George Ebanks has reconfirmed his commitment as an independent candidate for Bodden Town in the 11 May General Elections.
His initial announcement was made before Hurricane Ivan in September.
During the storm, Mr. Ebanks was assigned Chief Warden at the Prospect School Hurricane Shelter.
‘During the height of the storm, I was privileged to have served and safeguarded over 800 local residents. A very important part of the resident population was comprised of the entire elderly and special population of the NCVO Pines Retirement Home,’ he said.
He remained on active call for two months.
‘In that capacity I saw many needs, which were seemingly always in our communities, but which Ivan brought to the forefront of our attention. I learnt much during that period, about both my deep commitment to my country as well as its people.
‘Since that time, I have been in deep thought and prayer pondering just how best I can be of service to the wellbeing of my fellow citizens as well as all people who pride themselves in calling these Islands home.’
He said he has reached the firm decision, with the support of family that he should continue the campaign, which he had just begun to embark on before September.
He believes a change is needed in government.
He said the national financial resources have been wasted and Government has been unaccountable regarding the Government Low Cost Housing Scheme and ‘how a sum of some $25 million could have been so wantonly expended and today the underlying asset is of little service to the people it was intended to assist. Many other examples are there and I will outline these to the people during the course of my campaign.’
He the following short-term issues must be of everyone’s concern:
‘Continuation of Island wide clean up effort – This issue must become a national priority for the new Government and it is of utmost importance that we focus on ways and means of earmarking sufficient funds to complete this task and to return Grand Cayman to its pristine condition. The longer we allow the current state of untidiness now prevailing on our Island the greater the chance of the appearance becoming accepted as a norm. This must not be allowed to happen and this issue must become a national short term and urgent issue that must be seen through to its completion.
‘Crime Within the issue of wishing for a return to a clean Grand Cayman, we must be vigilant and guard against a relaxation of our strict immigration and crime fighting regimes in regard to crime becoming established on our shores.
Assistance to the needy in our communities -We will have to revisit the entire issue of the present system of Hurricane assistance to the many needy people within our various districts. A new system needs to be implemented which identifies persons based on age and need and a genuine and concerted effort must be made to render needed assistance in regard to proper and suitable housing and living conditions to these persons as a priority.
‘Education/ School rebuilding – This must be another urgent and short-term agenda issue. Our schools are an integral part of our ability as a nation to deliver a credible education product. This being so, the new Government will need to place the emphasis on this issue that it deserves. Sadly, many of our schools are in a terrible state of disrepair and mainly due to the fact that this issue has not been receiving the attention and support that it deserves since the passage of Hurricane Ivan.
‘Protection of the Caymanian workforce – In our quest to rebuild and return to normalcy, we must not allow nor tolerate the further marginalization of the indigenous Caymanian workforce. Recent pronouncements regarding proposed changes to ‘key employee’ criterion is of concern.
‘The above are items that I personally term ‘urgent and short term’ and which if elected by the good citizens of my district of Bodden Town on May 11, 2005; I will place great emphasis and devote much energy towards seeing their timely completion.
‘In fact, it is my personal position that the next Government will have to be prepared and committed to addressing what I term ‘domestic issues’ as a priority and further, that these ‘domestic issues’ will last for almost the full length of the next Government’s term of office.’
Another issue that must become a priority is the establishment of a Department of Emergency Response and Disaster Preparedness and must be given the necessary financial resources and adequate and suitably qualified staffing to ensure that it could respond quickly and with all necessary supplies and facilities if needed, he said.
There are long-term issues as well, he said. They include education, crime, inward investment and development on the district and national levels, postal services, district medical and special care needs facilities, district cultural centres and heritage villages, traffic congestions, national issues, quality of life, protection of the North Sound, constitutional reform, small business development and environment.
Mr. Ebanks will outline his position on these issues and others as his campaign continues.