The University College of the Cayman Islands is kicking off the voter education efforts by hosting the first of a two-part series called “The People’s Forum – A Dialogue with Voters” on Wednesday, 20 February at 6.30pm at the Sir Vassel Johnson Hall.
Five contenders for the May general election have indicated they will participate. They are independent candidates Roy McTaggart and Jacqueline Haynes; People’s Progressive Movement party representatives Wayne Panton and Marco Archer; and United Democratic Party representative Ellio Solomon.
Invitations were sent to all independent candidates who had declared by 7 February, as well as the UDP, the PPM and all presiding Cabinet ministers.
Ben Meade, news director of Cayman 27 television, will moderate the event.
“In past election years, UCCI has hosted the traditional candidates forum, which has both been well attended and well received,” said Mitch Ebanks, director of student services. “Given the magnitude of issues which have surfaced that have been identified as being of importance to voters, the current political climate, as well as the expected number of contenders at this election, we have modified our format to ensure that we maximise the potential for meaningful dialogue with the voters.
“By making this a people’s forum our hope is to get the candidates to engage more with the voters, as opposed to one another as is common in a more traditional debate, and to get down to the substance of the issues” Mr. Ebanks added.
The first upcoming forum will focus on corruption, good governance, transparency and accountability.
“As people are already aware, next year’s UCCI conference will focus on the topic of corruption,” said Roy Bodden, president of UCCI. “What better way to capture this discussion in a very tangible and real way than to have those potential representatives weigh in and let us, the voting public, know where they stand on these rather complex issues?”
UCCI is working in partnership with Cayman 27 and Radio Cayman to ensure that all voters, including those in the outer districts and the Sister Islands, have access to the information that will be provided at the event. The first hour of the forum will be broadcast live by Cayman 27, and the entire forum, which will last two hours, will be broadcast live on radio by Radio Cayman.
Those who attend the forum will have a chance to ask the candidates questions directly or to submit questions in writing throughout the event. However, UCCI has already started soliciting questions from its students and the community at large.
Questions may be submitted by e-mailing [email protected] or directly on facebook at www.facebook.com/officialUCCI. Both the e-mail and the facebook option will be open throughout the forum.