Name: Arnold Berry
District: Bodden Town East
Previous elected office experience: None
Interview with Arnold Berry
Jewel Levy: This is Jewel Levy with the Cayman Compass. I’m here with Mr. Arnold Berry, who is running as an independent in the constituency of Bodden Town East in the May 2017 elections. Please introduce yourself and tell us why you are running for the Legislative Assembly.
Arnold Berry: Thank you. My name is Arnold Berry. The reason I’m running in the district of Bodden Town East is because I see a great need for new leadership in the district, and I believe that I offer that leadership. Because of my past experience and the line of work I went through, I think that I fit the criteria to be a representative in the district of Bodden Town East.
Jewel Levy: What’s the most important issue facing your district?
Arnold Berry: The most important issue facing the district is that I see a lack of opportunities for young people. The young people on a regular basis are saying, “We need to have better opportunities in the district and for somebody to lead and show us the way,” because they are young, full of energy and new ideas, but they need opportunities. Every time I speak to them, that is one of the first things they say to me: “Mr. Berry, are you going to help us fix this problem?” I believe that I, again, have the ability to take their hand and lead them out of the situation they’re in.
Jewel Levy: What’s the most important issue facing the Cayman Islands as a whole?
Arnold Berry: Again, I think unemployment is the issue that has to be addressed. I would be focused on making that a priority because young Caymanians keep saying they do not see an opportunity, and that [lack of] opportunity is because there is not an employment situation for them available. We have young people in this country who have gone to college, come back and cannot get an opportunity to be employed because when they go to an interview they are told they are too qualified. I don’t think there’s anybody who’s overqualified in the Cayman Islands. They just want to get an opportunity to start doing something so that they can at least start paying some of the bills they have incurred and start charting a life positively for themselves.
Jewel Levy: What’s something that Cayman is doing right, and how would you help to continue that?
Arnold Berry: I think the Cayman Islands is doing a lot of good things, but what comes to mind right now is the financial industry. I think that the financial industry is something that should be first and foremost in all Caymanians’ minds because it helps employ a lot of Caymanians and it gives them an opportunity for upward mobility in that sector. It is something I would be fighting to make sure is kept intact. From an international standpoint, whatever regulations that come and affect us, we go there and we deal with it head on, because the Cayman Islands financial center is second to none.
Jewel Levy: If elected, what’s your top priority on day one?
Arnold Berry: As mentioned, employment for young people and Caymanians who at this stage would need an opportunity to start helping themselves by preparing for their future. Again, as I walk through the country, not just Bodden Town, I hear, “Arnold, anything to do? We cannot get a job. Everywhere we go, the door is shut in our face.” I believe that is not a good situation for the young Caymanian. The young Caymanian should be afforded all the opportunities to be given the right for him to be employed. I would say, through whatever laws that have to be amended and discussion with the people who operate the businesses, we need to come up with a program so that the young people are employed. We have to make sure the young Caymanian is educated and is capable of going on the job and doing a good job whenever he gets the opportunity to be there.
Jewel Levy: Mr. Berry, thank you for visiting us. We think this has been a great opportunity for viewers to learn more about you and your candidacy. Once again, this is Jewel Levy, thanks for watching.