Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin said last week that he is not advocating the start of a 27-month political campaign aimed at unseating the United Democratic Party government.
Mr. McLaughlin told opposition People’s Progressive Movement supporters during his first speech as party leader on 12 February that the campaign should begin that night.
In a broadcast address Thursday, Premier McKeeva Bush blasted the Opposition Leader for making the “unfortunate” comment.
“I raise this issue, only because of the grave implications such a declaration holds for the stability of the economy of the Cayman Islands [which is] still engulfed in the throes of the worst recession the world has witnessed in some 80 years,” Premier Bush said. “The response on this matter is essential because at stake is the recovery, survival and development of our economy.”
Not sure what ‘the panic’ is about
Mr. McLaughlin responded shortly after hearing the speech on Thursday that he wasn’t sure “what the panic of the Premier” was about.
“If his government is performing as well as he claims, he should not be so easily rattled,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “The only place I mentioned preparing for the 2013 campaign is in the last paragraph of my speech at the PPM extraordinary conference.”
“I’d spent the previous 40 minutes speaking to members of the PPM about the things we must do to put our house in order. That’s what I meant and mean about starting the preparations for the 2013 campaign.”
Mr. McLaughlin said while the opposition would be “doing its job properly”, he had no intention of “getting on the soapbox” and campaigning against the government at this stage.
“I have been in politics long enough to understand that a 27-month campaign, even if we had the inclination and resources to do so, is unsustainable,” he said.
Premier Bush said Thursday night that people the world over were weary of the kind of politics that “concerns itself first and foremost with the fortunes of one political group and not with the interest of all the people”.
“Political and electoral apathy is growing here in the Cayman Islands – and elsewhere in the Caribbean and the world – because of politicians who continue to parade their selfish egos ahead of the real problems of their country,” Mr. Bush said. “Those of us here in Cayman cannot afford to feed this growing disenchantment by succumbing to the politics of partisan selfishness at the expense of national solidarity.”
Mr. Bush said he had not heard of countries that have elections in 2013 – such as Barbados, Germany, Australia or the Philippines – embarking on two-year election campaigns.
The Premier then embarked on a list of the United Democratic Party’s accomplishments during its first 21 months in office including; creating jobs, rebounding tourism, development plans for a new cruise berthing facility, a new hospital development, an economic free trade zone, the development of a waste-to-energy project, and the construction of 30 affordable homes.
Mr. McLaughlin said most of those items mentioned by the premier were just plans at this stage.
“The premier should get on with the job he and his government were elected to do,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “The economy is still in shambles, unemployment is at a record high, people are losing their homes and businesses, and crime is out of control. The Premier has promised much….it is time he starts delivering more than just another speech.”