Rich? Unequal and Miserable.

| 05/05/2010

The problems facing the Cayman economy, now seemingly intractable in nature, have been gradually building since the 1980’s. Arguably they were always very visible to those who wished to see them.

It was in the mid 1980’s that the then Financial Secretary in a budget address noted that the per capita GDP of the Caymanian segment of the population was a mere 50% of the headline number, a number that statistically placed Cayman’s per capita amongst the top 10 globally.

In the subsequent years we have proceeded almost blindly, with rapid unplanned growth, fueled principally by foreigners and almost solely for the benefit of foreign investors.

In the process we have succeeded in creating a very unequal society.

In their important new work, The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, the authors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett present very persuasive empirical evidence to support the assertion that material well being notwithstanding, more unequal societies exhibit lower levels of trust, a greater disposition to violence and higher incidences of illnesses, primarily amongst the lower socio-economic groupings.

On the evidence available, it is arguable and regrettably so, that these three characteristics are amongst the most discernable features of 21st century Caymanian society.

As we grapple to find suitable approaches to dealing with the mounting problems confronting us as a society, the self-interested policy makers and the shameless plutocrats, who continue to guide the decision making process meekly implemented by the political classes, remain wholly wedded to the very policies that have served to bring us to this sorry state.

As they see it, our “salvation” lies in a. our ability to attract more wealthy foreign investors (how many and when will we arrive at the optimal quota of such persons, relative to the 35,000/36,000 Caymanians?) b. transferring the ownership of public assets into the hands of rapacious wealthy individuals (where these are local, they are drawn from the same self-interested policy advisers and shameless plutocrats who design the policies) and c. a dramatic increase in the use of state force apparatus to control the lower socio-economic groups.

At best this combination of tried and tested status-quo maintaining actions will deliver but a temporary respite.

The deep seated societal malaise that is the natural byproduct of the trickle down economic theories that have been the mantra of each and every administration for the past 30 years is unlikely to be cured even if the current administration succeeds in balancing the budget in the current fiscal year, by way of this cocktail of trickle down policies.

Sustainable development , a measure that is more than mere GDP measurement, will become possible when those who have the responsibility to lead, recognize the need for the introduction of transformational policies, policies that are geared towards ensuring that the benefits of the economic activities we facilitate and foster lend themselves towards the promotion of more equitable societies both domestically and globally.

Category: Viewpoint

Comments (33)

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  1. Joe Average says:

    To all of those who are inquisitive and asking a few questions:

    Andre, whodatis, and others who aren’t quite ready to buy the company line. 

    I spent an enjoyable hour last evening listening to this:

    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/355/the-giant-pool-of-money

    It is the most straightforward, well-thought out, and sometimes comical explanation of all those things we hear about but may not easily understand  Investment banking, CDO’s, subprime or NINA loans (no income no assets). How they operated, how these things were invented, sold and packaged to create out of thin air a financial catastrophe we all sucked up.  It also says a lot about this discussion:  "Do you think that possibly we may have allowed the wrong people to be in charge of our economies and futures???"

    I suggest having a bottle of wine and a Prozac handy.  Well worth listening to!

    • whodatis says:

      Hey Joe (and others),

      Thanks for the link – gave it a listen last night, very interesting stuff indeed.

      May I suggest a few more items for your listening / watching pleasure – these can be found on the "Google Videos" website:

      1.) "Super Rich – The Greed Game"

      http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3305522889894137433#

       

      2.) "The Ascent of Money"

      http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-545930454338776455#

      Enjoy.

      • Joe Average says:

        Yeah mon we’ve been kicked off the main page but this topic still continues.  Do we eat the rich… or hang them?  The very nice thing about the Web is that the layers of the onion (that has been making us shed tears) are finally being pulled away and very much of it is relevant.  And what do we discover??  A rotten onion.  I’m just beginning to read 13 Bankers.  More wine.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sorry Iton, but this is a great peice of rehashed 1970s richman, poor man perspective. This way of sizing up things is exactly what destroyed half of the caribbean already resulting in either mass exodus from some countries or destruction of certain key industries (for e.g. financial services in the bahamas in the 70s). 

    yes, social safety nets are needed. but what has caused cayman’s situation as iton attempts to capture is the underivestment in caymanians education which has failed since the early 1980s. now governments are expected to fix this problem in a few years through protectionism. It won’t happen.  The only realistic solution is to start preparing caymanians, apply enforcement for those that are creating glass ceilings (because we have to accept that these do exist in some quarters) while continuing to let capitalism thrive.

    This whole "we are not getting ‘enough’ so lets take more away from the rich man" concept will never work. everyone must be able to benefit from the value they create for themselves or the country. if you don’t have the money to make the investment or the education or the networking skills to develop the business then there is no reason to expect that you should be reaping any ‘reasonable’ share of the benefits.

  3. TennisAce says:

     Countries and their systems are as told by George Orwell in his book, Animal Farm.  In that book George Orwell described equality thus, "all animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others".  In life, even though we have the haves and the have nots, the haves have always told the have nots, well if you work as hard as I do then you will reap the rewards that I have reaped.  The haves however forget to tell the have not that he was given a head start by virtue of his race, country of birth and the opportunities that he was given during his formative years.  Notwithstanding that, when I lived and worked in  Cayman I was a bit aghast at the fact that there were so many Caymanians who were not making use of the opportunities presented to them.  I felt that with an education system, a ready market for employment, low cost of living, a high standard of living, relatively crime free, young people in  Cayman had more of a fighting chance than those in other Caribbean countries.   One of the major problems facing my own country is the brain drain.  That is when qualified individuals leave and go to developed countries to work in order to have a quality of life that they cannot get in Jamaica.   In Cayman youngsters have the opportunity to go to the UK or any other European country to receive a great education.  There are grants that the Government provides for those who will seek tertiary level education.   Corporate entities have scholarships that they offer to qualified Caymanians who seek to go on to tertiary level education.  In Jamaica, parents have to mortgage their houses in order to secure student loans to ensure that their child goes to UWI or UTECH.  I say all this to say that while the inequality of which  Andre speaks is indeed relevant, it is also important that people make use of the opportunities that they have no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. 

  4. Joe Average says:

    Andre, you’re sounding too radical.  But I agree.  What we see around us is a wider and wider disconnect between what we are told, what we buy and what the reality is.  The world has been conveniently divided up into the Third World "undeveloped" countries (those ready for exploitation) and the good guys.  The good guys, are of course the First World countries in this terminology, the "developed" nations.  As we can see, the "developed" nations have everything under control.  Minus a few things like financial catastrophes, corruption, crime, homelessness, unemployment, rapaciousness, a lack of morals, and degradation of the air and water.  These are some of the benefits of development and at every opportunity we would like to spread this message throughout the planet.  Unfortunately there are still some who fail to see the benefits in which case we simply invade them.  Inequality is unfortunately what makes the world and capitalism go around.  Without want there cannot be capitalism.  It wouldn’t exist.  And the longer we buy into it the worse off we are. 

    But for now we’re comfortable in our dream-like state and a comment such as yours won’t wake us up from that.

  5. Anonymous says:

    If Mr Iton was a white expat person writing this "unequal society"/"shameless plutocrats"/"societal malaise that is the natural byproduct of the economic trickle down theories" stuff, he would be wholly abused on this site and told to go back to the country he came from since it must have been so great etc etc/ airplane door hitting you as you leave etc etc.

    As it is, people who haven’t a damn clue about what he’s talking about, give him the thumbs up and write glowing approvals. So, Mr Iton, we know you don’t approve of Cayman as it is. Tell us specifically what you would do. But please avoid sounding like Harold Laski from LSE. Some of us actually understand his views and the enormous influence they had on the young men who became the premiers of the  emerging decolonised countries like …er Jamaica, Trinidad, Grenada ……….

    • Anonymous says:

      You would just have to bring race into it wouldn’t you? Let me enlighten you though, the obvious difference between Andre Iton and persons like yourself is that he came here, sought to understand the Caymanian society, embraced us and we welcomed him. He helped many Caymanians along the way and gained our respect. I fully support all that Mr Iton has said and wish that many had chosen to listen to him years ago and undoubtedly this exchange would now be moot.

      • Anonymous says:

        Fascinating, Anon 7:21, that you would presume without having a clue about me that I didn’t receive all the benefits/plaudits of Caymanians that you say Mr Iton received. I have no quarrels whatsoever with the praise some heap on him. I came here many, many years before Mr Iton and remember him from his CNB days when, I deeply regret to say, he was not considered any more of a guru on finance matters than his publisher Desmond Seales was on all the matters that he, Desmond, thinks he’s a genius on.

        I notice you made no comment on my remarks about the effect of Harold Laski and his influence; Mr Iton would have understood that comment. Did you?

        And yes, just to keep you happy, I’m white so you can get agitated again.

  6. whodatis says:

    Perhaps some of us are stuck in the 1960’s?

    Personally, I am tired of hearing the doomsday warnings whenever the notion of the mere suggestion of the exploration of another way forward pops up.

    In today’s world – 50 years ago is more like a century ago.

    I don’t know why so many of us insist on focusing on the misinformed and experimentally-based misfortune of the political and economic trials of our regional neighbours at times like these.

    I am of course ignoring the blatant truth of many in our midst harbouring deep, dark desires to see us fail in the long run – especially in the absence of the current status quo / state of affairs.

    • Joe Average says:

      Whodatis:  One basic problem we have is that we have made an attempt to be a major player in a game that was set-up.  To follow the rigged card game analogy: when a sting is taking place, it is always best to make the patsy win a little first.  This instills confidence and makes the game seem reputable.  Once the fish begins to bet heavily, and is committed the sting can proceed.  In our case, the sting consisted of betting heavily on the financial services industry.  The sting consists of the constant threat of being put on a black list and the criteria for removal. Since we have bet heavily and we’re in the game up to our ya ya’s

      Is it possible to win?

      But what if, for instance, we called the bluff?  What if we said no thanks, we’re doing just fine and refused?  Then, possibly economic sanctions would be the first weapon.  Similar to those which took place in Cuba when it did not follow the proposed line.  Then where would that leave us for many of the things we import?  How about Cuba?  For goods and produce?  Not the same variety, but closer, and cheaper.  And in time, more variety as Cuban industry got on it’s feet again. Venezuela for oil for our generators, etc.  Honduras, Nicaragua and other countries in Central America for other goods and still, we could maintain a healthy financial services industry without the duress.  My premise is….we have been looking the wrong way and we have been trying to play a game where the cards were stacked against us.  We’re just realizing that.  We either try to continue to break even… at a rigged game, or more rightly… move to another table.  This isn’t a 60’s hallucination as you put it. This is an acceptance that if you examine what has happened recently they can’t even win at their own game it has become so corrupt and slanted.  There is a "shift" taking place, as more countries acknowledge this and see the results for themselves. We would be foolhardy not to pay attention, and direct our efforts at our own economic survival on a more regional basis.  I think we would find much more co-operation and a more viable future for us all.  We’re either on the bus or not and the bus we’re on indeed has a last stop…..Washington, City of London, IMF, etc. etc…. and they’ve already punched our ticket.

      Sorry whodatis but I have to say this:  The times…  they are a changing. 

      Rather than a patsy I myself would much rather Cayman participated in the change and became another welcome member of the Caribbean Community.

      God bless Cayman and our closest neighbors.

       

      • Anonymous says:

        I find your commentary refreshing in a 60’s sort of way. Dude, you’re stuck in the sixties, and/or being ironic and/or using quotes for which you do not know the provenance.

        "You’re either on the bus or off the bus." Ken Kesey 1964.

        "The times, they are a-changing" Bob Dylan 1964.

        Your suggestions have been a wee bit of nostalgia, I must say. Team up with Venezuala, Honduras and Nicaragua. And then what… have the CIA flood us with drugs, start a civil war … 

        • Joe Average says:

          "Get on the Bus" is a Spike Lee film from 1996.  And I’m not into nostalgia at all.  What we need sorely to recognize is that Cayman could be in a unique position.  A broker of sorts because on the one hand it is surrounded by countries more similar to us in make-up, beliefs, and traditions than others we do business with. We have also unknowingly being treated in a similar (but more sophisticated) way as they have traditionally been.  You mention the CIA and drugs.  Then you may be familiar with how many countries in Central America have been used as a pipeline when convenient, for financing black ops.  More so if their governments can be de-stabilized. Historically the countries in this region have always been used for someone else’s convenience, and let’s be real, Cayman itself has been used to launder money.  Therefore Cayman has it’s feet in both of these situations….connected to a system of trade and finance that is scrambling for survival.  Buit somewhat removed geographically. While looking around the Caribbean and Central America, the question begins to arise what more do we need that we can’t supply to each other?  And, how could we be of more direct benefit to each other financially? Without having to do a dance for others with no interest in our future?  Other than what they can remove or use?  What is wrong with countries in this region forming their own economic bonds and gradually opting out of an corrupt economic system that has done us no benefit?  That isn’t the 60’s my friend> that in my opinion is the future. 

          You can clearly see the future that has been planned for us.  A nice, sunny banking center dangling on a string ready to do someone’s bidding.  And desperate. Is that the future we want?  Here’s a question for you:  does North America and Europe need Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, more than we need them?  If you had to stop and think we’re not so far apart.

          Peace dude

          • Anonymous says:

            You make a very good argument. I never thought of it that way. Thank you for a most thought-provoking essay. If Cayman were to maintain status quo, we could still end up as a conduit for drugs and other crime. It would behove CI Gov’t to strengthen diplomatic and trade ties with these countries. I fear, however, that the US perception of such activities would be similar to the fears over Michael Manley, Maurice Bishop, and other leaders who got "too friendly" with the neighbours.

            Peace 

             

      • whodatis says:

        Hi Joe,

        Very interesting post.

        One question: How crucial, in your opinion, is our political affiliation with the UK in regards to our financial industry?

        Unfortunately, I believe it is one of the primary drivers in our "success" of being a major player in the global financial ponzi scheme – excuse me, industry.

        The way I see it is that if we do away with that relationship then we would lose the psychological pillow upon which many of our international (notably western) investors, bankers, billionaires etc. rest their pretty little heads.

        If we decide to make any moves in that general direction then we really ought to be looking to "shore up" our tourism industry – which is looking less attractive with news every day of ongoing and upcoming regional developments.

        In any event, what frustrates me the most is that even though we are major financial center of the world – there is hardly any dialogue or apparent understanding of the reality of this western economic / monetary system.

        I would be far more comfortable if wewere in a position of playing fool to catch wise, but we are not. We seem to be moving forward with the same erroneous perspective that has hoodwinked the entire west for decades now. Being who we are we really ought to be slicker that this by now.

        • Joe Average says:

          I seem to be defending a position for want of a better term…I believe in.  Here’s how it is for me whodatis.

          I have absolutely nothing against industry….when it acts responsibly, pays decent wages, puts something back, and takes care of it messes.

          I have absolutely nothing against wealth….if it is won fairly and honestly.

          I have nothing against banks per se……when they do what they were intended to do….  safeguard peoples’ money, make loans, charge reasonable interest and in doing so make a reasonable profit and don’t invent fractional reserves.

          What I do have a major problem with is……none of this is happening and hasn’t for as far back as anyone can remember. There is also no indication it will.  That being said we need to find something that works better for us.  By us I mean the people at the bottom of the pile holding the pyramid up.  The consensus is capitalism is great and socialism is evil and there are no other alternatives.  But we haven’t looked have we?  The reason capitalism sucks so badly for most of us, is the same reason socialism has sucked badly for others…. it isn’t the ideology.  It’s who we let run it.  Somewhere in between, people are gradually finding their own answer and itwill be marvelous.  For the simple reason, we have ethics.  I can sense it.  At the same time if those are our alternatives, we can not let ourselves be conned into believing there is only one way for capitalism or socialism to work….without compassion, ethics, or consideration for the people that make it work…us.  We are only seen as workers who become consumers.  As in capitalism. That’s where our value is. Socialism on the other hand has always said "we love you workers." As long as you work at what we tell you, where we tell you, when we tell you."  Not much value for us in that either. Those are the two facades we have to tackle, because there is very little difference between the two and both limit freedom of choice.  As it is, some people have dictators who seize power.. we get to elect ours!

          Capitalism could be democratic.  But it isn’t.  Socialism could benefit more.  But it doesn’t.

          This is not a manifesto for either. This is the reality.  The true manifesto will be when we say hold on….this isn’t working.  As a matter of fact it never has.  You’ve had your chance to prove it and you failed.

          oh…to answer your question what about our political affiliations with the U.K.?  i could give a flying f**k i support people. not some notion.

          • whodatis says:

            Good post!

            RE: "oh…to answer your question what about our political affiliations with the U.K.?  i could give a flying f**k i support people. not some notion."

            Lol!

            Deep down I feel the same way – but as you can see by the general feeling in the room – any suggestion of a change from the current status quo will result in a host of naysayers, down-criers and elitist bottom-wipes.

            I too hope for and wish to see another way forward – but I know that due to historical issues and all of the egotistical crap that come along with it – such efforts will be avoided like the plague in the event of implementation in a country like ours (Cayman).

            • Joe Average says:

              I’ve been examining these different systems whodatis since I joined the workforce.  Beginning with….gee, if I just worked harder or longer, then slowly waking up to the fact that isn’t what life is about.  Nothing wrong with working, but it has to show results and those results have to be distributed more equally.  So, in my quest I began to look at other economic systems and I found to my surprise all of them worked about the same.  An elite would take control of the economy and therefore reap the majority of the benefits. Allowing a few of those benefits to "filter down" just enough to keep people from uprising.  We live in a bountiful world or at least it could be once we take control of how the benefits are distributed.  That is at the bottom, our bottom line, or the the crux, of all of our problems. All of our disparity, all of our need.  We can’t go on believing the propaganda that some are "just meant to suffer", because of their color, their location, or the politics they live with..  It isn’t "them" and "us".  It’s all of us and solidarity is needed.  My favorite expression is:

              "a tiny movement of the hand moves molecules to the end of the universe."

  7. Anonymous says:

    Andre – you been reading too many old Michael Manley speeches or wha?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Mr Iton writes well and I would agree with him that we should carefully consider the long term effects of each proposed government strategy – at least whenever government has a strategy. 

    That is perhaps as far as I would agree with Mr. Iton’s apparent conclusions, although I would note that he is not alone in questioning the neoliberal views targeted in the book he refers to.

    http://www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=10786

    Anyone taking the time to look at this part of the literature will see that there appears to be some misunderstanding regarding how to interpret the types of scattergram correlations produced in the book and what consitututes evidence of causation. Correlations do not prove causation even if the correlations reinforce the gestalt adopted by the reader. We therefore need to be careful about taking yet another quantum leap in extrapolating from interpretations of scattergrams which do not even consider Cayman.

    The correlations presented in the book to which Mr. Iton refers could just as easily be related to the fact that some societies are much more homogenious racially and culturally than others. Japan has a smaller proportion of immigrants than the UK and it has relatively more dispersion of wealth. Japanese also eat more fish and are more trusting according to the particular study referred to. Those correlations by themselves prove nothing about what is causing the trust.

    As a Caymanian I have no dooubt that the trust which existed within the Cayman community was much greater before the mosquito control program was introduced several decades ago. Based on the type of correlation which Mr. Iton appears to see as proof of causation, we should be abandoning the mosquito control problem in order to restore trustworthyness. 

    If we are going to have a debate on the way forward and the causation of problems observed today, let us please do it intelligently, avoiding the pitfalls of seeing everything through the lenses of discredited political theory – even if these theories were popular with post-independence academics who never left their ivory towers.  

  9. Mr. Obvious says:

    Equality is a myth that has never been achieved in the history of humanity. There certainly is no system of government that can bring it closer to reality.
    The old soviet model was a complete failure. The Greek, French, German, Spanish, British, and American models are all in various stages of financial failure.

    Greece should be a major warning to fairness/social welfare types like yourself. They gave incredibly generous benefits to the masses, not the rich, in the form of early retirement and medical benefits. The people are very happy, but the ship is sinking. The country is going bankrupt because of this ‘generosity’ and nobody wants to give up the free ride they were promised.

    Sound familiar?

    You have to work and plan and sacrifice to get what you want in life. Not blame others and ask for a fair distribution of a pie you did not help to bake. The Greeks are rioting in the streets because the pie isnot big enough. That will be nothing compared to what you will see in France.

    Democracies do not force ‘poor people’ (for lack of a better word) to take action to improve their lives. Perhaps that is what you are calling for? A benevolent dictatorship with one person deciding what is fair and who deserves what?

    In nature, you hunt for your food or you die. You compete for rewards and you fend off predators. If you sit around waiting for things to be given to you, or you don’t adapt, you die. That is the way it is. That is about as fair and equal as you are going to get.

    • Joe Average says:

      You sound like you disagree with most social programs.  In defending that you bring up that old horse "free ride."  That is not the point of social programs.  The point being countries are composed of groups of people from all statuses.  Some are fortunate.  Some aren’t.  But all of those people deserve the following:  decent and affordable medical care, decent jobs, decent housing and affordable food.  To simplify it all you say "You compete for rewards and you fend off predators. If you sit around waiting for things to be given to you, or you don’t adapt, you die. That is the way it is. That is about as fair and equal as you are going to get."  I strongly disagree. Because, by denying those basic rights you are at the least saying those who are the most predatory are the most deserving to survive.  Last time I looked we were human beings.  It is those among us that still have animal instincts and "kill or be killed" mentalities that we have be aware of.  I hope I misread you.  And I dearly hope you have food on your table tonight and you are never in need.

      • Anon says:

         But all of those people deserve the following:  decent and affordable medical care, decent jobs, decent housing and affordable food. 

        WHY?

        • A-nony-mouse says:

          My Bible seems to tell me that those who do not PRODUCE should not EAT!  We have more than a BILLION "useless eaters" around the world that contribute nothing to the economy, yet crate enormous drains on society.  My mantra is consume no more than you produce, but produce more than you need and VOLUNTARILY share the surplus with those who CANNOT support themselves, not those who WILL NOT!

          • Joe Average says:

            20:51:   It’s hard to know even where to begin to comment. 

            I’m not sure about what you read into the Bible.  Because for one thing I don’t know who wrote it or how often it’s been changed.  Everyone seems to see something different in it, but quite often it’s used to prop up a point of view by saying "here’s what my Bible tells me."  I’m not sure about "useless eaters" either.  Apparently, your Bible says they are useless, while others say their Bibles tell them we are all God’s children.  Perhaps it’s God’s fault for being too amorous?  Don’t fall for the trap where we are told as shiploads of goods produced in sweat shops… the people at the same time who work there are not trying to help themselves.  They are trying to feed themselves.  But they don’t own their food anymore.  And don’t be so naive to belief as their forests are being cut for grazing land for cattle for Big Macs that somehow they’re not contributing to our way of life.  And I wouldn’t call someone who works in a mine 14 hours a day lazy.  But if and when they decide not to work in our sweatshops, in our mines and in their fields to produce our food and the ships stop arriving.  If we start to go hungry? You can eat your Bible.

        • Joe Average says:

          Because Heaven’s here on earth and you’re fortunate and with a slight rumble of the earth or a misfortune that you can’t control..you could be wandering around in a daze looking for food, water, or your BMW.

        • Anonymous says:

          Because it is civilized humane and Christian.  Any other view is selfish and if anything happened to you in your future you will be glad that other people are not as despicably self-interested as you.

  10. bradley says:

    Iton

    Interesting commentary.

    Perhaps we will now need more than ever a proper welfare state, a social net for the unemployed and disadvantaged. To fund such a state in the Cayman Islands, it will definitely need a sustainable revenue measure in place.

    Obviously, the Premier is a Republican in U.S. terms, and a Conservative the equivalent of a Republican. He believes in the big man. The more businesses and wealthy people come into the country, he believes the wealth will trickle down more on everyone else. Whereas, Democrats are for their people, and have always believe in regulations and empowering grassroot systems and programs, the Premier who is more to the political right than left, appears to be out-of-touch with the Caymanian people. In last election, that is why many Caymanians voted PPM, because attention was aimed at what the common Caymanian people of this Island wanted – like schools, et cetera.

    The big fear of the UK’s Labor Party equivalent to Obama’s Democratic Party in political philosophy, is big businesses, big corporations and wealthy elites controlling their economy, exploiting people, causing the rich to become more rich and the poor to become more poor – predatorial capitalism. From the leftist side that has always been there major concern. That is why they rely so much on taxing businesses, the rich and corporations, and these same entities flee their economies to the offshores to avoid having to pay taxes. 

    The big fear of the Conservative Party (the Tories) equivalent to the Republicans in political persuasion, has always been big Government control, making laws that infringe on people’s liberties to succeed, raising taxes on the middle and upper class, and socializing sectorsand programs. That is why they talk so much about liberty and freedom – whereas more from the left, they speak more about fairness and equality.

    It all has to do with political persuasion, and Mac of all persons, is just implenting what he sees is best for this economy and country. He eventual does things his way. If Kirt gets in again… we will hear a different story. It will be interesting when tomorrow UK’s election, we see who gets in… If Conservatives and Mac being one then maybe we shouldn’t have so much problems with the FCO. But God knows… its the Minister who is in the FCO that counts too

    In summary – what really matters is a MIX ECONOMY. We need to look out for not only the rich, but middle class, poor class, and our environment. There needs to be a balanced.

    Perhaps you are right!  More attention seems to be given to wealthy foreign investors than our own people. Maybe people-oriented was what Kirt was more good at.

    In the long run, I do hope everything turns out for our advantage  

  11. Anonymous says:

    It is called capitalism and it what Cayman is based on. Take it away and we have Jamaica minus the beauty and self-sustainability.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Iton, thank you for your insightful article. I have been saying some of the same things and feared that I was alone in so thinking;the fact that Caymanians have in large part not been the real beneficiaries of the Islands’ economic growth is always disguised in the official statistics which suggest that lowest income earners are expatriates but classify high income earners in such a way as to hide the fact that they are overwhelmingly expatriate.Even the National Assessment of Living Conditions study (which generally sought to suggest that the poor people in Cayman were expatriates) had to acknowledge that”persons [i.e. Caymanians] who may be educated meet the qualifications but are not given the same packages as the expatriate. Remove those who hold Caymanian status from the picture and the contrast will be even starker as it will remove e.g. most of those partners of law and accounting firms who, for the purpose of this statistic, self identify as Caymanian.

    Here is a simple question: what percentage of workers earning more than CI$100,000 p.a. are Caymanian?. My guess is less than 10%. I wonder if the truth will come out in the census?

    However, I am fairly confident that there are not as many as 35,000/36,000 Caymanians in the population, the 3,000+ status grants notwithstanding. Caymanians are almost certainly in the minority even following the recent reduction in the number of permit holders from 27,000+ to less than 24,000. The only question is how small a minority. My guess is that there are no more than 25,000 Caymanians and that is including those granted Caymanian status. The census should answer this for us.

    • Anonymous says:

      Consider this: Thousands of permit holders have "become Caymanian" in the last few years (since Cabinet grants) so the reduction of permit holders does not equate to a reduction in people (althouh there has been a reduction).

      • Anonymous says:

        So what’s your point???? 

      • Anonymous says:

        Please enlighten us since I for one have no knowledge of what you are asserting. Please recognize that since the Immigration Law, 2003 that there is no provision for persons to become Caymanian by virtue of length of residence although the may do so if they have become naturalized as BOTCs. Mass status grant people aside, I am not aware of any great influx of Caymanians via naturalization. Consider also that the previous govt. changed the law so that Cabinet no longer has the power to make thousands of status grants. What are you talking about? Please give us the hard evidence for your claims, or we will be forced to conclude that this is mere propaganda.