WBS candidates battle on policy

| 27/03/2021
Cayman News Service
Ebanks (left) and Nicholson-Coe at the West Bay South forum

(CNS): The battle for the vacant West Bay South seat heated up Thursday night when André Ebanks and Raul Nicholson-Coe both came out fighting on policy during the Chamber of Commerce Candidates Forum. In one of just two races where the incumbent has vacated the seat, the two West Bayers were gunning hard for votes as they set out their stalls on a range of issues. Both men appeared confident and competent and keen to win votes by setting out policy visions and commitments. Ebanks highlighted his public sector policy experience while Nicholson-Coe stressed his many years in the private sector.

Although the two candidates appeared to agree on areas of concern for voters, they held different policy positions on a number of topical issues. As the questions opened, Nicholson-Coe said that if elected, his priorities would include helping those in tourism to retool and retrain, and the development of a technology sector to diversify the economy and improve opportunities for local people.

But Ebanks said the priority had to be an overarching vision and plan because that would set the Cayman Islands on a course to address all of the challenges it faced, from cost of living to gender equality. He said that without a plan, all of the issues that face the country would continue to be addresses in a haphazard dysfunctional way, preventing Cayman from moving forward.

Beach access continues to be a significant issue nationwide but in West Bay it is a particular concern for residents, and even more so in West Bay South with the recent submission of a planned area development by Dart that would see the constituency lose dozens of beach access points.

Asked about the project, the two men took different positions. Nicholson-Coe said preserving beach access was important, and thought most developers would see the benefit of that. He was supportive in general of Dart’s plans but spoke about the importance of preserving the mangroves on the West Bay peninsular, even though this development poses a significant threat to some of the last remaining mangrove areas in the district. He said that he wanted to see Barkers preserved because it was also attractive for tourists and said it should be protected and marketed as well.

Ebanks said there were grave concerns about this development and what was missing in the equation was an overall development plan for the country so that developers don’t impose these ad hoc developments leading to contention between them and the people.

He also stressed the critical importance of dealing with environmental issues, and said that if it wasn’t for the COVID-19 pandemic, the environment would be the most important issue in the campaign. He promised to get started on climate change policy and pointed to the UK’s appointment of a tzar to deal with it, and that Cayman needed to address this critical issue.

“Whether we like it or not, climate change… impacts every ministry,” he said, noting that a policy would help identify what needs to be protected, such as Barkers. He said Cayman could be a regional leader on climate change, which would improve the image of the islands, too.

“Internationally… we are looked at as some tax haven money pit,” he said, but taking a leadership role in the region on this issue could change that. He also said that Cayman needs a sustainable development plan.

Both men offered their support for the Civil Partnership Law, joining a large number of new candidates that have all supported equality, and urged people to accept the legislation.

However, they also both avoided addressing the issue of who they might align with, given that they are both independent candidates. Nicholson-Coe accused Ebanks of not being honest about which groups he was talking with, as he stressed his own true independence.

However, Ebanks rejected any notion of dishonesty and pointed out the need to talk to those who will be elected democratically. But he made it clear he would not form a government with people who did not share his principles.

Watch the full WBS forum below:

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Category: Election News

Comments (15)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Raul took a firm stance against Mac at the very beginning and Mac wants his supporters to vote for Andre. Has anyone asked Andre about Mac?

    • Anonymous says:

      If Mac wants his supporters to wote for Andre, I smell a rat, Mac wants a friend to promote his lust to be premier.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Slightly off topic but it is nice to see the candidates well dressed and well presented for these very valuable forums.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Was anyone else wondering why after all the ‘tech based and digital’ ideas to improve immigration,labour, police force, education etc, someone (Raul) with such experience in technology/communications chose Planning/infrastructure as his Ministry of choice?

    I also didnt like the way he skirted around beach accesses and mangrove clearing and was clearly not concerned with OVER development while 2 PAD applications are currently being processed in West Bay South. The Aster PAD land sale is contingent upon approval so guess which current mass landowner is pushing it through?

    Andre understands actual planning for the future. Plans – not band aids and temporary ideas without understanding long term repercussions. Our household votes are with him.

  4. Saltcreek Rocky Lizard says:

    I know one ting my family and i ain’t voting for neither one of two Drunken masters and sleepy Floyd Wogene!

  5. Anonymous says:

    These are two really good candidates. I wish they weren’t running against each other as I think both could get elected.

    Much better as well than the last PPM asskisser we had in WBS.

  6. Anonymous says:

    3.11…vote for Mario, not because you favor Mario, but because you Definitely don’t want Mac…none of us do, and it’s up to WBW.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Good luck André, so good to have an educated upright Caymanian rep in West Bay.
    I fear Raul as an old friend and ally of Mac will join with him again for four years of God help us…

  8. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Ebanks is more humble, more goal oriented; he understands that getting things done in government requires networking, finding common ground. In my opinion, Mr. Coe may be ready in 2025. He seems to think that he can change things or drive things by sheer force of will and that is far from the truth.

    • Anonymous says:

      So true 7:29, according to him he is going to do a lot in the first 100 days. All by himself, huge ego and self centered. Disaster in the making.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Both are apparently good candidates, with Ebanks taking the edge – in my opinion. But who am I? I’m stuck in WBW with no one to vote for!! Woe is me!

    • Anonymous says:

      Just don’t vote for MCkeeva that’s all I beg you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Always better to vote for the lesser of two evils than not to vote. Even if you don’t want to vote “for” Mario, vote for him as a vote against Mac.