Responsible legislators ought to be more careful about lobbing verbal firebombs. The resulting blazes can quickly burn out of control.
Through the Cayman Islands Tourism Association and in conjunction with the National Workforce Development Agency, a range of local businesses expended considerable time and money last fall on an initiative to offer job opportunities to unemployed Caymanians. Although six individuals (out of 102 initial participants) did secure positions, the overall results of the Cayman Tourism Employment Drive (“CayTED”) were, on balance, disappointing.
Enter Bodden Town MLA Alva Suckoo.
According to a local online media report, Mr. Suckoo dismissed the joint CITA-NWDA employment effort as a “deliberate attempt to discredit Caymanians and justify using cheap labour,” among other smears directed against the private sector.
Careful, Mr. Suckoo.
Mr. Suckoo’s inflammatory statements ignited responses on the Web and talk radio where the sympathetic host has taken the opportunity, as he often does, to refer repeatedly to a growing sentiment for “revolution” in the Cayman Islands.
Talk radio show hosts ought to be more careful and the owners of the relevant media outlets ought to take note — as should ICTA (the Information & Communications Technology Authority), which regulates the publicly owned airwaves over which radio and television stations broadcast.
After getting singed by Mr. Suckoo et al, CITA finally had enough and fired back, in the form of a blistering press release containing the following:
“CITA has responsibilities to act in the best interests of its membership and the tourism industry as a whole. CITA wants nothing to do with anything that is perceived as discrediting Caymanians. In light of the negativity that has been cast on CayTED, if these falsehoods remain uncorrected in the public perception, CITA will have to disassociate itself from any future iteration of a tourism employment drive in conjunction with NWDA.”
Putting aside the corrections of falsehoods, it probably isn’t a bad idea for CITA to divorce itself from participating with government on future employment drives.
Why put in all the time, trouble and money, only to have your good name besmirched in return for your efforts?
Further, it is unclear to us what the NWDA, meaning the government, is actually bringing to the process.
In last fall’s employment drive, CITA identified more than 60 job openings (and online listings thereof) from more than a dozen employers.
What did the government provide, other than the unwarranted backhanding of CITA from Mr. Suckoo after the campaign?
The NWDA, to its credit, apparently did attempt to dispute Mr. Suckoo’s remarks, blaming the misinformation on, tactfully, “a miscommunication on the part of NWDA” to Mr. Suckoo.
With a staff of 12 people and an annual budget of more than $1 million, it is the NWDA — not its private sector partners — that should be the focus of strict scrutiny from Cayman’s elected lawmakers.