Editorial for 03 May: Making election legitimate

It’s comforting to know that neither candidates nor their
agents will be allowed to hand pieces of paper to voters going into the polls
telling them who to vote for.

That’s just one of the many reasons that election observers
are so important in the 22 May election. They will act as our eyes and ears to
ensure we have free and fair elections.

We find it so difficult to accept that many in the Cayman
Islands balk at the idea of inviting election observers from overseas. These
people won’t have any agendas – not to say that local observers do – and won’t
have familial or business ties to the candidates or their agents.

Election observers are used the globe over to help promote
democracy, political rights and good governance. We shouldn’t expect anything
less.

It’s an important issue not only locally, but globally. The
Cayman Islands has an international reputation that it has to protect.

Those who would look here to invest need to know that they
can trust us. What better way to invoke that sense of trust than having our
elections scrutinised for fairness?

If the observers declare the elections free and fair, then
the outcome should be respected by both the citizens of the Cayman Islands and
the international community. The newly elected government must be considered
legitimate and its decisions understood to be in line with the will of the
people.

It’s been argued in other jurisdictions that election
observers should have a broader role in all phases, such as internal political
party nominations, public campaigns, voting, counting and possibly judicial
procedures in case of contentious outcomes.

There have already been complaints of bribery taking place
in the run up to our election.

We have to wonder how many refrigerators and washing
machines would change hands during political stumping if we had observers
involved in the total process.

Those who are being bribed for their votes, and accepting
gifts of any sort, are just as guilty of breaking the election law as the
candidate or their agents offering the bribes.

 

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