Our youth are politically apathetic

| 05/01/2017 | 47 Comments

Cayman News ServiceBlue Iguana writes: Apparently, a certain constitutional entitlement is rather unimportant in our democratic society. If there’s one thing that the Elections Office’s canvassing exercise reveals about Cayman’s youth, it’s this: politics disinterests them. That’s essentially the message our young Caymanians are expressing emphatically. The numbers don’t lie and do not suggest otherwise.

Despite the Economics and Statistics Office recording 4,297 Caymanians between the ages of 15-24 in 2015 – constituting more than one-tenth of the population – local media reports indicate that this demographic comprises a mere 2.6 per cent of registered voters, according to data analysed at the Elections Office.

The last date to register in time for the 2017 elections is 16 January.

Click here to register

In other words, it is estimated that 506 people within this age range have the privilege to vote. However, what’s more disheartening is that, as little as this figure is, 506 young voters doesn’t necessarily equate to 506 active voters.

One must bear in mind that the aforementioned statistics are somewhat skewed, as people between the ages of 15-17 are not permitted to register. Nevertheless, Elections Supervisor Wesley Howell elucidated that our young Caymanians are not participating democratically as much as they could.

He’s definitely correct. There are an estimated 5,000 people eligible to vote who haven’t formally registered. That figure of unregistered electors is the equivalent of 25.6 per cent of the current electorate and is attributed by the growth in both status-holders and adolescents reaching age 18.

It’s quite a pity that Cayman’s youth fail to see how increasingly decisive and powerful we could be as an important voting bloc in May 2017.

Many rejected the chance to register solely because they loathe the idea of becoming a prospective juror, whereas others were utterly uninterested altogether. As diverse and seemingly deplorable as the commonly cited reasons to abstain were, our youth simply have yet to offer a reasonably justified explanation regarding their non-participation.

As a young Caymanian myself, it disappoints me to see so many of my own peers take our democratic freedom for granted. More often than not, holding a conversation concerning local politics with friends usually proves fruitless and pointless.

Perhaps if we lived under an authoritarian dictatorship devoid of democratic rule, our young people might begin to appreciate and treasure forevermore the political privilege of voting.

Remember, remaining eligible to vote but unregistered means you’ve relinquished your right to complain.

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Category: 2017 General Elections, Elections, Politics, Viewpoint

Comments (47)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Pretty sure most of the comments on this thread are posted by adults and not young people. Perhaps a clear indication of their interest/involvement for the future their country?

    Oh btw, I’m a young person.

    • An Elder says:

      My belief is that the young people are disinterested simply because of the lack of engagement by the do called leaders representatives. Simply put they speak at the young but not to them. Their programs are sadly lacking in youth content and policies are not youth oriented or even the elderly for that matter. i must agree that there are some programs that target the youth but these are underfunded do not create national youth motivation and the leadership past and present in most cases are not in attendance.

      Having said all of this I encourage all persons of voting age to stop look listen and observe what is going on in our country you are the future and you can make a difference a positive difference in your country. Engage those who want to lead you in dialogue, challenge their views with your own the only way you can lead is from the front so do , get with the program do your thing and VOTE

  2. Anonymous says:

    “Remember, remaining eligible to vote but unregistered means you’ve relinquished your right to complain.”
    How about remembering if YOU vote, YOU HAVE NOT RIGHT TO COMPLAIN. People like to twist that around – they say, ‘If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain’, but where’s the logic in that? If you vote and you elect dishonest, incompetent people into office who screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You caused the problem; you voted them in; you have no right to complain.
    I, on the other hand, who did not vote, who in fact did not even leave the house on election day, am in no way responsible for what these people have done and have every right to complain about the mess you created that I had nothing to do with. Name this wise man, and go.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Apathetic? how about just pathetic like the politicians

  4. Ironside says:

    You said: “Remember, remaining eligible to vote but unregistered means you’ve relinquished your right to complain.”

    Relinquished, really?! Ok, dad. That’s just another take on – “You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide”. Both statements are, put simply, logical fallacies.

    The real truth is this: If You Do Vote, You Can’t Complain. Period.

    When you do vote, be educated about what your selected candidate(s) stand for, for all walks of life. What they have done in the past, present and what they ‘promise’ they would do in the future, if elected. But don’t bet your wallet on any futures. 😉

    The truth is, politics is a boring subject very few people care about in the long run, just the right here and now. Most, in my opinion and from my observations, are short-sighted and believe, without questioning, anything a candidate spews/promises. Democracy borders on half truths and full lies, all the time, every time.

    “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”—Winston S. Churchill

    I’ve always liked this take from one of my favourite & insightful comedians on the fallacy of, “You can’t complain if you don’t vote”:

    “I don’t vote. Two reasons. First of all it’s meaningless; this country was bought and sold a long time ago. The shit they shovel around every 4 years, *pfff*. Doesn’t mean a f*cking thing. Secondly, I believe if you vote, you have no right to complain. People like to twist that around – they say, ‘If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain’, but where’s the logic in that? If you vote and you elect dishonest, incompetent people into office who screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You caused the problem; you voted them in; you have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote, who in fact did not even leave the house on election day, am in no way responsible for what these people have done and have every right to complain about the mess you created that I had nothing to do with.”—George Carlin.

    • Anonymous says:

      So what do you suggest since the system is inherently broken according to you?

      • Ironside says:

        I suggest nothing else as it’s what we have and is considered the best form of government, even with its broken structure and here is where we should pay closer attention to.

        Don’t let the politician pull the wool over your eyes and use the tricks of democracy as an excuse.

        We do well when we learn from past mistakes. When we don’t, well, repeat same. Isn’t it obvious?

        I’ll leave you with this:

        “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”—Winston S. Churchill


  5. Anonymous says:

    Why would any young Caymanian in this day and age be stimulated to become politically aware when the main issues put before them are heavily influenced by fundamental churches and gay-bashing politicians, each trying to outdo the other to show the “woters” how “godfearing” they are. Meanwhile, the real issues including crime, bringing Cayman into the 21st century, a degraded and deteriorating tourism product and environment, the breakdown of families and total lack of preparation for school for far far too many of our children, unemployment and unemployability, who are we developing Cayman for, and a host of others are never addressed in any meaningful way. But let’s all swarm to the Lions Centre to hear our bible thumping ministers of religion and politicians spouting forth to make sure gays are kept in their second class citizen role.

  6. Anonymous says:

    There is not a single candidate that I would vote for. Until there is, why would I register to vote and potentially do jury duty? When there is a candidate I would vote for, I will register.

    – A young Caymanian with foresight.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, that’s stupid.

      Voter registration ends before nomination day. (For practical reasons.) So when a ‘good’ (by your measure) candidate appears on nomination day you won’t be able to vote for them and then they will lose to the ‘bad’ (by your measure) candidate. (Since apparently the rest of us have a history of voting in bad representatives, you can expect us to do so again. So you better register so you can support the good one.)

      The jury pool is chosen from more than just the electors roll.

      Jury trial, trial by a jury of your peers, is at least as important to participative society as democracy. By not carrying your weight, i.e., participating in a jury to make sure that ‘good’ decisions are made at trials, you abrogate the judicial decision and this leads to ‘bad’ decisions. (Remember, juries are there to protect individuals from ‘the state’.)

      Unless you want to argue that a country is better off without democratically elected leaders and the protection of a jury trial. (China makes this argument. But they also lock up anyone who argues against them. Because they have neither democracy nor juries, in the sense we use the words.)

  7. Anonymous says:

    It could be said that the apathy of “our” youth is matched by the amnesia and stupidity of our grown adults who repeatedly nominate and vote for the same ridiculous ineffectual fools time and time again – and for all the wrong reasons. Lead by example, dummies.

    • Diogenes says:

      Register and vote for someone else then! For heavens sake the young form a critical mass of the electorate. If you start voting, maybe politicians will pay attention to your views – and if they don’t you can elect others. But if you sit on your hands you have no basis for complaining about the bad decisions of others when you cannot get off your ass and go to the polls ( and on a public holiday at that).

      Contrast the struggles faced by women in getting the vote in the 20th century, and the risks taken by those in repressive societies, and the can’t be bothered attitude manifested here, and it’s just SAD.

  8. DA WA YA GET says:

    As sad as it is this should come as a surprise to no one.

    This apathy is a direct consequence of the incongruent inequity of present day Cayman as a whole. For how long will a purposeful promulgation of ignorance/illiteracy and indirect subjugation be referred to as some supposed incompetence when the burgeoning reality is that this inequity has been a conscious effort to weaken, manipulate, exploit, dispossess, disenchant, disenfranchise and remove stakeholder status from the hands of the Caymanian people by not only those of our own ilk but also those from beyond these shores with whom they have colluded in order to further a lie and for the purposes of their own greed induced agenda? This is regardless of sporadic and disingenuously bequeathed scholarships which have been all too often handed out with political affiliation implicit as a precursor to approval. Why is there, to this day, no dedicated trade school for any and all of the skills and trades which imported labour is now the main source to fill this perceived need? The construction industry for one wants to continue building into perpetuity and as such the more bodies on board all the better for them, right? The beast of governmental bureaucracy and largesse relies on the funds derived to puff up this pyramid scheme, right? The most insidious of political charlatans rely on this to continue in order to fulfill their political expediencies, right? The differences between street gangs and political parties are now basically relegated to the realm of semantics (and choices of colour) and the meanderings of legaleze gobbledygook (along with access to any meaningful accountability), right? The largely insular expatriate communities (regardless of having status or not) have found a cash cow, specifically as it relates to the value of a dollar in their own country, so they are naturally going to want to retain their given positions for their own kind, right? The ’employment agencies’ have a comfortable cartel going on so it behooves them to support the continuation of the status quo, right? The same goes for the real estate cabal, right?

    I could go on ad infinitum and ad nauseam, but at the end of the day the overriding state of mind is a gold rush mentality that says take what you can while you can (our dwindling coastal fisheries being a prime example) because the unspoken universal consensus is that it cannot, and will not, last like this. What is that common refrain of ‘quit yer bitching and just go a fishing’ all about? The example of our fisheries is very telling because overfishing is but one minute part of a whole, which is constituted of habitat and estuary destruction and pollution and the effects of myriad toxic chemicals used to keep up a fleeting illusion of verdant and supposedly abundant well being. Why then would a young Caymanian look to any given positions of leadership when they have already been so direly misrepresented and purposefully (and/or incompetently) woefully failed by those who have been charged with the duty of standing up for their best interest and who have been proven to be so utterly derelict in said duty time and time again? The creation of a welfare state has not been one born of necessity, save for those who are sociological cannibals who prey on their own people in order to pave the way for their own myopic self serving agenda, while colluding hand in hand with those of almost limitless financial means and who both suffer from a complete and utter lack of any moral and ethical compass. Is it not they who use media supported propaganda methods the likes of which Joseph Goebbels himself would find himself green with envy of?

    These realities have not gone unnoticed by the youth of this country, regardless of that successful subjugation, and those still waters do run deep. Who is it that, from the perspective of an objective, honest and realistic and cognizant outlook, cannot see all of this as blatantly obvious? It is not only the young portion of the potential or present electorate who experience this apathy and loss of hope for a viable and/or evenly remotely equitable future, I can assure you. For how long will we be relegated to choosing between the least reprehensible of two unsavoury choices (with varying degrees of repugnancy and/or the presence of a few who can stand on their own singular merit) whose very initial publicly stated oath and pledge is not to look out for and stand up for the well being of the Cayman Islands and her people first and foremost and to the exclusion of any and all others? We have a constitution wherein the privilege of serving the people of this country at the post of ‘premier’ is not chosen directly by the electorate and that in itself is wholly undemocratic in it’s very genesis and needs to be revisited forthwith regardless of any Westminister constructs and/or the bruised egos of the architects of said constitution.

    Like it or not, accept it or not, be a part of it or not, stand up against it or not, these realities are and should be starkly self evident. The monopolization of the Cayman Islands economy and it’s very physical landmass and the bought and paid for influence of policymakers is blatantly obvious to all and sundry. This is regardless of the opaque shrouds of secrecy implicit within ‘beneficial ownership’ laws. Is it not so that there is a veritable plethora of negative localized consequences and the presence of unworthy thieves within those darkened rooms and secretive halls and all too real pits of inequity? Is it not very telling that there are no anti-trust/antimonopoly laws on the books in Cayman and that the dire need of such is overwhelmingly apparent, at least to those for whom the well being of the Cayman Islands is paramount? This breeds that very same distrust and apathetic outlook upon the skewed trajectory of the Cayman Islands. It is this which disallows any real formation of a national solidarity necessary for one to take true ownership of and responsibility for one’s homeland (whether it be newly found or many a generation in the making) and that fact has been purposefully used and abused by the powers and/or predators that be. It may well be that the horse has already bolted the barn and that a claw back scenario is the only choice left.

    That apathy which is up for discussion is rooted in a reality which Cayman must tackle head on with courage and without favour and without an overriding loyalty to any but God (if one is so inclined) and country regardless of familial ties, the bonds of friendship, one’s own need for physical and fiscal survival, business and secretive society relationships, the fear of fear itself and/or the perceived yet now tenuous stability of a colonial background. The Cayman Islands have many examples of where and how and why these things go wrong all around us as displayed by our fellow island neighbours if only we would choose to look and/or educate our people with that rich and colourful roller coaster ride of Caribbean history. This is true whether it be unwisely tolerating the presence of one who, as Batista, was and without doubt will continue to be happy to sell out his own and corrupt his own house to the very core. Well hell, we all know how that one turned out don’t we? This is also true of an island of wood and water where, in the presence of a power vacuum, two political parties each paid people $10.00 a head to kill members of and thus intimidate rival parishes and for nothing other than that same said political expediency (albeit in the throws of the Cold War wherein the world became the chessboard of a proxy war wherein humanity was nothing but an expendable pawn). Those of you whose idiotic response is gated communities and security bells need to get a grip on reality, for your naked emperor asses will remain exposed whether your like it or not. Is it not enough to know that this is an overriding factor which has created the very existence of the Jamaican diaspora? Is that what we want to further along for our children to inherit? Are we to repeat history instead of learning from it? Can we not endeavor to take back the wheel and navigate this obstacle strewn path? It is this which has to be, for our islands to outlast.

    As for me, show me a candidate who will stand on his/her own, withstand the inevitable barrage of sabotage and abuse, forego and seek to forever disallow the now traditional gifted corruption of political process, be willing to serve but once due to conspiratorial consequences when rubber meets road. spit in the eye of the devil and give anything and everything of oneself for the well being of one’s own country. Participatory democracy (as opposed to a purely representative democracy), as I see it, is the way forward for a positive change in the trajectory of the Cayman Islands. Our relatively small size allows it. The presence of a now institutionalized corruption demands it as a step in the right direction. Let us remove all of the charlatan blackguards who now dine at that table of disparity and inequity. Let all those who are struck by the hot poker of exposure holler out in discontent and be unceremoniously sent to their ignoble pasture to dine among the slime with their ill gotten dime. How many who will rise to that level, for the love of country, can you see? There be the reason for the aforementioned apathy. Who will each and every one of you choose to be?

    • Anonymous says:

      ‘Sure you meant well, but could you be more concise?

      • DA WA YA GET says:

        Granted, it was long winded. I consider these things to be worthy of an in depth consideration and discussion. For me this elucidates a widespread apathy which is in no way belonging singularly to the youth of Cayman. I often find it all too pervasive, regardless of one’s age. I myself have wondered what sense it makes to vote at this point. I do, however, believe that we ignore these issues at our own peril though. I will do my best to take your advice into consideration in the future, and I thank you for that.

        • Anonymous says:

          Folks that use first person pronouns in every sentence are clearly only looking out for number one and what’s in it for them. All too common attitude of older generation.

    • Apparently So says:

      Paragraph 2- “I could go on ad infinitum and ad nauseam…”

    • Anonymous says:

      Lost you after your first sentence.

    • Veritas says:

      We all know who Da Wa Ya Get is. Not only long winded but a propensity for propounding vacuous verbiage.

    • Anonymous says:

      ZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….. Lost me too.
      You remind me of the long winded teachers in my day that bored me to tears. Found Better once I reached Uni though. (surprisingly enough!)

    • Anonymous says:

      Any meaning of these paragraphs was sacrificed in your desire to showcase your entire 50 cent vocabulary. Unfortunately, you come across as dumb, not smart. Same goes for all those conceited dummies that speak in Ye Olde King James English all the time. Just shut up or get to the point, lest we smite thee. This we pray, Amen. ??

  9. Anonymous says:

    My guess that a big percentage of the youth may have had parents who were also disinterested in politics as a whole – they were more concerned with which politician may personally and immediately benefit them the most…..

  10. Anonymous says:

    It’s the politicians that don’t interest the younger generation, not politics.

    • Anonymous says:

      politicians are politics. (At least in a representative democracy. You could maybe get away without them in an Anarchy. But even then leaders, i.e, politicians, will assert themselves.)

      • Zues says:

        “Even the leaders i.e, politicians will assert themselves”

        So much for democracy.

      • Born Atheist Born again Atheist. says:

        Politicians are not politics, they’re involved in politics. You can apply that same idiotic logic to “police are the law” which they’re not, the law is enforced by the police. The younger generation can see through the veil of self serving corrupt politicains and have no interest in supporting their selfish agendas.

        The moment adequate candidates are revealed is the time people in general take a higher interest.

        • Anonymous says:

          The Law, without enforcement, is not Law. So the Police are an intrinsic part of the law.

          Politics require people to carry it out. Those persons we call politicians.

          To divorce the politician from politics is like having a play without an actor. (And before anyone reads me Shakespeare, you’re reading a story until someone acts it out.)

  11. Anonymous says:

    Why does the elections law allow for objections per the “Ask Aunty” article? If someone has the paperwork necessary why does xxxx have the right to object?

    Now if they want to publish just the names and report an error because uncle joe died or something but objecting? nope.

    • Jotnar says:

      What if you object to dead uncle Joes vote being used, or people in Northward having a say in the election? Seems fair to me. The right to object does not mean that the objection will get upheld unless there is good cause, but not having the right to object means you are relying on the electoral office getting it right on their tod – and given that there are obvious examples of people who are dead or career criminals on the list, they are clearly not up to it without the publics additional scrutiny.

      • Anonymous says:

        Rumor has it there may even be non Caymanians on the list. How do the public get to check that?

    • Anonymous says:

      Because everything needs to be double-checked. And there’s nothing like a bunch of motivated people, i.e., political activists, checking a list, i.e, electors roll, to make sure its double-checked properly.

  12. Just Sayin' says:

    Who cares?

  13. MM says:

    Maybe I am missing something, but on the radio this morning they said we could register online; but I am not seeing anywhere online to register. It is simply providing information and a PDF form to be completed and dropped off by hand.

    This is 2017; why is there no electronic form that can be completed and a way for me to upload scanned, certified/notarized copies of my documents?

    If that was possible then the election office could have run a Facebook campaign with the link and I am sure voter registration would increase drastically.

    Young Caymanians are in to technology and will not be driving through traffic to Smith Road to drop of documents by hand for something that is practically voluntarily.

    Most young Caymanians feel they have no rights anyway and they observe the moaning and groaning of other older family members who are registered and wonder – “well your vote surely made an impact because that politician sucks!”.

    Other reasons why young Caymanians refuse to register are that they can be summoned as a jury member and that their home address is public – this is a violation of privacy and should also be a violation of human rights.

    Nobody’s home address should be made public under any circumstances by a third party who gives the individual no other option. This is a very unsafe practice, especially in today’s world!

    As for the jury thing – Government has got to come up with a better way to choose potential jurors! Why not have people apply to be on the juror list and create a database of those people that can be used for this reason?

    What a backwards country.

    • MM says:

      In addition to this – the Elections Office, Immigration and the Birth Registrar are all Government departments; can’t the they work together to validate people’s nationality?

      Asking people to “pop by the office” to drop off original documents is a very antiquated process.

      Receive the dang docs electronically, with the voter registration and have access to the Birth’s data and Cayman Status data or a direct contact at either department who can validate the information and documents that were submitted electronically.

      For God’s sake people!

      We have one lunch hour and most people will not be using it at Smith Road Plaza.

      • Anonymous says:

        The elections office should simply be able to send a list to immigration and have immigration confirm who is Caymanian from who is not, and thereby cut out most of this madness.

        • Anonymous says:

          What would make you believe Immigration has an accurate record of everyone who is Caymanian from who is not? The only persons it generally knows to be Caymanian are those it has issued status certificates to.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Most young Caymanians feel they have no rights”

      Yes this is entirely true concerning gay Caymanians.

    • Diogenes says:

      The concept that you should have a self selecting jury pool runs completely contrary to the concept that those that benefit from a law abiding society have a civic obligation to assist in enforcement of the law. Why should one group of civic minded people have to do continuous jury duty because the majority are too lazy or too scared to do so, but still want trial by jury? If no one can be bothered to do jury duty than hand over the responsibility to the judges and don’t complain. There is also a huge issue with adverse self selection – when people volunteer to be jurors there is a risk that you get those with preconceived views on the guilt or innocence of the accused, quite apart from having a non representative selection of society forming the jury.

  14. Veritas says:

    Our politicians especially in West Bay are sadly out of date, still offering fridges and washing machines. Hand out some dirt bikes (offroad motorcycles) and just watch the young vote come in!.

  15. Luk Youtmen says:

    Vote for the lesser of 2 evils is insanity at its finest!

    • Anonymous says:

      Letting someone else choose your fate is a recipe for heartbreak. (Said everyone who complained after Brexit & Trump, but didn’t bother to vote when they had the choice.)

  16. Anonymous says:

    Part of the problem may be that what the ESO describes as a Caymanian and what the Law defines as a Caymanian may not be quite on the same page.

    • Anonymous says:

      No surprise there. Every government department seems to have its own independent and varying definition of who is a Caymanian. They cannot all be right.

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