Monday, May 18, 2015

Cayman’s entitlement culture

Following an English Army’s conquest of Jamaica in 1655, European and African refugees and drifters became the Cayman Islands’ indigenous/aboriginal inhabitants, as far as we know. There is no evidence that any native-American tribes ever lived here. It is those first settlers’ bloodline descendants who still rule Cayman today, and claim preferential rights to all manner of privileges. Migrants have always been tolerated, but full acceptance has come only after mating with someone of the bloodline.

As in other communities around the world whose governance is founded on bloodline or tribal inheritance, Cayman’s local rulers have found it difficult to give up their tribal privileges – even impossible. Like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates, Cayman has been lucky to have found a steady source of state revenue without imposing an income-tax on their subjects. 

Every Arab tribal autocracy has its oil, Cayman’s has its “offshore” international tax-haven. Those sources produce oodles of Public Revenue, and every ruling tribe produces plenty of members ready to claim first dibs on it by virtue of their bloodline. Historically, their political representatives (who must be fellow-aboriginals, by law) have created an entire system of governance that caters to that sentiment – regardless of consequences.

Cayman’s current representatives have their knickers in a twist, trying to resolve the consequences. An uncomfortable number of the tribe’s members are coming up short in the following respects:-

·        Unschooled beyond a minimal level
·        Unemployable because of an anti-work attitude
·        Untrained and undisciplined in the management of their personal finances
·        Intolerant towards foreign ethnic groups

Those deficiencies have steadily worsened in recent years; the drift to full dependency on government handouts has passed the point of no return. There is no apparent solution on the horizon. It looks as though, in time, our “native” citizenry will become overwhelmingly dependent on welfare.

Most Caymanian families will rely on the plethora of government bureaucracies for food-vouchers; most Caymanian children will rely on charities to feed them before, during and after school; most Caymanian old folk will receive free Meals on Wheels, free healthcare, and pocket-money. Already, a huge segment of our bloated Civil Service is occupied with forcing private-sector businesses to hire and promote bloodline Caymanians ahead of immigrants, regardless of experience or (often) education.

The four deficiencies listed above have achieved unstoppable momentum. None of the four is ever publicly spoken of as a dependency by ethnic Caymanians, or acknowledged as a predictable product of the culture of entitlement. Expats know better than to argue, for fear of being punished by the authorities. The problems could all be fixed if Caymanians allowed expats to participate in the fixing – but expats are not to be trusted.

The schooling could be improved with the help of expat teachers and employers – if they were trusted. The unemployables could be made employable with the help of expats – if they were trusted. The financially incapable could be taught by expat volunteers – if they were trusted. The intolerant could be educated out of their narrow tribal prejudices – if their community would trust the outside world.

(Of course there are some expat cronies and stooges whose lives are spent giving comfort and assurance to the intolerant. There always are people like that, aren’t there?  Those expats brave enough to disagree openly, have given up. Their independence is viewed with suspicion; they will never be called upon, except as prospective stooges. What a waste of useful resources it all is!)

Every year, the Caymanians-only government schools add more inadequately educated graduates to the ranks of the unemployable, the financially irresponsible and the intolerant. All expats whose home this is, would love to be called on to help stop the rot – but they never will be, because they aren’t trusted. 

An uncomfortably large segment of our native Caymanian community is addicted to its protectionist culture. Government-school standards stay low because entitlement is more important than education. Respect for foreign ways is absent because mistrust of foreigners is so strong. Personal financial responsibility is pointless when every need is met by handouts.

It all reminds me of Bob Dylan’s famous song of the 1950s about a drug-addict friend of his who, trapped by her dependency, could find “no direction home”, he said. She was like a rolling stone, he told her brutally. By the same token, the native-Caymanian community (as a whole) will find no way out of its social confusion, until it casts off its dependency on its entitlement culture.