MLAs and C4C silent on rift

| 24/02/2014

(CNS): Although it is obvious that the Coalition for Cayman is less than impressed with the three candidates it endorsed at the general election and who are now serving on the government benches, it has remained silent about the rift and whether or not it has withdrawn its endorsement of its three MLAs. Roy McTaggart, Winston Connolly and Cabinet minister Tara Rivers have also said nothing about the significant criticisms from the group which endorsed and promoted them during last year’selection campaign. The C4C, which still claims it is not a party but believed its candidates would deliver the right agenda for the country, has now made very public criticism of two major policy areas supported by all three MLAs who were elected on the C4C ticket.

CNS has submitted questions to the three MLAs as well as the C4C about the relationship but no one has responded.

In the wake of C4C’s heavy criticisms of the government’s support for the National Conservation Law and more recently its condemnation of government finances, it is clear that the Coalition feels that the candidates it endorsed are not supporting the policies the C4C would like them to, based on the organisation's founding principles.

During the campaign the C4C stated that the candidates it had endorsed had filled in questions and had been surveyed regarding their support of the founding principles and had made much of the idea that it was endorsing people who would make the right decision for country. The political non-party said that the candidates it endorsed would be independent and that they would not make decisions on party lines but on what was best for Cayman.

However, having agreed to join the Cabinet, Rivers is now restricted to its collective responsibility and the only way she can disagree with the PPM government policy publicly or refuse to vote with government is if she resigns her post as education and employment minister. While McTaggart and Connolly remain on the back benches, having taken jobs as counsellors working directly with the ministers for finance, financial services and education, disagreeing with the ministers they serve would also likely see them ousted from those support roles. 

While none of the three C4C candidates have formally joined the PPM itself, as a member of Cabinet Rivers’ independence is of limited, if any, relevance as she is delivering PPM policy and voting on PPM lines. There is mounting speculation that McTaggart is considering joining the party and while Connolly may be keen to retain an independent image, he distanced himself from the C4C sometime ago. All three of the Coalition’s endorsed candidates have also attended several PPM political retreats and meetings.

Claims by the coalition during the campaign that their candidates would behave differently and would do the right thing without any influence from party politics have apparently failed to materialize.

The executive chair of C4C, James Bergstrom, stated at a presentation about the group during the run-up to the election that it was optimistic it could make a change to party politics. At the time he said the goal of C4C would be “to give their candidates advice on policy but not make policy”, despite the publication of their founding principles, which could be interpreted as a policy direction.

However, so far, what advice the Coalition has given to its candidates publicly has not been followed by those candidates. Bergstrom said the C4C would continue as a watch-dog over endorsed candidates if they were elected and would publicly condemn those that did not continue to follow the principles.

Nevertheless, C4C has remained silent on whether or not it has lifted its endorsement on the candidates it helped to finance and support in their campaigns for office.

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  1. Party pooper says:

    Let's face it. There is no way you can have a house divided in the Cayman Islands and expect to see the progress of the economy and development. The MLA's are force to work together as a team in order to muster the amount of votes needed to pass law.  As a result, this is a big downfall for the party system in the Cayman Islands. The party can bark all they want before elections, but once in the LA, they have to hush their mouths and work with who they can work to get anything done. 

  2. Anonymous says:

    Because they dont respond you assume there is a rift? Please stop reporting on assumtions and start reporting on facts. 

  3. Anonymous says:

    Like in the US, goverment is just an extension of big business. Nothing different here in Cayman.

    C4C represents cayman business and NOT te caymanian people.

  4. Anonymous says:

    C4C, while undoubtedly well-intentioned, were naive in the extreme to believe they could shape the agenda without first shaping their own image.  There is a saying in politics that if you fail to define yourself your opponents will do it for you.  That is precisely what has happened.  The derision from CNS and theopprobrium from the PPM were well-deserved and entirely predictable.

    The three MLA's lacking in judgment enough to have hitched their own wagons to that of C4C came to their senses soon enough and distanced themselves from the shadowy group. 

    Hopefully those would-be power-players behind C4C and those would-be MLA's beneath them have all learned their lesson that you cannot have your cake and eat it too.  Instead of waffling about "advocacy groups", "teams of independents" and "watchdogs", all things no one understands, just form a ****ing political party with a proper brand, a proper structure, a proper manifesto and proper leadership.  

    The last decade of maladministration in the Cayman Islands Government was not a result of the party system, but the parties in the system.  

  5. Anonymous says:

    C4C is probably praying Tara distances herself from them, possibly in a long grandiose press release with photographs that give the impression that she is doing something.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The ppm and C4c candidates are working well together. As for the advocasy side , they are accomplishing what they set out in uniting the country. It was just last week on the rooster that the udp was praising the ppm.  Well done c4c, love is in the air.:)

  7. Anonymous says:

    There is no rift. Cns needs to stop trying to create a rift and start reporting on something positive. This negativity and divide needs to stop.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The C4c has stated from the beginning that they  could have differing views from the endorsed candidates.  They have also said that they will support what is best for the country and the people.. Seems like some clarity and public understsnding of  what the C4C is all about is finally coming through.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Breaking News!!! CNS got it first….Letter from C4C endorsed mla

    Just under a year ago we joined the  C4C.I will not be renewing our membership.

    This is not, however, because of some ideological disenchantment. Neither is it due to dissatisfaction with Alden’s faltering start, or the Party’s lamentable response to the Coalition.

    The truth is, I’ve done nothing for C4c since the 2013 General Election. I’ve not even bothered updating my C4C membership. And the basic reason for this is that we are intensely dislike political campaigning, and party-political activities.

    I find  knocking on doors at best boring, and at worst utterly unpleasant. This isn’t so much because I’m averse to meeting the general public, as that I’m averse to looking them in the eye and lying. Like when they say “PPM has a rubbish policy on Jobs/The Dump/immigration/the fuel 50cent tax”. Or “Mckeeva Bush is a crap Premier, I’m not putting him back in power”.

    And I’m supposed to sit there and pretend that they’ve got it all wrong. Because The PPM Party is fantastic and if it wins everything will be sunshine and kittens.

    Likewise, away from the doorsteps I find the experience of party-politics pretty nauseating. The herd mentality in particular is stifling. It’s like being stuck with a bunch of football fans who only want to talk about their team and how great it is – apart from the heretics and traitors trying to ruin it from the inside, of course.

    That, and the constant, compulsory mantra about how awful and evil the other teams/parties are.

    The fact is, to stay active in grass roots party politics you have to enjoy this. Or at the very least, be able to engage in it whilst not contantly battling the urge to shove pins in your eyes.

    Of course some people are able to so partake and nonetheless maintain good judgement, political sense and basic moral principles not determined by party policy. Alden Mclaughlin is the outstanding example here, though Kurt Tibbetts gets a mention too. But these types are, in my experience, very rare.

    But furthermore, those that go on to be seriously successful – to head local councils, become legislators, or even government ministers – have to invest enormous amounts of time and energy in this world of perma-propaganda, dogma, and tedious tribalism. So they, too, must find the entire process in some way satisfying. Or else they’d go off and do something else. Like make money, or save the turtles.

    Sure, these individuals will possess moral values and principles, of varying degrees of coherence and sophistication. But what drives many is the appeal of politics as a participatory activity. They do politics because politics itself is how they like to spend their time: propagandising, disseminating and tub-thumping for their chosen tribe.

    Which this leads again to the conclusion that there’s something very misguided about conceiving of politics as being fundamentally an exercise in applied ethics. And that any political theory maintaining otherwise will be quite seriously deficient.


  10. Anonymous says:

    The whole concept of independent thought is that people can make their own decisions.  CNS continually looks for examples of C4C directed policy and their endorsed candidates towing some imaginary party line when they are not a political party.  Disagreeing within a PPM coalition committee to form better public policy is a form of independent thought which C4C would and did endorse.  Is it that difficult to comprehend the idea of cooperative concensus?  Until there is truly the OMOV which the PPM pledged to introduce, CNS can continue to make mountains of molehills on non-issues while ignoring the bigger issues.

  11. Anonymous says:

    If C$C's brightest and best candidates don't want anything to do with them, then what value with C$C's next slate of candidates have?