Under the slogan ‘unity in the community’ the United Democratic Party launched its national headquarters at the Edge Plaza on Godfrey Nixon Way on Tuesday night.
Party Leader and Leader of the Opposition McKeeva Bush said all residents of the Cayman Islands needed to feel a part of the country.
‘I always felt that a majority of people in these islands regarded it as a place only to live in, and I have always believed that a difference existed between living in a place and belonging to it; having a feeling that your own future, your own destiny, is irrevocable and bound up in the life and destiny of that place.’
Mr. Bush said all people in the Cayman Islands needed to enjoy the fruits of the islands and believe it was their home and destiny no matter what their origin.
‘Perhaps it is only then they will do more for it – more work, more thinking, more sacrifice, more investment, more discipline, more honesty – than by any other measure you can bring in this country.’
Mr. Bush spoke frankly about the differences of opinion on the subject of unity in the community.
‘Let us not delude ourselves about who is with us or against us,’ he said. ‘We will be opposed by all those who look back upon what they regard as the beautiful past, of so-called peace and contentment, freedom from agitation and Cayman for Caymanians. But whose or what past is that? That is what the PPM promised us.’
Mr. Bush asked who wanted to go back to the days of a cook rum, of no air conditioning and outside toilets.
‘We don’t want our children and grandchildren to be the cutter of the grass or the washer woman. While all honest work is the staff of life and our parents were glad to get that work, we want to leave a better Cayman for our children and grandchildren, and on the way, we must enjoy some of it, too.’
Mr. Bush said the ‘unity in the community’ mindset would require courage.
‘It will require greater courage in being honest and loyal to each other,’ he said. ‘But if we start all right, if we never desert our own principles, if we believe in what we are aiming at, if we appreciate those who regard the country as their home, who believe that a country is possible for people of mixed origins, if we never allow people to deflect us from our goals, we can make this the good Cayman Islands we want it to be.’
Speaking about the economy, Mr. Bush criticised the People’s Progressive Movement for an Immigration policy that was driving away people who spend money and invest in Cayman.
‘Our residents, visitors and citizens eat in our restaurants, build houses for themselves, use our airlines, depend on our health practitioners, depend on our service providers, from our caregivers who look after our children right up and down the line,’ he said. ‘Without capital to invest and these people, Cayman would have no future, little economic activity and our people would have no hope of participating in the technological and economic advances, which the 21st century has to offer to those with sufficient foresight and creativity to generate these opportunities and capital investments for their people.’
Mr. Bush commented on the type of worker now being attracted to the Cayman Islands.
‘An immigration policy that continues to import thousands of workers who are paid $3 to $5 per hour is courting disaster for our islands – and perhaps these are people who sent it all overseas… [and] yet drives away those who spend money in Cayman and those who invest in Cayman, is certainly spelling doom for us.’
Mr. Bush said other developed countries were now actively encouraging professionals in Cayman to leave and take up residence in their countries, bringing with them their expertise and clientele.
‘If this in the opinion of the PPM is a way to create economic activity and opportunities for our people, they are more confused than anyone first realised.’
Mr. Bush said the UDP would look out for the wellbeing of all who live in Cayman.
‘This is truly expressed in our motto ‘Unity in the Community’, he said.