This week’s poll was remarkable for the even division of sentiment, only a few votes separating the top three choices, and only a few more between those and the fourth option.
The question came in the wake of Governor (now “former” governor) Duncan Taylor’s Aug. 7 departure after three-and-a-half years at the helm of local British administration.
We asked if it were significant that Mr. Taylor had left. Of the 483 votes, only seven divided top-place “no” from next-best “yes,” suggesting either mixed emotions, a balanced view of his accomplishments or only a modest level of interest.
First place in the survey went to “no, it makes little difference to the people of Cayman,” a choice drawing 129 votes, 26.7 percent of the total, and suggesting that London’s continued rule of its overseas territory is a matter of either indifference or resentment, but surely estranged from local concerns.
“So what,” offered one voter, clearly cynical about gubernatorial postings from 4,800 miles away. “Maybe they should just hire someone local going into the future.”
Both an interesting and unlikely proposal, the sentiment might be read to reflect the gulf between British and Caymanian concerns, and a hope that someone might someday close that gap, perhaps requiring a local figure to do so.
The other three choices drew few remarks.
Second choice among the rankings went to “yes, he was effective aiding the community,” drawing 122 votes, 25.3 percent of the total. The sentiment appeared to cast Mr. Taylor as a largely benign presence, participating in ceremonial gatherings: ribbon-cuttings, charity functions, community projects, awards and other personal appearances.
Perhaps sensing some of the dismay generated by his predecessor, Mr. Taylor, during his tenure, appeared to stay away some of the more murky initiatives typified by Operation Tempura, the prolonged Scotland Yard inquiry into corruption that resulted in little more than an enormous drain on the local budget; ongoing legal arguments regarding the roles of the governor and attorney general; questions about wiretaps and civil rights; and a persistent series of lawsuits.
One voter’s remark appeared to address the budgetary issues. Although slightly garbled, the message revisited the option, “yes, he was effective, aiding the community,” adding “and we look forward to fiscal discipline under his replacement,” a restatement of option three, and perhaps a way of voting for both.
In fact, the third choice trailed the second by only a single digit, drawing 121 votes, exactly one-quarter, 25 percent, of the total. “We look forward to fiscal discipline under his replacement,” read the choice, eliciting a pair of remarks.
“I checked the ‘fiscal discipline’ choice, but fear his replacement will be more interested in raising revenue than cutting expenditure and limiting government,” opined the respondent, offering a thoughtful insight reminiscent of wider political debates in the U.S. and U.K.
Mr. Taylor’s replacement, Helen Kilpatrick, assuming her first diplomatic posting in Cayman, has built a considerable career as a fiscal overseer in the U.K. Her background suggests tight fiscal control, and with U.K. budget officers regularly visiting Cayman to enforce London’s Framework for Fiscal Responsibility, the administrative future appears plain, a fact one poll respondent appeared to grasp fully.
“Not his leaving,” was the response to Mr. Taylor’s departure, “but the continuation of Cayman’s association with the U.K. is marked once again with the changing of the guard, with the new guard tailored as a financial watchdog.”
The fourth selection was almost tongue-in-cheek: “By Christmas, no one will remember him.” Nonetheless, it drew a strong response, attracting 102 votes, 21.1 percent of the total, within standard 4 percent margins of error in more formal polls.
Finally, “other” attracted a series of comments, some facetious, some serious and one targeted at the humble poll taker.
“He is running from the accusations by Joey Ebanks,” was the most inventive, alluding to the former Turtle Farm manager, former managing director of the Electricity Regulatory Authority, former North Side political candidate, who now faces mounting legal difficulties, sparking a range of allegations regarding maladministration.
The poll asked “a stupid question. Who cares?” another voter said, apparently misunderstanding these modest efforts to amuse and entertain.
“I wish him well in his new role,” offered another, while a fifth opined that Mr. Taylor was like “rat(s) deserting a sinking ship,” ignoring the fact that the governor served more than the standard full term, and was, in the event, assigned by London as U.K. ambassador to Mexico.
Next week’s poll question:
- The new school year is about to open.
- How do you rate local school performance?
- They do pretty well. Improvements are slow, but steady
- Little has changed and much needs to be achieved
- What choice do we have? Children need to attend; parents worry
- The gulf is too great between private and public education
To participate, visit www.cayCompass.com