EDITORIAL – At OfReg: Dignity and decorum must be restored

Scenario One

In Scenario No. One, Premier Alden McLaughlin invites Mr. Linford Pierson, chairman of the board of OfReg, to his office. When he arrives, he asks him to close the door. On his desk are two very visible sheets of stationery. Our premier begins:

“Linford, my longtime friend, thank you for coming. I’m sorry for your difficulties at OfReg and, in particular, the leaked minutes of the last board meeting where you threatened to ‘box’ the head of your deputy chairman. The damn press, as you well know, are having their fun with that one.

“The real issue, though, is that we cannot have the reputation of OfReg, or of the Cayman Islands, besmirched by such behavior. On my desk, as you can see, are two documents, and you are going to sign one of them before you leave my office. The choice is yours.

“The first, which I suggest you sign, is your resignation. Along with it will go a statement that thanks you for your many years of public service to these islands and wishes you the very best in your future endeavors.

“The second, should you refuse to resign, is a letter of termination. The Cabinet has authorized me to offer you this choice.”

Scenario Two

In Scenario No. Two, Mr. Pierson, on his own volition, arranges a meeting with Premier McLaughlin. Neither is looking forward to this meeting, but both, being honorable men, know the meeting is necessary.

In this scenario, Mr. Pierson approaches Mr. McLaughlin, an envelope in hand. “Mr. Premier, my dear friend Alden, it is with the greatest regret that I am submitting my resignation as chairman of the board of OfReg. I realize, given the events of the last few days, that I can no longer lead the organization on its important mission that lies ahead. My decision is not negotiable and is irreversible.

“On a more personal note, I want to thank you for your faith and trust in me, and I hope I can continue to serve our country in some capacity going forward.”

These islands have been the beneficiaries of decades of public service rendered by Mr. Pierson, and we would contend that his contributions have been immeasurable and formative. He has served as a highly regarded member of Cabinet during the years of Cayman’s modern development and sat with distinction as Speaker of the House.

Long after most public servants might be contemplating a well-deserved retirement, Mr. Pierson did nothing of the sort. He enrolled in Walden University in Minnesota, taking a doctorate degree in psychology, while continuing to engage on matters of central importance to his country.

And yet, he now sits at the head of a super-agency, OfReg, that under his direction has badly stumbled. Mr. Pierson, who was one of Cayman’s first credentialed accountants, understands, better than most, the concept of accountability.

The threats of physical violence at a recent OfReg board meeting, chaired by Mr. Pierson, simply cannot be tolerated. Mr. Pierson cannot lead OfReg – either as its chairman or its CEO – through the rebuilding process that must now take place.

We know Mr. Pierson well, both personally and through his work in government, and we know that he knows that “Scenario No. 2,” as described above, is the best way forward.

Never let it be doubted: Mr. Pierson is a loyal patriot who deeply loves his country.

It is for that very reason – love of country – that he must resign.

If he does so, he will leave his post with his legacy of service indelibly intact.