Pledging to put Caymanians first, Bodden Town independent candidate Vincent R. Frederick offered specific actions and programmes he will spearhead if elected to the Legislative Assembly on 20 May.
Among them is an infrastructure fee to be paid by foreigners living here. Foreigners enjoy the beaches and use the roads and hospital; they rely on the law enforcement agencies and the fire service for safety, but what are they contributing, he asked his audience in Breakers on Tuesday night.
The more foreigners that are here, the more money that has to be spent, he argued. With government looking for ways to raise money, he proposed an infrastructure fee that would be based on the foreigners’ income and range from one to five per cent.
He would also impose an infrastructure fee on all commercial buildings in downtown George Town at a rate of $2 per square foot, to be collected annually.
Mr. Frederick said there are too many foreigners in the civil service. If the civil service has to be cut, the foreigners will have to be the first to go. He would see the civil service as 90 per cent Caymanian and 10 per cent foreign contract workers.
The contract terms would be that the worker is not allowed to apply for any other job for three years after departing; that the worker must leave within 10 days after the contract expires; that it is for three years only, non-renewable. Meanwhile, the Labour Department and Education Department would work together to train a Caymanian for the position.
‘The day the foreigner leaves, the Caymanian gets the job.’
He said a few decades ago Caymanians were told they were not smart enough for certain jobs and didn’t have degrees. So parents mortgaged their homes and sent their children to college. Now Caymanians are told they are too smart and over-educated for a position.
‘I have no problem with expats. I have a problem when Caymanians can’t get a job,’ he emphasised, adding that was where elected leaders had failed to protect Caymanians.
Mr. Frederick said Caymanians need to be given rights based on their heritage. Specifically, he mentioned the problem with restrictions on spear guns. He said there are safety issues because legal owners can’t get parts to keep the spear guns properly maintained. He promised to introduce a law to allow certain stores to import speargun parts. Only Caymanians would have the right to own spear guns.
More generally, he criticised the hiring of overseas consultants. He said Caymanians do not need someone from Russia telling them how to fish. Local laws must be drafted to fit local needs, he suggested. ‘We cannot continue to cut and paste other countries’ laws.’
District issues he addressed included flooding. He asked where the seawall was that had been proposed in the Gully area. ‘Build the wall – stop the nonsense.’ He would have a local assessment done. Some people just needed fill on their properties. Once he was elected he would get proper fill and proper drainage wells to eliminate the problem once and for all.
Mr. Frederick would introduce a 25-year development plan for Bodden Town to consider re-zoning of land, tourism enhancement and residents’ needs. Right now, a simple ATM machine between Savannah and East End would help, he suggested.
The candidate criticised the country’s finances and faulted the current government. ‘We are spending more than we are earning. That is bad management.’ He said government should be spending to stimulate the economy but it cannot because the country is broke.
The previous national housing plan had been a complete failure, Mr. Frederick said. He would introduce a new plan because low- and middle-income families cannot meet the current standards set for getting a loan. Land will be available through a new government scheme. Local construction companies can be contracted to build a few dozen houses of agreed designs at set prices. This will create jobs, provide housing and reduce poverty.
He criticised government for building so many schools at one time. The emphasis should be on paying teachers excellent salaries and training more Caymanian teachers.
Mr. Frederick complained that the press had refused to publish his article on corruption. He made certain allegations and warned: ‘When a candidate buys your vote, you are paid…he has no further obligation to you.’