Leaders are no-shows at TV debate

| 19/05/2017

(CNS Election): What was expected to be a national TV debate between Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush and Premier Alden McLaughlin failed to materialise Thursday after Bush pulled out, and as a result the premier following suit. Although the Cayman Democratic Party advertised the appearance of their leader supported by Jonathan Piercy in the final of the national debates, Bush changed his mind last week, and could not be persuaded to face off with the PPM leader, who was expected to be supported by Moses Kirkconnell.

Independent candidate Chris Saunders was also invited to take part in the line-up on the Cayman 27 show, as well to carry the flag for the non-party affiliates in the election.

But after the opposition leader changed his mind, the premier also declined to take part, and although another PPM candidate was expected to step in for McLaughlin and Kirkconnell, a combination of factors prevented any PPM candidates from attending, leaving Piercy, who is running on the CDP ticket and tipped by many to take the George Town West seat, along with Saunders, running for BTW, and Kent McTaggart, running for Savannah, as the final line up.

But there was little debate as a result. None of the candidates are running against each other and none are incumbents, so the show saw the three men taking “pot shots” at government policy without setting out very much of their own stalls.

Saunders raged at the PPM for not sending a representative to defend the manifesto, a failure he described as “offensive to the Caymanian people” that no one from the Progressives was there. Saunders said that in both the 2013 and 2017 PPM manifestos, Alden McLaughlin had said that leadership matters most. But the Bodden Town West hopeful said that if “you want to hold national office you need to come here”.

He accused the PPM of misleading the people in the manifesto about immigration and said that it was insulting that he had not come to defend it. “Where is his leadership tonight?” he asked.

Johann Moxam and political reporter Ben Meade were featured on the Cayman 27 show as a political analysts. Following the event, Moxam described it as “shooting fish in a barrel” because by not being there, the PPM exposed themselves to criticisms without anyone to defend them.

“The PPM did themselves a huge disservice,” said Moxam, who described it as a missed opportunity. He said the failure “reeked of arrogance” and showed a lack of respect for the voters. 

Tammi Sulliman, the show’s host, said the premier had been happy to attend until Bush declined, as McLaughlin had expected to be up against his opposite number. Wayne Panton was meant to be the PPM surrogate but a family emergency prevented him from coming at the last minute and no other stand-in was available.


Correction: Chris Saunders is running in Bodden Town West (BTW). An earlier version of the article said he was running in BTE.

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Category: Campaigns

Comments (25)

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  1. Knot S Smart says:

    We know that Alden is not afraid of debates. Remember how he made the host of the ‘Hard Talk’ show look foolish for asking silly questions?
    Remember how he stood up for Cayman against the likes of John Kerry?
    I knew from a long time ago that Ms Althea and Mr Mcnee boy and Mr Allen Mclaughlin’s grandson is not afraid of debates or to say what he has to say. I just wish all Caymanians were as proud of him as I am…

  2. Sharkey says:

    My predictions for May Election , the voters of Cayman islands has alot of surprises for us all . Some may like them, and others may not .

  3. Sharkey says:

    I think that these debates between candidates are very important to the Public . Do we the public knows all of what some Politicians did and wanted to do in the last 4’years ? No . The Politicians do , that why it’s important for them to get a chance to bring stuff out and rebate it in the public .
    But without these public debates by the Politicians would always be able to keep us in the dark , and keep getting re-elected .

    I say again that they must be hiding
    something why they both didn’t show.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Progressives are not arrogant, nor are they scared. They just did not fall for McKeeva’s tricks. And they have already debated their opponents in the Chamber forums.

      • Anonymous says:

        Stop taking up for the “progressives”. You just look stupid! You drank the PPM Kool-Aid, shame on your own ignorance.

        Open your God damn eyes man; PPM have failed, this is not the first time either.

        The party system has ruined us!

        #Wake-up Cayman

      • Anonymous says:

        Or you could turn that ( trick ) around the other way.

    • Anonymous says:

      As a GTS voter I will not vote for the candidates that did not even attend a forum or debate. No regard for truly informing their voters. And yes everyone was watching. A much better way to truly know your candidates than these crazy carnival meetings the parties have putting on.

  4. Anonymous says:

    “Bush changed his mind last week, and could not be persuaded to face off with the PPM leader,” Really? I heard CDP supporters and others saying Hon. Bush didn’t show up because he had got wet up and had the flu.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Alden only wants to attend special interests events and rub shoulders with big shots for the people

  6. Anonymous says:

    Mickey mouse wears a cayman islands wrist watch….

  7. Anonymous says:

    Saunders was terrible last night. I guess he realized that he is finished in BT.

    It was a smart but coward move by credit card Bush not to show.

    I also noted Anti Expat Bernie Bush failed to show up for any of the national debates.

    Cayman Destructive Party is finished. Even their most loyal supporters have thrown in the towel. Having 34 cars in your motorcade is really just a traffic jam.

    If only Kent had not followed Dennie political strategy of attacking the very people he needed to vote for him he would have had a chance.

    • Anonymous says:

      Chris, please don’t make this PPM loser but a damper on you. You are one of the BEST (if not the best) people running in this election, you stand for what every Caymanians should be standing for and that is taking Cayman back for Caymanians. BTW you have to elect his young man please please!! If yo do not, not only would you have let yourself down but also the Cayman Islands. I believe if the CI had a National vote Chris Saunders would definitely be National Elected. I wish i was in your electoral district you would definitely ! definitely have my vote. Again BTW, Cayman needs this young man in the LA, please don’t let your children down, VOTE CHRIS SAUNDERS

      • Anonymous says:

        Chris is a Jamaican. I waiting to see which Caymanian can go to Jamaica and run for office there!

        As long as he been Cayman, his accent still strong like the current out by Spotts dock!

        Not today Bo-Bo!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Their attendance is not necessary. Anyone remotely paying attention knows their positions. Voters would better be served going by deeds not debates.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I suggest their constituents return the favour by ignoring their names in the ballot box come May 24th.

    Let us finally turn this page.

    – Who

  10. Anonymous says:

    Sure says a lot for both parties. INDEPENDENTS all the way.

  11. Tiffany Ebanks says:

    Can Rundown PLEASE do a skit on this next year. This story is the best depiction of Politics here, and we really need Rundown to do some justice to this.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Vote independent…which is ppm anyway lol…

  13. Rob says:

    That is just ridiculous. Who do they think they are? No showing in front of the same Caymanian people they want votes from? It moves like this that make independent candidates look more appealing.

  14. Sharkey says:

    Somebody is scared of somebody , makes sense to me when they both didn’t show up for the debate . How come one didn’t challenge the other one ? I think then they are both unfit to be the Leader . What are they hiding ?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Wow…arrogance! We need to stop pretending that the CDP/UDP wield any measurable political sway from their pre-self-termination over 4 years ago…the reality is that McKeeva might not retain his seat this round. They were barely audible these last 4 years and are done. PPM are as arrogant as ever. Neither are fit for purpose anymore. We need to change the constitution and allow non-birth Caymanians an opportunity to serve our collective best interests, instead of party cronies willing only to line the pockets of their pals, and on their own private schedule. Failing to show at a scheduled TV debate is appalling.

  16. Anonymous says:

    PPM showed their usual arrogant ways exemplified by Premier Alden McLaughlin by not sending anybody to speak on behalf of the party.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Now if they would both just pull out of the election as well!

  18. Unison says:


    Christopher Saunders *

    Jonathan Piercy

    Kent McTaggart

    ; )