McLean considers comeback

Former Bodden Town MLA and Health Minister Gilbert McLean is seriously considering a return to politics at the next election – and may do so as a third-party candidate.

‘I think there is a need for a third force in the political arena,’ Mr. McLean said Monday.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Caymanian Compass, Mr. McLean outlined a host of concerns he has with the current PPM administration, ranging from the state of the HSA to levels of government lending and spending, to the rising cost of living, particularly in relation to CUC bills.

‘The run-away, wild expenditure that is going on now – this government is seemingly spending without any thought whatsoever,’ he said.

‘We are supposed to be a population of 52,000. It frightens me. Just alone, $120 million just to build three schools. My god, let’s build one. Let’s build one at a time.’

Education Minister Alden McLaughlin has acknowledged the cost of the three schools is expected to be in the region of $100 million to $150 million dollars, but has not publically given a definite estimate of the total cost of the project.

The schools, of themselves, will do little to improve education in Cayman because it takes teachers and good administration, he said.

Mr. McLean expressed deep frustration with the sharply rising cost of electricity. He said the Government has been soft in their negotiating with CUC.

‘The Government is talking and doing nothing about it. I suspect what they want to allow that company to do is just allow it to keep going like it is going.’

‘That needs to stop right now and get back to the situation where the past government left it – that they would willingly break their contract and there would be no 15 per cent guaranteed profits.’

‘From the day this new government was elected we have never heard anything more about it. And we won’t from this government because; I’m convinced that … CUC was most in favour of this present government. They have a friend in court.’

Since losing at the 2005 election, Mr. McLean has been looking after long-neglected personal affairs and trying to get back to a quieter life as a citizen.

‘But that quiet life is being disturbed by what I see in this country,’ he said.

He pointed to the cost of mortgages as another concern, and questioned why banks in Cayman haven’t followed the lead of US banks, that reduced mortgages by half of one percentage point following the recent US Federal Reserve interest rate cut.

‘Why isn’t government doing something about making mortgages more affordable?

‘When are we going to get 20 or 30 year mortgages that people can afford?’

The former Health and Human Services Minister also outlined a number of concerns with the HSA and the job being done by current Health and Human Services Minister Anthony Eden. (See tomorrow’s Caymanian Compass).

Mr. McLean was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1988, where he served two terms as an MLA for the Sister Islands. After being ousted in the 1996 election, Mr. McLean returned to politics as a representative for the district of Bodden Town in 2000.

At the 2005 election Mr. McLean ran sixth in a field of eight candidates for the three Bodden Town MLA positions. Mr. Eden, who won the most votes from Bodden Town representatives in the 2005 election, replaced Mr. McLean as Health and Human Services Minister.