High cost of living among top issues for Sister Island voters

The rising cost of living, drug abuse and healthcare issues were among the top concerns for voters in the two constituencies of Cayman Brac East, and Cayman Brac West and Little Cayman.

Over the Easter weekend, Voter Voices went on the road and caught up with Cayman Brac residents Dalmain Reid and Dale Christian in the midst of a serious game of dominoes at Panama ‘Canal’ opposite the Cayman Brac Police Station.

The looming election was high on their agenda, even as the game in front of them was hotly contested.

For Reid, the conviction of House Speaker McKeeva Bush has been an issue.

“There has been too much controversy on his behaviour. At some point in time, you’ve got to know when to fold them,” Reid said.

These Cayman Brac residents take their dominoes game just as serious as their politics. Photo: Reshma Ragoonath

While he is generally pleased with how things are on the Brac, he believes more could be done to address education concerns.

He said his granddaughter encountered challenges with job-hunting after leaving Layman E. Scott High School and sought further education.

Reid said she faced a “horrible disadvantage” with delays in securing her documents, but eventually managed to find a job.

Christian said getting better healthcare facilities was a main priority. He said there are good doctors, but more needs to be done for the Brac.

“I think it could be better, because Grand Cayman is nearly a hundred miles away and when we got some emergency you have to actually fly down there… just trying to get a flight to come and go is a lot of time wasting,” he said.

Cayman Brac voter Dale Christian. Photo: Reshma Ragoonath

Christian said the Brac should get a proper facility to deal with severe emergencies.

“If you had a good trauma centre here and somebody gets a stroke, [with] the size of Cayman Brac, they can get you [there] within an hour,” he said, adding that going to Grand Cayman could take four to six hours. He said that the facility should be properly equipped.

Outside of this, Christian said he was satisfied with the way Cayman Brac is being managed in terms of infrastructure, which he described as the “best we can get”.

“Imagine a little island like this… Less than 14 square miles, less than 2,000 people… And we’ve got one of the most advanced aircraft running here probably about five, six times a week, what more can you ask for?” he said.

Reid shared the sentiment, saying the Brac is a “blessed society” and “it cannot expect to have much more than it has been having” of late.

“We have had the last week, seven or eight MAX-8s coming in, bringing passengers to Cayman Brac… so you got to be quite thankful,” he said.

Cayman Brac voter Dalmain Reid. Photo: Reshma Ragoonath

For one Cayman Brac West and Little Cayman voter, who declined to be named, the “exorbitant cost of living with little or no salary increases to help supplement expenses” continues to pose a challenge for Caymanians on the Sister Islands.

“The severe substance abuse and drug trafficking with no apparent enforcement action against the drug pushers is a big problem,” the voter lamented.

The voter also said “the lack of employment opportunities for locals other than minimal public service, i.e. cleaning the roadside” was a concern.

The Compass reached out to readers via social media to get their views on what issues matter to them in this election.

One Cayman Brac East voter said “education and tools for our youth to integrate into the system” was something they wanted to see addressed, as well as the cost of living and protection for consumers.

Another voter in that constituency pointed out that drug use and vaping by school children should also be addressed.

Attention should be given to special needs adults and children, the commenter added.

One Cayman Brac East voter shone the spotlight on the need for affordable health care for seniors.

In addition, a Cayman Brac West and Little Cayman voter highlighted the lack of maintenance at dive sites on the Sister Islands as a concern, suggesting “Making shore diving sites more accessible by paving way down to the waterways for divers, maintaining ladders at shore diving sites”.

This, the commenter added, could be taken on by government, as well as making sure that water tanks for showers are maintained at sites.

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