The bubble has burst

| 21/07/2009

Our Government has borrowed $190 million to make up for this year’s shortfall in Public Revenue. It’s a useful stopgap measure, but it won’t last long – and it probably can’t be repeated. Borrowed money has to be repaid, and government is already up to its neck in debt-repayment obligations.

Public Revenue may never again be as high as it was last year – except in devalued currency, which is a topic for another day. Our bubble has burst, and the boom may be gone forever. Our new rulers have inherited a bloated government payroll, counting all the various bloated agencies, bloated corporations and bloated departments. At least a hundred million dollars are paid to employees each year in unnecessary posts created to service the politics of vanity.

For year after year, until a few months ago, Public Revenue provided far more money than was needed for essential government services. The excess was regularly frittered away on empire-building, to the point where one must question the basic capabilities of those individuals who strive for authority over this little borough. Can we afford to keep electing mere populists, time after time?

Self-indulgence has been the norm. Financial prudence was dismissed as unsuitable for the richest islands in the region. Like some crazed lottery-winner, the custodians of the Public Purse adopted the philosophy of “Spend, spend, spend”. Not any more. Will next year’s Public Revenue – and the following year’s, and the one after that’s – provide enough to service our Public Debt, after paying for all government operations? Enough to keep giving free medical care to all government workers and their families till death do them part? Enough to pay the staggeringly generous Civil Service and MLAs’ pensions for the rest of the pensioners’ lives and their spouses’?

Three options

Until the last few years, government pensioners made no contributions at all towards their own pensions. There wasn’t even a Pensions Fund. The pensions were unfunded – secured only by promises to pay them out of each year’s Public Revenue. In effect, new pensioners were (and are) paid from the contributions of the current crop of taxpayers. Such a scheme can only stay alive while an economy is expanding. Like any Ponzi scheme, it is doomed the minute the economy begins to shrink.

Now, our economy is shrinking, and so is the likelihood that the promises can be kept. Lawyers may argue that the promises are not binding; accountants know very well that they should have been included in the Public Debt figures anyway, and properly provided for. In this situation, our rulers’ choices are limited to three options, each of which is a vote-loser.

1) Cut some Civil Service pensions and medical benefits, in order to free up money for normal operating expenses.
2) Fire some employees. (About two thirds of current Public Expenditure goes on wages and benefits.)
3) Raise taxes and user-fees.

Increasing the tax burden is the worst of the three because that would shrink the economy even further as well as raise prices for all local consumers. So that should be pretty much a non-starter. A major factor is the reluctance of our politicians to grasp the other two nettles. They won’t accept that the current reach of our government has become hugely over-extended, and that some programs just can’t be maintained. They seem to believe that the boom times will be back very soon and that the trend of Public Revenues will revert to the norm of the past decades, so that there will be no need for prudence ever again.

Boondoggles

But it’s not likely to happen. Instead, they have to cut their expenditure – no ifs, ands or buts. It’s just a matter of where it’s cut, how much is cut, and who is fired. We are faced with political triage. Some voters might want to start by eliminating some of the smaller inessential programs. The work of the Investment Bureau and Government Information Service could be done far cheaper by the private sector, and better. Pageants and festivals could be organized by volunteers, as they used to be.

Freedom of Information and Human Rights are wonderful dreams, but in the absence of any political commitment from either Cayman or London there is no point in spending any money on them. Some voters might prefer to tackle some of the large and inessential bureaucracies first. If the state’s payroll has to be cut by a thousand or so in order to balance the budget, there just aren’t enough small programs to make a significant difference.

There is no good reason for government to spend money on advertising Cayman’s tourism facilities. The private sector can do it better and cheaper. The Department of Tourism and its agencies are plain old boondoggles. The whole empire should come off government’s books, including Cayman Airways. The Turtle Farm and Pedro’s Castle are also parts of the DOT empire. There is no good economic reason for them to be owned by government, or for a penny of Public Revenue to be spent on salaries, pensions and medical benefits for the people who work there.

Our government can’t pay for all its present commitments unless Public Revenue miraculously recovers to its boom levels; and unless US tourists suddenly recover their confidence in their own fortunes; and unless the high-tax nations suddenly abandon their war against tax-havens.

Until that day comes, if it ever does, our rulers must cut their coat according to their cloth. This is one crisis they are not going to be able to muddle through.

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Comments (69)

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  1. Expansion says:

    On the subject of the last substantive post.  There are two obvious ways to expand the economy. Firstly remove labor restrictions which make it so difficult to bring in new staff and secondly remove the need for 60% local ownership of local businesses.  Both of these rules were luxuries of more affluent times.  They are harming the economy today.  Protectionists may cling to them, but protectionists harm economies in time of recession by failing to understand that an economy is not a zero sum concept.  Bring in new businesses, bring in new staff and give the economy the chance to grow.

    An example – in order to maintain hedge fund work here, many commentators have suggested providing more on island functions for the fund to confirm its Cayman identity.  But the costs and red tape associated with this are stopping new jobs being created on island.  A new start up with 10 employees, 1 of whom is Caymanian is better than no business at all.

  2. Yates says:

    I believe Barlow is indeed a racist, his comments towards Caymanians or African Americans in general goes way beyond limits.  He goes too far with his biotry and he needs to be stop.   I read alot of his post in the past, one particular one on CNS(Cayman Net News) that caught my eye, I was like this man do have some nerves to be talking like that about anyone.  How can Caymanians sit here and praise a man like him with that kind of character who discriminate against them.  

    Barlow for one  thinks that Caymanians are lazy in the workfield

    Barlow for one thinks Expat should stop complaining

      Barlow, you need to take a seat back and stop your complaints for you are worst than the little boy who cried wolf.   We as Caymanians are sick and tired of your racist hints and we are not going to tolerate it anymore.

  3. Anonymous says:
    It is hard for me to understand all the carping about personalities, when the real problem is deterioration of the Cayman economy. 
     
    Obviously, our economy is contracting. Business income is shrinking and workers are being paid less, so Government income is falling.
    Many businesses are cutting back or even closing. 
     
    So, what we need are practical suggestions on how to expand our economy 
     
    Here is one which I think has a great deal of merit. Bring in more retirees. 
     
    Cayman is a country which is very attractive to retirees. It has a warm climate,
    a modern infrastructure, reasonable cost of living, low taxes, educated people, natural beauty, and is English speaking.
     
    What more could a retiree ask for? 
     
    And retirees are much better for our economy than stay over visitors.
     
    Retirees bring in money year after year and spend it on goods and services. This is exactly what we need to provide more real jobs, expand the wealth, and pay for government.  The national debt divided among more people makes the burden less for everyone
    Perhaps part of the tourism budget could be spent to attract qualified retirees. Retired professionals probably would be the most helpful, because many of them would be active and contribute to Cayman organizations.
     
    Grand Cayman has plenty of land for retirees to occupy, along the North coast, East coast, most of the South coast, and the interior. 
     
    Cayman’s economy arose out of mosquito infested swamps and great hardships to what it is today. 
     
    Now we have a lot to offer retirees and it would be a tragedy to allow this to deteriorate because
    some Caymanians are reluctant to share what we have.  
     
    So, it is up to us to choose the way forward. And the stakes are greater than ever.

     

  4. Gordon Absolved! says:

    Gordon, well done!  Despite some horrible, horrible things being said about you on this topic and elsewhere, those rude poeple who hate free speech have not quoted a single piece of your voluminous work to support the nasty things they have said about you.  It just confirms what we already know: they don’t like some home truths or criticisms and resort to name calling because it is the easier, lazier option.  I found their "I can’t be bothered looking up examples" approach at the end really hilarious.

    So please, please, keep it up.  We appreicate your views and agree with many of them even if we are to scared by the threats or bullied by our employers into silence.

    • Anonymous says:

      Interesting to find what an Englishman (Alistair Budd) thought of GB’s rants (Cayman Net News 19.2.08). Seems its not just those horrible Caymanians that find him racist.  

      "If Mr Barlow’s article on “The two tribes of Cayman” is anything to go by the standards of your publication then I am not surprised you suspended your comments.

      His deeply offensive racist piffle and historical fantasies would be enough to get him arrested and charged in England under the Race Relations Act for incitement.

      It would take too long to criticise him thoroughly but perhaps you could ask him why he only thinks the white Rhodesians were British, since large numbers were descended from South African Boers, and my black Zimbabwean wife objects to the implication she is not British because she is black.

      Perhaps you could inform Mr Barlow that his ideas about tribe echo some of the more phantasmagorical propaganda of Mr Mugabe’s mouthpiece, the Zimbabwean Herald (accessible on the Internet), so is this white racist getting his ideas from a black racist?

      Or is he one of Mr Mugabe’s more intricate plots to make white people look stupid, bigoted and ignorant, so that he can whip up race hate against white people using Mr Barlow as an example?

      In his ideas on immigration I was just waiting for him to suggest forcible contraception or sterilisation against Filipino servants. Because he obviously thinks they are there to work, not have human feelings, nor frailties, let alone reproduce so that their babies would have the same rights as Mr Barlow’s great whatever grandfather’s favourite sex slave on the plantation, perhaps which includes himself in the descendants.

      Or did I forget that the Cayman Islands makes their own children apply for their own rights as a citizen as an adult?

      And if you wish to bump up your circulation, download some Internet porn (gay or straight) and plaster it on page three with enormous breasts and large dongas, instead of trying to start some sort of racial controversy, there are enough of those in the world with fatal results such as Kenya, without trying to start one in the Cayman islands because Mr Barlow believes they are being left out of the world racial murder statistics.

      Which most people would think is a good thing (not having racial violence.)"
       

      • Gordon Barlow says:

        My commentary of Friday 15 February 2008 ("The Tribes of Cayman"), that offended Mr Alistair Budd so much at the time, can be found in the Cayman Net News archives.  I’ve just re-read it, and can’t find anything racist in it.  Quite the contrary: it reads as a sensibly balanced comparison of Cayman’s tribes with Rhodesia’s.  A bit far-fetched, perhaps, and certainly provocative, but nothing to offend anyone with an ounce of common sense.  I remember wondering at the time what got Mr Budd’s knickers in such a twist.

        Mr Anonymous (the one posting at Monday 18.45, that is) is grasping at straws.  Still, it’s good to know he is apparently digging through all my columns of the past few years; though I guess it’s too much to hope that he do so with an open mind.  I invite everybody else to dig through them too, beginning with this one about Rhodesia. You may find it instructive.

         

        • Anonymous says:

          Why is that such diverse people find you equally offensive, Gordon? Why, having read your  articles, do they think you are a racist? You obviously cannot dismiss the Englishman as a member of the"tribe" that you despise so much who is just being defensive.  Do you really think you can just brush them off as "idiots" or having "no commonsense"?  Why is it that those who support you are evidently embittered and have an axe to grind? I have yet to read an article of yours that is "sensibly balanced". There are always the distortions that reflect a warped perspective. Usually there is actually a grain of truth in what you say, but you exaggerate it to such a degree and deliver it with such invective that the point becomes lost and the result is that you really irritate folk. You may think it is "provocative" but you do not stimulate debate. Instead, rather like Rush Limbaugh, you only polarize and entrench others in their positions.  Those who harbour resentments against Cayman and Caymanians hail you as hero for their cause, while for Caymanians you are the posterchild for the rollover policy. Let me spell it out for you: you are not being constructive. I hope you will reflect on this. 

           

  5. Gordon Barlow says:

    The poster at 10.52 is quite right, that we should be addressing the topic of this essay, not who wrote it.  However, I can’t let any charge of racism pass by default.  My tormentors below began their harassment several years ago when I publicly challenged government policy in respect of 1) the exploitation of Jamaican domestic servants and 2) the harsh treatment of Cuban boat-people.  I accused the authorities of racism then, and some idiots simply flipped the word back at me.  Such is life.
     
    To stunted minds, any defence of foreigners isanti-Caymanian, signing one’s name is arrogance, and criticising tribalist policies is racism.
     
    Long-term residents will be familiar with all this.  Newer ones might want to check earlier writings of mine to see if there is any truth in the charge.  There is plenty of writing to check.  The archives of "Cayman Net News" contain three years of my regular Friday column, and several Letters to the Editor from before that started.  The National Archives has copies of "The New Caymanian" from 1990-1995 that carried regular columns.  The Vision-2008 archives should have all the Minutes and memos of mine from the Immigration and Open Government Committees.  The Human Rights Committee’s files have many memos of mine on relevant topics, and Cayman News Service’s archives have thirty essays I wrote on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights a few years ago.  I have copies of most of those things, if other searches fail.  I even have a video of a 2001 TV panel discussion on Freedom of Speech, which is a wonderful example of what some idiots thought of that particular concept.  You can imagine!
     
    My life as a political pariah actually began in the late 1980s when I wrote and produced the Chamber of Commerce’s newsletters, labelled "seditious" by some senior members of the Government of the day.  Indeed, the Chamber itself was denounced as "a seditious organisation" in the Legislative Assembly.  So today’s lies and slanders have their origins in some pretty high-level precedents.
     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      It is easy to dismiss racism as "petty" and "irrelevant" until it affects you personally, young Caymanian.  If you believe has nothing to do with you, you are quite mistaken.

      Mr. Barlow (who is little more than a misguided crank) like Don Quixote genuinely believes that the windmills are giants. Strong rebukes to his rantings are regarded as proof of his persecution and only add to his delusions of importance.   

      • Sancho Panza says:

        "Strong rebukes to his rantings": where are these strong rebukes?  All that has appeared here has been some really terrible name calling and insults without any specific examples to back it up.  If saying the status quo is sometimes wrong is the equilvalent of racism, then I am a racist.  But it isn’t and I am not.

        • Anonymous says:

          Mr. Barlow’s writings are replete with examples of his anti-Caymanian bigotry and there have been a number of strong rebukes. For Mr. Barlow, anyone (i.e. any self-respecting Caymanian) who disagrees is an "idiot" or "stunted mentally". Mr. Barlow is only concerned about the status quo if change would be to the benefit of expatriates. Our interests, like that of the Aborigines, do not matter. He refuses to accept that Caymanians can have any legitimate grievances about their treatment in the workplace at the hands of expatriates.  Instead, lack of progress must be attributable to Caymanian ineptitude or lack of exposure. This conclusion is not surprising if you consider his premiss that we are all idiots.  B/T/W Sancho’s role is to try to help Don Quixote overcome his delusions, not give them credence.       

          • Sancho Panza says:

            "replete with examples of his anti-Caymanian bigotry" just gives us an example.  Not one of Gordon’s knockers has given any quote to back up their insults. 

            • Anonymous says:

              Sancho,

              The post described examples of his bigotry. I have better things to do than trawl through Gordon Barlow’s ramblings to copy and paste actual quotes, and again it only inflates his ego. You are just being silly.    

               

              • anoin says:

                Fantastic! youare accusing racism, then refusing to show any evidence because you can’t be bothered!

                Do you work for the police?

              • Sancho Panza says:

                Wow, hear that noise?  I think it is the scraping of barrels.  Apparently the reason we don’t have examples of this alleged racism is because the writers making these accusations "can’t be bovvered". 

                Or is it because there aren’t any and rather it is really that the accusatory posters that are hyper-sensitive to those who hold views different from their own?  I think there are words for that: bigot, prejudiced and hypocritical.  Yes those are words for that.

                Just one wafer thin quote.  Just one.  Go on.  Go on, go on, go on.

                (Thanks go to Catherine Tate, Monty Python and Father Ted.)

                 

                • Anonymous says:

                  You have been given examples of racism in a previous post.  You will find all the support in practically all of Barlow’s writings. You will not goad me into giving him undue importance by re-reading and posting his garbage. Had Barlow been in the U.S. and made similar statements about African Americans as he has about Caymanians there is no doubt whatsover that he would be regarded by the mainstream as a racist.  

                  I guess all of us self-respecting Caymanians are "hypersensitive". You will find that his real support lies among disaffected expats and so-called Caymanians having an identity crisis. 

                  Incidentally, he is himself prone to name-calling on the basis of little or no evidence.  

                  Sancho dsapproves of name-calling without actual supporting quotes and then proceeds to name-call ("bigot, prejudiced, hyprocritical") on no basis whatsoever simply because they disagree. Rather like Barlow. Sancho, those are choice words that you should apply to yourself given your double-standard.  

                  End of Story.

                  • Anonymous says:

                    To: Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/12/2009 – 09:20.

                    Well said. I fully concur with your comments and had added an earlier post several days ago, echoing the same sentiments.  However, I fear you are not going to get anywhere with Sancho, GB and those cut from that type of cloth. They are wilfully blind and unwilling to listen.

                    Nonetheless, it was important to me, as a Caymanian, to publicly show my support your post and reaffirm that I, along with many more, share your opinion of Gordon Barlow and his racist "writing"/ranting.

                     

                    • Sancho Panza says:

                      Well you might get somewhere with me if you could give any examples of Gordon Barlow written racist comments like you allege.  But despite the challenge you have come up empty handed.  Yes he writes things that may be provocative.  But that is not racism.  I just asked for some shred of evidence to back up serious allegations – the responses to date along the lines "well because he is" and the classically five year old "end of story" leave me with the sense that there really is nothing to these allegations.  Rather, it is because you don’t like what GB has to say you label him a racist because this label is much easier to bandy around than actual engage in discourse or debate with the man. 

                    • Anonymous says:

                      Sancho is just playing dumb (nobody could be that dense). It has obviously not been left at "well because he is". The nature of his racist comments have been clearly described here and elsewhere and should have left you with a clear sense that there is a great deal of substance to the allegations. However, you choose to ignore them. As for any debate with either you orBarlow I recognize the wisdom of Proverbs 18:6 and 26:4.  

                    • Sancho Panza says:

                      I remember being taught in rhetoric lessons at high school that when you quote the Bible or Hitler you have lost the debate.

                    • Anonymous says:

                      We are not having a debate for the reason already explained. I am taking a principled stand and explaining the basis of my principle.

                      Your statement only shows ignorant anti-religious bias particularly by making absurd comparisons with Hitler.  

                    • Anonymous says:

                      "Principled stand" = "I cannot identify any basis whatsoever to make these statements"  I don’t think the statement reflected any anti-religious bias, as if you had read and understood the comment there was no "comparison" with Hitler made by the writer.  Rather the point was that experience tends to show that biblical quotes, like references to what Hitler did, are the last resort of one who is on the losing side of a dispute and such quotes do not advance the points of difference any further.  Reviewing your comments, it seems that boil down to the fact that you do not like what Gordon Barlow says and rather than show why you disagree, you lazily brand him a racist without being able to show any quote to support that point.  A fantastic principled stand.  Bravo!

                    • Anonymous says:

                      "I don’t think the statement reflected any anti-religious bias"

                      Then you are beyond all hope since you are wilfully blind.  That is plain for anyone with even a modicum of intelligence to see and probably helps explain why you and Don Quixote are so anti-Caymanian.  

                      As I have already pointed several times I have already explained the basis of my statements. You have chosen to ignore the explanations. Apparently you think this is deft rhetorical move.

                      BTW the only thing that people like you and Don Quixote achieve by trying to demonise Caymanians and not acknowledging our legitimate grievances is to turn a divide between Caymanians and expats into a chasm.       

                    • Anonymous says:

                      Sancho you say "you label him a racist because this label is much easier to bandy around than actual engage in discourse or debate with the man."

                      I actually have, in both a professional and personal capacity, having had no preconceived ideas of him – and it was a dead end. Barlow disappointed me with his lack of actual knowledge on the topics he wished to speak about and offended me with his racist and bigoted Anti Cayman statements and opinions. 

                    • Anonymous says:

                      Thanks for the support.

  6. Anonymous says:

    WHAT?!!!

    HERE, MUST WE WAISTE OUR TIME, PUTTING PEOPLE DOWN AND ATTACKING PEOPLE’S CHARACTERS???

    OUR ECONOMY IS AT STAKE!

    PEOPLE, AT LEAST COMMENT ON SOMETHING THAT WILL HELP OUR ECONOMY!

    I AM AYOUNG CAYMANIAN… SO WHAT IF THE MAN IS A RACIST!  HE COULD BE THE KKK FOR ALL I CARE. THAT IS IMMATERIAL TO ME!

    WHAT SHOULD BE AT THE FOREFRONT OF ALL OF OUR ISSUES IS THE ECONOMY!!!

    TO THE FIRST COMMENTER… STOP THIS WAISTE OF TIME ON "PETTY" ISSUES THAT ARE NOT OF TOP PRIORITY!  LOOK AT THE VANITY OF COMMENTS YOU HAVE CREATE!

    AND OUR ECONOMY IS AT STAKE!

    SHAME ON YOU!

  7. Anonymous says:

    To those who wish to voice support for GB and are so determined to pretend not to be aware of why GB is called ‘racist’ – go and read (or reread) his weekly "column" on Net News and previous letters to Compass.

    This anti-Cayman, hateful and unconstructive campain by Barlow has been going on for atleast 15 years.

    As far as I know, there have been several newspaper editorials and letters to the Editor in angry response and defence, including from Olivaire Watler, Steve McField, Desmond Seales to name a few. 

    Barlow was also publicly kicked off the HRC which is chuck full of liberal expats. Even they couldn’t tolerate his bigotry, and I dont know that they are any friend to Cayman.  

    Maybe you just got here and don’t know the whole score, but it would serve you to get all your facts BEFORE commenting or castigating anyone.

    • Anonymous says:

      I read Gordon’s column and have done so for years.  It is thought provoking.  Columnists are always seeking to challenge in their columns, see the fine works of James Bodden III.   But just because GB annoys people who have much to gain by maintaining the status quo does not mean he is a racist.  His right of free speech must include the right to annoy, otherwise the right is meaningless.  Being racist is something completely different and what is clear from the absence of any substantive response on this topic, that there is no basis for these terrible allegations.  GB is braver than many.  The Cayman Islands should be proud of him for his bravery. 

      Just one example of the alleged racism.  That was all that someone asked for.  Still none have been given.  Repeatng an allegation 20 times does not make it true.  

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ever wonder what happens when you cross a keyboard with 62 IQ points out looking for something to do?

    "Whomever here is laughing at the vocal ignorant minority that call in the radio shows: you and GB are the flip side of that – the vocal minority anti-Cayman parasitic expat. So you have no room"

    • Euclid says:

      Yip, just what I thought too, apparently the logic of this post is that laughing at narrow minded racist bigots means you are a narrow minded racist bigot. 

      I really liked the added frisson of the "go back to where you came from" approach, reminiscent of the "go back to Mexico" approach of certain racist and insecure Americans and the "go back to Poland" approach of certain racist and insecure Englishmen.

      Really, once someone asked for specific quotes to back up the terrible allegations that GB was racist, rather than giving a quote or two, the anti-GB posters on the board just resorted to even more generalisations and name-calling.

      • Anonymous says:

         Really, once someone asked for specific quotes to back up the terrible allegations that GB was racist, rather than giving a quote or two, the anti-GB posters on the board just resorted to even more generalisations and name-calling.

        Welcome to the have-nots of the cayman islands.  The first time you experience it it is surprising.  Soon you will realize that no matter what the subject matter, what starts off as an interesting exchange of views invariably is quickly taken over by the jealous, ignorant, hubris of those who have an unshakable belief that they have a birth right superior to the expat but are unable to express any sentiment above base insult.  If they had the ability to actually provide the quote or two to demonstrate their baseless insults, they would not be making the insults in the first place.  Of course they cannot demonstrate any justification to their position by reference to hard evidence, so they are left with the only sentiment they can muster: "go home".  If it were not so sad it would be funny.  But for the fact that these people are in the vast minority they would, in any civilized country, be condemned for oppression and possibly tried for inciting racial hatred.  But, this is Cayman, and racial hatred is all that the have-not caymanians have, so we will not take that from them….. yet.

        • Anonymous says:

          20:09 thanks for expressing so succintly the frustration I have felt from having years of racist insults thrown at me by the most mediocre sections of the otherwise ordinary people of this territory.  I use ordinary in the sense that I see everyone around the world as the same, not as an insult.  It is this angry underclass, who blame their position in society on foreigners that unfairly give Caymanians a bad reputation.  From the inept spelling, bad grammar etc so prevalent on the posts of these people, it is clear that it is their lack of intelligence or failure to study which has left them in a place where they are so angry.  These are also the people who now blame everything on either the PPM or the UDP.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Sounds to me like all you expats writing postings in support of GB should get together and charter a one way flight outta here pronto! It’s your kind with your attitudes that will continue to be resented by Caymanians! Listen to yourselves! You have no use for Caymanians or Cayman…..take a ride outta here – it has got to be more pleasureable for you all to be residing someplace else!! After all it seems like Cayman and its people are a waste of your time….please go find some other Country and people to ‘fix’….like perhaps your own!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Whomever here is laughing at the vocal ignorant minority that call in the radio shows: you and GB are the flip side of that – the vocal minority anti-Cayman parasitic expat.

     So you have no room

  11. Simon Schama-Ebanks says:

    ""You should be REQUIRED to make an effort to learn something about our history and culture." 

    HISTORY – The place was a god forsaken mosquito ridden swamp and then tourism and financial services, driven by off-island investment and assisted by both local and foreign workers provided the economic growth to allow the islands to develop.  The independence of Jamaica in 1962 led indirectly to the development of the concept of "Caymanian", and the hitherto relatively unknown and unused idenitifier within the population became a concept which has now led to a wholesale revision of the history of the Cayman Islands and the perception that foreigners are the cause of all problems.

    CULTURE – None.  Unless you like the music of the Cayman Cowboy.  So as I said, none.  Or unless you classify addictive religiosity and crushing xenophobia with concomitant feelings of superiority as culture (as opposed to a rather worrying psychological diagnosis).

    There  11:42, who needs 15 minutes when 90 seconds will do?  You could read "Founded Upon The Seas" like I did but unless detailed discussions on land title registration reforms is your cup of tea the precis above should suffice,

    • Anonymous says:

      "The independence of Jamaica in 1962 led indirectly to the development of the concept of "Caymanian", and the hitherto relatively unknown and unused idenitifier within the population became a concept which has now led to a wholesale revision of the history of the Cayman Islands and the perception that foreigners are the cause of all problems".

      Don’t talk nonsense, Simon. The concept of Caymanians did not arise with the independence of Jamaica in 1962. Even when we were constitutionally a dependency of Jamaica we were a very distinct society with our own customs and always distinguished from Jamaica. Often Caymanians who went to Jamaica in search of work were called insulting names and treated poorly. Sound familiar?

      Interestingly, we did not become a dependency of Jamaica until 1863  by which time permanent settlements had been here for a period between 130 and 190 years. Indeed you should be required to learn something about our history and culture. I see no evidence from what you have written that you have actually read Founded Upon the Seas. I cannot be bothered to respond to the rest of the drivel you have written.

  12. R-E-S-P-E-C-T G-B! says:

    Gordon,

    I am glad that record shows that in the last couple of days since the challenge was made, not one of those offensive posters who accused you of racism could provide any quote to sustain their apparently  baseless allegations.

    "Sorry Gordon Barlow, but you have been so insulting and disrespectful to Caymanians over the years that at this point we are not interested in any thought provoking articles you may write."  That is about as good as it got.  You dared be "disrespectful". 

    Well I am disrespectful of homophobia, I am disrepectful of religious bigotry and fundamentalism, I am disrespectful of racism and treating a man differently because of where he was born and I am disrespectful of secretly reporting allegations to immigration in the manner of George Orwell-meets- the-Stasi.  I know not all Caymanians exhibit these tendencies.  I know most Caymanians I have met are people I am glad to have met.  But from my time on this island I know these traits are rife and cancerous- just read the postings on this website or listen to Rooster’s Morning Rant Brigade (I listen for a laugh) – the tendencies are most prevalent among the mediocre with a chip on their shoulder that they could never advance in the world because of their personal limitations and instead takeit out on those who have suceeded – alas a sizeable or at most a vocal group within the local population.

    Keep it up GB!

  13. Anonymous says:

    "You should be REQUIRED to make an effort to learn something about   . . .  about our history and culture."  I am happy to do that – I have a spare 15 minutes.

  14. Anonymous says:

    "My two most recent contributions to this Viewpoint section have been this one ("The Bubble…") and one published on 9th June ("Recession…") – both on financial matters.  They were intended to provoke one or two thoughtful comments." Sorry Gordon Barlow, but you have been so insulting and disrespectful to Caymanians over the years that at this point we are not interested in any thought provoking articles you may write.  You have provoked us consistently over the years and our only thoughts now are that you are terribly miserable here so you should just pack up and leave! And don’t kid yourself into thinking it’s only two or three feeling this way and writing postings against you…..I personally am not aware of anyone within my wide reach of Caymanian family and friends who support you in any way! Get over yourself please!

  15. Anonymous says:

    "to get to live permanently here will be a thing of the past, and period of tenure and a clean criminal record will suffice."
     

    Why do you believe that is all you need to be ENTITLED to residency here?? You should be REQUIRED to make an effort to learn something about the place and make an effort to assimilate with the locals and learn about our history and culture.

    At present, expats are able i f they so choose, to not have to interact with Caymanians or be exposed to any part of Caribbean culture – just simply frequent places and only hang out with their own countrymen.

    I know only of a handful of expats who make an effort to get to know the place or its people, or try local food and attend local events. But the ones, like you, who isolate yourselves and bask in your perceived ‘superiority’ over the locals are always the first to beat down immigration door for residency! Go figure.

    No wonder the Caymanians are resentful! 

  16. Anonymous says:

    "He, and any of his fellow nazis, need a major attitude adjustment and learn to be more respectful of the natives of your host country. Feel free to disagree – just do so in a respectful, cordial and fair manner."

    So what exactly is respectful, cordial and fair in describing GB (or anyone else that might agree with some of the points he makes), as a Nazi? That’s pretty insulting whichever way you look at it. I don’t see him dropping insults like that, even reading between the lines of his many utterings over the years.

    He has a point of view, and that’s it. Free speech is getting a foothold in Cayman and it’s partly down to GB.

  17. Anonymous says:

    "Anonymity for immigrants on this forum is understandable and prudent.  They will have gotten that message loud and clear from some of the poison below, if they didn’t get it before."  Here here.  It only took one proposed public meeting of immigrants to discuss their rights (heaven forbid!) to bring out the worst racism of the morning phone-in brigade.   Thankfully with the new constitution the days of the need to be supplicant and silent to get to live permanently here will be a thing of the past, and period of tenure and a clean criminal record will suffice.

    Keep it up Gordon. 

  18. Gordon Barlow says:

    Anonymous personal abuse is with us again.  I think it’s just two or three individuals submitting all the postings.  I can probably guess who they are; they do the same thing on radio phone-ins.  Ah well, without the Internet they would still be scribbling witless obscenities on the walls of bus shelters.  We should be grateful…
     
    As a critic of some government policies, I have for years attracted personal abuse from a few idiots who are obsessed by my stubborn refusal to obey their orders to leave Cayman.  It seems not to occur to them that I would have been forced out long ago were it not for the support of a great many decent native Caymanians.  I might not have wanted to stay, were it not for their encouragement through thick and thin.  They are embarrassed by the foul-mouthed rantings of the psychotics, and they regularly urge me to keep writing, so that the tattered flag of free speech is kept flying in Cayman.  This I will do.
     
    Anonymity for immigrants on this forum is understandable and prudent.  They will have gotten that message loud and clear from some of the poison below, if theydidn’t get it before.  Anonymity for native Caymanians too is prudent, much of the time.  They too have reason to fear offending the ranters.  Anonymity as a shelter from which to launch gratuitous personal insults is something else again, though.
     
    My two most recent contributions to this Viewpoint section have been this one ("The Bubble…") and one published on 9th June ("Recession…") – both on financial matters.  They were intended to provoke one or two thoughtful comments.  The savage personal abuse has absolutely no connection with the topics.  Indeed, I expect it actively discouraged comment.  Not everybody wants his observations on how to cope with recessions to be overshadowed by hysterical yelps from Cayman’s lunatic fringe.
     
    Give us a break, fellows.  Back to the bus shelters for a while, eh?

     

  19. Anonymous says:

    "Gordon Barlow is abusive and racist to Caymanians"  – you cannot make such an allegation without citing concrete examples.  I read GB challenging the perceived status quo in Cayman, nothing more, nothing less.  So quote any of his extensive writings which are "racist".  It is is strong term, I hope you can back it up.

  20. Anonymous says:

    "We also appreciate your bravery in speaking up in the face of abuse which is often racism, pure and simple."

    Ironically, Gordon Barlow is abusive and racist to Caymanians. Those of you who are praising him for doing so and share his views are just as bad as he is and must share his dismissal as a bigoted, unhappy little twerp.

    It is not a matter of only wanting to hear praises: GB is openly hostile and racist – and does not even attempt to achieve any balance or sensibility in his rantings. He, and any of his fellow nazis, need a major attitude adjustment and learn to be more respectful of the natives of your host country. 

    Feel free to disagree – just do so in a respectful, cordial and fair manner. Not an unreasonable request. However, you are so cossetted in your racism that you cannot see past your hatefulness and interpret any criticism returned to you – as censorship.

     

  21. Anonymous says:

    Gordon, as usual, you are the voice saying what many of us believe to eb true.  Many here are so cossetted that they cannot listen to anything other than words saying how wonderful they are.  We also appreciate your bravery in speaking up in the face of abuse which is often racism, pure and simple.  So thank you and keep it up.

    • Anonymous says:

       Many here are so cossetted that they cannot listen to anything other than words saying how wonderful they are.  We also appreciate your bravery in speaking up in the face of abuse which is often racism, pure and simple.  So thank you and keep it up.

      Seconded.  Thanks Gordon.

  22. Anonymous says:

    "What ever happened to the  " Persona-Non-Grata "  provision in the old Caymanian Protection Law?  It seems that anyone can come here theses days and be incendiary!"  Under the new constitution the basis to refuse status to long term residents which be much more limited than the rules which exist at present.

  23. Anonymous says:

    What ever happened to the  " Persona-Non-Grata "  provision in the old Caymanian Protection Law?  It seems that anyone can come here theses days and be incendiary!

    • Anonymous says:

      The Joke

      The Joke is that Gordon – who has nothing good to say about Caymanians and Cayman (seemingly forced to be here by the FCO) starts this article by referring to "our Government":

      "Our Government has borrowed $190 million to make up for this year’s shortfall in Public Revenue."

      WoW!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Submitted by anoin (not verified) on Fri, 07/31/2009 – 11:05.

    Anoin – youare just as your name sounds – annoying.

    why are you attacking other posters because they dont share your opinion. Both or all of you should just agree to disagree.

  25. Anonymous says:

    "So naturally I am repeating GB’s comment, LOL"

    Let me spell this out for you then:

    that was neither a constructive or positive suggestion to make a empty, sweeping general comment "private sector can do better, government should not be advertising".   As I explained, it is illconceived and monumentally naive – for all of the reasons outlined to you in clear, simple detail.

    I would ask you to leave off the stupid pie, seeing as you have had more than your fair share – but it sounds as though you could get lost in a phone booth.

     

  26. anoin says:

    Sadly, you are just repeating Gordon Barlow’s naive sentiments

    Do you actually read? I was responding to where it was requested "Identify ONE single constructive or positive suggestion from Gordon Barlow!"

    So naturally I am repeating GB’s comment, LOL

    You are too funny, school’s just not what it was, and maybe leave off the easy pie, what with the obesity rate being so high in this country

  27. Anonymous says:

    There is no good reason for government to spend money on advertising Cayman’s tourism facilities. The private sector can do it better and cheaper. " Took me less than 10 seconds to find one LOL, if actually spent the time reading the message rather that doing your best to insult the messager then Cayman would be a far better place.

    Sadly, you are just repeating Gordon Barlow’s naive sentiments, without anyfurther analysis of whether it is correct or not. There is a simple, practical logic to it.

    Whether you – or Gordon Barlow – agree with it or not –  the governments tourism adverts is in line with same ad programmes we see for other destimations  – Bahamas, Jamaica, St. Vincent, Costa Rica, BVI, Puerto Rico to name a few. 

    Without a cohesive ad campaign from the private sector, the government has a vested interest in promoting the country as a destination.  Individual private companies will spend $ advertising in their specific business – i.e. destination weddings, hotel etc.   Government has significant bargaiing power that an individual private company.

    Alternatively, government could give funds to a local tourism body to do ads. But if they did without creative control or reporting – that would be another pile of complaining.  So they do it themselves.

    Easy as pie. Clear as day. Yet still your stupidity persists. Sad.

  28. anonymous says:

    "Anyway Gordon, welcome to Submitted by M (not verified) on Tue, 07/28/2009 – 13:04."  

  29. anoin says:

    Identify ONE single constructive or positive suggestion from Gordon Barlow!

    "There is no good reason for government to spend money on advertising Cayman’s tourism facilities. The private sector can do it better and cheaper. "

    Took me less than 10 seconds to find one LOL, if actually spent the time reading the message rather that doing your best to insult the messager then Cayman would be a far better place.

  30. Anonymous says:

    "at least make some constructive suggestions to help Cayman like Gordon" – Gordon Barlow in the history of the 30 years since he had problems getting status he has been on a anti-Caymanian, anti-Cayman hate fest of incessant and unconstructive complaining and criticizing.  Identify ONE single constructive or positive suggestion from Gordon Barlow!

    My MOST constructive suggestion, which I stand beside 100% – is that Gordon Barlow SHUT UP

  31. anonymous says:

     "I made a fantastic living in my own coutnry, but liked the prospect of experiencing life in a different part of the world, still earning a lot of money and working less hard."  JOKE JOKE….thanks for da joke!

  32. Not enough says:

     

    "I am at a lost as to why someone who knows so much was unable to make a living within their own country."  What a pathetic comment.  I made a fantastic living in my own coutnry, but liked the prospect of experiencing life in a different part of the world, still earning a lot of money and working less hard.  So I am here, pocketing a good wage with the knowledge that in a couple of years I will return to the real world and continue my career. 

  33. Anonymous says:

    Add Finance and Economics to the looong list of topics that Gordon Barlow knows nothing about. lol

    "it is better to be silent and risk being thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt"

    • Anonymous says:

      I am at a lost as to why someone who knows so much was unable to make a living within their own country.

      Anyway Gordon, welcome to Cayman where we – like America – welcome all persons from around the world to make a living and criticize us all day.

      • M says:

         "Anyway Gordon, welcome to Cayman where we – like America – welcome all persons from around the world to make a living and criticize us all day."

        You have failed to distinguish between constructive criticism / suggestion vs non-constructive criticism.  Gordon’s is the former; yours is the latter.  You can tell because Gordon’s suggestions and statements gives a person something to think about, maybe even (dare we hope) use in some way.  Your criticism however is utterly useless – just a waste of space.  If you truly had an iota of Cayman’s best interests at heart you would be grateful that there are people like Gordon expending energy on thinking of solutions to fix things that are broken, or even if not broken, make better.  

        Perhaps Gordon should quit trying to help Cayman become better just so that the likes of people like you, who don’t even appreciate much less contribute, can reap the rewards and instead go somewhere where his efforts will be appreciated.  And by the way, that is in fact why America has been successful, thanks to people like Gordon.  Don’t flatter yourself that you are like America because you are not, and you will not get there or even close to it when you give this type of ‘thanks’ to people who try to make a contribution.

        • Anonymous says:

          I totally agree with you M, but while I am in the fray can some true blooded Caymanian please explain to me why is it that a lot of their sisters travel to Miami or any US port of entry and drop off their pickney, is it so that it would have good old us citizenship? I thought Cayman had the ability to deliver babies. Seems its easier for a Caymanian to get citizenship anywhere else than to give an expat status with the right to work.

    • M says:

       "Add Finance and Economics to the looong list of topics that Gordon Barlow knows nothing about."

      If you know any better why don’t you share your superior wisdom, rather than insulting people who are trying to at least make some constructive suggestions to help Cayman.  Your insults are not helping.

  34. deserter says:

     Mi Boy Gordon is Numro Uno when it comes to advice he should be appointed the economic adviser to OT’s BoonDoggles sounds like some where of Mcfield lane

  35. Anonymous says:

    One option Gordon failed to mention, in his excellent article, was the possibility of the Dart Corporation taking control of these islands……

    Sounds lunatic, but they have a vested interest in Cayman remaining successful, solvent and safe in order to ensure growth and development of their various projects.

    They have no desire to see Cayman become impoverished, descend in to a drug smuggling backwater full of gang violence and crime, they want first world standards to attract the investment and wealthy people to live here, they want the population to be healthy, happy and educated to feed the employment that prosperity would bring and for sure, they could probably afford to pay off the national debt and put us back on the road to success.

    One other point of note is that there would be no more nepotism and the government would have to run the country like a business, balance the books and be accountable for once…….

    Just a thought, but no more unrealistic that the nutty proposals the previous government came up with to waste money.

  36. M says:

    I alwaysenjoy reading your posts, they are clear and educational.  Thank you Gordon.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Stick to criticizing Cayman and Caymanians Gordon – your economics and political analysis leaves much to be desired.

    • AnExPat says:

      Gordon is spot on – the Cayman Islands cannot continue onwards with huge ineffecient departments staffed up with hundreds of excess people, borrowing and borrowing to pay for it all.

      The national debt burden will become so big we won’t even be able to repay the interest.

      Look at Jamaica – just servicing the interest on their national debt took over 50% of the GDP of the country – and that was before the current crisis. Imagine taking out a mortgage on a house which costs over 50% of your salary just to pay the interest. Then imagine going into the crisis where your salary drops 20%. It is not hard to see how close Jamaica is to defaulting on its national debt obligations.

      ARE WE REALLY GOING TO LET CAYMAN GO THE SAME WAY?