Independent candidate Osbourne Bodden took centre stage at Friday’s Crosstalk district debate, during which he was asked to address a 2014 outburst between himself and his chief officer.
Bodden, who previously served as Minister for Health, Youth, Sports and Culture from 2013 to 2015, and Minister for Community Affairs, Youth and Sports from 2015 to 2017, appeared as the sole contender on Friday’s programme. The incumbent MP, Health Minister Dwayne Seymour, did not respond to an invitation to appear on the show.
The Bodden Town East challenger – who represented the district from 2005-2009 and again in 2013-2017 – thanked the show’s host for the question, which he said had been “rehashed so many times”.
“I’ve apologised to that lady [chief officer Jennifer Ahearn], I’ve apologised publicly to the Cayman Islands public, I’ve apologised to my family and to anyone else I could apologise to. It’s not something I make a habit of, so I’ve done what I had to do and that’s reflect on it and learn from my mistake and I’m ready to move on from that,” Bodden stated.
Admitting his “temper got the better of me,” the candidate stressed, “This is not something that happens to me all the time. I’m not going around every week cursing someone out.”
“I made a mistake, and that’s the bottom line, I let my emotions get the better of me. I’m older and wiser and ready to move on,” Bodden declared.
In setting out his roadmap for Bodden Town East should he be successful at next week’s polls, the eponymously named candidate took aim at his opponent’s shortcomings over the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think this is where we saw the failings of [Seymour], because he was not able to stand on his two feet, he was there under the shadow of the premier, but the premier had to do all of the substantive talking.
“I would have held my own… I would have been able to answer my own questions and stand there and deliver as the Health Minister of this country,” Bodden said, while acknowledging that he gave government credit for their handling of the pandemic, singling out the health services, as well as the general public for the roles they played.
He also reminded listeners about the efforts of his ministry to lay the groundwork for the long-term mental health facility, including the formation of the Mental Health Commission in 2014, during his tenure. He said he was not one to “like to take credit,” but wanted people to understand that “we’re here to run a leg of a relay, run it to the best of our ability”.
Bodden also placed the revitalisation of Bodden Town – including traffic issues, education and the creation of a district council – top of his electoral agenda.
He stated he would not seek to form a government with McKeeva Bush, and said he would seek a ministerial role if elected, ideally with an eye on the social services, health, housing and planning portfolios.