PPM has no special skill on reopening, says Panton

| 20/09/2021 | 48 Comments
Cayman News Service
Leader of the Opposition Roy McTaggart and Deputy Leader Joey Hew on Radio Cayman

(CNS): Premier Wayne Panton has said the opposition has no unique special skill or strategy to offer the government on reopening, given that the current administration is dealing with a different set of circumstances to the previous government, who managed lockdown not opening the borders. The opposition leader and his deputy have said they want in on the decision-making process surrounding the management of the COVID-19 pandemic now the virus has been spreading in the community.

Roy McTaggart wrote to Panton last week with an offer of help but the premier declined for a number of reasons, including the fact that his government is taking advice from the same people who gave it to the PPM-led government and because the situation now is very different.

“I am not aware of any instances where they brought any new perspective or any incredibly successful strategy to the table which wasn’t considered or advised by the Programme Board… Their experience has been around lockdown and an elimination strategy and they did that,” he said at Friday’s press briefing, as he gave them credit for that success.

“Where any government would be in terms of a reopening strategy is necessarily going to require a different approach,” Panton said. “This is about learning how to safely live with this, how to manage the risks, how to keep people safe, how to keep our children as safe as possible and how to build confidence around that. I don’t really see them having that type of skill or experience that is going to be useful.”

He added that PACT was fine relying on the advisory teams from Public Health and the Programme Board, as this was a new regime and required new ways of addressing this problem.

In his letter to Panton, McTaggart said PACT should establish a council made up of the opposition as well as government. But the premier pointed out that the previous administration had had the opportunity to do that and probably had more reason to do so when it was in office managing the lockdown.

However, he said, they had chosen not to do it and he did not feel one was required now. “It makes no sense for us to rely on people who have experience with the past,” Panton added.

Making an appearance on Radio Cayman’s morning show, For the Record, last week, McTaggart and PPM Deputy Leader Joey Hew both said the opposition had a part to play and “a lot more to contribute”.

Hew said their “voice should be heard” and the government should at least listen to the advice they have to offer. The two men said the health and safety of the country should not be political and at a minimum they should be given updates. But, he said, the opposition “would love to be in the room” so they can have a better understanding of what government is thinking.

He said the opposition had experience that could help with opening the country safely. He said the government must find a route to a safe reopening and not have “knee jerk reactions to one or two outbreaks”, rather they should be looking at the extent of the outbreaks and working out if the health services can cope. Hew and McTaggart also said that the opposition did not want to appear political.

However, this is a different position to that taken by former premier Alden McLaughlin, who has been active in various WhatsApp chats recently stating that the country should remain closed. He said the idea of learning to live with COVID is “like saying we should live with polio or small pox”, and that “until we are able to vaccinate all demographics we are playing Russian Roulette”.

Vaccine approval for children under 12 will not happen any time soon, so this would mean that Cayman’s borders would remain closed for a long time, which puts his ideas at odds with those of McTaggart, who still appears to be in support of reopening the economy, and Hew, who said the announcement that Cayman’s borders would be closed until the end of the year was premature.

See the opposition leaders on For the Record below:

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Category: Politics

Comments (48)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    We are leaning too hard on the more reliable, but costly and time consuming PCR testing. We should also deploy a middle-tier rapid antigen self-tests (like Abbott BinaxNOW) for school kids, where moms and dads can screen their kids in 15 minutes. I can walk into any CVS in the USA and there are walls of these…why don’t we have containers of these in Cayman?

    We could all do these every day for normal access to everywhere/everything. Phone app gives you a Green QR good for 24hrs.

    Order oxygen bottles. Re-establish the field hospital (that hopefully we won’t need). CIG should be closely watching the mRNA booster pipeline and trials, securing our spot in line for the VOC boosters. Then we could start looking like we had a “safety-first” reopening plan.

  2. Anonymous says:

    That’s the poison of politics.

    Wayne, all help in this time of challenge is good. No man is an island. However I appreciate that if you allow the opposition on board, it will show a sign of weakness and perhaps incompetence with the current government.

    On the flip side, the opposition will see this as a feather in their cap, to demonstrate their ability to deal with a crisis. So who suffers, the country. 🤷‍♂️

    • Anonymous says:

      The Opposition and Speaker want the borders closed forever. PACT are looking at fourth wave and delaying by a couple months. HSA aren’t prepared for a reopening, and they need to get there, hopefully with the grace of this extra time that’s been afforded.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Both PPM and now PACT are responsible for the same thing even though they both deny it. This isn’t about the people, this is about the next election. None of them are prepared to make bold statements on how the country should reopen and have led people to believe that their decisions are about keeping us safe.
    We are not safe and never will be. We have to coexist with the virus like the rest of the world. The key is to manage the process by being honest and sending a message that is understood by all. You will never please everyone.
    The 2 parties can’t work together so move on from the conversation.
    Not sure why we keep referring to the vaccine when it is really a flu shot. Vaccines end disease. Why not just say everyone should consider an annual COVID flu shot. If every man, woman and child on the planet was vaccinated maybe we had a chance but we don’t do how does it end? It doesn’t!
    If science hasn’t been able to cure the common cold why are we so naive to believe this COVID shot does?
    If the vaccine stopped transmission and the vaccinated didn’t get sick too then the uptake would have been better. Until then we wear masks.
    I’m sure government is dipping into the overdraft so how long is this sustainable? The middle class will again suffer when they have to raise taxes again while they continue to fork out millions while the border stays closed.
    Meanwhile they continue to turn a blind eye to the land grab as transfer taxes are going to them.
    Until we have term limits NOTHING WILL CHANGE. We had several promising candidates that would have been agents of change but we don’t elect the intelligent and forward thinking candidates. Vote buying is entrenched here so we are relagated to our fate.

  4. Anonymous says:

    No special skill recognizes no special skill. Get ready for a really bad year Cayman. Paying for the last years on island vacation for CIG group is going to be tough for everyone. Maybe they can sell the Airlines.

  5. Anonymous says:

    the blind leading the blind

  6. Anonymous says:

    Your government sounds like the empire in Star Wars: “the opposition”, “new regime”, and saying “elimination strategy” in reference to covid.
    In all serious, I know MANY don’t want to hear this, but we ALL have to live with Covid, but you can do so by taking cautious measures. Listen, does this government have a plan beyond the next three months when they realize this pandemic isn’t stopping and they want to continue locking down tourism, because that’s what really hurts here. Are they going to fund the unemployed workers AND the resort owners who are taking the brunt of it? And to what degree? Can you offer some education type programs so that maybe they can point their careers in a new direction? If they can offer resources like this, then by all means keep your island in a bubble. But just know, even the vaccine of all your people will not stop this, it takes more than a vaccine to herd the community.

    • Anonymous says:

      all i know…when it come to pact…i got a bad feeling about this.

    • Islandgirl345 says:

      I believe the Government is giving all of those who cried, bitched and begged for the borders to stay closed for the next 3 months to get their ducks in a row. I am willing to bet that when the next 3 months are up there won’t be anymore border closings or extension of border closings. So everyone better get prepared to live with Covid. You have your 3 months so don’t waste it!

  7. Anonymous says:

    The PPM should be making a public apology for their failure to act on some of the most pressing issues facing the citizens of the Cayman Islands during their multiple administrations. The fantasy that they have anything to contribute at this stage is an insult to the people of the Cayman Islands.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Here’s the PPM, playing politics with Covid again, since that is the only thing that they have any “credibility” on, simply because they were able to maintain the myth that they had “eliminated” Covid from cayman’s shores. Of course you can claim that when you stop testing. No testing = no positive results = Covid free. People who attended GTH with flu-like symptoms were routinely told that they didn’t have Covid and denied a Covid test. Hmmmn. So, we continued living in the Bubble (the ignorance equals bliss bubble).
    The PPM have no credibility and have more schisms in their ranks than the PACT Govt, because they have a bunch of peckernits with big ambitions who all want to be the leader, but for now it’s the biggest ego in the room that wins.
    I’m no fan of Wayne Panton, but I damn sure prefer to see him as premier than our own Uncle Joseph Stalden (he even has a similar hairstyle as Stalin: another hmnnn).
    Wayne is right though, Alden and his crew don’t have any special skills (other than propagandizing) and Alden refused to involve the last oppostion during the most difficult times of our history, and some of those people are now in cabinet, so what does he expect them to do now but reciprocate?
    Alden, please stfu and take your hand out of your muppet Uncle Waldorf aka Roy McMuffin’s posterior so that he can do the same.
    Please. Same goes for Joey Who.
    You had your chance to lead. Now follow, or get out of the way.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Is this still the p!an I read so much about months ago or is this a sub-plan of the original plan?

  10. Anonymous says:

    So Wayne refuses to listen to Dr Lee and refuses to accept help from the Opposition, has reversed the policies that kept us safe, has let Covid back into the community, and we should trust him ?

  11. Anonymous says:

    pantoon is correct…ppm offer nothing.
    but wayne have proven himself to be nothing better…than man who ditched an opening plan and medical science because of fears and anxiety’s of parents??????
    how can the governor and dr lee stand beside this guy?

  12. Anonymous says:

    ppm’s attempt to hitch onto a joint covid council was a last desperate attempt to cover up the fact that they still have no credible plan.
    they had no plan when in power and have been hopelessy flip-flopping ever since.
    pact are proving to be just as incompetent.
    time to pettion the governor or the uk directly.

  13. Anonymous says:

    “It makes no sense for us to rely on people who have experience with the past,” Panton added.

    I take it Wayne is looking to his PACTmates who have experience with the future? If he just took a second to look around with his eyes open, he would realize that Curwell could give him better advice than the motley crew he keeps trying to pass off as a team.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I’m so disappointed in Wayne and PACT. For goodness sake stop being so prideful, now is not the time to play the politics game. Wayne has said “We’re all in this together.” Which should include all MPs. If the Opposition have offered support then take it and stop the politics and do what you’re paid to do. Cooperate and stop acting like silly school children. This is our country and our lives. Grow up and just work together.

    • Anonymous says:

      7.59 Wayne unfortunately cannot go against his motly bunch of Ministers or Mac. Therein lies the problem.

  15. Anonymous says:

    No skill, all of them for the past two decades. However quite skilled at pigging out on the public purse whilst ignoring critical infrastructure and development of a National development plan like the dump and out of control destruction of natural lands for profit respectively.

  16. Anonymous says:

    And he thinks he does ??????? He hasn’t said or done anything since he has been elected that makes a lick of sense.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Alden says one thing Roy and Joey say another. It seems that the Opposition speaks with two voices here.

    • Anonymous says:

      I wish Alden would get his behind here to Red Bay and sort out our issues since he is our elected representative instead of running his crap over Whats App. Those crappy roof structures he put up in the partially finished park need to be cleaned up, roads that were put in just before the election need to be completed, street signs need fixing and we need our representative to have his physical office in the Red Bay district, not him hanging out at the PPM headquarters planning how to get back the power. Time to give it up old boy and take care of the constituents where you were elected.

  18. Anonymous says:

    This is whole boarder closing is like banning gay cruise ships.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Whatever Panton.
    You are destroying the economy – decimating any hope of tourism recovery, cratering real estate, alienating financial services, all of whom pay your salary. Pay. Your. Salary.

    You need to be removed from office. Now.

    And be in no doubt, you will be schooled.

  20. Anonymous says:

    This is a conundrum.

  21. Anonymous says:

    PPM talking bollocks again just accept the result and go away

  22. Anonymous says:

    I thought Roy had sense

    • Anonymous says:

      Even though Panton leaves alot to the imagination, aldens comments display exactly why he needed to go. He finally admits to whay was apparent by all his actions, that he did not want to reopen cayman. His statements are not consistent with any credible scientist. We are fumbling at 18 months because alden refused to prepare earlier.
      Sad he was appointed to qc as his intellegence level really has been shown to lacking with all of his statements over the last year.

    • Anonymous says:


  23. Anonymous says:

    Joey Who please stop the desperation is pitiful. You have zero qualifications or experience for leadership. We would be better off listening to one of your brothers or sisters.

  24. SMH says:

    The hypocrisy from the ppm especially Alden McLaughlin, Roy McTaggart and Joey Hew is shocking. SMH

    • Anonymous says:

      PPM might not have a special skill in dealing with reopening it’s true but they’re more capable than Sabrina, Bernie, Jay, Kenneth and Juliana. In fact PACT wooing Jon Jon too.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Roy is Alden’s puppet and Joey is a dunce joker that belongs to dart and developers. That is why Alden is still in charge of the ppm and always will be. We can all see it.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Bad Alden. No.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Wayne’s response would be fine if they actually listened to the Public Health guidance they are being given. At least the previous government took onboard advice from the experts and used that to guide their programs and plans. This government t is just slapstick and pandering to the schisms in their own ranks to avoid dissolution. They would damn this country for the sake of staying as government, knowing there is a functional and credible set of MPs that can manage this issue waiting in the wings.

    • Anonymous says:

      So much nonsense. The previous Unity Alliance are talking about keeping the borders closed…and PPM lost! I’ll take this delay in game, based on expert advice from Dr Lee and others, thanks. We learned 6 months ago that there’s nobody with better plans/moral compass, and/or cohesive party in the wings. Sucks for the conditioned political bribe payers, I suppose.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Ridiculous. Open the border!

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