April 1, 2023

The Editor speaks: Is ‘silence’ safer?

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Before I go into trying to answer that question I have to refer you to an excellent ‘Viewpoint” from retired Cayman Islands senior civil servant, Gilbert Connolly.

The article is published on the CNS website under the title of “Governor Choudhury: the unfinished story”. You can read it in full at: https://caymannewsservice.com/2018/12/governor-choudhury-the-unfinished-story/

I am not going to comment on the article except to say Connolly makes use of the ‘silence’ that has surrounded the whole affair of the dismissal of Governor Choudhury.

He agues that maybe Choudhury’s dismissal was due to his announcement that the Governor was going to execute a review of the civil service because “he found that there was too much bureaucracy, i.e. “red tape” in the government.”

The fact that the PPM/Unity Government have been totally silent over the whole affair does make me even wonder if our Premier, Alden McLaughlin, along with the Deputy Governor, Franz Manderson, would not welcome any such investigation, and would have vigorously fought such an action.

You see what ‘silence’ does. It begs for conjecture.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”, although these words have long been taken out of the context in which he said it.

However, it is still applicable.

Another popular saying is ““speech is silver but silence is golden”.

When you are in the company of strangers, discretion (being silent) would be more appropriate than indiscretion.

Keeping a secret can be a form of silence that is highly ethical.

In the US, silence is a legal right If you are being arrested. You do have “the right to remain silent.” The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution permits you not to answer specific questions when you may, by the answers given, incriminate yourself.

Moments of silence are used in contemplation, reflection and in remembrance of loved ones that we have lost.

I’m sure there are lots of other instances when one can and should be silent.

However, when at every election the candidates all canvass on being ‘open’ and not being silent, I have a huge problem when they get into a position of power and they do the opposite – they stay silent.

James E. Lukaszewski, APR, Fellow PRSA, believes that in today’s world of overwhelming chatter and information overload, “silence is the most toxic strategy” to reputation and integrity. If we remain silent, someone else will fill the void with more made-up chatter and misinformation. He believes that, “Managing your destiny is up to you.” He advocates a very specific strategy to keep your own record straight.

Form the Bible: Ecclesiastes teaches there is ‘a time to be silent and a time to speak.’” However, Ecclesiastes doesn’t give guidance as to which situations merit which response.

By remaining silent when faced with injustice, we are neither fair to others nor loyal to ourselves and our values.

Therefore, the government are not being safe by being silent on most of the contentious issues that they face.

They made a huge mistake by being silent, and remaining silent on most of the important, and even the not so important, matters relating to the proposed Cruise Ship Terminal. Even people who were on their side regarding the need for such a being have been turned off by the government’s silence.

It would have been definitely safer to have been completely open at their last community meeting on the subject and not refuse to answer some of the questions asked. Also, to stay silent that some of their panel of ‘experts’ had an interest in the project, was catastrophic.

You can put a lot of conjecture on that silence. Many against the project already have.

This was a very unsafe silence.

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