Independent George Town MLA candidate Derrington ‘Bo’ Miller launched his political meeting campaign Monday with a rally at the South Sound Community Centre.
The theme of his campaign is ‘Let’s make a stand together.’
Mr. Miller, who lives in North Side, began by answering the question he said he is asked most often: Why run in George Town?
‘The simple answer is, I was asked,’ he said. ‘This country is so small, it doesn’t matter where your bed is. I’m in the tourism business, so I have lots of beds – most of them are empty now.’
Mr. Miller explained that he does have a connection to George Town, and specifically South Sound, since his grandmother lived there, as did he in years past.
Despite having run unsuccessfully for office in North Side twice before, Mr. Miller said he was a better person for having done it.
‘You really don’t know what’s going on in this country until you go door to door and talk to people,’ he said.
Speaking about the current challenges in the Cayman Islands, Mr. Miller said both pillars of the economy, tourism and financial service, were in distress, facing what he called double jeopardy.
‘Everything else we have to solve in Cayman is secondary because first we have to shore up the two legs holding the table,’ he said.
‘There is no international rescue plan for the Cayman Islands; we have to rescue ourselves.’
Mr. Miller said he favours reducing expenditures to increasing revenues.
‘You cannot increase any taxes or fees for anybody at this time,’ he said. ‘This economy can’t stand it.’
Focusing on tourism, he commented on how Cayman has lost eight hotel properties and about half of its room inventory since Hurricane Ivan.
‘But we still can’t fill the rooms,’ he said. ‘The price we’re putting on the rooms, the tourists aren’t willing to pay. It’s that simple.’
Mr. Miller said Cayman needs to reinvent it tourism product and concentrate on the environment.
‘Our environment is gradually being destroyed,’ he said. ‘We have got to implement environmental protection policies as soon as possible.’
Stressing that government had to change its mind set, Mr. Miller suggested privatising some of the government’s services that are continually losing money.
‘We’re trying to run an airline; we’re trying to run a hospital; we’re trying to run tourism attractions;’ he said. ‘All these areas… the private sector can do the job. All government has to do is get out of the way.’
Mr. Miller said government also had to change its management system.
‘We manage this country from the top down,’ he said, explaining that we take our problems to the politicians to solve. ‘We’ve never done it well, and it’s worse now because we’re bigger. I want to take solutions to the problem.
‘We’ve got to get bureaucracy out of our lives. If we don’t, we’re going to fail.’
Mr. Miller supports the creation of a volunteer district council that would be given responsibility – and budgeting – to make improvements in the district. He believes people would willingly volunteer for such positions because they want to be involved and take responsibility.
Speaking about political parties, Mr. Miller said the animosity they caused wasn’t good for the Cayman Islands.
‘If we don’t break this trend with these political parties, it will permanently divide this country,’ he said.
Although he supports the proposed constitution because he believes Cayman might not get another chance to modernise it, Mr. Miller said he was against having the referendum at the same time as the general election.
‘That’s mainly because the constitution should not be discussed during a political campaign,’ he said. ‘It’s that important an issue.’