Independent member of the opposition Arden McLean remarked during his contribution to the debate on the Framework of Fiscal Responsibility that the Premier must have been asleep at the helm of good ship Cayman when he failed to collect the $6 million owed to the people by the Ritz-Carlton. But our Premier was not asleep; in fact he was as awake as he was when he furiously fought against my 1998 private member motion that sought to prevent the extension of the then lease owned by Holiday Inn back to the original 99 years purchased then more than 50 years by a Mr. Greenhall. The purpose of the extension or the renewal of the original lease agreement back to 99 years was to allow Mr. Michael Ryan to lease for 99 years, for little or nothing, this prime real estate that would place him in a position to develop and sell high value condos and personally make millions before ever starting to build the hotel part of the project. I suspect that it is difficult for enquiring minds to believe that anyone would go out of their way to make another person filthy rich just for the sake of helping their country not to collect money for value from a developer.
During the debate of my 1998 private member motion, I was called all sorts of names by Mr. Bush who read into the records a letter he had Mr. Ryan write accusing me of seeking to gain from the construction projects. The motion produced some very heated exchanges between us and it was defeated mainly because Mr. Kurt Tibbets sat on the fence until he and another George Town backbencher finally decided to cast their vote for the extension of the said lease. Mr Bush was on the backbench at that time because he had been forced to resign from what was then the Executive Council due to his position as a director of the First Cayman National Bank when it became engulfed in a terrible scandal, which led to many hard working Caymanians losing their savings.
But although Mr. Bush was sitting on the backbench like me, he wielded a tremendous amount of power as a politician and this became evident when in the 2000 general elections he defeated Mr. Thomas and Jonny Jefferson and replaced them with his own loyal disciples. This act placed him in the position to form the government that year with Mr. Kurt Tibbets. But Mr. Bush was unsatisfied with his position of deputy Leader and was willing to work with me and others to replace Mr. Kurt and crown himself. From then on we witnessed his Tomfoolery in Governor in Council decisions to rezone land bought by Stan Thomas so that the land would have a greater commercial value and the reduction of the Cayman National Insurance company’s debt owed to the CI government due to losses suffered to its assets during Hurricane Ivan. It was argued that if government collected what it was due the Cayman National Insurance company would become insolvent and that this would cause a run on the Cayman National Bank and ruin the financial industry, which was just recovering from the hurricane. He next engineered thousands of status grants only to conceal high worth individuals and their families receiving grants to later compete with us in the private sector.
Thus over the years my friend the Premier became the saviour of the rich just as he had come to be known as the saviour of the poor by creating a paralipomena welfare system. But who can prove without reasonable doubt that these actions like the re-zoning of the Stan Thomas land during my tenure as minister was not for the sake of country. Who can prove before our courts any difference when it came to the cruise ship dock or the most recent airborne idea to sell Cayman Airways shares to the Philippines airlines even if that airline has failed to meet international standards for aviation because of factors beyond PAL. But God sees all and one day there will be a rumble in Cayman like there was once that very famous rumble in Manila between two great American heavy weights.
When we cannot call a spade a spade because of possible lawsuits and the lack of real opposition support for those of us trying to find light in dark places we become blind and do not see those that are blinding us to our real value and our real challenges while our heritage and our resources are bartered for personal rather than national goals. But we trust God and have the faith to proclaim that come 2013 they will fall as all others of similar natures fell in other parts of this confused and misguided planet. Imagine the Ritz was supposed to be there for us yet they owe us $6 million with interest we will never collect while they continue to pay low wages in spite of the fact that a motion to establish in law a minimum wage was brought to the House. This motion is sitting on some desk collecting mildew after having been approved by our Parliament.
But this very important motion to make a law to establish a minimum wage is not the first of its kind that Mr. Bush has allowed to go to dust since when he appeared as crown prince with his three new followers from the district of West Bay after departing Thomas and John Jefferson in November of 2000, his new broomsticks brought as their first motion a motion to create a law to establish a minimum wage for these Islands and it was passed and sent to committee to die the death that motions die in committees.
None need doubt that Mr. Bush does not want a minimum wage to be brought into law and he has done everything to prove that he is pro business while at the same time increasing the welfare roll because Caymananina cannot live from US$4 per hour even while receiving gratuities. How can business people really believe that they are better off with an ever-increasing number of dispossessed and marginalised Caymanian working class many of whom they pay millions to incarcerate in our prisons or employ foreigners to police and to secure their properties against.
Not to mention the increases in work permits costs, fuel and utilities costs that is redistributed by the government to pay for the crime of not dealing realistically with our socio-economic breakdown. The owners of large businesses and wealth must now come to accept that some of their members have been the cause of the embedded corruption in our country and they must now stand aside and allow the real people of these Islands to regain control of their destinies for not even money will make possible the re-election of McKeeva Bush as premier in 2013. For these and other reasons the leader of the opposition Alden McLaughlin has already began to speak as if the position of premier is available to him to assume if only he changes his prose and diction to reflect the fact that the People Progressive Movement is now only a progressive movement and no longer a people’s movement in spite of the reality that if ever we needed the encouragement and empowerment of the real people is now!