A whiff of independence?

| 19/01/2010

Most politicians in the Cayman Islands, with the exception of Ezzard Miller, have generally refrained from offering full support to the idea of shaking off the UK’s colonial chains. However, the premier came very close on Friday to suggesting that it might not be a bad idea.

For him to come right out and say that the United Democratic Party is taking the policy position of independence very much sooner rather than later is, probably, a step too far but there can be no doubt in the mind of anyone who attended the governor’s reception on Friday evening that McKeeva Bush likes the idea of not having anyone around from ‘Her Majesty’s’ government interfering in his affairs.

During his short address at the final ‘welcome do’ for new Governor Duncan Taylor, Bush told him that the Cayman Islands had managed fine without anyone from the UK for the last two and a half months. He said he was proud to chair Cabinet with the first ever Caymanian acting governor by his side and all had gone well. Bush said that, while many believed that Caymanians were not capable of running their own affairs, the last few months had shown otherwise. “There were no fights and no wounds … all was quiet on the western front,” Bush told Taylor in a short speech that came as close as anyone ever has to telling a governor he was surplus to requirement.

In the last few months since taking office, Bush’s confidence in himself as a leader has grown and it is apparent he believes that under the new moniker of ‘premier’ (which he seems to delight in reminding us he didn’t vote for) he can run Cayman’s affairs without the help of the UK (some have even said without the help of Cabinet as well, butthat’s a bit harsh), but coming right out and saying so could prove political suicide.

Despite the trappings of office, from chauffeured car, the butler/chef, the new gate house at the Bush residence, that have come with his new title and his obvious delight in his new responsibilities, Bush has still not voiced his genuine feelings about a timeline for Cayman’s independence from the mother country. Ironically, during the public consultation period to shape the 2009 Constitution, Bush persistently accused the then PPM administration of pushing an agenda of independence.

Despite his own feelings, Bush is politically astute enough to know it can be very dangerous ground to voice an all out desire to go it alone. However, it could well be that Bush could have been ‘crowned king’ at a time when he may be able to take that political risk and enough of the people could back him.

In the final days of the previous governor (who has arguably gone down in history as one of the Cayman Islands’ most unpopular), the debate about independence was given what can only be described as a vigorous airing. There was certainly more vocal support for the idea than ever before, and while the Caymanians didn’t exactly take to the streets, those who believe it is time began to raise their voices. Whether this was down to Stuart Jack’s style of governing (not to mention Operation Tempura), combined with the global economic crisis and the surge of negative attention on offshore financial jurisdictions that resulted, or whether it was a genuine feeling that perhaps it was just time, it is clear the debate is no longer taboo. People have also seen and recently experienced what can very reasonably be described as very unreasonable behaviour from the UK.

Bush may not be prepared to declare his hand just yet, but it is quite apparent that he believes he is ready to govern alone and that the UK is becoming far more of a liability than a help. Very few people in Cayman today believe in maintaining the colonial relationship with the UK because it so great to be British, or for any love for queen and empire, but because the Union Jack on the corner of the Cayman flag is perceived to bestow a label of stability and, of course, ‘good governance’ to reassure the international investors and multinational conglomerates that have created Cayman’s wealth that their cash will be safe here.

However, the price for the Union Jack is that Cayman’s elected officials cannot run their affairs entirely autonomously, something which Bush is acutely aware after his experiences with the need to gain approval for borrowing in order to balance the 2009/10 budget. His desire to keep the UK out of the financial business of government as much as possible has been illustrated by his aim of eliminating the islands’ $80 million plus deficit in one fiscal year, a task which many believe is impossible, despite the fee hikes.

It is apparent from his welcome address for Taylor, both in the Legislative Assembly and at Pedro Castle, that Bush has no particular beef with the man himself, he simply wants him to ‘butt out’. When he spoke of “working with him”, it is clear that means following along with Bush’s aspirations for his country – ones which, whether people voted for Bush or not, he genuinely believes and is passionate about.

The new premier’s goal is no secret: he wants to make Cayman rich again. That may mean circumventing the odd rule or regulation, something which his people, if they begin to feel richer as a result, will forgive him.  However, Bush knows that, on the other hand, the UK will demand he plays everything by the book. The budget crisis has left the elected government far more vulnerable to interference from the UK representative than ever before – a situation that quite clearly pains the premier but also gives him a very conveniently large stick with which to continue beating the opposition.

However, that will not solve the problem of how the premier continues to run Cayman’s affairs if the budget doesn’t balance in June or if Taylor, as is likely, takes a greater interest in governance than Bush would like. While he may not be ready to stand on the political soap box and campaign for a free and independent Cayman Islands, those with their eyes open can already read the thought balloons, and there is most definitely a whiff of independence in the UDP air.

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  1. OneOfTheFewResideAmongstTheMany says:

    I understand the negatives within the notion of colonialism and what not but what kind of society would we be if we were left the demise of our current government and law enforcement who, as it is, run around like chickens with no heads.  We’re not doing so well as a society as it is so imagine if we became independent.  What are our natural resources?? Who would want to invest in such a small independent islands? Surely we’d eventually be run under a dictatorship seeing as how the current government doesn’t listen to ppl as it is and the number one objective is the almighty dollar.  Jamaican society was optimistic about independence in 1962 and it only took a handful of years drain ppl of their optimism do to various reasons and events. Yet Jamaica is acountry with various resources, rich in culture, etc.  What do we have to offer? We can’t even properly unit as a people to stand up against crime and injustice.  I want to work for a new and better Cayman as much as the next person but we can’t jump from our chaotic current situation to becoming an independent nation.  That’s our big problem, we jump to the big picture instead of doing things gradually and seeing what works on a small scale first.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Did I hear our Premier say ‘more poorer’.  Wow! Was I ever embarrassed to know that our leader cannot speak proper English and we have chosen him to represent us on the International stage.  Well if he does take us down a path of independence, all the serious business and their money will flee from Cayman and we will definitely end up much poorer.

    • Florence Goring-Nozza says:

      Recent Statements made by the Premier of theCayman islands has sparked interest in various forum discussions looking at the possibility of independence for the Cayman Islands. This is of great concern to all those who are fully aware of the outcome of such a dangerous move. They being a true cloud of witnesses to the plight and down fall of other caribbean neighboring nations that have made such a grave mistake, and have been unable to shake off this serpent that has left its venom in the DNA of the socially decayed fabrics of these nations.The end result has always been poverty, joblessness, supression, chaos, enslavment, human trafficking,high crime, topped with rule by cruel dictators..

      The Cayman Islands should never even conceive the idea to even attempt to pursue independence from the U.K as this it would be suicide. Independence from the colonialists means severing ties forever. There is a price tag placed on the heads of those dependent territories seeking independence. The debt imposed on them is unbearable, impossible, notorious and damnable. The island of Haiti has
      remained in poverty not only because of some religious choices according to Pat Robertson, but like other Caribbean territories seeking to sever the navel string from their colonial or in some cases slave masters. There was a huge and unreachable price Tag placed on Haiti in the l700’s by the French “to be paid to the them by the Haitianpeople for their independence amounting to billions and billions of dollars. There is no Need to mention the oppression this country has suffered under dictatorship rule and financial irresponsibility, by elected Presidents after Presidents living the high life ofluxury while the people remain in poverty . Jamaica has also I’m sure been paying a high price tag for their independence from the England and have experienced their own plight of oppression and poverty, joblessness and reduction of their local currency as a result as well. None of these two countries or any other has been able to escape the grave of debt they have been buried in nor able to survive living in dignity and integrity. After almost 40 years of suffering Jamaica has managed to make very little improvements to their financial situation. Crime is the preferred choice as a source of survival in these territories. The Cayman Islands is now riddled with crime, if this is a prelude to the heightened degree of crime should we seek to sever ties with the UK, then God help us all.. :Independence for the Cayman Islands would be an act of suicide. Our image of financial and political stability is graced, protected, secured and cushioned with the UK as a stable mother country as a sovereign nation and image of support (if nothing else). To become an independent country too small to compete with the bigger player neighboring countries in trade, finance and commerce the economy would crumble and the Cayman Islands would no longer be a trusting financial apparatus in the eyes of financial investors, tourists, and banking corporations etc. The Cayman Islands would suffer as did the Cubans the Jamaicans and Haitians and other African nations that have fallen, most of them

      some have never been able to get back up on their feet again. This is not something that we should engage in.Independence is not something that should be sought by the Cayman Islands at anytime. Not now, nor in the future, and don’t let any power hungry, politician tell you anything different.History has taught us that Independence granted these small Caribbean nations is always accompanied by absolute repression, copious use of murder, sometimes torture and terroristic methods against opposition. THE PEOPLE WILL NO LONGER HAVE A VOICE, and become powerless after granting so much constitutional power to one individual who could very well turn out to be a Ruthless Dictator!.An alternative method to be considered , is to advance the Cayman Islands constitution to the level of the island of Bermuda . It is a most prosperous, sophisticated, British territory thatboasts a constitution that has afforded its local government almost unlimited power to govern its own internal affairs and without too much rule by the British Governor or UK interference. Bermuda has not entertained dictatorship rule by its elected official, and has maintained the highest standard of living, political and financial stability in all of the Caribbean . Even though Britain has declared there will never be another Bermuda in the West Indies, which was a slap in the UK’s face, Reason being, Bermuda has advanced their constitution to such a height that the governor is looked upon only as a crown figure of the UK. The UK keeps its hands to its side most of the time regarding Bermuda’s internal affairs. The Cayman Islands need nothing more…read my pen. “Nothing More”. I am convinced that the UK is ready to talk at this level with the Cayman Islands. Independence is ‘OUT’ and must remain Out of any talks with the UK

      Because of the dictatorship nature of some recent officials elected to the Cayman Island’s legislature , I dare say it would be genocide for the Cayman Islands to even consider or to make such a huge mistake as to become an independent nation swearing in dictators over its people.

      Florence Goring-Nozza

  3. The foreigner says:

    Hey, I’m not even an expat, just a foreigner with a piece of property, so feel free to ignore this comment. What I find interesting is that no one ever raises the question of security after independence. As far as I can tell Cayman does not exercise control over its territorial waters at present, has one helicopter, and operates a couple of of outboard boats for Customs, Police and environmental enforcement. There is a maxist dictatorship 150 miles north. There is another big marxist dictatorship to the south. There is serious instability in Central America to the west. There is a narco-state to the east. There are apparently a good many people from all these places already on the island. Who exactly is going to protect Cayman from takeover by the drug cartels and/or the Bolivarian revolution after independence? I’d bet on the cartels owning the place given the local love of money above all else.


    • Viva Che! says:

      You obviously know nothing about the Bolivarian concept.  I am more concerned with the U.S. invading to "restore order", as they have done in so many other places. And as far as drug cartels, I am more concerned about the C.I.A.

      • Anonymous says:

        Some of the very astute United States observers have claimed that America has taken over Haiti under the guize of helping the country. Now would someone please think of something more insane than this?

        Why in G*d’s name would America want to take over Haiti? There are some less stable minds who believe everything America does is wrong and evil.

        It is easier to blame America than take responsiblity for the personal failings around us.

      • The foreigner says:

        So you’re betting on the Revolution?

    • anonymous says:

      11:19 Foreigner, you are so right.

      The Cayman Islands is not at all a candidate terirtory for independence and will never be.

      I  myself is already of the opinion that maybe the drug cartels has already infiltrated our political sytems, people disappearing, no investigative followup, evidence tampered with, forensics not in place. All these cold cases these are the footprints of organized crime. This has nothing to do with the C.I.A. or the U.S this is a problem that must be solved and quickly. the drug lords look for unstable governments that love money more than morality and that have no regard for the voting constitutients causing them to live in poverty and misery. They control the politics and politicians.  Based on the high rise of crime since May of 2009 it makes one wonder what is really going on in the Cayman Islands.

      Governor Taylor we are depending on you to do whatever is necesssry to fix this problem regardeless of which big shots you have to bring down or lock up, and throw away the key.  Criminals have control of the Cayman Islands and  WE WANT OUR COUNTRY BACK

  4. Anonymous Historian says:

    Some good constitutional history can be found here:

    In 1959, the Cayman Assembly chose five delegates, Messrs Duncan Merren, Roy McTaggart, Willie Farrington, Ormond Panton and Administrator Jack Rose to participate in a series of conferences held between September 1959 and June 1961.  Their instructions were to negotiate and settle all unresolved aspects of the Federation’s Constitution including the Cayman Islands position within it.
    The anecdotal evidence that I have heard is that during the meetings the four Caymanians became increasingly leery of the political leaders of the newly independent and soon to be independent states, as they observed the lavish lifestyles they were enjoying at the expense of their people. First class everything, and no luxury out of the question for the cherished leaders.
    For people who essentially grew up in a fishing village it was all a bit too much. Perhaps some people feel differently today.
    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for a very informative post. Please keep on reminding us of the wisdom that led to the constitutional position that we had before the New Constitution.

      It is unfortunate that the very wise men who once guided Cayman have been replaced by those who cherish first class travel, chauffeurs, private chefs and housekeepers all at the expense of the Cayman people.  I continue to be amazed by the ignorant individuals who somehow have been convinced by the current leadership that the New Constitution contains a mythical provision which states that the Premier must live the lifestyle of a prince rather than the life style of a servant of the people. Just how many people can they fool all of the time?

  5. Anonymous says:

    This all brings me back to the vague memory of having been shown a history video in class about the modern history of our islands. I simply remember an elderly Caymanian sternly opposing the independence of Jamaica and predicting their downfall and ours if we were to join them on that path. We all saw where that ended up-right.

    For anyone in the government to be suggesting independence is absolute bullshit. To make Britain understand that we will leave them? When Cayman fails, what will the idiots complain about then? People need to think a little longer before they start talking this nonsense. Cayman’s been successful for a short period of time and while Britain ain’t too powerful, recognize that they’ve got centuries of experience behind them. they’ve been through bad times. They’ll survive just fine without us. I’m not to sure if it’s the same way around, because I sure know I don’t want to be living in some wood shack.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said Fri, 01/22/2010 – 04:20, well said! I am also familiar with the video you refer to and every Caymanian should go to the museum and purchase a copy, the title is "Upon the Seas" by the late Doren Miller (ironically he was Ezzard Miller’s uncle). The elderly Caymanian whose speech you remember was our true Hero, Dr Roy McTaggart, whose wisdom and strength of character we sadly lack in the local political arena today. 

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree entirely with the suggestion that every person in Cayman should get themselves a copy of that video. I purchased a copy a couple of years ago and play it from time to time to remind myself that Cayman had wise leaders in the past.  Hopefully we might again at some point in the future.

  6. Anonymous says:

    All i have to say is… The day Cayman goes independant i have 52 states to pick from!!!!! hell if i staying ya to watch my beatiful island rot away!!! Independat is a stupid decision and is just coming from being power hungery!!!! Use ya damn head bush!!!!! wa da hell we ga here to live off of?!?!?!?! lil bit of growing land we have they putting weather shit on it!!! Going independant would be a terrible mistake!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Which 52? You do realize that the U.S. only has 50 states, don’t you?

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman is another Cuba in the making! Just imagine for one horrible minute if Cayman was to become independent & we ended up with a ruler such as MacChavez, or MacCastro, or MacDinejad or……. you get the picture!

      If Cayman ever made the tragic mistake of becoming independent there is no question that all investors in our country would run like a bat out of hell, & all potential foreign investors would look else where! There is no foreign investor in their right mind that would invest in an unstable country, & if we were to become independent we would be seen as unstable by the outside world. Our financial industry would no longer exist, & we could say goodbye to our tourism industry. No one wants to invest in a dangerous country & no one wants to visit a dangerous island for vacation. If we become independent & our leader has no one to answer to, Cayman would become a dangerous & deserted island.

      While I agree that Ezzard Miller has publicly let everyone know that he wants independence, it has been obvious for many years by his actions and words that Mckeeva Bush has also been in favor of it.

      GOD help these Cayman Islands & the Cayman people if we ever become independent & (GOD forbid) Mckeeva Bush is our ruler, errrr, sorry, I mean leader. If you think our dictator is terrible now, just wait until our dictator is the ruler of our independent country! Cuba, here I come! 

    • Common Sense says:

       You got 52 states…what a moron.  Go to http://www.50states.com/ and learn to count.  Also, if you are proud of your US Passport, please show me your TAX returns for the past decade.  I am tired of being one of the only honest law abiding dual passport holders that actually pays my US taxes while holding my Cayman Status and living here.  You don’t think Uncle Sam is going to let you get away with this do you?  Next time you happily scan your American passport, just remember that the IRS is watching.

  7. Reynaldo says:

    Forget about independence we are not just ready for that right now.  I say tax all the expats, this will be a great way to bring in extra income to our Country.

    • aurevoir says:

      Ha ha ha ha good one Reynaldo.  Soon you’ll have nothing left to tax…no businesses, no expats, no foreign money…  they’ll all be going bye bye!!! 

    • Yup and... says:

      Hey shipdit – think it through – we tax them, they leave.  Noone left to tax – lower population + lower standard of living.  Looking for a wattle and daub hut?  Got one here with a smoke pot too – baaahgin price, nah…

  8. Anonymous says:

    The lack of knowledge…..why the people perish !!!

    No one who knows or has listened to McKeeva’s speeches, particularly in the last 7 months, could be serious about an independent Cayman Islands under McKeeva Bush.

    The man isuneducated, XXX and has no clue what makes the world tick……it is true that all politics is local and that is how he continues to get elected………but he has kept the West Bayers uneducated and dependent on him but McKeeva and the Bayas can’t ensure a successful independent Cayman Islands…….the day that McKeeva takes us to independence ……dog eat our supper !!!!

    The Cayman Islands can only be successful as an independent country if we have the 3 necessary ingredients : an educated population, financial stability (including a robust and sustainable revenue base) &  a national succession plan.

    This will take at least 15 years to achieve given the proper planning.

    To proceed to independence without these 3 ingredients will take us straight into banana republic status and full dictatorship……can anyone say HAITI !!!!

    If any one of those ingredients is missing it is not possible to have a successful independent Cayman Islands.

    So we need to start by getting rid of the idiot in the village !!!

    Ah boy……..the lack of knowledge……why our people perish !!!!!!! 

    I say nothing for the moment about the other apparently "educated" sheep who continues to back the village idiot !!!!!

  9. StillgoingStrong says:


    I think a Premier or Leader HAS TO STAND independently to the UK and her Governor in order to be a buffer against disregarding the native people of these Islands. Besides, it is the Caymanian people who voted him in! Standing independently on behalf of the people and endorsing Independence as an option of our self-determination are two different things.  Don’t confuse the strategic “buffer” with his intentions. Wendy, this is how politicians operate. To me, if Premier McKeeva just dance when they say dance and let everything slide, they would look on us as people that can easily be taken advantage of!
    I don’t know about the other commentators on this forum, but I would prefer my Premier to have brawn and an independent mind of his own – so that the governor can always be reminded that he is not running this country all be himself. This leads me to say that free-association is really the WHIFF here, a EQUAL partnership (that is at least fair and democratic) that McKeeva, Kurt, and many others are trying so hard to establish.
    Of course, Wendy, we know we can’t survive on our own! Mac knows that! Do you really think the Premier is that DUMB??? I know Mac myself, and I can tell you, he is an intelligent man – he is not dumb! Yes… I hope he continues acting like how independent Premiers do and let them know that he could cut from them anytime; he answers only to God. That kind of leadership will keep the high-minded in check who comes here and thinks that we are nobodies and don’t believe in equal governance.
    So the WHIFF OF INDEPENDENCE is what the Premier wants and what I want!
    It does not mean our intention is to bring the country into Independence! It is just saying that “if you push our buttons and don’t consider that we are a unique people, entitle to be heard and treated fairly and equally, WE WILL GO INDEPENDENT FROM YOU!”
    I don’t know, Wendy… but if someone forces me to be and act a way against my will, I sure as hell, will not put up with it and so passive wimp that just takes abuse! I’m not going to surmise at the hand of my abuser, “well if I go independent, I will not be able to survive on my own” like some scared chicken! Never! I am Caymanian, and if I am not treated with human dignity and equality, I would prefer to be poor and single… than be like a slave! Sorry to say, but that is how many from the UK expect from us. They just want us to bow down and take Sh%%! They want us to disregard our own individuality. Any Premier for the people of these Islands should not settle for less! It is either equal governance or no deal! And you can’t expect the Premier to just not act the way he is acting. Knowing the history of the UK, on overseas territories, I don’t blame him for having balls!
    Well that’s my viewpoint,
    Be a chicken or be an eagle! 
    • Anonymous Historian says:

      Here comes the first of the ignorant rabble. If you don’t let me win, then I will take my ball and go home.

      • Anonymous Historian says:

        OK. I had work to do but I am back now to continue.

        I think a Premier or Leader HAS TO STAND independently to the UK and her Governor in order to be a buffer against disregarding the native people of these Islands. Besides, it is the Caymanian people who voted him in!
        We have a new Constitution, and since our beloved leader did not vote for it, then I can safely conclude that neither did you. Not having voted for it, I can once again conclude that you did not bother to read it either. If you had bothered, you would have found that it defines the roles and responsibilities of both the Governor and the Premier.
        Since the Premier has a vastly differing view of the job that he applied for and the job that he thinks he should be doing, then it is not surprising that you would have such a radical opinion of what he should be doing yourself. But as long as he is there when you need a little “hep” then I’m sure that he can always count on your vote when elections roll around again.
        I hope he continues acting like how independent Premiers do and let them know that he could cut from them anytime; he answers only to God.
        I’m not sure if he entirely agrees with you on that. He probably considers God to be “first amongst equals”, and I’m sure that in his daily conversations he reminds Him of how much better the Cayman Islands would be if He had used a dredge during Creation.
    • frank rizzo says:

      Or be an Owl.

      • Anonymous says:

        lol  Thu, 01/21/2010 – 12:39.Yep .. a little wisdom in the mix would do us well just about now.

    • O'Really says:

      I hope you’re right in believing that Bush knows what he’s doing. But there are 2 issues you touch on where you are definitely wrong.

      The UK would welcome any move from Cayman to go independent. Cayman holds no cards in this game. Any threat to go independent because Cayman did not like the stance taken by any UK government is very likely to be greeted with a polite inquiry as to how they can help. What exactly do you believe the UK gets from continuing to allow Cayman to be a BOT?

      Your view that " They just want us to bow down…" or that "they" ( whoever "they" is ) want Caymanians to be slaves also misses the point. If Cayman choses to remain a BOT, then much as individuals with your mindset object, this is a 2 way street. Cayman can’t pick and chose the bits of this relationship that suits it at any point in time. The UK has rights in this arrangement in addition to obligations.

      An example is the recent outcry here because the UK did not instantly agree to Bush’s request to borrow money. The request was necessary because Caymanian MLA’s enacted legislation ( the PMFL ) which put limits on how much debt the Cayman government could incur without seeking the approval of the UK to borrow more. Caymanian politicians then exceeded the stipulated debt ratio and so by their own legislation had to seek UK approval. This Bush had to do after announcing to the world that Cayman was broke, so is it any wonder that the UK did not simply rubber stamp his request? Even though the UK would clearly have preferred some form of direct taxation they gave their consent, facilitating the bond issue in November. Yet the UK’s attitude in this was generally considered by the powers that be to have been unreasonably intrusive. Tell me how?

      It’s my firm belief that Cayman is not close to being ready for independence and because of this, the " whiff" that you support is a dangerous thing and poses the risk that it could develop a life of it’s own.




      • Anonymous says:

        You are definitely right on this one, OReally.

      • Anonymous says:

        O’Really you are spot on and certainly expressed my sentiments. I have nothing more to add!

      • kiss says:

        Nope… you’re wrong

        Show me in history where the UK has easily allowed another country or people to go Independent from her???

        And secondly, read our New Constitution, Section 31, 32, 33 on the powers of the Governor.

        Please folks, stick to the facts!

    • Anonymous says:

      You my dear are obviously a chicken brainwashed to think you are an eagle. Go find a mirror somewhere and take a look. While you are staring at your chicken face realizing who you really are, you should consider obtaining some knowledge, so that you can differentiate between the "bushes" and the trees. If you truly believe the garbage you posted on here then it is clear that your vision is obviously very clouded dear.

  10. Joe Bananas says:

    Independence would be good for The "Bushits" but bad for everyone else.  There will always be "enough" money for them to spend long after the rest of the country is "broke".The fact that he has not been able to fix ANY of the major problems the country is already facing should be enough to show his skill, experience, and dedication to the island itself is sorely lacking to put it mildly.The fact that it could still happen when everyone knows this is scary and should highlight another huge problem Cayman faces in its effort to join the rest of the modern world.  There are many countries out there who have followed this path Cayman is now on and None of them are now a good or safe place to live and raise a family.  And none of them have been able to get rid of their "Premiers" without war.  Just a thought worth thinking about and just one mans opinion.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I must say I was very disappointed to hear Mr. Miller talk about "Independence" on this am’s show.  For a man who has so much far-sightedness, can he not see that the very idea of the Cayman Islands going independent will cause as large an exodus of the financial institutions from the Cayman Islands as there was of the Israelites from Egypt.  Guys, with independence comes massive responsibilities including figuring out how to live with raised prices, TAXES, lower salaries and a decline in the Caymanian stability as we have all known and have come to love.  Take a look at the beautiful island to our southeast and see what happens with independence.  At least they had Cayman to come to, where will we go.  Wake up people and see that we are fortunate now, but with independence, we will certainly sink faster than our neighbours have.


    • Anonymous says:

      Jesus Christ Anon 18:52

      You’re not paying any attention to Ezzard are you?

    • Anonymous says:

      "…can he not see that the very idea of the Cayman Islands going independent will cause as large an exodus of the financial institutions…"


      He can see it, and that is what he wants.  He wants the financial institutions, and the expats that run them, gone.

  12. Anonymous Historian says:

    Excellent article Wendy. One might also think that Big Mac has (or is looking to have) a few strong supporters of independence (Gilbert, Roy, and Steve) strategically placed to support him in whatever move he decides upon if the new Governor attempts to exert any control over his spending.

    Those three are strong supporters of independence, especially if they can get a place at the top of the food chain. They are especially fond of the term "shackles of colonialism" for what the rest of us might merely regard as accountability.

    I believe that the coming struggle, which should not take long to emerge, between the Governor and the Premier over finances will define this country for many years to come.

    I have no problems with discussing and planning for independence, which I personally believe will take another generation, but I would hate to see it thrust upon us by a small minority of spoilt brats who can roil up some ignorant rabble to make it appear as if they have a consensus for independence.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Yack Yack Yack – if ever there was talk of Cayman going independent they would have to put it to a referendum and Caymanians (paper Caymanians included) have the good sense to know that it would spell disaster.  A whiff is all it is.  We’ve had this whiff before and whiffs by definition come and go.  Mac reminds me of a gorilla beating up his chest in the jungle while there are lions out there to take him down!

    Incidentally, I have been here over 35 years and I do not recall a time when the UK threw any money at us.  I think they gave us a tractor once and a few other coppers here and there for specific things.  Mind you, it’s always good to know "Mother" is there should the need arise so I’m not knocking her.

    Caymanians talk about having nowhere to go if Cayman goes to hell in a hand basket. But, I can assure you, that if Cayman went independent, you will quickly see how many ‘contacts’ they have in the world that would be willing to facilitate their move … and move they all will.  Independence from the UK would be an overnight death knell for these Islands.  I hope to God I never have to say "I told you so!"


    • StillgoingStrong says:


      To commenter 15:53:
      Whether or not Independence causes us to suffer, the fact that we are thinking and talking about Independents, causes these "UK heads" to worry and becker. We already know from history that they would love more than ever, to control us like “prehistoric natives…”
      Let them always be concerned, let them always worry and be cautious, let us always show to these "UK leaders" that we don’t take any legislation that undermines the Will of the Caymanian people for granted!
      • frank rizzo says:

        You REALLY think so? The "UK heads" will be jostling for the head of the line to pick over the carcass of what was the Caymnan Islands.

      • Commenter 15:53 says:

        That’s where you are sooooooooo wrong StillgoingStrong.  The UK would like nothing better than cut us lose.  They get zippo from us and we potentially stand to gain from them.  Ask any country that so called "Won" independence.  What they won was poverty and corruption.  You call that a win?  I don’t.  Get a grip!

  14. Notorious says:

     Number one, let me tell you why Cayman will not go independent?  The simple fact is because our Government from time to time has gotten us in numerous amount of debts!   As a matter of fact, as far as I recall were the Cayman Island Government on the grey list just the other day?  They have no common sense of running the Country …instead they just lavish themselves with spending on their own greedy needs….. and not studying their own Caymanian people to put away money that we can all fall back on in times of needs like NOW!

    When long hard-working Caymanians are losing our jobs tell me what do we have to fall back on?…Our Government need to put aside some of that money they are recklessly spending and try to create programs…for etc like free food…..free medical and job assistance programs.  These are the things we as Caymanians need in these critical times.  As far as statictics states it’s now about over 900 or more Caymanians out of work right now,and what is our Government doing to help us out?  I thought so!  

    So common sense will tell you that if you don’t even know how  to help your own people or budget which is an important concept in microeconomics, what is the sense of going independent?  You want us to end up like Jamaica?    What is their dollar worth to anyone?  Do you know how hard Jamaicans work in their own Country and don’teven see what they are working for?  

    "So God have mercy on our souls the day Cayman ever go independent,the rate this Government is handling things, I don’t think Cayman is ever going to be ready to go independent…Bob Marley once said don’t jump in the water if you cant swim."

    Ps: Just for the record I’m not affliated with PPM or UDP 


  15. Anonymous says:

     Cayman Independent?  McKeeva Dictator?  Does anyone wonder where he will borrow the money to balance the budget?    Will the Queen once again have to  send Cayman millions of dollars? After Cayman snubs her nose at England and goes Independent where will the money come from?      Will Mac have to directly tax the incomes of Caymanians to get the money to balance his budget?  After all, you can’t go to the back yard and pick money off the breadfruit tree.   If you think it’s bad now, just wait…………


    • Anonymous says:

      "Will the Queen once again have to send Cayman millions of dollars?"

      When did that ever happen?

      • Anonymous says:

        Take a look in the National Archive records. Annual grants from the UK were common prior to the establishment of the financial services and tourism sectors.

        • Also says:

          The UK effectively subsidises the Cayman Islands’ borrowing by accepting responsibility for those borrowings therefore substantially driving down the cost of debt.  That is worth millions.

          • Anonymous says:

            That is not "sending us millions of dollars". Cayman’s debt rating is completely unrelated to any contingent liability on the UK. It is that which influences the cost of debt.  

            • Dream on says:

              Independence would send the cost of borrowing up.

            • O'Really says:

              Your responses on this thread have been a bit disingenuous.

              What look like small grants from the UK in the past when viewed from this point in time need to be judged in current dollars. In your example, enough money was provided at the time to build an airfield. How much would this be in today’s currency, even for a basic airfield and how vital would it have been for the country then?

              You also state that we can "expect nothing of them in time of dire need" and I’m guessing you are drawing on our experience after Ivan. But didn’t Bush tell the world that Cayman needed no help? But of more relevance, Cayman did not need help. Just look around, Cayman has been rebuilt and expanded without the need for assistance from the UK. Who can say what aid may have been available if Cayman had not been so self-sufficient ( and well insured!)

              Further would you expect a poor country to subsidise a rich country? Because on the basis of GDP per head of population, the Cayman Islands ranks 13th on the lists I found, with GDP per capita of US$43800 and the UK ranks 28th, with with GDP per capita of US$35500. The UK can provide all kinds of assistance on a practical level, for example, military protection should the need ever arise, but in terms of providing funds, they are more broke than we are!

              Cayman’s debt rating is of course what determines it’s cost of debt. But that debt rating in turn depends upon a number of factors, very prominent amongst them being Cayman’s status as a BTO and it’s relationship with the UK. I can’t find too much detail online for Moody’s paid service, but the brief synopsis available states that " …the Cayman Islands’ rating benefits from very high governance indicators, reflecting a high degree of policy predictability and sound institutions". Are you seriously going to argue that this does not take into account the relationship with the UK?

              An older S&P credit report I found is more specific, stating "    Standard and Poors believes a combination of factors in the Cayman Islands makes the sovereign risks affecting it’s offshore banking sector minimal. These factors include the strong constitutional, legal and regulatory ties between the United Kingdom ( AAA/Stable/A-1+) and the Cayman Islands, a self-governing U.K. dependency". There is much more emphasising Cayman’s relationship with the UK.

              The recent bond issue was priced at 5.95%. Do you think an independent Cayman Islands would have obtained anywhere near this rate? Even just 1% more on the rate obtained would translate into an additional US$3.12m per year in interest, or US$31.2m over the term of the bond issue. 

              That little Union Jack in the corner of our flag has a lot of value, both direct and indirect. The danger is that there is an element in the true born population who are just pre-disposed by nature to deny this. If they get their way before Cayman is really ready, watch out.

              • Anonymous says:

                You are also being disingenuous, OReally. As a knowledgeable fellow, you know full well that our much touted GDP per capita is not a real measure of the wealth of the country or of the government’s ability to restore devastated infrastructure. You are also well aware that Britain gave millions of pounds to Grenada which was also devastated by Hurricane Ivan and gives aid to many other independent countries. It clearly has the capacity to do so. Finally, the EU clearly disagreed with you in its assessment of our need resulting from Ivan.     

                • O'Really says:

                  Ah, now I see. The UK gave to financial support to Grenada after Ivan but not to Cayman so this should lead to independence.

                  Maybe this had something to do with the fact that Grenada is desperately poor and Cayman is wealthy. Grenada has a GDP per capita of US$6000, less than 1/7th of Cayman’s GDP per capita. Over 70 percent of it’s GDP is derived from tourism and roughly 10% from agriculture, both destroyed by Ivan ( andagain by Emily in 2005). It had no financial service industry on which to rely.

                  The UK assisted Grenada with Stg.7m through the Dept. for International Development, an organisation who’s top priority is fighting poverty internationally, so maybe we should be thankful we didn’t need their assistance. That Cayman needed no such assistance is evidenced quite simply by looking around. My point, which still stands, is that if Cayman had needed assistance at say the level Grenada needed, the UK would have been there. 

                  The burning question is why was Cayman able to be so self-sufficient? The answer of course is the financial service industry, who’s importance to Cayman should not be, but often is, underestimated. Without this Cayman would be very much closer to Grenada than anyone here would like. And a key foundation stone of the success of the financial service industry is that little flag in the corner of our flag.

                  As for the EU contribution, maybe you have forgotten that the UK is a key member of the EU and by some estimates the second largest net contributor to the EU budget after Germany. So a chunk of the EU funding came from the UK. The first tranche of EU funding was not actually received until sometime in early 2008, so while no-one in their right minds would turn the funds down, they were clearly not required to address the sort of problems Grenada faced after Ivan.




        • Anonymous says:

          The UK has NEVER given us millions of dollars. Yes, there were a few relatively small grants for particular projects,e.g. the construction of the airfield.

          It has made clear that even as a dependent territory we can expect nothing from them in time of dire need so there is no hope for anything from them as an independent country.   

    • Anonymous says:

       If Cayman was going independent, and if the choice was given to Caymanians to become a UK Citizen (arn’t we something similar now?). Anyway, I would be in the first instance be applying for a work permit after being born here 4 decades ago :).

      Last time I looked- there was nothing dangling from my ankle labeled "Colonial Chains".



      "A realistic Caymanian "


    • Anonymous says:

      To Wed 20 – 11:17 "Will the Queen once again have to  send Cayman millions of dollars?

      Pray tell me what year this was?

    • Anonymous says:

      In stead of you all out there writing and talking rubbish about independence, dicator, you all better get down on your knees and pray that the GOOD LORD help the LEADERS of this country to get things done. Help the Government , stop all the foolishness. i can’t believe what i am reading in this stupid media.








  16. Anonymous says:

    Those like Ezzard and the Cayman Crosstalk crew who enjoy the brave new world of Cayman Islands independence are dreaming.

    I remember the prison riot of 1999 when the inmates were out of control for months and correction officers were brought from the UK to restore order to Northward Prison. Questioning Mr. Miller about this incident where the UK ties were clearly beneficial he responded that, "We would go in there and deal with them." Now that sounds good in theory but exactly who was he referring to going into Northward to deal with those prisoners. Perhaps the Chamber of Commerce or the Rotary could have dealt with the Northward crisis?

    In my opinion it is pride and hubris that modivates people who wish to cry for more power in the Cayman Islands. Would Ezzard be willing to be the first president of an independent Cayman Islands, you bet. But then he hasn’t yet sorted out the gang crime in the Northside district so maybe he should focus on that before moving on to more grandoise notions.




    • Anonymous says:

      The UK put armed officers in cherry pickers over the fence and above the compound who aimed their rifles and said "if you continue to beat up that inmate and set fire to those millions of dollars in government assets" we will count to three. 

      The armed officers then counted to 50 and left at 4 o’clock for tea.

      The damage caused was millions of dollars.

      I sympathise with much of what you say – but Ezzard’s way would be: 

      We will count to 3 and if you are not in orderly lines outside your cells the next person who attacks another, or sets fire to or damages government property will get shot.  

      Ezzard would not have had to count past 1. No one would have been shot. Millions in government assets would have been saved. Order would have been restored immediately.

      Ezzard’s way was preferable, efficient and effective. No one would ever disobay a lawful command by an armed officer.  He was not allowed to do that.

      It reminds me of a UK naval officer arguing against allowing armed sailors and marines ashore to provide security two days after Ivan. He point blank refused – "one of my men might shoot a looter armed only with a knife"  he protested. My response "and…."

      It also remind me of the frustrated teacher on his megaphone yesterday, being ignored by a bunch of 14 year old’s as he cried "you have two minutes to leave the area."

      I am going to count to 3 and anyone not back by their classrooms by then will be here standing at attention in this couryard until 8pm is much more effective. You just have to have the will to do it – and to follow through if required.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ezzard runs his mouth about a great many things, some of which I find irritating and disregard for what it is, rubbish, as is the case with the notion of independence.

      He also managed to blow out of proportion the alleged "gang war" in North Side. One North Sider told me that there has always been a tug of war between Old Man Bay and "Big North Side" and she wrote to the chicken radio crew giving a history of that but they ignored her letter (guess Ezzard didn’t like the content or it wasn’t dramatic enough).

      Nevertheless, he is one of the few public figures who has the guts to defend the rights of Caymanians today in the growing anti-Caymanian social climate here and for that I applaud him and I thank him. The social divide is a fast growing evil that will be the demise of these fair islands and I am afraid that the premier’s recent speech has only fanned the flames.

    • Anonymous says:

      Speaking of the cross talk crew, what exactly is Gilbert’s role on there anyhow, to be Austin’s side kick? Or is this a kind of political soap box for him? What Austin loves hearing himself so much that his mouth is constantly flapping and we hardly hear anything coming from Gilbert in the muddle, other than when he gets the nerve to try to jump in on the odd occasion, or if Bro Austin decides to ask him for an opinion. Just wondering if anyone knows …

  17. Vive la says:

    Wendy I believe many people here harbor notions of independence.  For many reasons.  Firstly, because it seems so absurd in the 21st century to be a part of a system which still involves dukes, duchesses and lords, all in their elevated positions because of some hereditary twist of fate. Not to mention a monarch with a hapless husband and a befuddled son, who is destined to take over, wear the crown and live in a palace. These are all trappings of the sixteenth century and although quaint have very little relevance to us.  The thing preventing a foward move towards independence however does not rest with this outdated form of idol worship. It is fear of the unknown stemming from the fact that the present leader of the country hasn’t yet shown the diplomacy or maturity necessary to lead a country to independence. Also because no one is sure of his motives when he does speak towards independence. Instead of being humbled by the office and faith placed in him, he tends to shoot from the hip, and make pronouncements without much forethought or consideration to the blowback. This has made people nervous as they see policy being made on the fly and without any need for consultation. This is what kings of old did. They often ruled by whim. And not from wisdom. Because they could. Until the country feels that the decisions being made are not edicts, but carefully considered changes governed by consensus the public confidence won’t be there to move towards independence.

    • Anonymous says:

       It is not about maturity, or diplomacy, it is about fiscal responsibility.  If an Island as tiny as Cayman, with an overcrowded population, cannot balance its budget and has to borrow money from England, it should not be looking for independence.  Independence from whom?  The hand that feeds you?  When you can balance your budget, independent of borrowing  cash to do so, then talk independence.  OR, perhaps introduce income tax to get the money to do so!  GASP! Face it.  Money is the problem.  And money doesn’t grow on trees.  Just take a look at who has the personal chef, the butler, the driver, the guard house……..shall I go on?  

      CNS Note: Just to set the record straight Cayman has never had to borrow from the UK, it has merely had to gain permission from the UK government to exceed borrowing limits set out in the PMFL, the money was borrowed by CIG from the private sector.

      • Anonymous says:

        To Wed 20/11:28 – quote: Just take a look at who has the personal chef, the butler, the driver, the guard house……..shall I go on?" unquote

        Shall I give you a little secret?  Check these details out for yourself. For how many years  have the judicial system etc. had ‘special body guards etc. to protect each one of them every step they took…shall I go on?!  Now that we have a ‘Cayman’ Deputy Governor & Premier why shouldn’t they get equal benefits as all the other ‘Big Shots’ that come here? Have you figured out how much they cost us?? Are not the Caymanians worth something too?? If you are going to attack one then attack ALL!!

  18. Joe Bananas says:

    The people which are the REAL leaders of Cayman island still don’t know if Current Government has the ability to not run Cayman into the ground.  At this stage it doesn’t look good for the people.  It would appear that for all his speeches, promises, and money hunting(costing) trips everything Cayman is still going downhill rapidly.  Only time and the truth about government finances will tell.  If it is as bad as it seems than the only way the Premier can stay in power is to make cayman go independent and keep his crown.  He thinks and acts like he has the power and he might.  If the people want the money to be spent on them they might be in for the fight of their lives.  Lets hope the new Governer is up to the challenge.  He seems to be the right man for the job.

  19. Rufus B. Saye says:

    Being ready for independence implies that a country and it’s leadership (secular and religious as well as the civil service) and it’s residents have matured beyond childish behaviours… For examples of what to do wrong, look elsewhere in the Caribbean…

    Cayman will be ready for independence when one can say, in complete honesty, that a majority of the people listed above will make decisions and/or act in the best interests of the country vs. their own – more "big picture" perspectives… the majority of the time.

    Based on the above criteria, ask yourselves: Could you honestly trust the politicians (and yourself) to rise above petty politics / jealousies / insecurities / whatever and act in a statesmanlike way, most of the time? Didn’t think so.

    Using the analogy of children groing up and eventually leaving home… Cayman’s getting better, but is still a young teenager in many ways.

    Until that changes, talk of independence is premature…

  20. Anonymous says:

    "The new premier’s goal is no secret: he wants to make Cayman rich again."  Independence will make Cayman poor.  Very very poor.

    All those offices in GT – empty.  All the services and spending of those in the offices – gone.  Even the whiff of independence right now will send markets scurrying away.

    • Anonymous says:

       Some of us are old enough to remember when Jamaica went "independent".  Look at them now.

  21. Tom McCallum says:


    Interesting piece.. thought I’d cut and paste this email I sent to the guys at Cayman crosstalk this morning :

    This morning I caught just a few minutes of the show where what was being discussed was something along the lines of :

    "it would be a brave man who could predict how the world will be in 20 years, so let’s ask Britain to start discussing how our constitutional arrangement should be in 10-15-20 years from now… far better to plan than to have independence thrust upon us."

    Didn’t have the chance to call in, but this was music to my ears. I am very much pro-independence for Cayman, I feel strongly that we have the capability and calibre of people here to move towards running our own country for ourselves, by ourselves.

    Still, I would never propose any headlong rush into this. Instead, why not copy what has been done well elsewhere when done right. I know the goings on in Scotland pretty well, and like any country there are things there that I wouldn’t recommend anyone copy (!), but why not look at the concept of a "national conversation", something that their (independence minded) government formally began a couple of years ago.

    Scotland may be 10 to 20 years away from independence, but the conversation has begun.

    Here in Cayman we are already now talking about it, but let’s not put it into "constitutional review" or "UN committee" terms yet, let’s instead have a national conversation about the "why", not the "how".