As 2016 comes to a close, let us pause on the threshold of the New Year and share our vision of what to expect from the Cayman Compass Editorial Board in 2017.

Just like news articles, the topics of our opinion pieces are somewhat at the mercy of current events. Unlike news articles, however, our editorials do proceed according to certain predetermined themes – for example, the need for responsive and efficient government.

Obviously, the predominant item on our agenda, at least for the first half of 2017, is the run-up to Election Day, May 27. Once our country’s population emerges from our winter holiday slumber next week, the “real” political campaign season will begin.

We think it is worth stipulating that, while the election itself will comprise a series of contests among candidates vying to represent distinct districts, the focus of our editorials will be on issues, not individuals, and policies, not politics. While the new system of “one man, one vote” may tempt candidates to tailor their messages to their “mini-districts” of merely 1,000 voters apiece, the Compass will give priority to the interests of the Cayman Islands as a whole, rather than any particular island, district or neighborhood.

In regard to party affiliation, the Compass has no affiliation. We will not favor, discriminate against or slant our coverage of any candidate according to their party, or lack thereof, whether they are aligned with the Progressives, Cayman Democratic Party, a new third party or are independent.

In other words, we’re not interested in what color shirt a candidate wears, or who they share the stage with at a political rally; rather, once they step up to the microphone, what they say about issues of substance.

First on our list is education. Successive governments have allowed a generation of students to pass through Cayman’s public schools without holding them – or education officials – accountable for their performance. Amid an environment of effective segregation, where expatriates cannot attend government schools, Cayman’s education system has over time evolved into a two-tiered system, where the children of expatriates and wealthier Caymanians attend superior private schools, and Caymanians without the means attend inadequate government schools.

Candidates who are committed to enacting wholesale reform to education in Cayman — with the goal of ensuring every child (regardless of immigration status) in our country has access to world-class schools and teachers — will have our support on this issue.

Other subjects are also important, for example the security of persons and property, individual freedoms, economic development, rational immigration policies, and the size and cost of the public sector. Each of those is an integral component of improving and sustaining the quality of life in Cayman.

And so, our hope going into the New Year, and for the years to come, is that Cayman will continue to be a place of prosperity and peace, and that our public and private sectors will work together to create ever-increasing opportunities for everyone.

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