As a child growing up, I was taught by my parents to speak when I was spoken to and to answer when I am called, among many other values and morals.
Now, a different type of call is being echoed: A call for the public input in the new constitution.
I would encourage every resident to put aside their political and other differences and bring their input to be discussed. Now is the real time to answer when we are called.
In my opinion there are many issues to be discussed. Take for example the right to education and the right to a fair trial in the court of law, among many other rights. As for the right to education, I deem that such statement is referring to the provision of opportunities by parents and/or government for children to be educated.
Yet (to my knowledge) none of these schools teach the constitution and law. It has been said many times ignorance is no excuse to break the law, but whose responsibility is it to educate the general public about the law.
Take for example: Most recently I was served a ticket for the offence of leaving my car key in the car with the engine running. I did not know that was an offence.
I do agree that some things your common sense tells you not to do, but let us not fool ourselves. We all know that human beings are creatures of habits and conveniences.
How many able-bodied people would not park in the disabled parking at the entrance of Foster’s Supermarket if there were no consequences? Many people still continue to walk across the lawn of the Glass House instead of walking around it and that is because it is convenient.
As for the rights to a fair trial, how can anyone know that their trial is fair when they can not understand the wording of the law for themselves? Perhaps the law and the constitution need to be written in newspaper language. Human beings love conveniences, but if they know that there is a consequence involved most people would act differently because it’s no longer a convenience.
My point is that some method needs to be in place for the wider public to be educated, enlightened and empowered about the law.
How can you convince a person who the court has convicted as a criminal that they got a fair trial for hitting (disciplining) their child? When they were only living what they learned.
The key here is educating others before they break the law. There are many cases where the law is very broad and vague and has become what I call the lawyer’s card game. If so be the case, most of the law should be made absolute wherever possible.
Let me make it clear that this statement is not to take bread from the lawyers but rather to protect those who so often fall victims of the justice system (that was meant to protect them) because they were ignorant of the law and in many cases naïve and it is usually the people who cannot afford a lawyer, while too often, in my opinion, those with the knowledge and money walk free in spite of being guilty.
The law in the Cayman Islands is very good, decisive and expedient compared to other countries, but there is no harm in making a good thing better for everyone.
In this age people are calling right, wrong, and wrong, right. We need to teach or remind others what is really right and what is wrong. I would also like to point out that there are many advertisements that impel people to buy various products that they would not normally be interested in (ad it works).
In the same way the government and the private sector can advertise ethical behaviour. One suggestion is the private sector can attach foot notes to their advertisements that encourage good moral and ethical behaviours. My friend Sidney’s advertisement says ‘don’t drink and drive ’cause the life you save might be your own, or maybe fi mi’ (mine).
Another suggestion is that the government weather station can be used to advertise and encourage good moral and ethical behaviour and teach the public about the laws and human relations.
If many of these issues, among other serious concerns, are not discussed at length with the input of everyone, we all will suffer later and also the generations to come. Let us put aside our differences, our likes and dislikes and come together with the true Caymanian spirit of yesteryears for one common cause.
John A. Bogle