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Coalition for Cayman tackles vote buying and corruption

James Bergstrom

James Bergstrom, Co-chair of Coalition for Cayman.

Vote buying and political corruption will come under the spotlight over the next few weeks when the political advocacy group, Coalition for Cayman (C4C) launches a public awareness campaign on these issues.

The group made the announcement at a media roundtable this past Monday and C4C chairman James Bergstrom noted that the campaign the group will outline what constitutes political corruption and vote buying.

The campaign will come in the wake of much public commentary and social media postings that holiday parties for senior citizens, raffles, the giving of turkey and beef during the festive season and the donation of school supplies to poor students can be viewed as voter buying.

Recently a candidate of George Town protested that this view was an insult to politicians since these gifts, in her words, would not buy a voter in anyway.

Another candidate, Marco Archer, said that he was unequivocally opposed to vote buying, but on the other hand he would not refuse to help a person in need under the pretext of not compromising them.

Mr Bergstrom said that in the party system most people were left out of mainstream issues that affected society but with the new movement anyone in the Cayman Islands was open to supporting the group.

“We are a public awareness and advocacy group that recognise that the people of Cayman are frustrated with party politics, government overspending, debt, crime and economic uncertainty. We are committed to bringing new and accountable leadership to unite the people of the country and restore the Cayman Islands’ reputation, while maintaining social balance and sustainable growth,” according to C4C’s presentation made available to Cayman Net News.

Mr Bergstrom said that his group has had meetings with Caymanians and expats who will have the capacity of analysing social problems that then feed into the issues of the economy.

The group promised that it will harness the opinion of both Caymanian and expats,” he said in the briefing held at Crighton Building along Crewe Road.

“A primary role of the coalition is analysing those issues which are fundamental to finding solutions for the country — solutions to restore our economy, by creating an environment where businesses can achieve sustainable growth and thereby create jobs. Further, by reforming our education system and trades training infrastructure so that all Caymanians can have employment and economic opportunities,” said Mr Bergstrom in the statement.

During the presentation, Mr Bergstrom key members of the C4C team, including Clarence Bothwell, Emmiel Scott, Gary Rutty, Jacqueline Haynes, James Bergstrom (chair), JC Calhoun , Johann Moxam, Kris Bergstrom and Randy Merren.

He noted that he group is going to work like a political action committee (PAC). A common feature of politics in the United States , a PAC is a type of organisation that campaigns for or against candidates, ballot initiatives or legislation.

Mr Bergstrom said that this will work without dividing the country since it will be an issues-analysis organisation that will have an enduring role.

He noted that the candidates endorsed by the group will be independent and will be based on some seven principles of public life that include selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

The candidates must believe that we should return to a “committee” approach in the Legislative Assembly where each member is free to vote according to his or her beliefs and conscience and not along party lines. Candidates must believe in “country first” leadership and agree to follow the C4C Code of Conduct during their campaigns and thereafter, if elected, he stated.

The coalition has been required to set up a company so as to be able to fundraise easily. As opposed to shareholders, this company has supporters and not members like a political party, which the group has gone to great lengths to prove it’s not.

The spokesman noted that the development of the Cayman Islands during the days of independents and teams was much better than today.

The group says it will borrow from both Jersey and Channel Islands who have a similar economy but functions with loose alliances that ensure that party politics is not necessary.

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