14
Jun-2013

Cayman Save the Queen

Elections have struck the Cayman Islands, and contrary to the image I use here it wasn’t like the American parades and conventions, specially because there are not only two candidates but 50!!!!

This is not a Presidentialist state, the head of State is till the Queen of England and there is a country Governor nominated by the British Crown to keep control on the state, the Caymanians elect a government headed by a Premiere that will be responsible for the operations. Like a CEO of a company, while England remain with the Chairman status and the permanent power to veto or even overthrow the government, the Premier has all the responsibility of managing the day to day decisions and elaborate a budget for UK approval.

Apparently this relationship was in good deeds while there was no economic crisis in both of the countries, but for the last years with the need for the UK to tighten the belt they have been cracking down in all their overseas territories to save wherever they can. Turks and Caicos for example lost is government has is now been managed directly by the UK, like a misbehaved kid that spend all it’s money in candies and now needs a supervision.

Cayman Islands is not an autonomous country, it’s an overseas territory of the UK, and with that status technically it can overspend that the big daddy will cover for the debts, I’m Portuguese and this reminds me what has happened in the Madeira Island in Portugal. Being part of our country but managed with some autonomy, as soon as the crisis came and the need to count every penny, lots of debts were found hidden by the regional government  and who had to pay it? I and the rest of Portuguese thru taxes.

The elections in the Cayman Islands are confusing to me as they have the multiple vote system, meaning hat each person votes for 6 different candidates. At the end the winner is still the one with more votes but is difficult to imagine the situation where you have to choose different names and not just one person that you like. To complicate even more there are in some jurisdictions (the votes are local, each town has it’s own voting board) more than 15 candidates which makes very hard to the people to be aware of what each one of them intend for the town. All the candidates are affiliated with parties (this is a biparty country, so the ones not affiliated to those parties run independent), and the local result will accrue to reach the national results and then select a government that typically is headed by the leader of the winning party. But it does not have to be like this, minority votes situations may result in very different government constituions, but 2013 was no exception and the opposition party won the majority of the votes and its leader Alden Mclaughlin is the new Premier.

Many challenges will this government face and some of them very short term, like:

  • Immigration policy – nowadays a foreign person cannot stay more than 7 years in the country, this will result in almost 2000 people leaving by the end of this year. Will they do like Turks and remove this population control law?
  • Budget with UK – David Cameron’s government has been demanding for a balanced budget which is almost impossible not to lead to public workers dismissal  something very unpopular to do in any country
  • Structural Projects – The harbor and the airport – both have been ordered to issue tenders again as neither followed the best practices for public procurement. (they should hire me! 🙂 )

Living here for a here already will make me connected to this great country for the rest of my life, even when we are planning to leave soon. Cayman will always be here with its charming beaches and hopefully an harmonious balance between the two groups of society, locals and expats.

 

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