So, you think you want to enter local representational politics on this wonderful little island: that’s holding a public office, where you’ve been selected by the people in a certain geographical area. You are there to serve them. Now, that’s something important and you must not forget it. They may know you well, already, or they will get to know you.

Now that you’ve decided to step into public life, little about you, personally, can be shielded by notions of being a ‘private person’. You should expect your past to be scrutinized and your present will always be on view. Ideally, you’ve lived a wholesome life and all your gains have come from lawful means. 

However, if there are things in your past that might cause some to question your integrity, then it’s a good idea to clear up early any possible misunderstandings–better done before you offer yourself for selection. It looks better and is better. If you can document things, officially, to remove the questions, better still. 

Now, whatever your age, you have a past. It’s a truism to say “I was young”, but youth is not an excuse for all past deeds of dubious flavour. 

I wouldn’t worry too much about the usual childish pranks, like putting your cat’s tail in the toaster, or putting crumbs and honey in your sister’s pillowcase when you were out camping, or the time when you thought pouring orange juice into ‘Old Man Nesbit’s tractor would ‘teach him’ a thing. I would worry about the time you took things without permission that weren’t yours or your immediate family’s and got money or goods in exchange. 

Those early sexual encounters happen and hopefully they were pleasant for you and all concerned. Remember the social mores of your area, and understand that not everyone will see libertine ways as ‘normal’. If there were any offspring from these encounters make sure you know that and them, and be ready to stump up for their care, if–Heaven forbid–you had been a tad derelict, there. Do that with generosity: you had your fun, now pay for it.😊👍🏾

My personal view is that it’s good to come clean and do it early. Take away the planks along which someone may make you walk. 

I’d also check that you’ve not done things or set up your affairs in ways that will look strange when compared to policy positions you and your colleagues may espouse. Financial arrangements are especially important here. Remember, many people don’t know or understand the difference between financial ‘planning’ and ‘management’ that just help you get the maximum benefits that are your due, and ‘salting away’ suspiciously your money. Things like using ‘offshore’ accounts that give tax advantages that most cannot get often look bad. Simply put, why don’t you want to put your tax payments at the full disposal of your nation? Or, how how do you rationalize making another country or territory richer and gaining financially from that? Just think about it. Financial diversification is often good, but remember not all heads can grapple with the look and feel it. 

But, if the probing and grubbing that may come is not your cup of tea, I’d suggest you content yourself and serve the people in some other way. Stay private. 

We have few formal provisions to oblige you to take any of these precautionary steps before you enter the fray, and only a light financial reporting requirement once elected at the national level. However, you should consider stepping ahead of the crowd and not let that be your fig leaf.

So, I hope this little primer is helpful. You’re about to embark on good things and the many slings and arrows of outrageous fortune won’t be aimed at you, if you’ve followed these simple tips.

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