While passing by the Portfolio of Finance, I overheard some government officials chanting “We’re number five. We’re number five.” – referring, I suppose, to Cayman being the fifth leading financial centre in the world.
Then it struck me – fifth place sucks.
Fifth place doesn’t get you anywhere near the podium at the Olympics and probably doesn’t even get you a ribbon at a school field day.
If you finish in fifth place you can’t pull chicks, no one buys you drinks and no one wants to hear how you did it. Fifth place means no accolades and no recognition above the level of mediocrity. No one remembers who finishes in fifth place except for the person or team that finishes in fifth place.
So labeling Cayman as the “fifth leading financial centre” is arbitrary at best. Not to mention the fact that coupling the terms “fifth” and “leading” is about the same as tying together “hot” and “fat chick.”
Let’s face it – fifth place rots and means that you either lack the skills to be better or the interest to get better.
So come on Cayman, let’s shoot for more than mediocre. Buck up, show a little moxy – a little ambition – a little drive! Let’s be proactive instead of always being reactive.
You want to get out of fifth place? Then do away with this ridiculous notion that a more restrictive immigration policy will enhance the financial sector and bolster our international credit rating; actively recruit, hire and transplant qualified individuals in the financial services industry to the islands to continually stimulate the sector; and for God’s sake stop being proud of being the FIFTH leading financial centre!
And while we're at it, stop calling it a "rollover" policy and call it what it is - an "expulsion" policy.
You want to be number six? Then expel your skilled labor and see how fast Cayman sinks. You want to be number four, three, two or (heaven forbid) one? Then support employers who import skilled workers, encourage them to continue to do so, and don’t penalize long-term employees who have worked their tales off to keep this tiny spec of an island among the global leaders in financial services.
Caymanians call themselves a proud people, but honestly – how proud can you actually be to be in fifth place when you live in a jurisdiction that could (if the government allowed) be even better? Perhaps therein lies the problem – the fifth best candidates are the ones getting elected and making the fifth best decisions with regards to domestic labour policy. Maybe it's time for some government "rollover."
Fifth place. It just sounds pathetic; but not quite as pathetic as the idiots who came up with this ridiculous expulsion policy that will relegate Cayman to eternal mediocrity amongst our global peers.
One day, perhaps, a Caymanian politician will wake up and realize that they haven’t created a way for skilled labour to come to Cayman and enhance the marketplace; they’ve created a process whereby they can more efficiently usher highly skilled employees out of this jurisdiction.
Perfect! The one thing you do efficiently is the one thing that will damage your country the most. The government stands ready to expel the very human capital that keeps them in cotton; proving yet again that you don’t need to have more than half a brain to be a politician in Cayman.
Cayman wants an unscrupulously restrictive immigration policy AND they want the best workers to fill the skill positions in the financial services industry. Make up your minds! Do you want to expand opportunity on a global scale or not? Because if you want global impact and credibility you need to attract people from around the globe who can lend their expertise to this market, and make it attractive for them to stay here long-term - and you need to keep the skilled labour you already have!
You don’t have to be an economist to see that this expulsion policy is not good. And you don’t have to be a statistician or a social scientist to realize that Cayman does not have sufficient indigenous persons with the education, training and skills to support this specialized industry. You MUST import skilled labour.
Government boneheads need to realize that in trying to un-do what they’ve already done they will cause significant damage to the local economy which will have a ripple effect. One could call this expulsion policy a prideful reactionary position implemented by a bass-ackwards banana republic - but we don’t even have bananas. We do, however, have a lot of fruit loops and nut cases.
So hats off to the pride of Cayman – if pride truly does go before the fall, then we all need to hang on. I still say fifth place sucks – but then again what do I know? I’m not Caymanian.