THE DEPENDENCY QUESTION


EPILOGUE

The Cayman Islands have a most distinctive history, as it is hoped this work has shown. Because of lack of information and loss of perspective this remarkable distinctiveness is frequently crushed into more familiar moulds by many who make assumptions based on history elsewhere (whether in the West Indies or not) or by those with a particular axe to grind. It is true that all who "dig" into history, the present author not excepted, do have, if not an axe, some sort of gripe about the way things are popularly seen, and wish to overturn one version of history with a version that accords more with their own discoveries. An honest digger, however, will not conceal anything that he digs up seeming to be uncongenial to his point of view. He must be willing to submit to the need to amend his viewpoint where the evidence requires it. It is also true that to lay the weight either of proof or of overthrow of any historical or constitutional position on a single document is unwise. Few documents should be made to bear such a weight if they are unsupported by further documentary evidence. It is believed that the method of this work, which has attempted to form a degree of narrative by viewing individual documents in the context of further evidence, has been self-correcting and that a truly more accurate picture of the Islands' distinctive and interesting history has been formed.

There are many areas of our history that have needed the fresh inspection. Have we, for instance, assumed that the Cayman Islands in some way that was never defined or explained, "belonged" to Jamaica before they became a legal possession of Great Britain? Did we assume that Jamaican laws applied to Cayman from the time of Cayman's settlement? Did we know how different the story of apprenticeship here was from that in Jamaica, and if so did we accurately locate the cause of that difference? Had we heard that the Jamaican legislature in the 19th century declined to "interfere" in the affairs of the Cayman Islands, by refusing to legislate for them? Had we recognized that the anomalous legal condition of the Caymanas was significant in the demise of the Church of England's oversight here in 1839? Did we appreciate that 1863 was the first year in which the Cayman Islands received unambiguous legislation? It is hoped that the fresh light shed upon these and a host of other issues will provide lively debates and a surer self-understanding. The truer understanding of this interesting past of ours is well needed and timely; for the appropriately distinctive course the Cayman Islands appear to be charting both in Church and State is one that is prompted and made possible, at least in part, by the Islands' unique history.