The general election is inching closer every day and on 14 April voters will cast their ballots for their candidate of choice.
In the run-up to the polls, the Cayman Compass will be checking in with constituents across the islands in this special ‘Voter Voices’ series to hear what issues are uppermost in their minds when it comes to deciding who they want for their Member of Parliament.
Prior to the commencement of the One Man One Vote electoral system in 2017, voters in the district of George Town were able to cast ballots for more than one representative.
Now that single district, which once had five representatives, is broken up into seven constituencies stretching from the heart of the capital to the edge of Prospect.
Issues important to the residents in those communities are as varied as the constituencies that make up the district. School Road resident Jenny Jones says she has seen many changes in her community, but an increase in traffic and speeding troubles her.
Even though speed bumps have been installed in the area, Jones says some drivers do not seem to recognise them.
“They still speed… sometimes you wonder where they are going because they have to stop further down the road,” she said. Jones resides in the George Town Central constituency, which is held by incumbent Kenneth Bryan. Progressives candidate Frank Cornwall is challenging him for the seat.
With George Town Primary School a stone’s throw away from her doorstep, Jones said she would like to see motorists be more mindful as they traverse through her community.
Added to this, Jones said, she would like to see a more meaningful plan to address traffic congestion.
“Oh Jesus, yes, there is a lot of traffic, a lot of traffic. Sometimes it’s more busy than in town…. It’s very busy at lunch time… during school hours it’s real busy, but after that, during the day, it’s quiet,” she said.
Jones’s house is a street away from the waterfront and the heart of the capital. She sees poor parking by drivers, especially when sporting events are being held at the Annex, and she would like to see something done to address this.
Another School Road resident, Malcolm Brown, shared Jones’s concern about road users and the way they traverse the area.
He pointed out that the roads close to his home are hard to navigate. During the interview, a truck pulling a trailer was seen struggling to make the turn at the corner of School Road, which Brown said was a regular occurrence.
Added to this, he said, is the pothole situation, which he would like to be resolved.
“I would like to have a nice road around here because most of the time, when the rain falls, we have plenty of potholes, and the [National] Roads Authority might come and fill them … but after a while the rain falls again, it’s the same problem again.
This road is not good, your car drops in a pothole,” he said.
Brown said he would like to see more emphasis placed on the elderly and helping them have a better quality of life. “I would like them to just fix School Road and help the younger persons and the older persons… because it’s not everybody have things, like some other people,” Brown added.
Jones shared the sentiment, saying she would like to see candidates come up with a plan to assist senior citizens like herself with paying their healthcare expenses.
“I have to pay cash out of my pocket. I go to specialists and sometimes they send me to take a test… An MRI is, like, $1,100 and that has to come out of your pocket. My regular medication is almost $400 a month,” Jones said.
Businessman Rupert Hunt, who lives on Crewe Road, in the George Town West constituency, said, like Jones, he would like to see a comprehensive traffic management plan.
“The major issue I see right now is the traffic in the morning; the traffic is terrible. In the evening, the same thing. Sometimes, even in the mid-day, there’s trafﬁc on Crewe Road. Where I live borders between the old Crewe Road and South Sound, and trafﬁc is terrible,” he said. Hunt suggested a return to the idea of interchanges to ease the ﬂow of trafﬁc into the capital.
He also said he is troubled by the lack of job opportunities for young Caymanians, especially those who are professionally qualiﬁed.
“The government gives them scholarships to go away to study law, to do a doctorate and do other different jobs that they study for, and when they come back they cannot get a job, and still they have these scholarships and money that they borrow to go abroad to study they have to pay back to the bank … and still they can’t get to work,” he said.
Hunt said he believes agencies like the Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman (WORC) are “trying their best” but “their best is not good enough”.