A call for new political leaders

| 02/03/2020 | 43 Comments

Gilbert Connolly writes: Elected politicians are the only group of Caymanian workers that are protected from competition from qualified expats in the workplace. The Cayman Islands Constitution prohibits expats from serving in the Legislative Assembly. This begs the question: how would Caymanian politicians fare against expat politicians who have the advantage of a first-class education from the top universities of the world and who have that funny accent that Caymanians love so much?

On the other hand, the average Caymanian seeking a job in the private sector must face competition in the workplace every day, much of it unfair, yet they are expected to grin and bear it. Based on their performance as representatives, I doubt that some Caymanian politicians would stand much chance of succeeding in the private sector.

Despite protection from competitive employment, too many of today’s politicians have failed to provide programmes that would lift our people out of poverty so that they can enjoy a better standard of living. Our politicians know that education and technical training are instrumental to lifting people out of poverty. However, they have failed to provide our young people with a good education, while giving away the good jobs to expats and offering Caymanians jobs to clean the streets.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I agree that Caymanian politicians should be protected by our Constitution, that is how it should be, but there is downside to this kind of protection. Have the Cayman Islands been getting the best political leaders possible? Unfortunately, I must conclude no. Too often we get incompetent and nonperforming politicians. This system of politics also gives politicians the wrong incentives to run for office, example big salary.

The performance of politicians goes unchecked and despite recent changes to the Cayman Islands Constitution, there is no Code of Conduct to govern the behaviour and performance of politicians. Consequently, this is why so many Caymanians have become frustrated with the government and lost hope in the future for the Cayman Islands. Worst of all, our young people believe that whatever they do it will not make a difference to the present political situation. 

Unfortunately, greed, love of money and misguided politicians have taken the Cayman Islands in the wrong direction. Sadly, the wealth created in the Cayman Islands does not trickle down to the poor; instead, it flows up to the rich.

The young people, and for that matter all Caymanians, should be inspired and take courage from the recent victories of the Cruise Port Referendum (CPR) group and the group of concerned citizens who have successfully fought to protect the Smith Barcadere. I believe these two groups have changed the dynamics of Cayman politics for the future. The government can no longer think that they can bully small groups of citizens into submission with their propaganda. CPR has demonstrated that where groups are well organised, they can fight the government and win.         

The performance of our politicians is public record that speak for themselves.

First, we have the Peoples Progressive Movement (PPM) (should have changed their name to Poor People Mistake), the party that has been in power for eight years. These politicians, including Premier Alden McLaughlin and his ministers, (by their action) are only concerned with themselves and their rich expat lawyer friends and big business. There has been little or no improvement in jobs for Caymanians. Excessive red tape that bars poor Caymanians from business opportunities.

Thank you, Governor Anwar (the previous Cayman Islands Governor). I contend that what makes the best politician is what is in your heart and the ability to have compassion for the less fortunate in society. The PPM party proves that education, while important, does not make you the best politician. The PPM have failed the people.

There are a few independent elected politicians who want to help Caymanians who are suffering, but because of egoism and the inability to organise themselves, they are unable to offer any help. They have failed the people. 

Finally, we have the Cayman Democratic Party (CDP), led by Speaker McKeeva Bush. The CDP by their actions may have wanted to do good but just does not know how to do it. Case in point is the Nation Building Fund. This programme, like so many conceived by that party, could have done good for the people but instead it was poorly planned and mismanaged. It is also questionable whether this party has the moral authority to lead the country. They have failed the people.

What happened to politicians Jim Bodden, our first National Hero, Anna Hulda Bodden and Gilbert McLean who gave us CINICO? Where would poor Caymanians be today without CINICO? Why don’t we have more politicians like these and like Ezzard Miller, who has spent his political career fighting for Caymanians and the Cayman Islands? These are politicians who have been brave enough to stand up and fight for the rights of the Caymanian people.     

Our politicians have failed us, therefore we must find a different way forward. There is hope. The Cayman Islands People’s Party is based on the principle of participatory democracy, a party by the people for the people. What we need are new political leaders who stand on principle and for the interest of all the people.

Leaders like Shirley Roulstone, Johann Moxam, Katrina Jurn, Chris Saunders, Issac Rankin and Dr Darley Solomon should join Miller and his team at the People’s Party, which is focused on bringing a new kind of governance to Cayman – governance that invites and supports the active participation of people at the community level, not just at election time. Miller is smart, hardworking and is a proven leader.

There are other decent, smart and compassionate Caymanians who in the past did not want to get involved in politics because of its stigma. Now is the time to take a stand for your children and for your country.


Gilbert Connolly is a retired Cayman Islands senior civil servant. The views and opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily the views and opinions of the Cayman Islands People’s Party.


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Category: Politics, Viewpoint

Comments (43)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I was born in the UK but this has been my home for almost 40 years. I own no other home than the one I have here. My wife and I support local charities and our friends are both Caymanians and expats.

    We vote in elections but cannot stand for office by virtue of the Election law.

    Let’s be clear here. Being able to stand for office doesn’t automatically mean one is elected to office. Because that means a large number of CAYMANIANS have to vote for you.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Mr Connolly,
    In regards to hiring expat politicians who have the advantage of a first-class education, I think its a grand idea to hire them as advisors to our Caymanian politicians.

    And we should try to elect Caymanians who present as sensible and earnest and who sell us their story, (young Caymanians, like myself, who still love their county) instead of the ignorant and arrogant types we have elected in recent history (who literally buy district votes, starting their corruption even before they sit in office, but thats another issue.).

    I’m talking about the types of Caymanians we can envision listening to and considering the advice of expat-politician-advisors and trying to make a better Cayman for us poor neglected Caymanians.

  3. Anonymous says:

    How he never mention Arden?

  4. Anonymous says:

    I think politicians should only be allowed to run for 2 terms and then leave.History shows that the longer a politician stays in the government, is the more of a connected,experience crook they become.I am not saying all are criminals but majority seems to be filling their personal pocket and then throw the scraps to the people.Hopefully with 2 terms the newcomer would see what the current system is and on their 2nd term they will be able to get something done for the people. As it stands these season politicians who has master the art of making promises be on their 4th and 5th term and deliver as little as they possibly can, with the promise of if the people put them in again they will get it done.

  5. Anonymous says:

    What could have been a good debate has turned into xenophobic waffle pretty quick. Most / all current Caymanian politicians are there to serve themselves.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m surprised you posted this xenophobic waffle. Part of me would love to see the chaos that would ensue if expats left. This place would sink without a trace.

  7. Caymanian to de bone! says:

    Gilbert, sorry to burst your bubble, its not going to get any better. These are the End Times. People are immoral and no faith in the Creator God. You see the increase in crime, the gay pride nonsense, the adulteries and sexual sins in the dark, the greed for beach access, monies, and lands, and the rumors of corruption in high places. Not even a 7.7 earthquake woke us up, and we rather place our trust in politicians, our judgement, and not in God. The churches are sleeping too with their idols whilst Cayman sink. Population has increased and with it a nasty dump, traffic congestion, crowded schools, and more people than Caymanians who think they know what we need and don’t need. It is bleak, Gilbert, and I don’t think the remedy is found with a fresh bunch of MLAs.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah – I’m sure it was those sexual sins in the dark that caused the earthquake. Keep drinking the koolaid. SMH!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I don’t agree with everything you wrote – especially in your support for Ezzard Miller – but this is a thought-provoking post. Thanks for posting. One thing I would add: there are better qualified Caymanians who could be much better at governance. They all have great careers in the private sector, but they don’t dare enter politics. It’s not so much because they’d have to take a pay-cut – many don’t need the money – but because they don’t want to subject themselves and their families to personal attack crap that comes with being in politics here and they don’t want to work in an environment where the tail wags the dog, with the tail being the civil service lobby. Still, they are our best hope. But when we elect people who are capable, like Marco Archer and Wayne Panton, who don’t pander to voters they way people like McKeeva does, they are sent packing for the type of glib dimwits we have now, who know how to say the right things, but don’t know anything about good governance. For them, it’s all about the prestige and income potential. And I fear that with single member constituencies, this is the way it will remain.

    • Anonymous says:

      If ambient corruption is chalked up to “pandering to voters”, then what does that say about our voters? I’d suggest that the problem is more the complete unapologetic dereliction of voter sentiment and interests while using their positions of privilege for personal and crony gain. Yesterday’s verdict on the unconstitutionality of the Law their (our public) legal team put forward is an absolute disgrace, and underscores how far from truth this regime is prepared to go.

  9. Anonymous says:

    We don’t have any leaders, just idle enrolled participants. High performance people don’t want to associate with, let alone rely upon, any of them because the standards are so poor. Baseball hall of famers don’t get excited about the career prospects of a vacancy popping up in the local (cheating) high school team.

  10. Anonymous says:

    free solution: let expat paper caymanians run for office.
    they are the most educated and successful in society

    • Anonymous says:

      At the PPM’s early days , they did have someone that you suggest behind the scenes manipulating their puppet strings & policies. Many readers here know of this relationship. .

    • Truth says:

      @10:07 and the like community of 22, the day that is allowed will be the death kernel of these islands. Enjoy your stay and be careful what you wish for.

  11. Anonymous says:

    cayman deserves what it gets….it prevents the most educated and successful in their community from being elected.
    pure wonderland nonsense

  12. Anonymous says:

    Expat voters are Caymanian Status Holders and should have equal Legal rights to representation as any other Caymanians. We can’t continue to have two tiers of Belongership. Caymanian = Caymanian

    • Anonymous says:

      Thankfully Gillie is retired. please stay retired.

    • Anonymous says:

      We are no different from the USA as far as who can run for office.Let’s leave it that way..To many people have gotten status from previous corrupt government so we run the risk of jumping out of the pot and directly into the fire…

      • Anonymous says:

        There are two roles in the US government that can only be filled by a natural born citizen: President and Vice President. The rest are open to any citizen.

      • Anonymous says:

        Any Us citizen can run for any public office in the US, no mater where they were born, the only exception is the president.

        So we are completely different from the US as far as who can run for office

      • Anonymous says:

        People like you (who can’t get over things from 17 years ago) need to go through the actual Gazetted list. It would be a really healthy reconciliation exercise for you. At the time, you may recall, there were only perhaps 9-12 Status’ Granted per year, names and mug shots in the Friday Compass, while others that had been quietly contributing here for over 30 years had no rights. The list also includes hundreds of “Caymanians” born at Jamaican hospital that hadn’t been given any permanence. I acknowledge there are also a few hundred names that had been here for 10 minutes (lawyers, cute bartenders, friends of friends). Read the list and focus your argument. The bulk of these irrevocable Cabinet Status Grants seem to have been long overdue and justified. I would hate to have been on that list, suffering your sabotaging retributions, and micro-aggressions all these years. Get over it. Move on.

        https://cnslibrary.com/wp-content/uploads/ExtraGazette-No.33-2003-Status-grants-1.pdf

    • Right ya so says:

      @ Anonymous 02/03/2020 at 8:08 pm I think you’ll find that many, if not the majority, of the Status holders don’t vote – they don’t care as long as that pay cheque is bigger than the one they’d get at home.

      • Anonymous says:

        It would be healthy for xenophobes to spend a solid day checking the irrevocable Gazetted Cabinet Status Grant 2003 list against the current voter list, against the 17 years of Cause Lists, their mental deceased/non-resident list, and maybe FOI the NAU for more…if only it could help you to recover from your bias and affliction. Get over it. Move on.

  13. Anonymous says:

    What is this, politics for dummies?

    Even the best intentioned politicians can become jaded and susceptible to special interests, but this is entirely due to an apathetic population. You could perhaps argue that lack of education is the root cause, but any person who can articulate what affects their lives can just as easily work out who that needs to be raised with.

    Spare the time to take positive action to deal with the issues that affect you, don’t bury your head in the sand and especially don’t give politicians a “bligh” and wait 4 years to judge their performance.

    The meek will inherit the earth that they let others ruin.

    • Anonymous says:

      For years the government has place a straight line for expats to come to Cayman because the Caymanians were not qualified or have the social skills to do the job. Based on the current politicians track records, why doesn’t the same principle apply here? Bring in some skilled politicians on a 9 year permit with Caymanian to understudy them?

      • Anonymous says:

        Where do you suggest we get these skilled politicians from? Please do not say the U.K. They have made a bigger mess there as far back as your mind can wonder.

  14. Anonymous says:

    What about Caymanians (born abroad to non Caymanian parents) who have been here for more than 30 years? Why can’t they be allowed to run for office?

    • Anonymous says:

      Because they are specifically banned by the Elections Law.

      • Anonymous says:

        You will recall apartheid and slavery were also good law at some point in time.

        Given where we are today privy council review will most likely squash that provision of the constitution as being contrary to ECHR and UK’s international obligations. No commonwealth country practices apartheid.

        • Anonymous says:

          Hey, I’m not saying it’s right, it’s just the answer to the question posed. Successive Judicial Reviews are making it clear we need to amend many of our broken (unenforced) laws and update the Constitution, but we have corrupt boneheads that don’t care to do any work or take responsibility. It’s a catch 22 that may require the governor (also accustomed to doing nothing) to actually get off his chair, coordinate the FCO’s dissolving the LA, stepping in via Orders in Council for a short period, and then calling new elections.

  15. Say it like itis says:

    Can Mr Connolly enlighten us as to why the Caymanian head of CINICO was sacked. The public have a right to know as they paid his salary for many years.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Man this is getting interesting by the day !

  17. Anonymous says:

    Can I get an Amen! Please share how and when we can become involved . I will support any party of Ezzard 100%.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Low bar….must not be bottom feeding pond dwellers that support the abuse of women.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Can Mr. Connolly post a more current photo of himself- this one seems to be taken when he was still in high school . Is he a new political leader or an old fogy? Enquiring minds wants to know Both Mr Jim and miss Annie Hulda are both diseased for many years and Gilbert McLean is in his mid seventies. I think at these crossroads that we are at we need older, younger and in betweens Caymanians, Cayman needs everybody! Kenneth is young, probably the youngest member of the L.A and he just made a huge bumbling decision by siding with Mckeeva. Education, integrity,character and good understanding of the job at hand Trumps (pardon the pun) age every time.

  20. Blacklisted says:

    Pick the best, get rid of the rest, bring in fresh.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Wants new blood, supports Ezzard.

    This is the very definition of an oxymoron.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I thought PPM stood for “People Provoking McKeeva.”

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