Mac hits back at critics over district councils

| 14/01/2011

(CNS): The country’s premier spoke to the nation again on Thursday evening to “dispel some of the fears, and correct some of the misinformation” that he said had surrounded the introduction of the district councils. He said the main point of contention was the manner in which they will be selected. Government did not think they should be elected, McKeeva Bush said in the address, but that members would be appointed by the Governor in Cabinet to include people nominated by the opposition, the ruling party, independent MLAs and the public. Bush hit out at the opposition, saying if they felt so strongly about electing council members they should have written it into the constitution and accused them of tearing down what the government was trying to build.

The premier’s address was in response to the criticisms which were raised by the opposition and the independent MLA in the Legislative Assembly during the debate on the bill on Monday. The Advisory District Councils are provided for in the 2009 Cayman Islands Constitution.

“The constitution makes no requirement that the council members be elected and in my view for a good reason,” the premier said, adding that the councils are advisory bodies and will have no binding authority. “They are there to advise their district’s elected members of the Legislative Assembly on district matters.”

He denied that the councils would merely be a rubber stamp for government policy as there was nothing for them to rubber stamp since they are not there to approve or carry out policy but to advise their MLAs, and through their representatives advise the Cabinet.

Describing the councils as a linkbetween the elected legislators and the people of the district, he said they would not be sham entities and would not be appointed "to tell the government what it wants to hear" as has been charged. “Quite the contrary,” Bush claimed, as he said the law clearly sets out and guides the functions of these new bodies.

“These are meant to be real working bodies that will provide a valuable addition to our ability to assess the needs of people and communities, and respond with sensitivity and precision,” he told the people in an address broadcast on both CITN and Radio Cayman.

“We are therefore poised with the creation of the Advisory District Councils to begin a new era in our system of public governance,” he said.

According to the law, as many as ten members may be appointed to a council and the Cabinet will select and appoint four officers. Up to six other members may be appointed. Of these regular members, at least two must be recommended by the leader of the opposition.

“This means that it is possible for the opposition to have more than two members on a council,” Bush stated. “The opposition well knows, and the press ought to know, that the health of a liberal democracy may be measured in direct proportion to the exercise by persons of their rights as citizens. The Advisory District Councils, as an instrument of public governance, will be as well-balanced as people make them. We remain answerable to the electorate. If they don’t like the way we appoint the councils, what we throw on them will boomerang on us,” he added.

He said government intended representation on the councils to be fair, open and balanced. He said where there is no ruling party members in a district, such as East End and North Side, where he said “the MLA is supposedly declared independent”, the law stipulates that the ruling party would in such cases be limited to no more than three nominations to the council. “Clearly the point is to give the member a recognisably strong hand,” Bush stated, adding that would not be the approach of a government whose intent was to control the councils in the "dictatorial" manner that has been charged, in the inflammatory language of the bill’s opposers.

“Critics of the bill say that, by appointing the council members, the government will load the councils with cronies who will tell the government what it wants to hear. Now that would be foolish. How could a government expect to be re-elected if it doesn’t listen to what the people are telling the district council?” he asked rhetorically.

He said that while people were saying the UDP government was creating an advantage for itself by having the members appointed, he had been in the political arena long enough to know that in the Cayman Islands no one party, team or person stays in power forever.

“At some point in the future, the UDP will sit as the loyal opposition,” he said. “So why would we create a situation that gives an advantage to some future government that we might have to sit in opposition to in the Legislative Assembly? That would not only be a failure of good governance, it would indicate a collapse of common sense.”

Bush also criticised the amendment offered by the North Side representative, Ezzard Miller, as he said it sought to exclude all but registered voters from either voting or holding office on the councils.

“The effect of this would be to exclude from the councils many persons with a wealth of skillsand experience potentially of value to their communities. In contrast to this, the councils, as proposed in the bill, would be as inclusive as possible, also giving civil servants an opportunity to contribute to public efforts in a more open forum.”

The Advisory District Councils, he said, would offer a different quality of involvement from anything seen before and said how they operated would be the important thing.

“Don’t believe the crude political rhetoric that makes the councils out to be puppets of the government. The Advisory District Councils will be as good as you want them to be, as good as you make them – as good as your questions, your opinions, your suggestions,” the premier declared.

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  1. Lachlan MacTavish says:

    For those of you old enough think back to the days of Benson Ebanks, Charles Kirkconnel, Norman Bodden, Miss Annie, Mr. Craddock, that generation. All I personally remember was a comfortable feeling that the country was being run by individuals that held The Cayman Islands and the people first and foremost ahead of themselves and personal gain. We had a steady course. Not so now we are all over the map with no direction, no destination and a broken compass. I’m tired of endless debates about district councils etc. when we have so many serious issues that need to be addressed. Caymanians need to take their country back and place it in the hands of a cabinet that can restore order and direction.  

  2. Annoymous says:

     Pardon me, has anyone seen Mickey Mouse?

    I miss him, and word has it that the Premier had his ass rolled over, could that be true or false?

    Where or where is our saving grace Mickey Mouse?

    when you find him I got some cheese for him.


  3. Michel Lemay says:

    As I watched our Premier last night my interest was more the way he spoke and his smiles I though (oh he’s good). I had read his speach earlier so I knew what he was trying to sell but could really concentatre on the salesperson part that our Premier his. My favorite part was and I quote : " At some point in the future the UDP Gvt. will sit as the LOYAL Opposition, so why would we create a situation that gives an advantage to so future Gvt. that we might have to sit in Opposition in the Legislative Assembly ? That would not onlybe a failure of good governance, it would indicate a collapse of common sense" . Let’s stop here. You have managed the make a future defeat so sweet and if I thought for a minute that YOU wrote that yourself I might have swallowed it all, hook, bait and sinker Mr. Premier. Yes i have listened to you for 20 + years campaining and know your way of speaches quite well Mr.Premier. What gave you away Sir was that smile(smurkish) at times that reminded so much of my salesmanship that I had in my young days and to say Boy he’s good. We were almost forgetting that you were to appoint ( again making the people believe that they would have a part in it) and even allow the Leader of Opposition 2 persons per district. No one wants that to begin with Sir. Oh! you’re on TV, New title wow: Chancellor of the Order of the Honors. I am honored for the many recipients that were just named as I am certain they deserve it and Congtatujations Dr. Tomlinson(you’re a good man and deserving_ I hope this is a consolation Doctor after being kicked with the passing of amending the Practionner Law for the new proposed hospital. Pearlina your a good speechwriter. Back to our district commitee appointees will they be paid? Oh! I almost forgot would you mind coming back on TV to discuss the crime rate,unemployment,rollover and explain to us what Governor in Coucil means( the Governor or you Sir).  There’s more but this would be a good start dor now! 

  4. Open Your Eyes says:


    I believe that this is a very relevant post because it gives people an insight into the mind of our decision makers.

    CNS: You’ll have to provide evidence, I’m afraid.

  5. Roadblogger says:

    "he had been in the political arena long enough to know that in the Cayman Islands no one party, team or person stays in power forever."

    "At some point in the future, the UDP will sit as the loyal opposition,”

    See? We just trade places.  Isn’t it great?

    Don’t like UDP?  Try PPM. or UDP. or PPM. or UDP.

    Or PPM

    See? There are choices. Go ahead. Pick one.

    Let me put it another way.  This is a high paying.. career… with no accountability.  Ever. We just go on blaming each other and no one is the wiser. This isn’t a bad movie.. it’s democracy.

    Or I’ll put it another way. I know a lot of you are unemployed.  But we aren’t. And.. I know a lot of you have taken a reduction in pay. But we haven’t. Isn’t that cool? I know we said we would. But we haven’t.

    Don’t get it?? Listen.

    I’ll put it another way. I know a lot of you are having a hard time paying household bills and that’s too bad but I’m not. See? The system is working. But you’re not.

    Is that my fault?  It’s their fault!!!




    • Frequent Flyer says:

      This is the most well said thing I have read all week!

      Makes so much sense. Says it ALL.

      Thank you Roadblogger

    • NJ2Cay says:

      How perfectly put, as I said plenty of times politics are politics and politicians are politicians in any Country…..Sad thing is that the people actually think they have a say and that this is their Government…..Wrong……The Government belongs the one currently in the captains seat be it UDP or PPM, they act the same when they are in charge….And weather you like it or not they are the ones who ultimately make the big decisions not the people……

  6. Anonymous says:

    I wonder when will Mr. Premier get it through his head that it is not HIS government but the people’s government and that we need him to stop yelling at others, blaming others, berating others especially the other side of the government that we elected in ALSO and start working together to fix the problems that our islands face.

    It is so discouraging as a young Caymanian to hear what is supposed to be an EDUCATED man go on like a complete baffoon, sometimes.  HIS government needs to take the time off their high horses and speak to the little people that those BIG decisions are affecting and see if we don’t have some good solutions to offer too. 

    • NaturalMystic says:

      I applaud your comments and wholeheartedly agree with almost everything you say. Where my problem lies is the assumption that the Premier is educated. While having a college degree is not the only yard stick to measure education, actions and words go a long way to proving lack thereof. Many in our society, like the Premier, were not fortunate to have the means or grades to obtain higher education. Where these people differ from the Premier is their acceptance of their shortcomings. While this is not a personal attack on him (and Lord knows he believes everything is) he has to stop as you stated the berating and blaming others, the "I’m more powerful than you" attitude he has, and run the country. Educated or not he is in the role and has the opportunity to make sure that Cayman works for us Caymanians and the people we welcome to our country each year to work here. I totally agree that he has to take the time to listen to the people whether they voted for his party or the opposition. He is after all the Premier of THE Cayman Islands, which encompasses all who live here, and not just the UDP supporters.  

  7. Anonymous says:

    It amazes me that Mac will take time out to address the nation about  the composition of district councils, but he can’t be bothered to talk about the wave of killings, rapes, muggings, violent robberies and home invasions destroying his country.

    It’s a ridiculous political sideshow. People aren’t going to feel safer in their homes if their district council has been democratically elected. 

    "Welcome to the Cayman Islands.  Thanks to the skewed priorities of our leaders we have the best district councils of any crime-ridden Caribbean slum".



  8. Anonymous says:

    I just thought district councils were made up of people from their district elected by people from their district who advised their elected officials. Where the h— doe’s big government come off interfering with the will of the people. Now the premier seeks to control all the will of the people.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The people in cayman need to stop being a critic and try or best to rebuild this country. When PPM was in power there was complaints, When UDP in power more complaints. The people need to look into themselves and start the change from there. We must remember we are the government not the elected members. We have the power but as usual we the people would rather gossip with one another than addressing the problem. Stop being the critic and start doing something. Yes i agree with the premier in some aspects not all. Just as in some cases i agree witk Kurt in some as well. We need more youngier heads to push this country forward then backwards

    • Joe Mamas says:

      The reason that those in power can a will do anything they want no matter how stupid or how much damage it causes is because the people of Cayman will not do anything to stop them period.  Complaining does nothing,  Your current crop of leadership has shown time and time again just how inept, corrupt, and totally self serving they are and the people JUST complain.  Grand Cayman is showing the rest of the developed world just what happens when the people of a nation take no responsibility for themselves and give it all to those with no reall education, no skills, no morals, and no connections to the people other than the ability to spend their money.  Because those who have the right to change things do not have what it takes to do so everyone else can only sit back and watch as all rights and the ability to work and live are removed.  Cayman is not the only country to go this way and it won’t be the last.  Easy to see what countrys have gone this way and what happens when it does. Too bad all anyone can do is watch.

  10. Anonymous says:

    This man is a joke.


  11. Anonymous says:

    Oh McKeeva…..Shut up!!! Stop acting so ignorant and stop shaming your fellow Caymanian. Do us a favour and resign. You are a disgrace to the Premier Office.

  12. MI5 says:

    McKeeva is right when he said that the requirement to elect members should have been included in the constitution. We beleive the Council members should be elected and not appointed.  We do not want these councils to be full of cronies… This is another blunder from Alden’s constitution !!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Hasn’t McKeeva just had the opportunity to allow their selection by election? And didn’t he choose NOT to do so? Maybe there was an error in not enshrining their selection process in the new constitution, but if you truly believe these councils should be elected, the REAL failure is in the part of McKeeva and the UDP, who have decided to select members themselves. Don’t feed us crap about how the constitution failed when clearly the current government had the opportunity to do the right thing anyway and blew it.

  13. McCarron McLaughlin says:

    XXXXX Mr. Premier said a few weeks back that he’s was going to push his agenda through and people wouldn’t like it – he wasn’t kidding now he decided he will use the "crony district councils" to justify the damage he has planned before his rightful exit in May 2013. 

    Don’t the premier realize by now that the public no longer cares to hear his rants on public radio during the news hour, he has enough time on the floor of the LA to say what he has to say, we Caymanians would be better  served  if Radio Cayman used this airtime and sell some radio ads.

    The time has come Caymanians that we have show the real face of this government – XXXXX, people we need to expose this governemnt in whatever way possible so they can take their rightful place in the history of these Islands when they are swept from power.

  14. Anonymous says:

    appointments = cronyism

    "the law clearly sets out and guides the functions of these new bodies"…the government has a history of ignoring the law.


    • Top Secret says:

      To: appointments = cronyism – Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 01/13/2011 – 23:43.

      You took the words right offmy finger tips!
  15. Lachlan MacTavish says:

     The facts are continuously being brought up. The poor record of conflicts of interest and poor decision making from Mr. Bush have brought the country to where it is today. Why do we even need these councils. To educate the cabinet and MLAs about their districts. First, the districts are small enough that a full time representative for the people can learn everything he needs to know if he would just stay in his district and listen to the residents. Second, it will make no difference what the cabinet knows because one man, Mr. Bush, is running the country. Political rhetoric and sound bites. 

    • NJ2Cay says:

      Funny how folks are so quick to blame Bush for the current situation in the Cayman Islands because it was already jacked up when he took the helm. Everyone forgets how screwed up the last administration handed him the economy which we are now feeling the effects of, they wasted so much money and ran up so much debt that the current administration has to clean up their mess. And you guys have the audacity to condemn them. I feel sorry for them and applaud them for being strong enough to make the big decisions that are needed to get Cayman back on its feet no matter how unpopular it makes them. Most politicians only say what people want to here and only do what they believe will make people happy, this one is obviously willing to do whatever it takes to fix the problems that he was handed, weather it makes people happy or not, as long as it’s what’s needed to keep Cayman alive and avoid having to tax every ones pay and property.

      • Lachlan MacTavish says:

         NJ2cay……Cayman started the road to where it is now 20 years ago and Mr. Bush at last count has logged the most number of days at the helm of the CIG. There have been no, repeat no decisions in the present UDP term that has done anything positive for Cayman and the people. All decisions have benefited Mr. Bush and a small group of people. No hard decisions have been made or the CS would be 20% smaller and crime would be slowing down instead of speeding up. Nothing is happening.

  16. Anonymous says:

    You have to give the Premier credit here. As much as he might be right or wrong, he is the only one in the Cayman Islands who can generate more than 100 posts on CNS on any of his comments or positions.

    I have to admit that it is a fact and I’m puzzled by it. Our Premier has a definite talent to create controversy and to add oil on the fire. He has that "something" that can generate passions and controversies. I must say that I have agreed with him for maybe .5% of his government policies but still, I’m impressed. Impressed by his thick layer of Teflon! And on how he can dodge critics!

    He will definitely not be remembered as the most efficient Premier these Islands ever had. Maybe the worst actually. But this man still has that talent to have people believe in him, or feared him! And he has nothing to be afraid of if not his bullying attitude and it’s not even scary! Just a big baby boy…or a future dictator in the making…

    The people of this beautiful country have made that "political creature". Hopefully, the people of the Cayman Islands will know how to cope with their creation when the reality will hit the fan.


  17. Co2 says:

    Thank you, McKeeva

    There are too many ignorant accusations against you. I wish people would just come with fact before accusing you.

  18. Dred says:

    As I sit here the only question that comes to my mind is this. Does he believe what he is saying? I mean he pumps so much BS as the public he might even now believe it himself.

    • Anonymous says:

      For goodness sake, can’t you express yourself without resorting to profanity?

    • Anonymouse. says:

      Any one who expresses their dreams or fantasies, do so because they believe these dreams and fantasies are real. It is up to you the listener to decide what is real and what is fantasy.

      I doubt that the Premier dreams very much because he do not get much sleep and is usually jet lagged all the time, however one can fantasize while awake, therefore his expressions are probably more fantasy than dreams.

      Actually, some of our best ideas can come about while fantasizing.

    • Pending says:

      "Now that would be foolish. How could a government expect to be re-elected if it doesn’t listen to what the people are telling the district council?” he asked rhetorically

      Mac, you and your people have not listened to a single word that the public has said since you became the "Premier". A District Council will make absolutely no difference what so ever, we all know this.

      Nobody believes a single word that comes out your mouth so do and all a favour and shut it.

  19. Fed Up! says:

    Two more years of this???

    "He said that while people were saying the UDP government is creating an advantage for itself by having the members appointed he had been in the political arena long enough to know that in the Cayman Islands no one party, team or person stays in power forever."

    Unless drastic steps are taken to remove Premier McKeeva Bush from office now, there won’t be anything left of these islands for another party, team or person to rule in another two years!

    • Anonymous says:

      i listened to you peoplesaying the same thing about PPM.  Me too, now I know it is all about Roll over Politics or Roll overMLA’s which ever you want to call it.  Think about it.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I think I must be loosing it, ’cause McKeeva actually sounds like he’s making sense on this one. I know I’ll probably regret it in the morning, but…. 

    • Anonymous says:

      20:47 I do not think you are wrong on this one, listen carefully to what he is saying and what the other parties is objecting to.  I think Mr Bush is making sence on this.  One problem we have here is that most people are jumping the gun, they are not thinking before they express, and this is not good.

  21. Cassius Dio says:

    So how much are all these extra jobs going to cost?

  22. Anonymous says:

    "….also giving Civil Servants an opportunity to contribute to public efforts in a more open forum."

    Is that legal?

  23. Anonymous says:

    Hey Mac, what is going on about the rollover.  You made a promise or shall I say a statement that you were going to see about changing it.  Don”t hear anything more…

  24. Anonymous says:

    Big money comes after major utilities….zzzzzzzz

    Isn’t everything here sold out to the highest bidder already! 

  25. Anonymous says:

    McKeeva, please resign.

    • Anonymous says:

      19:58  Is there anyone else who would doa  better job? please make some suggestions, because the same think was said about Kurt last election.