Editorial for December 22: Missing the point entirely

 In the hullabaloo about whether the Cayman Islands attorney general’s office would choose to prosecute this newspaper and one of its reporters over…well, we’re still really not sure what….we at the Caymanian Compass feel the salient point of this entire issue has been missed.

Perhaps that was the point of said hullabaloo after all?

No one in the Legislative Assembly, no matter how they voted on the ‘motion to prosecute’, has stood up and said whether they wish to hold subcommittee and select committee meetings on the review of the Freedom of Information Law in public or in private.

It may be that members wish to hold these meetings behind closed doors. If such is their decision, then they should let the public know that and be done with it.

Yet to date – even after talk of ‘prosecution’ has come and gone – there is still no answer.

Maybe we should turn to the local press to try and sort out this issue. Only they are nowhere to be found.

Not one reporter – other than those employed by the Compass – has chosen to pursue what is the real substance of this debate. They have instead chosen to issue confused accounts of what occurred in the Legislative Assembly on 9 December or have attempted to curry favour with the member from North Side – rather than doing their jobs and holding elected members of this country to account.

Oh well, the members of the local media can be pardoned for their fear or apathy.

But what this newspaper should never hear from these media sectors – some who often prattle on about being ‘defenders of free speech’ and reporting ‘without fear or favour’ – is that the Caymanian Compass is a soft publication which refuses to stand up for free speech and democracy.

When the chips were down; when it really mattered, the Compass was the only media source to stand up and fight.

We hope our readers will now judge us by our actions – not the words of others.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Back on point – shows grace under fire. The field may be obscured by smoke and confusion but with a good compass one can keep on track. In this new age of information old antiquated behind the door secrets may seem to reflect power and authority, but instead show weakness.
    Our legislative assembly can stand up to all critics, least of which a truthful messenger.

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  2. As I posted earlier, this whole episode looks like a smokescreen to me.

    It seems to be an open secret that FOI has not been well received in some quarters and that, as is happening in the UK right now, some of those hit hardest by it will be looking at ways to shift the goalposts when it comes to future public access.

    FOI in the UK is coming up for its sixth anniversary on 1st January 2011.

    Before coming to Cayman I used it extensively to uncover misuse of public resources, my first FOI applications being filed at the end of 2004. Since my return it has been used, amongst other things, to reveal discrimination in employment.

    It is not popular, particularly as over the years many areas of public record that were considered off limits have been opened up either by the intervention of the ICO or legal challenges.

    A number of moves have already been made to try and limit the impact of FOI including trying to claim copyright on the released material, marking it not for publication or for use by the applicant only – as far as I know none have succeeded. Back in 2006 I got hit by attempts to illegally bill me for information that had previously been supplied without charge.

    What we now face in the UK is the threat of a review of FOI based on signficant input from organisations that feel they have most to lose from openness. The danger I can see if these proceedings in Cayman go ahead in private is that it will give the people who want to shut the doors on FOI a similarly unfair advantage.

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