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.