Party down

It was a fascinating exercise for the
Observer on Sunday to speak with a number of individuals who have varying views
regarding the development and current state of party politics in the Cayman
Islands.

In attempts to summarise, the general
view appears to be two-fold; that either the entire system should be scrapped,
or that serious improvement to the ways our political parties operate need to
be made.

We believe there are many in this
country who would like to see the current two-party political system go away
and there are entirely reasonable arguments for that position. Among them, that
the two-party adversarial system is too divisive in a small country, that it
stifles the creativity and voice of individual lawmakers, and that it is
generally not the best thing for the Cayman Islands in the long run.

The Observer finds these arguments to
be very persuasive, indeed.

However, for this editorial we would
like readers to weigh a second point of view in their minds as well.

Is it possible that Cayman has
adopted a system that has the form of a two-party political regime, but not its
substance?

Mr. Roy Bodden makes quite a
compelling case in stating that political parties here have not done as
effective a job as possible in informing or educating members, and the general
public, about their positions. The crucial question: “What do you stand
for/support?” is too often left aside in political debates which rather focus
on personal insults or a candidate’s speaking prowess – the form, not the
substance of what the would-be elected members are saying.

The supposition that someone seeking
your vote for office should make you well-informed about what they are in
favour of is eminently reasonable.

Also, the argument that grass roots efforts
should be extended to represent every voting district in the Cayman Islands –
not only the political party power bases – is also one that seems difficult to
argue against. 

Whether political parties continue,
or Cayman returns to the formation of coalition governments every four years,
is not for this newspaper to decide. Only the voters can do that.

But whichever way the trade winds
blow, we believe the country’s political system should focus itself on becoming
more transparent and accountable to the people that put elected members into
office.