PACT Ministry of Education: audacity or redemption?

| 29/04/2021 | 94 Comments

Judy Singh Hurlston writes: Witnessing the PACT Government finally sworn in after a week of uncertainty invoked deep feelings of relief, pride and hope in my heart. So when the announcement of Cabinet ministries finally circulated late Monday afternoon, perhaps one of the greatest shocks was that Juliana O’Connor-Connolly was once again given the Ministry of Education. Why would our new premier, who promised us change, reinstate one of the highest profile ministries to one of the most unpopular ministers?

It’s no secret that the court of public opinion rating for Ms O’Connor-Connolly’s previous term rivals those of the schools she oversaw – ‘weak’. Known for having little public engagement, including months of radio silence in the midst of the pandemic lockdown last year, and inciting religious protest against a Caymanian family, Ms Juliana’s most noteworthy achievement seems to have been selecting a new shade of charcoal for the school shoes.

No one expects things to change overnight, but to see such weak school ratings year after year in one of the richest economies in the region just seems shameful. Of course, it’s not all her fault. She inherited a mess. And sure, there have been some improvements here and there. But why do we continue to have so many reports of students leaving high school without basic life skills, let alone able to fill out a simple job application form?

While it’s easy to call out Ms O’Connor-Connolly’s appointment as yet another hypocritical slap in the face begging forgiveness, we must also ask ourselves, albeit begrudgingly, is she possibly a legitimate choice under the circumstances? In his announcement, Premier Wayne Panton cited continuity as the reason for her appointment, noting, “This is the first time in over 20 years and six administrations that the same minister has continued as minister for education.” 

We know she was offered a ministry to join the PACT bench, so looking at the options available, there’s no doubt Ms Juliana’s long-standing experience in parliamentary procedure factored heavily with so many first time MPs, and her probable longing to retain the post fuelled with promises of change all worked to outweigh her lacklustre track record. And perhaps she faced greater challenges implementing changes with the previous administration than we’re aware of. 

Regardless, like the other unexpected outcomes of this new government, we must accept she is once again our minister of education and give her some benefit of the doubt knowing she is now backed by a government committed to change. And having Ms Katherine Ebanks-Wilks as the parliamentary secretary gives her an opportunity to learn the ropes while bringing fresh perspectives and determination towards making real changes in the system. 

That said, we must also keep firmly in mind that the myriad of issues facing education today are not simply caused – or fixed – by one person at the top but in fact stem from a complex network of failures throughout the entire fabric of our public and social systems. Permanent secretaries, chief officers, senior managers and department heads have long-standing positions of influence when it comes to the attitudes and culture of the internal workings at each department. The teachers and administrators of each school have a significant influence over variables like race and gender biases, as well as the many obstacles faced by religious biases, especially when it comes to science, health and life skills studies. 

All of this takes place before we even recognise real and present social factors affecting students, like child hunger (a much greater issue than people realise), over-worked, struggling or absentee parents, abuse in the home and poor living conditions, to name but a few. Of course, all societies have these kinds of problems but some handle them better than others, and usually with millions of people. We are only a population of 60k. There is absolutely no excuse for our government to be unable to organise our immense economic resources to not just adequately but superiorly provide for Caymanians. So why have we been failing so miserably? Political will.

MPs and civil servants, teachers, parents and NGOs can work together, objectively, consistently, and under the strong determined leadership of our new premier to actually shift our complacency to these failures and drive the changes needed. Will they?

I call on Ms Juliana O’Connor-Connolly to invite honest collaboration with her parliamentary secretary, and among the various department heads and those already on the ground within our communities to ensure the most compassionate and innovative solutions are not being overlooked.

Partnerships with Caymanian authors, artists, musicians and other local cultural ambassadors offer young Caymanians a stronger sense of their own identity. People like Michael Myles, who already provides comprehensive vocational support to young persons, and others with such immense experience in alternative teaching systems could be consulted on how these programmes can be integrated into our school system so students can access the kind of learning that best suits their individual needs.

NGOs like the Red Cross, Inclusion Cayman, the Crisis Centre and the Alex Panton Foundation also have valuable social programmes which could be integrated at varying and appropriate levels. What an incredible opportunity to show the real power of teamwork!

I call on Ms Katherine Ebanks-Wilks to work diligently with her minister to ensure our public schools are free from racial, gender and religious biases, and that we are offering the best support services available so no child is left hungry or without somewhere to turn, regardless of what issues she/he may be facing.

Please ensure that the anti-bullying legislation awaiting debate is brought to the House floor and implemented as soon as possible to allow some accountability for the perpetrators and relief for the victims of bullying in school. Conversely, let’s also ensure students with proficiency in sports, arts, academics or other areas are supported with the opportunities needed to develop their full potential. Flexible programmes build dynamic students and adults.

I call on my own elected representative and Minister for Youth, Sports, Culture and Heritage, Bernie Bush, to work closely with Minister O’Connor-Connolly and Ms Ebanks-Wilks to ensure the ministries are working in tandem so students have streamlined access to programmes and mentors in these areas.

I call on all the members of our PACT Government to keep your pact to the people of these islands by putting your egos aside so you can listen to what our people need. Listen to your constituents. There are some incredible voices and brilliant minds waiting to be heard.

I call on the people of the Cayman Islands to support one another by organising your neighbourhoods and getting involved in your imminent district councils. Whether it’s speed bumps or mangrove reserves, your ideas and voices will help guide our new government towards the changes we need to see for our overall prosperity. Many hands make light work.

And with all of the trust, hopes and expectations already imposed on our new government, I call on Premier Panton to ensure the PACT tenets of “People driven, Accountable, Competent and Transparent” government are being placed against all of your decisions and those of our ministers, MPs and civil service. 

We are standing beside you, ready to support our government any way we can but we demand the integrity and change you promised. We don’t expect anything overnight but we look forward to seeing some progress towards social and environmental protections within the next few months. As demonstrated by the increasing number of petitions, protests and editorials over the last few years, months and weeks, we will not suffer in silence any longer when faced with hypocrisy and injustice.

Our voices are loud and clear. So if you must ask us to once again put aside our contempt in the face of audacity, we trust you have a plan and we will start seeing changes soon. Redemption is in your hands.

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Comments (94)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Judy you offered many key points. Thank you so much for calling on the right people. I was on the fence about Julianna coming back. However, we need to stop blaming the wrong person. As one who works in the system, I can say Min. Julianna has done her part.

    The problem lies in the schools, with DES and the Ministry. There is a big gap between what each want. It is difficult to get any teaching done in the schools because of the lack of support from school leaders and parents. Then there is little time to teach overall between dealing with the behavioural issues and the overwhelming amount of events and subcommittees. It is totally ridiculous.

    Then the heavy focus on ‘data’ which pile on the amount of paperwork that teachers need to do. If teachers invested that much time into teaching, the system would be better. At this point, I just want to teach. The power is in the teaching. We also need to stop blaming teachers and talking about the 5k, who can pass a test without being taught the content? The testing regime is also ridiculous, sometimes the concepts are not even taught because…someone may have a bright idea to buy a new test, a week or so before the test. I think it’s all a ploy to keep Caymanian children behind.

    I must repeat this, the lack of support from school leaders who are very biased and do not know how to run a school are contributing factors as well. We need all hands on deck, not just managers and dress code detectives. I am not blaming the school leaders because they are not even supported either. They are simply drilled by the DES to provide DATA!!

    Lastly, teachers need a voice. We will not talk about the harsh conditions instead we want to collaborate with the DES/Ministry to improve teaching and learning in the schools. Then again, this is Cayman, be quiet or else. For me, it’s quietly quit job because things will not get better.

    • Judy Singh Hurlston says:

      Thank you for this insightful comment. It indeed echoes many sentiments I’ve heard, particularly in terms of the disconnect. We don’t fully realize the burden placed on teachers with admin on top of teaching, grading and managing all the personalities of students. It’s a lot. I’m sorry your voice is silenced. That must change too. If we can’t allow teachers to speak about how to improve their environments, how can we possibly expect to improve the environments for their students?

    • Anonymous says:

      It is utterly disgraceful that this woman has once again been charged with such a high profile ministry and one she knows nothing about. They say people deserve the people they elect, but the children of the Cayman Islands deserve better.

  2. Anonymous says:

    When you state that the Minister inherited a mess, then you have to question who is responsible for the mess. It should be no surprise that the education system is in such a state when it has traditionally been run by failed teachers and individuals promoted into positions without the necessary qualifications or experience. When you add to this mix a totally inept Education Council and around 30% of teachers that can’t teach, then you have a major problem. Even a good Minister would struggle with this mess and the current Minister is the worst ever. NO HOPE.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m sorry but I’m blaming the Brac for voting her back in. The state of education in Grand Cayman is bad enough, but in the Brac I can only imagine! Have you all learned nothing?

    • Anonymous says:

      Ironically, the public schools in the Brac are better.

      • Anonymous says:

        Probably due to the lower number of students in each class, so the students get a greater focus of attention. I hear it’s like going to a private school there.

        • Anonymous says:

          Well you have to question the success of private schools on Grand Cayman when the High Achievement Academy has over 500 students attending who are from private schools.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t blame all of us. I never have voted for her. In fact, I only had a choice to vote for ONE of two people, and Julianna wasn’t on the ballot.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes but PACT formed a Government with her and MAC and then put Julianna back in education and MAC back as speaker. They also issued a statement of pride that there was continuity and she was back in education. Surely this is a failed election system when you have MAC and Julie right back where we started. It’s left most of us wondering how we got here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, in general the schools on the Brac are quite good. Agree that this data driven approach to education is killing teaching and learning and propose that more autonomy is given to schools in order to hire (and fire) best fit. The few non productive teachers on the Brac are here for life, adversely affecting a few generations of students.

  4. Truth says:

    So no change in Caymanians third world upbringing of their children. So be it. This is what the people want. They have what they deserve. When you and your kids ask why can’t I get a job? This is why. End of story.

    • Anonymous says:

      And you First world folks are so smart. Well let me tell you how smart you really keep electing people who believe that high taxation is the way to go and any destination with low or no taxes should be blacklisted. So much for that First/second world education.

  5. anonymous says:

    This well written article has inspired many to comment and that is a good thing. As Caymanians and residents, I feel we are finally paying greater attention to critical issues.

    For my part, I would like to give our new government the opportunity to address many of our issues. The assignment of portfolios has generally shown much consideration for leader’s strengths. Let’s give them a chance to work together. As one writer said, this needs to be about joined up government.

    Let’s air our concerns but give them a chance to respond to us.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The reason is simple. Panton is Lodge. He does not deny it although he downplays the significance of it in his life.
    I do not trust Wayne Panton as far as I can throw him.
    He will be Alden 2.0.
    Well Cayman, this what you seem to want.
    Alden chastised you with whips, Panton will chastise you with scorpions.
    The noose is tightening. If you are super-rich, welcome to Cayman, if not, you should consider other options.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Wow Ms Hurlston, just wow! A fantastic piece of prose. And spot on too which will unfortunately be ignored by those in power. Self-preservation is the one instinct that all politicians on this island possess in abundance. Desire to advance, educate, promote, nurture, and empower the next generation isn’t. Because the mighty dollar and feathering of the nest is way, way more important. And that is so sad.

    • Anonymous says:

      Julianna should not be there to bury education. She has taken education back fifty years.

    • Judy Singh Hurlston says:

      Have faith. Many of those forming our new government actually have integrity – though it’s been difficult to see right now with the compromises needed . I expect to see some of the policies they spoke about being implemented very soon – like code of conduct, consumer and environmental protections and conflicts of interest in the boards.

      As for public schools, as disappointed as I am, I support the new government in this decision because I’m being asked to. But if it’s more of the same, we will take to the streets and demand her resignation. That’s the new era we are in! Cayman has a many strong voices who aren’t afraid to speak out and we will work together to make sure we are heard loud and clear.

      • D. Truth says:

        I gave you a “Like”, Judy. I’m with you on the integrity…….. but you have to remember, “Love is NOT what makes the world go ’round.” It’s GREED! Hasn’t that been proven by our earlier “leaders”?

        • Judy Singh Hurlston says:

          Indeed is has been D Truth. Your skepticism is founded. But many members of the new government have their roots in public advocacy. Many were not born with silver spoons and even Mr. Wayne, who doesn’t need money has undergone hardships no one should endure. I truly believe that this grouping cares about our people and lands in a way unlike any other. They are not beholden to development at all/any cost. They are not apathetic to the struggles of our working class. They are trying to set an example of democratic collaboration and honesty. I say they are different from what’s come before and deserve the chance to prove it.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Great commentary Ms. Singh Hurlston. But do our leaders even read these posts to monitor the public’s pulse, let alone take the public’s suggestions, ideas, etc?

    • Anonymous says:

      They will read it b/c Ms. Hurlston will share it with her MP and neighboring MP. She’s very active in making sure our concerns are heard. We need to keep the faith that this new gov’t will hear us and respond.

  9. Juliana --a very poor choice indeed says:

    This editorial is completely right: Juliana O’Connor-Connelly is a disgrace. I will never forget how she brazenly gay-bashed on the floor of the Assembly, displaying an appalling lack of the very Christian values (e.g., “love thy neighbour”) that she professes to have. Talk about shouting to the rest of the world how backward Cayman is. Further, what does it say about Cayman that we would have someone so utterly ignorant as the minister of education? Mr. Panton, please right this wrong immediately, and put a person of compassion, intelligence, and positive (not negative) leadership ability in this important role — all the things that Juliana lacks.

    • Anonymous says:

      So, 3:09pm, you didn’t like her babbling speaking in tongues prayer against the whole gay thing which got lots of support, including from the then Speaker doing his “Amen amen” thing.?

      • Juliana -- a very poor choice indeed says:

        The fact that many others in the Assembly were equally bigoted is hardly an excuse! Too bad you don’t realise that. By any chance, do you go to the same church she does???

  10. Anonymous says:

    It’s too bad politicians like JuJu and MacBeater are not graded on their performances both professionally and personally.
    If that was the case they would both be given a grade “F” and expelled. Only one politician would have passed with an “A” and sadly he lost his seat in Northside.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The public school students received their laptop, as promised. That much I can vouch for; that does not mitigate that for the most part, teachers have no emotional intelligence, or that they address their pupils in a way that I would not use to address my dog. It is disgraceful to hear how some teachers call our children stupid, idle, etc. There is the matter of the vaping in public schools, the premature sexual activity and the fact that when you call a PTA meeting at any public school, they are rarely attended by more than 15% of the parents.

    • Anonymous says:

      vaping and sexual activity are issues that should be addressed at home – no school. Teachers have no control over that and it is not their responsibility.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sex education should be. And yes, that’s also needed to be taught at home. But it’s hard to teach your children that when they are usually half sibling to 8 others.

        • Anonymous says:

          Sex education when paired with religion is nothing more than pushing abstinence. Hardly qualifies as education. We need to remove religion from our schools, focus on practical education, and leave the fairytale lessons for parents to handle.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Religion, homophobia and all other backward concepts need to be banned from our schools. How can our children progress and keep up with the rest of the world when they are being fed nonsense.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am a former very senior teacher in a government school, now thankfully retired. We were constantly harassed by the Education Council to have more morning devotions, afternoon devotions which our students…Caymanians….hated. At some point it was decided the school should have a Education Dept appointed pastor in place and we got a really nice guy who I will not name…..who was constantly late…..constantly….for school assemblies which the Education Council , chaired by the Principal of Triple C had decreed for our godless school. The main critic of our school for its godless behavior was a failed education department employee with fanatical fundamentalist beliefs who was sent to the Brac for a while, enjoyed beating the boys at the high school then returned to Grand Cayman and became a pastor. His own child was, shall we say, not a model child. And yet this man, because of the obsessive religious bias of the Education Council at the time, had a very strong influence because the damn politicians were frightened to upset the voters.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Thank you to the author.

    I agree that we should, ‘demand the integrity and change you promised’, however after the appointment of Mac as Speaker, particularly when they campaigned against working with him, I am afraid that we might as well demand that the sun rises in the west and sets in the east. It is already starting to be clear that the campaign speeches were just hot air, adding to global warming almost as much as cattle do although the air comes from opposite ends.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Quote: In his announcement, Premier Wayne Panton cited continuity as the reason for her appointment.
    Why continue with a system that is clearly failing?
    It is time that we initiate CHANGE and think more about the future needs of our children, many of whom have been left behind.

  15. JTB says:

    Clearly educating our children isn’t a priority for this government any more than it was for the last, otherwise it would not be entrusted to someone so glaringly inadequate to the task as JuJu.

    It’s ok though, our politicians all send their own children to private schools, so that’s alright then.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I met with my son’s teacher for a reporting session a few days ago. He attends one of the Government schools in year 1. The teacher admitted that the curriculum for Year 1 is hard and maybe too advanced for the kids in this year as majority of them were struggling and she was struggling too with trying to teach them. Then she concluded with ” we just comply with the curriculum set out by the Government”. I was smdh in disbelief as I realized the teachers and the parents are voiceless in this regard. If the qualified teacher thinks a lesson is not age appropriate and finds it hard to teach it to the kids then how will the parents do it? This is where the change needs to start.

    • Anonymous says:

      What if the lesson IS age appropriate – but that many of our kids are so far behind they cannot learn it? Is that not a core aspect of our problem?

      • Anonymous says:

        In Year 1? Relevant comment in an older group perhaps, but Year 1?

        • Anonymous says:

          I do not believe 5 year kids need to be doing hw such as using an adjective,verb and a noun in a sentence. Fractions and number lines etc. are too advanced for 5 year old kids. This is the type of hw my 5 year old brings home.

      • Anonymous says:

        In Year 1 though? Kids at their tender age should not dislike school because they feel pressured and burdened. Why are 5-6 year old kids being labeled as failing or below expectations? The curriculum needs an overhaul. If children start to hate school and learning from this age, it tends to stick around. I really wish the focus would shift, there is no need for competition between these young children.

    • Judy Singh Hurlston says:

      Our son is in Y1 at a private school following a British curriculum and I’ll admit, I was surprised by the level of academic work but he’s thriving.

      While it may seem odd for a 5yo, it’s not coming from nowhere. It’s the British curriculum and is fairly standard for the age group. I actually think setting habits of thinking and problem solving using english, maths, science etc is an excellent foundation for lifelong love of learning. It just needs to be presented in dynamic ways and I suspect this is probably the main issue. It’s not just about hiring proficient teachers but hiring ones that know how to make learning fun and engaging.

      And while I fully respect that many teachers have their own faiths, school is not church. The time should not be manipulated for faith based teaching or “devotions”.

      I resent having to pay the equivalent of a mortgage payment to send my son to private school because we just aren’t comfortable with all the reports of religious doctrine being infused into an overly standardized curriculum.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I hope Panton keeps her on a tight leash!

  18. Guido Marsupio says:

    Thank you for your well thought out piece, Ms. Hurlston. Can I ask you, though, how much of the deficiency in students’ educational performance is the responsibility of the parents vs. the schools? The analogy is “nature vs. nurture,” but don’t the parents bear some responsibility for ensuring that the energies of their children are directed towards productive educational progress?

    • Judy Singh Hurlston says:

      That’s a grave over simplification. I don’t think we can quantify it like that. Especially when there are many kids who’s parents (or parent) is struggling themselves working multiple jobs and/or undereducated. We have parents of school kids who are actually products of this broken system. Think about that.

      So, yes generally, of course parents must take responsibility for supporting their kids at home but if that isn’t happening, is that the kid’s fault? Do we turn away and say ‘not our problem’? Or can we provide some options for kids who have may not have a nurturing home life? We don’t have 100k kids to save. We don’t even have 10k. It’s not too hard to imagine compassion in action if you try.

      • GT East says:

        Judy so true ….even to think that parents are involved any more is pure head in the sand the vast majority of the kids don’t live in anything like a parental situation where both mum and dad are under the same roof …years of kids having kids and kids been dumped with anyone and everyone …so to win this battle we have to look at success stories in country’s that have been down the same path as we are on now …inner city hell holes in many countries have combated these problems and turned them around and made massive progress…schools in south London have now got some of the highest pass marks and sending kids off to good university including Oxford and Cambridge….invest in the right model and work on the kids from a younger age …it can be done

  19. Anonymous says:

    Vote Elvis 2025!

  20. Anonymous says:

    I commend you for your unbridled optimism as you “Call on” many individuals to betray their history and miraculously transform.

    History usually dictates future actions.

    And to your last statement about “Our voices are loud and clear”:

    The majority campaigned against a woman-beater, then did have a miraculous transformation – They accepted him when his own party would not, they put him in a highly influential position.

    Actions speak louder than campaign words, and sadly, the rot is deep in the bowels of our officials – They are corrupt, they lie, they hide the truth, they make back-room deals for their own prosperity, and they cannot be held to their word.

    And appallingly, the electorate re-elects fools, and supports those who welcome back those fools.

    Change will only happen when the electorate is more demanding of honesty and ethical governance; and no we are a long way from that.

    • Judy Singh Hurlston says:

      Am I disappointed with many aspects of this election. Of course I am. But I accept some of the decision which had to be made for this Government to take its place. Personally, I don’t think appointing JOC back to the Ministry of Ed was one of those necessary decisions but Wayne is asking us to trust him, I will. He’s different and deserves the chance to prove it.

      I think the electorate is more demanding by leaps and bounds than it ever has been before. Some people continue to be re-elected because of this very broken system I’ve described in my piece. But the reason there are so many new MP’s is because some of the entrenchment DID get dislodged. Mac’s win was so close no one would have believed it’s possible. That’s quite a big deal. If PACT is who they say they are we will start seeing some changes soon. It won’t all happen over night, but change is coming. And no matter what, we’ll keep working on the ground, talking, writing, educating, to erode that status quo down so the next election the country be ready to get the rest of them out.

      • Anonymous says:

        Indeed. So close in fact, that I think there should have been a recount. Seriously. That was by the skin of his extra skin.

        • Anonymous says:

          Is it too late for a recount??

        • Judy Singh Hurlston says:

          A family member of ours was one of the counters for Mario and he confirmed it was all done to full procedure. As sad as it is, the 300 registered voters who didn’t show up to vote allowed this happen. 🙁

  21. Anonymous says:

    Worse than the appointment of Mac as Speaker.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with the sentiment for change, but nothing in our history is worse than the appointment of Mac as Speaker.

  22. MR says:

    Easy answer to this decision – the new premiers focus was on forming a Government he could be the head of regardless of who was in it (as long as it excluded active Progressives) – he is clearly willing to put anyone, anywhere in order to be Premier – at least that is what it looks like.

    • Anonymous says:

      Including our Eternally Honourable Speaker – sorry I just threw up a bit.

    • Judy Singh Hurlston says:

      If the PPM were left to form a government, we wouldn’t have an ounce of hope for any change at all. I support what is needed to be done – as awful some of it has been – to give this government a chance. Remember they invited member of PPM to cross over and be part of a coalition. Juli was the only one who came seeing it was happening with or without her.

      Regardless, they promised code of conduct first thing, let’s see it. They promised environmental protections for people, lands and seas, let’s see it. Again, we need to be patient but I am giving them the trust, time and support they need to show us what they’re made of.

  23. Anonymous says:

    A damn disgrace. A slap in the face of our children.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Is there a way to find out her background and her level of education? Just curious…

    I think they should ALL provide a CV online before running for office.

    I mean Mac had to get a fake degree from the university in Jamaica. What does that say about their education system??

    *CNS: She has a teaching degree and worked for a while as a PE teacher at the John Gray High School. She later obtained her LLB from the University of Liverpool and was a practicing attorney before she was first elected in 1996.

    • Anonymous says:

      How does Jamaica feature in your comment … there is a difference between an Honorary Degree and a Degree that is conferred arising from a course of study … wherever you are from I am sure your “universities and/or colleges” also award Honorary Degrees … don’t be xenophobic and bring Jamaica into your pointless comment.

      • Anonymous says:

        You don’t have to do ANY academic work to get an honorary degree. Most schools have an honorary degree program for high profile people (like celebrities and politicians) but an honorary degree is not evidence of any particular knowledge or academic achievement

      • Anonymous says:

        What was meant that if they are willing to give an uneducated buffoon an honorary degree, what kind of judgment do they have. And then what is the point of a ‘honorary’ degree??
        Stop with YOUR racist xenophobic judgmental attitude. I happen to like and have great respect for all of the Jamaicans that I know.

    • Anonymous says:

      omg… Thanks for that CNS. Profoundly gobsmacked. I’ll bet she would be interesting to chat with. All I see in my head is her siting up on that paver all that long ago…

      • Anonymous says:

        4:09 pm, Her sitting on that paver is enough for anyone to see. It says it all: She will try anything to get a vote.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Education was never a key part of his manifesto. He serves financial services.

    • Big Bobo In West Bay says:

      Unfortunately, no politicians on either side really give a damn about public education.

      Simply not a priority. Then we complain because Caymanians cannot get jobs in the private sector because a good number of graduates lack basic math and English skills.

      Lip service is all we get and it was no different with the last group with Alden.

      Makes me very sad.

      • Judy Singh Hurlston says:

        Have faith BoBo! It’s not how we imagined it but the people voted in who they did and Wayne has to make the best with what he has. They need our support right now. With both patience and pressure. There are many in this group who want to see change.

        Give them a year and let’s see what inroads have been made. I would like to see JOC step down from the Ministry if some real changes haven’t been made in that time. We have so many talented Caymanian leaders waiting to share incredible solutions. Let’s use them. No more complacency.

  26. Say it like it is. says:

    Ms Hurlston, I could not agree more with your comments on the “new” Minister of Education.
    However I have one question for you – what are your views on the official Pact Manifesto promise to look at banning all work permit holders from owning cars?

    CNS: This is erroneous garbage. I’m assuming you got that from the Compass article about what to expect from the Panton government, which it said would “investigate banning car-ownership for work-permit holders”. Michael Klein is usually an excellent journalist but this was just wrong. The article purports to draw from the ‘Community Creates Country’ manifesto of three candidates, only two of whom won their seats – Wayne Panton and Heather Bodden. Note that this is not the manifesto of the PACT government, which does not exist, and while Panton is premier, he is the only CCC MP in a Cabinet of eight.

    This is what the CCC manifesto actually says: “Consider prohibiting work permit holders from importing vehicles until they have been resident on island at least three years.”

    Importing, not owning. Big difference. And not forever.

    The manifesto is here. See “Quality of Life”.

    • Anonymous says:

      Interesting. And given there are reportedly over 800 Japanese vehicles awaiting customs clearance in Jamaica, versus a reported limit of 15 vehicles to be scrapped each month, worth thinking very carefully about whether there should be limitations on importation of new vehicles. Although not sure why its just restricted to WP holders.

    • Anonymous says:

      Has the Manifesto published by Wayne Heather and Ossie before the election been formally adopted by all other Pact members or is it just the manifesto for Wayne & Heather now?

      It would be great if they have all signed up but I have not seen anything published and I would like to know what the new PACT Government has bound itself to as it is an important part of accountability.

    • Anonymous says:

      A moratorium on second hand Japanese cars should be put in place. Too many private persons (work permit holders/expats)are importing these vehicles as a means of making money, and should be required to have a Trades and Business License. Matter of fact, there should be a law banning them from importing vehicles.
      Why is it so difficult for government to put a stop to so many irregularities that are creating serious problems on island? There should be a limit to what work permit holders are involved in.

    • Say it like it is. says:

      CNS – did you have the courtesy to question Mr Klein before referring to his article and my comment as “erroneous garbage”?.The so called “Manifesto” to which you refer clearly states “re=assess who can legally purchase vehicles eg work permit holders”. I believe you owe us both an apology but I will not stoop to using your phrase to describe your own error.

      CNS: You’re right, it does say that. However, you only get a partial (very small) apology. Michael gets a full one because he’s nice. It is still not a PACT manifesto and therefore your question was bunk. Also completely off-topic.

      The manifesto does not “promise to look at banning all work permit holders from owning cars”. It’s actually a vague, badly worded point crying out for questions as to what exactly it means, though clearly they are looking at ways to get fewer cars on the road. However, common sense would tell you there is no way that ALL work permit holders, including lawyers, teachers, accountants, etc, may not be able to own cars. So to suggest that is what we can expect is a reach to say the least.

      Maybe instead of asking Judy silly questions, we should wait to see what ideas the government actually comes up with to reduce traffic. They can’t do worse than the last lot.

      • Say it like it is. says:

        CNS (we all know who you are), note I referred to the “so-called Manifesto” in my rebuttal, but Mr Panton, crucially, was one of the three authors of this document.The point I was making, was that anyone, least of all the Premier, should have his powers of judgement questioned for putting his name on this document. You rightly say that “common sense” tells us there is no way this would work, this was the whole point in my asking the question, how could the Premier endorse it?.

        CNS: I think the lesson here is that candidates should take better care over their manifestos in case someone actually reads them. I’m not sure there’s a high expectation of that, to be honest.

    • Really ???? says:

      No unfortunatly this not Bermuda. I wish they did though and I say it as it is.

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