First-generation Caymanians

| 02/12/2019 | 122 Comments

Nicky Watson writes: I am a first-generation Caymanian. You can call me a paper Caymanian or @#$%^& driftwood if you like but it doesn’t change this fact: I am a Caymanian. I have lived in the Cayman Islands longer than any multi-generational Caymanian under the age of 32 and I have been a Caymanian for longer than any Caymanian under the age of 22.

I have now lived in the Cayman Islands longer than I lived in the land of my birth, the United Kingdom, a country that has changed dramatically since I left it all those years ago. I did not mean at the time to be gone forever, but here I am. The “home” that I remember no longer exists.

When I came here I had no intention of staying longer than a few months. But here I am. My life is here. My family is here. My friends are here. My business is here. My links to the UK grow more tenuous year by year. The future of the Cayman Islands is my future.

I gave birth to two Caymanian children in the Cayman Islands and raised them here. On their father’s side they are Caymanian going back many generations and they are second-generation Caymanian on their mother’s side. People who use the word “half-breed” make me sick to my stomach because it is noxiously racist.

As my children grew up, there was a constant flow of Caymanian children in my house. Some of these Caymanian children had two Caymanian parents, some had one Caymanian parent and some were, like me, first-generation Caymanians.

Like many first-generation Caymanians, I care deeply about the fate of the Cayman Islands and what opportunities there are for Caymanians — all Caymanians, not just those who can trace both sides of their family history back through multiple generations.

I weep for the young Caymanians who are lost to society’s ills, mourn the loss of the natural beauty to greed, and rage against those who put personal profit before both. Some of these bloodsuckers are expatriates, some are first-generation Caymanians and some are multi-generational Caymanians, politicians even.

I sympathise with multi-generational Caymanians who hate the changing demographics. It makes me think of my parents’ generation in Britain, who survived World War II only to watch their country evolve into something they did not recognise, into a multi-ethnic, multicultural community with very different values to the ones they grew up with, and with people with skin of various shades and different accents who were somehow as British as they were. It was simply baffling for them.

But the rate of change in Britain is nothing to the rate of change here in Cayman.

In 1960 the population of the Cayman Islands was 8,511, according to the census of that year. By 2010 — just two generations later — it was 55,036, more than six times bigger. More poignantly, in 1979 there were 13,457 Caymanians and 3,210 non-Caymanians, but by the time of the 2010 census there were 30,979 Caymanians and 24,057 non-Caymanians. I wonder what that ratio is now. What will it look like if certain politicians get their way and the population grows to 100,000?

As a first-generation Caymanian, I am constantly conflicted. Some expatriates, Brits even, and some first-generation Caymanians are assholes who treat Caymanians as second-class citizens in their own country. Some Caymanians are assholes who treat all expatriates with contempt and call first-generation Caymanians like me @#$%^& driftwood. Both make my blood boil and make me defensive of the maligned group.

But I’ve been here long enough to know that the Caymanians of old were also not a homogeneous group. Some of the older Caymanians I talked to when I first got here were wonderful open-minded and endlessly interesting people; but a few spoke in the racist terms of the Antebellum South about their fellow Caymanians. I was truly shocked.

The history of the Cayman Islands over the last 60 years has been driven by the desire to make money, no matter the cost. This rapid expansion brought me and many other first-generation Caymanians here to these shores, but it seems there was little thought as to what was being lost in the desire of the few for wealth. For example, there couldn’t be gangs in Cayman because that might stem the flow of cash into the islands. So the children were sacrificed, along with the mangroves and the beaches, to make a buck.

For much of last year, the Cayman Islands government paid to celebrate the history of the past 60 years, rightly paying homage to their heritage. But here’s the thing: we, the first-generation Caymanians, are inherently part of that now. My roots are different; I didn’t grow up drinking swanky or eating guineps or going to Sunday school. I still don’t like heavy cake. I believe gay Caymanians should be allowed to marry and be happy.

But when I arrived, there was no sign at the airport saying ‘leave your morals and your memories here’. I brought them with me, and now my morals and memories, like those of all first-generation Caymanians, are woven into the tapestry of Cayman, bringing new ideas and expanding the local lexicon. We’re here, and we can vote.

You can’t unbreak that egg.

Some first-generation Caymanians are criminals, it’s true, but some are doctors, teachers, fitness gurus, gardeners. Some are wonderful, some are really not, just like the rest of humanity. But we’re here now — that egg is well and truly broken, scrambled, cooked and eaten — and what we all really need is leadership that will bind us all together.

How we all go forward and who becomes a Caymanian in the future is yet to be determined but the starting point is here, all of us together.

For the politicians to come and incumbents who want to remain in power there’s a shallow path to power: playing on the differences and deepening divides, new Caymanians versus old Caymanians.

But politicians with vision, those who truly want to see the Cayman Islands move forward into a world with a bright future, will see first-generation Caymanians on the same level as multi-generation Caymanians and find ways to unify us to build our collective future.

Because we are all Caymanians.


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Comments (122)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m sorry Nicki, I’m not fully on board. Even my kids born and raised here don’t consider themselves ‘Caymanian’, their words not mine. They recognize the mindful fabric of influence extended from their expat Mom & Dad, the limits this imposes to their full immersion and understanding and therefore a slice of what ‘Caymanian is’ will be something they just won’t get. For there to be an intrinsic belonging there has to be complete understanding and not limited only to knowledge of ones home. You and I will never have that full understanding by way of not having grown up here nor had the subconscious values instilled in us from our parents and grandparents who grew up here themselves that constructs an underlying culture & hereditary. The extension of the ship landed United States settlers are multi-generational but even those of present day only subscribe to the American that was imported from Europe many years ago. Ultimately we are a World people privileged through travel to find new cultures and ideals we can adhere to, experience, as well as align ourselves to an ethos that supports us in our own unique ways . We can also express opinions, contribute and immerse ourselves but do we as a world people need to strike a claim for an attachment in an existence which only really offers us individual realties and any such claim to any jurisdiction simply a self manufactured process towards a selective perception and constructed sense of belonging ? Yes we are Caymanian by process, Cayman is our home, and we subscribe to that. The difference is a great deal of us will subscribe to being Jamaican, British, Honduran, American, French in addition to Caymanian, – holding multiple passports, essentially an identity of convenience especially when traveling. Even if we denounce a Citizenship for a preferred label that does not make us ethnically more tied to our chosen nation. For our purposes, yes we are Caymanian with the grant of a label, -,when someone asks me in the street however ‘if I’m Caymanian’, my answer is ‘Yes I applied and was given status’, my kids answer is usually ‘Yes, I was born here and grew up here, my parents are from overseas’ – there’s a few distinctions and then there’s also those that are Caymanian.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Christ Jesus, 4:07. Thanks for the sociological lecture but how do you explain America and Canada’s ability to make new citizens feel part of the cultural tapestry? Do you live in one of the many expat ( sometimes gated) communities…Yacht Club, Vista Del Mar Grand Harbour…where the house lots are over $100,000 and the built houses by covenant have to be way beyond the reach of 95% of us? If so, you simply cannot feel you belong here other than as a wealthy observer of a community that has welcomed you. Sad.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Lets look at it like this and keep it seasonal – two people at a Christmas party, both know each other well and each with humility. One is a professional tennis player, the other a club member with enthusiasm. Another person walks up knowing there is a tennis topic somewhere and to strike a conversation asks ‘So which one of you is the tennis player’ – which one answers.

  2. Anonymous says:

    You’re not really a Caymanian, whatever your passport might say. You have the huge good fortune to be a Brit with Caymanian status. As have I.

    Cayman has been kind to us: we can live here tax-free, run our own businesses etc, in a tiny island that has had the grace and generosity to grant us those priveleges. And the same goes for our children.

    At the end of the day, we and our children are guests here. We should all have the humility to accept that and allow Caymanians, by which I mean true Caymanians (and yes, we all understand what I mean even if we pretend not to), to determine their own future as they see fit.

    But oh no, we can’t allow that; we’re Brits/Canadians/Americans/South Africans (anyone see a common theme here?) with Caymanian Status, and we and even our children know better than our hosts how they should live and what’s good for them. A self-righteous, foreign, middle-class, bossy Raj is alive and well, and living in the north west Caribbean.

    Let’s just be thankful for your lives here, Status-holders, and let our hosts get on with deciding, rightly or wrongly, how to run theirs.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I’m presuming you are trolling, bobo. If not, you are a really servile sycophantic individual with no backbone; not the sort of person Cayman needs to develop and prosper in an ever changing global environment.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Hello. 2.22 here again.

        “Bobo”. Nice touch, but if you’re hoping it disguises that you’re an expat or an expat’s child, you’re mistaken.

        Saying that it’s “servile” and “sycophantic” to be grateful for what Cayman has given us and not to oppose, as a matter of course, its democratically elected government, betrays not only neo-colonial words (“servile”? really?) but a neo-colonial attitude, viz we expats know better than the natives what’s good for them. Hardly a modern approach to our “ever changing global environment”, now is it?

        Immature keyboard warriors trot out phrases like that without ever stopping to wonder what they mean. The “global environment” has always changed and always will; and so far, from my many years on the island, I’ve seen Cayman (guided by elected Caymanians) adapting to the changes it needs to with pragmatism and alacrity. It doesn’t need Johnny-come-lately busybodies to make it do so.

        Seriously, “bobo”, you need to look long and hard at your privilege.

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        • Anonymous says:

          My goodness me 3:52/2:22, I got an unseemly rush from your comment, especially your hymn of praise to the “elected Caymanians” adapting to the changes with “pragmatism and alacrity”. Be still my heart! So you regretted the UK stepping in and ending flogging and hanging by an Order in Council because our MLAs wouldn’t? And you are ok with Anthony Eden and Julianna ( in particular) and the rest of the MLAs in their attitude to gay person’s rights? And I suppose you were ok with Julianna some years ago describing Hindus as “ savages” …before of course these “ savages” brought us a health care Centre in East End that Caymanians are delighted with. Of course Cayman and its politicians and population deserve credit for keeping the place going along reasonably well…and better than many countries….for many many years now. It doesn’t mean they need people like you puffing them up as saintly geniuses and condemning criticism as coming from neo colonialism ( yawn) and “Johnny come lately busybodies”.

          I came here 48 years ago….bobo….how about you? Ah, I thought so.

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    • Anonymous says:

      So Jamaicans living in UK for 20 odd years are not true Brits? They are just guests? That seems to be your logic. I don’t think the many West Indians, for example, would appreciate that.

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    • Roger Davies says:

      2.22pm Speak for yourself, you certainly don’t speak for me.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    i have status now …my child is caymanian…but i will never, ever lower my self or my child by calling us caymanians.
    the term caymainian is an insult to common sense, tolerence and understanding.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Unlike 90% of new Caymanians, if you are telling the truth, you are driftwood, and a cause of the challenges this society is experiencing.

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    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      Then why don’t you give it back? You see, tolerance and understanding works both ways. Yes, some Caymanians have a long way to go, but many realise that an eclectic blend of citizens makes things work well. It always has. Everywhere.

      Being called Caymanian is a priviledge, and if you’ve taken it for granted, then I can only say that I wish you well, and to receive tolerance and understand, one must also give it freely.

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    • Anonymous says:

      please rescind your status and go back wherever you come from. You are an insult and should examine yourself since you obviously dislike your host country and people from here. probably the best life you have had.

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      • Anonymous says:

        He or she will not. Enjoys being an owner of businesses here while sending all the profits “back home” and contributing as little as possible to the Cayman people or economy. They will not even register to vote for fear of being called to do jury duty. There are unfortunately too many like them.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    I could do without the dangerous, alternative social hierarchy system of roundabout navigation, where inbound left junction traffic sizes up whether they feel they need to yield to traffic on their right based on the cut of one’s jib, or presumed nation of origin. It happens a lot.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Nicky…for someone who supposedly spends so much time writing…you really express yourself, whether intentionally or not, rather carelessly.

      You present a message of unity meant to be appealing to the masses, yet instead of being fair and equally distributing responsibility to each individual in our society, you choose to point the finger at the politicians.

      Politicians are a minority in any society, and though it may be convenient to appease the majority of your readers by
      diminishing politicians, you don’t do justice to the noble craft of journalism.

      If nothing else, the current people’s initiated referendum should be the wake up call to everyone of the value of participatory democracy as opposed to lazy inactive follow the leader politics or follow the media blindly routine.

      Please, reflect on your words and be ever more careful with how you influence the minds and mood of the readers.

      You made valid points in regard to real life experiences in Cayman and prejudicial attitudes that need to be stopped, however, the ball is round and Caymanians albeit slow to act in some cases are quick to learn and able to give licks as good as we get.

      As for your first generation argument, I as a full blooded born and bred Caymanian would humbly suggest that you do yourself a favour and accept yourself. As for my reference to being a born and bred Caymanaian, I have no apology for that because I have paid my dues growing up in a country that many times the pressures want Caymanians to feel like they are worthless and a people without authority, legacy, dignity, or a right to feel at home with a voice in their own country.

      Once you know within yourself that you are a Caymanian, noone can take that away from you… and that is the best feeling in the world. God bless you.

      Respectfully,
      A Concerned Caymanian

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      • Anonymous says:

        What generation?

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      • Ed says:

        What’s a noone and why do they go around taking things?

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      • MR says:

        “I have paid my dues growing up in a country that many times the pressures want Caymanians to feel like they are worthless and a people without authority, legacy, dignity, or a right to feel at home with a voice in their own country.”

        As you said, it is not possible for anyone to make a person feel this way if they accept themselves.

        What Ms Watson has clearly stated is that the biggest problem in this country is division of the real stakeholders and the “leadership” playing on that weakness of our voting populous instead of encouraging all sides to work together for the betterment of the country and all its residents – born here or not.

        It is the duty of Caymanian parents to instill patriotism and love for self in to their children which will in turn heighten the level of confidence in our people over time – the constant nonsense within the homes with parents and family “warning” the youth about “foreigners coming here” and politicians playing on that is our problem.

        Ms Watson’s writing in this piece did not come from a “journalist” – it came from a woman with passion for her home and its people, that is clear in her tone. She is pretty much calling for unity and displaying empathy with all sides.

        And when since we have “concerned Caymanians” coming to the defense of politicians who have proven themselves unworthy? Which district elected you?

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        • Anonymous says:

          Nicky can speak for herself, however, as you have demonstrated, you are free to speak on her behalf.

          In regard to your last paragraph and questions, I don’t fear being the first to do anything, even if it is what you say, defending unworthy politicians, which I was not doing.

          What I suggested, is that we are all responsible for the society we live in and unlike your perspective suggests, I do not shrink to my responsibility as a citizen by instead blaming a few other citizens who happen to be politicians and conveniently in the minority making them safe scapegoats for people like you who seem to prefer to throw stones rather than build this country.

          As for your view that our leaders are the problem, I see it differently. It takes two to tango. Leaders are elected by voters like you. I believe that each of us has a greater mental capacity than you give us due. I don’t know about you, but I for sure know that no politician or individual can lead me unwillingly. Simply put, my view is not that the problem is our leaders playing on our divisions but rather the people allowing themselves to be played. Furthermore, the dynamics or our political system is much mire more complex than that. Voters each have their own demands of candidates and elected officials and sadly too often voters set the bar too low and also do not play and active role in their community contributing and collaborating to bring about positive changes.

          I don’t need a district to elect me to have my views or to be a concerned Caymanian. Furthermore, neither you nor anyone else can take my free speech away.

          Respectfully,
          A Concerned Caymanian

  5. Anonymous says:

    New word: “Dumkoff”. I love it and will use it as necessary! LOL

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  6. Anon says:

    In short people who call you “Paper Caymanian” or “Driftwood” are racist !! Simple

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    • Anonymous says:

      Intolerant, biased, xenophobes, yes, but it’s not necessarily race-related. There is no Caymanian-exclusive race or skin shade, thank goodness for that!

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      • Anon says:

        Tosh. Discrimination on the grounds of national origin is within the legal definition of racism. You are a racist, you are just too ignorant to know it.

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        • Rick says:

          Anyone who thinks ‘nationality’ is synonymous with ‘race’ is too ignorant to call anyone ignorant.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Stop using racist for things other than race. It diminishes the fight against real racism.

  7. Roger Davies says:

    Ms Watson, you have spoken from the heart and surely have illustrated the benefits of having expatriates like you, settling in these islands and making it your home.
    I would also like to take this opportunity of expressing my admiration for what you and Wendy have achieved with CNS with such limited resources.
    I have resided here since April 1969 and was married here in 1972 and all our children were born here. I have been fortunate, courtesy of our Caymanian hosts to enjoy a good standard of living, having Eldon Kirkconnell sponsor my status application in early 1972, and Norberg Thompson building our house completed also in 1972 for which we paid the princely sum of CI$29,000. We still live in it to this day.
    Of course I understand the concerns of Caymanians having this great influx of “foreigners” and the fear of being outnumbered, the same problem exists in the UK although not as critical as here, with the same concerns.
    The current Government is I believe doing it’s best to ensure suitably qualified Caymanians are given first bite of the cherry, yet recognizing we still need to bring in outside expertise where necessary. This should ensure our continued growth which is surely the envy of all our Caribbean neighbours.
    I considered my grant of status to be an honour bestowed on me by this country back in 1972, and surely that is true to this day.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I’m interested to know how you got status so quickly Mr Davies if you came here in 1969 and got it in 1972. I, like most people at that time had to wait 7 years before applying. This is not a troll comment, just interested.

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      • Anonymous says:

        That’s funny because when I came in ’91 it was only 5 years. So I would imagine it was far shorter back in ’69!!
        Get your facts straight before ‘trolling’

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        • Anonymous says:

          That’s funny because it was 7 years starting in the mid-80’s. Who trolling now?

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          • Anonymous says:

            Absolutely not correct. Troll

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            • Anonymous says:

              Absolutely correct, troll.

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              • Anonymous says:

                Certainly in the early 80s it was 7 years before you could apply. Perhaps the Caymanian Protection Law changed after Roger got his Status? Our immigration rules have had a habit of changing frequently over the years!
                Why do we have to slag each other off as trolls when a simple question was asked by the poster at 4:40?

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      • Anonymous says:

        It was easier back then, with the mosquitos. Get sponsored and put your ad in the Compass Classifieds for a couple Fridays.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Money baby

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      • Roger Davies says:

        4.40pm There was no requirement in those days to wait 7 years so what you say if indeed you were resident at that time, is nonsense. I welcome a discussion on this subject if you care to emerge from your anonymous shell, alternatively I am listed in the phone book so please feel free to call me. I suspect you will not pursue this as you are simply trolling.

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    • Chris Johnson says:

      Excellent article from CNS and the response from Roger. Both hit the nail on the head..

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Well said Nicky. The biggest problem facing Cayman today is the endless “who is more Caymanian” BS we hear endlessly.

    Caymanian.
    True Born Caymanian.
    True Born Generational Caymanian.
    True Born xth Generation Generational Caymanian.
    Paper Caymanian.

    Let’s end this nonsense. At the end of the day were all CAYMANIAN and we all want what’s best for the Cayman Islands.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Been here for over 32 years and you have never had swanky or a Guinep?

    CNS: Where on earth did you get that I had never had them? I wrote: “I didn’t grow up drinking swanky or eating guineps.”

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Assimilation at the cost of one’s morality and principles is too much for some born/raised in the more-liberal minded first world. One has to have developed a compass, in order to loose or compromise the essential guiding instrument.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    My parents are Jamaican and British and moved here in the 90s, I was born and bred here in 1997. I identify as Caymanian because this is where I from! I don’t have any other home, I was born and bred here so it hurts me when I’m told this isn’t actually my home, because it is, I know no other place! I can understand where native Caymanians are coming from when they say the culture is being lost, that’s why I urge expats to assimilate to the culture and our values when they move here. We’re an Island with open arms, but when the native people are being pushed to the side, that’s when there’s a problem.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I do feel for you, and know you identify as Caymanian, but are you? You should have qualified by now and continued it at your 18th birthday. Have you? If so, you are indeed a Caymanian – a fact that should be celebrated.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It bugs me when people say their culture is being lost. You can’t lose you culture. Culture is a constantly evolving thing, not a snapshot. What they’re really talking about is their history. Culture and history are two different things.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Observation: The radio call-in shows played an active role in stoking the divide. I recall permit holders would arrive to work, park their cars and go into the office whenever that was. The multi-gen Caymanians would instead sit in their cars glued to their blaring radio until 9:01, nodding in agreement, hearing about how all their problems stem back to 3000-or-so Cabinet Status giveaways in 2003. Some would bring that toxic hostility into the workplace. The primary school textbooks we studied for our test, defined paper Caymanians in derogatory lesser terms. Today, there persists a popular myth that earning PR, Naturalisation, and Status is an easy 3 check journey. Despite the path to citizenship being unlawfully suspended for four years, over half the current electorate was added in the years since those controversial Grants, some 10,000 plus. Those were not added by way of Cabinet Grant, but on application merit. The politicians that don’t understand Cayman’s current 1st gen fabric and mindset are the dinosaurs that will be voted out (once again) at the next election. We need to make sure the sore losers of the past don’t come back again to hold Cayman hostage to another 4 years of contrived alliance. We need the SIPL Law enacted, and those found not to have been in conformity, at minimum, permanently barred from participation and honours they enjoy.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You miss the fact that many problems do indeed stem back to the status grants and that although 3,000 were given, as many as 7,000 almost immediately “took” through them. There was almost no vetting, almost certain corruption involved in relation to some grants, and too many undeserving and even harmful recipients.

      By all means we should move forward, but do not dismiss Caymanian outrage over what happened, and how. It should be a lesson in how not to operate an immigration regime, and we should fight every day to stop its repetition. Unfortunately we do not seem to have learned from the past. Spend some time at the NAU or investigate the diminishing living conditions of multi-generational Caymanians if you do not believe me.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Hmmm, I’m not sure that’s true. But even if we assume it were, why aren’t these so-called enraged Caymanians leading something more proactive about removing the powers enjoyed by the political class who underwrote the Cabinet Status Grants of 2003, yet have enjoyed full pay, pension, protocols, uninterrupted liberty and unimpeded ass-grabbing in the 16 years since? Why are you waiting for first-gens to organize?

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        • Anonymous says:

          Because, as Nicky says, the egg is already broken, scrambled, cooked and eaten. The majority of ‘Caymanians’ are already of the naturalised sort, never mind the thousands hoping to join the group just by living ordinary lives here for a few more years (yes there are requirements but an education, well-paid job, money in the bank, property – all things those people would have done or had in their own countries – and willingness to pay lip service and complete paperwork suffices to get one through). I myself right now have the job of writing a PR reference for someone whose job it was to mentor me at work, who told me that I should not expect any help learning the ropes from his colleagues (and by extension, from himself were it not required of him) because they all came here to make money and every minute they could spend on me is a minute they could spend on their families. He laid out for me very simply why there is no incentive to bring multi-generational Caymanians into the fold so they can enjoy prosperity too. People come here for selfish reasons and they only become slightly less selfish over time as they integrate and have children who integrate more than they did. They still never forget why they came and proudly belong to what they regard as the ‘good Cayman’, not the ‘old, slow Cayman’ – what another colleague referred to as the “two speeds”. There are too few of us to stick our necks out for change. Our parents taught us that was a luxury we did not have; that retribution would come some day if we did. Now that we have some help from new Caymanians, we are finding our courage.

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          • Right ya so says:

            Don’t write that reference Anonymous 03/12/2019 @ 12:37pm!

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            • Anonymous says:

              I will be having a conversation with this gentleman before I do. I can’t write what I would like to write to help him out, knowing that he has had this eventual request in mind from the day he met me, and knowing that his advice under his tutelage was either bad or given too late to make a difference.

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              • Anonymous says:

                Just tell him you never bothered to apply for an official Status certificate, so maybe not the best one to ask…works for everyone else.

            • Anonymous says:

              Exactly! Why would you endorse someone who you hold so much animosity towards?!? Let them find another reference!

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          • Anonymous says:

            Alas, I wish they taught this in school. There is no Naturalisation as a Caymanian, only as a British Overseas Territories Citizen. PR just means the permit holder doesn’t have to keep re-applying for a job that wasn’t filled by a Caymanian. There is a work fee equiv paid until they are Naturalized. Which is a separate application after 8 years. Caymanian Status is yet another application, fees, and minimum wait time of 15 years for those already Naturalized.

            In any case: please don’t write false references for jerks, anywhere along this continuum, especially at the earliest roll-over threshold, sincerely everybody!

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      • Anonymous says:

        “As many as 7,000 almost immediately “took” through them”…honestly, where does this data come from?

        All of the Cabinet Status Grantees were Gazetted as a matter of public record. We know exactly who they are – or were – since many have DIED since. Any of their dependents would have had to apply via the long route, and again for Continuation at 18.

        Here’s the list:
        http://www.gov.ky/portal/page/portal/cabhome/publications/2003-status-grants

        Someone could probably cross-ref to the NAU and Criminal Cause Lists to give an account of the proportion that ought to have been rolled-over, but that would destroy this popular narrative, so nobody has done it.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Almost every recipients’ children and spouse almost automatically became Caymanian without any detailed vetting. That is where the 7,000 come from. Now their descendants multiply exponentially as the children now marry expatriate and become Caymanian.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Exactly. And these figures of ‘Caymanians’ succeeding are now touted as evidence that we no longer have social problems of this type, when self-evidently we still do.

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          • Anonymous says:

            The dreaded 2003 Status Grants were not all necessarily justified (or even requested by those that received them), but check that list against the surnames that have filled the cause lists for the last 16 years and tell us if there is a criminal correlation. It wouldn’t be that hard to verify or dispel the myth. Nobody has bothered, and that’s the point. It’s more convenient to point the finger anywhere but the mirror.

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            • Anonymous says:

              None of them were “justified”. Many of them were deserving, but there were clear processes that could and should have been followed.

              Any that paid bribes may be Caymanian on paper, but they are not legally Caymanian. Their grants are void and they are criminal scum that should have been long sent packing.

    • Anonymous says:

      That and anonymous online comments. Carry on.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Well, those that have lived the micro-aggressions and follow-on retributions firsthand can relate why it is, regrettably, necessary here. The comment stands and why else would it matter what my full name is? I doubt it’s because you’d like to add us to your Christmas list.

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      • Anonymous says:

        …says Anonymous.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    You have 3-4 years on me but I could have written this if I had the words.
    Very well said. I hope others take it in the vein in which it is meant. So far, you can see that some have not quite taken in what you are trying to say.
    But thank you anyway for saying it!

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful put Nicky. My parents moved here in the 80’s and both me and my brother were born here. My parents applied for and received status which I shared with them until i was 18 years old where i had to apply for it in my own right. I was born and grew up here and I know no where else as home. My relatives and genetics so to speak are British but i am Caymanian through and through. The UK isn’t my home Cayman is. I love traveling and have a deep passion to visit new places but Cayman will always be my base and my rock. Please “third generation Caymanians” stop trying to take this from us. I am proud to belong to this island and to call it home.

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  15. BeaumontZodecloun says:

    Very well said, Nicky!

    One of the major points of this, imo, is that everyone with a personal investment in these islands has a valid right to express their opinion, and should never be persecuted for having done so. Another is that in the eyes of the law, Caymanian Status Holders and Caymanians are the same.

    The ability to vote is a privilege that should not be taken for granted, nor bought and sold, but wielded wisely. It is through that privilege — as well as through our evolving social ideals — that Cayman will survive and prosper in the winds of change…….. and time. This is one of the reasons your forum is so important, by providing a space where we can all freely participate in discussions. Priceless.

    I read posts which are angry, and there is much to be angry about. Differences of opinion, however, are rarely solved by anger. Cultural/religious differences can always find common ground, recognising that the Cayman Islands have always been diverse in many ways. Equal human rights take nothing away from anyone, nor does freedom of expression. That is part of what it means to BE Caymanian, along with hard-working and respectful. We must never slip into a selfish miasma of complacency and apathy.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    I would love know the politician’s explanation as to how and why it is that persons who are not good for Cayman, and treat Caymanians with disdain, continue to be welcomed and granted status.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Because “treating with disdain” really means “does not agree with my bigotry”

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      • Anonymous says:

        It is not bigoted to expect to be able to peaceably enjoy any stretch of beach. It is not bigoted to eat sustainably farmed turtle. It is not bigoted to expect preference in employment in your own country. It is not bigoted to expect lawful participation in your own economy. It is not bigoted to feel (and be) socially and economically displaced.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Tell us your thoughts on equality for homosexuals.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Homosexuals were born that way. It is not a choice any more than skin color is a choice. They should be immediately and unequivocally entitled to the same protections and entitlements as “straight” people.

            Clear enough for you?

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        • Anonymous says:

          Why can’t you enjoy the beach without strife, like everyone else? Or is it the everyone else part that grinds your gears? The numbers reveal the Turtle Farm is not a sustainable fishery, and the meat is heavily-subsidized to move product not enough people actually want to consume. Skilled Caymanians should get first crack at all jobs they are qualified for (was always designed as such), not necessarily all jobs simply out of pay grade aspiration. Caymanians are the only people allowed to own local businesses, so hard to understand the last grievances, or how it might affect your ability to make social friendships (maybe see: inability to share with others part above).

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          • Right ya so says:

            You say “Caymanians are the only people allowed to own local businesses…” which is NOT actually correct. Foreigners can solely own a local business without Caymanian participation…. check your facts please.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Ummm, I cannot enjoy the beach without strife if some foreign condo owner, developer, security guard, or hotel staffer, tells me to move my towel, my boat, my fishing line, or my child building sandcastles, from off “their” property (even though I have an unassailable right to peaceably enjoy it).

            The turtle farm is sustainable because we, the Caymanian people, elect to subsidize it. Turtle is our national dish. You do not have to eat it, but if we are not taking it from the wild, you have no right to come here and criticize us for our preferred cuisine and traditions.

            Jobs for which skilled Caymanians are qualified is not (by itself) the answer. The law clearly expects reasonable training and mentoring opportunities to be available to help Caymanians to become skilled. Are you facilitating such advancement, or do you smugly rely on permits without providing any real growth prospects for any local persons?

            If Caymanians are in fact the only people allowed to own local businesses, then please explain why fronting is so prevalent (including by persons who have recently become Caymanian).

            I have no problem sharing with others, but keep up your approach to Cayman and Caymanians and I might have a problem sharing with you.

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            • Anonymous says:

              I was personally, at a very young age, ordered to leave the beach in front of Dart’s house by an armed guard. My mother had to walk over to me, apologise to the guard, and told me never to go there again. No, I am not making this up. I remember it very well because it was back when the beaches still had ‘shelves’ in the sand, and I was chipping away at it with a shovel when the guard appeared towering above me.

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              • Anonymous says:

                Imagine. An expatriate on a work permit infringing a Caymanian’s rights. No apology. No accountability. A story repeated across our community.

                Mistakes will be made, but they must be the exception, and not the new normal that too many Caymanians must literally endure.

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              • Anonymous says:

                1:46 pm, It happened to my small daughter and I as well . I called for the police who informed them of my right to be there. The two guards sported shoulder gun holsters.

            • Rick says:

              I read the article by Nicky and agree with most of it, except that therein lies a problem. Nicky left a UK that she no longer recognises as her parents home. What is the difference between the UK of yesterday and the one she does not recognise today? How did that come about? The answer will be that people arrived there and refused to assimilate but instead sought to impose their lifestyles and cultures on the UK they found, hence Nicky and fam are here. Now Nicky and many others are busy changing the Cayman they found, even while lecturing the locals on how they should behave. Is there not a conflict in reality somewhere there?

              I read your post and can fully appreciate where you are coming from. You are exactly correct. But I think all of us contribute to the problems here in Cayman. You are not bigoted in anyway. This is just a word people use to shut you up. I know that you are fully aware of this because you defend yourself very well but I state it here to reiterate that you should not allow anyone to convince you that it is bigoted or any other slur that is thrown around by ‘progressive’ elements to silence people when they cannot actually use facts to win an argument.

              CNS: I’m going to clarify because I can see that I really wasn’t clear about this. Obviously immigration is a deeply divisive issue everywhere and the UK is no exception, which impacted the Brexit vote, but that is not what I was referring to. What I meant was simply progress – places change, people change, technology changes, culture changes, attitudes change – which is not necessarily a bad thing. While I was gone, life moved on without me. That’s the point I was trying to make.

        • Anon says:

          Is it bigoted to have a UK passport where you can go there freely and live off the tax payers of that land? Free health , free social services without contributing one iota ! But when it’s reversed you don’t like it ..bigot

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  17. I chose to be Caymanian says:

    I am Caymanian by choice and like you, opted to invest the better part of my life here and raise two beautiful Caymanian children. For them, I vote No.

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  18. Beach Cleaner says:

    Thank you, Nicky! Very well said.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    A really excellent commentary, Nicky. I am a Caymanian of 40 years standing and I could not have put it better. I particularly liked your realistic comment to the effect that there are asshole expats AND expat Caymanians. Like everywhere else in the world, assholery here is not a matter of race, class or nationality, it is determined by the personality, outlook and attitudes of the individual.

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    • Anonymous says:

      There is an abundance of assholery here. When you hit 100,000 you will have exceeded your quota and that will be the end. A lot of first gens are going to be last gens as people bail out.

  20. Anonymous says:

    You are so brave and I am so thankful to you for writing this article and for running a newspaper with integrity and honestly. You speak the truth and many people do not like to hear the truth because they fear it will interrupt their greedy plans. As a first generation Caymanian living here for over 30 years; investing every dime I own into the culture and future of the islands and trying to run a fair and honest business; living with a “born” Caymanian and taking care of him when he needed care; loving the people of my community whether “born” here or transplanted here.I stand tall as a Caymanian; a true Caymanian – one who sees the corruption in parts of the government that has no interest in the future of the Cayman Islands or its people. In this regard I feel more truly a Caymanian than those who brag about being born here but who have no interest in doing the right thing by the people who make these islands home; only interested in maintaining a steady stream of lining their own pockets and caring not for maintaining integrity or honestly in the trusted roles they have been given. It makes me sick. I have always believed that with the size of the islands we could have a perfect government; a perfect democracy; a perfect future but I see this as a pipe dream as far too many in control are running to the bank with their ill begotten money. I do not know the solution as so many of our population have been hoodwinked for so long that they are immune to the truth and follow blindly the course that is taking away all that is worth preserving. I can only hope that one day truth will emerge and all will see it with clear eyes. I pray it will happen before it is too late.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    You are part of the problem. Stop worrying about you being Caymanian. You make the comment of it all being about making money here. That is the problem. As an expat, I love it here. Son eexpats make less money by coming here believe it or not. They come for the beautiful island, and a dream to share it with the caymanians you speak of. Those driven by greed are the issue. Who sold cayman National? The greedy Caymanians. Who is selling the port? The greedy Caymanian. Racism and greed are everywhere, not just expats. Let’s discuss how we can all get along.
    One love
    Peace

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    • Anonymous says:

      Go back a yard fi celebrate unna “one love” bullshit. It destroyed Jamaica. One love existed for a certain segment while that same segment celebrated chasing dem crazy ball heads out of town. Cayman has standards it must maintain to survive. Welcoming the world’s most desperate and impoverished is not in Caymans best interests, nor is it sustainable.

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    • Anonymous says:

      12:04am You, my friend, have missed the ENTIRE point of this viewpoint. It was late when you posted this. Maybe this morning you could read it again with sober heart and eyes.

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  22. Dwene Ebanks says:

    Awesomeness, Nicky! Clap Clap Clap. Well said – thoughtful, tasteful and thought-provoking.

    The hearts and souls of the Caymanian people are weary. Longing for truth and justice. Without a honest to goodness check, a push on the brakes, to carefully examine our reality as a people, we will fail miserably to deliver, not just hope, but peace, to future generations of Caymanians. The lens we use is critical to that end. Thank you for giving us a heartfelt glimpse of yours. It is received.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Much as I respect your eloquently and passionately expressed views here Nicky, I am afraid no one other than a multi-generational Caymanian can understand the experience of another multi-generational Caymanian. Those of us who that term fits, in most cases, can trace our histories back quite far, but only so far and then…well, who knows. Cayman’s history has been wiped almost completely clean repeatedly due to hurricanes, poor to non-existent record keeping, fires etc. This is a territory that doesn’t even have the original of its coat of arms 60 years later. This feeling that what we are stretches back and trails off into prehistory, never to be known by any means ever, is unique to us. We feel it in our bones, that we are made of unknown but hardy stock, and hate that somehow our ancestors managed to tame this wild land but somehow we cannot succeed in it now. It doesn’t matter how long anyone who came here after those lost days ended, they will never be Caymanian in these ways. To be Caymanian, truly, is to not know the beginning of your own story. If you came on a plane, hell even if your great-grandfather came here on a boat, at least you know. If you don’t really know how you came to be from this little rock out of all the places in the world, then you are Caymanian. Otherwise, you are not. Anything else is a legal immigration status, nothing more. Remember, this territory has no citizenship to give. Letting naturalised Caymanians share the title with us was a big mistake, because we now have no way to succinctly explain that we are different from anyone else here, and always will be.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The problem has not been allowing expatriates to become Caymanian, it is the lack of care and even outright corruption with which we have allowed some expats to become Caymanian. There are those we love who love us back. No issue with them.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I have no issue with them either, save for their insistence they are the same as me just because the Immigration Law says so when in every other way they are not.

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    • Anonymous says:

      This comment is absolutely correct. I am a paper Caymanian and will always be a paper Caymanian. I am very proud to be a paper Caymanian because I did nothing to be a Brit except be born in the jurisdiction.
      I will always be a Brit. To be granted status by another nation with a unique culture is an honour that comes with certain responsibilities, one of which is not to impose your view on them, but to behave as a guest.
      I cannot even begin to suggest that my time here equips me to understand the hardships and life story of the multi-generational Caymanians.
      My children and grand-children are Caymanians and I am so very happy for them.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you for understanding what I said. I am a multi-generational Caymanian who is a British citizen but I will never demand the right to call myself a Brit, or even worse, an Englishman or a Scot, even though what I know of my ancestry includes both. If I moved to the UK and had children there, then they could write articles such as Nicky has here. I fully understand that one can adopt a new home and feel as closely bonded to it as one can. I fully understand that the children of such a person know no other home. Those children are accepted as Caymanian by multi-generational Caymanians because and only because they know no other home. They do have other citizenship(s) though; they are raised with different values; they do have advantages over the true natives because their parents brought their foreign sophistication and worldliness with them; and they are now replacing the multi-generational Caymanians who are forced by lack of numbers to split their genes in half with each new generation. It is a source of profound sadness to me when I think about it. I am something I will never truly know, and by the time I am gone I will be one of the last left. More respect for us than we get is due.

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        • David Shibli says:

          Much respect, my friend. I was the original poster and I support your position 100%.
          Many of us came by plane, (boat for me back in ’73), but not by pain as soil-born children claim…and they are right.
          I would never claim to be Caymanian of any sort other than paper and quite frankly, I am proud of this fact.
          I support the Caymanian people, their culture and their God-given right to choose their own destiny and I although I have freedom of expression, their rights trump my opinion.
          I wish the Caymanian people every success in their struggle to maintain their identity.

          May I say that your politicians suck. They should stop that Lodge foolishness and start to be transparent and honest for once.
          The Lodge was never part of the Caymanian culture until the money exploded here. The next time you cast your vote for a Lodge politician, you cast a vote for your own slavery – remember that. You have been warned.

          I am not one of you, but I will gladly carry your water and your armour to the fray. Thank you for giving me a home. I will always respect it as my own. My children do, my grandchildren do and long may it continue.

          “He hath founded it upon the Seas”

          David

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          • Anonymous says:

            Do you also support the gay Caymanians? Or do they not count?

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          • Anonymous says:

            You are so incorrect in one way, the Lodges here have always been a part of Caymanian culture.

          • Anonymous says:

            Dear David,

            “I am not one of you, but I will gladly carry your water and your armour to the fray. Thank you for giving me a home. I will always respect it as my own. My children do, my grandchildren do and long may it continue.”

            Thank you very much!

      • Anonymous says:

        Wow…your comments display a priceless ability to think about an issue from someone else’s perspective rather that trying to change the perspective.

        I am a born and bred Caymanian and I really respect you for what you took the time to write. I have no issue with you and accepting you as a Caymanian or a Resident because based on your comments you seem to have taken time to try and understand what we face. I think the term paper Caymanian gets a bad connotation when persons with papers fight natural Caymanians and disrespect our heritage.

        Respectful and thoughtful people like you should never get a cold shoulder from us. Peace and love.

        Respectfully,
        A Concerned Caymanian

        • David Shibli says:

          I have always had the ultimate respect for Caymanians.
          When I arrived here as a child, you showed me love, kindness, compassion and generosity.
          My debt of loyalty will always remain.
          May your God, the one that founded you upon the Seas, always look down upon you with His blessings. I will gladly take the scraps that fall from the master’s table.

    • Anonymous says:

      Most people of West Indian descent can only trace their history back so far…

      That being said, I appreciate this perspective. Unfortunately, often when people raise the fact that they are “multi-generational” they do so as a means to assert some level of superiority over the person who is a “paper Caymanian” or “driftwood.”

      In fact I still sense a bit of that in your post. Can you not see how ridiculous it is to tell someone who was born here and knows no other home, that they are not actually Caymanian because their parents came here on a plane?

      How would it feel to you to be told you do not have the right to claim your home as your own because your ancestors were not born there? A little empathy goes a long way.

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      • Anonymous says:

        4:14 well said! I’ve definitely had this issue before. Was born here but im first generation. So when so called “proper” Caymanians tell me im not Caymanian i feel like saying “well where am I from then”? Never lived in the UK (other than to get my university degrees). That’s not my home. Cayman is

    • Anonymous says:

      Couldn’t have said it better.

      Sincerely,
      A Concerned Caymanian

  24. “Paper” Caymanian says:

    Here here, I too am a first generation Caymanian, married to a multi generational Caymanian with two beautiful Caymanian children, with a pile of Caymanian friends and others, and a huge Caymanian family all crazy and beautiful in their own right. I couldn’t agree with this sentiment more. Xxx

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  25. Kurt Christian says:

    Vote No

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  26. Anonymous says:

    Build our port!

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