District: George Town North
Current profession: Attorney
Website: Facebook profile
Interview with Karin Thompson
Spencer Fordin: Hi this is Spencer Fordin with the Cayman Compass. I’m here with Karin Thompson who is running as independent in the district of George Town North in the May 2017 election. Ms. Thompson, thank you for coming to visit us and for answering our questions.
Karin Thompson: Thank you for having me.
Spencer Fordin: Yes, please introduce yourself and tell us why you’re running for the Legislative Assembly.
Karin Thompson: Well, as a constituent for the district of George Town North, and as a mother and grandmother, I think the time has come for me to give something back. Not only to the people of George Town North today, but my children, their children and successive generations.
Spencer Fordin: What’s the most important issue facing your district?
Karin Thompson: Well, there are several important issues facing my district, issues which if I think about it, it probably takes me back to 1976, which is the year that I was introduced to the political arena in the very same district that I am now offering my services to my people. The landfill is going to take up quite a bit of my time in the days, weeks and months ahead. I don’t think I need to elaborate or try to convince the already converted residents of George Town North that the state of our landfill today is far from being what I would view as acceptable. In fact, I consider it a safety hazard.
I want to go on to add to the sewage problem that is often times I think confused with the stench that each and every member of the community in the general area faces on a daily basis. We’re not only facing the stench of the landfill, we’re also facing the stench of the sewage plant. I would say those are two issues along with the proposed dredging of the George Town harbor. Those three issues will take up quite a bit of the first 100 days if I am fortunate enough to be chosen by my fellow residents of George Town North.
Spencer Fordin: What do you think is the biggest issue facing the Cayman Islands as a whole?
Karin Thompson: Well, I think my initial reaction is there are many, many issues facing the Cayman Islands as a whole. We have issues. And I can wear my hat as a professional, as a lawyer, and I can think of the financial sector. But right now I am thinking of my people, the man on the street, the man struggling and the woman struggling to keep a roof over their heads of their families and put a decent meal on the table for their children. I need my people, and I will say this, I need my people to be given the opportunity to get back out there and get a job. Work. If they do not want to work, they cannot be forced to do so, but we must give our people – and I say this generally speaking island-wide, but in particular the people of George Town North, with whom I interact on a daily basis and with whom I have interacted for the last 42 years as a fellow resident of George Town – in a nutshell, I want to get each and every man and woman willing to work and capable of working back in the work force. That is something that I will be looking at from every angle in order to ensure that I’m in a position to fulfill the mandate that I am seeking to be provided by the people of George Town North.
Spencer Fordin: What is something that Cayman is doing right and how would you help to continue doing that?
Karin Thompson: You know, in fairness, we must look at this and in answering, I think I should perhaps provide an objective answer. We can’t look at any single government and say, ‘You’ve done it right or you’ve done it wrong.’ We all know that at the end of four years we have a new government in some shape or form. But I do believe, and I say this wearing my professional hat, I do believe that we have made significant strides in the financial sector and in dealing with our various obligations and treaties and compliance in terms of our role as a dependent of the United Kingdom. I would venture to say that in the last four years, I have personally held the view that significant strides have been made by this government in terms of fulfilling our overseas and international obligations. And there is a trickle down effect where someone may look at that and basically ask the question, ‘Well, how does that affect me?’
At the end of the day, not only will it affect every man, woman and child, living today but again this is going to come back in some shape or form not only in respect to my children and their children but successive generations. If we don’t get it right now, it’s going to be very, very difficult to get it right down the line.
Spencer Fordin: If elected, what’s your top priority on Day One?
Karin Thompson: Well, you know, I’m not waiting to be elected to roll up my sleeves and get to work. I’ve been doing this for all my adult life, but obviously the purpose of being elected is to be placed in a much better position than the position I have been faced with the last 35 years of my professional life. As a strong advocate for law reform and having been directly involved in the drafting of an amendment of various legislation, standards in public life law, which was passed in 2013, remains on the shelf collecting dust. Affecting this election from Day One, i.e., nomination day, when we completed our register of interest form. We have had a constitution since 2009. Section 121 mandates a register of interest and the information to be provided by every candidate whether you are a past elected member, present or just a hopeful like myself. Certain information must be provided. The law’s in place. The register of interest as required by the constitution is in place. But for whatever reason, despite being passed in 2013, after a period of 2004 in which I played an active role on a daily basis to ensure that we had the law envisaged and mandated by the constitution, today I am no further ahead and neither will my people be any closer to seeing that law brought into force. I say without any hesitation, today I would not have the authority or the mandate to do so, but I intend to ensure that that particular piece of legislation is up and in force within the immediate future. But in terms of what I intend to do, I’ve started. I’ve been doing this for a long time. I intend on Day One, i.e., the morning after the elections, the 25th of May, to meet or organize, fix a formed time to meet with my people of George Town North. And together, I intend that we will select the best ten men and women – hopefully more women than men, but I am gender-neutral, I just feel women can get the job done – and in forming that government, I intend to ensure that the people’s mandate, first in George Town North and then island-wide, will be capable of being fulfilled. In the meantime, as people who know me will see, I’ve already rolled up my shirt sleeves. I’ve taken off my suit and I’ve hit the road running.