It is never our intent, whether in the news pages or this editorial opinion section, to misrepresent the statements or the positions of the people we cover. We don’t selectively pick out phrases from lengthy statements in order to mislead our readers or misrepresent their remarks. We don’t hold them responsible for inadvertent “slips of the tongue.” It happens to all of us.
Simply put, we don’t engage in — and won’t stand for — “gotcha” journalism.
Which brings us to the instance of George Town MLA Winston Connolly’s recent comments on Caymanians, expatriates and employment opportunities in the Legislative Assembly. We don’t believe we misrepresented Mr. Connolly’s remarks — either in message or in direct quotes. But Mr. Connolly does, and he said as much on the House floor Thursday.
To review, last Monday, Mr. Connolly said the following in the Legislative Assembly: “It is not enough to wait for people to become Caymanians to start enforcing, respecting and following our laws … Those laws weren’t intended to primarily benefit future Caymanians. They were there to protect, empower and push our existing Caymanians to the fore.”…
“It can’t be that those of us whose parents built this country can’t benefit, advance and prosper to those highest rungs on that ladder.”
In Thursday’s editorial, we wrote the following: “Mr. Connolly’s words, in the introduction of his motion, were meant to divide and offend (if not incite) — and they did. He began by differentiating between ‘real’ Caymanians and legitimate Caymanian status holders.”
Later that day, Mr. Connolly said in the House that he did not make “a distinction between multigenerational Caymanians and new Caymanians. I categorically refute this opinion and challenge anyone to prove otherwise.”
We believe our editorial faithfully represented the tone and content of Mr. Connolly’s speech. But he sees it differently.
This concerns us because we have the highest regard for Mr. Connolly and certainly view him — if he decides to stay in politics or uses his talents elsewhere — as one of the future leaders of this country.
The pages of our newspaper (specifically, Page 4, right next to this editorial column) are always open to Mr. Connolly or any readers who wish to respond in writing to something they’ve seen in the Compass or feel is of relevant interest to Cayman — whether they agree with our positions and editorial opinions — or not.
Specifically regarding Mr. Connolly, consider, for instance, today’s news story on a statement he delivered to fellow lawmakers on Thursday, before he turned his attention to the Compass. His remarks on influence-peddling, vote-buying and the need for fundamental reform to the delivery of basic services is, in our opinion, exemplary.
It’s that kind of principled perspective that has earned Mr. Connolly the high regard in which he is held by the citizenry, including the business community and George Town voters who chose him to represent them.
We hope and expect that Mr. Connolly’s future contributions will warrant their continued support.