Core of Cayman’s ills

I have followed with great interest what might be taken as the opinion of this newspaper on the desire of the majority of our voters to introduce an electoral system that would give each voter regardless of district one vote. I am still not sure what the editor’s position is and although I am not a mathematical genius, I figure that if I will soon have six votes and can elect six representatives to parliament and my cousins in East End can elect but one; that I am several times more empowered to determine how the country is governed than they are.

I do not believe that the establishment of single member constituencies will by itself destroy district identities and solidarity because six George Town representatives could very well decide to use their collective strength to determine the formation of government and the distribution of resources in such a way as to give the district of George Town advantages over say West Bay. However, the political party system if structured correctly could become the political clue that will bind together representatives from all the constituencies. Therefore, the political party system with all its negatives, if developed further and properly, could become the ideological and practical tools needed to preserve allegiances along national lines.

There is no political arrangement that is perfect and that will not create disadvantages for some area, group, gender, race or class; as long as we perceive society is these terms. But true democracy must be composed of fractions of one kind or another if it is to function. Thus competition between fractions is an essential element of democracy not just at election time but at all times. When one group wins, their agenda serves their ideological needs for the period they are in office and when out of office they use their political values to evaluate the ideological direction and performance of the opposing party or parties. What has concerned me however, is that Cayman does not really have true political parties but political gangs headed by bullies. Look up the definition of gang and of political party!

From the outset of this new era of so call political parties it was the intention of the leader of the UDP and present Premier to ignore social and political values and ideology within the group and threaten the members as if they were his personal political assets. Democracy and free thinking and expression were never encouraged any more in that party than they are in our society. Thus in the 2009 election the party leader saw his opportunity to distance himself from persons like myself as well as others that were calling for more democracy within the gang. One consequence was that many potential UDP candidates decided to run as independents leaving the UDP candidates and members that were unconcerned about establishing a true party with the inevitable fractions necessary within a party, to run the party and win at the polls.

If the political party system and the one person one vote are to truly benefit Caymanian society the party system must reflect a greater diversity in opinions, personalities and political values. I am not running for office, at least I’m not thinking in that direction, but why should I not be able to serve the party of my choice? Why is some people’s stinking thinking able to upset social as well as political solidarity between individuals with different character dispositions in our society and in our political parties?

In my opinion Cayman is one of the most segregated and polarised places I have lived and I have lived in a few places. These class/race/ethnic divides are reflected in our political formations and orientations and the intolerance, which supports our socio-political structures. The one-person one-vote may prove to be the motor needed to politically educate our people and I hope its introduction will be supported even by those afraid that too much politics rather than too little tolerance for differences in social choices and political orientation are at the core of Cayman’s present ills.

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  1. An unusually lucid and well thought-out piece from Dr McField.

    I have no idea what the difference between UDP and PPM is, aside from their respective networks of adherents and supporters. The difference between them seems to be tribal, rather than based on any particular set of political or economic policies or beliefs.

    The suspicion remains, for me at least, that the purpose of a UDP Government is to serve the interests of the UDP’s members, and the purpose of a PPM Government is to serve the interests of the PPM’s members. The people of Cayman, other than those affiliated to one party or another, don’t seem to get much of a look-in at all.

  2. The political party system is in its infancy in Cayman. Look at the party system in New York City in the late 19th century and you will see many parallels to Cayman Islands politics. There are also similarities with the leaders of the various political factions and this includes the Independent party leader.
    Reading of Dr. Frank’s intention not to run for the LA surprised me as he looks like someone who still has an interest in political office. Between words and behavior I always trust behavior.