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Cayman Islands: an example Bermuda need not follow – Engage with the world but keep our identity

By Khalid Wasi From Royal Gazette

Trying to define or understand this moment in time in its appropriate context naturally depends on the observer. Whether this epoch in our political life is an auspicious moment as in a matter of divine providence, or as a religious person might say — “this is a day that God has made” — is worth considering. It would be useful and much more beneficial to wrap it in those terms than to believe it was simply a partisan victory. This election result was far more than just the result of a political strategy. Much of the small talk about why we won, or why we lost, is vanity. The result was an expression of a sentiment.

In many ways it was as though the soul of the country was questioned, reaching deep within where the innate feeling exists. The outpouring was a demonstration that we as a people do not wish to be wiped away under a tide of expediency or political manoeuvring. Such as is happening in the Cayman Islands, which is being redefined by multinationals intent on building a business metropolis dictated by those other than Caymanians. Of course, business is important, without which there is no economy to provide opportunities and services for its people.

However, there is more to a country than terms for international business, which is of benefit to its residents and natives in defining success and happiness, and which separates them from being just another global transaction and statistic. Bermuda, in particular, has such a rich history that has shaped and fashioned its natives into a unique fragrance that captured the hearts of persons such as Mark Twain and needs to be nourished and celebrated as one of the multitudes of identities in the world.

What makes the world so interesting is the differences in cultures and people, and as the world economies become more integrated, the issue of cultural assimilation and respect for local custom in a pluralist society becomes the new modern challenge.

Xenophobia is not the answer in this 21st century going forward, but nor is colonisation and the annihilation of local cultures. We need people and lots of them to gain the kind of utility in a highly competitive world. There are certainly advantages to having an economy where there is a robust population, particularly an educated one. It is like having a big business capable of offering many services, but the bottom line is the ability to generate lots of money.

The key is balance and control, and in any jurisdiction this means preserving your immigration with a philosophy that allows the country to gain what it needs, while simultaneously protecting and respecting the worth and contribution of others, as it gradually evolves its native population. You don’t hand the keys of your Parliament to the latest immigrant to achieve a political result or business. Cayman is a clear example that we need not follow to be competitive.

Bermuda has a favourable location with a beauty and amenities that are hard to match anywhere in the world. However, we have underused and underestimated the ability of a large section of the population. It would be far better for everyone to come on board and embrace each of our diversities than to wish failure. We need to maintain our uniqueness as a distinct jurisdiction as we engage the world.

We can not only survive against the inorganic likes such as that of Cayman, but we can thrive and excel. We just need to tap into our own genius and move the country forward.

IMAGE: Cayman Islands: an example Bermuda need not follow

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