Monday, December 27, 2010

Leaders And Followers (Cayman politics)

One of the most irritating things about our local politics is that people are always begging for leadership. Why do they do that? Small towns like ours (14,000 voters) don’t need political leaders, except for occasional specific purposes. Even then it’s unlikely we’d choose from among our professional politicians, if we could avoid it. Maybe we need a Cabinet spokesman, but we don’t need a political leader.

A leader is a boss, not a figurehead. The most obvious government leaders in Cayman are probably the Chief Immigration Officer and the Commissioner of Police. Nobody tells them what to do. They decide where they want their minions to go and for what purposes, and (figuratively) they lead them there. I’m not sure whether our Governor is required to be a leader or not. The FCO decides general policy for the governance of Cayman. Our Governors do have some discretionary power, though they rarely use it. Perhaps their function is merely to be FCO spokesmen.

Are we all sheep, that we need leaders to tell us what to think and do and hope for? Can’t we think and do and hope for ourselves? Apparently not.

This topic is very relevant at the present time. Our MLAs- elected by a third of the total adult population- are hopelessly out of their depth in the present economic recession. They truly haven’t a clue how to cope with it. McKeeva (elected by eight MLA cronies as their spokesman and occasional leader) is fizzing around like a fart in a bottle. Kurt (elected by four MLA cronies as their nominal leader) is doing whatever it is that Kurt does. They’re not leading anybody (besides the cronies), and that’s all right because they don’t have to. We don’t need leaders.

What we need are policy-makers with enough financial nous and prudence to cut out government extravagance, especially off-Island expenditure. We need policy-makers with the courage to defy the anti-immigrant lobby and reach out to newcomers for advice on immigration matters. The proposed changes to the Immigration Law will do absolutely nothing to ease the tensions between native-born Caymanians and our ethnic minorities. We need politicians with a sense of responsibility towards the whole community.

We need politicians who genuinely believe in the virtues of free private enterprise and who scorn the vices of big government. Government’s proper job is to monitor the private sector, not to compete with it or to try to micro-manage its payrolls. That’s socialism, bordering on communism. Stop doing it.

We need politicians who are self-confident enough to rise above personal vanities, and strong enough to ignore the siren-call of corruption. Cash-corruption and crony-corruption are killing us, down here below the Ivory Tower. Senior public servants (i.e. bureaucrats and MLAs) should never be paid more than taxpayers can afford to pay them. The accrued public-service pensions and medical benefits are well set to bankrupt these islands. There are American towns our size that are going broke each week, because of pension-fund deficits. The writing is on the wall for us too.

Instead of political leaders, we need representatives- a few good men and women with enough smarts to know we’re in trouble and enough sense and courage to pull the plug on government extravagance. Only the sheep among us should disagree with that.