A majority of respondents to last week’s caymancompass.com poll believe corruption is either not a particular problem or a problem that is not overwhelming in the Cayman Islands.
Premier Alden McLaughlin referenced the poll and questioned its integrity in his response to the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce’s request that the government rescind the ban of government advertising in the Cayman Compass. That ban was put in place after a June 3 editorial in the Compass suggested corruption in the Cayman Islands was “so commonplace, we tend to normalize it, refusing to even recognize it.”
Mr. McLaughlin still urged residents “to weigh in on that poll” in order to send a “resounding message” to the Compass about what they thought was the degree of corruption in Cayman.
The poll was subjected to 196 duplicate votes which were subsequently discarded, including 127 votes from a single computer for the option “Corruption is not a particular problem.” In total, that answer attracted 156 duplicate votes.
Also discarded were 23 duplicate votes for the option, “Corruption is a problem, but not overwhelming,” nine duplicate votes for “Corruption is pervasive” and seven duplicate votes for “Corruption is largely nonexistent.”
Of the 696 non-duplicate votes, the largest segment – 254 people or 36.5 percent – said corruption was pervasive.
“Corruption is a major problem in the Cayman Islands and has been for a long time now,” said one person. “Something needs to be done about it because it’s everywhere. The Compass editorial was so right about everything it said about it. I am a Caymanian and I did not take it as an offence or an attack against Caymanians at all because I know it’s all true.”
“Everyone knows there is corruption, but nobody wants to admit it,” said another person.
“I think a lot of the corruption is relatively low level, but it’s certainly pervasive in Cayman society,” said someone else. “Politicians give money and gifts to voters; GASBOY; government credit cards used for lavish trips and gambling; Canover supposedly laundering money; Joey convicted of using government funds to buy iPhones; Brac parking lot paving; Immigration officials under suspension or fired; now Jeffrey Webb and the tangled web he’s accused of weaving. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”
“It overwhelms me,” commented one person.“It’s everywhere. The hypocrisy of so many people, so many service groups, is staggering.”
“It’s so prevalent that people think it’s normal,” said someone else. “They do not see it as corruption.”
The second most popular response was “Corruption is a problem, but not overwhelming,” with 192 people – 27.6 percent – choosing this option.
“There is evidence of some corruption, yes, but certainly not to the extent that the editorial board of your paper tries to make it appear,” said one person. “There is nowhere on earth completely free of corruption. Cayman is a great place and is most desirable to many.”
“The private carpark paving in the Brac is a clear example of corrupt vote buying, yet nothing at all is done about it,” said someone else.
“People abuse bestowed power or their position for personal gain, but this is a few persons and this is what leaders need to be monitoring,” commented another person. “However, this in my estimation (without research data) is not a situation that indicates that Cayman is corrupt. We have to be mindful of how we place labels on an entire society.”
“Corruption exists not only with Caymanians, but to a large extent the expatriates here as well,” said one person.
“Any corruption is a problem, but that is not to say that everyone is corrupt,” said someone else. “There are still many good honest people that call Cayman home.”
“There is certainly creeping growth of low-level lawlessness (e.g. covered license plates, illegal tinted windows, etc.), but these issues are not corruption in themselves and certainly do not warrant the approach taken by the editorial board of the Compass and the resulting financial sanctions by government,” said one person.
“Corruption is a global problem,” said another person. “It is no more pervasive in Cayman than other well-established jurisdictions. The framework exists to manage the problem. While improvements can always be made, don’t suggest that we have nothing in place to combat the issue.”
Another 165 people, 23.7 percent, chose the option, “Corruption is not a particular problem.”
“Corruption is worldwide,” said one person. “Cayman is no worse than most places and it’s unfair to be associated with it because of bad press.”
“As long as we have other nationalities (i.e. American, Canadian, Europeans, etc.) seeking to influence the policies of our government and its various departments, as well as our resident corporations using incentives and outright bribery, we will always have someone of lower morals and/or lower intelligence who is willing to accept, either due to need or greed,” said another person.
“Just look at Tempura,” commented one person. “They brought undercover police here to look for police corruption and it turned out the ones they brought in were more corrupt than anything they found. And it cost our country millions!”
“Corruption is not particularly pervasive in Cayman,” said someone else. “Every country has its issues, and Cayman is no different. There are bad apples everywhere. It is therefore short-sighted to paint all citizens of this country with the same brush.”
Seventy-three people – 10.5 percent – said “corruption is largely nonexistent” in Cayman.
“After 24 years here in four different businesses working with government inspectors, etc., I have never once come across any corruption,” said one person
“I have never witnessed corruption in any private or government dealings I have had in my 13 years in Cayman,” said someone else.
“Corruption exists in small pockets in any jurisdiction,” said another person. “But by and large the Cayman Islands is a good place to do business and a country and people of integrity and ethics.”
“I wouldn’t say that Cayman is crime free, but I don’t think corruption is a particular problem,” said another respondent.
“Corruption is largely nonexistent with Caymanians,” commented one person. “Many of the foreign visitors and work permit holders who come to our Cayman Islands are corrupt and do a lot of illegal acts which they should not do. The news tries to make it look as though Caymanians on a whole are mostly all corrupt. Not so! We are honest, trustworthy, upright, and welcoming people and the majority of us stay away from corruption or any other criminal activities.”
Twelve people – 1.7 percent – responded “I don’t know” to the question, but none of them left a comment.
Next week’s poll question
What is your opinion of single-member voting constituencies in the Cayman Islands now compared to your opinion two years ago? (Explain why in comments)
I was for them then and I’m for them now
I was for them then, but not so sure or against them now
I was undecided then and I’m undecided now
I was against them then, but not so sure or for them now
I was against them then, and I’m against them now
I don’t care
To participate in this poll, visit www.caymancompass.com starting June 29.