It will all boil down to trust.
The next general election in the Cayman Islands will be the one that defines our future and will go down in history as maybe one of the most important.
The voters will be tasked with deciding who will lead our country forward and out of the current economic slump we are facing. They will have to decide which party, alliance or independent they think is best suited for the job.
Before answering the crucial question of who is best suited for the job, we as voters must first understand the current financial and economic position the country is in and most likely will be in for some time.
The Cayman Islands as a country has found itself in the most peculiar stance than it has ever before in it’s history.
From the economic stand point, the three pillars of which we have depended on for so many years are suffering tremendously due to the global recession. Tourism, construction and the financial industries are slower than they have been in the last 10 years. With the exception of a few proposed projects recently (good or bad, depending on how you see it), none of the pillars listed above seem to have much predicted growth in the near future.
From the government viewpoint, the country is in debt by over a half a billion dollars and has no savings to help keep it afloat through this global recession. The government is now also troubled by the limited borrowing power it has due to the restrictions put on it by the mother country (UK). Unlike many other countries we do not have the privilege of borrowing our way out of our woes until the recession has passed.
If you acknowledge and or agree with these viewpoints, the question is, then, what can the government do to stimulate the economy if it has no access to any finances other than those that it needs to pay its day-to-day expenses (all the costs related to the general running of government).
One must conclude that the only option we, as a country/government can do is use our assets as leverage to entice investors to the country to create major development, which in large part will then stimulate the economy.
So therefore the legislators selected to run this country come May 22 next year will be tasked primarily with the following three objectives:
They will/should be creating, amending, or deleting legislation to create a clean, honest and obstacle free environment for development but at the same time be mindful to try not to compromise the moral and ethical codes of the Caymanian people.
They should construct ways to cut the cost of running government in a planned, managed and strategic way that will least affect the people of the country. For example, non-essential travel for ministers. (This topic warrants an article all of its own and will be addressed soon).
They will also be tasked to negotiate the people’s assets (duties exceptions, waving of fees, land transfers etcetera) with investors, to come to a balanced and transparent agreement for the people. The negotiators, ministers in cabinet and some times even junior ministers, will need to show value for money (from the “peoples” point of view). They will also be expected, legally and morally, NOT to indulge in acts that may be deemed as corruption if presented to them, as it often is in such deals and negotiations of this magnitude.
In closing of my synopsis of our country’s current economic and financial position, I believe the key characteristic that the voters should and must pay most attention to is trust. In viewpoint, 1 and 3, trust plays the biggest role.
Definition of trust: Assured resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship, or other sound principle, of another person; confidence; reliance. Trust means being able to predict what other people will do and what situations will occur. If we can surround ourselves with people we trust, then we can create a safe present and an even better future.
In the selection of who you think will best represent you and the Cayman Islands, it will all boil down to trust.
May you all have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.