Statements made by Deputy Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly on a talk radio programme Friday require addressing.
Our 6 May story ‘What in tar-nation?’revealed the paving of a number of private properties using government-owned equipment in Cayman Brac.
Mrs. O’Connor-Connolly stated Friday that the Caymanian Compass ran the story without waiting for a response from her. What the people of the Cayman Islands should know is that this newspaper waited two weeks for a response from either the deputy premier, the Ministry of Works, and the Chief Officer of the Ministry Kearney Gomez before publishing this story.
We attempted to get a response several times via emails, phone calls and text messages. We also attempted to meet with Mrs. O’Connor-Connolly on Cayman Brac to discuss this story – as well as several other issues – and our reporter was ‘stood up’ by the deputy premier.
It was only at the 11th hour, when we contacted Government Information Services informing them that we intended to run a front page story on the matter on 6 May, that we were even engaged with regard to a response.
We were assured the day before the story was to run that we would receive a response and we even delayed the newspaper waiting for it. The response never came. In fact, we’re still waiting for it. Instead, the deputy premier took to the airwaves to complain about the article.
It seems correct to say, at the very least, that no great effort was made on behalf of the government to issue a response to this matter when it was asked for. It is more likely that those involved were simply avoiding us, hoping the story would go away.
The government of this country must realise that the days of news organisations not printing a story simply because officialdom refuses to comment on it are gone. We at the Compass strive to include as many facts and perspectives as are available on various issues. However, if someone refuses to give us their perspective, we will run the story without it and let readers draw their own conclusions, whether the deputy premier or anyone else likes it or not.