The Chamber of Commerce Forum saw Bodden Town candidates Sandra Catron, Mary Lawrence and Minster Gilbert McLean agree with each other on a variety of topics Tuesday evening.
The group had the calm assurance of being well-versed in the affairs of the Cayman Islands whether it was political, historical, social or government issues.
All candidates agreed that post-Ivan reconstruction of the district took top priority.
‘The district lost all of its businesses; homes were destroyed and the town suffered a great setback,’ said independent candidate Ms Lawrence.
‘The problem is now getting the debris cleaned up and coastal areas replanted,’ she said.
UDP candidate Gilbert McLean agreed with Ms Lawrence.
‘We are doing everything possible to get people lives back as they were before,’ he said.
‘Government has to purchase some of the beaches with the intent of beautifying them. People need electricity; some are still relying on generators,’ said independent candidate Ms Catron.
Mr. Mclean said crime had not necessarily increased, but that ‘the same persons have been involved in the incidents for a long time.’
He said government had responded by providing police $1 million to improve training in the use of firearms and preparation of cases.
‘What we have here is gang violence. That is the bottom line,’ said Ms Catron.
‘As a country we have to come to terms with the four-letter word ‘gang’. Government in the past was reluctant to address this, but now they must stop skirting the issue and make sure the police are properly equipped to deal with it.’
‘Every country has crime. We have ignored the fact that we had crime here before this,’ said Ms. Lawrence. ‘We need to look back and see what propagated these crimes. Look at early childhood and the children at risk. We must change the mind-set of our young people so they grow up to be good citizens in the community.’
Mr. McLean said he would continue to improve the health-care system.
‘It is a disease, which needs to be treated. There is a need for innovation and renovation. We do not have a first-class hospital. People go overseas to get medical care. The only way to deal with the problem is to address it,’ Ms Catron said.
‘We must examine what is now in place,’ said Ms Lawrence. ‘The government hospital is being run like a business. You need to subsidise the hospital so that it has everything in place.
‘There is a need to expand district clinics and lighten the load on George Town,’ she said.
‘Of course I support Constitutional Advancement,’ said Ms Catron, but, according to Ms Lawrence, ‘it has been a political football over the years with a number of amendments’.
‘We are back to the drawing board again because we do not know what we want in the constitution,’ said Mr. McLean, agreeing with Ms Lawrence that constitutional advancement was an issue that had been monkeyed with through the years.
Proposals to attract more business to the district had Mr. McLean re-examining development plans. Some want Bodden Town to remain a residential community, although Ms Lawrence said people could still build tourism by creating small teahouses, a bank, cleaners and attractive storefronts.