East End candidates conflict on GT port views

| 11/04/2017
Cayman News Service

The candidates debate at the East End Chamber Forum

(CNS Elections): John McLean Jr, who is running against the incumbent in East End and newcomer Isaac Rankine, was emphatic about his support for cruise berthing facilities, as he answered questions in the first Chamber of Commerce Forum Monday, but not for the current government plan. The independent candidate, who is trying to oust Arden McLean for the second time, said he supported the proposal by McKeeva Bush for a project with the Chinese, despite the controversies that dogged that idea. Arden McLean, who is aiming for his fifth term in the seat, said he didn’t have strong feelings about a cruise port but raised concerns about the dredging.

The Chamber forums began in East End on Monday night, though the actual location was the Clifton Hunter High School, which is in North Side, due to the controversial claims that the television crew was unable to get a signal from East End back to George Town. This created concerns from the incumbent member for the district, who said it appeared things were going backwards because the forums had always been held in the constituency.

Despite the low turnout, the panel session was broadcast on TV and radio, giving voters in East End a chance to see the three candidates lining up for the seat. There were few fireworks during the debate, but Arden McLean made it clear that he has his eyes on the top prize when he said that he believed he could be premier. After four terms in the House, he was easily the most prepared of the candidates, demonstrating the advantage of experience, regardless of his policy positions.

Speaking about the port, the senior McLean, in contrast to his younger challenger, was more circumspect about the need for the port and the wider implications. He said if the argument was made that the Cayman Islands really must have a cruise port to save the industry, the dredging  “needs to come off table”. He said he believed it would be possible to create a facility that would not require dredging and the destruction of what marine life was left in the George Town Harbour, which still had tourist value. 

Arden McLean said that at the start of this administration it appeared as though “it was all doom and gloom” unless they could get the port going immediately, but a few years on there are frequently five or six ships in the harbour and the number of passenger arrivals is increasing.

“We are doing pretty good, so why go through the expense when it appears we might not need it?” he asked.

Rankine said he was undecided about the project and that his hesitation was because of the price tag.

“We still don’t know how much it’s going to cost and we need to consider the impact on Seven Mile Beach.” But on the other hand, he said, government had to consider the newer, bigger ships and if a facility was necessary to ward off economic decline, it must be sustainable and protect the environment.

John McLean Jr, however, expressed his emphatic support for a facility in George Town, saying it had become a “political football”.

“It needs to be done,” he said, dismissing the need for any more environmental impact assessments because two had been done, which had already cost money. Referring to negotiations that McKeeva Bush, during his time as premier in the 2007-2013 administration, had begun with China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), he said he was hoping they would have come on board to develop the project, claiming that would have been a 50/50 deal until they were repaid. 

However, the details of the deal that Bush was trying to negotiate with CHEC were never made clear before it was derailed by objections from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office over his failure to follow the process laid down in law for major capital projects.

The next forum will take place Tuesday evening at the Clifton Hunter School with the line up of candidates from North Side.

Tags: , , ,

Category: Candidates, Election News

Comments (16)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Forget the cruise terminal….waste of money that would be better spent on education.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It really wasn’t a fair debate, John Mac Jr. spend 4 years preparing to answer questions on the Constitution and then they ask him about a dock.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Who didn’t know that Arden had his eye on Premiership?! It was not coincidental that Arden split from the PPM not long after Alden was elected by its members as party leader (I.e. Arden was not). Arden waited a bit to not make it look too bad but he threw his toys out the pram and split so he could chart his course to Premier otherwise. What an embarrassment he would be as Prmeier – standing up in the house and licking his fingers and wiping them into the wind to get his point across?? He is getting more hot headed, aggressive, unreasonable and with that licking incident, I would say downright, nasty with age. He is not the international representation we need.

  4. Anonymous says:

    John McLean Jr is a little mac. Arden has had years to change East End and has done nothing. Time for someone new.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Little Johnny Mac is not likely to get elected if he keeps opening his mouth. Arden is harden, but this boy is foo foo just the way Big Mac likes them.

  6. Iwuztheretoo says:

    Arden is right about the TV coverage. Randy fired the one man who worked for CITN who would have made it work from East End just like before.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The people of East End do not stand to gain a single cruise ship dollar from a GT Pier, which only demonstrates how clued out from reality these dummies are if this irrelevant debate is their number one talking point. You might as well be talking about Syria or the Kardashians or whether or not you like cheese. Some of these guys seem eager to take on a 50 year infrastructure debt for something that won’t even benefit the district – infrastructure dollars that won’t be coming to East End (for a lifetime) once spent!

  8. Anonymous says:

    If the people of East End send Johhny, or Isaac to represent them in parliament, they deserve what they get! It was clear that Arden McLean is still the best choice for them.

    • Harden says:

      What is clear is that Arden has had ample time and opportunity to do something, anything, that benefits tbe people of East End and has done nothing.
      Issac is the only choice in East End. Arden must be put out to pasture.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I have never seen anyone fall flat on their face like this. Wow Johnny just drop out now. The Mac Chinese plan was a disaster in the making.

    Arden for Premier there goes the economy…Stop work permits stop dart stop development…yeah right.

    No thanks.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Thank you John finally someone with sense. The numbers are not going up especially in the summer months. This season was no season at all. The ships are old and are bringing discount tourists except for a few. We need a cruise ship pier it is time.

  11. Caymanian says:

    That’s why Johnny is a no go. We don’t need the Big Mac 3 million Chinese plan

  12. Anonymous says:

    So now we know who John, Jr. is in bed with. Mac’s deal with China Harbour…a $200 million Port for the bargain price of $400 million. 500 guaranteed Chinese work permits…80+ yrs control of GT by the communist Chinese…payouts a normal way of doing business in the 3rd world. Brilliant plan John! Debt is debt. It has to be repaid one way or another. You haven’t even served one term and you have already sold your soul. The “independents” are showing their true colours right out of the gate.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like theBrother of you know who is attacking Johnny. Well get with the program brother for the ancient one in the words of the song “He’s got to go” vamoose, sayonara arrivederrchi, good bye Mclean Senile Senia.