Donkeys, developers and deaf ears

| 25/09/2023 | 113 Comments

Wendy Ledger writes: Dwayne “John-john” Seymour MP owes Wayne Panton an apology after his unfounded public attack during his resignation speech Friday. The ex-minister chose to cross the floor and join the government in 2021 when he knew what Panton’s agenda was. But as someone who is still waiting for an apology from that minister for more than two years, I doubt he will take back the comments he made Friday about the premier.

While there are no donkeys, mangers, personal trainers, light poles, schemes or full moons involved in this latest scandal relating to Seymour, it’s not clear where his resignation leaves the country. Three days after his departure, the people of Cayman still don’t know who the latest labour minister is or if, indeed, the caucus is holding together.

But it has been evident for some time that the PACT Government is not a cohesive group as they’ve never had a shared policy platform, and in some respects, Panton has struggled to balance his green agenda with the conflicts coming from within his Cabinet. This is largely because Panton remains in a different space to many of his fellow MPs.

The elephant, gorilla or even donkey in the room, of course, is the developer lobby.

While Panton has been able to fund his own political campaigns, many in his government have relied on the developer class to fund theirs. Despite the clear message sent by the people during the last election campaign that their two major concerns were over-development and population growth, this has fallen on deaf ears — because most MPs are taking money from those with a vested interest in keeping the development train running at full speed, bringing them into conflict with Panton.

More often than not, he remains a lone voice calling for the environment to be given the same weight as potential profit when it comes to development because he has no need of their money and, more importantly, understands and genuinely cares about the dangers climate change poses for the Cayman Islands and its residents.

But without the support of his Cabinet, it has been almost impossible for him to deliver on his own campaign agenda, despite the public support. This completely undermines Seymour’s allegation that the premier runs his Cabinet on the basis of “his way or no way”. There is a long list of issues where Panton has bent away from his own policy position on issues in order to keep the government together.

Along with Jay Ebanks, who’s made no secret of his opposition to the premier’s green policies, and Chris Saunders, who resigned from government earlier this year, it is understood that Seymour is one of the main protagonists against the ‘sustainable’ part of PACT’s lose policy platform, even after he joined knowing this was an agreed commitment.

Whether or not Seymour is taking money from developers and major contractors is impossible for us to know, given the opaque nature of campaign financing and political donations in the Cayman Islands. But it is evident from his comments about wanting the EIA cancelled for the East-West Arterial Extension and his support for the development of the Central Mangrove Wetlands that he was never likely to be the minister that rallied with Panton to pull the whistle and stop the development train.

Ever since he was given the environment portfolio in the former PPM-led administration, Seymour has made it clear that he has little, if any, understanding of the need to protect the environment or any enthusiasm for it. Despite his own poor track record, especially on policy development in every ministry he has held, he was quick to criticise Panton for not keeping his PACT group “cohesive and focused”.

But Seymour has been part of that problem.

Why he really resigned will probably never be confirmed, but his claims about Panton as the sole cause ring hollow. Seymour’s own fears about his ability to take on the multitude of problems within the labour ministry and the indirect but very public criticism by his colleague Kenneth Bryan’s billboard controversy are just as likely to have fuelled his journey across the floor.

His concerns about where his future political fortunes might lie and undoubted pressure from the developers, whether or not they are his paymasters, are probably as much to blame for his departure as his claim that Panton’s poor performance was behind his decision to step down 18 months before the official election campaign begins.

While Panton still has the numbers to hold the government together, it is clear that if one more MP — such as McKeeva Bush, who has the least to lose in terms of power or status — withdraw their support, we will have a hung parliament. CNS was unable to confirm over the weekend what was likely to happen today when an announcement is expected.

What we have learned, however, is that Seymour’s departure has a lot to do with the powerful development lobby and the unparalleled pressure, opposition and misinformation being peddled by landowners, contractors and those who wish to continue developing the country.

However, recent comments by Panton in the parliament relating to the latest Labour Force Survey made it clear that the surge in work permits was fulled by the construction sector. Most of these workers are not being hired to build affordable homes for local people but luxury condos and hotels intended for sale to overseas owners and to line the pockets of Cayman’s own one percenters.

Seymour’s resignation comes just as Jay Ebanks has failed to prevent the politically appointed Central Planning Authority from wasting public funds in what will likely prove a futile attempt to overturn the Court of Appeal decision on the now infamous Boggy Sand planning case at the Privy Council.

Whether Ebanks also crosses the floor remains to be seen, but after three days of silence from the premier regarding Seymour’s resignation, it seems more and more unlikely that the government has stabilised over the last three days. It’s hard to imagine a democracy anywhere in the world where three days are allowed to elapse without the leaders making a comment about such a significant situation.

But this is where we are.

We have all watched as Panton struggled to hold his collection of disparate and controversial, allegedly independent MPs together, and to be honest, whether his leadership is lacklustre or not, many are surprised that he has largely succeeded in this for two and a half years.

Panton ran on a socially liberal, green agenda, with an eye on controlled and suitable economic growth for this jurisdiction, where the wealth generated is for the benefit of all Caymanians, not just a few. Panton has rejected the idea of trickle-down economics, as it clearly doesn’t work, and has pushed policies that assist large numbers of people, such as the school meals programme, the CUC bill subsidies, and now the stamp duty concessions, demonstrating that he genuinely believes it is government’s job to help all its people, not just support the vested interests or to give handouts to individual constituents.

It is evident that Panton has his detractors for various reasons, but the lobby against him from those who have a vested interest in thwarting his green agenda is undoubtedly the most powerful.

For what it’s worth, I often wonder if the premier couldn’t do more to change things if he was the one to resign and bring down the current administration. It would afford him the opportunity to speak out about the attacks on him and the efforts to divide his cabinet from this group of wealthy individuals who care nothing about conservation.

This would force an early election, but some naming and shaming by Panton and a detailed exposé of their work to undermine him would truly meet the PACT’s goal of transparency and allow people to see the truth about who is lobbying whom for what and why, allowing voters to judge for themselves who should be returned to office.

But the likely return of another PPM-led government more than happy to do the bidding of the developers still poses a significant risk to the environment, and there simply is no other current MP whose concern for and understanding of the existential crisis we are facing matches that of Panton.

Until Cayman has a political party of some kind that is voted not just into office but into power that will have the numbers to green the economy, can we be sure of a sustainable future?

Right now, the apology from Seymour that was never going to happen in any event would be a waste of time. Whether he stays, goes, causes more to follow or brings down the government remains to be seen, but what we can be sure of is that Seymour is one of many MPs who cannot fail to have heard the public calls to slow down development and address the population growth.

But he, like the others, is not listening because it appears their own political fortunes are more important to them than the views of their constituents.


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Category: development, Local News, Politics, Viewpoint

Comments (113)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The only thing that can save Cayman now is for the UK to take control. First order when they take over is to get rid of most of the senior civil servants and all MPS with the exception of Andre and Wayne. If that does not happen very soon, we might as well be living in JA. Scores of Caymanians are already leaving Cayman because of what it has become. They are not leaving because they do not love their country but because their country does not love them.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Wendy, How exactly will saving our central mangroves and all the other assorted foliage in this Country help our children of Cayman’s environment while China and India and Russia and Brazil pump trillions of cubic meters of atmosphere altering compounds into the air and drown us in rising sea levels? There is less land area in all the Cayman Islands than forest that gets cut down in Brazil each day. I’m all for saving the Country for my children (all of whom were born here) but it seems to me that the best way to protect ourselves is by encouraging more people to come here and help us grow and transform as a nation to help defend her. Shaming immigrants and developers away out of some misguided idea that we can actually change the world outside of here by leading from within is misguided and just nutty to say the least. Shooing immigrants and developers away is destructive to the virtuous cycle that has made Cayman the livable place we enjoy today. The only reason we have the luxury of sitting on our high horse and talking about saving the environment is “because” we are all fat and happy from working to develop the Country people see before us today.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You’re such a moron 1:57 if you are genuinely concerned but don’t want to get off your here because it seems so trivial what don’t you jump on a plane and go lobby Govt’s elsewhere if you think they’re the true culprits, – spoiler, we’re all in this together unless you’re getting on Musks Mars plane ✈️🙄

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    • Anonymous says:

      ““because” we are all fat and happy …” Only fat and happy people I see are the MPs.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    #worldclassmyass!
    😂 😂 😂 😂

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Wendy, will you marry me?

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  5. Sunrise says:

    Well said and should be supported!!

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Wendy, you should write a piece on how small the pool is of people who can actually run for election in the Cayman Islands. When you really look at the “Constitution” it will blow your mind. It is a tiny pool of people.
    If you are unsure, contact Nic at HSM.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Transparency is key. In funding. In appointments.

    Democracy is key.

    No chance for do overs.

    A two party system is key.

    These changes might encourage young and/or disinterested Caymanians to get involved in seeking political office and thereby effect real change.

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    • Anonymous says:

      There shouldn’t be any pay-to-play developer/1% parties, because that is the very political corruption cited by FATF in our performance reviews. Voters have done nothing to address it. There are no investigations and no arrests.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Much more has been kept from FATF to properly assess Cayman’s performance to get off the grey list.

    • Anonymous says:

      Voters should be ashamed of themselves for voting for the likes of Jon Jon, Kenneth, mckeeva, Jay etc. But like the old saying, Can’t fix stupid and stupid has no shame. Have a good day Cayman.

  8. Anonymous says:

    How are the silliest of Caymanians ruining this island for the majority of us? Its astonishing that MP’s like “John John” have been elected on MULTIPLE occassions. Wayne was desperate to become Premier and was willing to horse trade ministries with bozo’s to achieve that power. Wayne is a far cry from receiving any sympathy from me. Wayne and the entire current MP’s should be voted out. Please i want 20 new people. Cayman cant continue the status quo.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Keep going, plenty more.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Why do we constantly allow this nonsense about trickle down investment saving Cayman? We’ve been hearing this for 30 years….and what has happened in the past 30 years?

    Well – ask any tourist who’s visited even once each decade since the 80’s…not one will tell you Cayman has changed for the better.

    You could ask any long term resident or generational Caymanian. You will be hard pressed to find someone who honestly believes we are a better place than 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago.

    Now, this is not the same as saying i wish we were covered in mosquitos all day long (pre-70’s for those of you who think you know Cayman).

    it is simply an observation that successive Govt’s and their Developer friends market their plans through their realtor friends as being great for the economy and the Cayman people and the country as a whole.

    Well – thats not really true. We’ve had 30 years of insane development take place, and the country is worse for probably 90% of the population who were here in the 80’s and 90’s.

    The same people benefit all the time. Nothing trickles down thats worth the crime, dump, pollution in NS, lack of beach access, truly awful architectural monstrosities all over the place (Seriously, the Kimpton looks like shoeboxes on top each other; some utterly tasteless specimen has built the most obnoxious property i’ve ever see across from Wendys, the state of South Church Street never ceases to astonish, and on and on…i thought ganja was illegal, what are the architects smoking here?)

    We are worse off as a nation with all this development. Progress isnt how tall you’ve built or how much devastation you’ve caused to the natural habitat or how long your traffic jam is.

    Progress is education, health, wellness, safety, community, family, happiness.

    Cayman is progressing alright, but not for many of us. And when their done taking their pieces of gold and silver, they’ll fly off, and we’ll be left with an awful mess

    But at least the Dump is capped! Its like it was never there at all. Magically disappeared, never to be heard from again.

    Like the culture here…

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    • Wa ya say says:

      I salute you 🦾🦾

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    • Anonymous says:

      One of the best posts I have seen in a long time. Please think about writing an opinion piece.

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    • Realist says:

      So what’s the solution? Several of us status holders have made suggestions, only to be shouted down.

      Wendy’s analysis above is superb, but (without criticism) I don’t see any solutions. Is it complete electoral reform? If so, what should it look like and how would it be implemented?

      These problems have gone on for decades. See “Cayman Islands – What the brochures don’t say”, from July 2005: Part 1 – https://h2g2.com/entry/A4503665 and Part 2 – https://h2g2.com/entry/A4503683. (I am not endorsing all of the comments in those blog posts. Some are quite rude, e.g. about inbreeding – the person writing it was a physician practising here, and his view was probably skewed by his exposure to certain problems.)

      As someone comments above, “Wendy, you should write a piece on how small the pool is of people who can actually run for election in the Cayman Islands. When you really look at the “Constitution” it will blow your mind. It is a tiny pool of people.” If the people able to enter power are corrupt and jealously guarding that power, what’s your plan?

      Please remember: expats like me whinging about this do so because we actually give a f**k. It would be easier to do as most people do, and just look and laugh, and then leave Cayman when we retire. Who does that help?

      CNS: Anyone can write a viewpoint and send it to us (see here). Instead of telling Wendy what she should write, have a go.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The solution isn’t short term. But to make it a medium/long term solution someone needs to get through to the children today.

        Caymanians are a very defensive group, and rightly so, they’re under attack, they may go extinct . However this defense posture prevents them from making objective judgement calls as to their leaders, policies, etc. naturally btw.

        It’s obvious to so many of us that the current MP’s are – well, let’s just say not up to scratch – but if they all stand tomorrow, they all get back in because those who can vote don’t vote for tomorrow, they vote for today.

        It starts with educating about tomorrow. And accepting that those in power today and making so much money for so little will get away with it. So what. Let them.

        We must consider
        Tomorrow

        If not, it will always be today, and nobody has to show up to to parliament today, they can just go to lunch and charge it

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      • Anonymous says:

        Realist I don’t think people mind suggestions, it’s probably more to do with suggestions being framed in a context of ‘right Caymanians, you’re f****** useless, f*** off, us expats have got it from here.

        I think you need to consider what has probably been the crux of most of the problems. The population back in the late eighties, early nineties was approx 25-30,000, fairly easily managed by a Govt at the time and tourism with cruise ships typically having 1800-2500 people with far less calls per week than what is experienced now. Over the course of 30 years the population has increased rapidly by 300%. That’s insane for any community but for an isolated Island it’s caused probably most of the problems. I’ve been trying to see how the Isle of Man has managed its population and Govt but having difficulty finding readily available resources. One thing I believe I did discover is, you just just walk in and gain what has become here an almost obligatory status.

        • Anonymous says:

          gosh that’s bad, apologies OP

          * ‘you can’t just walk in and gain what has become here an almost obligatory status’

          • Anonymous says:

            You think you can just walk in here and gain status you need your head examined. Need to get through 8 years on work permits before having to meet the point system evaluation set by parliament (and of course, wait a few years whilst the board ignores the PR application and WORC tries to deal with them instead, then wait until you have been here 15 years before you can even apply, followed by a couple more years waiting for for your application to be heard., all the time paying your annual PR fees which are not refunded if your application is accepted, even though you qualified at the 15 year point.

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  11. Kurt Christian says:

    Great Article CNS.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    One man one vote has been a disaster for these islands.

    The answer is for a party to run on a platform of constitutional reform that:

    1) allows for a number (6?) national candidates that represent the entire country. This would allow more good candidates to run without having three good candidates in one district and none in others. It would also allow SOMEONE to represent the country in the Parliament, rather than everyone being sh*t scared to do anything whatsoever for fear of p1ssing off the dozen swing voters that got them past the post.

    2) bases their salary on their average earnings for the last X (3?) years, subject to some minimum and maxmimum, so that good people are incentivised to run, instead of taking huge pay cuts or receiving huge pay increases compared to what they are worth.

    3) introduces ranked choice voting so that new candidates have a better chance and no candidate is elected with 25% of the electorate.

    4) allows civil servants (and private sector workers) to run, subject to certain criteria such as a number of voters’ signatures to ensure viability, by guaranteeing a return to their jobs if they are unsuccessful. There are many good, honest potential candidates in CS and private sector whose political potential is stymied by their need to support a family. You shouldn’t have to gamble your entire career to run.

    We need as large and high quality a talent pool as possible to end up with good MPs and competent government. Perhaps the above changes would convince more women to run.

    I think people are so fed up with our current system and its inevitable result that a party running on such a platform (almost regardless of their other policies) would be a shoo in.

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    • Anonymous says:

      How would you know the average salary with any accuracy when the government has absolutely no idea?

      The majority of the issues this country faces from a societal perspective are because we have no income tax and therefore no hard connection to Government so they can make sound decisions.

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      • Anonymous says:

        It’s not that difficult to prove what your salary is. Payslips, bank statements, employment letters. Banks do it all the time.

        And it would only be 6 people, not thousands.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Great article. It’s a sad reality. I’ve seen well-known developers and politicians out dining. I can only imagine the Christmas gifts they must receive.
    I think this article goes hand-in-hand with the one about Cayman being generationally young / immature and blinded by the shiny things.

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    • Anonymous says:

      A mutual love of expensive Red wines paves the way for favors.
      Lunch at a waterfront restaurant is where back scratching takes place, but in private rooms where privacy is offered.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Senior civil servants as well, not just politicians.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Wayne shat his own bed at the outset. We are all suffering the consequences of his decision to form a government with the likes of Kenneth, Chris, McKeeva, Jay (and eventually Dwayne). It’s clear he was arrogant enough to believe he could lead the circus but recent events are the expected outcome when you put a clown in charge.

    While his public stance on the environment is commendable (albeit his private lifestyle clearly shows he could give two shits about his personal carbon footprint, but show me a politician that isn’t a hypocrite), the compromises he was willing to make to be Premier have created costs to us that far outweigh the intended benefits.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. He was so desperate to be Premier that he was willing to align himself with these jokers. Dah wah he and the Caymanian public get.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Miss Wendy you should run for office.

    Seymour isn’t the only minister who should resign. Why don’t you look at the accomplishments, or lack thereof, of the inept Minister of Planning. . . what a joke.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Let’s be honest, when it comes to ranking the need for resignation, there is a clear three way tie at the top

      1= JuJu
      1= Kenny
      1= Bernie
      4= Sabrina
      4= Big Jay
      4= Lil Wayne

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    • Anonymous says:

      Except of course she cannot. Not multi generational enough, because that’s way more important than honesty or intelligence. We get the politicians we deserve.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    If anyone, including CNS, has evidence of politicians getting back-handers from developers, or anyone else, to influence how they vote, they should report it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      That’s all I could think about while reading this article. It may be 100% true or 0% or somewhere in between but for CNS to make these claims about a developer lobby while offering what seems like zero proof of such a thing is wildly irresponsible journalism. All the points in the article might be true and fair but to say that an entire industry is secretly behind the government’s ineptitude and crumbling cohesion (from what little there was from the outset) is very very worrisome.

      Wendy is a decent journalist…so publish the facts that point to these very serious allegations please.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Ahhhh, this is an opinion piece, not journalism. There’s a difference.

      • Anonymous says:

        This is not CMR and CNS have a lot of integrity. Wendy wouldn’t proffer an opinion unless there was substance behind it. And it’s clear to most there is.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Dude, we have a police force who wont even breathalyse this same politician when he crashes into a power pole late at night and who only arrested Mac when social media started carrying video of his assault on that bar manager. Does anyone honestly think that an allegation f corruption against a Cayman politician would end well for the private individual blowing the whistle?

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      • Anonymous says:

        blow the whistle! it can be done anonymously these days very easily. print the email, take the picture. I don’t doubt they’re on the take in some way shape or form but let’s see it.

        What’s very odd to me about this article is Wendy singling out a specific industry (which we all know she hates) and saying that this specific industry is behind this government dysfunction.

        First things first: this government was doomed the minute Wayne cobbled it together to get power. They’re all soooooo bad (except Andre and maybe Wayne).

        If she has evidence of some evil cabal of developers lets see it.

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        • Anonymous says:

          If you have no doubt, then you show the evidence!

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          • Anonymous says:

            OK. Let’s start with the list of Cabinet status grants – and compare it to the list of Cambridge Real Estate clients.

            The concept of the rule of law around here is farcical.

            Our robust law enforcers are a significant part of the problem.

            It’s only been 19 years. Perhaps someone has had time to look?

    • Anonymous says:

      @6:16am

      School children in China knows they are getting kick backs. You may think their salaries of $12K plus are a lot but that is a pittance when you start looking at their assets. Where did that money come from?

      I think it is time we start looking at this system with eyes wide open. This is not about love of country but love of money and power.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    No Respect from either party for the Generations of Caymanians that are still alive and remember the Sacrifices that they made to only realize this is the result of their Sacrifices! Totally unacceptable from all sides!

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  18. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know Wendy, I’m with you in spirit but not so much in substance. I believe it should be Wayne apologizing to the people for his maneuver of waving off contrasting principles to form his Govt when welcoming McBeater into the fold. At that point all the scoundrels ran onto the school playground spitting and cussing with emboldened swagger after seeing the headmaster shelve fundamental values, integrity, and reject a hallowed representation of duty for the capacity of office he was to hold. He f***** up big time and from then on any deviation from responsability, accountability, and whatever the f*** else the likes of Spendy, Duwayne and McBeater could conjure up it could all be justified by them from that one desperate move by Wayne back in April 21. Good Governance hadn’t even begun before it had ended. For what its worth I was excited with Waynes proposals, after that I was done.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Seymour stepping aside is obviously good riddance. Unfortunately have the likes of Jon Jon in powerful positions is merely a symptom of a much larger problem – being an electorate that votes incompetent and corrupt individuals into power time and time again. We will only see increased standards of governance when the voting public becomes more sophisticated and holds their elected officials to a higher standard of accountability.

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    • Anonymous says:

      “incompetent and corrupt individuals” – Unfortunately from what I have seen in most districts this is the only option and you ended up trying to vote for the lesser of the evils.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The obvious solution to this – allow naturalized Caymanians to run for office. This deepens the pool of potential candidates and broadens the skillset of the government as a collective.

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        • Anonymous says:

          That only broadens the pool of corrupt candidates. There is nothing to suggest that there are more naturalized Caymanians of good character willing to run for public office than there are born Caymanians of good character who simply refuse to run for public office.

          The solution is to make those who hold public office accountable.

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          • Anonymous says:

            In fact, as the number of PR/status grants has gone up, so has the amount of corruption, crime, etc etc etc.

            That’s a very unpopular thing to bring up, however. Remember, only the very best from around the world land on our shores. 🙄

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            • Anonymous says:

              3:07 pm. Really, then I would not like to see the worse. Aren’t we importing criminals? It has been proven too many times. The Cause lists can substantiate the number of foreign persons listed for criminal activities.

            • Anonymous says:

              3:07 pm. Really, then I would not like to see the worse. Aren’t we importing criminals? The Cause lists can substantiate the number of foreign persons listed for criminal activities.

        • Anonymous says:

          The consitution says they can. Why can’t they?

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          • Anonymous says:

            Read it carefully along with electoral legislation. New Caymanians are effectively blocked from running. They can vote but not run. That isn’t a true democracy. It’s racism in the worst form. Someone needs to challenge this on the basis of human rights.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Unfortunately Jamaicans are the majority of naturalized Caymanians, so that merely opens the gates of hell towards the instant “Jamaicanisation” of Cayman.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Wendy – please do not call for an election just yet. Not while hundreds of prospective and otherwise qualified voters are being denied the right to register to vote because the Saunders/Jon Jon team are refusing to process their status applications.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yes! 100% this. We will shortly have to pay a third annual PR/work permit fee since my status application was submitted, and all while also being retired and not even having a job.
      Even if eventually given status and a voter card – who would I vote for. Not these incompetant, greedy and corrupt people on the ballot paper every time.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Someone is a little too easily impressed with environmental virtue signaling.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    We found out Wendy certainly has guts. I guess we will find out if we have a free press. I certainly would vote for her as an MP.

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  23. Len Layman says:

    Thank you, Wendy and CNS. Your w0rds are so very true. Cayman is ruled by the wealthiest greed for more. The people do not matter to our bought and paid for politicians, and never will unless we stop voting for them. Sadly as is usually true; we get the government we deserve.

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  24. Anonymous says:

    Wendy I am confident that many agree with your article and thank you for putting this in the public domain.
    I had hoped that Wayne could keep them focused and honest but knew he had an uphill battle.
    Wayne is a man of integrity and the other ministers actions are a disgrace.
    Wayne there are good citizens that would form a government with you. We know you may feel disheartened but if you form your own party we will step forward.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Panton’s mistakes seem to me twofold: he has a deluded view of his intellect and competence, and he’s driven by his dislike and envy of McLaughlin. He means well and he’s affable, but he’s of average intelligence and I suspect a bit idle. And he simply doesn’t have the strength of character to rein in the more populist of his colleagues and create a coherent administration.

      I’d normally sympathise with someone who is floundering so badly. But this time I can’t, because in his desire to thwart his erstwhile chum McLaughlin he has brought this on himself.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    Really excellent op ed, Ms Ledger. If you were here back in the days of Jim and Haig Bodden, you would have been removed from the island for this article which Haig would have called ( as he did of one by Jim Graves in the Norwester, mildly critical of the government) “a wicious and wenomous attack”. I feel sorry…but only slightly…..for Wayne. He knew what Neanderthals he was getting involved with to form a government…he’s a very smart sensitive guy…but he went ahead anyway. Alas, it’s a case of “ da wha’ yuh get”.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    Where is the criticism of Wayne Panton for visiting this sham of a Government on the Cayman Islands? He is equally responsible for all that has gone wrong here. He spent loads to get all of these individuals at HIS table!

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    • Anonymous says:

      It was PACT or the PPM?..Do you need any further explanation. The PPM had 12 years and the country was fed up and wanted them gone. We had to work with what we had.

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  27. Anonymous says:

    Let’s review the record after decades of so-called ‘multigenerational* Caymanian politicians’ (* you’re all expats, some just arrived earlier than others). In no particular order:

    – The dump.
    – “Five-mile (and shrinking) Beach”.
    – The public ‘transport system’.
    – Saunders’ transparent attempt to introduce garrison politics.
    – Kenneth Bryan’s new personal Cayman Airlines’ new route to his Caribbean tourist board meetings in Barbados.
    – No restoration of the pre-covid evening Miami flights which used to be so useful for travellers coming home to Cayman.
    – Government departments taking each other to court! (Fnarr, fnarr, roll up and watch the incompetence – perhaps we could sell tickets to replace rapidly failing revenue in other areas?!)
    – The insane cost of living, which discourages both tourists and financial services workers, thus undermining both pillars of the islands’ revenue.
    – 1 in 4 children in Cayman starting primary school overweight (https://www.caymancompass.com/2023/05/03/1-in-4-kids-begin-primary-school-overweight).
    – The number of MLAs who have beaten women.
    – Jon Jon’s ‘lamp post cover-up’.
    – Bush’s persistent criminality.
    – Persistent education failure. 2021: “Almost 60% of Year 11 students miss 2021 exam targets*, 2023: “Only 27% of all students…reached the expected standards in all three core subjects of reading, writing and maths.” https://caymannewsservice.com/2023/05/report-shows-school-leaver-results-drop-from-peak (https://caymannewsservice.com/2022/04/almost-60-of-year-11-students-miss-2021-exam-targets). (Severe educational failure has been the norm for decades. See this Cayman Compass article from back in 2016. Nothing has changed. https://www.caymancompass.com/2016/01/21/barlow-education-versus-protection)

    – More competently-run jurisdictions (yes, I know, it doesn’t take much) are stealing Cayman’s revenue. See this Financial Times article, “Singapore and Hong Kong vie to be the Caymans (sic) of Asia” which notes:
    “The two cities have set up new fund structures to lure wealth away from traditional offshore financial centres… Singapore established the Variable Capital Company, a fund structure that allows a wide range of potential users to shelter large pools of capital in discreet, lightly taxed wrappers domiciled in a well-regulated financial centre… Investor take-up, particularly in Singapore, has been rapid. The bankers, fund managers and lawyers involved in setting them up say their impact could be far more widespread and more disruptive than previously imagined, drawing assets and expertise into the region… The new vehicles represent a direct challenge to traditional offshore finance centres whose success has been built on privacy and low taxes and whose economies are heavily dependent on the revenue generated by financial services… Singaporean authorities, frustrated at the tendency of local fund managers to register investment vehicles offshore rather than in Singapore itself, launched the rival VCC in 2020. It made it easier for overseas and domestic entities to register an investment vehicle in Singapore… For Singapore the rush to establish the new structures has been especially pronounced. “Prior to 2020 the vast majority of Singaporean managers had their funds in offshore jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands, Mauritius or Luxembourg. Now the tables have turned,” says Mahip Gupta, a partner at Singapore-based Dhruva Advisors.“ Since the Variable Capital Company structure was introduced, most have chosen Singapore as their fund domiciliation hub.”” https://www.ft.com/content/88e20280-bb6e-4209-ae76-d7183c60ff62, 20 March 2023.

    – They are succeeding, heralding the start of the slow death of the financial services sector: Cayman’s own Economics and Statistics Office (ESO) August 2022 warning that banks and trusts are moving off island: “Banks & Trusts: The total value of international banking assets domiciled in the Cayman Islands declined by 12.9 percent… Similarly, international liabilities domiciled locally fell by 13.0 percent…” (https://www.eso.ky/UserFiles/page_docums/files/uploads/the_cayman_islands_annual_economic_repor-7.pdf, page 27).

    Cayman is in a downward spiral and doom loop, due to its dysfunctional politicians. Many expats are preparing contingency plans for when the MLA Moron Mob eventually finish the place off. Sadly, because of the political system, it’s probably beyond salvage. Make your money, and prepare to get out in 5-10 years at most:

    1. Expats can’t engage in politics: even those of us with status can’t stand for election. Colleagues without status can’t risk annoying people and losing their work permit by being openly critical (hence anonymous CNS comments are the only source of dissent).

    2. It’s tragic, but no intelligent and honest Caymanian could ever be sensibly advised to go into politics, as that would trap them on this tiny, incompetently run spec of land in the middle of the Caribbean. Consequently, only bottom-feeders, knuckle-draggers and window lickers stand for election. Cayman’s best and brightest are busy developing the ability to work overseas, in proper careers. Anyone sensible is pursuing a profession which gives them global opportunities, e.g. IT or accountancy. By such choices the top e.g. 75% of Caymanians self-select out of politics. The bottom 25% of remaining oxygen thieves then engage in a race to the bottom to bribe people for ‘wotes’.

    3. This is why Caymanian politicians are so uniquely awful (definitely incompetent, probably corrupt, often criminal). They have effectively excluded anyone decent from power. Every country has morons, criminals, thieves, and the congenitally dishonest among their politicians. Cayman’s problem is that political candidates seem to come *exclusively* from such people. This then exacerbates the problem identified at (2): capable, hardworking and intelligent Caymanians see the ‘death spiral’ direction of travel, and are determined to develop escape options focusing on global skills, not parochial, inbred local politics.

    4. Cayman is presently incapable of self-government. PR and status holders should be allowed to both vote and stand for election. See comments under: https://caymannewsservice.com/2023/03/premier-admits-widening-of-caymans-economic-success-gap/comment-page-1. It won’t happen though, because the MLA Moron Mob know that (a) only idiots will vote for them; and (b) the current mob rely on their being no decent alternatives – they’re terrified by the idea of competition. PR/status voters and candidates would wreck the morons’ gravy train. As one person noted on this article, most Caymanian politicians wouldn’t be trusted with a mop and brush anywhere else in the world (or even in the private/expat sector here).

    I don’t blame intelligent, honest and hard-working Caymanians for not getting involved in politics: I picked my job to look after my children, and any Caymanian with sense will do likewise, which means being internationally employable. That does, inevitably, however mean that you are led by the dregs. Ultimately, even though I have status, I can go home: most Caymanians aren’t as fortunate, which is why I highlight the problem.

    If only there was a pool of intelligent, hard-working, well educated, highly-qualified and honest pool of people – who aren’t trapped in Cayman and thus disincentivised from politics – from whom better candidates could be identified… 🤷‍♀️. It’ll never happen, but you can’t say that you weren’t warned! 🙂

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    • Anonymous says:

      You had me at ‘window lickers’ 😂

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    • Sparrow eye says:

      A well researched and written article by Wendy!
      But who the hell are you to be chastising someone when you are clearly only on this beautiful island to rape and disappear with your millions! Go back to your home and give the opportunity of status to someone who’s deserving!
      I hate when jackasses with an agenda who tell others how they should run their country and you for one had to leave yours behind cause you couldn’t change things in your country! Go back and make a difference and we here in this beautiful island will congratulate you for doing so!

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      • Anonymous says:

        I think the point 6:10pm is making is that Cayman could and should have been a paradise, and they were originally attracted here by that, but they now see no happy ending due to the way its political leaders are treating it.

        Your rant offers nothing – do you not agree that Cayman is run in a chaotic and third-rate fashion? If you think everything is great, argue your point, don’t just use the old nugget of “go back where you came from then”.

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        • Anonymous says:

          It WAS a Paradise, until Mac started the ruin with his Jamaican status grants.
          Those people have multiplied faster than rabbits on Viagra, and are now , in the majority single parent Caymanians.
          Look at the goings on in the public schools, and see who is at Northward.
          They in turn have blessed us with Saunders, Seymour and Kenneth.

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      • in agreement says:

        Interesting that you did not disagree with the vast content of the editorial… just the status of the author.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Shocked you didn’t use the local favorite “ don’t let the plane door hit you on the way out”.
        @ 6:10 actually includes facts to back up the content of their comment. Which is a lot more than you are capable of, it would appear.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Your post is exactly why Wayne Panton needs to remain Premier. Immigration Reform.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Status Holders absolutely should be allowed stand for election.
      However it will never happen unless CIMA and the Finance Sector threaten to leave.
      Nothing happens here unless it involves money.

      the current electorate in the majority continually vote against their medium and long term interest, and have recently been blinded by the sham that is ‘party’ politics here.

      the current MP’s are beyond a joke and none should be welcomed back to stand ever again.

      term limits must be reviewed. The party system. First past the post or proportional. The boundaries, which astonishingly and brazenly continue to defy the smell test (EE/NS/LC/CB etc).

      come on people – the mega wealthy among us, you have enough. But this society is crumbling and who’s going to serve you your $500 glass of wine, service your ‘salt water’ pool, stack your ‘jet fresh’ foods if you sit back and continue to take take take?

      the writing is on the wall for CAyman. Absolutely teetering on the edge. The only possible solution is total clearout at the top and widening the pool of candidates eligible.

      and that may not be enough anyhow. But to continue as we are? its all over in a few years, the first sign will be armed gated communities, bars on your windows, far more brazen armed robberies and then all of a sudden we are Jamaica and Nassau, except without enough police

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    • Anonymous says:

      So I want to address a few things here. You’ve been uncharitable, and I’m not going to touch on everything, but just a few:

      1. The dump has been capped, if you have not noticed. You used to have to roll your windows up and put your A/C on recirculate to go past it. You don’t have to do that anymore.

      2. Five mile beach…why did you feel the need to say that? The world is absolutely full of things that partially get their character from being slightly misnamed, or originally exaggerated, or renamed to something more catchy…what’s your point in calling it that? Just to denigrate us? Yes some poor planning and developer decisions have been made that have eroded the southern end of the beach. Hopefully we can fix that.

      3. Government entities are allowed to take each other to court, and this happens in every country I’ve ever seen.

      4. Expats who recently got status are basically still culturally expats. Especially the Brits. They tend not to stay here permanently, they consider their status ‘earnt by virtue of time spent in one of our territories’, and move after mining the place out – just like you’re saying you’re going to do and advising others to do. But what you’re not aware of is that there are expats who moved here in the 60s and 70s, and they had kids who have already had children, and those children will be able to run for office. So in 20, 30 years, expats who can vote but not run for office will have some of their own to vote for. You guys can finally take over completely, as you already decide who gets to be an economic success or failure in Cayman, and therefore who gets to be a social figure or a pariah even in the Caymanian community.

      5. If you did not notice, the last Premier we had received a KCMG. He turned our relationship with the UK from abysmal under Bush to the most constructive and valued relationship the UK has with an OT. I guarantee you that after several years of professionally representing Cayman, he had offers from overseas to do even bigger things. But then, is that what you would want from a Cayman politician? Someone whose endgame is to work at the UN?

      6. The reason younger people don’t run is they see what a dirty game it is and they see how much crap you have to take for wanting to do some public good. The day you get elected you are automatically some CNS poster’s “bottom-feeder, knuckle-dragger, and window licker”. Which of Cayman’s best and brightest would be lining up to be so regarded? The bigger issue is that we see how insanely expensive this place is and that it’s only going to get worse as expats come here by the hundreds and thousands to earn hundreds of thousands a year, and supermarkets and everywhere else set their prices for those customers. So that’s why we’re focused on the private sector. Because if we don’t, we won’t be able to afford anything in our own country. Many of us would like to be doing public good for decent pay, myself included, but instead we have to ‘beat them because we can’t join them’ and maniacally chase the same wedge you guys are here for, just so we can give our family members nice gifts at Christmas time.

      7. Cayman is not incapable of self-government any more than the UK is not incapable of coming up with a Brexit strategy. I am afraid expats do not get to apply unrealistic standards to our politicians and another standard to their own. It may be difficult but the job rests where it rests and the job does get done. The Constitution is explicitly clear that Cabinet has autonomous and exclusive capacity for domestic affairs. The Governor is not a member of Cabinet, just chairs the meetings. So we are already running the show here – far from being incapable of it. And are you honestly comparing our politicians to foreign politicians unfavourably? Should we start with the endless reel of politicians’ personal failings and official corruption scandals that have plagued every country we get expats from? It’s really, really easy to play that game. This place isn’t that hard to run and we have a billion dollar budget to do it with, and we get most of that money without giving anything for it. I think we’re considered quite well run. Our economic model of indirect taxation is in its 110th decade now and going strong. And we are the first Overseas Territory in history to be upgraded to a Parliament despite not having been an Imperial Fortress at one point, as Bermuda and Gibraltar were. I think the UK considers us pretty well run, accordingly.

      Where do I agree with you? Saunders. Didn’t know Kenny would be able to take the new flight to a particular meeting. I used to take the evening flights, they should bring those back. Generally every business here needs to give the hour or two they took off their opening hours back. We have more people here than we’ve ever had before. Cost of living very high but as I said partly driven by market forces aka. demand driven by expat salaries. We should work on childhood obesity so it doesn’t become a bigger issue. We do need all convicted criminals out of politics; integrity is too important. We’ve been trying to get rid of Bush once and for all for as long as I can remember; perhaps you have similar politicians that have a way of insisting on their presence in your home country. Worrying to hear that we’re losing business to other jurisdictions. Sounds like the private sector needs to get to work and start recommending the new structures it needs to be able to offer, and we’ll legislate for them like we always do.

      There is a huge pool of “intelligent, hard-working, well-educated, highly-qualified and honest” people who are not “trapped in Cayman and thus disincentivised from politics”. They’re Caymanian. They aren’t in politics because they value their reputations and because they can see that it’s going to take $600,000 a year to live a decent life, send your kids to private school, save, take vacations, etc. and $200,000 won’t do it. And the reason things are so expensive is because there are so many people here making $600,000 or $6,000,000 paying each other the same sums and sending their partners to the supermarket to buy $500 worth of groceries without looking at the prices. That’s why you don’t see good Caymanians in politics. Because they see that at any moment you might have to resign on principle and take an $80,000 pay cut (as Seymour just did) and all of a sudden you are ruined unless you have already feathered your nest because the cost of living is so high.

      You made some decent points but there’s a lot of prejudice there too. I hope that you finish making your money and head on home soon.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you for that 9:07, I was going to do something myself but couldn’t muster the energy to counter the ignorance. It appears to be the usual model of ‘’Realists’ posts, and equally exhausting.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I made a couple of dyslexic mistakes here (“beat them if you can’t join them” should be reversed and “110th decade” should be “11th decade”) but looks like the reply served its purpose.

      • Anonymous says:

        @9:07 – you are correct and eloquent. Yes the post you referenced was filled with prejudice and disdain for anything Caymanian. Well except for the money the person earns here. I’ll bet they have no Caymanian friends and make no effort to do so. Sad.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Unfortunately a lot of what you say is true but we can’t trust expats either, not the way we are treated as second class citizens on a daily basis. Best way to find out is go to a bar with a English bartender. Paying him, giving him business brings no satisfaction, he gets it from being passive aggressive and condescending. And don’t think he is not listening in to your conversation, ready to be the all knowing expert in everything.
      No thanks, we will take the devil we know.

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    • Anonymous says:

      ‘Realist’ you’re tedious and increasingly boring, – cut & paste, cut & paste, cut & paste, copy & post again, copy & post again, spewing the same old self aggrandising drivel continuskg chasing an agreeable result. Your ignorance of the ramifications/consequences has been explained multiple times before but here you are again engaged in disenfranchising a people and their country in an effort to suit your own ideals. I’ve refrained before but people like you really need to pack your s*** and get the f*** out of here,- no, you really do; an expat. 🧳

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  28. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone noticed that the Opposition have never denied that they are representing development above and over the needs of the country or the people? In fact, they have been all but useless except to bemoan their undoing.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Stop the developer bashing. They are a major source of income which EVERY government needs to pay for roads, schools, hospitals, police , and every other service which we seem to expect, and now take for granted.

      Choice…..stop development, bring in Income tax and kiss Cayman goodbye.
      It’s the ghetto Jamaicans destroying Cayman, not developers.

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      • Anonymous says:

        “It’s the ghetto Jamaicans destroying Cayman, not developers.” – Jon Jon and Saunders?

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  29. Anonymous says:

    Agree, with Wendys well researched & presented facts.

    While this editorial link enclosed would no doubt fall on deaf ears to most of the current government, I would like to think some of the more sensible people that run this territory, as well as who read’s this news media forum would give it a read and, an acknowledgement. Many of Caymans current failings fall under it.

    Capitalism versus the Planet
    https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2023/09/opinion-lets-free-ourselves-from-the-story-of-economic-growth/

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    • Anonymous says:

      We will continue to be ruled by a bevy of self serving uneducated unemployables, because they will be elected by ghettos of 300 or so similarly uneducated in George Town central, Bodden Town East and West, West bay West, Northside and so on.
      What we want , will always be trumped by how they vote.
      Get used to it Cayman, Jamaicans are taking over while we wring our principled hands.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for the link… good reading.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Poor you Wendy, he picked them all in a grab for power, including Mac. He deserves whatever the end result is.

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  31. Anonymous says:

    Developers and a certain few CIREBA agents, and a few politicians…and this is what we have…it’s not even the 1% here, it’s even fewer ..we all know who they are

    Why do we allow it to continue? Why do we ignore the banking cartel? And so on

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  32. Anonymous says:

    Wayne should have known better as he tried to cobble together a government of loose cannons. Everyone in the Cayman Islands must know of at least some of Seymour’s escapades. While Wayne may have had the very best of intentions he did not have colleagues of character or intellect to accomplish his goals. In a parliamentary government the leader of government must have the support of his/her government or call early elections.
    Who is the puppet master( or mistress) who wrote John John’s speech and guided him to present it? What was their purpose for doing this?

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  33. Richard Arch says:

    wow! A perfectly written article, saying it like it is and true; all at the sane time.

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  34. Anonymous says:

    A timely reminder to all that we only have one environment and when it’s gone, it’s gone.

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  35. Anonymous says:

    Excellent Viewpoint. However, in one particular sentence you rambled on a bit too long. I would have stopped it here:
    Ever since he was given the environment portfolio in the former PPM-led administration, Seymour has made it clear that he has little, if any, understanding

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  36. Anonymous says:

    A STANDING OVATION for this Wendy.
    It’s a crying shame the self serving corrupt charlatans that the majority of us Caymanians vote in year in and year out – focusing on politricks and short term gains instead of long term stability for our children and grandchildren. Makes me sick.

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  37. Anonymous says:

    Well written Wendy. Telling it like it really is!!!

    We continue to be sold downstream by greedy and corrupt politicians.

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  38. Anonymous says:

    well said wendy. he should have been sacked by alden after his press conference attack on you for asking a very relevant basic question.
    shame on all those who have worked with him over the years and shame on those who voted him in.

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    • Anonymous says:

      He wasn’t sacked by Wayne either, in fact he was instead welcomed in with open arms and handed a Ministry.

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  39. Anonymous says:

    Well said.
    This is an existential crisis.
    The powerful developers are destroying the island, and the politicians in their pockets should be ashamed of how they have sold out the people.

    They are not sorry and they are not ashamed but they must be called out for their corruption and greed.

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  40. Anonymous says:

    Extremely well written and enjoyable read Wendy!

    “This would force an early election, but some naming and shaming by Panton and a detailed exposé of their work to undermine him would truly meet the PACT’s goal of transparency and allow people to see the truth about who is lobbying whom for what and why, allowing voters to judge for themselves who should be returned to office.”

    For Christ sake, please, PLEASE can we know who is only self serving? That way we can laugh at them during election time?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Then he’d have to expose which campaigns he funded and some sitting members wouldn’t like that too much.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wayne Panton cannot talk about transparency and clean hands! We know what he did to get elected in Newlands!

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      • Anonymous says:

        What precisely?

        Either say what you are referring to or STFU.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Look at the positives though, Wayne and Andre are probably cleanest and best suited of the lot, from any party, for decades. Until we have more like them from fresh new blood, we’re at the mercy of all the wolves in every pack… especially on a full moon… :-!

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