Today’s Editorial January 10: Let Commission know your stance

It’s not often that we are given a chance to offer our opinion on how our government is run.

Sure, many folks do it daily on the radio call-in shows and via the letters sections of the various newspapers in the Cayman Islands.

The Commission of Enquiry will get under way 21 January with its main goal of looking into the removal of files from the Ministry of Tourism in 2004.

In a unique twist, the Commission is opening up its exercise to the public.

Members want to hear from you and me about issues concerning civil service.

They don’t want our opinion on or advice on what should happen to Minister Charles Clifford, who has been fingered in taking the Tourism Ministry documents and who claims his innocence.

Instead those on the Commission want to find out what the public thinks on several issues that arise from the accusation against Mr. Clifford.

For instance those on the Commission want to know what we think about regulatory changes to protect government whistleblowers who disclose government documents or other information when that person thinks it is in the best interest of the public.

Mr. Clifford has never denied removing files. He says they were his to take and that he had a bound duty to expose wrongdoing to the public.

Those on the Commission also want the public’s input on the handling, retention, possession and use of government documents by civil servants and ministers of government.

What do you think? Should all government documents and information be kept under lock and key, even when that information could expose wrongdoing? Let the Commission know.

Members are also going to want to know what the public thinks should be done to limit the risk of conflict of interest among civil servants who decide to run for elected office shortly after resigning or retiring from their positions.

Do you think it’s fair for a civil servant with insider information to run for the top post of the office in which he or she was employed? Let the Commission know.

You can do that by emailing [email protected]; post mailed to the commission of enquiry at PO Box 2255, or hand delivered to the commission of enquiry office on the 2nd floor of the Fort Street Market Building in George Town.

The deadline for those submissions is 17 January.

Many have been vocal on the issues the Commission is concerning itself with, but now we are being given a chance to voice our opinions to someone who can act on our desires.

Don’t be shy.

Let the Commission know what your thoughts and ideas are.