Inside the Lions Centre on Sunday, thousands of residents rallied for the preservation of traditional “family values.” The huge gathering, impressive by any measure, was testimony to the fact that the collective character of the Caymanian people is rooted deeply in conservative religious values and beliefs. Our churches continue to be central in the lives of many – more likely, most – of our people.
Given the fact that the quadrennial political season is upon us, it is hardly surprising that our country’s religious values and our politicians’ secular agendas are likely to overlap.
For early evidence, consider that both Premier Alden McLaughlin and Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush addressed the assemblage at the Lions Centre (with a number of other elected members and hopeful aspirants also in attendance).
The remarks of our premier and opposition leader were largely political, although grounded in religious orthodoxy.
The key topic on the social agenda, of course, is the perceived threat of same-sex marriage becoming the rule of law in the Cayman Islands. However, as nearly everyone knows, that is extremely unlikely to happen.
In Cayman, “traditional” marriage between one man and one woman is enshrined in the Constitution, and no politician will campaign on the platform of legalizing same-sex marriage.
If gay marriage were ever going to be instituted in Cayman, it will not come from the Legislative Assembly, but from the courts (just as it was in the U.S.) or from the U.K.
Either way, as far as our local elections are concerned, gay marriage is likely to become a much discussed campaign issue, but the tenor of the debate almost certainly will focus on who is MORE/MOST against gay marriage. Voters, we would hope, will not be distracted or spend too much time on the nuances dividing similar positions. Every candidate in every district with a chance of winning will argue against legalizing gay marriage.
May we suggest that more important issues deserve the electorate’s attention – in particular, education, law and order, the proper balance between development and the environment, government’s fiscal performance, public sector accountability, infrastructure and, above all, good governance (which is the governor’s responsibility).
Speaking of the governor, in a 2014 missive sent back to U.K. officials, Governor Helen Kilpatrick lamented that this editorial board did not opine immediately on that year’s budget “but instead return[ed] to its favourite topic of the landfill site.” [Editor’s Note: Governor Kilpatrick was correct but, of course, after we had analyzed and assimilated the complex fiscal document, we published many news reports and editorialized extensively on the budget’s contents and priorities.]
But as the governor reminds us, what about the landfill? Budgets come and go, as do elected governments (and governors). But, so far, the George Town landfill remains … and will remain on our agenda as a significant issue in the coming election.
In future months the Compass will be devoting unparalleled and unsurpassed resources to covering the May 2017 elections. We will be covering in depth the issues, the candidates, their campaigns, and their positions.