Editorial for February 17: Too early for an election campaign

The People’s Progressive Movement has chosen a new leader and the party faithful are understandably energised by the development.

When he was confirmed as the new opposition leader on Saturday, Alden McLaughlin said now is the time to start the campaign for the 2013 general elections.

Based on the long letter to the editor in yesterday’s newspaper by former PPM Legislator Osbourne Bodden, some of his party agree.

But does this country really need a 27-month election campaign, and all the rancour that will bring, right now?

It is true that the PPM has been fairly quiet in its role as opposition to date and that it has had some internal problems, including the resignation of former Cabinet Minister Charles Clifford as a party member and the resignation of Legislator Kurt Tibbetts as party leader.

We also agree that the PPM should, as Mr. McLaughlin said it would, “push and shout and agitate and do whatever we have to do to be part of the national debate”. That is, after all, the role of the opposition.

However, election campaigning brings with it more than just being a part of the national debate.  Election campaigning brings with it mudslinging, personal attacks and the rhetoric of political bravado. If anyone doubts that, they should just have a careful read of Mr. Bodden’s letter to the editor, which doesn’t mention anyone by name, but certainly carries a “PPM is good, UDP is bad” message.

We just don’t think that’s what the Cayman Islands needs right now, when we’re still dealing with an economic crisis and a rash of violent crimes.  This is a time when unity is needed, not the division of an election campaign.

If the opposition members disagree with something the government is doing or suggesting, then they should say so and offer alternative solutions. But to simply criticise everything the government is doing and accuse it of misdeeds – par for the course in any election campaign – for the next 27 months is only going to test the political gag reflex of an already disillusioned public.

1 COMMENT

  1. Well said, Caycompass

    The risk of having Caymans disaffected and disenfranchised elements being emotionally primed to influence any early election campaign is way too high in the current economic and social climate.

    These Caymanian politicians seem bent on following the path of other major Caribbean countries like Jamaica and Trinidad, in using the economic situation to their advantage, regardless of the consequences.

    Riling up an unemployed and angry populace now with political rhetoric and promises will surely spell disaster for what is already becoming a volatile situation in the Cayman Islands.

    They should be trying to get people jobs and back to work before talking about election campaigning 2 years before elections are due.

  2. Firey,

    Good comment, making a lot of sense. Mr Alden McLaughlin is now excited about becoming the next Premier of the Cayman Islands. This will be very difficult if some of us have not all suddenly caught amnesia forgeting the rut in which he and his party left the country and the public purse. This behavior is typical of Alden McLaughlin, always prioritizing the symbol of the PPM over SUBSTANCE which is designed to buildup confidence in the people! To suggest that a member of the last government who left office in 2009 in so much controversy would have the audacity to start a campaign two years earlier is putting themselves on the level of election campaigning of the President of the United States (who needs this length of time to campaign) and a bit premature dont you think? I would find such a suggestion more palatable if the undeveloped Independent party members such as Mr.Ezzard Miller, Mr.Charles Clifford, and others began their campaign with a two year head start. Reason being Independents are more or less unknown and have NOT yet formed a political base and therefore would need as much time as possible to make themselves known to the constituents as well as present their agenda which should meet the needs of the people. However, it is clear that the Independents are not serious at all,indeed weak, timid, and not at all aggressive enough to be a match for any of the two existing parties. If they were indeed serious they would have already organized themselves making themselves known. From experience, I can caution Independents that last minute presentations of jumping into the race WILL NOT GET YOU ELECTED.People need time to get to know you, what you believe in, what you stand for morally and politically, how you think, and most of all WILL YOU SERVE YOURSELVES OR THE PEOPLE.

    In spite of the PPMs weak areas, if the independents do not present them selves quickly and start campaigning nationwide the country has no other choice but to re-elect the UDP again. Statistics show that the UDP Leader is bending over backwards to bring money back into the country,in attempt to put the country back on its feet. Most of us criticize him if we do not agree or understand what he is doing. But you must take your hat off to him, he is working very hard to Promote the countrys Tourism and Financial product globally. I must commend him he is a World Class Marketing and Promotions Wizard! even if he is disliked. With all the projects waiting for development including the Shetty Hospital project, Id say, Cayman in the not too distant future stands to become the most competitive Territory in the Caribbean. Government would eventually have a surplus in the public purse as long as the spending is controlled and censored. It looks like the UK has already begun that process. Immigration proper planning and control, careful strategic planning of development impact on our infrastructure is of paramount concern.

    Guys, this is a realistic analysis of the situation.
    When it comes to changes and reshuffling, one must DO A SHORT LIST!
    Theres got to be someone out there in Candidate land that can beat Alden.

  3. Tiger

    A great, in-depth, objective analysis that readers will benefit from if they look into what you are saying with an open mind.

    The key here is to recognise which partys politicians are willing to use the negatives for political advantage; in the context of Caribbean politics, this is gutter politics and have brought many of our Caribbean neighbours to the sorry state they are in now.

    Cayman must avoid this path and these politicians at all costs.

    I completely agree that the independents hold the balance of power in their hands in keeping these wolves at bay.

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