If a writing starts with “Let’s suppose…” it should signal to the reader that what follows is hypothetical, not necessarily fact. Contrary to the apparent beliefs of our legislators, when we began an editorial with “We suppose someone in the secret subcommittee… will say something like this over the coming weeks: ‘One only need look at what has happened with WikiLeaks to see the dangers inherent in FOI…” we really weren’t putting words in anyone’s mouth. Instead we were merely conveying that it was in the realm of possibility, for argument’s sake, that someone on the committee might say that and, therefore, every thing that followed was a hypothetical discussion.
Similarly, if we now start an editorial with “Let’s suppose the Caymanian Compass did contravene Legislative Assembly Standing Orders with one of our editorials last week” we are not saying we actually did. The truth is Standing Orders, and more importantly laws of this country, are contravened, suspended and ignored all the time by our Government. If anyone doubts this, just look at the requirements of the Public Management and Finance Law, which have routinely been contravened for years now by civil servants, and by extension, the politicians who have control over Cabinet ministries. In addition, Standing Orders had to be suspended last Thursday so that legislators could debate the urgent business of whether they should recommend the prosecution of the Caymanian Compass for impugning their integrity by “supposing” what one of them might say. Even Speaker of the House Mary Lawrence, who led the parade of indignant legislators by firing the first volley, chose to ignore House rules requiring representatives direct their addresses the speaker and not to others. East End MLA Arden McLean spent a good portion of his debate looking directly at the media in the balcony. That legislators of a government that so often breaks, ignores or suspends rules and laws would recommend the harsh penalty of criminal prosecution of a newspaper and reporter, simply because they felt their writings impugned their integrity, should frighten and appal everyone in this country.