Civil servant attack offends

George Town MLA Lucille Seymour expressed her disapproval at Leader of the Opposition McKeeva Bush’s criticism in the Legislative Assembly of Education Ministry Permanent Secretary Angela Martins.

Although he had not referred to her by name, Mr. Bush had been critical of Mrs. Martins during his contribution to the Budget Debate, saying, among other things, she was the wrong person for the job.

Ms Seymour said she took umbrage to the criticism.

‘If we as Parliamentarians have issues with our civil servants, we have channels to go through to deal with it,’ she said. ‘We have recourse through the Chief Secretary.

‘When we criticise a civil servant in Parliament, the civil servant has no recourse because we are immune and we can say anything about anyone.’

Ms Seymour defended Mrs. Martins during her contribution to the Budget Debate on Friday.

‘No one can say she’s not efficient. No one can say she’s not enthusiastic. No one can say she does not care.

‘Mrs. Angela Martins has suffered enough,’ she said. ‘We should not come to this Honourable House and kill her.’

On another point during her contribution, Ms Seymour bemoaned what she called a poverty of social life in the Cayman Islands.

‘We no longer visit one another and our elderly,’ she said, noting that Cayman had become too a materialistic society lacking in cultural enrichment.

Listing some of the consequences of the trend, Ms Seymour said many elderly people felt loneliness and like they had been discarded, and that Cayman’s young males were being marginalised.

Ms Seymour said Cayman needed to invest in social capital.

‘Social capital is what holds a community together,’ she said. ‘In a crisis, we rely on it to survive. We experienced it after Ivan… when we went back to some of the older things we used to do. It bonded us.

‘But we must expend social capital through the fair as well as the rainy days,’ she said.

‘Social capital, which is not calculated when this country’s GDP is being worked out, is worth more than gold.’

Ms Seymour said it was important for Cayman to understand and embrace its cultural roots.

‘[Expatriates] come here with their own cultural luggage, which is OK, but we have to be so solidified in our own culture that they will have no recourse than to be part of it,’ she said.