Editorial for December 14: Bring it on

Nine of Cayman’s legislators and its speaker of the house seem to think we’re still living in times past, when the people of Parliament could bully those who disagreed with them, especially the press.

The Caymanian Compass is determined more than ever to report whatever news stories we discover and we’re not going to be intimated by the threat of prosecution for publishing accurately reported articles and our opinion in editorials.

If the speaker and nine legislators want a fight, we say bring it on. We’re not afraid.

There were many things that happened in the Legislative Assembly last Thursday that deserve discussion, not the least of which was that our elected representatives spent virtually an entire day debating a motion to recommend prosecution of the Compass because we, in their opinion, impugned their integrity. Surely, in these difficult times our esteemed legislators could have found a more productive way to earn the salaries they are paid by Cayman’s taxpayers.

In the end, the so-called debate became a whine-fest where members rose to complain about perceived slights by the media.

One of the more laughable whines came from one of the MLAs who feels the press and public aren’t showing legislators enough respect because they call them by their first names and nicknames. He even took offence to people calling Premier McKeeva Bush… ‘McKeeva Bush’!

Apparently our legislators haven’t noticed that most media in developed countries, including Mother England, have long abandoned the use of honorifics for politicians. Most media in other countries don’t even use Mr. or Mrs. before a last name.

Yes, the institution of Parliament and the people chosen to sit there should get a certain amount of respect, but our legislators should realise that at election polls these days, much of the public feels it is choosing the lesser of evils, not someone they really admire. While they whine about the media not showing them enough respect, our legislators should be thankful the Compass is respectful enough of them to stay out of their personal lives, unlike media everywhere in the world, otherwise we would investigate such things as what legislators are doing out driving in the wee hours of the morning when they are involved in automobile accidents.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. The function of the press is not to slavishly report what the legislators would like them to.

    A free press is a fundamental and necessary part of a functioning democracy, without which the legislature and executive cannot be held to account.

    Press scrutiny is not optional for those who aspire to govern – it is one of the things you accept as being a non-negotiable part of the package.

    If the MLA’s do not like having their actions scrutinised then they should step down.

    And (Speaker) Lawrence should step down anyway – she has forfeited any credibility with her fatuous bleating about respect and her clear ignorance of what democracy actually means. Reporting of parliament a privilege? What arrant nonsense. If she really believes that she has no business holding any kind of public office whatsoever.

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  2. Dear Sir,
    We have gained so much in the past few years regarding freedom of the press and freedom of speech. I commend your stand and support you. What a valuable waste of precious time on the house floor. "Press on" and hold firm.
    Regards,
    Lachlan MacTavish

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