Alden and Sammy clash on development

| 16/03/2021 | 30 Comments
Cayman News Service
Jackson at Red Bay Forum

(CNS): The candidates in one of the most watched head-to-head races of the 2021 election met on the debate stage Monday evening, when development was the issue that caused the most disagreement between the two men. Sammy Jackson, whom Alden McLaughlin labeled as ‘the developers’ lawyer’ due to his long history of advocating for major projects, turned the tables back on the premier over the issue of too much development.

Traffic, roads and development dominated this Chamber of Commerce Candidates Forum for Red Bay, where McLaughlin is hoping to keep his seat and continue his more than two decades long run in political office.

In a debate where Jackson made the rookie mistake of agreeing with his very experienced opponent a little too often for his own good, the newcomer nevertheless scored a number of points when it came to the issue of excessive development not benefitting Caymanians. Jackson managed to get McLaughlin on the back foot over the concessions that government has given to developers over the years.

The challenger said that instead of handing concessions to millionaires, government should be granting concessions to small developers who are trying to build homes for locals, as he accused the current administration of leaving Caymanians behind.

The premier claimed the concessions were driven by the need to recover from the recession of 2008, and he argued that government had given hardly any developer concessions during this administration.

However, this is not entirely true. The current administration gave a whopping $8 million in waivers to Fraser Whellan’s Watermark development in 2018, long after Cayman had begun to recover from the economic downturn a decade before and was by that time enjoying a property boom.

Jackson also warned that increased development was fuelling the traffic problems, as he pointed out that the existing developments in the constituency of Red Bay were going to make the situation far worse and that government had failed to take infrastructure issues into account when allowing large developments. He said that over the years far too many large developments had been granted where Caymanians got very little of what had originally been promised in fees and other benefits.

Jackson also said he believed the “rapid pace of …unbridled development” is driving the population growth and that this is deliberate. He spoke of the desire by some who want a population of 100,000 because that was the point “where we achieve some magical economic benefit from that”, which he said was wrong.

“We need to get a handle on development and curtail the population growth,” he said, as he lamented the limited benefit to Caymanians from development. “We are already beyond capacity in terms of infrastructure and we know there is going to be irreversible environmental harm.”

He said that the 2014 PPM government had removed the need for the Central Planning Authority to consider infrastructure impacts on larger developments unless they are planned area developments.

Despite his comments on the campaign trail that land has no intrinsic value unless it is developed, Jackson nevertheless advocated for greater environmental protection and challenged McLaughlin’s claims that he had a history of pressing for developers to build even closer to the sea than the law permits.

McLaughlin acknowledged the need to address the future issue of climate change, though his government has not done anything at all during the last four years to advance policies in that regard, with the Climate Change Policy from 2011 still gathering dust somewhere in the ministry responsible for environment.

Government accepted a motion from Alva Suckoo in 2020 to introduce a new one but there has been no indication of when and how the new policy will be developed, despite the pressing need for action on climate change.

Blaming history and not his government’s policies for the problems Caymanians now face, McLaughlin said that as a young man he had said that the powers that be should never have allowed development along Seven Mile Beach but should have restricted it to across the street.

See the full debate on the Chamber YouTube channel below:


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Comments (30)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Alden, I was 100% voting for you today, was it not for your clear support for gay marriage and the destruction of Holy Matrimony. I am Voting Sammy today.

    Roper, can’t wait for the door to hit you in the ass.

  2. Cheese Face says:

    If you had dropped the port bullshit, and kicked Mac Beater out immediately, you would have retained my vote, but you didn’t so you won’t.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Not voting for progressives means Mc Beater will head the next government you idiot.
      He will seduce all the newbies and we’ll be back to another 4 years of secret deals and govt waste on first class travels, hotels and casinos for Mac and his chosen few.

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      • Anonymous says:

        If you think Sammy, Johann or anyone else they align themselves with would ever form a government with McBeater then you’re severely misinformed. The PPM on the other hand…

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        • Anonymous says:

          They will most certainly align with Mac, it’s called survival of the fittest and they will explain their greed as being necessary to “control” Mac.

  3. Cayman justice says:

    After this debate where the candidates went speaks volumes about who I want to represent me Mr Jackson went home to his spouse our leader went home to Southcoast bar in Breakers to drink liquor ! A man who cannot govern himself cannot govern others! We all know on this island about mr premier, yet some refuse to acknowledge or address his behaviour and issues it brings to his position and our island. Would it be the same if it was a woman conducting herself in the same manner ??? on 14 th of April vote Cayman for those who have the moral good standing to be a leader it’s time for Alden McLaughlin to go Cayman along with others who simply do not respect the trust that has been given to them by Cayman or its people!

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    • Anonymous says:

      This comment by Cayman Justice (an ironic handle, bobo) is unfair to Mr McLaughlin. “Justice” claims to know where both Mr Jackson and Mr McLaughlin went after the meeting (how??!!) It is not a crime to go to a bar to have a relaxing drink of “liquor” though it may be offensive to “Justice” personally. Then he follows up with the “we all know” type of insinuation which along with others like “I am given to understand” is so beloved by some posters on CNS. We DON’T all know even if gossip “tells” us something. Gossip is just that, gossip. And how do we know that Mr Jackson (if indeed he did go home to his spouse)did not behave abysmally towards her? I’m not for a moment suggesting this to be the case but merely pointing out that loaded, biased comments like those of Cayman “Justice” are mere political posturing.

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      • Anonymous says:

        You are nothing but a PPM propagandist. Don’t suggest for a second that you’re some guru trying to see things objectively.

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        • Anonymous says:

          And Cayman Justice is, by your argument, a Sammy Jackson propagandist. Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Look at the live chat replay toward the end of the Chamber of Commerce YouTube video and tell me the PPM doesn’t have a well-funded propaganda program that would make Joseph Goebbels jealous. The same exact people making such similar comments. It’s pathetic, really.
            Sammy doesn’t pay people to write comments endorsing him on CNS, Facebook, YouTube, etc. However, there are many people like me (and possibly “Cayman justice”) who know him personally, and knowing the good man that he is, we will stand up for him. Have you seen some of the outrageous attempts to discredit him on this website? This comment at 3:51 pm is clearly biased in favor of Alden, so they shouldn’t be one to talk about others making biased comments. Having a “relaxing drink” of liquor is different to drowning your sorrows after not getting what you want, like some spoiled child. A leader should be mentally stable.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Perhaps you could try to answer the points the poster @ 3:51 made, 4:40? Or would that be too difficult for you?

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          • Anonymous says:

            Firstly, everyone knows that Alden is a regular at Southcoast Bar. It may just be possible that, get this… Cayman justice knows someone who was at the bar at the same time as Alden but also knows Sammy.
            No, it is not a crime to go to a bar and there’s nothing wrong with social drinking. But I’m not sure if I, or anyone else wants an alcoholic or borderline-alcoholic to represent this country in such a high position of leadership. Then again, we have convicted woman beaters in Parliament so I guess it doesn’t matter. Anyway, if that was the first place Alden went to after the debate, it’s likely that he used alcohol as a coping mechanism for embarrassment or stress, which I think Cayman justice was implying.
            “And how do we know that Mr Jackson (if indeed he did go home to his spouse)did not behave abysmally towards her?” Woah, not sure where that came from, but I believe he did go home afterwards with his partner who supported him in the audience.
            “I’m not for a moment suggesting this to be the case”. Then why say it? To suggest (but not suggest?) that Sammy “behaved abysmally towards his spouse” is odd and unnecessary.

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      • I can assure you that Mr. Jackson went home with me, he always does, and he is a respectful, loving and supportive partner, and not not an abusive one. That’s why his family enthusiastically supports him on his political campaign!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I think one of the dumbest things Alden said in this debate was that voters shouldn’t have the ability to recall their MPs. Wtf?

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  5. Anonymous says:

    I’ve always voted for Mr. McLaughlin, But I’ve lost confidence in his leadership. Especially with how he handled the whole ordeal with the Speaker of the House. A true leader doesn’t compromise on such important moral issues.
    I will be voting for Mr. Jackson.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    the sheeple speech at the end was disheartening, wish he had spoken more about Red Bay. Covid is a #1 priority for everyone but speeding into the abyss with road projects in our district that sound like a spaghetti junction is not a welcome distraction. The same people who made the mess in the first place should not be the ones to try to fix it!

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  7. Anonymous says:

    At least they both showed up. Bernie left the rooster studio this morning after 5 min. How did this guy get elected.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    RED BAY, PLEASE VOTE FOR SAMMY! Alden is used and abused at this point and ready to sell us locals out for bare minimum.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    I thought they were both terrible.
    So do I go with the one that supports McBasher
    or the other one?

    Red Bayer

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    • Anonymous says:

      Sammy was quite inarticulate at times. The Premier was the better but that is expected. A brilliant leader. Not just a complainer. The Premier is a man of action.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Are you kidding me? Could you not tell how nervous the Premier was now that he’s being challenged by a worthy opponent? Other people I spoke to also picked up on his nervousness.

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        • Anonymous says:

          That’s how I viewed it.
          They were both shaking like pit bulls arriving at the vets to be neutered.

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          • Anonymous says:

            I didn’t find Sammy to be nearly as shaky as Alden. Plus he’s new to politics. What’s Alden’s excuse?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Alden felt pressured XXXX, to which Sammy rebutted him. He is a coward, and NOT a brilliant leader.
        Your propaganda will not work on anyone with average or above-average intelligence.
        Sammy was a much better speaker and he’s a man of his word, but it’s kind of hard to implement changes when you’re not elected now isn’t it?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Sammy ain’t for McKeeva. Not one bit. I wish I lived in Red Bay so I could vote for him.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Sammy the chameleon

    Alden the posturer

    What a bout this will prove to be.

    At the end though, there will be no surprises who wins.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Staggered working hours and working from home?

    Alden, this is not a new idea and this certainly has been going on for 10+years, only to be accelerated by COVID.

    I suspect that there are more people working from home and on staggered working hours than not.

    Imagine if this was not so?

    Here is a novel concept for Cayman: bus stops outside the road corridors where buses are absolutely required to pull off, out of the line of traffic, and use.

    This would reduce road hazards significantly and speed up the movement of traffic through-out all road corridors, tremendously.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Love how Alden himself used the term “developer’s lawyer”. Now we know where all the anti-Sammy propaganda is coming from…

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