EDITORIAL – Boxing Day: Sorry, not this year

The Bodden Town boxing gym has been KO’d without a single punch being thrown or a competitor entering the ring … which, of course, raises a serious question: Has anyone yet notified Manny?

Readers may recall the Don King-like hype and hoopla approximately two years ago when the pugilist-turned-politician (the Filipino slugger Manny Pacquiao) joined Premier Alden McLaughlin (known to throw a few punches himself in the political arena) and other officials to show off Grand Cayman to Manny and to show off Manny to potential voters in Grand Cayman. It was one of the first political stunts of the 2017 campaign season.

In addition to the boxing exhibition that Pacquiao hosted, the main event of the entire trip was the gathering of politicians, including Osbourne Bodden, who was then sports minister, Premier McLaughlin, and MLA Wayne Panton.

Wielding the requisite golden shovels, hard hats and campaign grins, the entourage announced the proposal for a magnificent edifice, the plaque of which was to read: “The Bodden Town Boxing Gymnasium.”

(In the ensuing election, of course, Messrs. Bodden and Panton hit the canvas pretty hard, and the boxing center never got up either.)

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In Wednesday’s Cayman Compass, we reported that Christen Suckoo, chief officer in the ministry of sports, effectively confirmed that for the foreseeable future, the Bodden Town equivalent to Madison Square Garden would have to remain a proposal without funding, which, of course, is simply another way of saying, a dream.

On the subject of the pantheon of nice ideas, who can ever forget the Cayman Ice Palace, once declared to be the cornerstone of the Progressives’ downtown redevelopment plan; Jubilee Park, a 44-foot bell tower topped off with a cross (appropriately to be constructed on the Tower Building site adjacent to the Legislative Assembly); the oil refinery to be situated on 13 acres of Industrial Park land; and, of course, the Glass House (projected to be a public park) which observant residents will note is still standing as proudly as the skeletal structure of the once-grand Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Just as the universe has a natural order, so too do all successful ventures, projects and most human endeavors: calculators before shovels, planning before building, funding before promising.

When governments, rather than private institutions or certainly individuals, make pronouncements about future capital projects, it is important, indeed, imperative that they follow up on the expectations that their words and behaviors have set into motion.

As a news organization, while we will continue to keep our readers informed about government’s proposals and plans, we always will include in our coverage a modicum of skepticism.

Even under the best of conditions, we understand that circumstances evolve, priorities are reordered, governments change hands and any number of unforeseen events can affect the most well-intentioned and noble of visions.

Nevertheless, we cannot help but notice that this newspaper publishes a far greater number of stories on groundbreakings than it does on ribbon cuttings.

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  1. The Compass editorial speaks to the essence of such situations. However, I have a question – perhaps best for public officials to answer (although I won’t hold my breath!) but perhaps someone else might know. In cases where public funds are expended to arrange and host ground-breaking ceremonies and perhaps other related processes for proposed ventures which are shelved, are these expenditures simply “written-off”? Is there any accountability process which justifies these events as legitimate public expenditures or are they simply a waste of funds? How do end-of-year fiscal assessments categorize these?

  2. What I see with the government of nowadays , is that project that will benefit their political career will get the ribbon cut , but projects that will benefit the overall public, would not get the ground broken .

    I will like to see the government get their priorities straight in the way they govern the Islands with more development of the people.
    Look at the Cuban government and how they priortize into sports and medicine , they have some of best Athletes and Doctors , but just unfortunately the big money takes them away from Cuba because of the way the government is governing Country and people . If those Athletes and Doctors could make and keep that big money they wouldn’t have to leave their Country, the same could refer to Cayman Islands