Letter to the Editor
In trying to convey to the public that I favoured one church over another because of some candidates, the PPM candidate was very misleading and mean-spirited politically.
The history of trying to get an emergency/community centre for West Bay has been a long, frustrating, disappointing and arduous one.
In regards to the Boatswain Bay land by the church, referred to by Mr. Archer, when we purchased the property in the 1990s and which is now the new housing development, we tried to purchase the “high ground” spoken of by Mr. Archer. But, the owners refused to sell it. (The only piece he could be referring to.)
His Party (the PPM) took the property where we had started the foundation for the “Centre” and started the Beulah Smith School, just before the 2009 Elections, without any money to do so, and we had to pay $1.5 million to the contractor, when it was stopped. The Boatswain Bay and the Birch Tree Hill properties were/are the best sites but are/were not available!!!
I did what we in the district thought best to do, to try and get a ‘Centre” that Government would help to build but did not have to maintain; thus the partnership with the church in North West Point. Therefore Government would have no future cost for the “Centre”.
The decision had nothing to do with who was/is attending what church. These candidates are not a problem to me or my Party. The West Bay people will make their choice in May God’s willing. The people know me, they have always judged me and made their choice because of my work, my care for the people, the programmes I put in for the people and the respect my wife and I have shown the people all the time, not just at election time.
In fact, Mr. Archer, the very first basketball court in West Bay was built by me as the Minister of Sport in the 1990’s at the same church you seem to be saying I am neglecting or victimizing. Tell the truth Mr. Archer, but for the sake of politics you and others are politicizing in the worst possible way the issue of Government giving grants to the churches.
If I was playing politics Mr. Archer and Mr. McTaggart, I would have been in every media house with a photo giving a cheque. But I didn’t!!! Sufficient for me is that the place where the people are – the church – get some help if they wanted it and asked for it. That was and is my only motivation. To help the people, all the people, no matter who they are, where they come from, who they belong to, or which church they attend.
I believe most people know that there is a system for the Nation Building Fund – carried out by Civil Servants, not me. So criticize if you may, but tell the truth.
The matter of giving to churches seem to “stick in the craw” of some people. So, giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Tourism Association to sink a ship is okay, but helping the place where people are baptized, worship, get married and funeral services held, and where programmes are put on for the holistic character building of young people, and people go to pastors for every problem in the world, and where they seek refuge in time of a disaster; is wrong? Well, go ahead and think so if you want. It is not vote buying, but is done to help people, as a good representative should do.
The programme is in place to help young people who don’t have a hope to move on beyond a weak high school finish; or who have a talent, but need exposure and to build experience outside of these islands. I think the programme is better than spending over $50,000.00 per annum on a prisoner in Northward. And still the UK is saying spend more there!!! I guess for some people the FCO knows best!!!
Nation building is much more than assisting a church building – it is about helping middle-class Cayman and doing something for the disadvantaged.
That is something that I as a leader and “social thinker” have been plagued with all my political career and have tried to do something about it in various programmes. Be it sports, cultural, social or developmental. So, not so much about the threats to material benefits and affluence, but to do some life-building so that future generations do not slip away.
In that regard, we can see that the somewhat advantaged of our society are in the same boat as the disadvantaged and the two social worlds are merging as one social thinker wrote. There is disenchantment.
That common predicament is a hard but inevitable fate. It is after all a “one community” that we must live in. It is a community that will recover only when we find ways to inspire – assist – push – promote and encourage the best in every young person, rich and poor alike. That is why I started the Nation Building Fund. The Jamesettes and the Cameron Staffords – and all the other students and the various programmes need just what Nation Building is all about – positive assistance, not lip service!
The Nation Building Fund is and has been a very worthwhile programme. Where it needs to be improved the UDP is committed to more public accountability and transparency
The campaign is in full swing and has been for a long time and the PPM candidates and so-called independents can go right ahead but they ought to not criticize everything, without having their facts straight. But then I don’t expect any better. They think they can do better – until if they get there, they will be no better than the last PPM Government they supported!!!
We all know the results of that. Nothing but huge spending. But no money. No inward investment and on the OECD “black and blue” list. A failed immigration policy, loss of financial services business, huge government deficits, huge building programmes with no money and NO government accounts for 4 years. No Mr. Said to be found or prosecuted for his credit card crimes and no accountability for this mismanagement! Not even a failed investigation, as the Governor would not even go that far. He was too busy plotting something else!
You want something to complain about Mr. Archer and Mr. McTaggart? Take all your money, and complain about these atrocities!!! But for Pete’s sake, give us some solid workable solutions, not sound bites! The country’s problems can’t be solved on sound bites.
As for my management, at least I put programmes on the table and inward investment too, and thank God the country’s budget wasn’t as bad as some tried to paint them, or else we would have been DOWNGRADED too!!
BUT CAYMAN HAS KEPT OUR EXCELLENT RATING. THAT IS GOOD PERFORMANCE IN A WORLD ECONOMY THAT IS IN CONTINUAL CRISIS. THE CAYMAN ISLANDS BUDGET IS NOW ON A BETTER TRAJECTORY THAN WHAT I FOUND IN 2009 BECAUSE I MADE TOUGH DECISIONS. AS PART OF MY CONTINUOUS PURSUIT TO MAKE A BETTER LOCAL ECONOMY, THE UDP WILL CARRY OUT MY POLICY TO CUT BACK ON COSTS AFTER MAY.
The campaign will be hotter than both the PPM, and the “Coalition for Cash”, seem to think!