Coalition for Cayman members are on a mission to convince the voting public that party politics should be a thing of the past in the Cayman Islands.
Instead, members are looking for like-minded independent candidates to run in the 22 May general election.
While the coalition won’t be putting any candidates up for election, it will endorse potential politicos; men and women the coalition believes will take the Cayman Islands forward.
That was the message delivered Tuesday during an informal meeting between coalition leaders and the media.
In the past few months, members have been looking at how governments work in an American town of about 60,000 people and in the Channel Islands. Both have coalition governments.
Co-chairman James Bergstrom said the coalition is tired of politics as usual with political parties, but it was the announcement of a proposed tax on expatriates introduced last year that got the group moving. The ex-pat tax was eventually rescinded.
“We didn’t want to go into the election with only two choices,” he said.
The coalition membership will be divided into separate committees that will have the mission of taking topics of interest for the territory, analysing them, doing research, finding solutions and reporting back to the coalition. They will canvas the residents of the Cayman Islands to help form policy.
Potential candidates that receive C4C’s endorsement will go through a vetting process. To be endorsed, candidates must adhere to seven core principles: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.
There will be two parts to the coalition; those on the executive committee and those on the candidate side. If a member of the executive committee decides to stand for election, he or she will be removed from the executive committee.
C4C will also be accepting donations with a cap of $10,000,
The coalition will work, members say, because candidates and those elected will have a group to work with when making vital decisions instead of following the whims of the leader of a political party.
One of the issues at the heart of the coalition is the perception of corruption when potential voters receive gifts from politicians.
“Let’s shed a light on really what’s going on in the public arena,” said member Johann Moxam.
Unlike political parties, candidates who are part of the coalition will run their own campaigns.
All members agree that forming the coalition has been a learning process, but they believe it will work.
“We felt we had to start someplace,” said member Gary Rutty. “We need open, healthy debate.” The only candidates they will endorse, he said, are those that only want what’s best for the Cayman Islands.
“We’re an advocacy group,” said member Jacqueline Haynes. “What we’re seeing right now is not the process of a democracy. I am no longer content with sitting back in an election year, going to the polling station and seeing only options.”
Member Emmiel Scott said populations the world over are calling for coalition governments.
“The people of the world have continued to say put us back where we have coalition governments. What the parties do is get things done and destroy the country,” he said. “We need independent thinkers.”
C4C said it will work on business principles.