Today’s Editorial for January 4: A clean slate

A new year started Friday.

When it began, the number of murders for the year was zero; the number of fatal road accidents was zero; the number of burglaries was zero.

That’s the good thing about a new year; it gives everyone a chance to start with a clean slate.

Most people are happy to see the challenging year of 2009 behind us. With the increase in crimes, the troubling government financial problems, the Operation Tempura debacle, the onset of swine flu, and a stagnant economy, it wasn’t a year of much good news.

There is reason to believe that 2010 will be a better year. The global economic crisis seems to be waning and locally both the financial and tourism industries are picking up.

The success of the tourism and financial industries are mostly dependent on outside forces relating to the recovery of the global economy. However, there are other aspects of Cayman’s current troubles that can be addressed by local means.

In fact, some of the problems can only be resolved at the local level.

The government budget situation is one such problem. Either the government decides to continue increasing duties and fees – taxes in reality – on businesses and residents, or it reduces its operating costs. One way affects every man, woman and child resident, visitor or client of the Cayman Islands. The other way likely affects civil servants and their families hardest. The government has to decide whether it will risk alienating the closest thing to a Cayman trade union – and a powerful voting bloc – or spread the pain across the widest of spectrums and risk damaging Cayman’s historic success formula.

Crime is another issue that needs to be resolved at a local level. Yes, the police play an important part, but so too do Cayman’s residents by coming forth with information about crimes and testifying against those brought to court to face charges.

Since we’re starting the year with a clean slate in 2010, let’s hope residents turn over a new leaf and start doing their part to tackle the crime issue.