District: George Town South
Current profession: Social worker
Interview with Catherine Tyson
James Whittaker: This is a Cayman Compass interview with candidate Catherine Tyson, who is running as an independent in the constituency of George Town South.
Catherine Tyson: “I’m Catherine Tyson as you’ve just heard. I’ve decided to – as they call it – throw my hat in the ring for some different reasons. I think there’s a part of me that knows I can do different things like just basically coast, lay back, life is good, let’s see how everyone else does. But I think when I see what’s happening in my country, I think about some of the things I feel I could contribute to changes that kind of compels me really to put my hat in the ring and stand up for the women, the families and to bring men back into the picture. Some heart things – I think I bring a lot of heart to this program and I’m very interested in seeing that happen for our country.
James Whittaker: What is the most pressing issue in your district?
Catherine Tyson: That’s such an interesting question. My district is split almost. I have part of Windsor Park and I have South Sound area. It’s kind of very different issues that the realities of the residents and their lives. Where Windsor Park might be experiencing this, South Sound might be experiencing something else. It’s taken a lot of thought just to [assess the] constituency situation with one vote. I’ve had to give a lot of thought to that, but I think mostly what I’m looking at are the common things that connect us. That’s family; that’s being able to thrive in your own country; that’s education for your children; that’s the interest of community and the interest of building your country for sustainability. I think that was across the board.
James Whittaker: What is the most important issue for Cayman as a whole?
Catherine Tyson: I’m not sure if that is a question I can answer – a single most important issue. I think there are so many issues right now, but I do think one of the major issues is that we feel as a people that our country is actually working for us. I think that was one of the things that I’m hearing in all the different areas of the constituency. I hear in one area, I hear the same thing: Caymanian people are being forgotten. And then I hear in an affluent area, Caymanian people are being forgotten. I think that was kind of the tie that binds right now. I think being first in your country, absolutely, and feeling like your country is working for your good and for the good of all the people. That I think is one of our major, major issues. We need to concentrate on getting back to that.
James Whittaker: What is something the Cayman Islands are doing right?
Catherine Tyson: I think we’ve done right in a lot of areas. Tourism is one of them. I think we’ve opened our doors and we’ve welcomed many to our shores. We’ve built a lot financially, I think we’ve done well from the outskirts. So when you drive around the coast, you see the beauty of the island, but inland we see some of the issues. We’re doing well from one standpoint, but we now need to incorporate the indigenous people, the Caymanian people, so that we feel that all of the good things we see, the flourishing that we see, it’s a part of us as a people and we’re actually experiencing that.
James Whittaker: If elected, what will be your first priority on day one?
Catherine Tyson: I’ll tell you what. My top priority, the minute I step into that legislative assembly, is to ensure that every single child that graduates high school knows how to read. We cannot put people in the working world, put them in the world and they do not know or have the basics of survival. Because if you cannot read or write, you do not have the basics of survival. You cannot get a driver’s license legally. You can’t apply for a job. You can’t work, basically, so what are you going to do? I think that has been a disservice we’ve done to our people. That’s my day one.