We have only seven days to go until a historic election in the Cayman Islands. Maybe everyone has made up his/her mind already, but I felt compelled to share the following thoughts and hope you will find it relevant and helpful in this very important decision.
I am most heartened to see a large number of young, mature, seasoned, educated professionals that have decided to offer themselves to their country at a time when they have so much to give, so much time to give, so much to learn, and so much to tackle. I am heartened that many of them have been trained in Creative Christian Character and that gives me reason to feel optimistic.
Most politicians are viewed as selfish, over-confident, untrustworthy, and in it for the money. We have had some reason to believe that eyes are dazzled by the money, the prestige, and the power, and I am not naive enough to believe that some are not like that but I choose to take a different view.
Although I have had a number of disappointments in our representatives, I choose to believe that many are unselfish, sacrificial and passionate about this small island country and its people. It takes both a lot of pride and a lot of humility to ask the people to give you a job every four years, to brag about yourself and your accomplishments and to take the “abuse” from the naysayers.
This election is historic in many ways, not the least of which is that choice has been greatly reduced and we are no longer able to vote for the person in our districts that we feel is best for the country. Our choice has been limited to a very small group who has chosen to become candidates in a mini-constituency of approximately 1,500 people. Regrettably I am hearing far too often that the choice limitation is discouraging people from voting.
I needed a checklist so created one. I urge voters to consider the following as you choose that person who will be your/our representative:
Character: Look for a person of character. One who cannot be corrupted or bought, who will not look for loopholes for personal or family aggrandizement. Look for a person who can be trusted and who is hard-working, ethical, honest and truthful. Don’t seek a candidate that fits “my” personal interest or “fall for” the candidate that will pay your electricity bill or buy you a new stove. That reeks of vote-buying and leads to corruption. Representatives are not chosen to represent individuals, but the constituency, the district, the island, the country.
Leadership Experience: He/she may be a novice in the political/legislative arena, but he/she must have leadership experience that is real. We need people that know how to vision, motivate, work, and implement, and who have held a leadership role in an institution, a profession, a business, a service organization, and/or a nonprofit organization etc. They need to be tenacious, bold, yet respectful.
Christian Values: Regardless of your religious convictions, there is no better example than the one taught by Jesus. Following his instruction will lead to personal and national success. Consider someone who espouses and lives Christian values.
Education: Education cannot replace experience, but neither can experience replace education. Choose a candidate who is well-educated, with a first degree as the preferred minimum. Identify a candidate who can analyze and articulately present his/her thoughts, not just locally but globally.
Heart: Identify a candidate who knows how to listen, who keeps promises, who feels deeply about people and their concerns, who communicates with people on a regular basis rather than every four years. Choose someone who knows the people, knows their individual and community concerns.
National Thinker: Find a candidate who has a sense of commitment to the country and not just a district or a mini-district. Is he/she parochial in his/her thinking or can he/she think in the best interests of the many? Find someone who cares about our culture and honors and respects it.
Professional: Look for someone who can conduct himself/herself in a manner that makes the country proud, even when you disagree with his/her stand or decision. Identify someone who has good manners, treats people with respect, and knows how to conduct himself/herself properly in his/her personal/community life and in the House.
Involvement: Consider a person who just did not “come out of the woodwork,” but has a proven track record for community concern and involvement. What has she/he cared about and in what is he/she involved. Did this person go an extra mile for the community or someone in the community?
You may not have all the information you need about your candidates, nor will you find any candidate meeting all of the criteria above, but find out what you can, establish your priorities, rate them and then finally, pray for guidance in making a choice. You have only ONE vote.
Choose thoughtfully, critically, prayerfully.