The people of the Cayman Islands have a long history of resilience, bravery and tenacity and it is to these qualities that the nation must once again turn in the face of Covid-19. The cold, hard fact is that this awful virus is the world over and while we commend our Governments (both old and new) for keeping the virus at bay and away from the Cayman Islands, it is inevitable that it will arrive on these shores and among our community.
For that reason, we believe that Cayman needs to get back to work and move on, because the virus is not going away anytime soon.
The Cayman Islands does not have the means to keep our tourism workers paid on stipend forever and people simply have to get back to work. One only has to cast one’s mind back 12 years to September 2009, when the Cayman Islands was forced to get approval from the UK Government to obtain loans to help this country manage its debts due to the economic crash of 2008/9. We cannot let ourselves get back to that unfortunate state of affairs. Cayman is not and never has been a welfare state. We do not pay taxes which means the Government only has limited sources of funding, and they are certainly not in a position to subsidize unemployed workers indefinitely.
It is time, Cayman, to do what is best for the country and that is to allow our borders to be open and get the country financially back on its feet. This means we have to get vaccinated, wear masks, sanitise our hands, keep our distance from people and form social bubbles with people we see on a regular basis. It is inevitable that people will get Covid-19, yes, even children. But all the studies show that children do not in general fare badly, even if they do catch the virus. It is the elderly and the clinically vulnerable who must take care, but if they have been vaccinated even, they should not suffer as much as if they are unvaccinated.
In a recent press briefing, the Governor pointed out that in the UK they have, in the main, managed to break the link between catching Covid and death thanks to a high uptake of the vaccine. As a result, they largely go about their day as usual. This is the way forward. We must get our economy going again. We just cannot afford to stand still.
This is not about putting the economy above people’s lives; this is facing the cold, hard reality that Cayman has no other option. If the economy breaks, we all go under. We cannot allow that to happen.