Kettle, it's Mr. Pot here says:


          Is that the royal "we" we see?  Just admit you made a mistake.  Or are you going to pander to true-born stereotypes when it comes to criticism.

          PS: I don’t know what your emphasis was meant to achieve but I certainly laughed at your expense.