Premier: Opposition not fit to lead

| 24/08/2017 | 36 Comments
Cayman News Service

Premier Alden McLaughlin in the Legislative Assembly, 23 August 2017

(CNS): Premier Alden McLaughlin lauded the work his coalition did to arrive at a common policy for his new Government of National Unity, as he delivered its Strategic Policy Statement in the Legislative Assembly yesterday. But there was very little unity with his political colleagues on the opposition benches during the debate on the SPS, as the opposition leader and the other five members criticised the plans for the next three years and McLaughlin went on the attack, accusing the opposition benches of not understanding the fundamentals of budgeting and government.

In the end, the government’s motion calling for the parliament to support the SPS won the day, with 17 of the 18 seated members voting in favour. East End MLA Arden McLean denied abstaining and said he was unable to vote as he was out of the chamber when the vote’s division was called. But McLean had been the most critical of the opposition members regarding the SPS, and in a long, rambling contribution to the debate made allegations of flaws and failings of most previous governments, including the one he served in.

Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller criticised the lack of emphasis on the needs of Caymanians in the Unity government’s SPS and the rosy predictions in the forecast revenue figures, though he backed a considerable amount of the policy approach in a succinct presentation. Those sentiments were largely echoed by the other opposition members, who all found things to support in the document. However, the common theme of the opposition was that much more money needed to be found for education, among other things, which they said government was not prioritising.

No one else from the government benches spoke during the motion debate, and when the premier closed the presentation before the vote he said the lack of comprehension over how budgets work made the opposition unfit to be in government.

He said that they did not understand basic economics, as without revenue “we can wish all we want” but nothing can be achieved. McLaughlin said he had listened hard to all the opposition members but “never heard one word about how the government should increase revenue”, without which nothing on “the long shopping list they recited” was possible.

The premier said the most important priority has to be the economy because without it nothing else was possible. How things are funded is extremely important, he said, and to criticise government for prioritising a stable economy showed the opposition does not understand how it all works.

He claimed he did not “doubt their sincerity” about the education priorities, which he said were being addressed in the coming budget, but “they have no responsibility to find the funding that government has a constitutional remit to do”.

He also made it clear that the process for this SPS had been inclusive, as the opposition members had all been given the chance to present to Cabinet. McLaughlin explained that the process had begun by scrutinising the campaign manifestoes of both the Progressives and the CDP, as well as the agendas of the independents.

He said the government considered all those things and wrote out a detailed list of priorities, which was submitted to senior civil servants to cost out. But given the massive price tag that came back, it was revised and reviewed and priorities were prioritised again. He said that government had to “adopt a sensible approach to the budget” and stressed the need for solid surpluses to help get everything that is needed in the future.

McLaughlin wrapped up by saying that an opposition in the democratic system which agrees with government all the time is not doing its job, but an opposition “must do more than whine and complain” if they see themselves as a government in waiting.

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Category: Policy, Politics

Comments (36)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    A fop will always be a fop. Alden is 55 going on 15

  2. Are you sure? says:

    In response to the writer below, are you SURE that employers are to train employees? I always thought that potential employees were suppose to prepare themselves before applying for the job with an education, training, good attitude etc. Why should an employer train you? Employers are in the business of making a profit not to set up a school or training centers. This is between you and your government. Not the private sector. As a Caymanian (Not a Paper one), I was educated with the help of my parents and I am employed. No company had to train me.

    Anonymous says:
    24/08/2017 at 8:03 pm
    And if employers had met their legal obligations in the last 20 years to provide reasonable training for Caymanians we would not need so many permits either!

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry, you have to tell Caymanians to come with the right attitude. Their parents don’t teach them. Many of the most affluent don’t either – they’re too busy doing their things. I asked my father for 15 years what he ACTUALLY did at work and all he was shout that it was none of my business. As a consequence my brother and I joked for all of that time that he signed documents all day. Imagine my shock when I went to train as a lawyer, with the best brain of my generation! Utterly wasted. Employers have an obligation to tell Caymanians what they don’t know. If they don’t agree, KICK THEM OUT. They haven’t earned the profits they make. They’re exploiting the natives.

  3. Anonymous says:

    So who is fit to lead? Just look around on the sufferings on Caymanians, increase in crime, homelessness, unemployment, social issues, healthcare in crisis, stagnation or our youths and the list goes on and on ! Where are the solutions to these problems? I must be blind because I cant see one improvement. Gone are the under the carpet days social media very rampant so I ask again who is fit to lead? My answer not one of you all incompetent as you all dont have Caymanians at heart.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Oh Mr. Premier…. I wonder why people think you are so arrogant because definitely you are not as shy as you proclaim to be! Mr. Premier…. many that you criticize on the opposition side have been there as long or longer than you have and have contributed in some respects to this country as well. The other newbies are the new kids on the block and will have to find there way just as you did following the 2000 general election. So give credit where credit is due! However, by insulting them will further highlight to all the Caymanian people of your condescending ways. Though you have begun your second (and last!!) term as premier you have yet to fully step back and recognize that your statements about bettering the lives of Caymanians have not really come to be. As a Caymanian yourself, you would know how it is to start out from the bottom and work your way up. But now that you are up top, that does not mean that you cannot become a real leader not only of your unity government but also of this country. We, the Caymanian people hear loudly the concern, and passion for the support of helping the caymanian people by members of the opposition…. and I respect each of them for being the voices for many of us. I (and many others) continue to wait to hear that same passion, support, and concern from the government bench. …..*silence

  5. anonymous says:

    For crying out loud, when will Caymanians accept that there is a dire need for selfless leadership in this country? I don’t see it, do you (honestly)?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Just the fact that the premier has come to understand that many in government don’t understand basic economics shows that Cayman might just have a chance in the future. Maybe they could have a basic math test that they would need to pass just to qualify?Could it really be that with a 5th grade edumacation they just might not be up to the job?

    • Anonymous says:

      But the Premier is not a qualified economist. How can he tell others what they don’t know when he himself is not qualified to tell them so? This is more a logical problem than a basic math problem. Now go do some studying towards your own edumacation.

      • Anonymous says:

        He is your premier and not an economist. Or a doctor or anything else he is not. I get that like I get Bush is uneducated. Do you get that maybe they need basic math skills to do their jobs with any degree of success? I also realize that a great many people in Cayman are just ignorant.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well he has two terms as Premier and a total of 17 or so years and he still cannot lead. He is too bloody condescending. We all know what he is great at. Way to go Mr Premier. He and his band of nimbles.

    • Anonymous says:

      sounds like he would just like to lead a group of competent and educated people to the task and is finding that impossible with what is given to him.

  8. Anonymous says:

    When will moratorium on work permits take effect so that Caymanians can become employable ? Are we waiting for the mass exodus of expatriates to leave so that Caymanians can be trained to fill their positions,. Remind me , didn’t John Seymour receive tumultuous applauses when he was campaigning and gave his constituents aplomb that he would enact moratorium on work permits. Why is it taking so long? Anyway just another election promiise to sway voters and put on the back burner. I hope he will still have the stamina to motion same in the LA.

    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanians will not suddenly become employable due to a moratorium on work permits. They have to prove they are worthy of those jobs. If they did that in the first place, the work permit would not be needed.

      • Anonymous says:

        And if employers had met their legal obligations in the last 20 years to provide reasonable training for Caymanians we would not need so many permits either!

      • Anonymous says:

        Rubbish. If there were a moratorium on work permits but some unemployed Caymanians still can’t get hired for the jobs in question, who is to say they won’t stand a better chance at self-employment? Some of those that start their own small business can then help the others. This is one of the things our politicians need to look at more closely.


      • Anonymoushould says:

        I agree with you. I have no intention to embarrass or put down any Caymanian, but hear me please. The system is broken but that does not mean that everyone should throw their hands in the air and do nothing. I am speaking especially to the younger generation. Those of you who did not get enough passes in your subjects or had to go to work instead of furthering your education please apply yourselves. Do your very best at work and if possible go to night classes and further your education. If your employer offer courses get involved and take the courses. I might be considered old fashioned now that I am in my late 60s but I worked in the financial sector all of my working years and worked as hard and as late as any expat. While some of them were better educated than I was I did not let that deter me. When I retired I was the longest serving member in my organization and we each learned from each other., some things I had to teach them and some things I learnt from them. Today we still keep in touch and catch up for lunch now and then. I was talking with a friend (also retired) a few days ago and we were reminiscing on growing up in Cayman and trying to figure out when and why our people became to reliant on handouts, what happened to us that so many of us are in such dire straits. We came up with many answers but what really became so clear is that It began when babies started having babies. Fourteen to seventeen year olds have no business becoming parents. Most of them have to drop out of school to raise these babies and hustle. They are definitely not equipped to take any kind of meaningful jobs, furthering their education is almost impossible. The do not have the skills to raise their children and the cycle just keep repeating itself. Social Services should set up some guidelines going forward. No monies should be handed out unless these individual have made a commitment to either go back to school or show that they are deligently looking for employment. They should not just be monitored by the employers/ teachers but social services should also be involved. If they need. Lathers to go to work or school they s

    • Anonymous says:

      I hate to say this. But why should a business train someone for a job. All that phrase means is “pay me while I constantly ask for help with everything, and then after 6 months of wasting resources and money on this under qualified person. We will find out if they can actually do the job or not”. And if they don’t work out. You have wasted 6 months paying someone for literally doing nothing. Increasing the stress on your staff. Then have to go through the entire hiring process again, and usually end up in the same position with the person quitting if they last 6 months.How does a business survive when expected to adhere to this model? I know of a few business that are going on 3 years trying to fill a position like that. Or you end up just saying forget it. We will do without or train someone who already has a job within to do it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Funny you say that while far too many employers will hire ex pats on a 6 month work permit & provide training to them. If that temporary work permit system worked the way it should, employers would be happy to train and encourage Caymanians to stay in their employ. The problem is, the system is abused so it is actually easier to get a work permit than it is to hire a Caymanian. Employers are looking for ease, not effort even though the law mandates it.

    • Anonymous says:

      When the untrainable become trainable. When the unemployable become employable. When these certain Caymanians decide to take responsibility for themselves like the rest of us hardworking persons who actually give something to the community. Maybe then but any business that wants to make a profit will still be remembering the last time they gave one of these people a job and had to take the hit.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Interpreting from what I’ve read I’m tempted to reluctantly agree, in the larger picture, with Premier McLaughlin. However I’ve always respected Mr. Miller’s leanings in looking out for Caymanians, in all aspects. His tenure as a Minister years ago earned my respect regarding his policies on public health threats, health insurance (time for a review there), health education, etc. and programs (and eventual policy) on smoking in public spaces, among many others. He is undoubtedly capable in a Ministerial capacity. Mr. Miller’s experience on the Public Accounts Committee underscores his attention to proper public fiscal policies, and while his personal presentation of his convictions may be irritating to some, his public service has been and continues to be respected and appreciated.

    Having said that, from the CNS article, I’ve interpreted that Premier McLaughlin is criticizing the Opposition, led by Mr. Miller, for essentially “not getting it” regarding paying for public requirements and services. While that may seem reasonable to suggest for freshmen MLAs, I’m surprised that veteran, past Ministers on the present Opposition would not be adept at identifying, assessing and presenting sources of new revenue, in order to support their constituencies presented needs.

    If Premier McLaughlin is correct, this is discouraging but there could be a certain amount of politicking and ‘partisanship’ in order to make the Opposition leader look weak from the outset.

  10. Foghorn says:

    “The Premier said, “the opposition does not understand how it all works.”
    Does anyone?

    “He said that government had to “adopt a sensible approach to the budget.”
    They do? That will be something new!

  11. nickcayman says:

    An alternative to austerity?

    Ever since the banks plunged the western world into economic chaos, we have been told that only cuts offer economic salvation. When the Conservatives and the Lib Dems formed their austerity coalition in 2010, they told the electorate – in apocalyptic tones – that without George Osborne’s scalpel, Britain would go the way of Greece. The economically illiterate metaphor of a household budget was relentlessly deployed – you shouldn’t spend more if you’re personally in debt, so why should the nation? – to popularise an ideologically driven fallacy.

  12. Anonymous says:

    According to the Premier ( not verbatim ) he is going full throttle this term to set things right, but I wonder why he’s was not full throttle from the onset. I guess he did not want to offend anyone because he wanted a second term as Premier and now that he’s got it he is going all out. However I will wait and see if anything different transpires over the four years.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed 1:02. But what baffles me even more is exactly what didn’t the Premier get down last term. He kept saying that his government got things done??

      Something is wrong here. Premier what didn’t you get done.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Mr Magoo economics…maximization of revenue…that’s all…no other considerations. Alden do us all a favor and leave the island and cash in on your pension before you do any more damage.

  14. Anonymous says:

    When will the politicians learn that just throwing money at something will not solve the country’s problems?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Al has said a lot of things I have not necessarily agreed with, but this is not only a profound statement but TRUTH.

  16. Diogenes says:

    Mr Miller and Mr McLean are some of the longest serving members of the LA along with Anthony Eden and Mckeeva if they do not understand the fundamentals of budgeting and government then something is seriously wrong with the current system

    • Anonymous says:

      Temperament and people management counts too. There’s a reason why Alden is serving his second term as Premier. The time he doesn’t spend shaking hands and greasing palms he spends orchestrating the effective operation of his government. How do you think he put this one together? He’s good at it. The four you mentioned are all dinosaurs: their understanding, such as it is, is outdated; their personalities are self-defeating; and their intellectual capacities insufficient to deal with our problems. Caymanians must realise, we took decades to build up the problems Cayman has (many of which were warned against) and some of them will take decades to fix. We need a government that leads by consensus, by rational thought, and responsible decisions, with the right balance of responsiveness to public demands/complaints coupled with a vision or at least a plan for the country that proceeds with momentum. We have that now; we had that last term and that is why most of the members were returned (and those who did not only by the thinnest of margins and because of ignorant, socially and economically destructive ‘red meat’ thrown to voters by the members now in opposition).

      I applaud Mr. Miller for organising the opposition bench, but he will have to do more (much, much more) than state that his motley crew are all ready to be ministers 3 months after an election if he ever hopes to make that a reality (and we can all only hope he does not).

    • Anon says:

      Diogene -There is not too much wrong with the system, but something could be out of whack with Miller and McLean!

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, they don’t, so what does that tell you?

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not system it’s the voters to blame

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