In an interview from his hospital bed, political candidate Matthew Leslie sought to address an unfolding social media saga about his private life and confirmed he will stay in the race for the May general election.

Mr. Leslie became the center of attention last week after his wife went public with allegations of infidelity that were seized on by opponents as signs that he was unfit for office.

Matthew Leslie reads messages of support at Health City on Monday. – Photo: James Whittaker

The independent candidate for the Prospect district, who said he initially believed his Facebook page had been hacked, acknowledged Monday that the messages were likely genuine and had been posted by his wife.

Mr. Leslie admitted that he sent “inappropriate messages” to another woman. But he has insisted that his married life is personal and should not impact his chances of being elected.

Speaking to the Cayman Compass from his hospital bed at Health City Cayman Islands, where the 350-pound political candidate is recovering from gastric sleeve surgery to help him lose weight, Mr. Leslie said the issue would not affect his candidacy.

He said, “At the end of the day, I don’t think my married life matters to the voter out there who is trying to make a better life. It doesn’t matter to the voter out there that needs a job, that needs to find a way to get food on the table, a roof over their head.

“My married life doesn’t effect a single voter who is trying to better themselves.”

The allegations surfaced Friday morning when Mr. Leslie’s wife, who he married in February, posted messages between him and another woman that she had apparently found on his Facebook account.

In those messages, Mr. Leslie appears to be attempting to convince the woman to come visit him in the hospital. On another occasion, he seems to be attempting to arrange a liaison in a hotel room for “love and cuddles.”

At one point, he agrees to give her $200 and cab fare.

When he was first questioned about the messages in a television interview Friday night, Mr. Leslie indicated that he believed he had been hacked.

He now acknowledges the messages seem to be genuine, though he claims not to have read them in detail, and that it was his wife who had posted them on social media, rather than a hacker, as he first assumed.

He said the messages were “inappropriate” for a married man, but said they went no further than flirtatious “trash talk” and that he had not, in fact, been unfaithful to his wife. He said he loaned and gave money to people all the time and the offer of $200 to the woman had been read out of context by some of his harshest critics.

“They’ve obviously expanded on a conversation and jumped to major conclusions as to the significance,” he said. “People come to me all the time asking for help, asking for money.”

The messages snowballed on social media amid broader allegations of inappropriate behavior toward women, some of them broadcast on Rooster radio’s “Crosstalk” show Monday morning by Sandra Hill, a community activist who had been outspoken about the posts from Mr. Leslie’s wife on Friday, reposting them across Facebook.

Mr. Leslie acknowledged that he had “partied hard” in his 20s and that he had some fun as a single man. But he classified it as a party stage that was in his past and denied more serious allegations of inappropriate behavior.

He says he is talking to his wife, but wishes the details of their marriage to remain private.

“I apologize to my wife for this public embarrassment, but at the end of the day it is our private affair that I wish to remain private ….”

Mr. Leslie said his personal life was not a factor in his public service or his desire to be in the Legislative Assembly. He said there are current and former politicians who had been accused of infidelity and others whose marriages had broken down while in office.

He said there were rumors of all kinds about many candidates and he does not believe personal issues of this nature have any bearing on their ability to do the job.

“We have had politicians that were great family men and some that were perfect disasters,” he said.

When it comes to casting a vote, he hopes people will focus on his good deeds.

“All the things that I have done, whether it was putting people in homes, sending aid to Haiti or getting help for people who reached out with problems, nothing in my personal life ever prevented me from doing any of that, nor will it prevent me from doing anything else for this country in the future,” he said.

Mr. Leslie said he has been inundated with messages of support following his operation, which he said was designed to help him live a healthier lifestyle, and that he is looking forward to getting back to campaigning, while trying to lose weight.

Mr. Leslie is running against Austin Harris, an independent candidate, and Lucille Seymour, of the Progressives, in the Prospect district.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Leslie acknowledged that he had “partied hard” in his 20s and that he had some fun as a single man. But he classified it as a party stage that was in his past and denied more serious allegations of inappropriate behavior.

    LOL !

    This comes as no surprise, and anyone observing the the social life and activities of this ‘candidate’ would have very little doubt about the reasons for any questions or concerns raised.

    The Cayman Islands is a very small place….and the due diligence to ‘know your candidate’ is not a hard one to meet for any responsible voter and in this case, the term ‘larger than life character’ appropriately applies….in more ways than one.

    In any event, looking at the slate of political candidates in this up-coming election gives me absolutely no confidence at all but…..

    Luckily for me, I don’t have any decision to make…or vote to cast.

    For those that do, my advice to them is….know your candidate….and use your vote wisely and responsibly.

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  2. As a woman speaking out, I am going to say this is really sad. But many times we hear that “Hell has no fury like a woman scorned”
    A man will always be a Hunter, and it makes him no less of a man, but reflection is attached to a woman trying to do the same things.
    I am not personally acquainted with Mr Mathew Leslie, but I always follow his activity in helping people in the Cayman Islands, and as far as I have seen his activity to assist people, many in disaster events; he is one of the first persons to offer a helping hand. Whom ever his partner was, she should have considered much before publishing such things on her husband. Besides that; how many of us can pick up that stone, truthfully and throw it at him. I am not saying that I support his actions, I am only saying who can throw the first stone. It is nothing for us to rejoice about, and try to make it into a down fall for Mr Mathew, because thank God there he always leaves a space for repentance for all.

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  3. You must judge an individual on all their actions, personal and business decisions as well. To ignore infidelity, ethical judgement, moral decisions is to ignore the importance of the need for that individual to make critical decisions that affect the general public. Please look to Bill Clinton.

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  4. I believe Mr. Leslie will contribute much to Cayman . I see a man who deserves a chance and feel he will surprise many. I can’t for the life of me understand why people get into other people’s business but the Lord knows and is the only judge that we must fear. Can any one actually believe something could happen after such a serious gastric sleeve surgery ? A marriage is between a man and his wife and God. Vote for people who will do something for Cayman including yourselves. I want to be able to call,text or send an email and get responded to. Thats what is important. When you have a problem your elected representative needs to be someone you can talk to and count on.

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