Parties on right track

Whether Cayman would be able to nurture its fledgling system of party politics and avoid the problems that had happened elsewhere was a big question yet to be answered, Minister Alden McLaughlin told a top level conference.

What was being tried here was a grand experiment but he had a great deal of confidence that they had got things nearly right, he said.

Mr. McLaughlin was addressing the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association post election seminar in the Legislative Assembly building on Wednesday afternoon.

Before party politics came in people had begun to realise that a sophisticated country could not continue to be run on the basis that had hitherto been the case, said Mr. McLaughlin.

People of different views had been elected and there was no common platform and no strategy how the country would be run when people came to office, he said.

There had been tremendous tensions and infighting at a time when the country was in a difficult position.

There were problems with the structure and concept of the political party. But if Cayman was to succeed as a country it had to have organisation, planning, a common vision and a platform that could be taken to the people, Mr. McLaughlin told the seminar.

They had got to be conscious of their duty to preserve the parliamentary process and that meant recognising the Opposition and sharing some of the power, he said.

They had to preserve the separation between the executive and the legislature and to allow the legislature to function as it ought to as a check and balance on the power of the executive, he added.

Cayman was on a course of constitutional reform and the government was going to push even more now than when it was in opposition to build into the new constitution increased safeguards, checks and balances on the power of the executive and build in more transparency and openness, he told the conference.

If they did not the system would falter like it had in other places, said Mr. McLaughlin.

The country had decided that the lesser of two evils was in an organised and structured system rather than the loose arrangement that was in place before, he added.

The three-day seminar was scheduled to finish today.