Main Story: Politics: Party system vs. independents
James Bergstrom was born in Grand Cayman and raised in East End at the old Tortuga Club. He joined Ogier’s Cayman office in 1991 and has held a number of management positions with Ogier, including his current role as the Global Chief Executive of the Legal business. James has never been a member of any political party. He has served on a number of boards, associations and committees in Cayman. None of these positions were remunerated. James is married to Leslie and they have three children; Jay, Sarah and Lucy.
CHAMBER: What was the genesis for the Coalition for Cayman?
James: Coalition for Cayman is a public awareness and advocacy group that recognises the people of the Cayman Islands are frustrated with party politics, government overspending, debt, crime and economic uncertainty. We are committed to bringing new and accountable leadership to unite the people of the country and restore the Cayman Islands’ reputation while maintaining social balance and sustainable growth.
CHAMBER: Why did the Coalition decide to endorse candidates rather than develop an issues advocacy agenda that you would promote publicly and then encourage candidates to support?
James: We are endorsing independent candidates and promoting our core principles that guide our mission for honest, accountable, Country First leadership. We are confident our endorsed candidates will take an intelligent and thoughtful approach to finding solutions while respectfully resolving any differences they may have on the issues facing our country. The current two party system doesn’t allow for this open dialogue in the (Legislative) Assembly. Instead, party leaders dictate the positions their members must follow in lock step – another reason we must instead elect independent candidates free of party ties who will do what’s right for our families, schools and businesses.
CHAMBER: Does the Coalition assist with financing the campaigns of its endorsed candidates?
James: C4C is funding and managing our own public awareness campaign and voter outreach effort and the funds we raise will be used for that purpose. Candidates endorsed by C4C are raising campaign funds independent from our coalition.
CHAMBER: If some or all of your endorsed candidates are elected does the Coalition expect them to follow the guiding principles while in office? If they deviate from the principles, will the Coalition renounce support?
James: Our guiding principles are a way of thinking for virtually all Caymanians and vital to protecting the way of life that we hold so dear – and that starts with returning responsible government to the Cayman Islands. Coalition for Cayman is committed to promoting independent leadership, free of political ties that can be trusted to always do what’s best for the people. With that direction, we have endorsed candidates of honour and integrity and with a true love for Cayman. We are confident they will provide the independent, Country First leadership we need to get our nation back on track.
CHAMBER: There are many independent candidates running in this year’s election who have stated publicly that they are dissatisfied with the party system. What makes the Coalition believe that a group of independents with differing views, priorities and political and financial supporters can come together to develop a national vision and agenda to lead the Islands?
James: For generations, the Cayman Islands thrived under independent leadership. But now partisan politicians are sending our great country down the wrong path – a path of debt and bickering. Now is the time for positive change by turning away from politicians who work only for their political party bosses and not for the good of our Cayman. We believe by electing independent leaders free of political partisanship we can restore the quality of living we once enjoyed by bringing honour and pride in a government that is truly for the betterment of these islands.