Editorial for March 7 2011: Red ink and the Turtle Farm

Cayman Turtle Farm Managing
Director Tim Adam didn’t much care for the Compass front page story and
editorial of Thursday 24 February. If we were in Mr. Adam’s shoes, we probably
wouldn’t like what was written either.

But what has to be remembered is
that we were reporting on an auditor’s report tabled in the Legislative
Assembly. Even Mr. Adam couldn’t find anything factually wrong with the news
article we wrote; rather it was his contention that the auditor’s report, and our
story by extension, didn’t give the whole story.

We can take his point. Indeed,
accountants’ figures often don’t tell the human factors behind stories, or
about possible financial ramifications of theoretical events. Instead, reports
on financial statements put cold, hard figures into the glaring light of bottom
lines.  And when it comes to the Turtle
Farm’s bottom line, no one – including Mr. Adam, the Cayman Turtle Farm Board
of Directors, the government, or anyone who cares about the Cayman Islands –
can be happy.

That’s not to say things aren’t
improving. In effort to stop the bleeding of red ink at the Turtle Farm, Mr.
Adam and the current board of directors have taken some difficult and unpopular
decisions, including raising the cost of turtle meat for the public and
implementing salary reductions for staff.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t change
the fact that the Turtle Farm is still losing money and the people of this
country have a right to ask whether that should be allowed to go on.  If it’s not a case of turning out the lights
tomorrow, then it’s at least time to start developing a contingent exit
strategy. This country’s financial state is such that we cannot just hang in
there indefinitely and hope that one day Mr. Adam and the board will be able to
turn the Cayman Turtle Farm back into a profit-making venture.

Premier McKeeva Bush seems
agree.  He told us Friday that he hopes
to sign a Memorandum of Understanding very soon to either lease or sell the Turtle
Farm.

Everyone should appreciate the efforts
of Mr. Adam and the Turtle Farm board, but ultimately, the fate of the facility
is out of their hands, as it should be when large amounts of public funds are
at stake.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Its not Mr. Adam’s fault, but the place is still a hole in the ground that has to be filled with money every year. Close it to the public and cut it back to supplying meat only so poaching will not explode. You’d save millions.

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