It’s time we elected governments instead of individuals

| 19/04/2021 | 19 Comments

101 writes: In the current deadlock, the individuals we elected last week seem to have three options to form a government. Option 1: A proper coalition. This would entail both groups coming together and compromising with likely a Cabinet split equally or close to evenly, representing both sides. This appears to have been attempted and lasted 15 minutes, primarily because the two groups could not agree on the number of Cabinet positions.

Option 2: This involves one group solving the deadlock by agreeing to form a government with McKeeva Bush and appointing an external speaker of the House. The remaining majority of ten is slim (and unstable) but it’s a start and it’s very likely that one or two members from the minority side would switch over to the government eventually, which has occurred on several occasions in the past. Any side could decide that the reputational risk to the country of continuing this stalemate is greater than the backlash from the public due to forming a government with McKeeva and move ahead with this plan.

Option 3: This is the option that both sides have been working on since Wednesday with little success. It involves one side convincing a minimum of one and hopefully as many as two persons from the other side to ‘flip’. Ironically, in this scenario ANY single person making such a switch can very legitimately justify to the public that the reason for doing so is to prevent any side from forming a government with Mr Bush. That person would need to weigh the backlash of switching sides against the backlash of forming a government with Mac. This is a ‘lose lose’ scenario. but it’s an option. None of us should be shocked if one person does this before Wednesday.

Voter sentiment:

As far as options for ‘we the people’ are concerned, protesting is an effective way for us to tell the elected representatives (especially the one in our constituency) which of the above options we want them to choose.

Some of us might be blaming ourselves for not sufficiently scrutinizing the Independents before voting because a few of them are now threatening to work with the very people they campaigned against. But even that view of things is a bit naive. In every election cycle politicians in Cayman have made these decisions through a negotiation process and we have pretty much given them permission for decades to do that.

One thing for sure, the people protests we are seeing today is solid proof that we need to change the current system.

Traditionally, with the exception of recent parties (and technically there’s only one of those left), we do not vote for governments in the Cayman Islands. Instead we elect individuals and those individuals (not us as voters) decide how to form the government.

Despite that fact, many thousands of voters appear to feel that they did in fact elect an alternative government to the PPM and that this opportunity is being ‘stolen’ from them. There are two reasons why they might be feeling that way.

First, 70 percent of our votes went towards non-PPM candidates. So while we collectively allowed ten of the twelve PPM-led Unity government to be re-elected, our popular votes were clearly against them. But our system does not recognise this popular vote in the formation of the government, so we are where we are.

Second, the premier designate letter to the governor and public revelation of a possible team, including Wayne Panton as premier, Chris Saunders as his deputy and Alric Lindsay as speaker, gave us the impression that we had, or at least were close to having, a government. When that ‘dream team’ started to fall apart, we were quick to blame the individual defectors.

Government by protest?

Using the popular votes as our foundation for continuing to protest today could present a very dangerous precedent in the future. What, for example, would happen if in next general election another group of persons decides that they simply will not accept the results of the current legally permitted process, whereby elected individuals decide among themselves (not with us the people) on how to form the government? Would we not have another week of chaos? And who is to say that that other group (whoever they may be) have no right to protest simply because they just don’t like the outcome of the individual negotiations?

Are we saying that the popular votes represent the ‘will of the people’ but that the votes that led to the re-election of ten of the twelve PPM-led Unity government members do not?

We have done our part, which is to elect individuals whom we are counting on to make the right decisions, But we the people cannot decide the formation of the government outside the legally permitted process. Until our system changes, they must decide.

What we need is a new system:

We need a system which allows us, as voters, to have a more direct influence on the formation of the government. A system that enables us to make a clear choice for the government we need. It’s time to get rid of the current system where we elect individuals but have no say in the group that makes policy decisions which impact our lives.

That system might be the one used by most countries in the world. Politically speaking, it’s time for Cayman to grow up. It’s time to encourage the creation of at least two or three alternative groups with publicly declared vision and policies for us to compare. This would give us clear choices to accept (or reject). The backlash from thousands of Caymanians is proof that the current system has failed us.

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Category: 2021 General Elections, Elections, Politics, Viewpoint

Comments (19)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Next time independent candidates form a team or PACT before (not after) the election. Form a team, have a common manifesto and campaign together.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree with that just makes things easier why we had to deal with all this BS.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t you remember? C4C tried to do that 8 years ago and people wouldn’t accept that they weren’t a “party” which was a naughty word at the time.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Spot on 101.. Wayne has gone with option 2. Change is finally here!

  3. Anonymous says:

    If you truly want “a system which allows us, as voters, to have a more direct influence on the formation of the government” then you must reject party politics completely.

    All a party does is insert a layer of control/power between the representative and the voters. Since they do not look to the constituents as their guide as the party politician does not represent the constituents but rather represent the party and must bow to the party whip. (At best the party politician may represent their party’s constituents, since they already know that the other party’s constituents will reject them even if the politician says that the sky is blue.)

    Parties also brainwash their voters into thinking that if you’re not with the party you are against the country. (See the recent actions of the PACT supporters for instance. For whom the sky is not blue if the PPM says it is.)

    Parties also do not in any way shape or form guarantee that you know the government you end up with after the election. See Israel or Italy and their regular inability to form a stable government precisely because they have parties fighting among themselves for the crown rather than reaching a compromise for the good of the country. (Or America, whose Government lurches through two-year terms, despite having only two parties, when the electorate is as evenly polarised along party lines as theirs has become.)

    Parties dilute the will of the electorate and must be rejected if Cayman is to continue to mature politically.

    • Methusulah says:

      It’s either two parties or one – if the Progressive Alliance wins there will be two, if the Independents win, there will be one.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ultimately parties need funding. Whomever funds the party runs the party. It is also a convenient way to mask the donors.

      The systems that work for countries of millions of people are probably not going to work for us here. We need to think rationally about how to structure a government that uses the public input (voting) and considers the donations that will come from those lobbying the politicians.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Omov is a joke. There should be 4 representatives for grand. 3 for brac. 1 for little. 1 premier. 9 people elected to higher office. Then you have ministers you vote for. They must hold proper education in what they run for. No more job jons in health, hews in infrastructure, and god knows what in education.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Why doesn’t Jon jon switch, want he an independent at some point🤦‍♀️?

    • Anonymous says:

      Why doesn’t Jon Jon get a meaningful job and forget politricks?

    • Anonymous says:

      He’s so tied to ppm now he can’t move been brainwashed by them

    • Anonymous says:

      He was UDP, then independent running against PPM, now he’s an independent but a “Member of the Alliance”. He hasn’t even properly committed to the party, so I too, am confused by his loyalty to a party he’s not even a member of. I don’t see why he wouldn’t jump ship, but if not, I would like to know why.

  6. Anonymous says:

    good point but no suh….thats wishful thinking.we prefer dem handouts!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Option 4 is best at this stage – the stalemate holds till Wednesday and the Governor is obliged to call a new election which will allow we the people to vote based on a much better understanding of PACT and its members as well as the PPM

    • Anonymous says:

      OMOV is a crazy system. Under this system we can end up with 3 good candidates in one constituency, not to mention all the good candidates that didn’t want to run against a popular incumbent in their home constituency.

      OMOV takes the tiny political talent pool we have and decimates it.

      We should have one candidate from each of 8-10 electoral districts and the balance of candidates elected by national popular vote.

      That way, the best people can always run.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been saying this for a long time. Cayman can’t keep doing this every tine election come Make us look like a 3rd world country. Imagine Mac in charge right now watching everything even though he was convicted. What a joke

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