Ivan Farrington, owner of the Hell gift shop in West Bay, hosted a public meeting in the tourist attraction’s car park Monday night, the first of what he says will be regular gatherings.
Mr. Farrington, dressed in white and red but without his customary devil’s outfit, told an audience of about 40 people that he wanted to give a forum to people to talk about issues affecting West Bay and the Cayman Islands.
“I think it’s a disgrace that the elected MLAs – I won’t call them representatives because they’re not representing us – in three years and eight months, they never had one public meeting with us to tell what was coming to the House and how they should vote on it and whether it passed,” said Mr. Farrington.
“They had a few meetings down here … to push Dart projects through. And they had one to tell us to vote no* for ‘one man, one vote’. We got to do better than that,” he said.
Mr. Farrington said he had been told by local politicians that he should have consulted them before calling the meeting. “But if they were having a meeting, I wouldn’t have had to have it,” he told the audience.
He called on candidates for the upcoming election in May to start holding public meetings to keep constituents informed. “I’m not a candidate, but I have my meetings,” he said.
Although he had hoped to have four speakers at his meeting, only he and West Bay community activist Sarah Orrett attended.
Ms Orrett blasted both the United Democratic Party and People’s Progressive Movement administrations during the past 12 years for their performances, saying they put private interests before the public good, and she called for Cayman to be more united. She told the Caymanian Compass she had not yet decided if she planned to run in the upcoming election.
Addressing a lively audience that cheered, jeered, laughed and heckled, depending on the subject being discussed, Mr. Farrington and Ms Orrett spoke for more than an hour, from a platform unlike any other seen in a political meeting. The podium was erected under The Devil’s Hangout sign. Just to the left of the speakers, in large letters painted on the building’s wall reads the non-Hellish exhortion: “Jesus died for all of us, so give him your heart and go to Heaven.”
Prior to the start of the meeting, footage about West Bay’s Hell and the many travel and entertainment television shows in which it has appeared played on a big screen.
Both Ms Orrett and Mr. Farrington touched on a wide variety of topics, including the continued absence of a trade school to train local Caymanians, the money the government spends on the Turtle Farm, the need for a minimum wage, the impending closure of a section of West Bay Road, the lack of Caymanians working in the tourism industry, funds given to churches from the National Building Fund and status grants.
Mr. Farrington, who is well known for donning the devil’s horns and a tail to promote Hell, offered prizes for those who could say the year he first ran for politics (1972), who could tell him what was the rectangular item wrapped in a white sheet that doubled as the podium (a safe), and the first time the one
man, one vote issue was recommended in