Miller battles party politics

| 23/05/2011

(CNS): Two years into this administration, Ezzard Miller has told CNS that being the only independent member today is very different from his previous times serving in the parliament because party politics has become more important than the people. Answering six specific questions put to him by CNS, Miller said he is striving to do what he can to represent his district, and is most pleased with the creation of the council, which offers his constituents a voice in the democratic process. Miller explained that he sees himself not as an opposition to government but as someone offering constructive criticism or alternatives, as he comes to the LA to represent the wants and needs of the people of North Side. However, if that is in opposition to government he said he won’t flinch to express those views. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

CNS -Q: What do you believe is the greatest achievement that you've managed in your role as an independent member for your constituents or even the wider community in this first two years?

EM: The North Side District Council, which has succeeded in uniting the North Side community in working to solve the social and economic problems of North Side. However, I cannot claim the total success for the achievements of the council as many persons and in particular the executive and the office manager of the MLA office have contributed in various ways.  The council facilitates my core political principle, participatory democracy, that is my conviction that the persons I am privileged to represent have a right to be involved in all decisions made by their government.

CNS-Q: What do you consider to be the most pressing issue you haven’t managed to tackle yet?

EM: The most pressing issue that I have not been able to tackle is the lack of hope in young people from primary school to age 25. This lack of hope combined with lack of enthusiasm for success in adult life is a ticking "time bomb" that I believe has the potential to destroy the "Cayman economic miracle".

These young people have no local heroes to emulate, mingle with or admire as I did when I was growing up as I believe my generation was the last to be raised by the village. We, the council and myself, have made some progress in this area by the introduction of "The Hard work and Determination" campaign launched in December 2009, however much is left to be done.

The failure to obtain any funding from government to assist with the planned after school programme has slowed things down considerably. However, we are now in the process of seeking funding from the corporate sector to launch the after school program in September.

These young people are discouraged when they see their family members who did not do well in school being unable to get adequate employment and even more discouraged when they see those family members who have completed university, obtained their degree and also unable to get employment. The first is easy to explain, the second much more difficult in a country with sixty percent over employment and the constant pronouncements of their government that leads to more work permits.

CNS-Q: If you could do these two years over, what would you do differently (if anything)?

EM: There is not much that I would do differently as most of what I did as a representative was done in full consultation with the people that I represent.

CNS-Q: What are you most looking forward to in the next two years?

EM: To continuing working with North Side District Council to achieve the following for North Side: repairs and deepening of the launch ramp in Old Man Bay and the conversion of the area into a local beach resort, the creation of a waste site for trash and white goods, some road repairs and street lights, as well as successfully tackling the problems of the young people.

CNS-Q: What do you think will be the most difficult issue that you anticipate facing over the next half of the UDP administration?

EM: The most difficult issue that I will face from the UDP administration over the next two years is the personal attacks that will be launched against me in the Legislative Assembly as I continue to offer constructive criticism to their laws, policies and programs from the ‘Southeast Corner’ as an independent member. I do not see my role as one in opposition to the government but rather to assist the government in doing what is best for Cayman and Caymanians, through constructive criticism. However, I will not flinch from opposing if the people whom I represent believe and express the view that opposition on some things is necessary, for example the East End Seaport.

CNS-Q. How does the last two years of this administration compare to when you were in the Legislative Assembly the last time?

EM: The greatest difference between when I represented North Side in the 80's and now is party politics, where the individual parties take precedence, then the party members, then Cayman and Caymanians and the absolute lack of camaraderie for the good of Cayman. This is followed closely by the level of debate and personal attacks which take precedence over debating the issues and anything seems to be right as long as they can blame someone else. While in the 80's we had heated debate on issues, Cayman and Caymanians always took precedence in the final analysis and collective solutions was common through working together in select committees. Today, it is far more important who does something than what is being done. The ruling Party the UDP must get the credit in their achievement list for the next election.

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  1. Moving On says:

    Am moving to North side! Its Miller TIME!!

    Ezze – Like Sunday Morning.

  2. Cat says:

    There is nothing Anti-Expat about what Mr.Miller said.Caymanians do need to be considered first as this is their country, and should be protected as the indigenous people of the country. Of course if there is absolutely NO-ONE with the necessary qualifications needed to do a particular job, then fine,once a properly qualified expat comes a long and they meet all the criteria, let them have it.

    The thing that angers me however, is when a young Caymanian comes home, after 3 -1/2 years or more away from family and friends ,having spent more than 140,000 dollars on tuition,book fees,living expenses and traveling expenses.(This may not be the case tuition, and living expense wise if they went to England),come home with great qualifications from some of the best schools in the US and the world and still are treated as if they don't have the right qualifications, or in some cases that if they are not expats out of the US,Canada or elsewhere they don't have it. Mind you, these young Caymanians just came from the same or similarly accredited school that the expats went to!! They got the same education. These people don't just close their eyes and put their finger on any school. They usually choose the schools because they have been highly recommended/mentioned,has the best educational programs and the most to offer.

    So it makes me mad when a young person(myself included,I just earned my Associates, halleluyah.I finally jumped over the first hurdle) put all this effort into becoming a well educated,respected member of our society,has a lot to offer and still gets treated like you don't have it, even though I went to the same school as most,got the same or similar degree,spent the same amount of time to earn it,went to the same classes,probably the same exact professor, but the expat is treated like they got something more.

    We don't go to school,bust our brains,stay awake all hours of the night studying,destroying our health getting heart palputations from drinking to much coffee,redbull and everything that has caffiene in it,(sometimes it feels like somebody needs to start manufacturing caffiene in a keg or epi-pen)working to make ourselves,family and country proud and be somebody great.We don't get scholarships from our supposedly somewhat broke Government to go away and waste time doodling all day! Na-Uhh we go away to grow into mature sensible adults and become a upstanding respectable citizen! Worst yet when you leave your grandparents and family's amazing Cayman food behind(Cassava Cake,Cayman Style Beef,lobster,Conch Stew and all that good stuff)?!It pulls at your heart string people!!! It makes us mad!Makes you want to just slap somebody!!

     

    Sonow that I've pretty much finished venting now…. The moral of this true story is that we young Caymanians are feeling used and abused and taken for granted for too long now, despite the fact that we have had to sit down and hear you older people, complain about the "young people, needing to stop messing around and try to go to school and get an education and be somebody" or going to an interview and being told" Well we would really have liked if you had a degree in Business" or whatever field you were trying to get into. Now we listen to all of you,go away or even stay here and work and go to school,work so hard,finally achieved a great education,come home and still get sh'a't on. We're sick of it and yall need to stop messing around.Plain and simple!

    Thank you!

    • Anonymous says:

      What do you think young people everywhere do after college?

      College is a beginning not an end. Everyone who goes for a job out of college hears the same line about experience and a person's willingness to start out to demonstrate an attitude of willingness is what many employers want to see.

      The brains to get a degree does not demonstrate that you are Albert Einstein rather it shows you were able to follow direction sufficiently to get through that institution. The same applies to a work environment.

      A person with a serious work ethic will far outperform someone with a degree every time.

      Degrees are a dime a dozen but a serious work ethic with someone who wants to be a company man then that is a diamond in the rough.

      I knew a guy who was forced to drop out of college because his family needed the extra income so he got a job and did what he had to do. I have no doubt that today he is doing well somewhere.

  3. Cat says:

    Hmmm….It's seems like answering those simple questions didn't hurt at all. So why on earth did McKeeva punk out for? Afraid of his mouth slipping?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thanks to Ezzard for at least answering these questions.  Whether or not you might agree with him, his responses reflected a seeingly painless response to an inquiry from the press.

    I look forward to reading responses from other politicians and would encourage the Premier to reconsider and provide a reply.

     

  5. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard Miller is the only person that could possibly make a worse Premier than Mac.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard Miller is an opportunist and an obstructionist.   Now things aren't going his way and he's blaming everything around him.

    Miller will oppose when he feels there is a gain or popularity for himself to do so.  Miller will support of its agenda.  Miller will trash expats when he sees politics opportunity and ignore Caymanians when an expat can benefit him.

    He fools nobody.  He's like lukewarm water.

  7. 3RD CLASS CITIZEN says:

    Mr. Miller is a stand-up guy and is for checks and balances. The "hidden agenda crowd" says he dislikes expats so our uneducated despicable politicians can continue to sell our country out for two cents on the dollar. Propaganda won’t work on Mr. Miller because people can see he’s not short sighted. I’m not against expats but I don’t want to be exploited continuously by silly government policies that work against the best interests of our people. Trust me; we are not interested in committing economic suicide. So don't confuse checks and balances with sell out politics. It's not the same.

  8. Anonymous says:

    For me one of the biggest changes in Cayman has been the increased xenophobia against Expats that splits the country down the middle and I blame Ezzard and Rooster talk radio for this poison that infects the social fabric.

    To use this ranting against Expats to garner public opinion and get votes is unconscionable in my opinion.

    CNS and Rooster serve asa platform for Ezzard's hurtful positions.

    Shame on anyone who further this destructive path for their own benefit.

    • Anonymous says:

      To suggest that Ezzard and Rooster are responsible for "increased xenophobia against Expats" is a crock of you know what! To add insult to injury was the suggestion that they are doing this for their own benefit.

      This situation has been present for years and is more prominent now due to the slow economy. Did the writer read the newspaper that 8,000 are on some form of social welfare? Caymanians should be put first in the job market if they meet the criteria and not be unemployed in their own country. Many Caymanians have been victimized in the private sector and continue to face roadblocks to advance. We have students returning with degrees from top universities still unemployed. I know for a fact some jobs that are advertised ask for qualifications and experience that the current permit holder DOES NOT have to put the positions out of reach for internal staff to aspire to or outside enquiries.

      Ezzard and Rooster have never suggested that being a Caymanian is the only requirment for a job and entitles them to a job but it is there responsibilty to defend the internal corruption and practices to ensure that Caymanians can obtain jobs and are treated fairly in the work place.

      Regardless of the writer's nationality shame on you for your suggestions.

       

      • You are so right says:

        It seems that whenever a Caymanians rightly stands up for our people we get ridiculed, accused of being racist and bigots, when in actual fact we are complaining about those who are. I am not anti expat, however I am a firm believer that we must put Caymanians first. All this talk of Caymanians being lazy and cannot hold down jobs is a crock. We have Caymanians who are educated, hard working and ambitious, we do not expect hand-outs but we expect that visitors to our country respect us, our culture and our right to eat at the same table. I have seen posts all over CNS ridiculing Caymanians who simply point out the illegal and often racist actions of some expats. The time is coming when we all need to stand up and demand that our Government get behind us and stop all the politricking, pandering to people with $$$ and think about not only our future but the future of our children. I know Ezzard personally, and to be honest out of all the politicians who are out there, he more than the others says it like it is! Cayman has become a capitalist society and there is good and bad to be said about that, but when those with money and power use it to manipulate and push Caymanians to the back fo the line I get sick to my stomach. We are fast approaching a breaking point here, and I hope people heed the warnings! this place is going to erupt! Iwill do all I can to prevent that, but I can see it coming as clear as I can see the wrong doings and abuse of Caymanians. The Generation of Caymanians who have just passed voting age have clearly demonstrated that they are from a different mindset, and I seriously doubt that they will have the patience and "understanding" that us older Caymanians currently display. Yes an uprising will destroy more than it regenerates, but I know young people who simply say " Whats the point of living this way with no future and no fair opportunity" We have unemployed Caymanians yet we continue to grant work permits wholesale, and some of the individuals who grant them to have absolutely no business at the top of the ladder. Take it from someone who has been there, the anti-Caymanian sentiment is 10 times more prominent than the anti-expat sentiment. What might save the day is if some of those expats who know of the illegal and unethical practices start to speak up and join with Caymanians so that we can correct the balance and hopefully reduce the level of tension that currently exists.

         

  9. Just want to say says:

    A Big thank you to Mr Miller for being a true patriot and for standing up for the rights of Caymanians! We all know the levels some will go to in order to discredit you and discourage you, and I hope that God continues to give you strength and courage to represent the people of these islands. You will be remembered in the next election as will those who join you now!

    Keep up the fight! You are not alone!

     

  10. William says:

    He would be more successful, I think, if he started his own political party with a yellow flag. It would give the Cayman Islands, the electorate more political options than just having two parties, and a third party would create a better debatable environment in the Legislative Assembly. Motions won't be passed without proper deliberation.

    But if Ezzard fails to expand his circle of political influence within these two years, and lose his seat in the next election, I can assure to you that he will regret it, and his followers as well may look down on him, because he started a race on the issues and didn't finish it.

    I guess, if not him, someone else will take up the flaming torch.

    • Cayman Concern says:

      I think the party system is what has caused cronyism and corruption.  When the MLAs had to work things out to get the job done, we were all better off.

      I'd like to see the career politicians who line their pockets thrown out.  Please, can't we beg our leading businessmen to band together for four years to correct the course of this country?  Get in, balance the budget, make the hard choices, change the laws to prevent corruption (term limits and lower salaries for MLAs)

      We NEED the educated lawyers, accountants , doctors, business men and women to take back our country.  I wish for the days of good men leading a good people….what we have now is a shame.

      • village idiot of Absurdistan says:

        I believe the sign of a healthy progressive country/BoT can often be observed in how a country looks after its elderly, animals, and diversity of representation in local politics. I have questions regarding the latter. 

        And I speak to this quote in the above post:

        " I wish for the days of good men leading a good people….what we have now is a shame."

        I think Cayman could use more diversity in it's political make-up and include more females in the mix. Cayman has no shortage of educated women leaders in various fields who would be more than capable of representing their districts and improving politics in Cayman. 

        It is time to breakdown the old boys clubs of Cayman politics. Juju has managed to do this, but I feel there is room for more (and arguably better) female representation. 

        I think this one adjustment to the make-up of the current party system would represent enough of a shake up and produce different results than what the past 10 years had yielded. 

        Either way, it is high time that a changing of the guard takes place in Cayman. 

        As for the xenophobic comments here- I believe even that argument is misdirected at times. As there are certainly some expats with devious intentions regarding acquiring and holding their employment, I am fairly confident they are the minority. Likewise, as I do believe there are some Caymanians with poor work ethic and low drive, these too are the minority. Thus when we look at the divide between expats and Caymanians isn't it more so the system (of Immigration and others) that enables businesses (with majority owned by Caymanians by law) to hire expats instead of Caymanians. It is not the expat who is hired fault. 

        The fault lies in with the owners of the business, and those in Immigration who enable it to happen (for whatever reasons they chose. So really, both the average expat and average Caymanian should be upset with those two parties because they are the ones who are in control of this mess. By hiring the expat when they should be hiring a Caymanian, puts the expat in a difficult position. To shun one of their own (Caymanians) to favour an expat, naturally and rightfully causes ill feelings toward the expat. But I believe the unhappiness with the situation should be directed towards the business owners (expat and Caymanian), and Immigration/Department of Labour. When both of those groups are held with their feet to the fire, I believe the tensions between expats and Caymanians will slowly dissolve, trust would be restored, and old wounds could heal. Too idealistic?