It must be Christmas

| 20/12/2011

I noticed last night that there is the usual one lonely string of Christmas lights hanging forlornly from the utility poles in George Town. Is this the best we can do? What will our visitors think? What do our children think? Perhaps we need to look at what our competition is doing — we might learn a thing or two.

This initiative is so poor that it would be better not to put them up at all. If the organization behind these poor benighted lights cannot afford better then perhaps they could approach the merchant community and ask for a donation. Or they could ask the premier if he could spare a contribution from his, ah, 'delegated fund'.

We have claimed for years to be a tourist destination but it seems that we have no concept of how to do this. We cannot even get our act together to put pedestrian crossings on the West Bay Road to stop our visitors getting mown down by insane drivers. We have paid lip service for decades to the idea of, first of all, cruise ship moorings (remember the anchors from the Rapsody salvage?) and more lately a cruise ship pier, and we still don't have one.

If we are seriously catering to tourists then we need to make their experience as memorable as possible, and this is memorable in a positive way, not to have some of them return to their home country in a body cast!

Perhaps we should be trying to work on increasing our stayover tourism. A lengthened runway would allow us to bring in long haul flights from Asia or the Persian Gulf (many multi-millionaires). In fact, this might allow Cayman Airways to finally make a profit by becoming a regional  hub for the Western Caribbean and Central America.

Have a wonderful, if rather drab, Holiday Season!

Category: Viewpoint

Comments (33)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    ahhh "LIGHTS" seriously?  Look everyone is being conservative these days to the extremely high electricty rates in Cayman.  Some lights is better than none.  Cayman has far greater issues to discuss.  Please don't bring this arguement to the people in Cayman, it's an insult.  Businesses and people have far greater concerns, like how do they make the payment on their electricity bill, oh and these come 12 months through out the year.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Lights do not  impress me, they are expensive and rather fake and I prefer to see trees and flowers.  I doubt visitors to this island get impressed by the amount of lights they see. Have a wonderful and safe Christmas and I wish all a prosperous New Year!

    Now Rudolph what are some of the real problems with this Island?.

  3. Anonymous says:

    How about getting the folks from the QE Botanic Park to come into GT and stuff it full flowers flowers year round (the QE Botanic folks are world class at what they do).


    That's something you don't see in downtown Toronto.


    It would give the tourists something different; something positive.

    • Pitta Patta says:

      For goodness sake Nick, what do you want? Do you really want to deprive the premier of the much needed money to travel around the world first class & in 5 star accomodation? Get real Nick, if our government spent money on Christmas lights in GT where would the premier get the money for his travels?

  4. Anonymous says:

    There are no lights left to put up. All of the lights are on the bluff, Cayman Brac. At least the Cubans are enjoying them as I hear that you can see the lights on the bluff from eastern Cuba at night.

    • Chris Johnson says:

      Can we please acknowledge the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman who for the past thirty years or more have installed a tree and of course held the annual Xmas Tree evening ceremony for both residents and residents to enjoy. They have done their bit. Pity the Government could not follow suit. Would not have happened in Benson’s day.!

  5. Anonymous says:

    We wont  attract "Persian Gulf (many multi-millionaires)" tourist until you call it what I believe is the correct Arabian Gulf!! Perhaps an expat can clarify?

    • Anonymous says:

      Persian Gulf is the original name. Arabian gulf is the preferred name used by the emirates and Saudi as they are Arabs not Persians.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This will be my first Christmas in Cayman and I look forward to watching my 7 yr old and 1 yr old gaze at the ocean rather than the brown snow I can surely expect in Toronto! But let's not forget what Christma is really about…friends, family, neighbours…speding much needed time together, not the hustle and bustle and ridiculous money spending that happens in certain parts of the world where Christmas is a HUGE business transaction, rather than a real holiday. In Toronto, the Eaton Centre, a huge mall downtown, is open Christmas day!!! How sad for those employees having to work and miss out time with their families so tourists can shop! The overtime pay is hardly worth the sacrifice!!! Sure it would be nice to have a fabulous display of lights in GT for the cruise-shippers and tourists, but Cayman has some bigger things to sort out just at the moment. If there is a committee out there that wants volunteers to help, send out a call, because I would be there in a heart beat to chip in…I'd get my kids to help (although the one year would be too short to put up lights, but her extreme cuteness would keep everyone's spirits bright!!!)

  7. Anonymous says:

    The internet Caymankind and Get Warm promotions are just as lame and amateurish.

  8. Special Needs Donkey says:

    Nick, those aren't Xmas lights. They are Pirates Week lights that have been left up. Just like all the Pirates Week banners that are still up on every light pole. But don't you worry. The DOT will get the Xmas lights up sometime in March. Please be patient.

    The unanswered question here is why after several years we still have an "Acting" Director of Tourism in charge of a $30,000,000 government department that is supposed to be responsible for managing the second limb of our economy.

    God bless us. And help us. Pleeeeeze.


    • Anonymous says:

      The lights have always been left up from October until January.  And while private business do not have many lights up, most of them are decorated with garland…etc.  Regardless…I agree with the poster from the Canadian above…this isn't what Christmas is about. Aside from NYC, I could care less how places I visit over the holidays are decorated as long as I can experience something different with my family, for a change.

  9. Anonymous says:

    One more piece of evidence (as if we need another piece) that the gowerment does not care two hoots about the average Caymanian; too busy courting rich and powerful expats.

  10. Anonymous says:

    There are plenty of lights on the Premiers house at the end of a street no one goes down but the residents. maybe those could be used?

  11. Anonymous says:

    What a grinch.

  12. Peter Milburn says:

    Very true Nick and in many ways very sad also.I agree with you 100% re making the runway longer in order to get long haul jets in here.We have to find that balance between stayovers and cruiseshippers.which by the way will not be an easy task .Happy holidays to you and your family and everyone out there as well.Be especially safe on the roads.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Maybe instead of having a beautiful Christmas light display in the middle of nowhere on the Brac they could have spent the money in George Town where it actually would be seen. Joined up thinking is just so hard for this government.

    • Anonymous says:

      But if the lights were in George Town, Ju Ju couldn't have her driver take her up on the bluff at night to look at the lights.

  14. Anomynuss says:

    Concerning the multi-millionaires reference, the other islands who do have the occasional multi-millionaire can tell you that these people raise the cost of living significantly for locals. It starts with real estate prices – because there is no price they cannot pay – and trickles down to food, services, restaurants and life's daily necessities.

    :Locals become the servants, unable to earn enough to pay the skyrocketing cost of their own "piece of the rock" or even in many cases the rental of a decent home. Locals are simply priced out of the market.

    So be careful what you wish for, Dorothy, because once it starts there is no possibility of going back to a way of life you now love and enjoy now.

    And thank God you're not in Kansas. There is no gold in the streets, never has been, and any gold thare was anywhere has ALL been taken by the Gods of Greedin Washington and Wall Street.

    • Anonymous says:

      Isn't that the case in Cayman now?! 🙂

      • Caymanian & Used to be proud of it. says:

        Why are we worrying about Christmas lights on the streets.  We have never had lights put up on the streets for Christmas.  The lights are put up for Pirate's Weewk and left there.  These islands need stability in our governing bodies and assistance for the poor people.  I get a small pension after working for the Government for over 10 years and with the cost of food now that just does not make it.  Still no-one worry's about retired civil servants.  Maybe we should all starve and increase the money being  squandered by our rulers (that is what we have, no more domocracy).

  15. The lone Haranguer says:

    We need to hang out some money for da people.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Well, if you think the lack of Christmas lights is a disappointment, what do you imagine one thinks when they are driving down the various bypass roads just to see garbage flying around all over the place. Sadly enough, some of them have just been cleaned up and yet they are lined with litter again.


  17. Anonymous says:

    Ah Nick!
    Go further,
    Would it not be great to have the solar industry folks ban together and put up a temporary installation of a LED Xmas light display to run off a battery pack charged by photovoltaics? I’m dreaming of a green Christmas!

  18. Libertarian says:

    Nick, hanging Christmas lights and beautifying George Town sounds like a good idea. But I think that is the least of everyone's concern at this time where you have so many people unemployed and businesses hurting due to Cayman's economic conditions.

    On where credit is due, I think the best thing the United Democratic Party has done thus far for this Christmas, is signed the ForCayman Investment Alliance deal with the Dart group in order to start a new West Bay road and expansion of the public beaches. This year has been rough for alot of people; especially those in the construction and hotel industry, and with work just around the corner, it must be a sigh and relief for them to think about this deal at last coming to fruition. Note I have no issue with "this aspect" of the Dart deal – just the process of excluding the people from the legislation of massive deals, I think, is not "people-democracy" and sets a bad precedent for the opposition party to follow. 

    By the way, may I suggest that the local Christian ministers that received the millions of tax-payer's dollars from UDP, at least publicly honor their traditional Christian values by purchasing the Christmas lights. Just food for thought.

    • R.U. Kidden says:

      The Christian ministers purchase the lights??    Libertarian, what have you been smoking?

    • Anonymous says:

      I heard CUC did well this financial year.  Perhaps its shareholds could illuminate GT with Chirstmas lights and also foot the bill?

  19. Anonymous says:

    I was there last week and saw the decorations around the island. Many are undoubtedly amateur but frankly it was refreshing and charming in most cases, and just as heartwarming as most of the commercialized efforts on the roundabouts.

  20. Knot S Smart says:

    Good post Nick…

    Unfortunately the UDP Govt has caused our economic status to go from 'broke' to 'broken'.