50 years ago: Administrator Cumber tackles district concerns at meeting

In the April 5, 1967 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, news from George Town included:

“The last of the public meetings arranged by His Honour the Administrator was held in the Town Hall, George Town on the 29th.

“Touching on many subjects which have been reported in our pages from time to time, e.g. roads, airstrip, education, communications, medical services, etc. His Honour brought his audience up to date with relevant information.

“He indicated that technical experts from the Thompson Foundation were expected early in April to discuss the possibilities of a radio station, perhaps eventually to cover TV also.

“A piece of very encouraging news was that two private surveys in Grand Cayman and the recent investigations of Mr. Delphy, a Hydro-geologist from the United Nations staff, in all three islands, have confirmed that there is in fact an adequate supply of water below ground. Not only should this prove sufficient to meet normal domestic and agricultural needs but, in the centre of Grand Cayman, there is enough to cover an irrigation scheme should this prove necessary at some future date.

“Looking ahead to legislation which may be considered necessary in the future, His Honour mentioned the advisability of the Assembly giving thought to protecting some land for Caymanians which would not be available for sale to expatriate purchasers.

“He also indicated that an official and accurate land survey was something which would be of benefit in ensuring that eventually all landowners would have a watertight title to their property.

“As in the other districts, His Honour answered questions and was, perhaps inevitably, called upon to explain facts regarding constitutional proposals at present under discussion as well as on other varied subjects.

“One or two questioners were interested in the six houses Government is proposing to build for civil servants from overseas. Capt. Eldon asked His Honour to confirm that the money spent on these would be an investment and in the long run a saving of Government funds, as at the moment a lot of money is being paid in rent for homes for these officers. His Honour agreed with this view and in reply to Mr. A.B. Bush, who said he had been asked by members of the public why we had to find houses for people who were earning good salaries, the Administrator reminded those present that expert help was difficult to obtain. The salaries which a small island Government like ours were able to offer are much lower than other countries offered. As we absolutely need people like a doctor, a dentist, a judge etc. then we must either find them a house or make the salaries much more attractive, which would probably prove more expensive in the end.

“During the discussion His Honour pointed out the fact that an Attorney-General was an urgent necessity.”

Capt. Eldon asked if such an appointment could be made without a change in the Constitution and Mr. Cumber agreed that is probably could. He also confirmed that should a Caymanian be qualified and willing to accept such a post, this would be available to him.

“It was also good to know that an electrocardiograph machine is now installed in the hospital in George Town.”

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