Politics is a numbers game. Premier Alden McLaughlin told Cayman 27 a minimum of 10 MLAs need to be on-board to get any legislation passed in the house. He said it’s a fact some of the voting public and independent candidates seem to forget. His advice to the electorate: take promises from independent candidates with a pinch of salt.
“Regardless of what an independent tells you what he or she will do with respect to any particular policy, unless they have the buy-in of the majority of persons who have been elected, they can not deliver on that particular promise,” said Mr. McLaughlin. “As a voter, each of us need to ask ourselves, ‘yes, so and so sounds good, I like what he said about immigration, about education, about crime, about financial services, about tourism. But can he or she really deliver that?'”
He said the political reality is that there’s strength in numbers.
“It’s an absolute fallacy, and in fact it amounts to misrepresentation on the part of any candidate who stands up and says ‘If elected, I will do…’ what they need to say is, ‘If elected, and if I can get 9 other people to agree with me, I will do…,'” said the Premier.
Mr. McLaughlin recalled the difficulty in forming a cohesive government after the November 2000 election, before the party system evolved into what it is today. Whether it’s called a party, a team, or an alliance, he said the voter benefits from group accountability.
“You need to look for a group of people who can form a government and who you can hold accountable for what they say in terms of policies, programmes, positions, on any particular issue,” he said.
Under single member constituencies, the elections office is preparing for a potential record-breaking field of candidates. Mr. McLaughlin’s advice to those on the voter rolls: let the buyer beware.
“You need to take it with a really really good dose of salt, not just a pinch of salt, because they can’t, they can’t effectively deliver unless they are part of a group that shares their particular view,” he said.
Premier McLaughlin kept his cards close to his chest as to what his party, the Progressives, have in store for its 2017 campaign. Important to note, there are those who are critical of the Westminster system, which lends itself to the idea of collective responsibility and the flourishing of political parties, because it promotes divisiveness and limits the influence of independent voices.