I read Mr. Truman Bodden’s and Mr.
John McLean’s recent letter in your paper titled ‘March is bad for Cayman’ and
I couldn’t help but shake my head.
I guess these two gentlemen must be
relying on the politician’s adage that ‘the people have short memories’.
But some of us don’t.
I remember only too well that Mr.
Bodden was the Leader of Government Business and Mr. McLean was the Exco member
(now minister) responsible for Agriculture in the National Team Government,
which was voted out of office in November 2000. And I remember clearly that despite
assurances given by Mr. Bodden and other of his team during the campaign that
all was well with the country’s finances, the new government was met with the
harsh reality that Mr. Bodden’s National Team administration h ad left the
country with a huge deficit of some $45 million.
Considering that the government
budget at the time was only some $300 million, this was a much higher deficit
in real terms than that left by the PPM.
There was also no global recession
as is the case now with the fiscal problems, which the government is presently
struggling with. It is true that there was a slowing of the US economy at the
time, but nothing approaching the scale of the present global meltdown.
Given the above facts, which can
easily be checked by anyone who doubts me, I would suggest that Messrs. Bodden
and McLean are perhaps not the best qualified people to be commenting on fiscal
prudence and condemning other administrations.
The trust of the matter is that the
PPM did have the courage and determination to address a range of issues, which
successive administrations had failed to do, not least of these being needed
infrastructure and education. Had Mr. Truman in his 20 years as a legislator,
16 of which he spent in Executive Council, caused his government to make
greater investments in needed infrastructure such as school buildings,
hurricane shelters and roads, there would not have been so much for the PPM to
do. And if he had not taken such an elitist approach to education and had he
been m ore transparent about the results being achieved by the government
education system at the time, perhaps the recent past Minister of Education
Alden McLaughlin would not have had such a monumental task to undertake in
reforming the entire system plus having to build new, modern facilities.
And had Mr. Truman acknowledged the
existence back then of gangs in the high school instead of dismissing them as
merely groups and done something about it at the time, perhaps violent crime
would not be what it is in Cayman today.
As for Mr. McLean, there isn’t much
that can be said about his tenure as an Exco member except that he did then as
he does now, he followed wherever Mr. Truman led.