Editorial for January 10: Time to mature

Our third article within the last two months on a series of
pay raises given to Cayman Islands government workers during exceptionally lean
budget times attempts to take a broader look at the reasons for these salary
increases.

It seems our earlier two articles got representatives of two
government portfolios all upset. They made indignant claims of scandalous,
irresponsible reporting to sell newspapers, etc

Despite the protestations, we know that there are some
within the civil service who indeed wish to know the facts. The Cayman Islands
Civil Service Association has now requested that it be given the reasons for
why these pay hikes were provided.

And while they may not say so publicly, a number of
individuals within the Civil Service management structure are also eager for
such an explanation and acknowledge that some impropriety may have been
possible in certain cases.

On the other hand, there are reasonable explanations as to
why some of these pay increases within the civil service were given, even
during a time when government was struggling to handle a budget deficit of tens
of millions of dollars. 

What is clear to us, and to the civil service association,
is that the government leadership needs to realise that times have changed.

Questions that seek to establish accountability for the
expenditure of public funds must be answered fully and in a forthright manner.
Providing vague replies, or simply refusing to answer anything, then slamming
reporters or newspapers that report the facts available is not a mature
response in a civil society, especially one that has been fighting an
international image problem for decades.

The old government strategy of delay, deny and denigrate
will no longer work in the new era of transparency and open government. Facts
are going to come out whether certain government officials like it or not, and
that is how it should be. Efforts to muzzle the press simply backfire these
days and reflect poorly on the entire jurisdiction. It’s time for the Cayman
Islands Government to mature and get to what is important: public
accountability.

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