George Town independent candidate Frank McField began his campaign meeting in downtown George Town Monday night by lashing out at an “immature” political party system he said has retarded Cayman’s developing democracy.
“Political parties really have an ideology,” Mr. McField said. “Political parties are to me something a little bit more than organising a few people at election time…and after that to place their cronies on political boards.”
During a speech that lasted more than two hours, Mr. McField described both the ruling People’s Progressive Movement and opposition United Democratic Party, of which he was formerly a member, as political machines bereft of real intellectual leadership, or any interest in improving the lot of Cayman’s poor.
+-A modest group of 15-20 supporters attended at Celebration Square, behind the main courts building.
Dr. Frank did not miss the irony. He has recently appeared in court and faced fines over two separate incidents that involved dust ups with Royal Cayman Islands Police Service officers.
“People have asked me, ‘Frank McField, why are you entering the race?” Mr. McField told his supporters. “You should have known by now you’ve had too many issues with the police…to be able to consider yourself at this particular time.”
“But the police force cannot just police with force. I am not the only one who has been negatively impacted by police behaviour in this country.”
Mr. McField made reference to a long-running investigation of the Affordable Housing Initiative that he organised as a government minister in 2002-2003. After a four-year investigation, Mr. McField was recently exonerated.
He said he felt for former Cayman Islands Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan who was recently cleared of any wrong-doing after an independent police investigation at the RCIPS.
‘I am saddened by the humiliation and the false accusations that person had to endure,’ Mr. McField said. ‘I feel that he was removed very, very unfairly.’
Mr. McField said the story had a moral: ‘Don’t believe that any of us running for election is perfect.’
The long-time advocate for Cayman’s poor said it should also be a lesson learned by Cayman’s criminal justice system and those who end up caught in it.
‘We should not throw away people just because they’ve had a run in with the law,’ he said. ‘We have so many young Caymanians in this country that cannot get jobs because they’ve been in prison.’
Mr. McField said he intended to focus on making more housing available for poor and disadvantaged families.
‘Today, the PPM brags about the houses they will build in the next four years,’ Mr. McField said. ‘It was within three years that I had completed most of the houses that were built under the auspices of the affordable housing initiative.’
‘A promise is comfort to a fool,’ he said. ‘I beg you, do not be fooled.’
The former minister also urged government to move toward a socialised system of health care and make use of other, more cost effective health service systems around the Caribbean, including Cuba.
‘We should at all times have socialised medical care,’ Mr. McField told the crowd. ‘Let us spend some more money on people’s health.’
He did not commit to supporting a minimum wage for workers in the Cayman Islands.
‘It does not always work like it seems it is going to work,’ he said.