There is widespread disenchantment with the Party system in Cayman politics, and nostalgia for the Good Old Days of independent MLAs. Party-politics is blamed for corruption, fiscal mismanagement, low standards of education, and everything in between. In the days before Parties, MLAs were honest and fiscally prudent, their policies produced well-educated school-leavers, and so on and on.
Huh. As if!
Whether in Parties or not, all native-born Caymanian politicians are populists, and always have been. To a man and woman, they decline to identify themselves with anything that could be called a policy, other than protectionism and entitlement for their fellows. They all refuse to espouse any specific fiscal policy. “I will do the best I can”, is their entire electoral platform. Plus, of course, “I will protect you from better educated foreign workers.”
Our government schools are charged with baby-sitting bloodline Caymanians until they are old enough to join the workforce. Thereafter, our Immigration authorities ensure they are given jobs in the private sector if they want, while the Civil Service gives lifetime tenancy to those who can’t hack it in the private sector. My February blog-post “Protection versus Education” sums the situation up pretty well.
As a general statement, any entitlement culture scorns the concept of productivity and responsibility in the workplace. Neither aptitude nor attitude is a factor in populist philosophies, anywhere in the world.
Our electorate traditionally awards victory to candidates whom it trusts to maintain the culture. Some of the candidates are patently honest, and they usually lose gallantly. Some are patently dishonest, and buy their way to positions of influence. “Here, let me lend you $500. You can pay me back after the election if I lose. If I don’t lose, you don’t have to pay me back at all. Deal?” “Deal!” That deal has been common in my 35 years of residence. The old-time political integrity is largely a myth.
Anti-expat sentiment is holding Cayman’s development back in all kinds of ways, and it’s a shame that it is set to continue for the foreseeable future, whoever gets elected this time. In April 2011 I posted, in “An Angered Caymanian”, the text of an abusive email that illustrated the hostility held by a great many of our native-born towards immigrants who (as they see it) have destroyed all that was valued. They brush aside the betrayal of their own political leaders during the past forty years.
Two months from now, there will be 18 MLAs in our Legislature. Every one of them will be a bloodline Caymanian (the FCO insists on that, for its own reasons), and all will have been elected on the promise of protecting “real” Caymanians from competition for jobs. Nobody seriously believes the MLAS will make more than token efforts to educate them instead. Sigh. What can you do?
Some of the candidates are famously xenophobic (or infamously, depending on the viewpoint), and some of them even participated in the ethnic-cleansing** during the hateful retrospective-rollover regime.
**A harsh word, but no other word fits the deportation of thousands of foreigners domiciled here.
So. The replacement of Party hacks without proper policies by independent amateurs without proper policies will not improve the quality of our governance one little bit. Except for the MLAs’ faces, nothing will have changed. Such a waste!