Matrimonial vows of UDP and PPM

| 14/01/2020 | 34 Comments

Mario Rankin writes: The 2005-2009 election cycle resulted in the PPM-led government, the administration that piloted the Cayman Islands headfirst into a global recession, despite being warned by local and foreign consultants that we were not immune or exempt from this potential collapse. In the words of then minister of education, Alden McLaughlin, “only God” could stop him, as he along with the entire Cabinet were warned not to take on the level of capital projects and expenditures they had approved. Keeping in mind that this was in 2008, it was the last leg of that election cycle and the PPM was in full election mode, thus disregarding all of the above.  

As the government proceeded to engage and move forward on projects, such as two new high schools, post office and a new by-pass, which 50 million dollars from the education budget was used to build, it was clear that the government had no regard for the impact this would have on the people of the Cayman Islands and the economy in the future because they were waiting on God, and as predicted by the consultants and not God, it came to pass.

The worst global economic meltdown since the Great Depression in the 1920’s happened that same year and we started to feel the tremendous ripple effects almost immediately. Simply because our leaders were in full pursuit of political emblems to secure their seats in the upcoming election. Ironically, their behaviour and recklessness, by not taking advice to put projects on hold, was the same thing that cost them that election to their arch rivals, the UDP, which was spearheaded by McKeeva Bush in 2009. 

Immediately after being elected and becoming Cayman’s first premier under the new constitution, McKeeva went into negotiations with multiple entities to move projects forward, like waste-to-energy at the landfill and a cruise berthing facility. Having meeting after meeting and after much back and forth, there were some request for proposal documents tendered for bidding on projects from the Port Authority and Department of Environmental Health (DEH).

The tender process had taken place and the Central Tender Committee (CTC) had awarded two separate companies’ projects. One was GLF for the build-out of cruise piers and Wheelabrator, a waste-to-energy company from the USA in partnership with a local arm in Cayman, got the landfill project.

Shortly after this was made public, for whatever reasons, McKeeva devised a way to pull the legally awarded contracts from the winning bidders and redirected the projects to be given to other bidders that were also a part of the CTC process.

Much speculation was floated around as to why the premier would make this change last minute. The most popular rumours were that the Chinese were at play, China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC) and payouts from CHEC were the reason for this sudden change of obligation by government.

This was the beginning of the end of the ability of the Cayman Islands to maintain its independence on moving capital projects forward without the approval of the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO).  The idea that we were about to go into business with a globally-known company that has a reputation notorious for bribery, I think, was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Once the reports washed ashore across the pond on the doorstep of the FCO, coupled with the fresh mishap from the previous PPM-led administration and their capital floundering, the FCO was left with very little choice other than implementing the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility (FFR).

In light of this behaviour, the FCO felt they had to intervene because the government had been warned about the issue surrounding the potential global crisis, yet they took zero precautions or advice and went ahead with projects like business as usual. The FCO felt it was in the best interest of the people to impose an FFR, something that would act as watchdog and limit how the government could spend the public’s money in the future. Something, that has its pros and cons.

The PPM government forced people to vote for the 2009 Constitution by having an exit polling station setup in the exiting room of the general election. The thought process was, in my opinion, that they believed they were going to win the election because of the projects they started prior to the election.

In 2009, we saw a reformed constitution be enshrined in our history books, where the bar to win this vote for the reform was directly manipulated by the PPM government by changing the constitutional requirements of 50%+1 of the entire registered voters to be successful to 50%+1 of those that voted on that day, something they amended at the eleventh hour after realising how unpopular the newly drafted constitution was with the local Caymanian people.

Impacts of the FFR and new constitution, these new regulations, created numerous issues.

1. The fact that we now are talking about building a cruise berthing facility and can’t financially take on the responsibility on our own because of the limitations of the FFR, because we have exceeded the limit of the borrowing capacity with other projects. For us to build this or engage with any other capital projects of this magnitude, it will have to be done from an alternative source, hence we see this public-private partnership between the government and cruise lines.

2. The FFR has also reminded us we are a British colony, in regard to the FCO stepping in and calling the shots, something they haven’t done for a long time.

3. It set us back a few decades in respect to our integrity on how we have successfully managed our political destiny and legislative process. Now having to re-start the process of regaining the confidence of our colonial masters, leaves us very vulnerable to other issues the UK has been trying to get us to agree with, such as the financial industry, the most lucrative pillar of our economy and a great competitor to them.

4. The newly forced 2009 Constitutional upgrade also has its impact on our continuity. In some cases, like the ridiculous 50%+1 of the entire electorate to win a people-initiated referendum and you must have 25% of registered voters to trigger one. 

5. There are no provisions to ensure that if any government refuses to implement constitutional requirements entirely and enforce all laws that governs the lands of our 3 islands, they shall be held accountable and become subject of being ejected from parliament on the grounds of breaching a contractual obligation as elected for the sole purpose of properly representing the people of the Cayman Islands. 

6. We need a provision in the Constitution that requires every capital works project, of any proportion, to have a full and complete comprehensive study in place that highlights every possible impact across the board. If there is any anomaly that tips the scale and creates an unbalanced environment and infrastructure or continuity for our islands, where if all aren’t benefitting, it is not happening.

It is long passed the time where we continue to accept that we are not entitled to be contributors or have a say. It is time we are within the proverbial circle and lines that have separated and marginalized many Caymanians. No longer will we elect, whilst the status quo control. Their campaign dollars are to convince the electorate to vote for their puppets and we are never invited to the show… only every 4 years when the casting call comes around.

We are the director. We are the producer. We are the electorate. We are the power that controls the next chapter. Come on down 2021… 

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Attention Financial Industry:

    Last year’s CFATF Report made just 6 Recommendations. The 5th one concerned corruption in the jurisdiction. The National Risk Assessment for the Cayman Islands identified “theft, corruption and drug trafficking as the predominant generators of domestic proceeds of crime”. During the period 2012 to 2014, 67 corruption offence SARs with potential proceeds of crime implications were reported. Sixty-seven. Of those, only 4 were brought to the courts by RCIPS/FCU/ACC/DPP, and only 3 convictions recorded. If you’re wondering how bad it is, the corruption follow-up rate is just 3/67, about 4%. Keep an eye out for some hasty low-level corruption efforts to try to boost those stats coming into the next CFATF report review window.

    * Or *

    We could enact the passed, amended, and Gazetted “Standards in Public Life” Law and reign this misbehavior in.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Clearly, every word you have written and every action you suggest should be part of the changes necessary to have a true democracy.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    How can any election alternate hopefully ramble on about the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility, Foreign Commonwealth Office, and the 2009 Constitution, and fail to mention the languishing Standards in Public Life Law, it’s watering-down amendment, and the staffed, 11 year idle Commission established under section 119 charged with oversight of an unenacted Law? Cayman doesn’t need any UDP-era flee-the-scene personalities from the past, eager for another round at the trough. We’ve had far too much of that already. We need politicians that understand that SIPL is not optional. Any semblance of good governance hinges on it’s enactment.

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  4. Catcha Fire says:

    Alden was right about one thing Only God can remove them from power because you idiots keep re-electing the same ramble no matter what they do to these islands or its people. As for the Rinky Dink opposition what have they ever opposed?? seriously!! and it is now being led by a deposed member of the same ppm cabal which by the way is now amalgamated with a defunct 1 and half member dictatorship cdp Things so bad for Caymanians visitors now practicing and using Nepotism against their host!

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Shirley please run for office, you would win in a landslide.

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  6. Anon. says:

    The impact of the FFR on our ability to negotiate our own financing for our own capital works projects is clear. I could not understand why government would want the cruise lines to finance the cruise piers and why government could not come up with our own financing arrangements. Now I totally understand why. Because their hands are tied by the FFR and they want to be able to get those kickbacks.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It’s all about backending the Cayman public later on via increased cargo fees and/or side-deal bargaining on passenger head taxes, soft-dollar kickbacks elsewhere, passenger counts, and margins. Dart is part of the upland attraction package, and there are more curtained deals going on there as well. We need SIPL enacted, like, back in 2009 when it should have been enacted.

      From last year:

      “Miller said he will be seeking support from the PAC members to ask the auditor general if she would consider stepping into the process at an earlier point than would be usual.

      He said he would also be writing to the Public Procurement Committee about the bidding process and is considering a complaint to the Anti-Corruption Commission, as he weighs his options to try to shed light on what believes is an increasingly troublesome tender.

      Over and above his belief that the controversial project is unnecessary, uncertain and unpopular, he is very concerned about the way government has approached the bidding process, and in particular the financing aspect. Miller believes that government is misleading the public with its claims that the public purse will not be footing the bill for a project that will cost at least $250 million and possibly much more.

      “I want government to tell us what is the difference between a loan and rebatement through fees,” he said, pointing out that government’s side financing deals with the cruise lines will apparently be paid from the $12 per head passenger fees, which currently helps subsidise the general running of the port.

      Miller said that if the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands loses that income, it will be forced to find the money elsewhere. But the only remaining option will be increasing cargo fees, which will in turn fuel the already runaway cost of living for local people, “while the cruise ships sail off with all the money”.

      The issue of financing is at the heart of Miller’s concerns surrounding the tender. “Either this bid is about 100% financing or it is not,” he said, and since government has already admitted to making side deals with two cruise lines and is now involved in talks with at least another four, it is obviously not.”

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    • Anonymous says:

      What kickbacks? Bet you cant back up what you’re saying. Either put up or shut up and stop throwing baseless allegations and conspiracy theories about.

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  7. Enter the Void says:

    4. The newly forced 2009 Constitutional upgrade also has its impact on our continuity. In some cases, like the ridiculous 50%+1 of the entire electorate to win a people-initiated referendum and you must have 25% of registered voters to trigger one.

    Let’s get this straight Mario. The representatives were elected in by a majority / democratically. Their campaigns outlined their plans.

    Once in office, they acted on their plans for the 75% (example) that voted for them. The other 25% don’t like these plans, so to hold up the process, they initiate a petition.

    Allowing less than 50% of the electorate to hold up plans that reps were elected for is one thing, but allowing <50% of the electorate to cancel the plans is UNDEMOCRATIC.

    I knew about the airport upgrade and wanted it – I didn't and shouldn't have had to get out of my bed on a holiday to give my approval of it.

    I knew about the port/cargo upgrade and want it – I don't and shouldn't have to go out and put it in writing that I want it if I already voted for members who campaigned for said plans!

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    • Anonymous says:

      First off, the representatives were NOT elected in by a majority. 75% did NOT vote for them – where are you pulling that number from?

      Second, if you are too lazy too vote than your vote shouldn’t count in any way.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The only way to win your seat is to gain the majority of wotes in a district. they have a point..

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        • Anonymous says:

          Two losing arch-rival parties formed a coalition government BECAUSE neither “won” a mandate from voters. They formed the coalition – out of continued self-interest to see their undisclosed plans through. They spent hundreds of thousands of our public cash, to gaslight the voters into thinking that they voted for a Unity ticket, when we should all know that didn’t happen. Sam Bulgin opened the Courts yesterday and lamented that there are non-lawyers drafting our Bills and Laws. How about a school-leaver is officiating the Legislative Assembly where laws are supposed to be shaped!? Few in that room have any education to qualify them as lawmakers, and even the Laws that are passed, and a Gazetted aren’t enacted?!? For years!

          • Anonymous says:

            ALL of the arch rivals, including the current opposition were falling over themselves to form a coalition. Isn’t that what the proponents of the OMOV wanted? For elected members, irrespective of whichever party or alliance they represented, to leave party politics behind and form a government. Individuals working together for good of country, the OMOV folk said. Now we have a coalition where former rivals have come together there’s still complaints? Be careful what you wish for!

        • Anonymous says:

          You could have 100 voters, and 5 people running. Person 1 gets 19 votes, Person 2 gets 19 votes, Person 3 gets 19 votes, Person 4 gets 19 votes, and Person 5 gets 24 votes. Person 5 gets elected, but they were only voted for by 24% of the people. That’s not the ‘majority of votes’.

          That’s just an example, but it’s not far from the truth.

          Dwayne Seymour got only 37.96% of votes. David Wight only got 40.84% of votes. Barbara Connolly got 40.67%.

          None of these people were elected by the majority of voters. None of these people were elected by a majority of Caymanians.

          • Anonymous says:

            Many of these CPR folk are the same jokers that were touting the praises of OMOV and how much better and more democratic it would be for us. Now you lament that those elected under the OMOV system are not elected by the majority of Caymanians. There’s just no pleasing some people.

        • Anonymous says:

          Wrong! The way to win a seat is to gain the most votes in a constituency, not the entire district. Each of the elected representatives came out tops in their respective constituencies. Its not that hard to understand…. try to keep up!

    • Anonymous says:

      7:36 you’re crazy,,so why do you have to get out your bed and vote in a general elections,,,cause it’s the right thing to Do ,right? So get out your comfort zone and go vote,,I don’t care where you vote either,,but you all needs start thinking with your brains, and john,john, Austin ,didn’t campaign on the dock,,,,but you hold on if you think 3 Dictators are gonna get their way you got another guess coming. Better start paying attention to whats happening in the North,,

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  8. Anonymous says:

    decent commentary. fco saved cayman from its own incompetence.
    there is only one thing scarier than the udp/ppm…..and thats the opposition.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Have your personal opinion but should we continue to “shoot” the messenger and disregard the message ?

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  10. L.D. says:

    YOU elected them and loved it all until it had to be paid for. You wanted new schools a bypass. they only tried to give you what you wanted.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Nobody voted for the Unity coalition. Majority were independents that hadn’t yet pledged their fraternities, and couldn’t figure out where to register for course selections.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    So essentially what you are saying is that dishonesty is a problem and persons who have been convicted of such offenses should not be allowed to stand for election? Agreed.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Oh, like: “Mario Rankin, who is running for office in Newlands, appeared in Summary Court last week in an ongoing case relating to back payments he is making under court supervision to former unpaid workers. He is one of the three who have been challenged and CNS understands the challenge to his qualification relates to an alleged dishonesty conviction. Rankin appears to have been involved in a significant collision with a light pole in the early hours of Saturday morning in a car bearing his vanity plate, pictures of which were posted across social media.”

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      • Anonymous says:

        Just like that.

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      • Say what? says:

        @5:43 pm I don’t understand the point of your comment. Unpaid workers may simply indicate a legitimate business that has fallen on hard times. Also, “alleged dishonesty conviction” makes no sense. If he was convicted, it would not be alleged, it would instead be a fact supported by public record. And was the vehicle collision a crime (as in driving while intoxicated), or was it merely an accident? Or was the collision the fault of someone else? I think you need to either present better factual support that the guy is dishonest, or refrain from trying to make that connection.

        I’m no fan of Mario, but at the very least he is a Caymanian willing to fight publicly and openly for what he believes in. How many can we say that about?

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    • Anonymous says:

      The KGB couldnt do a better job of taking a grain of truth and twisting it into that kind of plot

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      • Anonymous says:

        When it comes to voting criminals into the house Caymanian idiot’s voters takes the cake , they voted in, women beaters , dishonest people, ex drug dealers, etc, etc, corruption is running like a raging river in Cayman, sad, so very sad

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