Folks, there’s a new dawn on the horizon for Cayman’s only genuine political party, formed for the right reasons – for love of country! Refocused, re-energised and ready to lead these Islands once more; I believe I am ably qualified to speak on this matter. As most of you will know I was an integral part of the PPM administration from 2005 – 2009, and for that to this day I remain justly proud of our accomplishments, not for self, but for these Cayman Islands. For us it was never about power or money; it was always for love of country!
Saturday night saw the historic event of an official change in leadership between two of my dearest friends, long before politics, two men of integrity, two statesmen. Whatever one may think of these guys as individuals, no one can argue with those characteristics that I just mentioned.
Can you ask for two more critical ones in your leaders? To Kurt, I say job well done and history will be very kind to you my friend and these Islands will forever be grateful for all you have done and will continue to do. You are a truly great leader! To Alden, I say good luck – the load will be heavy, but your shoulders have always been broad – learn, listen and act decisively – you cannot be all things to all people, but do what’s right at all times, with a broad vision.
I know your heart better than most and I know how you feel about Cayman and its people.
Of late I have taken a back seat in the political arena for personal reasons that I care not to elaborate on in this forum, but I would like to just point out a few things that people seem to quickly forget.
The PPM was elected to lead in May 2005 on the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan in late 2004. The UDP started the re-building process (albeit chaotic and sadly, ladened with patronage) and we had the job to continue and complete this process – no mean task. Much was left to be done and much was done with rebuilding of homes and public buildings. Mid-way through our term, the global economic downturn started. Despite these two horrendous setbacks, the PPM accomplished the following, amongst many others, for these Islands and its people:
New roads all over the Islands including a new access road to the bluff in Cayman Brac – no mean feat;
New state of the art playing fields all over the Islands and a new world class track at the sports complex;
New launch ramp facilities in East End, Bodden Town and George Town;
A renewed focus on agriculture and the start of the Market at the Grounds;
Start of an affordable housing scheme;
A new student veterinary school at the same location;
A new female rehab centre in Breakers;
Major progress with the handling of the country’s waste and plans for a comprehensive waste management system;
Plans for a national identification system that has not yet been activated;
A large budget to the RCIPS for the purpose of fighting crime locally and on our borders with emphasis on marine patrols; an immediate stamp out of violent crime that was occurring at the time;
Increased social programmes for our elderly and indigent;
A new post office in Savannah;
Start of a new vehicle licencing headquarters;
A re-branded national carrier in CAL and management re-structuring;
Formulation of cruise ship berthing plans;
Rebuilding of Pedro Castle as a cultural centre;
The completion of the Turtle Farm as a tourist attraction, albeit a costly development by the UDP;
New sea walls in East End and beautification of that district and all others by a national committee;
Comprehensive plans developed to alleviate flooding in low lying areas and especially for the Savannah Gully problem;
The start of the three new high schools and hurricane shelters for these Islands, to cope with growing numbers of students and their needs;
New libraries built or developed in East End, Bodden Town and George Town;
The start of the new government administration building (GOAP project), to bring the many offices scattered around the capital under one roof and to save millions in rents being paid. Soon to be happily and proudly opened by the current administration and our premier;
Introduced real transparency in government, taking away victimisation of civil servants and others and introducing FOI legislation;
Constitutional reform – a huge time consuming task but an important and rewarding one;
Regular weekly press briefings on all that was going on within government and our future plans;
Major work on the international front to deal with the many financial initiatives and threats to our jurisdiction and at the same time promoting these Islands for tourists to come and enjoy and do business;
And the list goes on folks! Just a timely reminder; now you be the judge – all this with not a hint of patriotism or corruption and abiding by all legal tendering processes (please compare this list of accomplishments to the UDP’s almost two years in office – only so far finishing what we started and blaming us). Yet this administration was removed from office in May 2009 by you, the public. Why? Because you listened to their propaganda? Because some of you could only see the small tokens handed out through an election campaign, ridden with inaccuracies and saying we overspent and blaming us for a failing global economy? Yes, maybe we did spend a lot, but we didn’t spend on ourselves! We spent on you and this country, and we spent where many previous administrations had failed to spend to make your lives better. We were also blamed for a rollover policy that the UDP developed and we had to implement. Thankfully we reduced the break from two years to one year. Who remembered that?
If this is my swan song from the political arena then so be it, but I can hold my head high and know that I was associated with the best organised group of statesmen and stateswomen these Islands have ever seen – the PPM! That is no mean boast and one that I do not make lightly, for I respect all those that have served this country previously and laud their achievements. To all those that supported us and worked so hard at the district and national levels, I say a heartfelt thank you. To those civil servants and board members that did the same, I say the same – thank you! Your country is better for it and you served well.
To my friend Al, the new leader of the PPM and next premier of the Cayman Islands, I say once more hold fast to that which is good. You have intelligence – pray for wisdom – God will guide you. Your support will be there, just know how to harness it and use for the greater good – embrace all.
Evil can only prevail when good men and women do nothing and you and Arden (the action man) and the rest of the team will do something – of that I am certain! You have my unwavering support until I prove otherwise.
To the young people of Cayman between the ages of 20-35, I say take an active interest in your country and get involved! Your country needs you and your futures are at stake. We are teetering on the brink and what we do from here will make or break these Islands. Do the right thing for you and your country – do not simply follow greed and corruption and short term platitudes.
God bless you and your families and these Islands we all love!
For love of country!