Those who buy votes will sell their country

| 28/02/2021 | 21 Comments

Uncorrupt Voter writes: We are just weeks away from yet another general election that many will perceive as corrupt because of the widely held belief that at least some of the country’s political representatives will be elected or re-elected by bribing voters with gifts and/or cash. Election observers will find, as they always do, that Election Day runs smoothly, a completely sham operation and a waste of time and money because everyone knows that all potential corruption happens in the days and weeks, sometimes years, before the elections. 

If everyone living here believes this to be true, it can be assumed that the governor has also heard this, not just the current governor, but a whole line of governors before him. If none of them had any suspicions, this seems to me the height of incompetence or possibly selective deafness or too many martinis.

If the governors past and present suspect, as the rest of us do, that at least some MLAs/MPs bribed or are bribing their way into power, then so does the UK Foreign Office. In that case it may be that somewhere in the Foreign Office, some person or group of people, political appointees or bureaucrats or both, have decided that they are OK with this situation in their overseas territories, even though if this crime happened in the UK, it would result, as it should, in someone ending up in jail.

It’s always tempting to think that the British Foreign Office knows what it’s doing, but this is sadly not true. Assuming that the FCO has reason to suspect that the Cayman Islands elections are corrupt, then it can also be deduced that they are willing to live with the results, perhaps calculating that the cost of actually doing something about it would be high, in treasure and reputation, and the effort would be troublesome, while the risk of just letting potentially corrupt elections take place as they have done for many years is low.

I can’t prove any of this, even though it’s generally considered common knowledge, but a proper investigation by the authorities could surely find evidence of corruption if it exists. It’s clear that the RCIPS, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Anti-Corruption Commission are all staying well away from the sniff of election corruption, which some might see as corruption in itself if, in fact, there was reason to start an investigation and they turned a blind eye.

This means that outside forces would have to be brought in. What would investigators find, for example, if they subpoenaed documents showing the shipments of appliances over the last six months and followed the trail of where they ended up? What would happen if voters who accepted bribes were given the choice of an amnesty with a confession or a hefty fine if they were found out?

But that won’t happen. Those grey faceless decision-makers in the dark recesses of the Foreign Office will wait until the situation gets untenable, as it did in the Turks and Caicos in 2008 and more recently in the BVI. Investigating and if necessary jailing someone to put a stop to this practice appears to be outside the scope of their small imaginations.

In the meantime, many good potential candidates will shy away from putting themselves forward for elections, reluctant to wallow in the dirt, and Cayman runs the risk of electing inadequate, unqualified, unintelligent or just downright dirty representatives who have a lot of cash behind them, voted in by people who think that corrupt elections are normal or don’t care so long as they get a new fridge.

To go off-topic for a minute, around this time every four years, right before elections, the government of the day somehow finds an unexpected wad of cash. A result of underestimating or overestimating outgoing or incoming funds, by some strange coincidence there always seems to be money suddenly available for potholes to be filled, or driveways to be paved, or funding for community projects in certain districts. Funny that!

Anyway, back to the topic of corrupt elections, here’s my personal message to any candidate using their own, their backers’ or public money to buy votes: Anyone who bribes their way into power is a traitor to democracy and a traitor to the Cayman Islands. Let’s hope that if anyone is doing such things, they will one day get caught and punished appropriately. 

Sadly, it doesn’t seem to necessarily follow that they will fail at the polls.

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Category: Polls, Viewpoints & Analysis, Viewpoint & Analysis

Comments (21)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Note, RCIPS may not be the best ones to investigate, although I must admit that my respect for that organization improved with the appointments of Commissioner Byrne and Deputy Commissioner Ennis, who I respect highly.

    Perhaps there’s hope yet!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    The author of this Viewpoint is absolutely correct. For many years I travelled regularly to Anguilla, Bermuda, BVI, Montserrat and TCI on UK Government business and saw evidence of blatant corruption in BVI and TCI. I used to remark “thank God we’re not like this in Cayman”.

    Now I say it’s past time for a UK Commission to actively investigate public corruption in our little “beloved Cayman Isles”!!

  3. John says:

    There was no power after Hurricane Ivan. A container load of generators landed on the dock in George Town.
    A certain politician commandeered them, stole them from the people who had ordered and paid for them, and gave them away to their constituents.
    Guess who keeps being reelected.

  4. Neverwannabeeapolitician says:

    I was gobsmacked to see that the Speaker has come clean and admitted not only to making gifts to the residents of his district, but to making these “gifts” year round from one election to the next. It seems that 70% of his constituents are as guilty as he is of you know what.

  5. Dexter Layman Ebanks says:

    Every Election year we get so caught up with all the negativity – we don’t see anything positive in our lives.
    So why not bring a smile to someone
    Politics is supposed to be one of the oldest profession and after thinking about this for a while – I realized that it bears a close resemblance to the first
    Dexter Ebanks

  6. Anonymous says:

    Nominations close at 3pm today and it doesn’t look good. As has been reiterated for 12 years+, we MUST change the ELECTIONS LAW prior to the next contest. We don’t necessarily need candidates with Cayman grandparents, second passports should be okay, no more Party affiliations, and ram-rodded private Caucus politics. The Opposition should be shadowing the government, ensuring transparency, and holding it to account, in the public realm, not via PAC or FOI. There’s so much we could fix if we cared enough to do what we all know is necessary for good governance.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    It is bad. The honest people refuse to run and when new people try to run, the first thing we hear is “better the evil I know”. How can we discover corruption if honest eyes never get to see it to blow the whistle?! We need new professional and honest people in the machine that can discover the dirt. Same as changing a CFO when you suspect the numbers are wrong.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Could not be more sad and true.

    Anybody who denies this is blatantly lying to themselves and others.

    For a nation so small, and yet so much corruption and private dealings.

    And as according to plan, the public always finds out about these deals after it has long been done, dusted, and set in stone.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Illegal acts can be prosecuted at any time, even years in hindsight – forms available online, just needing particulars and signature to trigger investigation! We don’t even bother to do that. Not even when it’s glouting inches from our faces. Even the opposition candidates standing again this round, could file complaint forms which would eliminate their foe forever, but still don’t!

      • Anonymous says:

        Why does anyone need a signature to trigger an investigation? The offenses are widespread and obvious, signature or not!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Please note that corruption of this sort generally falls under the Elections Office and where it needs to be investigated that’s done by the police. Under very limited circumstances (that would currently be hard to prove) it can possibly fall under the ACC. The elections office has a very hard job to do ie find proof, as it is and it’s totally unfair to assume they are ignoring the situation. That’s simply not the case. But as you yourself said, and this is key, you have no proof either. But that didn’t stop you from throwing enough mud to cover all. With no proof or good reason to sling mud at the entities or offices you specifically name XXXXX. Do we have corrupt Candidates, including those that ran and didn’t get elected, maybe, but that doesn’t make everyone else in Cayman that touches on Government, corrupt. Nor does it mean ‘the Cayman Islands elections are corrupt’! This is a very dangerous statement to make and again shame on you and anyone else for joining in on this low life bottom feeding! To the point of suggesting that outsiders need to brought in! Pretty disgusting behavior.

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    • Anonymous says:

      CNS wondering why the specific office is mentioned in the article but it’s redacted in the reply? I’m all for freedom of speech but when commentary maligns, is libelous or casts aspersions wantonly, it should be called out for what it is. But finally to have an article that ends by suggesting our elections is corrupt is absolutely diabolical. Truly disgusting!

      CNS: Your comment made allegations that the viewpoint did not.

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    • damnstraight says:

      Very simple to prove. Just audit government spending over the last 12 months!! Case closed.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are some dishonest politicians and some very honest. Those without Caymanian grand parents and with more than one passport will try any angle to try to change out election system. NOT Happening!!

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      • Anonymous says:

        What’s all this about having multiple passports? Our politicians need to be “born yah”, plain and simple.

  10. Anonymous says:

    That big shredding company is traditionally very busy at this time, I wonder why! I don’t think its just expired year end reports being ditched.

  11. JTB says:

    It’s not just bent candidates. How many times do we hear people claim that they ‘control’ a block of votes?

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    • Anonymous says:

      I always think they mean within their family or group of friends, in a way that they are all in agreement rather than someone ‘controlling’ a block of votes.

      But that’s just me

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    • Anonymous says:

      It is simply they have a number of family members or close relatives who told them that they are voting a specific way! It might not even be the truth and usually it is not even the candidates saying it. Just someone who think they know!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I almost stood up and clapped in my living room.

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