Opposition exposes premier’s ‘hypocrisy’

| 29/10/2019 | 51 Comments
Cayman News Service
Opposition Leader Arden McLean debates the Referendum Bill, 28 October 2019

(CNS): Opposition Leader Arden McLean said that Premier Alden McLaughlin made a very different argument on Monday about the concerns over the cruise berthing referendum than he did over the ‘one man, one vote’ poll held in 2012. During the debate on the draft bill paving the way for a national poll on the port, McLean read from a 7-year-old letter McLaughlin sent to the governor making the opposite arguments about that referendum than those he has made about the current one.

The first of the opposition members to speak in the debate, McLean defended the Cruise Port Referendum campaigners from the allegations the premier had made against them. He disputed the idea that they had engaged in any underhand tactics as they collected signatures on the petition that successfully triggered a people’s vote.

McLean derided government for making the supervisor of elections “chase the elusive dream of unverification”, but he focused his criticisms on what he called the “hypocrisy” of the premier and other members. He outlined this by reading McLaughlin’s correspondence from 2012 on the eve of the OMOV referendum, when McLaughlin was the opposition leader.

He pointed out how McLaughlin had cried foul over the date selected by then premier McKeeva Bush, who called a snap referendum while campaigners were still collecting signatures to trigger a people’s vote. The campaign had targetted November of that year for the poll date, but Bush’s decision to “hijack” the process and set the poll for July had been a source of outrage for McLaughlin.

In his letter to Duncan Taylor, the governor at the time, he listed numerous concerns, not unlike the ones campaigners are raising now about the date and campaign finance, which this time McLaughlin has failed to address. Back then, as opposition leader, McLaughlin had been enraged by Bush’s use of public cash to campaign against OMOV.

McLean’s colleges on the opposition benches all spoke against how government has handled this process and the attacks of the grassroots campaign that opposes the port project.

Deputy Opposition Leader Alva Suckoo said the premier was wrong to attack the campaigners and said he should be congratulating them for reigniting people’s faith in democracy at a time when many were losing hope. He took aim at the level of anger, ridicule and twisted facts that the premier and others in government have aimed at CPR and warned that they do so at their own risk, given that this group is more than 5,000 strong.

Suckoo urge government to make amendments to the bill that would address the concerns, especially those outlined in the legal opinion that the CPR sought, otherwise he did not think he could support the legislation, despite being fully behind the referendum.

Cayman News Service
MLA Ezzard debates the Referendum Bill, 28 October 2019

Ezzard Miller, the independent member for North Side, delivered a direct and articulate contribution outlining the significant gamble the government is taking with what he argued was an unnecessary capital project. He said he had always opposed the cruise berthing project for a number of reasons, even before the campaign began.

Miller said that since the 1980’s the cruise lines have been threatening to stop coming here unless we construct piers, as he asked members to recall the cruise companies claiming they would not bring the ‘Freedom’ class of ships. But they did. The ships will not stop coming because their customers want to come to Cayman, he said, noting that even now the cruise lines have confirmed that they will not stop calling on this destination, regardless of whether or not the proposed project goes ahead.

But the major issue that government has failed to address is the limited number of mega ships actually being built, Miller said. The idea that the industry is transitioning to massive ships is simple not supported by the industry statistics for ship construction over the next decade. Representatives from Verdant Isle, the preferred bidder on the project, have admitted that if, or when, the cruise project is completed more than three years from now, there will only be two of mega ships sailing in the Caribbean.

Miller said he had asked on numerous occasions for a full presentation and justification for this project from the tourism minister, but he was still waiting. He said that even the government’s own figures don’t justify the project or provide a rationale. He said he was unconvinced that government had made the argument that it was necessary to save the cruise sector.

Outlining a list of things that the piers will not achieve, such as cutting disembarkation rates, allowing people to take more trips, keeping cruise ships here longer or even get more money out of passengers, he said it would, however, take out as much as $26 million from the local economy by putting numerous waterfront business, such as restaurants and dive-shops, out of business, in addition to the loss of significant reefs and wrecks.

Government, Miller added, was telling white lies about the dredging impact at Hog Sty Bay because the lack of a physical dredging machine in that area did not mean the marine environment there would be safe. He pointed out that the plumes of silt and sediment will still kill the reefs. Other destinations in this region have ruined their marine environments to cater to the cruise ships, only to be let down, he warned as he urged his colleagues to learn the lessons from other destinations, such as Jamaica and the Bahamas.

Miller asked someone on the government bench to name just one country that has had consistent growth in the cruise sector, as Cayman has, that did better after putting in a pier. Urging government to retain Cayman’s unique product, he said it should focus on the many other challenges facing Caymanians, from health care to traffic, rather than this narrow special interest project. He said pressing ahead would create a whole list of new problems in the future for the country’s infrastructure, as he warned that there were simply too many risks.

Miller said that he would support the bill because he could stand up all night trying to get government to change the date or tackle other issues but it would be a waste of time. Instead, he told his colleagues, he would be knocking on every door in North Side and encouraging his constituents to go to the poll and vote no. The veteran politician also said he had faith that CPR could do the same thing and bring out all those people who were nervous about signing a public petition to exercise their democratic right.

See McLaughlin’s 2012 letter to Governor Taylor and statement re the OMOV referendum in the CNS Library

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Category: Politics

Comments (51)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I guess this is why they only meet one week a year.

  2. Anonymous says:

    all the port-bots in the world can’t save alden at this stage….

  3. Anonymous says:

    alden has done the the impossible..he has made arden look smart!
    there is only one thing worse than ppm/udp….and that is the opposition.
    cayman is doomed.

    • Read I say Read says:

      Old Buffalo must have eaten some serious Botla and Coxswain grouper for this debate. He was parrying and thrusting and Pulling up he pants , wiping he mouth, and a little sweat was on his brow he had been here before, battling a 200 pound marlin in off shore waters .

      He shivered and shamed and then he reeled him in Pulling the the biggest coupe de grace of his political career as Alden’s head swung right round and round and his eyes bulged as he struggled to wipe away the tears and the pressure on his groin as he then knew like the 200 pound marlin that it was all over and Old Buffalo Mclean had won the day and conceivably had ruined the Unity Governments chance at the poll in 2021.

      Will a big Miracle save the Premier this Time, keep on watching CNS as the Unity Government potentially unravels.

  4. Anonymous says:

    A person of dignity would step down.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This guy is pretty dumb for a Premier.

    • Anonymous says:

      Unfortunately it’s the same with all our politicians. Desperately need new, educated blood.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Speaking about being caught with your pants down. I LOL
    Whoever unearthed that letter deserves an applause. 👍

  7. Anonymous says:

    #1 priorities:
    21century waste management system (that includes Dump mining, not freaking capping or burning). Education. Public bus system.

    • Anonymous says:

      Concurrent Priorities: 1. Enacting SIPL law 2. expanding Caymanian Elections candidacy, 3. Finally shining the light in for accountability and transparency, cleaning the public boards, semi-autonomous conflicted agencies, and LA, and putting those that have colluded with developers, cashed bribes, campaigned against the people (with our money) – sanctioned, barred from politics and/or arrested.

      • I hope you understand says:

        Hello 4:27 pm and all your proponents of “expanding Caymanian elections candidacy” the answer now and until at least every living generational Caymanian passes away is a resounding NO. You went to school I presume so you know what NO means. Never happen dearie, go back where you come from and run for elections ya hear..

  8. Anonymous says:

    Vote yes. For improved CBF

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      Why? We are not going to see duty go down or more cargo come in. Seems they should hire a few more capable people in customs to clear items because they can’t even do that in a timely manner now!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Reading those letters it seems our Premier has his own hard choices to make –

    A – Acknowledge that the issues raised by CPR are valid and change the bill and have lots of hypocrisy egg into his face


    B – Carry on anyway, proving without question he is a hypocritical untrustworthy snake that will say anything in one moment and change it in the next

  10. Right ya so says:

    Thank to all of those standing up for the good of Cayman and not for their own pockets! Well done Ezzard – disagreed with you many times but no one can question your love for Cayman & your willingness to fight for what you believe is right for Cayman. Alva, Alden – thank you! And, most of all thank you to CPR for being the Rascals that you are. Respect.

    • Right ya so says:

      Oops – should have read ..”Alva, ARden ………” not ALden as I had originally typed.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Arden just killed him DED!

  12. Kurt Christian says:


  13. Anonymous says:

    I read the letter and it is plain as day that the very thing the premier complains about he is now using for his own advantage. Totally disgusting.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Premier didn’t realize he was stepping on a rake.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Ain’t that a shame? He has no one to blame but himself.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Alden McLaughlin has become the new McKeeva Bush with slick creamed hair, tattoos and a worse attitude

  17. Anonymous says:

    Kirkbots, Russians and trolls are in attack mode to win the 👍🏻👎🏻 battle on CNS

  18. Anonymous says:

    Alden has been exposed for the bully and fraud he has always been. He is more dangerous than McKeeva. Cayman needs to vote out these type of people in 2021

    • Anonymous says:

      I always said he is an educated Mac which is more dangerous! People pay attention! Even if you are for a port you should still vote no so that the government will be forced to do it the right way and share the relevant information by doing district meetings as was done with the “One Man One Vote”. Be wise and say No as we deserve better!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Ho hummmm…Arden and his acting career. I just wish he would fight this hard for much needed things in my district, the district that elected him. He now running around in all sorts of “projects in East End”. Even fixing churches in Breakers, imagine that

  20. Anonymous says:

    Pot, meet Kettle.

  21. anon says:

    4.13pm I would never gamble on McKeeva whatever the circumstances.

    • Boris says:

      Mac is happy, laughing at his pal Alden. His plan is working, he served Alden and Moses the bush medicine. He vowed that Alden would have the same fate, having to step down before the end of his tenure as premier. Might just happen, he is hard at work, putting his strategy in place.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I’ve always been a PPM supporter but after listening to the debates so far Ezzard has by far given to best speech for the Love of the Cayman Islands. So disappointed in Alden and his supporters. Vote No

    • Eliza says:

      Agreed. Excellent speech from Ezzard, made lots of sensible points. I hope all N Side voters will hear the wisdom of his arguments and VOTE NO. Gov’t has no business case for new cruise berths – or at least not one we’ve heard.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Alden = Buffoon!

    Does he not realize that we are in the age technology and everything he put in writing from previous administrations could be pulled out on a whim? Goes to prove my point, that these career politicians depend on an uneducated populace to guarantee their longevity in the political arena. How could he think that he could get away with this level of hypocrisy and no one call him out?

    I am starting to dislike this man personally. How could I not, when is denying a fruitful future to my son and his children? He’s extremely out of touch with the people he serves. Education will never be on the forefront until we get rid of these leaches that are sucking our coffers dry and running these Islands into the ground.

  24. Anonymous says:

    The quotation marks around hypocrisy really aren’t necessary in this article CNS

    I don’t always agree with Arden’s policies or demeanor, but he eviscerated Alden point by point during his debate I was worried the opposition lost an leader who knew what he was doing when Ezzard stepped down (again not the biggest fan of Mr Miller in general but his term as Opp Leader was miles better than I expected)

    I was pleasantly surprised by Mr McLean’s performance

  25. Anonymous says:

    Poor Alden, he is taking a page out of McKeeva’s book but unlike McKeeva he gets tripped up and gets caught..McKeeva needs to polish him up some..

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