The party is over!

| 30/03/2009

In the past few days there has been a variety of editorial pieces in the local newspapers that have called into question the veracity of party politics in the Cayman Islands. As a candidate I thought it befitting that I share my viewpoint on this issue.

It is a widely accepted principle that parties should be based on a shared ideological platform. Understanding the historical development of party politics within the Caribbean does offer some insight into what we could expect in the Cayman Islands. Both Jamaica and Barbados have the classic two party system, with parties often swapping leadership back and forth.

Latin America began the party system in the Caribbean, but parties existed more in name than in substance. Effective mass political parties first emerged in the Anglo-Caribbean towards the second half of the twentieth century.

The first point to discuss is whether or not Caymanians have given their full support of the two-party system replacing the looser affiliations that existed before. There was no surveying of the electorate to ascertain their desires before the first of these two parties was formed. The PPM then responded to the forming of the UDP – both driven by the support of the leaders behind the parties.

The feedback that I have received during this current campaign is that the average voter is not in favor of political parties for the Cayman Islands. The general consensus is that party politics serves to be divisive and that has been confirmed in the past four years. The people do not see any benefit of the party system to them but instead it serves the interest of the party leaders to acquire power.

The number of independent candidate running in this election further illustrates that there is not any widespread acceptance of the parties. Most independents have been pushed to run as independents by the voters themselves. Another interesting point is the lack of parties to find a full slate of candidates. Neither the PPM nor the UDP havea complete slate of 15 candidates to offer the people.

It appears that the last election is being used as a basis of forming an opinion that people are in favor of political parties. The PPM won every seat that they contested. However, the voters will tell you that the primary factor for them “voting straight” last time was because of the single issue of status grants. The majority of the electorate found it necessary to guarantee that the next government would not make another “wholesale giveaway of Caymanian status”. This is turn has been used by the parties to support their contention that voters support the two-party system.

It’s important to recognize that the PPM did not win 6 seats in the last election. Alliances of convenience are not political parties. This point is best illustrated by the UDP members who lost in the last election with their mass exodus from the party.

The UDP and PPM are glorified version of the loose coalition that was historically formed for election purposes in the Cayman Islands prior to the formation of the UDP. My most important concerns are the issues that are facing this country. No one can tell me if one party is conservative, liberal or what ideologies they support (fiscally, constitutionally, environmentally etc.). Instead their alliance is based on a personal preference for either leader. Often times, it can become a situation of peer pressure where people attend party functions because of the need to fit into a popular group.

If you are not concerned with the personality of either leader where does that leave you? If you care about the issues facing the Cayman Islands what clear indicators are there to separate these two parties?

There is the old adage that actions speak louder than words. We can see clear examples of how self-serving the parties are. Someone recently pointed out that the leader of the UDP has an advert on this website for himself entitled “All About McKeeva Bush” – absolutely no mention of the UDP at all. This online advert went up before the launch of the UDP website or any mention of the party’s slate of candidates. At that time neither party had updated websites since 2005.

Then there is the matter of the internal governance of the parties. The internal operations are supposed to be dictated by the constitution of each party. However, we can see that often those are not in effect and only applied at will. Current candidates were not chosen in accordance with the laid out procedures. There is no regular meeting of the membership and no party conventions. Leaders appear to have a lifetime appointment.

I am well aware of the division between the parties both inside and outside. Parties try to separate each other based on party colours – a concept borrowed from our Caribbean neighbours. If we were to look at the party systems in the UK and US they both use their country’s colours instead of specific party colors. We already see the development of the mentality that if you are not for a particular party you have to be against them. All of this serves to create an even more contentious situation. Individual members within the parties have their own election committee. The parties have also been plagued with in-fighting amongst their own members. The parties come together when they wish to win an election or support each other in the LA. The parties create an uncanny negativity. It is being said by the UDP party that if you do not support them and vote for independents you are in support of the PPM. This rhetoric is illogical and shows the lengths that the parties will go to win.

On May 20th each person will have an important decision to make. You can either “vote straight” just because someone has told you that is best or you can vote smart. Voting smart means that we will look at the individual candidates and assess them on their own merit. What skill set and experience does a particular candidate bring to thetable? Independent candidates are aware that if elected they will have to work with everyone in order to accomplish the best objectives for the Caymanian people. Having an election that is issues driven and not party driven is what the electorate is demanding and deserves. Follow your mind and vote deserving individuals irrespective of party affiliation.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Your eloquent writing is impressive and the bottom line remains – with the exception of Ellio Solomon you cannot demonstrate through this evidence that you speak of how the other candidates have flipflopped! A change of one’s mind is not flipflopping.

    In terms of ideology – I have no idea where the PPM or UDP stands except to annihilate each other. So if you say you don’t know where the independents stand I say the same of all the party members as well. The only real common goal they have is the mindset to convince people to vote straight so that one or the other will have the power in government.

    To use the serious mental health term – schizophrenia – as an analogy demonostrates your true lack of understand on these matters.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Why can’t you accept that the majority of people do not believe in these new founded political parties? Respect people’s viewspoints (hence the name of this section).

  2. Anonymous says:

    Ok.  Funny that you call yourself Truthfinder, and quote how the Truth shall set you free, because much of your comments are devoid of truth, and the rest is devoid of evidence to support it.

    Political parties are not cults.  People can join and resign at will.  That anyone has resigned is unremarkable.  If anything it speaks of the transparency of the organisation. No resignation is conclusive of some sinister plot.  Sometimes they disagree with the party and they resign.  Thats the right thing to do.  Your imagination has deceived you, but it is unfortunate that you should peddle your deception. 

    Candidate Selection is based on members internal nomination and election, not the order in which persons join a party.  Your analogy (if I should be so kind) is fatally flawed.  Party constitutions may or may not require the nominee to be a party member. 

    It was you who alleged that Sandra had shown that parties are not parties at all, so their constitutions and registration do show that they exist.  I did not cite their registration gratuitously, it was you who suggested that they were not parties at all.  If you wish to bury your head in the provrebial sand and pretend they do not exist, then enjoy yourself.   If they are not parties at all, then why dont you want them then? Then they should not bother you at all! 

    All of your bullet points have no basis in truth, a concept with which you have suspended.   You speak of the truth, but in an empty way.  And I mean this in respect of all properly constituted and legally recgnised political parties, anywhere in the world.

    I give credit to Sandra for her community work, as I would for anyone, including Ellio, Oswell or anyone else.   I do not limit my accolodes to t he candidate which I support, like you do.  Ellio has done community work, Oswell has done church and School work, and I give them credit for it.  McKeeva has done church work, Kurt many decades with the Lions, etc.   They are all good community people.   Nothing wrong with that.   Many of the candidates, UDP, PPM and independents are my friends.  They are all a part of the democratic process, which is alive and well. 

    I just find flip flopping suggestive of a candidates political schizophrenia.  You cant know what they stand for from day to day.  They change overnight!








  3. Anonymous says:

    I did concede that Sandra was less of a flipper than Ellio was a flopper from my first comment.  But you must agree that she flipped in that a) she worked at the PPM office and she was a vocal ppm supporter  b) in 2005 when she did not gain a candidacy she ran as an independent, an abandoned the party principles which she previously was a supporter of, and c)now that it is convenient she alleges  that the same parties, one of which she supported, are dysfunctional.  So, there is at least a limited amount of flipping.

    She is at least hypocritical.  I am willing to reduce the charge of being a "flipflopper" to the less serious charge of being a hypocrite.

    But I am glad it seems we agree on Ellio.  And even if we agree to disagree on Sandra, its ok anyway, because despite her best efforts, are chances of success are equivalent to the chances of me marrying Beyonce, something I daydream about from time to time (dont tell my wife).  

    I give her credit, though, on her remarks about "All About McKeeva" because he is what the UDP is about.    I wish I could access the pages of the now defunct  In those pages Ellio ripped McKeeva apart!  But when Sandra left the PPM to run as an independent in 2005, it was "all about Sandra" – so she is throwing stones whilst living in a glass house (not the Glass House, lower case, thank goodness).


  4. Anonymous says:

    As we can see there is no clear consensus on how Caymanians feel about the party system. However, I can assure all that Caymanians need to look at the issues facing our country, what each candidate stands for and vote based on that instead of voting for the individual or party that will assist them or their families personally. (We all know that is how Cayman’s election happens…… Buoy I going vote for Tom Tom because he will give Bo Bo a job!)

    This election is very important, as it will determine the path our country takes (a country that will maintain it financial stability or not!) and as a young Caymanian confounded by the problems facing our country (government over spending ( to prove who has bigger BALLS! I built the three most expensive school Cayman has ever seen! Oh yeah well I built the most expensive tourist attraction!), lack of educated Caymanians, crime, etc) need to look beyond their own personal agendas and think about our country as a whole.

    Vote for the individual or party that has a plan or solution for the issues facing our country and is capable of getting the job done.  All can talk ( as we have seen over the past 8 years), but which ones can walk the walk?

     Think Long and hard before placing your X!

  5. Truthfinder says:

    One thing I know that Sandra stands for is the people of these islands. She had helped and continues to help many people. You are obviously a biased party member.

    Call Steve McField – one of the founding members of the UDP and he will break it down to you. Maybe you are PPM; if so call Oswell Rankine; founder member of the PPM and he will break it down to you.

    By your own admittance and definition provided here the ONLY person that could be labled a FLIPFLOPPER – would be Ellio Solomon. No one else has swamped sides like that but him.  In fact, I’m not even sure he was a registered member of the PPM but instead was a groupie handing around. He’s the perfect example of what is wrong with the party system. Imagine how he has negotiated his way into both the UDP and a Minister job if elected. Now, that is problematic and indicative of the party system.

    Just because a party is registered in name but DOES NOT OPERATE in any other way like a real party means absolutely NOTHING.

    It’s like a marriage of convenience. Are they not all registered with a marriage officer? Does that alone back them a real marriage? NOPE! One has to look at the entire picture and see what is there.

    When looking at the entire picture we can see:

    • Parties do nothing except during elections
    • Parties form for the sole purpose of trying to win an election
    • Party members and leaders ignore what their own internal document says they must do
    • Party membrs DO NOT share any common ideology except Vote Straight and get the other party out of power
    • Every single poll shows that the common man does not want a party system in Cayman
    • Parites were pushed own our throats by hte ill willed Mac for his own personal gain
    • Parties are based on personalities of the leaders
    • If these were real parties they would BOTH remove Mac and Kurt from leadership role
    • Parties encourge misinformation – if they are so strong why do they feel it necessary to lie to the people that independents must join a party if elected?

    The truth will set us all FREE. If you are so confident about the party system being accepted here then put it to a vote OF THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE.

    Too scared to do that huh? That’s why I thought.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Well then smart— if what you are saying is true then Sandra has not flip flopped either. She resigned. Your point is?

  7. Anonymous says:

    So blinded is the Commenter in his or her own lack of logic that he or she does not diffrentiate between resigning and "flip flopping".  Steve Mc, Gilbert, Roy or Lyndon did not switch parties.  They did not flip flop.   Get the difference.  Its dead simple.  I did not refer to persons who simply resigned.  I referred to persons who switched sides repeatedly, or flip-flopped, with no apparent reason other than the blowing of the wind of political expediency. 

    Whether there should be parties is not a point based on which there should be a referendum.  Such a proposition is rotten at its core.  It also runs counter to the principle of freedom of association.  You are proposing something worse than Communist countries, which have one party!  You are like Alice in Wonderland, thinking that organised parties cannot work together under a party constitution. 

    It is your imagination which has convinced you that Sandra has shown that there are no parties, because nothing Sandra has written has evidenced it.  You need only look to the Elections Office website, and it will show you that 2 parties are registered pursuant to the relevant law.  If not there, check the Elections Office itself.  Its a matter of public record.  Waste no time reading Sandra’s diatribe.

    Lastly, did you hold a referendum to determine that Cayman does not want parties?  I challenge you to furnish evidence showing that 41% of the electorate does not want parties. Until then, your rhetoric is just that.  Rhetoric.

    Let the Flip Floppers kiss their $1000 deposits goodbye.  You cannot possibly know what any of them stand for, and the 2 I refer to in particular are Elio and Sandra. 


  8. Anonymous says:

    First of all there are many people that have "flip flopped". Every former member of the UDP who did not get in left the party as Sandra said. Roy, Gilbert, Frank, Lyndon and many more.

    Other respected members of the community like Mr. Steve McField who by his own admittance helped to write the UDP consititution has resigned from the UDP. He agreed on the radio with everything that Sandra stated here and even gave some additional insight into how loosely affiliated the UDP really is.

    PPM is no better really. Even George Ebanks left PPM. PPM pulled a fast one with Charles Clifford who was not even a party member at the time. So we can see what the parties really are. They are self-servicing institutions. They sole purpose is to undo what the others have done.

    Also, because of PPM’s poorrecord they have also lost a lot of people. So based on your comments you think that people should stick with effective teams and leaders?

    These people gave the party and the leaders a chance and we have all be sorely disappointed by their performance. So, why support something that is clearly not working?

    The only questionable ones are Ellio and Jonathan who claimed that they did not believe in the party system at all and certainly NOT what we had to offer here. With no leadership or ideological change with the UDP they jumped on board anyway – now that’s quite a feat!!

    Sandra’s viewpoint does not say that she’s against parties in general but she gave some very specific examples why the parties here are not even parites at all.

    Ask Blly & Dennie what they think of the PPM’s constitution and how they fought for a better one and were ignored as usual.

    As far as I’m concerned the people who have left the parties are the only ones with any sense. The people of the Cayman Islands DO NOT want parties. If you are so sure that they do include it in the referendum. You would be shocked.


  9. Anonymous says:

    Interesting to see the flipping and flopping being done by Sandra, Elio, Oswell and others.  Lest the electorate be blinded by the smoke, Sandra used to work at the PPM and was a member of the PPM pre-2005 election.  At that time, she did not hold the views that parties were "glorified loose coalitions".  Now that the table has turned, it is convenient to attempt to discredit parties.  Interesting.   But she cannot beat Ellio in the flip flopping.   In 2002 and after, Ellio was the publisher of  He was a vocal PPM member, and that website glorified the PPM and vilified the UDP.   When he was not selected as a PPM candidate he ran as an independent in 2005 .That was a flip.  When he ran his talk show, he bashed political parties for years That was a flop.  In 2009, he has joined the very party that the vilified in 2003-3. That was a gigantic back flip and the end he will land on his head.  He should get some flip flops from Barefoot.  

    Oswell has done a few flips (from supporting Ezzard in his candidacy to being a PPM exec member to being an independent), but none as athletic as Eliio’s and Sandra’s flops. 

    The conclusion is this:  Dont elect flip-flops.  Wear them at the bottom of your feet where they belong.  Thank you. 

  10. Anonymous says:

    Yes, I agree – work with whomever but it does not HAVE to be a exclusive party for a few only.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Vote on the poll on Sandra’s website:

  12. Anonymous says:

    Actually the party is just begining.

  13. Anonymous says:

     "…..i am no member of either party..but i tell you what..i will rather elect a team that has worked together to formulate a visiosn than a bunch of persosn who have campaigned on entirely different policy positiosn and will sramble to lead the country after may 21st…."

    I agree with you on this issue – If elected to office Sandra might very find that she will have to join a team as well. It’s either SH– or get off the pot. OR IS SHE PPM?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Not a bad piece. Caymanians are not the most unified groups to begin with and party politics has just added another layer of division to us: even when its silly or unnecessary.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I think nay-sayers of this article have missed the point, not Sandra. It is clealy about the leaders of the parties and carrying forward their agendas. To claim anything to the contrary is a show of ignorance or disconnect with the actual current and historical events. A clear example of the dangers of party politics was heard on the morning radio talk show on Friday (Mar 27th) – the UDP paid double for a pizza slice of land and dwelling in WB during their "reign" but when the oppoisition (PPM) came into "power" they completely destroyed the house (a perfectly good home that could have been utilized) and abandoned the proposed project. To this day no one in the PPM can say why. How did party politics help our country then? One gov’t paid double the money to glorify themselves and benefit a strong supporter and the other gov’t completely washed their hands of the project as it was in the district of the opposition. Who foots the bill there? We the poor people, that’s who!! If party politics was so great, why are we suffering as they conduct themselves like spoiled children on a playground (LA) and accomplish nothing other than slapping down each other’s ideas and motions?

    Remember we pay the price (financially, economically, you name it!) for the antics of a broken, immature, dysfunctional Party system that cannot even abide by their own constitutions and yet expect us to believe that they will abide by the one designed for the people of these islands.

    If you really think we are in a better position 8 yrs after the formation of the party system in Cayman (with both parties having a turn to showcase their abilities – or lack thereof) then by all means vote straight – that is your right. If you think that 8 yrs is enough time to truly determine the ineffectiveness of this system in Cayman given its questionable beginnings and hidden agendas and some person’s personal attempts to rule the world then take a stand and get rid of it. 8 yrs is a LOOOOONG time to have to make up your mind about what is going on here…Would you continue to drive a car for 8 yrs after the brakes go, or the muffler falls off or the engine light comes on?? I didn’t think so – so why would anyone in their right mind want to support a system of governance that is NOT BEST FOR OUR COUNTRY? Yes in theory it should work but we have put theory into practice for EIGHT WHOLE YEARS!! Maybe with different players this could have been the start of a beautiful relationship – but as it is, it has been just plain abusive! Break the cycle and split your votes over the persons who will serve our country with our people at heart and not themselves and their gains.

    I say Cayman, vote smart for new start,  don’t vote straight, it’s not too late!! Turn the lights out on the party, it IS over!








  16. Anonymous says:

    Anyway it’s a viewpoint – which means its an opinion piece. But I liked it; food for though.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Duh! This is a valid point and she has written about it before. At least she sticks to her guns. Sandra has been doing stuff for years including writing editorial pieces. Google her name and see for yourself or look it up on – she’s been writing for many years.

    Not like some other Bodden Town candidates who only started writing and calls shows within the past 4 months.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Are you all listening to the talk show today on Radio Cayman? Yes, Sandra makes a good point here. This is so dividing and we are SICK and tired of the party politics crap!

  19. Anonymous says:

    While i found your article to hold valid points. It is essential to the people to have a group that will work together on issues affecting them. Even if independents should win majority of the seats they will at some point have to work with each other for the sake of people.

    Instead of pointing out the negatives of “party politics” use your platform to educate the people about electing the “right fit” that will eventually come together in a bona fide body. Like the old adage says ” One match stick is easily broken but it takes strenght to break ten”

  20. Anonymous says:

    I prefer the way that we have always had it. People are quite capable of coming together to run this country.

    Sandra is right – the bottom line is the parties do NOT have a unified vision of anything either. It’s all based on personalities of the leaders. So, I agree, vote for you who think will get the job done no matter what side of the fence they are on.

    The PPM and UDP have both proven it makes no sense to vote straight. One thing Sandra should have mentioned – the UDP government was NEVER voted into power by the peoople.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Sandra you haev miseed one important point in my view.  Working together with a groupsuch as a party, also helps bring resources and other ways of thinking to individuals who would otherwise be working largely alone.  If someone supprts a candidate of a party they will have the comfort of knowing that the candidate will have the ability to influence policy in the legislative assembly because they have the support of th party. these candidates have access to more than one vote because with the help of other party members they can push for policies that help the people who they represent in the District or in the country as a whole.

  22. Anonymous says:

    guys…in my view it is very productive for persons to meet together before they are elected to decide whether they have a common interest and position on the issues facing the Cayman Islands. Doing this is better than coming together the day after Elections with no idea of where each persons stands on key issues.

  23. Anonymous says:

    This commentary is pure nonsense.

    Regardless of whether someone runs for office as a member of a party, part of an independent group or alone as an individual, they must eventually work together with others in the legislative Assembly for the benefit of the people of the Cayman Islands if they are elected. To avoid the situation where persons get together AFTER election day for purely convenience reasons, it is important for individuals to decide beforehand who they will work with if they are successful in winning a seat.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would like to think that a candidate would be prepared to work with whoever is elected, to do what is best for the country.

  24. Anonymous says:

    i am no member of either party..but i tell you what..i will rather elect a team that has worked together to formulate a visiosn than a bunch of persosn who have campaigned on entirely different policy positiosn and will sramble to lead the country after may 21st..

  25. Anonymous says:

    hmmm..very self serving "commentary" from a independent candidate.

    party politics is not diivisve in itself. the success of a party depends on the people involved. you cannot label parties in this way. most countries have party systems . the reason they succeed or fail has to do with their leaders, their policies and internal issues.

    Just because the party system is new in cayman and will take some time to become more mature, does not mean that a grouping of persons who are willing to serve the country on a joint platform of idealogies and policies will not do well for the country. In fact the contrary is true. a "team:" of independents will only come together at the last minute after NOT spending anytime working together on polices or agreeeing ion anything. that seems to be a worse scenario that a party which has worked together for a while and can at least agree on how to lead the country…


    • Anonymous says:

      "hmmm..very self serving "commentary" from a independent candidate".

      Well, duh! That’s what politicians do around election time – make totally self-serving speeches. That’s how the get elected.