Letters to the Editor: Sitting idly by a sin

It was encouraging to read in this
newspaper that the majority of our residents do not support Government
censorship of the Press.

However, very few people actively
participate in making information available to the local media or join in
public debates. It still concerns me that having an opinion different from
members of our political directorate should result in the individual holding a
differing viewpoint being blackballed from jobs, boards or other meaningful
positions.

There was talk around Town during
the election that I would be called by the UDP, if they were elected, to assist
the country with its social policies, and after they won I was invited to one
post-Cabinet meeting to give a proposal on the topic. A further meeting was
scheduled but when I arrived at the door of the Glasshouse I was told there was
not to be a meeting and after some nine months of the UDP being in power and no
further serious contacts with Minister Adams, I guess I can forget about
contributing in any other way than I am now doing by writing to this newspaper.

By the time the UDP finishes its
term it will be eight years since I have had any opportunity to officially
influence social development strategies in our islands, and I will be sixty
five years old. I suspect that even persons not understanding or even caring
for my personality or opinions in some matters must ask themselves why, a
former UDP minister of community affairs who holds a Ph. D and a fair knowledge
of street culture, is not seen as someone to enlist in the fight to reform and
rehabilitate our frighten and confused urban communities.

In fact I could understand why the
PPM never called upon me for advice or assistance even when the situation of
youth murders began to become culturally acceptable among a segment of our
youth, but that the United Democratic Party would continue the same policy
towards me makes me really wonder if what we say in this country is really
regarded as or right or an offense against others.

I ran as an independent in the last
elections and I had much to say about my former party as well as the PPM. I
even had a song I wrote and QQ performed, which chanted ‘Dr. Frank cares, oh
yes he cares’.  But perhaps it was the non flattering remarks I made about
the now Premier, which sealed my fate and was my obituary. So as much as I am
happy to read that the citizens of these Islands do not want government
censorship of the media, I know that successive governments intimidate and
censor us by threatening to withhold or withdraw social and economic
opportunities from those speaking or writing opinions they do not like. 

With the social and economic
challenges the good ship Cayman faces, one would think that all hands would, in
one form or another, be called on the deck, but I have not even been offered a
non paying position by the UDP government and this must have to do with more
than punishment; this must mean that they also fear my political rehabilitation
and rejuvenation. But I ask them to really think about their position towards
me and to ask themselves why I was elected as a minister in 2001 by them if I
have no attributes, which our country may benefit from.

The Minister of Community Services
and Housing is a George Towner and he must see the way Premier Bush looks out
for his constituents; employing many of them as we have recently seen with the
appointment of Mr. Charles Glidden as his press secretary. Why has Mr. Adams,
who has said to me on many occasions how much he respected by knowledge of our
social issues, not followed up on his promises to involve me in some way in his
social rehabilitation struggles. Is it because I am not perfect nor have even
pretended to be, that makes men of a higher moral calling afraid that my
frankness and perceptiveness will rub off on them.

The Cayman Islands
faces the most difficult challenges of any time in modern history and freedom
of speech and expression can only help us have the kinds of discussions we need
to reach rational and long lasting solutions. If I have put country above my
former UDP colleges by continuing to voice my opinions, it is not because I
believe I always have it right, or that I don’t need a job or the feeling that
my life also needs to be useful. It is most likely because I was raised and
trained to believe that, “the greatest sin of our time is not the few who have
destroyed but the vast majority who’ve sat idly by”.

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Frank McField
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