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Mac Defends Party System
GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman (CNS) -- As the Legislative Assembly resumed on Friday, Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush came to the defence of the party system in the face of growing criticism and allegations that political parties are behind all of Cayman’s ills.
The Cayman Democratic Party leader issued a stark warning about the potential chaos caused when trying to form a government without a cohesive plan, and raised his concerns about people seeking control of parliament from the outside by manipulating independent candidates.
Recalling the country’s political history since the 1960’s, he said the main reason why parties emerged was to create more coherence and organisation among elected officials and to allow voters to know what different groups of politicians stood for.
Bush said the confusion and lack of shared positions and agreements meant the 2000 government was always destined to collapse and give rise to the emergence of the two parties that now exist.
The party system was not created to stifle independent thinking and he encouraged the party membership to speak out on issues that they feel passionate about, Bush said, noting that all elected representatives hold allegiance to those who elected them before anyone else.
He said he had served in the LA with various groups and teams and they were all controlled by big backers and were more powerful and vindictive than any party today.
Raising his concerns about the attempts to discredit the current party system, he said it was not that which was causing the problems in Cayman, many of which were longstanding and systemic as a result of historical discrimination and prejudices. He add that poor representatives who did not care about those who elected them were the problem, not parties.
He pointed to the “rancour and bickering”, especially between 1996 and 2000, when the leader of government business and the opposition leader were engaged in an all-out war. There was no party system, he said, pointing out that it wasn’t the modernisation of the political system with parties that created the adversarial style of politics.
Bush said that those criticising political parties were “misleading and providing misinformation” to the public, as it was so-called independent governments in the past where the anger and bitterness had flourished.
The opposition leader asked who would govern the day after the election if a group of independents who have no common policies are elected or what special interests outside the House would then control them. He said the CDP was going to support some independent candidates that were sincere and who the CDP believed had something to contribute, but he said he was worried about people pushing to form a government after the election with no planning or cohesive ideas. A party, Bush said, is a group of politicians that have joined up with a plan to try to help the country
“I stand here to ring a warning bell,” he told the Legislative Assembly.
He railed against the introduction of ‘one man, one vote’ in single-member constituencies, which he said he still did not support, and warned that while he did not believe there was garrison politics in Cayman yet, the new system may present lots of future problems.
Bush questioned who or what was behind the campaign to discredit the party system and implied that there were people who wanted to control the parliament but who don’t want to run for office, as he warned about the efforts to undermine democracy.