Why Cayman?

| 07/05/2010

On behalf of the Cayman Islands, I offer sincere thanks to the approximately 100 Americans who have graciously traveled here to contribute their time and labor as part of the “Do Something Cayman” campaign. They are here to work hard toward making our country a little better and a lot more beautiful.

Thank you! Now, with that out of the way, here’s the obvious question: Why Cayman?

Of all the places in the world, why would 100 volunteers come all the way from California to help us? Given our relative wealth and the fact that we are a dependent territory of one of the world’s richest nations makes the selection of Cayman for an aid project odd indeed.

Yes, it’s wonderful that a Christian organization in southern California has decided to travel the world looking for people in need and causes worth sweating for—but the Cayman Islands? There is no getting around it; we are a bizarre choice due to our lack of need compared with so many other societies. Didn’t these people Google us before they bought all those expensive roundtrip airline tickets? If they had they would have discovered that the Cayman Islands has the highest per capita income in the Caribbean and one of the highest in the world. (We are top-twelve globally, according to the CIA World Factbook) People are not exactly dying from poverty in the streets here.

It is ironic that foreigners would come her to do physical labor for us at a time in our history when physical activity is what we need more than ever. The truth may hurt but the stats are in and it’s clear that we are a society of slugs and gluttons. Cayman doesn’t have a starvation problem; we have an obesity problem. Our crisis is not malaria or dysentery; our problems are diabetes and heart disease. If anything, it would benefit us to get off our couches and do every bit of the needed manual work ourselves. Perhaps the last thing we need is a bunch of people to come here to carry half the load of our beautification work. So, back to the big question, why did these people pick us? And who is next on their agenda? Perhaps they will be dropping in to help poor Monaco and then maybe it’s on to Switzerland and Singapore. Those choices would be no more surprising than Cayman.

One might have thought earthquake-devastated Haiti would be a more sensible target for all this love and service from southern California. Yes, Grand Cayman’s hospital needed sprucing up—and thanks for the fine job—but Haiti needs actual hospitals at the moment! Sure, we can use some tidying up here and there. To be honest, half our country still looks like a dump six years after Hurricane Ivan’s visit. But our need is nowhere near that of Jamaica’s, for example. A dollar meant to help people in need would go a lot further in Kingston than Grand Cayman. This same California group reportedly did some work in Jamaica in 2008, so why not go back there rather than come here? Or why not help Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, and so on? All those countries have far greater needs than we do. One would think the relatively rich and fat people of the Cayman Islands would be last on the list for any one’s international aid project.

Even stranger is the choice of the Cayman Islands over Mexico, California’s next-door neighbour with a long list of needs. There are plenty of Mexican children, schools and clinics there that could use some help, and it’s all just a short drive from southern California. How much money was spent to fly all these volunteers to Cayman? If helping a society in need is the goal, why fly 3,000 miles rather than drive 20 do it? Cayman makes no sense. It’s about as weird as if these volunteers traveled upstate to beautify mansions in Beverly Hills. Actually, that would make more sense because Beverly Hills is so much closer to them than Cayman.

One of the American organizers said on a radio talk show that no money would be taken out of the Cayman Islands during this campaign. He said that all funds needed for the visitors were to come out of their own pockets or be obtained by fundraising in the US exclusively. If none of the money donated in Cayman will leave Cayman then someone should explain how that works because the Cayman project’s official Web site simply takes credit card payments for the California-based “Miles Ahead Ministries”. Maybe the money is sorted somehow, but there is no promise on the donation page that money given from Cayman will be used in Cayman.

Wouldn’t you love to have been a fly on the wall during the sermon in California when this venture was pitched? How in the world does one get people to donate money for a project that involves volunteers flying across North America to aid the people of a prosperous offshore tax haven? Maybe it went something like this: “Good people, Jesus commands us to serve others. So let us go forth and serve the wretched of the Earth! We shall journey to the Cayman Islands where God’s people are in desperate need of raking, painting, and beach cleanups. The ushers will now pass the donation plates. Please be generous, the Caymanians need us!”

Didn’t anyone in the congregation raise their hand and voice a few obvious concerns: “Excuse me pastor, but why not Haiti or Mexico? Isn’t Cayman a wealthy tourist destination known for being a multi-billion dollar financial center and having beautiful beaches? Isn’t their average income one of the world’s highest? They don’t even have income tax there. How come they can’t clean up their own country? Is something wrong with those people or what? I hear that people in Haiti are drinking out of mud puddles and living in cardboard boxes. If we’re going to the Caribbean, maybe we ought to help the Haitians instead.”

Some readers will be quick to point out that the visitors from California are here to do more than paint some of our dreary buildings and pick up trash we threw on the ground. They are also here to preach, pray for us, and generally inject a heavy does of Christianity into our collective souls. This is weird too. Who in their right mind thinks we need preaching from the outside when we probably have at least twice the number of churches of any small country in the world? Cayman likely has more preachers per capita than any place ever in history. So what is the message here? Is someone in the “Do Something” project suggesting that our churches are so impotent and our preachers so incompetent that we have to import American Christians to do the job for us? People are always saying that we are a “Christian nation”? If true, why would we need missionaries?

Why do Christians in California have to come all this way to pray for us anyway? Do prayers have a range limit? Couldn’t they just have prayed for Cayman from back home and then wired us all the money that would have been spent on airfare? That would have been a lot more efficient and productive, don’t you think?

For the sake of Cayman’s hypersensitive culture, let’s be clear that this viewpoint is not directed at any of the Caymanian organizers of the “Do Something” campaign. If they can talk Americans into coming here at their own expense to do our work for free, then great, keep ’em coming. While it might be questionable from a moral perspective, it certainly makes sense otherwise. This viewpoint is nothing more than a request for the California volunteers to explain why they chose to give their aid and physical labor to the wealthy, sedentary, obese, and UK-dependant Cayman Islands when so many other much more obvious and deserving countries exist.


CNS note: Here’s a link to the Do Something Cayman

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  1. Anonymous says:

    There is work to be done and people to be helped everywhere. They could have gone numerous places in the US or anywhere else. Getting people to volunteer for this kind of thing is not easy and it is a little hard to stand some of the comments that have been posted. Perhaps some of the cynics and antis should head over to Belize or Guatemala or Haiti before criticising people who came at their own expense, made a contribution, and certainly caused no harm.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Jesus said "I did not come to save the righteous but the loss".  This statement relates to everyone around the world – rich or poor.  Those who are rich or well off are the very ones who are blinded to the need to receive Jesus into their lives.  The Do Something Campaign is here to help Caymanians to redirect their path and goals which we have been losing touch of the real truth for a long time.  The gospel is not only for Jews but for the Gentiles as well.  Because of this "wonderful wealth" our nation has been experiencing it has blinded us to our need for God.  These wonderful Christians from San Diego has come to help us see the needs around us and give us a new vision of what God wants for our nation.  Unfortunately it sometimes takes strangers to help one see the truth.  Cayman is in a time of revival – people embrace this change do not resist it.  God has sent these people here because He is wanting the people of the Cayman Islands to open thier eyes to how lost people are around us and to Do Something.  Also, do something to help our neighbors and to work together as one nation.

    • Anonymous says:

      So you agree that our Caymanian preachers are not up to the job? They can’t preach the Gospel effectively and motivate our youth sufficiently so we have to bring in Americans to do the job properly? 

      How humiliating for Cayman’s army of local clergy. 

      • Ex-Lobsta Hunta - till Decemba says:

        Maybe because Caymanian Preachers are too busy playing politrics!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps the Do Something campaign was also aimed at getting our youth motivated….after all wasn’t it the WHO that said we have the laziest bunch int he world?  Motivation through Christ is also another message within this campaign. While this country may be a very Christian island, the youth are definitely on a wrong path. ANYONE, American, Jamaican, British are MORE THAN WELCOME to come into the country to motivate and spread the Word to the youth….is it more a problem with the fact someone else took on the problems of our country or that AMERICANs did it?  Take it for what it is….motivate our youth through the love of Christ to live like He did, selfless and loving EVERYONE. 

  4. E.Y.W says:

    The "Do Something" campaign from the Miles McPearson Ministries is set up annually. They choose a location, somewhere in the world and last year Cayman was choosen to be the 2010 location.

    I met with themlast year when they were arranging this trip – long before the earthquake happened in Haiti.

    Just some background information to clear up this Why Cayman, why not Haiti or Jamaica or Mexico rubbish. Be thankful that someone took interest in OUR country which does not go on without it’s hiccups and problems. They got people to volunteer and "do something" which was the purpose of the campaigns mission.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sure, "E.Y.W", and as the viewpoint suggests, Monaco, Switzerland and Singapore are probably next on the schedule for this ministry. 

      It looks like they are more interested in having cool vacations than in helping societies in desperate need. 

      Okay, forget the earthquake. When this ministry made their Cayman plans a year ago Haiti still was a far more obvious choice for an aid mission than the Cayman Islands.

      • Anonymous says:

        I completely agree – other countries are much less fortunate than ours. However, my point was made to silence the earlier comments of people who obviously didn’t know the background of the ministry.

        I met the planners – and I feel you on the "cool vacation spot" comment.

        But thank you anyway.


  5. Anonymous says:

    I have mixed feelings on this – No we are not especially needy and there are other nations who certainly could do with the help more than us. Yes we are generally wealthy – but I do like the sentiment "Do something Cayman" because I think we are often guilty of not helping those in our community who really need it…..just before Christmas I visited the Bonaventure Boys Home (which was also housing the girls from the Francis Bodden home as they had suffered a fire), and The Pines Retirement Home.  More recently I looked around Nadine Andreas Foster Home and they all could do with more help, especially finanacially.  The care taker of the foster home does the best he can to maintain the property, but they rely on donations – the furniture was scruffy and old.  The Pines are rebuilding but as always the project will go over budget and they simply don’t have the cash for the extra – they need donations.  The kids at all the homes need love and support as do the elderly – people to chat to them, hold their hand, read to them and just care.

    So no we don’t need the American groups to come in and do this for us…what we need is for us to step up and do it for ourselves – to take an interest in our own community, rather than immerse ourselves in our own comfortable existances with our own problems (many seem big but are small compared to those who have nothing), and forget to give a little to our own people.  Yes – let’s do something Cayman – but let’s do it by ourselves.

  6. KaptainKayman says:

    Maybe they came to help clean-up after seeing pictures of Mt. Trashmore and the disgrace that is Barkers National Park.  Anyone of sound mind would assume that people who lived in that type of squalor need help desperately.

  7. Anonymous says:

    With all the negative things being attributed to young people and the recent spate of crimes in the Cayman Islands the positive influence which will be shown by the "Do Something" volunteers will go a long way in steering the young people to a better way of life.

    Also, with all of the talk about the Government being "broke" the volunteer work being done on some schools, the hospital etc. will save the Government quite a few dollars.

    It is true that Cayman is  "richer" than some other places but this is not the only country in which the Miles Ahead Do Something Campaign has been or  will be involved.  (Keep checking the Miles Ahead website for updates.)


  8. Anonymous says:

     Yeah, you told him! Cayman has nothing to with tax evasion/avoidance. It’s all a big Hollywood myth. All those US companies have been "here" for the last 30 years just for kicks. They weren’t getting out of paying their taxes. It’s ridiculous to call us a tax haven. LIke Travers and the rest say, we just have really good, uh, service or something, that’s why we get all that business. It has nothing to with taxes. 


    EVERYONE in the Cayman Islands IS RICH compared to a typical resident in Port-a-Prince these days. Healthcare, security, social support are available to all citizens here. 


    It is a joke for Christian missionaries to come here from the US to help us. We should be ashamed given what Haiti is going through right now. 

    Take the s—t out of your ears before you worry about the beam in my eye. 



    • Anonymous says:

       No need to be rude.  Maybe you should read the link too.

      And yes, I’m not as poor as the Haitians but pretty soon Cayman will be the same.  Ignorance causes poverty.

  9. Expat says:

    There was a pastor on the island in the 70’s and 80’s who regularly received phone calls from america asking if the church needed a mission group to come help.  This pastor kept the phone number for his colleauges in Haiti close at hand and would explain that while the church in Cayman was self-sufficient, the folks in Haiti really needed some help. It is amazing where people volunteer to go for a week of "missions", but it has been going on for years. I grew up in Cayman, have diabetes, and agree whole heartedly with the author of this article.

  10. Anonymous says:

     Maybe Cayman Conscience needs to read that link.  Or is it Obama?  Reading the link answers that question.

    I’m really tired of 2 things 1. everyone in the Cayman Islands being called rich and 2. being called a tax haven. Take the beam out of your eye before you take the speck out of mine.




    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. Itis unconscionable that any Cayman Islands pastors would arrange for 100 worker/missionaries to come from the US to paint and pick up trash in Cayman when poor Haitians and Jamaicans nearby are suffering and dying.  

      The moral thing to say would have been, "No thanks, we are doing fine compared to Haiti. Please go and help them instead. We can beautify our own island." 



  11. Anonymous says:

    Here we go again. Instead of looking at the positive momentum that this campaign is having in our youth, and the other positive aspects of this, we choose instead to start searching for their alterior motives and criticizing.

    These people have done similar successfull campaigns in Jamaica, other parts of the US, Africa, etc. It’s an honor for them to have picked us, and the results of their efforts will be long felt after they have left us.

    Cant we just accept that sometimes actually God’s people choose to do something good without expecting a reward.