By Staff Writer
As the New Year beckons, we’ve chosen not to overly pre-occupy ourselves with reflecting on 2021.
But instead of relegating it to the dust bin of history, there are nevertheless a few lessons we can no doubt glean from the past year as we head into 2022.
There’s no question that 2021 has been an eventful year that will be indelibly inked into the annals of Cayman’s history, perhaps even more so than others in our recent history.
From politics to the pandemic and a few near misses from the past hurricane season, 2021 was a turbulent year for Cayman (and elsewhere) and will certainly not be a year that will soon be forgotten.
But 2022 beckons - and with it, the challenges carried forward from 2021, its own tests that it will bring for Cayman, but also the opportunities that it will make …or that we will have to create.
We predict that COVID-19 will continue to influence and even define the direction Cayman takes in 2022.
Whether it morphs into an endemic that we’ll just have to live with, the impact of COVID-19 and whatever further mutations evolve from it will continue to determine how we live our lives and function as a community.
It could very well take the effect of COVID-19 to bring about much of what has been preached about to get our society to the state where we can claim equality of opportunity in our micro-state ‘first-world haven’ surrounded by other third-world realities of our neighbours in the Caribbean Sea.
It’s an obvious position to be in but Cayman’s ‘gilded era’ could be at risk of unravelling by the sheer immediacy of a pandemic of which we didn’t pay a part in how it was unleashed on the world.
That immediacy is even more potent than that other crisis which we also have had little to cause but are no doubt feeling its effects - climate change.
Truth be told, unless we take more care in how we balance the demand for ‘developments’ with protecting our environment, we could very well be contributing to our own downfall.
More severe hurricanes and ‘out of season’ weather events are now becoming more commonplace, and our low-lying little dots in the comparative vastness of the Caribbean Sea, are extremely vulnerable to even ‘less-than-extreme’ weather events.
That brings us to the fabric that has made Cayman what it is - a first-world economy financial services mini-metropolis and tourist paradise.
We’re not stupid, we know it’s the economy.
But decades since the economy not just rapidly expanded but veritably exploded and firmly placed Cayman on the global economic map, the question remains - and becomes more pronounced with each passing day: a paradise for whom?
This issue repeatedly came up during the various editions of the Caymanian Times new panel discussion The Panel, launched in 2021.
So, to borrow from a well-known gospel song; how do we complete that circle and ensure that it is strong enough to be unbroken.
If the economy (and its key pillars) is the fabric that had made modern Cayman, Caymankind is the mosaic on which it is painted and defined.
In 2022 that unique mosaic built on the effort of around 130 nationalities has an equally unique opportunity to bridge the known gaps in our society (we don’t need to spell them out there).
If we don’t, we could end up with the kind of Cayman that no one really wants.
The economic challenges facing the world in 2022 will be particularly felt in Cayman both as a financial centre, tourist haven, and an almost totally import-dependent, high-cost-of-living society…glossy images notwithstanding.
It’s an opportunity to put differences that divide aside; be they political, financial, cultural or otherwise, and bring our strengths together for the good of Cayman.
From the jobs market including skills and training for professional advancement, business opportunities, to putting further measures in place to alleviate the cost of living, protecting the environment, and practical steps on how to best live with COVID, we at Caymanian Times are convinced that ‘Cayman can’.
So let’s do it because we can achieve it with Caymankind.
2022. Bring it on!
*(Quō vādis? is a Latin phrase meaning "Where are you marching?". It is also commonly translated as "Where are you going?" or, poetically, "Whither goest thou?").