The decline of our whole country is my conclusion, based on living on Cayman Brac for over 30 years. I think Grand Cayman is on the same downward trend but WORSE. Was there a shooting last night? No — only a stabbing. This, in a country the size of a good town.
I like to give credit where it is due, and there is one aspect of Cayman society, especially here on the Brac, which has improved somewhat over this same time span. If you see me or e-mail me I’ll share my opinion with you.
How long has our society been going downhill? We are approaching the low level of social cohesion of some of our neighboring countries in this Caribbean and in Central America. One person told me that the 1950’s represented something of a high point in safe, enjoyable daily life. Here’s a quote: “People in our town [Spot Bay, Cayman Brac] would saunter down to the ironshore in the evening, to cook whelks, chat and exchange jokes and tales. We were poor but we didn’t know it!” This view is supported by Adventures and Misadventures of A Boy from Booby Point — tales from George Walton’s youth, written and illustrated in a light, spare style and available from George and Lynn. It is excellent and needs to be in our libraries.
It’s amazing — the downhill decline has been planned by us, every step of the way. Every bit of “development”, that wretched term, has contributed to this list of negative consequences:
|Social Decline — Nature’s Decline over the last few decades in the Cayman Islands
|gigantic, de-humanized cars, trucks
|heavy, destructive equipment
|jake brakes from show-off trucks
|larger airport on smaller islands
|loss of pleasant vistas
|loud mufflers & loud motorcycles
|noisy dog kennels, some unlicensed
|Over-building (2nd homes, gov’t offices)
|rumbling, polluting V-8 engines
|smoke from burning
|stripping of the land
|ten story structures
|tire marks from show-offs
Now to a headline from our local newspaper:
“Twenty crashes in first weekend of police holiday road safety campaign”
Wow — and this, in a tiny country. What a mess. What jackass drivers. Mind you, you need the skill of a Formula 1 racer to avoid accidents in this place — is it true our accident rate is worse than Sicily’s? Perhaps the NRA could look that up, in between bouts of designing more and wider roads as if we have a continent to build on, and only cars to move us
Regarding the above list — It’s incomplete. No longer was it typed than several additions came to mind. I’m not going to add them. I’ll leave that to you, gentle reader. (Too gentle, mostly. We need to speak up more. We need to SHOUT because our governments have not governed. Look at the way it made use of the enforced quiet-time of Covid- 19 restrictions to repair our destructive ways, the ways described here in “Nature’s Decline – Social Decline”. Answer? IT DIDN’T DO ANYTHING and when some greedy people rallied to “re-open” our society the government said “Open?? How far?” In record time we sank from one of the safest places in the world listing to one of the most dangerous for Covid,
NATURE’S DECLINE, AND HOW WE COULD REVERSE IT
The degradation of society marches on as the destruction of our natural surroundings continues …and the two are intimately related. Why can’t we preserve our idyllic islands? Sometime, late at night we “get it” — it can be so dark, beautiful and quiet, soft with a light breeze, scented with the native trees, highlighted with a slice of new moon, studded with stars and planets — it makes a person feel kingly and humble at the same time. Perhaps we need a new word for this feeling. No lights turned on, no sound on the wind except the susuration of the sea breeze in our surrounding native trees.
So why is blissful quietness so RARE in our country? … why is respectful living on the decline? why is all our native greenery disappearing? … why are starry nights disappearing in smog and smoke?
Why don’t we (and our leaders) aim for the most perfect island in the world — a place to study, work, get a basic education in which STEM education becomes STEEM because common English is added to the mix … a place to raise healthy, modest families, a place to respect and admire our woods and (at a distance) our wildlife, to care for each other equally regardless of where we come from, to enjoy quiet walks in woodland or seaside, and try to improve in nature and in nurture every day, every quiet evening and every restful night?
That’s all I can write without crying, because I see almost nobody studying this degradation — no serious government officials except some from England, where they’ve extirpated most of their endemic plants. I only see a few volunteer groups, God bless ‘em, especially the miraculous cruise ship dock opponents. Otherwise — so few people protecting this quiet, clean, enclave in a crowded, dangerous world.
Cayman Brac especially — a place where Swiss Re or another financial group would like to locate its head office, in a restored historic house on Cayman Brac perhaps — a place where everyone could walk, work, study to gain a first class education, play an instrument, grow a garden, grow a small business… with fish in the sea and trees covering the land as of old.
Call to Action
LET US ATTACK THE CHART OF BAD THINGS. We’re going backwards, folks. Houses of all designs are being permitted on the very edge of the Brac’s high cliff. Looking up to the clifftop from one lovely, modest vantage point on our south side lowland I can see a DINKY FENCE, for Pete’s sake – so Buster won’t go too close to the naked edge perhaps – the edge once fully clothed in our indigenous trees – good Heavens. Fences! Carbuncles on the face of Heaven.
LET US SAVE ALL REMAINING NATURE — allow it to recover: far too much has been lost!