October 25, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Will this time be Daylight Saving Time?

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Colin WilsonwebFor as many years as I can remember living here (30 plus) there has been much talk of the merits of (). Successive governments have said they would be “seriously” looking into it.

Obviously, not seriously enough as not a word about it followed. Silence.

Even when McKeeva Bush was last in charge of our affairs one of his first announcements was to bring in DST. Silence followed that, too.

However, things may be different now as it is not only our Premier, Alden McLaughlin, saying he is for DST. He said the majority of his colleagues share his view, and another of his colleagues, Minister Wayne Panton, publicly confirmed this in a radio interview on Wednesday (9). He said the government was seriously looking at the pros and cons and admitted he was in also in favour of it.

So is DST a good thing for us?

I am going to take you back to the history of DST in the UK and I am quoting from an article in History Today:

“Daylight saving was a logical policy to manipulate the fruits of nature. Yet, as Oliver B. Pollak explains, it was opposed by farmers, trivialised by politicians, and not adopted until the First World War made it imperative to national survival.

“The legislative enactment of was a political act that had substantial impact on social history. The origin of the Act stemmed from the nineteenth-century demand for industrial time-keeping efficiency and the concern for ‘physical deterioration’ evoked by the Anglo-Boer War. It was implemented in 1916 as a wartime emergency fuel conservation measure. Despite its significance in the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people it was treated trivially by Parliament and other legislative bodies as well as by historians. Daylight Savings was a logical policy to manipulate the fruits of nature. However, it created strains between various economic interests and between rural and urban territorial interests. Its introduction was often badly handled and misunderstood.

“English time-keeping legislation dates from at least the mid-eighteenth century when the Gregorian replaced the Julian calendar. England was brought into line with the Continent, and leapt from September 2nd to September 14th at the stroke of a pen. During the mid-nineteenth century it was the steam railway hurtling at fifty miles an hour, and the instantaneous communication of the electric telegraph that created a concern for smaller time units, hours. International commerce demanded uniformity. The completion of transcontinental railways required mutually acceptable timetables and prompted the meeting of groups such as the International Prime Meridian Congress. By 1890, twenty-four roughly equal time zones circled the globe.

“Daylight Savings Time had been trivialised by politicians. The Great War elevated it as a means of national survival. Although adopted by the Axis and Allies it actually only came into force in the United States in the closing months of the war, but it has subsequently become a permanent institution.”

To read the whole story go to: http://www.historytoday.com/oliver-b-pollack/efficiency-preparedeness-and-conservation-daylight-savings-time-movement

So why would DST be beneficial here in the Cayman Islands?

“The fruits of nature”? Hardly!

“A wartime emergency fuel conservation measure”? Not applicable here.

Logical reason: To make good use of daylight and save energy.

Hmm. Surely this depends on where you live in the world? For those who live near the equator, the hours of day and night are equally about 12 hours each.

In Cayman we live near the equator. There is little difference.

It is a well recorded fact that DST during the summer is not beneficial in the tropical areas.

Nations close to the equator do not shift their clocks at all.

All of this should point to an emphatic no.

But the answer to that last statement is No.

The only benefit, and it is huge with business persons, is our close proximity to the , plus thefact that the vast majority of countries, those in Europe particularly, have DST.

Because we have to remember what time of the year we are in, i.e. US Eastern Time Zone or Central Time Zone every year, if we went to DST we would always be Eastern Time if we followed the USA and all we had to remember is when to turn our clocks forward and then back.

That is fine but the rest of the DST world does not follow the USA when they do their change over. Plus the USA keeps changing the actual times of the year it does it.

The USA is so huge it doesn’t have to conform to anyone else. A large number of Americans really aren’t interested in the rest of the world anyway.The world starts and finishes within the boundaries of the US.

A small country like ours has to listen to the big countries.

Because we don’t change and the majority of the world does we face “chaos and confusion” twice a year is one of the arguments. But that is the same “chaos and confusion the rest of the world puts up with two times during every year with their adoption of DST. If there was conformity with DST throughout the world with the exact  same dates it happened that would be a help but no one is going to agree to that.

I am sorry folk,s we would still  face the same chaos and confusion even if we changed. Is it so difficult to remember that for approximately seven months of the year we are on EST and for 5 months we are on CST? Panton intimated he always has a job with that.

The following though should be taken into account during government’s discussions on the matter. Health.

In a recent Washington Post article highlighting the research carried out by the University of Alabama in Birmingham they found being tired (that lost hour of sleep) due to the time change is associated with an increased risk for heart attacks!

Young children are especially vulnerable when the time changes are enacted, especially autistic

Quite frankly I believe DST is a big fat waste of time! Let the rest of the world follow us as we do now.

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