CYDEC Conference 2019

A tale of two economies in Cayman?

In the shadow of tall buildings housing multi-million dollar companies is the community of Rockhole. Resident, 76-year-old Lloyd Brown, told Cayman 27 it was a tale of two Cayman economies.

“You make five dollars a day but spend six. You can’t make it. You can’t,” he told us, describing some of his day to day struggles.

Last week, the Economics and Statistics Office indicated Cayman’s estimated Gross Domestic Product for 2017 rose 2.9 percent.

Other indicators point to broad economic success, but Mr. Brown said it doesn’t mean more money in his pocket.

According to the ESO, more families require assistance, including nearly 400 more with food vouchers in the fiscal year 2016/2017 over the previous fiscal year.

We spoke to community activist, Michael Myles and sociologist, Dr. Frank McField and asked them to interpret this disparity in figures.

Mr. Myles said these figures are nothing new. He said Caymanians are shut out even though prosperity has been increasing.

“The economy wasn’t designed for local people. The economy was designed for folks coming into to make financial contributions to the country.”

He added the ESO’s 254.1 percent increase in requests for NAU’S miscellaneous supplement should not be a surprise because poverty has been trending upward for the past 10 to 15 years.

“These programmes have always been on the up and up. The percentage that we are looking at is not a shock. If people are shocked by this, people are in serious levels of denial.”

Meanwhile, sociologist Dr. Frank McField said some may not want a Caymanian population that is too independent.

“What we are seeing here is the government using surplus resources to actually create an underclass because of the lack of understanding of what it takes to motivate people,” he said.

Dr. McField said what government was doing was taking away people’s responsibility for their own humanity.

About the author

Natalie Briggs

Natalie Briggs

Natalie Briggs has worked in television, radio and print since 2002, including stints at Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT/CNMG), Radio 97, The Trinidad Guardian and Newsday. She has an MA in Media, Communications and Public Relations.

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