Echoes of 2014: A year of strong editorial opinions in the Compass

Editor’s note: The Editorial Board is pleased to present selections from some of the most provocative, important or otherwise interesting editorials published in the Cayman Compass over the past year. 

The landfill must no longer be ignored,” Jan. 6  

“Grand Cayman has a problem so significant — and so ignored for decades — that it now threatens both the economic health of our tourism industry and physical health of our residents. Regardless of the nomenclature you favor, we’re talking about, of course, the landfill, Mount Trashmore, and, more commonly, the dump. … 

For clarity, let us state that we’re not at this time advocating for a new landfill to be built in Bodden Town, or for that matter anywhere else, specifically. But we are saying Bodden Town shouldn’t be ruled out. 

What is obvious is that the current landfill is in just about the worst possible place it could be.” 

A committee? How about a SWAT team?,” Feb. 13  

“What timing! Hours before the latest blaze broke out in the George Town landfill, the Cayman Islands government issued a news release informing the public that it was addressing the country’s waste management crisis by, what else?, forming a committee. … 

What the country deserves is not another government committee of cronies. What it needs is a SWAT team of experts.” 

Time to declare ‘Recess is over’ in Cayman’s schools,” April 22  

“Nothing focuses the mind more than a good punch in the face — even more so if the assailant is a 15-year-old student at John Gray High School and the face belongs to his teacher. 

And nothing numbs the mind more than yet another meandering and meaningless statement emanating from the lips of Education Minister Tara Rivers … 

Here’s what Ms. Rivers should have said: 

“A criminal assault has taken place on one of our teachers in one of our classrooms. I won’t tolerate it, the people of the Cayman Islands won’t tolerate it, and I’m going to put a stop to it. Check back with me in a week.”” 

The need to privatize … well, something,” May 14  

“While the Ernst & Young consultants are examining and analyzing the broad scope of government (and broad it is: a huge civil service, 80 departments, 25 authorities and companies), why doesn’t the sitting government move toward privatizing just one entity? … 

It would signal that this government at this time on this issue has serious intent and some credibility. Call it a show of good faith.” 

Auditor General’s report: Time to call the cops,” June 11  

“The breadth and scope of the Cayman Islands Auditor General’s report on central government “travel and hospitality” spending, totaling $8.6 million over three years, is, simply put, astounding. … 

The vast majority of audits are about as inspiring as a dental exam — routine, uncomfortable, intimate yet mundane. This report, however, conjures up visions of modern Bacchanalia — an uninterrupted series of first-class tickets to revelry across the globe, and back home, with the champagne flowing as freely as the government credit, all for the benefit of Cayman’s elected politicians and top civil servants, and their chosen companions.” 

Education debate: Minister Rivers, you have the floor,” July 10  

“Education Minister Tara Rivers’s announcement that she is contemplating a proposal that “will lead to a public-private model of education for the Cayman Islands” is welcome news to us — and we would suspect to most in the Cayman Islands. 

We applaud Minister Rivers for her boldness in stepping forward to take on in a serious way the largest challenge this country faces. To be sure, at this point Ms. Rivers is only calling for a conversation, but she is inviting a wide range of participants to be at the table.” 

Cayman schools: Welcoming others into the discussion,” July 24 

The Compass does not care who runs Cayman’s schools, as long as they’re run properly and produce acceptable, measurable results.” 

GT landfill: Process is not progress,” Aug. 8  

“As chronicled in 25 years of Legislative Assembly records, elected officials have discoursed countless times about committees and subcommittees; studies, reports and consultants; overarching solid waste management strategies, recycling and waste-to-energy; and the stages and phases of proposed solutions that are, nonetheless, never enacted. … 

Self-styled environmentalists often raise a hue and cry about Grand Cayman not having a recycling program. Nonsense: Our politicians have been recycling rhetoric and landfill plans for decades.” 

Spending abuse: A swipe against the Cayman people,” Aug. 22 

Most people in the Cayman Islands will never enjoy a multi-course dinner at The Ritz-Carlton, or ever see the inside of a suite at a Four Seasons Hotel, or stretch their legs in an expansive (and expensive) first-class cabin on a trans-Atlantic flight. … 

Most people in Cayman don’t get to experience that kind of luxury. However, that does not mean they don’t get to pay for it. … 

All the public money that our elected officials and top civil servants have lavished on their foreign exploits (to all corners of the globe) is, we must never forget, our money.” 

EY report: A test of our will and courage,” Sept. 12  

“In the lives of nations and of people, there exist singular moments of opportunity, where fortune presents two divergent paths toward very different futures, and where decisions made determine the difference between soaring success and foreseeable failure. 

Now is such a moment for the Cayman Islands. It is high tide for our good ship, the time for our leaders to choose whether to follow the new course that has been charted for them, or to remain where we are and recede into global irrelevance. 

The Ernst & Young report on reducing the size and scope of Cayman’s government is no ordinary document.” < /p>

Going-out-of-business sale needed now for government,” Sept. 22  

“Given a level playing field, if government attempts to compete with the private sector, it will lose every time. … 

That’s why Cayman Airways loses money, that’s why Radio Cayman loses money, that’s why the Health Services Authority loses money (big money), that’s why the Turtle Farm … well, don’t get us started.” 

Reflections on the McKeeva Bush trial (and verdict),” Oct. 17  

“[Former Premier Mckeeva Bush’s] defense team, led by attorneys Michael Alberga and Geoffrey Cox, in a perfect “Perry Mason moment,” revealed Governor Duncan Taylor’s emails corroborating Mr. Bush’s long-standing contention that the investigation amounted to nothing more than a “political witch hunt.” 

“I’m not opening any quiet bubbly until it is confirmed,” Governor Taylor wrote. “When it is, there will be a huge sigh of relief across the Cayman Islands, including a loud one from this office.” 

How very wrong Governor Taylor was.” 

Minister Bodden must resign,” Dec. 19  

“Osbourne Bodden must be relieved of his responsibilities as Minister of Health, Youth, Sports and Culture. If he refuses to resign, he must be removed. 

Last Wednesday’s profanity-laced tirade, directed at the ministry’s Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn, and clearly heard by dozens of civil servants, has demonstrated unequivocally Minister Bodden’s unfitness to hold his leadership position. … 

Governor Helen Kilpatrick clearly has the authority to remove Mr. Bodden as minister. 

Rarely, we would concede, in a locally controlled democracy, should a Governor exercise this drastic authority. Given the present circumstances, however … the Governor must intervene. 

After all, as the Queen’s representative, she is ultimately responsible for the “good governance” of these Cayman Islands.” 

Mr. Bodden’s behavior: When silence speaks volumes,” Dec. 23  

“What has been missing ever since Minister Bodden’s tirade became widely known is anyone in a high-profile position repudiating Minister Bodden’s abusive behavior and unmitigated bullying of a professional woman. … 

Make no mistake: Silence in this instance equals tacit approval. … 

The overall message from the current government is clear: When Minister Bodden hurled profanities and threats at Chief Officer Ahearn, that was perfectly acceptable. What is not acceptable, however, is for any civil servant to talk about it, or for the media to report on it.” 

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  1. Ed, what an interesting choice of items from 2014, there is one common thread running through, the stories mostly represent issues that should have been addressed years ago, were not addressed in 2014, and dare I suggest , will not be addressed any time soon?
    There is one item which some may say HAS been addressed, that of our ex Honourable leader, but sadly, I think that one may come back and bite us where it hurts. Why? Because he will probably be back in the Honourable seat one day, and in my opinion, that is not good for the Islands!

  2. It is everyone’s democratic right to agree and to disagree on comments in this media; however, let each one of us be persuaded by our own minds as to how was life under the leadership of Premier Bush. Many of us may have not broken glass windows, but We all have done some stone throwing sometime in our lives. Again it would not be true democracy if we never had any opposition or the right to disagree. And to say the least, I do hope we will truly observe how many Caymanians that are openly voicing their thoughts without fear, and which does not necessarily mean that others are not reading; yes they are. I leave these thoughts with all believers. Never Bomb a Church There will be consequences to pay.

  3. Yes Ms Vargas, I agree with your first sentence, we do have a right to agree or otherwise. Nevertheless, although some may have benefitted from his leadership, i believe the revelations in the trial show what I always thought, he is not someone that should be in control of the Islands purse even if what he did was not found to be criminal!

  4. Arthur, I can agree with you that the things that came out in the trial were troubling but in the end he it was proven that he did nothing wrong and paid back whatever charges he made with issue, unlike some other politicians that I do not need to name. Bush may not be the perfect leader for cayman but I don’t see where Cayman is so better off with the current premier who nearly bankrupted the country the last time he was in charge, leaving an 81 Million dollars deficit for Bush to work with. Compare that to what Bush left him to work with, what I saw was Bush busting his behind to bring in new revenue and new developments that would stimulate the economy such as the Shetty Hospital and CEZ. These are the thing you are starting to see materialize now with the PPM face on it.

    I also see someone who worked to benefit the whole island not just one district. The way the Dump was handled as well as the way he handled the issues with Ozzie and Ms Ahearn show that Boddentown has him in their grips. I bet that if it was any other districts MLA, it would have been handled differently.

  5. Sorry Michael, on this we wont agree!
    I cannot forget his involvement in the First Cayman Bank, yes it was a long time ago, but it tells a story.
    Then whilst you talk of his efforts to provide investment, why is it often without proper process? Think of the Cruise terminal, if I remember, a deal done with due process is cancelled at great cost, and without consultation a distinctly questionable operation takes over, all at great cost to the Islands.
    Think of the Cohen deals, same story, and there are many others.
    A suspicious person would wonder why it is always behind doors, but of course I am not one of them.
    Finally, in my view he seems to have a compulsive gambling habit, and thats not the man to control the common purse!
    Just my opinion, and as Ms Vargas opines, we are all entitled to one of those!
    PS, I don’t think much of the current bunch either, the most disappointing being Ms Rivers, excellent at standing up for herself, but severely wanting in her role! Is this seriously the best we have? Where are the young versions of Mr Benson?