Former tourism minister says he’ll return to political arena
Former tourism minister Charles Clifford said this week that he is seeking support to change Cayman’s two-party political system from the “failed” model adopted by many other Caribbean countries.
While not specifically stating his intentions for the next general election, Mr. Clifford said he will be involved in the political process either as a candidate or in “some other capacity”.
The former People’s Progressive Movement stalwart – who left the party last year – also said he hadn’t totally ruled out a return to the now-opposition party with which he said his “political ideologies’ are more closely aligned.
“But the more likely scenario, and the one I am preparing for, is the emergence of a third political option for our country,” Mr. Clifford said in a statement.
“My concern now with respect to the PPM is that the leadership and brand is very clearly liberal in its objectives, message and image, while the party base is very clearly conservative in its views,” he said.
New Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin said this month that his party would seek to be inclusive and urged any residents – including longtime work permit holders – to join the PPM.
Feud with PPM
Mr. Clifford and the PPM leadership feuded in early 2010 over whether there should be a public march on the government administration building over immigration issues when the ruling United Democratic Party dropped plans to divest the government office accommodation project.
The PPM leadership declined to continue with the march; Mr. Clifford thought it should still take place.
Any political group he joins would support the following, Mr. Clifford said:
Adoption of a political model that is reflective of Caymanian values and does not promote a divided society.
Establishing single-member constituent districts; Cayman voters in the Islands’ more populous districts current cast votes for several candidates.
Improving government accountability and “stamping out” corruption
Approval of a “meaningful” National Conservation Law
Economic protection for established industries with a policy that will “carefully suggest and introduce other compatible service industries”
Preventing the local labour force – Caymanian and expatriate – from abuses by employers
Ensuring that every Caymanian who is seeking employment is placed in an appropriate job, in accordance with qualifications.
“I believe that, as a country, we have made a mistake in adopting a political party model and political culture that has failed so many other countries,” Mr. Clifford said.
“The question is, how many others in the system will step forward and admit the same, or will I have to stand alone?”