The people of the Cayman Islands had their say at the polls on Wednesday, 14 April – in what was a peaceful and well-organised democratic election. 19 Members of Parliament emerged victorious that evening, ranging from decades-serving politicians to completely fresh faces. Scenes of well-earned celebration erupted across the three islands.
We signed off on election night with a feeling of pride in these verdant and vibrant isles.
The past 24 hours – and we fear the next several days – evoke a decidedly different feeling: instability.
The Progressives and the cadre of independent MPs have engaged in an all-too-familiar display of horse trading. The jockeying for the positions of premier and ministers has, unfortunately, led to widespread uncertainty, rumour mongering, slanderous accusations, and ultimately disappointment and anger from a large portion of the electorate.
In essence, the country and the people have been the real losers in this election so far.
A few weeks ago the Compass wrote this editorial articulating the need for more transparency from the field of candidates. We stand by our words now more than ever. But what is done is done. What we the people of the Cayman Islands need right now is the absolute best combination of talent, vision, and experience to lead us through these turbulent times.
The truth is that this perilous moment in history demands patriotism over politics. The newly elected members of our next Parliament must put the good of the country and its people first. The electorate must also do its part, expressing their legitimate concerns in a peaceful and respectful manner. Demand accountability without accosting. Fuelling baseless rumours and supporting bullying in any form whether online or off is hurtful, unproductive and, in some cases, potentially illegal. Misusing ICT networks to illegally harass new MPs by exposing them and their families to real risk is unconscionable and needs to be stamped out.
Cayman is facing a perfect storm of challenges, from the pandemic to environmental disasters, from a growing attack on the financial services industry to rising inequality and cost of living. Nothing short of our best and brightest minds working together will solve these complex problems we face. The world at large is facing continued polarisation amidst this pandemic and continued political upheaval.
Cayman, we have already differentiated ourselves in the battle against COVID-19. Let’s show ourselves, the region, and the world that we can be a beacon of hope in the political arena, too, by choosing collaboration and community; by showing that we can come together not apart.
We beseech all the newly elected Members of Parliament to put party and personal egos aside. Sit down all together and talk as Caymanians first, politicians second.
Real community, long a characteristic of Cayman, is not a given. Each and every one of us must choose the hard work of building community, day in and day out. Today that begins with our newly elected officials leading by example.