November 29, 2020

The Editor Speaks: It is the season for mystery, accusations and threats. Where is the good will?

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This is the time of good will towards all men and by the “men” it does include women. “Peace on Earth and tidings of great joy” the angel sang out to the shepherds in the fields. Beautiful lights, even the RED ones, look lovely in the gardens of our residents. There is a feeling of excitement and for a few more days we actually smile. It’s been a difficult year, but we look forward to another year hoping and praying things will improve. We are all expecting it will.

Unfortunately this spirit of good will doesn’t seem to have been the order of the day in the Legislative Assembly – well not to our premier, Hon. McKeeva Bush. On Wednesday (14) we had mystery:

Mr. Bush said the Cayman Islands Government had reached an agreement with GLF Construction (the company that previously were in talks with government to build the George Town cruise berthing facility) with no cost to the public purse. Presumably we do have a Money Fairy. No cost! Whatever one may think of our premier one must applaud this. No cost. Obviously, East End MLA, Arden McLean doesn’t believe in the Money Fairy. He actually asked the premier to “clarify what he meant.” Mysteriously, Mr. Bush would not be say. Is it because he doesn’t want anyone else to see this Money Fairy? He wants to keep her all to himself. I have to wonder if the fairy is of Chinese origin………?

Mr. Bush adjourned the House with his cheery greetings by reading a statement. It contained words and phrases such as “misinformation”, “poisoning of public opinion.” Poisoning? That doesn’t sound like a fairy. There must be a witch flying around on her broomstick (from the North Side of the island?). If not a witch, maybe a poisoned Dart? So be careful of your egg nog over Christmas. Let someone you don’t like take a sip first. Mr. Bush doesn’t like the opposition benches in the Legislative Assembly. Is he worried they may not be as comfortable as the ones the Government sits on and maybe one day he will have to use them? I understand fully why he is upset. Blame the blogs and the tell tale talk shows especially the one with that ‘nasty’ damn bird crowing every five minutes. Now if that radio station had a hen instead of a rooster it could maybe lay a golden egg or eggs and all our monetary woes would be over.

Next on his list of good tidings was the press and all the media organisations. With only a few more weeks left there may be “more lawsuits before the year is out.” Oh dear. That has left us all quaking in our Father Christmas boots.
Now much more seriously, it was good news that KPMG was working on the independent business case, government is working on due diligence, the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (“in contrast to the accusations being made by the opposition and others”) is content with how his Government is managing the Cruise Ship Berthing Dock proposal with CHEC (China Harbour Engineering Company) and Henry Bellingham, the Minister for Overseas Territories, “is very happy and supportive of the steps we are taking.”

Mr. Bush seems very happy with finding “a proper partner [CHEC] to develop the facilities” and all would seem to be going well and local labour would be used in abundance with “only specialists would be brought from China.”
All is looking marvellous with the cruise ship project and Dart is clearing land for the Esterley Tibbetts highway extension, so the prospects for 2012 appear to be rosy.

I know Mr. Bush and I have not always had a ‘rosy’ or cozy partnership but I do believe we respect one another. I still feel there is too much secrecy with his Government especially the things he says or rather doesn’t say, and that provokes the speculation he complains about. I do acknowledge he returns his phone calls and has an excellent relationship with our ‘ace’ reporter (his words) Tad Stoner. I also do not agree with everything the leader of the opposition, Hon. Alden McLaughlin and the RCIPS Commissioner, David Baines acts or says, but I do respect both of them, too. I also firmly believe the press and media in our country do act responsibly and I am proud to be part and partners (albeit with some limiting degree) with all of them. We do report the facts and only the facts but it is also our duty to report opinions that may or not be palatable with officials. It is a fact of life that it is not always what people want to hear.

An invitation of one: no one else invited to the “party”

On Thursday (15) afternoon at the Government Information Service (GIS) conference room only one (non government) media house was invited to attend. The event was obviously thought not important enough to extend the invitation to CITN-Cayman 27, Cayman News Service or iNews Cayman. I have not been able to ascertain whether Cayman Net News received an invitation but I expect not.

The invitation to only one media house concerned the Government signing the controversial deal with the Dart Group where the premier gives 2,300 feet of the existing West Bay Road to Dart in exchange for the development of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway to West Bay.

GIS sent footage of the signing to the television station CITN but no release has at the time of writing this editorial (2:45pm Fri 16) been sent to us.

How about that for communications by the Government Information Service? Presumably this one media house is the source now for government information? Did they bid for this honour? Is this part of a government cutback in spending? If it is, it will not save them much money, it takes the same time to press a button on a keyboard containing one email address as it does seventy!

It is outrageous that one of the most controversial deals in the history of our islands should be done with almost complete secrecy. To comply with “openness” the government deliberately decided to keep the press attendance to a minimum. We were able to contact the Chief Operating Officer of Dart Realty who was gracious enough to grant us an interview.
We understand the reason we were not invited came from the office of the premier. iNews Cayman has never in any editorial been against the Dart project and I have even argued for it. However, it is our duty to put the other side’s point of view, and so we have.

I expect the premier is giving a loud “Ho, ho, ho”. It is Christmas, so why not?

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