Roy accepts climate change as looming crisis

| 07/04/2021 | 14 Comments

(CNS): Roy McTaggart, who is positioned to become the next premier of the Cayman Islands if the PPM-Alliance returns the largest group of candidates after the general elections next week, has accepted that the biggest environmental challenge facing the country is climate change.

Despite being part of a government for eight years that has allowed its climate change policy to gather dust in the government building, McTaggart said Tuesday that this is an “area that we have to come to grips with very quickly”, as he predicted that a significant amount of land in Cayman would be underwater in the near future.

McTaggart was speaking at the final Chamber of Commerce Candidates Forum Tuesday night, when all four of the challengers for his George Town East constituency appeared to answer the questions. However, none of his opponents raised his failure as a Cabinet member for the last four years to do something about the policy, which has been sitting in his colleague’s ministry being ignored.

The GTE incumbent said we must understand what the risks are, even though they have been laid out clearly in that existing policy.

Although he accepted the risk and the need to address rising sea levels and temperatures, McTaggart did not stray from his party’s policy of depending on more development to keep the economy going. He said there would soon be a need to pull back coastal developments and to “build smart”.

Dr Frank McField also agreed that climate change was the biggest threat, but as he pointed to the loss of natural habitat, he asked who was planning and leading the country and not telling the people the truth.

However, it was the youngest candidate in these elections, Emily DeCou, who displayed an understanding of the importance of the environment and its central role in the country’s future. She explained the connections between the failings when it comes to a lack of planning and the environmental problems we now face, such as polluting development that is allowed without any sanctions, and the sea level rise as the world’s 29th most vulnerable country.

“As a flat coastal community, unless we do something urgently and immediately we are really contributing to our own demise,” she said, adding that during this time while the borders are closed government should be examining polices that can help to prepare Cayman for what is ahead for the next 10, 20, 30 years and the sustainable policies needed.

DeCou, who made the most of the platform to promote her vision, gave an extremely competent performance overall, articulating her own ideas for change as well as the challenges ahead. She came out of the debate with the edge in what will be a difficult race for all of the challengers, as they will be splitting the opposition vote to McTaggart, who is seen as the favourite.

With so many candidates on the platform, the questions were limited and the sedate model of the forum provided little room for challenges to the misleading and even inappropriate comments made by both Richard Bernard and Christina Rowlandson regarding ganja and those who use the drug. DeCou, McField and McTaggart all offered support for decriminalising the recreational use of ganja, largely to prevent young people from receiving criminal records for minor possession.

McTaggart, who claimed he was the only person qualified and knowledgeable enough to be elected, was given an easy ride through the forum, in which all of the candidates talked about the catalogue of problems facing Cayman and the problems that the two governments that McTaggart has served in have failed to address, from the specific flooding problems in the GTE constituency to the failings in education.

McField was the only candidate to focus directly on the failings of the government, but he shied away from directly criticising McTaggart and spoke a great deal about the systemic problems in Cayman society.

See the final Chamber forum on YouTube below:


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Comments (14)

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  1. ANONYMOUS says:

    Emily Dacou for George Town East. The youngest candidate and is more eloquent, passionate self confident and is more knowledgeable as to what is required to protect the future of these Islands and its people. Those who don’t recognize that, truly have their heads buried in the sand or somewhere else.

  2. Anonymous says:

    We’ve taken on debt with no physical asset for our future generations. Many snow birds and politicians (including the ones in their pockets) are the only ones who keep benefiting from all these concessions that destroy our natural environment. We should be redeveloping run down or inhabitable homes and buildings (ahem, Hyatt). We should not be concreting over vegetation without the proper understanding of a very real climate crisis we are facing. So many people in politics are so greedy that they lie to their constituents about reality just so they stay in power.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    GTE, whatever unuh do, just don’t vote for Roy. Get rid of PPM!! Hopefully this time around the Independents are better prepared to come together in unity and not allow PPM to take control again.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Who the heck is Richard Bernard? What were his misleading comments? And what do they have to do with anything?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Roy is the most solid trustworthy professional.
    His role as minister of finance is vital to,our future.
    It would be a major blow to Cayman to lose a man of his skills.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You are aware that he would not be coming back as Minister of Finance, right? If that is your reason for voting for Roy, it is null and void.

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  6. No more PPM says:

    I watched the forum and it convinced me: yes, she may be the youngest, but DeCou will get my vote. McField seems to have deep-seated social resentment and McTaggart is part of the group that put us in this mess! I will give youth a chance.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Well intentioned idealists will not give us results .. my 16 year old daughter is also a very nice intelligent idealist, but I wouldn’t want her to be in charge of anything.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you. Emily needs work and life experience then give it another shot.

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        • Anonymous says:

          What have those with work and life experience accomplished besides selling us out to wealthy developers and listening to the advise of medical doctors for Covid-19 management? Which by the way only worked for us because our small population is obedient for the most part. I hope ppl don’t confuse the success of controlling Covid in Cayman as a direct result of PPM.

      • Anonymous says:

        You’re daughter should be so proud to know she can grow up to be only a few things in your eyes. Shameful.

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      • Anonymous says:

        This comment right here tells us a lot about PPM supporters.

      • Anonymous says:

        When you compare your daughter who is a teenager to a young adult starting their career you are gaslighting females. Grow up.

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  7. No more says:

    The incumbents were openly discussing unemployment in 2010 yet here we are, 11 years later at 8% unemployment. Years of under-employment, of mortgage foreclosures, of graduates returning home to arid career paths, while the PPM sold over a billion dollars’ worth of permanent residency to people who could buy multi-million dollar apartments that only inflated our real estate prices. Stop voting in herds like sheep, and choose wisely. If our parents and grandparents want to vote them back in, it must be our mission to VOTE THEM OUT.

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