Sunday, April 22, 2012

Lies and statistics (illiteracy in Cayman)

According to the World Bank’s database, Cayman’s literacy rate is 98.87%, for residents aged fifteen and over. At least that was the rate in 2007, and there has been no change in the published data since then. Only 1.13% illiteracy? Hey, I think I know that family!

So much for published statistics. I guess we shouldn’t give our local Stats Office a hard time, if the World Bank’s figures are so dodgy. Or could it be that our Office didn’t fill the form in properly in 2007, or didn’t check the figures it was given by the Education Department? Or didn’t care.

What idiot would ever claim that 99% of our population was literate? I’m not sure 99% of our College graduates are literate – never mind our unemployables, or our unskilled migrant labourers. I suspect that what happened in 2007 is that somebody in government service wanted Cayman to look good. After all, everybody tells small lies, right? So where’s the harm?

Cayman also had 87 cases of TB in 2010, the World Bank reports. Huh? Who knew? Does it count as a lie to hide that sort of information from us locals? Remember how our authorities covered up the incidence of AIDS in its early days, because our tourism officials didn’t want to frighten prospective tourists?

When I opened the Chamber of Commerce Office in 1986, the Tourism Department’s brochures identified Caymanians’ ancestral blood as English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish. I was told that American tourists wouldn’t come if they knew there were people of African descent here. The officials were lying in a good cause: it was a white lie, in a manner of speaking. The Chamber had to put out its own brochures until the word “African” was added to the other. Later, we got the lie that Cayman was crime-free, lest tourists be put off by the truth.

Cayman is insignificant in the World Bank’s eyes. The Bank couldn’t care less what it publishes about our literacy rate or TB rate. Other international organisations and agencies care – not about our government statistics, but about our lies. The classic lie from our Offshore sector is that Cayman is not a tax haven. Oh, please!

An Offshore tax haven is a place (a foreign haven) where people set up trusts and companies that avoid domestic taxes. We ARE a tax haven. Our government receives a lot of revenue from tax-haven clients. That’s why we can afford not to have a local Income Tax.

From reports in the free media (not in the mainstream media, of course) it seems that just about every powerful and well-connected organisation in the world has been corrupted to the point where lies and corruption are now the very basis of their methods of operation.

The OECD pretends to care about tax-dodging, although its officials are careful to minimise their own personal taxes. The CIA pretends to care about terrorism, while sponsoring its own terrorism. The IMF pretends to care about the world’s economies, while conniving to destroy them. NATO pretends to care about human rights and democracy, while shooting unarmed villagers in their homes and pissing on their bodies.

We in Cayman know what censorship is. Investigative reporting is not a tradition here, so official lies have rarely been questioned. The Immigration Monster makes sure of that. Cayman News Service questions the lies, but they don’t have the staff to hire investigative reporters. Can you see the Immigration authorities granting a Work Permit for an investigative reporter? Me neither.

98.87% literacy; no gangs in schools; tough regulation of the tax-haven; employers held to account for stealing from their employees; no TB or AIDS; no human-rights abuses; and, best of all, “there is no censorship”. Lies, lies, lies.