United Democratic Party candidates received public endorsements from several well-known people in the community at a public meeting next to Kirk Home Centre in George Town on Monday.
Former MLA and MBE recipient Dick Arch urged meeting attendees to vote for all of the UDP candidates.
‘Our islands are going down the wrong political road, and it’s been going there for the last four years, at least,’ he said. ‘I know you will agree if we ever needed change… it’s now,’ he said.
Mr. Arch introduced many of the UDP candidates, including Jonathan Piercy, whom he said he had the honour of nominating for election.
A former MLA in Bodden Town, Mr. Arch now lives in George Town. But he gave his full support to the UDP candidates in his former constituency, Mark Scotland and Dwayne ‘John John’ Seymour.
‘Bodden Town voters hear, do me a favour, because I can’t do it,’ he said. ‘Give Mark Scotland a vote on my behalf, and Dwayne Seymour, too.’
Mr. Arch said that Edlin Merren, another prominent Caymanian who was scheduled to make a public endorsement at the meeting, was not feeling well so he could not attend. But Mr. Arch said Mr. Merren had told him to tell everyone he supported the UDP candidates.
Eldon Rankin, a sitting member of the Central Planning Authority board, was next to endorse the UDP candidates. He began by singing a song for the People’s Progressive Movement, a revised version of the Buck Owens’ song Crying Time.
Mr. Rankin said he was there to endorse the four UDP George Town candidates, Mike Adam, Jonathan Piercy, Ellio Solomon, and Pearlina McGaw-Lumsden.
‘I want you to eat, sleep drink and even dream those names, so come May 20th you don’t have to even think; you just need to apply,’ he said.
The final endorsement of the evening came from former MLA and Executive Council Member Norman Bodden, an OBE recipient.
Mr. Bodden said his endorsement focused primarily on candidate Mike Adam because that is what he had been asked to do. Mr. Bodden, who served as managing director of Cayman Airways for 12 years, explained he had known Mr. Adam for a long time, going back to his years at the national airline.
‘I wholeheartedly recommend him,’ Mr. Bodden said. ‘I humbly ask that you give him your ‘x’ [on the ballot].’
Mr. Bodden spoke about Mr. Adam’s long career at Cayman Airways and his sudden departure during the current government administration.
‘He was obliged to resign, to put it kindly,’ Mr. Bodden said. ‘This is one of the instances where one of our Caymanians was treated unfairly.’
Mr. Bodden said Mr. Adam was totally dedicated to his job, and that he was an honest family man who cares about people.
‘He’s truly a people person, someone you can always approach,’ he said.
Mr. Bodden said his 12 years in the Legislative Assembly allowed him to know what Caymanians expect from their MLAs.
‘I know a lot of things have changed in these Cayman Islands, but I do not think decency, dignity and class have gone out of style.’
Mr. Bodden said people could depend on Mr. Adam.
‘Mike will stand for what is right and honest and best for Cayman,’ he said.
Although he did not endorse any other candidates by name, Mr. Bodden did say this election was different from previous elections in that there were a number of young, educated and capable Caymanians – whom he called the brightest and the best – standing for election.
Mr. Bodden noted that there were claims the young candidates were too young and politically inexperienced.
‘But I ask you, where are these qualified people expected to gain political experience, if not in these Cayman Islands?’ he said, adding that while the steadying hand of the old guard was still needed, the country needed to start integrating some of its educated, professionally qualified people into the Legislative Assembly.
Saying that as a former politician, he learned to seize the moment when it came to voicing opinions, Mr. Bodden made known his stance on the proposed draft constitution, which will be voted on in a referendum on Election Day.
‘I will be voting yes,’ he said. ‘I strongly urge everyone to vote yes.’
Mr. Bodden said the constitution was not about the UDP or the PPM or the independent candidates.
‘The referendum is all about us and our future,’ he said, adding that if Cayman did not take this opportunity to get a modernised constitution, it risked getting another one that could fundamentally change the country’s way of life.