Independent candidate Walling Whittaker proposes a new initiative that would help Caymanians buy lots to build homes.
Targeting the struggling middle class vote, the affordable land proposal was one of a long list of issues at Mr. Whittaker’s political meeting last weekend.
Noting two large undeveloped properties for sale recently, Mr. Whittaker said government could have bought them and then broken them into lots. Cutting out profit margins from middle men, government could then sell these parcels of land back to Caymanians at an affordable price.
While he acknowledged that government funding may be tight in this economic climate, the land buys could be easily financed from other capital projects that may not have been the best use of taxpayer money.
For example, $1.2 million spent on a boxing gym, which only benefited a small population, and the $3 million price tag on an helicopter that don’t even meet the fundamental police requirement could have been better used to help Caymanians fulfil a dream to own their own land.
‘We need to ensure that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren have the opportunity to own a piece of land in Cayman in the future,’ said Mr. Whittaker.
‘There is nothing wrong with government thinking like an investor and making a good investment,’ he added.
Addressing the need for more access to affordable homes, Mr. Whittaker said government has not managed to build one house in George Town during the last four-year term.
‘Why must people be given the run around when they are trying to qualify for financing to buy a home? I know of many young hard working Caymanians who hold good jobs, but still cannot qualify for a mortgage,’ said Mr. Whittaker.
Mr. Whittaker said he is behind the proposed National Conservation Bill, which would revamp and strengthen Cayman’s environment protection policies if it was passed. However, the draft bill has been unable to get passed since it was first proposed in 2002.
The conservation of Cayman’s environment was part of the country’s heritage and should be carefully preserved so that future generations can enjoy it, said Mr. Whittaker. Global warming is a huge threat to low lying Caribbean islands, Cayman cannot afford to waste any more time to deal with the environmental issues it faces today, he said.
He also proposed legalising the numbers system as another source for government revenue. Citing nearby US states that have used the lottery system to finance education and other capital-intensive initiatives and the difficulty in raising indirect taxes, it was time to get practical about legalising the number system he said.
‘I do not buy numbers, but I think we are being hypocritical if we think that thousands of other people are not.
‘It is time for government to set up a system to issue licensees and regulate the sale of numbers so that some of the money can be reinvested in healthcare and education.
‘Churches hold bingo and service clubs holds raffles for land and cash so who are we fooling?’ he said.