US Presidential aspirant Mike Huckabee arrives on Grand Cayman today ahead of a paid speech at the Young Caymanian Leadership Awards Saturday night.
A large US media contingent is expected to follow the former Arkansas Governor, who has stunned many by remaining in the Republican Party’s presidential primary race so long.
On Thursday, Mr. Huckabee was taking heat from the US media for sticking by the commitment, despite his ongoing presidential bid. He has suspended campaigning ahead of Tuesday’s Wisconsin’s presidential primary to come to Cayman.
‘I’m not independently wealthy. I wish I was. I have to make a living,’ Mr. Huckabee told reporters in Wisconsin Wednesday. ‘I do that through my writing and speaking.’
Melissa Wolfe, spokesperson for the YCLA foundation declined to name the exact amount Mr. Huckabee will receive for the appearance, describing it as a ‘small honorary fee for someone of Mr. Huckabee’s stature.’
Mr. Hucakbee’s decision to stay committed to the event – organised over a year ago – is a testament to his loyalty, Mrs. Wolfe said.
‘We’re very pleased that Governor Huckabee has been able to fit this into his schedule given he has become such a popular politician,’ she said.
‘He a very loyal man; he spoke for us in the year 2000 and he really does enjoy the event.’
When Mr. Huckabee attended the event in 2000 he was the Governor of Arkansas and did not receive a fee for the event. But since leaving that post in January 2007, speeches have been his main source of income.
Over 500 people have shelled out $250 each to attend the sold-out gala event, which will be held in the Ritz Carlton’s ballroom Saturday night.
On Thursday morning organisers were still working out how to cater to the large US media contingent expected to join Mr. Huckabee on his trip.
Mrs. Wolfe said they are keen to ensure his appearance does not overshadow the award ceremony.
‘We want to ensure that we keep loyal to the true meaning of this event, which is identifying, celebrating and honoring young Caymanian leaders.’
Mr. Huckabee’s address is expected to focus on the attributes of leadership and the importance of supporting youth, Mrs. Wolfe explained.
‘It will be a similar theme to what the YCLA represents,’ she said. ‘He is a leader; he is dedicated to youth. Those are two platforms from which we also like to send positive messages.’
Cayman27 will broadcast the event live from 9pm.
Mr. Huckabee arrives Friday and departs Sunday. He will be staying at the Ritz Carlton.