University shaping tomorrow’s Caymanians

| 14/03/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman local news, University College of the Cayman Islands(CNS): The president of the university College of the Cayman Islands has said the institution is creating a new kind of Caymanian that will be part of the global village with a different outlook. Roy Bodden said that Cayman’s university is important to the community in many ways, not least for the part it will play in shaping a new generation of Caymanians that will have a different view to that held in the past of Cayman’s place in the world. Speaking to CNS at the close of the college’s first regional academic conference, he said he was excited about what was happening at UCCI and what his students would take away from what is only the beginning of the awakening of Cayman’s academia.

The conference, which examined the complexities of Caribbean identity, brought together experts in literature, the arts, social studies, history, politics and sciences to examine the culture of the modern Caribbean. The event was opened on Monday evening when a number of local dignitaries offered their thoughts on the two-day conference, including local attorney Steve McField, who gave a fervent tribute to his mentor and friend, the late Prof Rex Nettleford, before Professor Brian Meeks from the University of the West Indies gave a riveting and persuasive key note presentation that turned out to be incredibly poignant.

Meeks examined where the major states of the Caribbean were as they approached fifty years of independence and he paid particular attention to the incredible surge in violence in the region, in particular in Trinidad and his native Jamaica. As he spoke intelligently on the rise of crass individualism and the acquisition of wealth over the collective liberalism and ideals of post independence fuelling the violence, in West Bay, some ten miles away, Cayman’s own gun violence problem was erupting again.

While Meeks delivered his address, ambulances and police patrol cars flew to the scenes of crime where a 29-year-old man had become Cayman’s latest murder victim and a 16-year-old boy the latest gunshot victim.

Meeks’ address set the tone for a challenging and truly academic gathering that probed at the complexities of the Caribbean region, of which Cayman is geographically, if not always enthusiastically, a part.

The president said he was disappointed that not as many people from the community joined in the seminars, as he said the issues discussed were of importance to everyone who has made the Cayman Islands their home, and especially in times of change. He praised the college for its high standards and said it would be pushing at the boundaries when it came to social thought and commentary, which was why it was important for the wider community to engage with the university as well. Cayman and UCCI were both changing, Bodden stated, and noted the fact that he, who was once an outcast, was now the president of the university was itself an illustration of that change.

Bodden said the UCCI was moving into its “post Syed” period, with financial challenges as well as the legacy of the former president, who has been accused of fraud and has since left the island. The president was optimistic, however, that the college has much to offer and that the recent conference was just the first step towards a bigger future.

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  1. Just Sayin says:

    Why bother? It’s too late now.

  2. Anonymous says:

    UCCI, please offer courses to all members of the student body in proper speech. Speaking poorly is being associated with culture. This should be corrected. Teach proper diction; speech through drama and poetry. If you are preparing students for competing in the business world, whether banker, builder or food server, please teach them to speak good english.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It is so disappointing to hear people putting down someone before he has even had a chance to warm the seat.
    As a young Caymanian who was starting out on the road through university at the time Roy Bodden was Minister of Education I can only speak from my experience.  He always had time for me and was able to point me in the direction to find the answers to my questions.  He made sure that those seeking to educate themselves overseas were given assistance and for that I can only thank him.

    "No man is an island" and I’m sure that Roy Bodden would be the last to profess to knowing it all and not try to make use of resources available to him to provide the information he needs to make informed choices.  He is performing what is turning out to be a thankless job but someone has to do it.  Why not him? He is Caymanian, he has ideas, give him the opportunity at least to try, but don’t shoot him down before he has attempted to fly.

    For a long time in Cayman people who tried to educate themselves outside Caymans glittering shores were ridiculed and laughed at for trying to be different, wanting too much and thinking themselves above their neighbours.  I think this is the alienation Roy was talking about and this ignorant attitude has not faded so much as just changed tone.  I respect him for trying, as to try in itself takes an immense amount of willpower and confidence, and he seems to only be meeting with opposition.

    All I’m saying is give the man a chance.  If he as a Caymanian does not want the best for the country its people, do you really think anyone else will?

    • Anonymous says:

      I do not think anyone was putting Mr Bodden down on this site. Folks have only stated some views which I believe are absolutely correct. I applaud Mr Bodden for doing what he is doing to improve UCCI but the whole issue of Caribbean culture is a different issue. He truly does need to better understand his own Caymanian culture, embrace it and understand it.

    • Anonymous says:


  4. Anonymous says:

    Several writers have mentioned Cayman culture of which I am somewhat confused as having spent a number of years here and knowing many Caymanians I find the culture to be a bit elusive.

    One question I have about the Cayman culture is why do Cayman mothers spoil their male children to such an extent that they destroy their character?

    The mothers never allow the male children to clean up their own messes and take responsibility creating man children who think the rules don’t apply to them.

    The mothers bail them out of trouble constantly never allowing these young men the opportunity to grow up and take care of themselves.

    There is a compulsive quality to this care taking that is different from love because the young men are really hurt by this behavior..

  5. Caymanians for Good says:

    As hard as Mr. Bodden may try, the Cayman Islands are NOT like the rest of the Caribbean -Thank God!

    Okay, so we had a few slaves here (500) at emancipation and we had some “Free People” (and not all were white)- about 400. Total population in 1834 was around 950 persons.

    We then decided to mix it up, you know, a cousin here, a cousin there, a little colour here, a little less colour there. As one old lady said “try some pork, then some beef but when you marry settle down”. We then all jumped on to the turtle boats and made it happen in spite of Jamaica’s administration ignoring us. We created the first “meat society” apparently.

    So, we had some slaves here?!.. Brother Bob Marley said ” Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our mind” how true!

    Caymanians freed our minds 150 years ago. And yes, there has been racism since( I would not say not and some even today) but we had more of an economic issue here than a colour issue.

    While the weak and insecure need the crutches of a past horrible and immoral period to find themselves(or to blame their sorry state on someone) the Caymanians are more attuned to making a better life for each succeeding generation.

    Caribbean, time to move on. It is almost 50 years since you were made independent. Spend the same energy you do on the evil plantocracy period on solving the global economic issues, jobs for your people and reducing crime & corruption then we will all move our region forward. Listen to Brother Bob.

    • Anonymous says:

      What you seem to miss is the work permit system has some definite parallels to indentured servants and slavery.

      So to say that mentality is centuries old and in the past is not completely true. The control levied over a foreign person on work permit is close to absolute. Do what I say or get thrown off the island.

  6. noname says:

    The Town called Academia where there is no Caymanians residing our employed What a wonderful place that is,where the Mayor promises everything and delivers very little to the population, but it sounds good and if the truth be known is that the town council filled with political appointees is the real power who runs and tells the mayor what to do. Those who dont remember the past are condemned to repeat it. We same to only know two things about Syed and his conspirators they were not punish and they were not Caymanian.

    • Anon says:

      Check the facts – Caymanians are employed at the college. I imagine there would be more if the pay was as good as the private sector for the level of qualifications necessary.

      It’s people like you with your useless commentary that really destroy the spirit. Did you even go to the conference and support it? Did you even attend and add your views to the mix? Are you even aware of the variety of topics that were discussed? Just another ignorant stone thrower with nothing positive to offer. And we wonder why this country is in it’s current state. Look in the mirror – you are the answer.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Are academics a part of graduation? Sorry but with a past Minister of Education in charge, I’ve got to ask. 


  8. Anonymous says:

    Rex Nettleford was a mentor and friend of Steve McField? Really? This is awfully difficult to believe. Professor Nettleford was an intellectual giant…………

  9. Anonymous says:

    Whilst I understand what Mr. Bodden is saying – I’ve read some of his books – I think he needs to dig deeper and understand his own true Caymanian culture and the fact that whilst Cayman has changed into a melting pot of various nationalities, the Cayman Islands did not develop the traditional Caribbean culture; hence the reason conferences such as was just organised would not spark the kind of interest he expected.

    The reality is that the Cayman Islands developed its own uniqueness of culture, which made the Islands "different" and more successful in many ways, but unfortunately the unique outlook and practices of the Caymanian people were not necessarily embraced by scholars like himself who appeared to reject it and seek to draw Caymanians into the mainstream Caribbean culture base. Perhaps his own apparent rejection of his real and true culture was what caused him to feel an outcast, as he described. However, that is another debate for another day.

    Unfortunately the uniqueness of culture of which I speak, and for which the Caymanian people were known and admired by the many tourists of yesteryear, is fast being lost, if not already gone, and I fear that the Mr. Bodden’s of the day have done little to either understand it or preserve it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh hater hater-if we as caymanians try you complain if we do not we are called lazy. Mr. Bodden may not know everything like you, but I am sure he will see where he can brush up on any project he undertakes.



      • Anonymous says:

        Hater?? You truly are of small mind. This is nothing in the post above that could be interpreted as hate, only a very intelligent post full of fact.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Where is the Dear John Letter posted by "Son of Cayman" as referenced in Twyla Vargas’ post?

    • Twyla Vargas says:

      15:47. Please check right here on CNS Headlines posted 3/11/2010


      Posted by "Son of Cayman"  Friday 3/12/2010   tim 14:39    Page 1

      You will see a very intersting "Dear Cayman letter"  that is the one  Iam refering to, please read, and comment what yoo think.  Blessed

  11. Da Game says:

    Yes the positive message is How come these X politicians can now get up and Exalt all things Caymanian yet when in power where they had the power to make a difference and to make the positive  and necessary changes to help Caymanian’s they sat down on those same people’s hope and dreams. Now they use Big words to confuse the disenfranchised and exalt their virtues so they can be loved by all. What if our leaders had just a little integrity. Here is to all our past politicians who ruined this place Try help a Caymanian Today for peace Sake.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are so negative and I can just imagine your life is based on your past as your focus is on ‘the past’.

      Mr. Bodden keep up the good works and keep work on improving the college and any area that you can help with. 

      I am sure you will help with the many areas that can do with improvements at UCCI-I have FAITH  in you,lots


      Envious people – Lord have mercy on these people as they create such a negative environment to live in

  12. Twyla Vargas says:

    I do hope many of you read the Dear John Letter posted by "Son of Cayman"   I realize what this person is trying to say to Caymanians in authoity.    Becase he did not come from the have it all and know it all Caymanians, he was pushed out of school and into the real world without an education.  Now he has a gun and we want to listen  "Too late".

    More kindness and respect need to be shown to Caymanans who dont have it,  I mean the unfortunately poor  students.  50 years ago it was the same, we never assisted our own, so the writer comments of  "Son of Cayman", does have a point.  Education, without care for the less fortunate is not easy.   They have to trust the system first.