West Bayers inject competition into district fight

| 23/03/2017
Cayman News Service

Mervin Smith

(CNS): Two more independent candidates have revealed their intentions to compete in the May 2017 general election for what could be hotly contest races in at least three of the West Bay seats. Mervin Smith has announced his bid for West Bay North and Katherine Wilks has declared for West Bay Central. Smith was supported by the Coalition for Cayman in 2013, sharing a platform with Tara Rivers, the current education minister. He came in 6th in that election, just seven votes behind Velma Hewitt, who ran on the UDP ticket. Smith will be competing against Sarah Orret and the incumbent CDP Bernie Bush.

Smith told CNS that one of his main focuses will be the promotion of “our people in relation to jobs and opportunities and to bring solutions that will enhance and in some instances protect salaries”.

He said, “It is my belief that many or our social issues stem as a result of far too many of our people not being able to adequately provide for themselves and their families.”

Cayman News Service

Katherine Wilks

Meanwhile, Wilks is hoping to steal enough votes from the long-term incumbent and CDP candidate Captain Eugene Ebanks in West Bay Central. Focusing on concerns in the constituency over crime and substance abuse problems, she is promoting herself as an advocate for the poor, those with mental health issues and the uninsured elderly members of the community who not getting access to health care.

The PPM will not be contesting any West Bay seats, so if there are no more independent candidates opting to contest the WBC seat, which has 1,076 voters, Wilks will have a straight head-to-head race with, Ebanks.

While four candidates have already declared their intention to contest the West Bay South seat, including incumbent Tara Rivers, with just six days left before Nomination Day there has been no indication that anyone is going up against McKeeva Bush, the current opposition leader and the only candidate declared for West Bay West.

Despite the challenges he faced in the 2013 election, Bush still took more than 47% of the vote across the district of West Bay in that multi-member election, now divided into four districts. It seems that, regardless of changes to the voting system for 2017, no matter what happens in the other 18 single-member constituencies on 24 May, the veteran West Bay representative will be returned to the Legislative Assembly.

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Comments (41)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m very disappointed that the candidates have not put forward a comment.

    • Katherine Wilks says:

      I may be educated with a wealth of experience. I may give daily to my community, addressing issues and finding ways to problem solve. I may also be the type of person who does things for others just because it’s the right thing to do – requesting that the spotlight is not placed on me.
      Many individuals do things to get recognition, which places a person like me in their shadows. Many people like myself, may share the same degree of leadership abilities as the leaders, if not stronger. However, due to the fact that I don’t need to be acknowledged by others for my contribution(s) can also undermine the way that I am viewed as a leader. This trait is a beautiful quality to have because I am not easily moved. Once I know that what I am doing is right I don’t need to be validated. Harsh words don’t bother me. I know some will be happy with me stepping out and others won’t. At the end of the day, what matters is that I am doing what I think is in the best interest of my country. I am sure that there are many suitable candidates but are they willing to take a step out, brave the critics and put self aside to serve the country? If they are unable to do so, then so be it, but spend time trying to deposit information with the candidates who are brave enough to do it rather than trying to tear them down.
      I’m very sorry, but owning a business and having a business plan does not matter to me when I am evaluating a political candidate. I want to see someone who can make decisions that will be in the best interest of the future of my two daughters. I want to see leaders who get up and get it done.
      The issues that we face today are the same issues that were addressed for decades. Unemployment, Crime, Education, Cost of Living…the list continues. The difference lies in being an individual who finds a solution and is a voice of the people to ensure that the job gets done. If we always do what we always did, we will always get what we always got. Its time for a change, nothing personal, I don’t think I am better than any of the candidates. I know that I certainly have a different way of thinking, problem solving and getting things done and that’s why I am here. –
      If you want to know more about me follow me on Facebook where you will find all of my aims and objectives.

  2. Sharkey says:

    6:49am , your questions might have some meanings. But remember that the all of the political founders of the Cayman Islands didn’t have the education or the degrees, but they made the Islands what it was before them highly educated ones took the wheel . Look at what is happening today, greed and corruption has taken over .

    I still think and support that Mervin and Katherine should be the two West bay candidates .

  3. Anonymous says:

    Katherine Wilks has my vote!

  4. Anonymous says:

    More substandard candidates. However, these appear better than the likes of Mario, Matthew and Austin.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I like independent candidates because they are free to represent me in the Legislative Assembly and they will not have to say and do what their leader commands them to do. I do hope that they remain independent after being elected though

  6. Anonymous says:

    What is the background of these two? Do they have degrees? Have they done any community work? What makes them qualified other than they are nice people? Do they own any businesses and are they successful?

    OR do they just have nice ideas of how to run the country? How do they propose to take the country forward from the ground up? How will the proposal be maintained financially and practically on an ongoing basis? Will this proposal increase jobs for Caymanians or only go to the mouths of a select few?

    This is what I want to see from new candidates. A complete ‘business plan’ per say with all things considered. Down to the penny.

    Government is a quasi business. It is a service to the people. But you have to have money to keep it going. Would be lovely to make a profit so that the government borrowing decreases or removes the need to borrow at all.

    Find other ways to make money that are not work permits and increasing fees/duties.

    • Anonymous says:

      If Captain Eugene made it in several times with zilch and he only speaks once every 4 years then why can’t these two get in? Anthony Eden was also a mouse until Gays threatened to take over.

      • Anonymous says:

        On your premise, my Caymanian mutt should be voted in. He is a good dog and listens to commands well. Very likeable and has done some good deeds.

        The young Caymanians want change and real representation. The older Caymanians voted those people you speak off because they too did not have education. That was the way Cayman was in the olden days. We are now a modern society where a bachelors degree is so common it is now equivalent to a high school diploma.

        There is such a thing as raising standards for oneself and ones country.

    • Katherine Wilks says:

      There in lies one of the biggest problems our country faces. Like any successful business, we need a long term mission statement and business plan. Not a plan that changes every 4 years with each government or CEO. My job shouldn’t be to build the country from the ground up. The structure already exist. I want to make sure that the current foundation is solid, that the beams that support the structure are intact and don’t need replacing, once those things are dealt with, then we can look at moving to the next floor.

      We have been stuck on the same floor far too long, renovating, knocking down walls and rebuilding. We need a clear plan on how many floor we want and what we what to see on each floor so no matter which construction manager takes over the job, the blueprints remain the same.

      • Katherine Wilks says:


        There in lies one of the biggest problems our country faces. Like any successful business, we need a long term mission statement and business plan. Not a plan that changes every 4 years with each government or CEO. My job shouldn’t be to build the country from the ground up. The structure already exist. I want to make sure that the current foundation is solid, that the beams that support the structure are intact and don’t need replacing, once those things are dealt with, then we can look at moving to the next floor.

        We have been stuck on the same floor far too long, renovating, knocking down walls and rebuilding. We need a clear plan on how many floors we want and what we want to see on each floor so no matter which construction manager takes over the job, the blueprints remain the same.

        • Katherine Wilks says:

          Oh and let’s not forget to include elevators in the blueprint so the next generation can get to the top with the simple press of a button labelled ambition.

  7. Sharkey says:

    I fully support Mervyn and Catherine , and agree that the people of West Bay needs good leadership and representation and vision .

    You go you two young intelligent honest West Bayers , stay honest to your constituents and work hard . If mud is thrown at you , don’t be scared to throw it back during the campaign. It’s called fighting back .

  8. Anonymous says:

    Go Kathy-Ann go, Go Kathy-Ann go !!!

    We need to get rid of our dress up politician who we rarely hear from and hasn’t done anything positive in our community in the last decade and a half.

    One private members motion in the past 16 years and I believe that was to get signs erected on our speed limits posts for tourist to know that it was MPH and not KPH – not even that he got accomplished.

    Come on West Bay-ers you deserve more that coffee, sugar, creme and 345’s once a year for a $100,000 CI salary and a fat monthly pension. (Double Dipping)

  9. Anon says:

    Whenever I hear that the PPM will not contest any seats in West Bay, only one word comes to mind: Cowards.

    • Anonymous says:

      The cowards are the constituents. Don’t want UDP/CDP but won’t join PPM.

    • Anonymous says:

      They must be brave, they’ve only put forward a candidate to try and take Mac out (good luck with that Ms Daphne), if Tara gets in she’s with them and if the other ‘young/new IDP’ candidates from WBC (Kathy Ann) and WBN (Mervin Rivers) get elected they seem smart enough to realise they can and should work with whomever is elected.

      I think CDP and INDs failed to appreciate that the PPM were smart in their positioning, let’s see if it works. 😉

  10. Anonymous says:

    Politicians have expenses too. Instead of constantly barking about them getting paid, every one who can vote must get out there and vote. If you don’t then don’t blame anyone but yourself and do not make even one complaint for the next four years. Some of those men and women standing for election are able and well qualified. Anyone who thinks they are better able should go on nomination day and declare. This is what happens in a democracy. Try to grow up and stop wining about the salary and benefits, they give it mostly away to help out the less fortunate anyway. They probably gave you some.

    • Ann says:

      Yes Go Kathy Ann go, back to PPM and tell them you are as much an Independent as Tara was. PPM aka Tara doesn’t fool WBC. We are not the elite constituents who Tara care to represent. Tell her to move back to her Seven Mile condo where she lived for the past three years and take you with her.

    • Anonymous says:

      What would you do if you had to chose between Matthew Leslie and Austin Harris? Sips tea….

  11. Anonymous says:

    Both are a breath of fresh air.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Two excellent young candidates wishing to make a change. Time to get some fresh ideas, which is long overdue. Best wishes to both of them!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    How do we call them independent. All our independent individuals that were voted in, changed to a party system. Example Tara Rivers. We the people didn’t vote her in to PPM we voted her independent…so i hope that doesn’t happen again this electrion

    • India says:

      PPM is not openly running, they are just asking Mrs. Wilks and others to do so.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thought she was former UDP member that doesn’t mean she’s with PPM

        • Katherine Wilks says:

          To clarify, I was never a former UDP/CDP member and I am not with the PPM.

    • Anonymous says:

      We hope not too, a drag

    • Anonymous says:

      1) You voted C$C and you thought they were independent? No matter what they call it if they campaign together they are a party.
      2) It doesn’t matter what party you campaign with when you get in to the ‘parliament’ you compromise to from the government. (Unless one party has a majority of course. But with no all-district parties in Cayman there will ‘always’ be coalition governments.)

  14. Proud to be Caymanin says:

    Katherine you have our support 100%! We know that you are a very intelligent and caring woman. And Cayman desperately need people with fresh ideas and solutions. It’s time to get things done Cayman. We are tired of hearing about reports and studies and nothing has been done.

    Katherine Wilks for West Bay!

    • Ann says:

      Yes but they are not fresh ideas. They are Tara’s ideas, the same ideas she gave her Saturday afternoon in Bonneville.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well if they are Tara’s ideas then Katherine is another fool.

        • Katherine Wilks says:

          Ann – who are you? Seems you know more about me than I do. I think its so funny how people can just make up stories just to get the comments flowing. Like I said in my previous comment, the issues that we are facing are the issues that have been at hand for decades. I am certain that Tara and I will have similar issues on our platforms because we do happen to live in the same country and the same district.

  15. da-wa-u-get says:

    Interesting, while there may not be any need to go to the polls in WBW, the old battle horse may be isolated and relegated to the backbench. In which case it is quite possible that the Premier ship may be relocated to the east or north coast of the Island.
    On the other hand, the current deputy Premier might get promoted for being the least objectionable candidate between warring factions.
    Of course, Cayman politics being what they are, I may be completely off!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Who are they? What is their purpose? What are their past successes that they have the ability to run the country?

    • Katherine Wilks says:

      Anonymous, perhaps if you had asked these profound questions of the past elected officials and the result of which, competent elected officials emerged, then I would not feel the need to run for public office. You know within yourself you can do a better job so why don’t you run for public office. Yet you criticize someone else for taking a stand? What is your background, successes and experience? If you are trolling find someone with less conviction to harass. I am a Caymanian who loves my country and will no longer sit idly by while our birth right vanishes. Cayman belongs to us and we deserve better!

  17. Anonymous says:

    What happens if only one candidate runs in the district? Does that mean an automatic win? Or do they need just one single vote to win? Is there some legislation in place that they need to have a minimum of a certain amount of votes to win even if they are not contested?

    With all these green new comers that appear to be looking for quick get rich quick pensions available in 4 years, I do think this voting of all these constituencies is idiotic. 19 salaries to pay plus all the pensions for every single one of them and free health care for life!

    Can the people see that this is where Cayman is hemorrhaging money? Wasting it on politicians.

    • Anon says:

      Do you have anything good to say? You sound like a negative person all around.

      • Anonymous says:

        The person is looking for answers to the questions. Do you know the answers? Don’t just chalk up questions as negative.

        Wasting government money should be a concern for all voters.