District: West Bay North
Interview with Mervin Smith
Kayla Young: Hi. This is Kayla Young with the Cayman Compass. We’re here with independent candidate Mervin Smith, who is running in West Bay North in the May 2017 elections. Welcome. Mr. Smith.
Mervin Smith: And thank you, Mrs. Young.
Kayla Young: Why don’t you introduce yourself and tell us why you’re running in the 2017 elections?
Mervin Smith: All right. My name is Mervin Smith and I’m running in this election to provide better leadership for our people.
Kayla Young: What’s the most important issue facing your district?
Mervin Smith: I would say it is gainful employment. And the reason I say that is that far too many of our citizens are either not employed or not employed in positions that allow them a standard of living that is available on the island but for far too many of our citizens is simply out of reach.
Kayla Young: What would say is the most important issue facing Cayman as a whole?
Mervin Smith: I think in many areas it’s a lack of hope. I think for far too long we have not ensured that salaries kept pace with inflation and as a result of it more and more of our people now find it harder and harder to find jobs that pay livable wages. And, as a result of this, are struggling to meet the needs of themselves and their families. I think it is critical that this area is addressed.
I think we can no longer stand by and just accept that market forces allow for employers to seek their employment needs from countries that do not have established economies and as a result put our people at a disadvantage. These are one of the issues I will be addressing and hopefully if I’m elected I will be working to ensure that all Caymanian citizens have an opportunity at gainful employment in order to provide a decent living for all of their families.
It is something that I am passionate about and over the years I’ve seen the decline . It’s one of those areas that I recognize is leading to some of the social unrest that we’re seeing in the country. If an individual cannot support themselves and their family, you will find that individual relying on the government and if those necessary funds aren’t there, then they’re going to be doing other things or they’re going to lose hope.
A lot of our crime and social unrest and what we’re seeing happening in our communities , as I’ve gone through and spoken to many of these folks, this is one of the things that I see now as critical and that requires addressing.
Kayla Young: What’s something that Cayman is doing right and how would you help continue that?
Mervin Smith: I think government’s finances now are somewhat on the right track and I think we’re in a position where soon we should have – we should be able to have – full accountability and achieve value for money.
I think this is absolutely critical because I think in order for what I am planning and hoping to be able to be one of those people to help introduce, to achieve, we will need to ensure that government is receiving value for money and therefore we can leave more and more money in the economy and not have a situation where government expenses is having a negative impact overall.
Kayla Young: If elected, what’s your top priority on day one?
Mervin Smith: My top priority will be to ensure that all of our citizens are gainfully employed. I will be bringing solutions in many areas in some of our industries to ensure that our people have the necessary skills, the opportunity, and that the jobs that are available they get the first opportunity at those jobs.
Kayla Young: Mr. Smith, thank you for coming in and answering our questions.
Mervin Smith: Thank you for having me.