“It seems that there are people who regard an invitation to attend the Public Accounts Committee as a witness as a rather trivial invitation and we get reasons, excuses that they have other appointments scheduled for that time.
“The expectation … is that anyone invited to appear before this committee as a witness will clear their calendar and show up as and when invited.”
— PAC Chairman Ezzard Miller
When Mr. Miller insists that witnesses show up when invited to appear before his legislative committee, he is absolutely right.
Admittedly, it is not clear whether the elected representative from North Side issued an official “summons” (as he claims) or simply an “invitation” to the chairman of Cayman Airways’ board of directors to attend a recent meeting. For our narrative, however, it makes little difference.
What is of importance, however, is that Mr. Miller does have the authority to compel testimony before his committee and he should exercise it without hesitation if he feels it is necessary.
As Mr. Miller said: When the PAC invites you to attend a meeting — you make sure you’re there. No excuses. (Barring, of course, matters of life, death or flat-out impossibility.)
The problem of people “not showing up” is not exclusive to the PAC. It is a concern for the whole of the Cayman Islands.
Too often, for example, people fail to appear in court when their presence is required. (Defendants, witnesses — and if you throw in the prerequisite of “preparedness,” attorneys as well.)
Drawing from our experience at Pinnacle Media as an employer, we regularly set aside blocks of time for job interviews — and then wait in vain as the scheduled candidates never appear. (Not that long ago, we were hiring for a position at the Compass. After sifting through dozens of applications and conducting initial interviews, we narrowed the field down to three finalists. Of the three — two didn’t show up for their final interview. No telephone calls, no excuses, no apologies, no nothing. We haven’t heard from them since.)
Outside the business realm and into the social realm, too often top officials and prominent individuals RSVP “yes” to formal events, and then never show up. On a slightly different matter, in Cayman’s public sector, the practice of not returning phone calls, messages, emails or hard-copy correspondence is all too prevalent. Are department heads aware of this? Are they OK with it?
“Mr. Manners,” the etiquette columnist for Pinnacle’s Grand Cayman magazine, offers the following rule of thumb: If a person is to be five minutes late or more, a telephone call is required.
More broadly, consider how habitual non-attendance or unpunctuality reflects on Cayman as a financial services center, in contrast with, for example, our competitors in Switzerland. The phrase “runs like a Swiss watch” could well be the country’s marketing slogan.
If you have a meeting with 10 people at 10 a.m., and a critical invitee shows up 15 minutes late, the tardiness is multiplied by a factor of 10. That self-centered behavior is not just costly and coarse. It’s rude.
Exhibiting a casual attitude toward tardiness or being a “no-show” is a telling predictor of an individual’s future performance. It suggests a lack of self-discipline, an essential trait that is highly correlated with success in nearly any field.
As Woody Allen once said, “Showing up is 80 percent of life.” … And that means showing up on time, too.