Candidates differ on WB dock plan

There were mixed opinions from West Bay election candidates in relation to the planned new cruise ship dock for the district when they were questioned at the Chamber of Commerce Forum Friday evening in West Bay.

Six political candidates for the district of West Bay underwent three hours of questioning in the John A. Cumber Primary School Hall. They were: Mr. Cadian Ebanks (independent), Mr. John Jefferson Sr. (independent), Mr. Eugene Ebanks (United Democratic Party), Mr. Leonard Ebanks (West Bay Alliance), Mr. Dalkeith Bothwell (West Bay Alliance), Mr. Rolston Anglin (United Democratic Party).

Mr. Eugene Ebanks pledged support for the dock, saying it would bring needed industry to the district and help alleviate traffic on Seven Mile Beach. He added that it would bring business opportunities to West Bay. Candidate Rolston Anglin, in his support of the project, said it was prudent to have an additional area to offload passengers from cruise ships, besides George Town. It would be good for business development and taxis and tours would make money by transporting passengers back to George Town.

Mr. John Jefferson Sr. questioned whether the project warranted the expense, as Hell and the Turtle Farm would be in walking distance, to the exclusion of taxis. Candidate Leonard Ebanks said he didn’t support it. It would not alleviate traffic and would not be good for traffic for West Bay residents or the taxi trade. Also not in favour was Cadian Ebanks who declared it to be nonsense, agreeing that taxis would suffer. Also against the plan, Mr. Dalkeith Bothwell said studies have shown that the right location for the cruise dock is George Town. He said there would be problems with winds from May to July making it unsafe for elderly people.

Candidates were against the introduction of casinos and a national lottery to diversify the country’s revenue base and they also voiced concern about illegal numbers being played in Cayman.

On the current Government’s greatest failures and successes Rolston Anglin and Mr. Eugene Ebanks both cited the Health Services Authority as the failure. Mr. Anglin gave successes as turning around the economy after 9/11 and having reserves to spend over $10 million cleaning up after Hurricane Ivan and over $10 million on housing grants. Capt. Eugene said the change of Government in 2001 and the turnaround after Hurricane Ivan were the successes.

John Jefferson Sr. said that in the last four years tourism had been a total failure. He said the present Government had failed in every respect.

Mr. Dalkeith Bothwell said the implementation of pension and health schemes had been successes and condemned the Cabinet’s status grants in 2003, which, he said, will have an impact on society for many decades.

Mr. Leonard Ebanks said the granting of Caymanian status by Cabinet in 2003 was the greatest disservice ever done to the country by the process it was carried out. He said that the Government’s greatest success was the recovery following Hurricane Ivan.

Mr. Cadian Ebanks said that the Government’s greatest success was the total mess it had made. ‘Where disaster is concerned, there’s none like it,’ he said.