Asking the people of East End to return him to the Legislative Assembly for four more years, Mr. Arden McLean detailed the work he had done for them and work he hoped to do.
He also defended the party system and said he was contesting the coming election as a founding member of the People’s Progressive Movement. ‘Parties are not bad. It’s people who make parties bad,’ he declared.
At a public meeting in Gun Bay on Wednesday night, Mr. McLean reminded his audience that he had promised in 2000 to work for the district a full five days per week, with the other days for his family. He had done so, and more.
East End never had an MLA office until he opened one in May 2001. It was destroyed last September by Hurricane Ivan, but Mr. McLean pledged to re-establish it within three months if re-elected.
He had pledged support for expansion of facilities at the East End Primary School. He went out and begged for computers to put in the school.
In January he was responsible for the closure of the school canteen after begging for a new canteen. He had no apologies to make for calling the Department of Environmental Health. ‘Would you allow your children to eat in a rodent- and roach-infested area?’ he asked.
Mr. McLean said he had wanted to build a learning centre in the district. After he was elected, the community development committee came to him and asked assistance with such a project. ‘I went out and begged computers and materials and the learning centre was built,’ he said.
When a developer gave him 1,000 yards of sand, he traded it for fill and helped get the George Dixon Park built.
When the cemetery was filled to capacity, he negotiated for additional land. He did not get it until 2003, but East End now has space for another 40 to 50 years.
He promised to rebuild the learning centre and work to make the school as good as or better than any on the island. The time had come for the school to be moved, he commented. The road into East End has to be redone with retaining walls.
There had been criticism of him for using Mrs. Susan Olde’s money to restore East End. But he did not have one cent from her; the money is in a trust and no one should suggest he was benefiting.
Police. He said he had been promised police presence in East End as of 21 March, but officers had not yet been placed in the district. He reminded residents that, after the hurricane, he had been asked to find people to police the district. He did and the men were sworn in as special constables. Later, when he asked for officers, he was told police were short 40 men.
Government is responsible for distribution of resources. If police are not given the tools they need, they cannot do the job they were asked to do, he indicated.
Mr. McLean said he wants a task force of a hundred men to ensure that the coastlines are protected. It would be money well spent and would help get rid of the criminal element that is detracting from the Caymanian way of life and the future of the islands’ children.
During question time, one woman said East End needs a shopping centre. Mr. McLean said that since Hurley’s Supermarket was destroyed, owners wanted to put down a complex for a bigger store plus shops to rent out. He looked forward to seeing their plans.
Asked about roads, he said he had been told there is a lack of financial resources at this time. Besides repair, he wanted to extend an inland road to Pease Bay so East End would not be cut off again.