On May 11, 2005, I was granted a privilege that has made a tremendous impact on me as a young Caymanian.
My experience was in no way political; not about winners and losers. I was given an opportunity to see democracy at work, and that experience can be described as nothing less than profound.
As a poll clerk I spent 11 hours of May 11 astounded by the infectious charge and almost tangible energy radiating off of the voters, particularly the young voters voting for the first time.
A sense of empowerment, previously a theoretical and almost cliché-like term, was unveiled to me as something real.
People flowed in and dropped their powerful little blue cards into those boxes with confidence and determination and they appeared to be excited to influence the destiny of their country.
Later that night, when those little blue cards became tally strokes on a sheet before my eyes was when the true magic of democracy came alive for me.
As each stroke on that sheet was recorded, a concept beautiful in its simplicity hit me like a tonne of bricks behind each simple stroke was a person, a rational thought was behind each ‘x’, and each of those people by picking up that little pencil tied to the poll booth grasped the future of their country in their hands.
As the rows of strokes grew with a life of their own there was a realization that I was a part of something bigger than myself, something that the single will of one person could not derail a massive, powerful machine that only a collection of wills, a majority of actual people can control.
The pen I held was not controlled by my intentions that night but by each person who pencilled an ‘x’ on a ballot that day.
And it made me proud; proud to be a citizen of a country where people can feel safe going to the polls, where an individual does not feel threatened by the differences in opinion, where people are excited about influencing their own direction, where empowerment is a very real thing, and where a young person like me can have the honour of being a part of something so great. I am proud of Cayman and proud to be a Caymanian.