District: George Town North
Current profession: MLA
Interview with Joey Hew
Brent Fuller: Hi, everyone. This is Brent Fuller from the Cayman Compass. I’m here with Mr. Joey Hew, who is a Progressives party candidate in the district of George Town North for the upcoming elections. Mr. Hew, welcome. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and why you’re running in this election.
Joey Hew: Thank you, Brent, As Brent said, my name is Joey Hew and I’m contesting the seat in the electoral district of George Town North. I’m a sitting MLA and councillor for the ministry of district administration, tourism and transport.
It was four and a half years ago that I decided to contest the 2013 election and that was at a time when the country was in turmoil, the government was fractured and the premier was being investigated. The country’s finances were struggling and I felt that as a concerned citizen, as a businessman, as a father, and most of all as a Caymanian that I should put myself up for election and offer some sort of solution to the issues the country was facing.
I think over the past four years we have certainly done that and I have decided to dedicate another four years to the country in that way.
Brent Fuller: And Mr. Hew, you’ve mentioned a number of issues there. But in your view, what is the most important issue facing your district today?
Joey Hew: At the district level, unemployment is probably number one for George Town North as well as insurance costs, the cost of living in general. But I’ve been hearing from my people that insurance is a huge issue. And we, in certain areas of George Town North, we have to look at the social aspects of our community and working towards creating a better life for our Caymanian people.
Brent Fuller: And take it island-wide now, what’s the most important issue facing Cayman as a whole?
Joey Hew: Cayman as a whole, going forward, now that we have created some stability, and if we can continue on in that way, going forward we have to now start working for our people.
We have to start ensuring that the progress that we have developed – the opportunities that are there that our Caymanian people not only have an opportunity to participate in it but that they are prepared to participate in it. And I think the number one focus for the country going forward has to be focussing on its people and ensuring that whatever prosperity that we have as a country that our Caymanian people benefit from it.
Brent Fuller: Mr. Hew, we often hear during an election about things that are going wrong. But what is something in your view is something Cayman is doing right and how can we continue that?
Joey Hew: In a short span of four years, we have gotten rid of our overdraft facility, we have a debt ratio below 10 per cent, we have three months of operating capital should we not raise another dollar tomorrow.
Tourism is up, stay over tourism by just over 75,000 people per year, cruise tourism is up by over a couple hundred thousand cruise passengers per year. Development is up, real estate is up. I think the things that are happening now, the things I alluded to earlier is that the country is in an upswing and investor confidence is at its highest, our relationship with the United Kingdom is at its best. Everything is set for prosperity and we just have to make sure that our Caymanian people – all of our people – benefit from that prosperity.
Brent Fuller: Okay, and the last question, Mr. Hew. If elected, day one, what’s your first priority?
Joey Hew: Day one is to look at how we can help our people, from education to employment, to their social lives. From day one, we have got to sit down and say, ‘Okay, we are here, we can continue on. We can continue with the progress and how it will affect our people and how can we maximize the benefits for our people.’
And that includes all that we talked about – insurance, education, the cost of living, employment. These are issues that people face on a daily basis and we have to address those issues through different avenues, but they all have to be addressed. And, of course, one of the most important things to us from the financial services to tourism is the safety of the islands. And that is something that we have to focus on and support the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service in ensuring that we continue to secure the future of our people because the financial services, tourism – you know, we have beautiful beaches but we don’t have the mountains and the rivers and the topography that other countries have, but what we have is safety. And that is something we have to treasure and protect.
Brent Fuller: All right, Mr. Hew, thanks for visiting us and answering our questions. We think this is a good opportunity for people to learn more, for voters to learn more about your candidacy. So thanks again. And this is Brent Fuller with the Cayman Compass. Thanks for watching.