When I was growing up, there was a saying that is still popular today: Do as I say, and not as I do.
This, perhaps, will replace “He Hath Founded It Upon The Seas” as Cayman’s official slogan; for the government stands alone in its indignant ignorance of a few basic tenets.
The only thing that separates the government from the citizenry here in Cayman is that they are able to judge us with total disregard for their own actions.
If the government expects good behaviour from its citizenry, then it must also exhibit good behaviour. It cannot stand in judgement of the general population when it wilfully and brazenly disregards the law and circumvents basic moral and ethical principles.
Case and point: Last week I was getting coffee at Cafe del Sol, when a maroon car pulls into the handicapped parking spot. The door opens, and out of the driver’s seat comes a very large man – wearing his brown HM Prison Northward uniform! My first thought was, “How dumb do you have to be to break the law wearing your uniform – all for a cup of coffee?” My second thought was, “I suppose the handicap on this guy is a mental one,” – which explains why he didn’t see the legal spot (and also perhaps explains whey Steve Manderson gets out so often). Anyway, I digress.
Now, I’m not completely up to date on the latest version of General Orders, but are handicapped parking spaces for handicapped people or handicapped people and fully-functioning prison guards? Or can civil servants park in them as well? Somebody tell me the rules – I’d hate to think I’d been missing out on parking right up front all these years.
If the government expects me to not park in them, then they must demand that their able-bodied civil servants – especially the ones in uniform – not park in them either.
And if the government expects me to be above-board in all contract negotiations, then they must demand the same of their civil servants.
And if the government expects me to wait patiently in lines at Immigration, Customs and the Glass House, then they must demand that civil servants NOT pull their friends and relatives to the front of the line.
I’m not sure where we go from here, but if the Cayman Islands government is to expect great things out of the population it is charged with leading, then perhaps it should expect, at the very least, mediocrity from its civil servants. Oh wait a minute – it already does.
Perhaps the new government will instil in this country a new sense of pride and moral and ethical behaviour. Perhaps their will be people who will elevate themselves above the petty nature of things that are simply accepted or overlooked.
It will take a strong government, no doubt. But the new government must have the strength and perseverance to withstand public criticism and a backlash from the status quo party. And they must also have the common sense to park in a legal space when they get their coffee – or leave their uniforms at home.