No alternative to Alliance, says Alden

| 29/03/2021
Cayman News Service

(CNS): Claiming there was no alternative government line-up to the Progressive Alliance, the outgoing premier, Alden McLaughlin, urged Cayman to vote for his platform of candidates, as he closed a rally on Saturday evening to launch the manifesto that represents the PPM’s plan for a new Alliance government.

The MP for Red Bay and the new party chairman pushed the message that none of the other candidates were able to deliver on any promises they might make to voters because they had no formalised political allies. He stressed that politics is all about “we” and not “I”, and said that any hastily pulled together government of independents on 15 April wouldn’t last.

Claiming the PPM-led Alliance was the only group with a plan, he said they were also the only candidates in a position to actually execute it because the others had not formed any structured alliances that could pose an alternative government and enable any of them to get a policy agenda through.

However, there are expectations that there will indeed be a clear line-up for a potential alternative government, the ‘coalition of the willing’, before voters go to the polls on Election Day, as most of the challengers with a serious chance of ousting an incumbent recognise the need to ensure that voters can see viable option to the status quo.

Reflecting on his own experience in 2000, when he was first elected as an independent and supported a coalition that fell apart after just one year, McLaughlin said he had lived through many attempts to put governments together. But he said ministers all run off in different directions when policies are not discussed and agreed on beforehand.

He said that after the 2017 election, it was “a mad scramble” because the Progressives had only secured seven seats and at least ten are needed to govern.

Missing the point that the electorate had rejected the party he had led, having voted for twelve people who did not share the platform, McLaughlin nevertheless used that result and the current health crisis as justification for why the country should this time around vote for all of the people on the PPM platform and not just a few.

“We are in crucial times,” he said, adding that the coalition government he had led had only managed to navigate the pandemic successfully because of the money it had in the bank. But he warned that cash would not last forever and the next administration would be faced with the task of handling the continuing pandemic as well as how to keep business going and collect government revenue.

“We need every single member of this alliance to form the next government,” he said, as he urged voters to reject their favourite candidates if they were running against anyone in the Alliance.

Singling out Austin Harris, McLaughlin urged people to vote for him, saying he was the Alliance candidate in Prospect because the Progressives were not fielding their own candidate in that constituency but were supporting the former radio talk-show host.

Harris, who emceed the evening, wore a PPM t-shirt under his regular shirt but never quite declared his full allegiance to the party that he wholeheartedly praised throughout the night.

McLaughlin hammered home the message to voters that they must only vote for Alliance and PPM candidates, putting the last nail in the coffin of his long friendship with Wayne Panton as he urged people to vote for Alva Suckoo, the incumbent in Newlands, where Panton is running.

This endorsement was made despite the fact that Panton was once the main financier of the PPM campaigns and a founding member of the Progressives, and even though McLaughlin has spent four years criticising the performance of Suckoo, the former deputy leader of the opposition.

McLaughlin also said Dwayne Seymour was “progressively becoming a Progressive” and was running on the Alliance ticket in Bodden Town East. He said he needed him as well as Vincent Frederick, a candidate for Bodden Town West.

However, Frederick is the clear underdog in the race against the independent incumbent Chris Saunders, who will be one of the main contenders for a Cabinet job if the ‘coalition of the willing’ has a greater number of candidates than the Alliance. Seymour’s return is also far from certain, as he won a four-way race in 2017 with one of the smallest majorities that year.

This time Seymour is in a head-to-head battle with Osbourne Bodden, a former PPM Cabinet member who is running on the ‘Community Creates Country’ ticket with Panton and Heather Bodden, a candidate in Savannah.

“We cannot allow this to slip away from us,” McLaughlin said.

But after outlining the concept of a strong alliance and what he implied was a government in waiting, he undermined the entire position by saying that after the election the Alliance might still welcome more candidates, opening the door to other candidates in advance of the post-election horsetrading that he derided.

“As long as you believe in our cause and what we are trying to do… you are welcome aboard. I am not suggesting that people can’t come to us after the elections,” he said.

This raises the question of the return of McKeeva Bush to a PPM-led government after the election if, as was the case in 2017, the party and its coalition members do not win the required ten seats.

McLaughlin has distanced himself from Bush and, with the exception of his near mea culpa moment on the hustings on behalf of Joey Hew, he has avoided mentioning his one-time political nemesis.

He called early elections because of Bush’s refusal to resign from his position of speaker following his arrest and subsequent conviction for beating up a woman at a local bar.

But notably, McLaughlin failed to force Bush out of the job and the PPM has not fielded any party or Alliance candidates against him or his running mates, Capt. Eugene Ebanks and Rolston Anglin.

Nor has anyone in the Progressives offered support to Mario Ebanks, an increasingly competitive challenger for Bush’s West Bay West seat, even though the incumbent has until now been seen as immovable and despite Ebanks’ previous support for the PPM.

And while Anglin has not made any indication that he supports the Alliance, Eugene Ebanks has fully committed to his support of the coalition that he had served in. During his appearance on the Chamber of Commerce Candidates Forum, he said he would be happy to serve again.

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Comments (13)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    There is an add on the radio saying to contact the Anti- Corruption Committee to report vote buying.

    Now Alden has double down on this bribe of vote for me and I will give you $2k when I am elected..He has said this from his bully pulpit, it has been repeated on government and private radio stations, shared on blogs and in several instances in news print and social media..

    Are they just turning a blind to this or is it that they are afraid of Alden too?

    • Anonymous says:

      Every candidate has made promises on what they will do if elected. All of their promises include spending public funds if they are honest about it and/or the electorate smart enough to realise it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Q. Why isn’t Alden in the depths of sanctions for offering cash for votes last week at a PPM event? There’s something seriously broken with our democracy if these major breaches go unanswered. Can none of the CSPL, ACC, RCIPS, or Elections Supervisors, read the major news stories, and play back the accompanying video evidence, the rest of us can see, and replay? Are their opponents so out-to-lunch they can’t file the reports? What a mockery.

  3. Anonymous says:

    One credible alternative includes some jail time examples for vote buying. How can we have faith in the Elections Office and AntiCorruption Commission when they profess to want instances of vote buying and treating and other serious offenses reported, even as these things are happening in broad daylight from the podium of recorded meetings? These watchdogs have done nothing to bring charges against McKeeva for his prohibited treating event on Dec 26th, nor have they brought any charges against Alden for promising increased stipend payments – if you vote for him!!! Governor Roper should be reminded that he presides over this farce.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Welp! There a load of drivel I didn’t read. I am not a fan of fairytales.
    Woting dat lot OUT.

  5. Naya Boy says:

    Alliance of Despots vs Flock of Dummies Mann this election shit hard vote for Common sense not corrupt group ????

  6. Anonymous says:

    “A plan” there are good and bad plans.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Two points:

    1) Any coalition can take and follow directives from the UK regarding the pandemic….just like this government did and
    2) we need a government to get things done for the general people not just themselves.


    • Anonymous says:

      So how it is that the Cayman Islands did better and is still in a better state than the UK? We certainly do appreciate the UK’s assistance with the vaccine and the testing supplies after our local heroes Craig Merren and his friends helped secure the initial order of sufficient test supplies to last us for the remainder of 2020. Those had to be paid for and while acknowledging the generosity of Mrs. Olde, it was the past two Progressive led Governments that saved that money for a rainy day. What do you want, a Government that knows what it is doing or a Government of people you find likeable who don’t have a clue so that we can all suffer together in misery like the US before Biden, Venezuela under Maduro and Brazil under Bolsonaro?

  8. Anonymous says:

    say NO to people who condone violence agains women!

  9. Anonymous says:

    What did you drink, Alden? Your group had 8, some even 12 years, to steer us to calm waters and you failed. The lot of you please move over – independents coming through!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Alden has lost all credibility to anyone with an IQ of at least 85.