Joey Ebanks highlights job opportunities to address unemployment
North Side candidate Joey Ebanks on Tuesday told Radio Cayman listeners and his audience at the Craddock Ebanks Civic Centre that he has a four-year plan and if he doesn’t accomplish what he says he will, voters should recall him.
“Every single candidate should be willing to sign that contract,” he said. In sharing highlights of his plan, Mr. Ebanks acknowledged, “I want two terms and then go home.”
Mr. Ebanks made the comments during a Chamber of Commerce Candidates Forum earlier this week in North Side, where he is trying to unseat incumbent legislator Ezzard Miller. Mr. Miller, the only other candidate declared for the lone assembly seat in the district, had previously told the Caymanian Compass he would not take part in the forum.
Mr. Ebanks’ only reference to Mr. Miller came when he responded to a plea to “look out for the young people”. He said he could give 10 or 15 ways of doing so, but he wanted young people to stand with him and build the social programme. “I don’t want you to elect me and not be part of it. If you don’t want to work with me, stick with the other guy,” he said.
He identified unemployment as the district’s biggest issue and said he would address. His four-year plan includes attracting boutique hotels to the district. He would build a garage where young people could learn to service vehicles. He also said he would speak with two major employers in the district – the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park and the newly-constructed Clifton Hunter High School campus – about employing North Siders. He would bring the “Go East” initiative to the district.
Mr. Ebanks shared his stance on several national issues, as well. He said the Cayman Islands would lose its cruise industry if cruise ship docks were not built. Such docks are needed at Spotts, in George Town and in West Bay by the Cayman Turtle Farm, he said. He supported a public/private partnership to get berthing in place. “Get it built and move on,” he urged.
He called for extension of the airport runway to get bigger planes here for more stay-over tourists. Closing the nearby road for that purpose would affect only a few people, Mr. Ebanks indicated.
As to having a waste management facility in Bodden Town, he said he supported the existing proposal, but Bodden Towners need to have a say. Referring to the Dart proposal, Mr. Ebanks said, “He is going to build it without it costing us money. Why are we fighting it? We’re kicking these things around for too long.”
Mr. Ebanks said the proposal included recycling and that could have other useful results, such as providing fertiliser to farmers.
Asked if he would work to get the national conservation bill passed during his first year in office, Mr. Ebanks replied, “The first day.” He added, “We need to pass it. All developers need to adhere to it.”
He also supported protection of environmentally sensitive areas, but said money had to be found to pay landowners.
He did not support subsidies to tourism attractions, suggesting instead that they be put in the hands of the people who work there or young Caymanians with business plans who will take ownership.
Cayman Airways should have a subsidy, he argued, because of the islands’ vulnerability during hurricane season. No other airline will risk its planes and assets to come and get people, he said: “We can’t have visitors here and not be able to take them out.”
Mr. Ebanks said the seven-year rollover policy had to be repealed because Cayman would lose human capital and other jurisdictions would take over our business models. He urged Caymanians to stop being afraid and start embracing the people working here. There is great talent and Caymanians can lead it, he summarised.
Asked about political relationships, Mr. Ebanks said there was not one person he wouldn’t work with. Elected representatives are sent to the Legislative Assembly by a majority of people in their district, so he would not go there to pick a fight with the people’s choice. “I have an obligation to sit with them and work with them,” he stated.
In his two-minute closing address, Mr. Ebanks said North Side had been denied for a long time, but he knew he could make a difference. He reiterated his willingness to be recalled – in fact, if he failed to produce he would resign so that people would not have to recall him. He said his vision was for people to pull together.