Home Commentary Editorial SECRECY BREEDS MISTRUST

SECRECY BREEDS MISTRUST

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We hope the ongoing dialogue between Joseph Sibilly School parents and the Turnbull administration will serve as a lesson to all government officials: You cannot expect to maintain secrecy and respect at the same time.
In a recent conversation with friends from Denmark, they described the routine openness of their public officials and politicians. It's a far cry from what goes on in our Virgin Islands.
We hope, pray and believe that the students and staff of Sibilly School, where water contamination was discovered at least as far back as last April, will not suffer any long- or short- term effects from being exposed to volatile organic chemicals in the drinking water.
What we all have suffered is increased distrust of our officials.
What made Michael Bornn so popular during his short tenure as acting Tourism commissioner was his propensity for straight talk and openness – something we remember Gov. Charles W. Turnbull promising.
Openness, candor, honesty. We don't think that has happened.
The parents at Sibilly School believe they were lied to. But they undoubtedly were not surprised. We think most Virgin Islanders have come to expect half-truths or outright lies from most public officials, elected and appointed. We think they have come to expect that important public information is routinely withheld from them.
That is sad. It has to change. But it will only change if Virgin Islanders demand it.
Sibilly School should stand as an example of what happens when a coverup is perceived.
At this point the parents and some of the staff don't believe anything they are being told, including that there will be no short- or long-term effects from their exposure to contaminants.
What a terrible thing to live with.
We urge all government officials to turn over a new leaf and start living up to the governor's promise of openness, candor and honesty in government dealings.
Let's start with the WAPA sale.

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