Go Back  British Expats > Living & Moving Abroad > Rest of the World > Caribbean > Cayman Islands
Reload this Page >

A ferocious anti-expat outburst

A ferocious anti-expat outburst

Old Dec 31st 2014, 9:55 pm
  #1  
BE Forum Addict
Thread Starter
 
Joined: May 2012
Location: Cayman Islands
Posts: 4,404
Gordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond repute
Default A ferocious anti-expat outburst

Last week one of our Cabinet Ministers was asked by his Chief Officer (the most senior Civil Servant in the Ministry) to provide evidence to support an expense-claim before submitting it for reimbursement. The Minister - an arrogant bully at any time - went bananas at the affront to his dignity and cursed out the unfortunate CO in front of the whole staff. "How dare you!! I am a born Caymanian and you are just a piece of f***ing driftwood! Get the f*** out of my office! Go on - f*** off!"

Never mind the cussing, it is the "driftwood" usage - and our Premier's support for the outburst - that will probably cost his Party the next election. That the Chief Officer was a highly respected woman (foreign-born, but with bloodline-Caymanian children by her bloodline-Caymanian ex-husband) illustrates the desperately poor quality of our political leadership these days.

Ever since I began my blog in 2011 I have bewailed the continuance of social tensions between Cayman's expats and many of the "bloodline" Caymanians. But the tensions are normally kept in a secret cupboard, except during election campaigns. This latest incident warrants an analysis of its likely effect on our Islands' expat communities, and I will compose one when I get around to it. In the meantime, I'm posting this brief summary just to give a heads-up to readers of this Cayman forum. Anybody thinking of coming here to live needs to know how things stand politically.
Gordon Barlow is offline  
Old Jan 6th 2015, 2:20 pm
  #2  
Just Joined
 
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 2
want2come2Cayman is an unknown quantity at this point
Unhappy Re: A ferocious anti-expat outburst

Gordon, I have read about this incredible incident in the online Compass Without the expat community that has built up the financial center, Cayman today may still be the islands that time forgot. If a senior cabinet member who should know better voices his deep-rooted sentiment in such a way, how many others share his anti-expat feelings, even if they are smart enough not to utter them so blatantly? By this time, probably the last one should be convinced that there is indeed antagonism between belongers and immigrants. Perhaps I should change my nickname to dontwant2come2Caymananymore

A topic for your blog?
want2come2Cayman is offline  
Old Jan 6th 2015, 4:48 pm
  #3  
BE Forum Addict
Thread Starter
 
Joined: May 2012
Location: Cayman Islands
Posts: 4,404
Gordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: A ferocious anti-expat outburst

Originally Posted by want2come2Cayman View Post
A topic for your blog?
Yes, indeed it is. I've just this minute posted a piece called "Standards in Public Life", which you and any other interested parties can check out. Let me know what you think.

Most of us longtime immigrants hang on. It's a very comfortable place to live, still, and it is our home. Small and intimate as Grand Cayman is (50,000 people all told), we manage to keep aloof from the hurly-burly. For many years I was a sort of lightning rod, attracting bolts from the local political gods, and I still do a certain amount of stirring behind the scenes. But I don't beat my head against brick walls any more. A few bricks have been loosened along the way, and rather too many brain cells!
Gordon Barlow is offline  
Old Apr 19th 2015, 6:19 pm
  #4  
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 30
ABCR is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: A ferocious anti-expat outburst

What is the latest with this situation Gordon?
ABCR is offline  
Old Apr 19th 2015, 10:52 pm
  #5  
BE Forum Addict
Thread Starter
 
Joined: May 2012
Location: Cayman Islands
Posts: 4,404
Gordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: A ferocious anti-expat outburst

Originally Posted by ABCR View Post
What is the latest with this situation Gordon?
No new developments. It's just business as usual. Last week a politically appointed committee presented its recommendations for a "national" Minimum Wage. The politicians are all bending their minds to figure out how migrant domestic workers can be excluded. In practical terms, our Social Services Department regards $20,000 a year as the poverty level for native Caymanians - $10 an hour for a 40-hour week. The recommended minimum wage is $6 an hour, and in practice this will be about $4.50. You do the math.

Migrants come here for the purpose of earning enough money to send some back home, and most of them manage to do that. Of course it's disgraceful exploitation at this end, though not in the eyes of the exploiters!
Gordon Barlow is offline  
Old Apr 20th 2015, 5:57 am
  #6  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: sojourn in Madeira
Posts: 2,888
Pistolpete2 has a reputation beyond reputePistolpete2 has a reputation beyond reputePistolpete2 has a reputation beyond reputePistolpete2 has a reputation beyond reputePistolpete2 has a reputation beyond reputePistolpete2 has a reputation beyond reputePistolpete2 has a reputation beyond reputePistolpete2 has a reputation beyond reputePistolpete2 has a reputation beyond reputePistolpete2 has a reputation beyond reputePistolpete2 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: A ferocious anti-expat outburst

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow View Post
No new developments. It's just business as usual. Last week a politically appointed committee presented its recommendations for a "national" Minimum Wage. The politicians are all bending their minds to figure out how migrant domestic workers can be excluded. In practical terms, our Social Services Department regards $20,000 a year as the poverty level for native Caymanians - $10 an hour for a 40-hour week. The recommended minimum wage is $6 an hour, and in practice this will be about $4.50. You do the math.

Migrants come here for the purpose of earning enough money to send some back home, and most of them manage to do that. Of course it's disgraceful exploitation at this end, though not in the eyes of the exploiters!
The original premise in your opening post of fierce anti-foreigner/expat resentment is one thing but the discussion ref treatment of migrant workers seems to be quite another.

When in Bermuda I have to admit that I often failed to appreciate the islander's predicament wherein imported labour at the lower levels of the 'food' chain undercut the 'indigenous' workforce and at the same time the 'imports' were living in relative squalor to allow them to remit funds elsewhere, taking precious funds out of the economy which really should have remained there in the hands of the local workforce under the multiplier.

NOW, we witness this issue everywhere, and in particular here in the UK, but also in all of the islands at the top of things in the Caribbean, where Bajans, Antiguans et al have nowhere to go, while jobs are going to lower paid Jamaican, Guyanese and Vincentian workers.

Due to undercutting, the sort of wages being paid can't sustain the indigenous populations but migrants can work things out so that they can still save and remit home. Of course this also means that here in the UK (and also even in the US) there are one thousand applications, even from university graduates, for barista-level jobs. Would the jobs actually be there if the wages were higher and the conditions better? I think not, but that is the shape of things as they now are in the Western developed job economies. Out go the better paid jobs in financial services and manufacturing due to automation and cost cutting. In come the lower paid jobs in the service/hospitality industry.

At least here, with the correct careers guidance, a Brit can see a career path and work through school, exams, uni and onwards into something worthwhile in an area employers are crying out for - even though this process is clearly not functioning properly because kids are studying in droves for areas where there is no demand and employers are crying because they can't get the good applicants they need in order to grow their businesses. In the Caribbean (particularly in Cayman and Bermuda which are far more white-collar) it is not that 'easy' as there are few decent entry-level positions in the good stuff and this seems to cause an awful lot of the frustration. Hence most good graduates seem to go into teaching and on and on.

Some islands seem to clearly appreciate the right of migrants to so migrate, presumably mostly because they too benefit from outwards migration, but in those where going through the exit door is not so easy, there is a partnership that has to take place so that locals can clearly see a progression into the local workforce in diverse areas which can sustain them.

This puts a responsibility on the local workforce to appreciate that they must perform to the best of their ability and not just fall back on the fact that they are local so entitled and the unions have a potential positive role in this instead of just being obstructive and supporting the clear poor work ethic of some of their members. Equally, the expats cannot expect to keep hold of the best jobs forever.

If this harmonious arrangement was more open and worked better there would be less need for Caribbean governments to wantonly stoke the anti-expat sentiment, or worse have it ingrained in their psyche.

It's never a vote-getter but they could instead actually stoke the pro-expat 'partnership' need and make sure the right balance is always there in the national interest.

The thrust of my argument is that importation of lower-paid migrant workers should be discouraged in the first place.

Last edited by Pistolpete2; Apr 20th 2015 at 6:16 am. Reason: The thrust of my argument is that importation of..... Out go the better paid jobs in financial services and manufacturing
Pistolpete2 is offline  
Old Apr 20th 2015, 4:57 pm
  #7  
BE Forum Addict
Thread Starter
 
Joined: May 2012
Location: Cayman Islands
Posts: 4,404
Gordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: A ferocious anti-expat outburst

Pete. This post is just to acknowledge yours, which will take me some time to address in full. One or two observations to begin with.

Here - as perhaps in Bermuda - the term "expat" covers all imports. And the local resentment of expats derives from what we call an "entitlement" culture - protectionism, at all levels and in all jobs. That is economically inefficient, in any sphere and any community - not least, because it puts a premium on small-island experience and not on international experience. That's a perversion of the way things ought to be.

It's not really accurate to say that Antiguans and Bajans have no place to go, when there is an entire world out there. Even if one limits opportunities to the English-speaking portion of the world, that's plenty. I'm here, and my Jamaican gardener is here, and my Colombian maid's here, and my favourite supermarket's Filipina cashiers and Indian security guards are here - and so on.

I once - in a blog-post - proposed that every Caymanian school-leaver be given $1000 and a backpack and a 12-month round-the-world air-ticket, and be forbidden to work here before the 12 months was up. It wasn't the worst idea I've ever had, and it would break the back of the entitlement culture!
Gordon Barlow is offline  
Old Apr 28th 2015, 4:43 pm
  #8  
BE Forum Addict
Thread Starter
 
Joined: May 2012
Location: Cayman Islands
Posts: 4,404
Gordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond reputeGordon Barlow has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: A ferocious anti-expat outburst

Originally Posted by Pistolpete2 View Post
The thrust of my argument is that importation of lower-paid migrant workers should be discouraged in the first place.
Pete. I'm sorry I never got back to you. It just slipped my mind. Re your closing point (above) - remember that control of immigration is in the hands of the local politicians, who are all elected on an anti-expat platform! Here in Cayman, the lowest-paid migrants (and the most exploited) are domestic servants employed by individual householders.

Our current ruling political party has just committed itself to a "National" Minimum Wage. It has been suggested that many householders will not be able to afford foreign domestics any more, and so the number of such migrants will fall. But that opinion doesn't take into account that the householders will cheat - and will be allowed to cheat.

And just by the way - for anybody following developments - that Cabinet Minister who spelled out his contempt for "driftwood" is still in Cabinet, and shows no remorse.
Gordon Barlow is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.