Political rivals, foes and friends put aside differences Friday to honour a great man and mourn his passing.
The scene at Pope John Paul II’s funeral at the Vatican Friday was one of a remarkable collection of world leaders and royalty.
Seating was done in a most diplomatic fashion – alphabetically.
That put US President George W. Bush and French President Jacques Chirac – divided by the US-led war in Iraq – separated only by their wives as they sat in the second row to the right of the altar in front of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Farther down the same row was Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, who greeted Syrian President Bashir Assad before taking his seat. The US has tense relations with Syria and none with Iran.
Even Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was able to sidestep a European Union travel ban, which doesn’t apply to the Vatican, to attend the funeral.
All this is to say that if international rivals can come together and be cordial, surely people campaigning for 11 May elections in the Cayman Islands can get along.
Election officials, and indeed the public, requested all candidates at the outset to rise above the fray of mudslinging and stick the issues that have the most bearing on the Cayman Islands.
But here it is another election year and the accusations and tearing down of fellow Caymanians is out of control.
We don’t want to hear rumours and innuendoes about opposing candidates and parties. We want the issues addressed.
And while the Chamber of Commerce forums are a good start to get answers on issues, they aren’t enough.
The candidates themselves must, in their individual and collective campaigns, make sure that their platforms are based solely on the issues.
Elections are emotional, but voters shouldn’t cast their ballots based on emotion. Those votes must be made with good, solid information that is issue based.
While the setting for international leaders to be cordial with one another was a time of mourning and grief, it shouldn’t take a tragedy in the Cayman Islands to bring politicians together to treat each other politely.
The candidates and the people voting for them are all adults. It’s time for all to act like it and get issues addressed.