PPM ‘no show’ at ADC meet

ytb.jpg(CNS): Following the opposition’s announced intention to boycott the entire Advisory District Council (ADC) process, neither of the PPM George Town MLAs turned up to Tuesday’s public meeting regarding the nominations for the capital’s council. The premier said their failure to participate was a disservice to the people of George Town because the opposition had a right to nominate people to serve on the councils, which will act as advisory bodies to all the elected MLAs in each district. Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin and the first elected member to the district, Kurt Tibbetts, did not attend as they are formally objecting to government’s decision to have Cabinet appoint members rather than allow a public vote.

“I am disappointed that the opposition has chosen to boycott this process,” McKeeva Bush told the audience or around 70 people at the meeting held in the Peace Hall.

He said it was unfortunate as the councils allowed for a cross section of representation. He heralded them as a positive move where good people were needed to work together to advise the MLAs. Bush said the councils were an important step in the development of the country’s governance and extended the concept of “government of people by the people” from the Legislative Assembly to the district level.

Despite the fact that councils are not elected, the premier still spoke about their contribution to better governance and dismissed opposition claims that they should be elected.

“The reason they are not participating is because they say they should be elected,” he stated, but added that the constitution does not require the councils to be elected. “If they intended them to be elected, then people who got MBEs for it should have said so in plain language when they wrote it.”

The premier said that the PPM had been lauded for its work on the constitution and questioned why the opposition leader had left this part of the process to interpretation if he was so keen on the councils being elected. He spoke of the negotiations in London when all of the parties involved in crafting the 2009 Constitution went through the document line by line and McLaughlin never said anything about the councils being elected.

Bush questioned the position taken by the PPM that government was politicizing the councils as an elected body would be far more political, he said, than ones where the people would nominated based on their skills and ability to serve.

So far only one district council has been established under the new legislation, and that is in the premier’s own constituency of West Bay, and although dominated by the ruling party, he said one never knew if that may change in the future so the opposition had still been given a chance to nominate people. Bush said that Alice Mae Coe, who he noted was “no supporter of mine”, and Loxley Ebanks, who Bush said everyone had to accept was “independently minded”, were nominated to fill the gap left by the boycott.

The opposition leader stuck to his position that these bodies are simply an extension of the ruling party as it gets to appoint all ten council members and under the law is only obligated to consider two recommendations made by any other party.  “The result is a council so heavily weighted in favour of government that what non-government members will get in terms of advice will be what government wants them to get,” McLaughlin told CNS.

He explained that the Advisory District Councils Law, 2011 runs contrary to the spirit of the constitutional provision for the councils, which comes under the constituitional section dealing with institutions that support democracy.

The councils were intended to give MLAs objective advice about district issues, such as street lighting and crime or pressing social problems, not push government policy at the district level as well, which is what he said would now happen.

McLaughlin added that the most democratic way of handling the councils would have been to elect members, but failing that the nominations should have been split equally among the political parties so the councils could be objective. “We are not going to lend any legitimacy by participating in the process as they are simply extensions of the UDP,” McLaughlin said as he justified his party’s boycott of the meeting.

During the meeting Mike Adam, the only George Town MLA present as Ellio Solomon was said to be off-island dealing with a family medical matter, explained that George Town residents would be able to nominate the people to serve. He said Cabinet would appoint the capital’s district council from those nominations. The audience heard that anyone who lives in the district can nominate or be appointed, including civil servants, who are normally excluded from the political process, and foreign nationals, provided they are living in the relevant district.

The nominations are to be submitted during a second public meeting on 22 November, when the names will then go forward to Cabinet and ten members who have “special qualifications or expertise” and are “deemed to be suitable” by government will be appointed, officials said. Once appointed, the council will make its own regulations and guidelines on how it will carry out its remit, but according to the law the meetings of the district councils should be public

The audience had a number of concerns, which included allowing what were described as “birds of passage” or transient members of the community to serve or nominate — people that might not have Cayman’s best interests at heart. The failure to define how the councils will work properly was also questioned, as was the ability of the people to vote for the members.

Former George Town candidate Bo Miller asked why, if government deemed the people smart enough to nominate members, the people were not smart enough to elect them. He pointed out that the institutions could not be democratic if they were not elected.

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Comments (45)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    this is all boring. it don't mean nothing.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why are there 70 people showing up to that meeting? There should be zero – well ok 1 as there is always one who just doesn't get it!

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like more than the PPM boycotted the meeting if only 70 showed up!! UDP supporters must've had better things to do than listen to more hot air and emptiness. 70 out of all the voters in GT (assuming all of them were from GT and not WB or other districts) works out to ONLY 1 – 2% of GT voters i believe – check it out. If true, that's a far cry from securing seats in the next election.

       

      Also Mr. Premier, its the PPM and the majority of their supporters and most independents in Cayman that are boycotting this style of council selection, not just the 5 MLAs

  3. Anonymous says:

    Will Civil Servants be allowed to dress for work in pyjamas like Kim Jon Il when the Chinese start building the new dock?

  4. Whodatis says:

    “If they intended them to be elected, then people who got MBEs for it should have said so in plain language when they wrote it.”

    Lol! Gotta love McKeeva sometimes dont'cha?

    Couple of questions:

    1. Was Alden actually instrumental in penning the relevant parts of the constitution? If so, what exactly is his beef today?

    2. Are there term limits for these ADCs? Will theybe reselected with every election? If so, this entire situation is very interesting indeed as that will not be district level representation but blatant political manipulation.

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps in the same way as those who got MBEs for writing term limits into the Immigration Law should have made it clear if it was "only for the Jamaicans". LOL.

      The trouble is that naively the Constitution was drafted with a reasonable and responsible govt. in mind rather than what we have today where anything that can be exploited for political advantage will be.

       

    • Stiffed-Necked Fool says:

      This wasteful exercise is just to give UDP party members that were fired from Government boards to get onto non-Government boards appointed by the UDP! 

  5. Anonymous says:

    What's up with the Mao suit Mckeeva was wearing?? A souvenir from China??

     

    • Anonymous says:

      It's known in China as a "Zhongsham". Although it has distincly political implications,  McKeeva probably doesn't realize this, and his protocol adviser ain't about to tell him.

      I can hardly wait to see him modelling his Keffiyah from Dubai and Nehru jacket from India!

    • Anonymous says:

      Not the first time….his Chinese tailor is laughing all the way to the bank.  Who does pay for the Chinese attire?

      • Anonymous says:

        Um, who do you think…? Maybe a Chinese friend of the Premier, or you!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Why shouold they? They weren't invited to help select them. So why waste gas and time attending? It just goes to show there is too much bias in these groups. People should feel shame to know they weren't selected by the people but were select because of campaign promises! YOU PEOPLE ARE A BIG JOKE IN THE EYES OF THE COMMUNITY AND YOU AND YOUR FAMILES SHOULD FEEL SO ASHAMED!

  7. Anonymous says:

    These people in the Advisory Council will have to be paid just for advising and in fact they will be acting like the Senate in the USA, without being elected by the people.  That my dear friends is wrong and very costly.  How can you advise someone that will tell you what he wants to do.  That my friends will be a waste of people time and our Government monies. Aldenand Kurt is correct, if you do not agree, do not attend.  That way they cannot be blamed or connected.  Do it the right way and support will be fortcoming. Let the people vote on this.

  8. Anonymous says:

    What a dog and pony show!  If I read this correctly, the Premier is going to appoint a group of people to "advise" –make that TELL–him what he wants to hear.  A bunch of bobbleheaded dolls could do the same thing and be just as effective as appointing a bunch of "yes men."

  9. Libertarian says:

    CayCompass:  "The Cayman Islands Constitution stipulates the establishment of advisory district councils for each electoral district to advise members of the Legislative Assembly, but does not mention whether such councils should be elected or appointed."

    Alden, I hate to say this, but the PPM's Constitution 2009, which we have now, is a big mistake for this country in terms of democracy and not defining itself clearly. What democracy for the people and by the people???  I understand you sent the drafted constitution in 2008-9 to the Uk and they told you what you could have in it from what you couldn't have it. That sucks. The Constitution was to be for the Cayman people and by the Cayman people.

    But we still have time, we need to take a stand, all parties need to forget about party interest and think about the people of these islands and the future generation.

    • Ex- PPM supporter says:

      Yea, come on Alden, at the Queen's Honors, you got an MBE for constitutional reform.  Ahhh.. it looks like you got more reforming to do… thanks for giving the UDP party, the Premier,, and the Governor, so much power they need to finally mess up this country and bring us to independence.

      • Anonymous says:

        Bad move, sir. Does that mean your now supporting the losing party?

    • Anonymous says:

      You are defining what a Constitution as if Cayman were an independent country. To the extent that we are BOT we will never have a Constitution that is purely of the people by the people. It will always be an administrative document which gives the UK ultimate power to override the will of the people. To that extent it does not matter who negotiates it.     

  10. Knot S Smart says:

    I dont see why this cabinet appointed advisory council wont work.

    It actually worked quite  well in Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, North Korea and unti recently Libya.

     

    • Whodatis says:

      You seem to have forgotten a few … USA and UK for example.

      Ever heard of lobbyists and advisors?

      Don't allow yourself to become an uninformed, arrogant and complacent "democratic westerner" – that is the slickest trick in the book to appease the masses right now.

      The very same thing (and worse) occurs right under our 1st World noses my friend.

      • Knot S Smart says:

        Whodatis.

        Lighten up!

        Smile!

        Come let me check your blood pressure!

        And tonight just look up at the moon and stars, and you might realize how insignificant we all are…

  11. Pit Bull says:

    How many government bodies does a tiny territory like this need?  I would have thought 9 MLA's would be enough and even those could be paid half of what the current lot are getting.

    • Truth says:

      It does not matter how many unqualified you have if you have no one that is qualified to do the job.  Open eyes,  See the truth.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is because you have no concept of what is involved in governing Cayman. You are simply looking at the size of the population and comparing it to a small town somewhere whereas Cayman has many complex domestic and international issues to address which would never arise in a town council.

      Currently Cayman's L.A. has 15 elected members which will increase to 18 for the next election. By way of comparison, Bermuda with a population of 65,000 has a House of Assembly of 36 elected members while the Senate has 11 appointed members. Jersey with a population of 80,000 has 51 members in its parliament including 10 senators, 29 deputies and 12 Connetables. Their executive comprises 10 Ministers and 12 Assistant Ministers.  I hope this gives you some perspective and will allow you to stop writing nonsense.   

  12. The Prophet says:

    It is very sad that both parties cannot agree on  such simple matters.  However I have lived in Cayman long enough to know that the same things are done by PPM when they are in power.  I blame no one but the followers of the UDP and PPM, because both parties are about the same thing. POWER.  So unless the Power to love,  overcomes the Love of Power,  the Legeslative Assembly and the people of Cayman will never be at peace.

    • Anonymous says:

      Obviously the PPM did no such thing. The Constitution (which gave rise to these advisory councils) came into force in 2009 after the PPM had left office. To its detriment  the PPM bent over backwards to ensure that the UDP's views were represented and taken into account in the Contitutional talks. There is no comparison whatsoever between the two parties.   

      The UDP is about unbridled greed, pure and simple.     

  13. Anonymous says:

    And I am disappointed that you have not explained the payments from Stan Thomas, can we start there first before the croney boards are appointed?

  14. Anonymous says:

    And what would the PPM do create another election level of government for more cost to the people, show up for goodness sake and participate so what you get to put forth some of the council.

    these politicians are like children.

    • truth says:

      Like children with no parents to guide them.

    • Anonymous says:

      How about a simple ballot at the district meeting…it doesn’t need to be a full fledged election. Or if you prefer, elect them at the same time as the normal general election. It really doesn’t need to be as costly as you imagine.

  15. Anonymous says:

    My comment applies equally to the UDP and PPM. Why setup District Advisory Councils before we have the political maturity where MLA's will accept advice?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Children Behave

  17. Whodatis says:

    "Advisory District Councils"?

    Wow – lil' ol' Cayman has really come of age hasn't it?

    We now have convenient "lobbyists" which, as has been clearly demonstrated, are necessary for legitimate corruption as in the USA and UK.

    How sweet.

    With every passing day we take another step towards what is modern democracy.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Come on opposition…. By not turning up you are giving them carte blanche to put in there whosoever they want. You cant complain because you weren't there. McKeeva is going to milk that one for all its worth!!

    You should at least show up, you are playing right into his hands.

    • Anonymous says:

      Alden is right. Remember the UDP is in charge of appointments. They already have carte blanche to put whoever they want in there. That is the point. They just want to sprinkle it with a couple of non-supporters who will be easily overridden by their majority to give the appearane of legitimacy. They can complain because we have experience of how McKeeva operates. There is nothing for McKeeva to "milk".  This is transparent to anyone with a brain in their heads.    

    • Strangers in the Night says:

      I agree 100% with the opposition! Why should they be "rubber stamps" for the UDP? these councils are nominated not elected & will therefore be just extension cords for Mckeeva Bush & his cronies! Just what would be the point of turning up for a "done deal"? It would ammount to just making your voice be heard & nothing more! If I turned up it would only be to tell Mckeeva Bush & his spineless cronies where to get off! They must stop wasting people's time!

  19. Understand! says:

    I don't blame the PPM for not attending as there is absolutely no use in being part of a Circus. The PPM could not nominate 365 people for the Advisory District Council but not 1 would be elected to serve by the UDP.

    Mark my word peoples, there will only be UDP "yes men/women" on this District Council no matter who is nominated. This process is just a farce and everyone can see through this and it is time that we, the people of the Cayman Islands, stand up against all the foolishness and corruption that is going on, right under our nose!

    • Anonymous says:

      Trust me, anything dealing with Constitution, PPM got us into this mess. Alden knows this, but he is silent about it. Kurt stepped down, because he saw it comin. McKeeva is enjoying it. PPM thought that they would win the election, have the same perks which the Premier is getting now, but when they lost, it was a big blow that shook the entire PPM leadership.

  20. PM Dawn says:

    What else is new???? the only time they show up is usually after UDP get it all wrong and they either come to complain or shower blame. Both parties love to ride that old magic carpet of discontent to political office. Worse part is that Cayman get duped every 4 years.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are right nothing is new, because for the respect and recognition and EFFECT the PPM is going to have by turning up there they might as well stay at home. We are DOOMED in this country until SOMETHING is done to overthrow or otherwise get rid of our current 'Government'.