As we approach July 18th and the referendum on one man one vote for the Cayman Islands, I would like to try to simplify how I see one man one vote.
First let me state that OMOV, in my opinion, will not be the panacea that will solve all our problems. What it will do is it will cause a slight, but very important, power shift in three areas of politics in Cayman. This shift, in all cases, will be in favour of the people, the electorate.
The first of these areas is the balance of power between the politicians and the people. In recent administrations we have seen our elected officials, once they are elected, seem to forget the people and do as they please with little or no consultation from the people. As if the attitude is you elected me now leave me alone, if you don’t like what I do talk to me in four years. They seem to forget that they were elected to do our will; not their will. With the smaller one man constituencies it will be harder for the politician to hide behind the numbers, passing responsibility back and forth. They will know who elected them and there will be no question in the minds of the voters exactly who they elected and who they need to, and can, hold accountable.
This will not be a larger power shift towards the people but a significant one. It will be a shift that a politician who truly wants to work for the people will welcome and that the ones who are in politics for their personal gain will fight with all their might.
The second area is that of allegiance or loyalty. We are all aware of what many call the Coat Tail effect, when a candidate slides into office on “coat tails” of the party or stronger party candidates. These are the politicians that generally you hear little from but they are always there voting the party line. Who do you think they owe their CI$100,000 paycheck to? Who do you think they are going to be more loyal too, the people or the party/leader with the coat tails?
I think we have seen over the years it is the coat tails in both cases. OMOV will help to separate these individuals from the party a bit and pressure them into answering to their electorate, thereby forcing them to be stronger representatives. Some fear this will weaken the party system; although that might not be a bad thing, I do not believe that will be the case. In fact it may make them stronger and in a good way. It will do this by giving us stronger leaders across the board. Not weak yes men. Once again, from this aspect a politician who truly wants to work for the people will welcome this change and that the ones who are in politics for their personal gain will fight with all their might.
The final shift will be a shift in importance, a shift in the balance between the importance of the party and the country. OMOV will, over time, cause a shift in the mindset of the elected officials. Since they will be more accountable to the people they will look to use the party to help the country. Now it seems they have been using the country to strengthen the party. The country is and always should be No. 1; not the party. Once again from this aspect also, a politician who truly wants to work for the people will welcome this change and that the ones who are in politics for their personal gain will fight with all their might.
Many are saying “all is fine,” it’s not broke we don’t need to fix it” (not so many years ago in history the ruling class said that about slavery). But if we do not make the change now, it will break and if it does it will not be easily fixed.
The time is now.
It has been talked about and kicked around over the years and many respected individuals over that period have endorsed it. Today individuals and organisations from all aspects of Cayman life are supporting it. I ask you to look at who it is opposing it; have they proven to you, by their leadership, that their main priority is the well being of the people for the Cayman Islands?
One man one vote will not change things overnight. What one man one vote will do is to cause these slight balance shifts in the favour of the people. This will give us a stronger government, stronger more receptive political parties; it will give us stronger representation. It will empower our representative to work on our behalf and mandate them to do just that. It is about a slight shift of power in favour of the people. I can only surmise that those who oppose it do not want to give up any of their power, and that by itself speaks volumes.
Agree or disagree; please vote July 18th. Let’s make sure we have a true read of the wishes of the people.
To those who agree remember: The only thing that can defeat us is apathy. Please take the personal responsibility to be the one to push it over the top. Make sure you vote Yes on July 18th.