To each and every one of the candidates who submitted their nominations yesterday to stand in the May elections, we publicly applaud you.
It takes a significant measure of courage to put one’s reputation, history and ideas into the public spotlight for evaluation, scrutiny and criticism. And that’s just from the voters. Meanwhile, opponents will be lobbing their own observations, opinions and counter-narratives – some true, some false, some in between – in the spirit of competition, gamesmanship and ambition.
As our veteran lawmakers know well, and our first-timers will find out soon enough, “Politics ain’t beanbag.”
Running for office carries risks – the risk of losing … and the risk of winning. (The 1972 movie “The Candidate,” about the campaign of a neophyte politician against an incumbent U.S. senator, closes with Robert Redford’s title character, who just pulled off an improbable victory on Elections Day, uttering to his campaign manager the famous line: “What do we do now?”)
In the Cayman Islands, being a lawmaker does include attractive salaries and benefits; some candidates may be entering the fray just for the emoluments. However, we think that the vast majority of candidates (incumbents and challengers) are running for all the right reasons – that is, to represent their communities, to serve their country and hopefully to make Cayman a better place for everyone.
The “pregame events” to the 2017 elections are over. Nomination Day marked the official beginning to Cayman’s quadrennial exercise in democracy. In the coming weeks, candidates and their respective teams will be unveiling their platforms, stumping for votes and attempting to convince their constituencies that they would best represent them and their interests.
As in every campaign everywhere, we expect a certain degree of good old-fashioned “mudslinging” and ad hominem attacks. We discourage such discourse and would recommend the higher road. Voters, we hope, will reward those candidates who embody dignity and decorum in their campaigns.
Certainly at the Cayman Compass, we will focus on policies over personalities. As the country’s foremost media house, we take our role seriously to provide timely, clear and credible information. Outside of our daily editorial and opinion page, we keep our personal viewpoints to ourselves. We don’t allow our journalists to interject their own biases, prejudices or preferences into their news stories.
Further, our news content will remain free from outside influence and partisan slant, as we strive to give Cayman’s voters the information they need in order to make wise decisions on Elections Day, May 24. Put another way, the “news pages” of this newspaper are not for sale – at any price. (The only thing for sale at the Compass, other than the newspaper itself, is display and classified advertising.)
In addition to the regular pages of our daily newspaper, we will publish two separate special supplements that will introduce the candidates to voters and provide information on the voting process in advance of Elections Day.
On the Web, Compass journalists have built (and will continue to build up) the Elections section of our site, www.CaymanCompass.com/Elections-2017, which is the country’s premier online clearinghouse for elections-related coverage.
On the site, users can find all of our published news stories on the election, a map of the 19 new electoral districts and a comprehensive candidates guide that includes photos, biographical data, contact information and video interviews, organized in a way that is as clear and common-sense as possible.
The new “one man, one vote” system is complex and unfamiliar to voters. Our goals are to cut through the potential confusion, to give candidates proportionate opportunities to make themselves heard, and above all, to help Caymanians prepare for their most important civic duty – to vote.