If Mary Street could talk
We hear all the time especially from some young attorneys and accountants that our government should be run like a business. However, modern democratic government although separate from economic institutions, is an essential part of our economy, so much so that there are no examples of successful economies without highly evolved political structures and ideologies.
Good governance free of a culture of corruption and manipulation means that there will be heated political debates and ideological differences. But all this is a necessary component of modern capitalist democracies and Cayman would do well to vote on July 18th for the electoral system they believe will improve transparency, accountability and compromise in our government; and deliver the promises that are used to motivate us to vote to improve our lives and our society.
Many of us may now believe that we could do without government or as some say so much government; and that if we had less government or interference by government in the social and economic systems then government would be more perfect and society more healthy economically and socially. But I believe that from the time our modern world began to create democracy or motivational governance, there was a need to create political values or ideologies that were designed to explain the way societal benefits were distributed among citizens. Therefore political parties were developed as a means of sharing and explaining the wealth produced by the society and the way wealth was allocated to its citizens.
Government is therefore not a business and cannot be run as such; government is a means of guaranteeing societal stability by causing people to believe in the judicious nature of the society and political parties are a part of that process.
Any group that could believe in this age of motivational politics that it is best for all to leave the distribution of societal benefits solely to the masters of business could be shocked to see how fast the values of consensus that hold free democratic society together would crumble and the need for overt force as the means of establishing and maintaining consensus become necessary.
It is therefore not true that individuals that understand business and have been successful in their respective enterprises are the most suited to manage government. It is also not yet proven that those that have made money and lived a much protected lifestyle unaffected by our social challenges for decades can now enter the political arena and be more honest in government.
Only a fool could believe that the conduct of business and the successes of business is based solely upon rational and ethical practises. We only have to reflect back to the days when Cayman had no information exchange with foreign governments and persons were encouraged to break the laws of their respective countries and shelter their money in special accounts in Caymanian registered banks and companies.
One only has to take note of one of Cayman’s economically and socially powerful cooperation’s persistent discrimination against Caymanians and West Indian natives to realise that being indoctrinated and embedded in our cooperate culture is no prerequisite for political office here in the Cayman islands where the divisions between the haves and the have not’s have become extreme partly because of the silence and compliancy of some of our professional Caymanians.
This is not to say that none of those with experience in law or finance can act as motivators of our citizens in our fragile democracy, but their true intentions should be well tested by the electorate.
The traditional methods used by the Caymanian electorate to vet their representatives has now been weakened by the political party system, so we might not see the prospective candidates having to prove themselves to the rich as well as the poor or as much to the original Caymanians as to the new arrivals since some will vote for a candidate because they are standing with a particular party.
The one person one vote will certainly help us to vet our candidates more intensely than ever before and I think this is a good thing especially that it will limit at least in the next few elections the influence of the parties on the election results.
The point that I have been labouring to express is that the one person one vote will not necessary favour any particular party or class of person but will from the outset give each voter the potential to know intimately the true character and dedication of the candidates and parties.
I certainly suggest that the present electoral systems, although not broken, could be and should be improved and who amount us waits until their car breaks down before fixing that part that is giving inferior mileage and safety.