Leaders find common ground

| 29/01/2013

20130124-2477.jpg(CNS): Without former premier McKeeva Bush on the political panel at the CBO conference Thursday, few sparks flew as both the opposition leader and the deputy premier  appeared to find common ground on a number of issues. Rolston Anglin,who has been education minister since the 2009 General Election, has rarely missed an opportunity to take political potshots at the former education minister, Alden McLaughlin, over the cost of the two high schools. But in a particularly cordial debate, the two politicians seemed to be in harmony on education and many of the major issues of the day. From the need to reduce the size of government and the services it delivered to encouraging Caymanians into tourism, the policy position of both men was notably similar.

In the absence of the former premier, who was listed in the programme to join his former opposite number and former Cabinet colleague, back-bench MLA Ellio Solomon, who is expected to be appointed as deputy leader of the UDP at the forthcoming party conference, stood in for Bush and attempted to generate some disagreement on the panel. Nevertheless, the debate was an amicable affair with very little controversy. Anglin and McLaughlin both began to look like party colleagues rather than government and opposition. 

There were no representatives from the independent camp, despite the community clamour in recent times for more independents in parliament. It is not clear if either of the two MLAs already in the LA were invited but an invitation was extended by CBO to the Coalition for Cayman (C4C). However, none of its candidates or supporters accepted the offer.

The three men who did make the political debate faced questions about their vision for Cayman in 2020, taxation, gambling, minimum wage and one man, one vote.

Both McLaughlin and Anglin talked about the need to reduce the high levels of taxes and fees that present a serious economic burden to both the business community and the man in the street through a reduction in the size of government and the services it delivers. The two leaders said they would not introduce a direct tax of any kind if elected to office and hoped to reduce the existing fees and taxes in an effort to attract more business.  Solomon also stated that the UDP did not support any direct taxation, despite his party leader’s attempts to introduce an expat payroll tax last year.

There were few revelations from the politicians about how they would address the economic conundrum that will face any new government, which is how to balance the budget with a growing demand for more services but an increasingly precarious revenue base. Both Anglin and McLaughlin spoke about the need for government to move some services into the privatesector so that they could roll back taxes.

McLaughlin said there was a need to restore confidence in government and to eradicate corruption and poor governance, which has impacted business in Cayman. He called for reliable economic figures and a leaner, more efficient government. He said a world class education system was needed to address the problem of unemployment among Caymanians as the system, despite all the work in recent years, had still not recovered from previous years of neglect.

He called for the completion of the John Grey High School and the implementation of the education law to undermine the changes that have been made. McLaughlin also offered his support for the Shetty Health City and medical tourism as a third leg to the local economy. He said he wanted to see a level playing field for local and foreign workers and pointed to the need for a minimum wage to deal with that.

Meanwhile, Anglin, who has been less supportive in the past of a minimum wage, suggesting that it does not address the poverty question, offered his support for a level of pay below which no one should be expected to work. He said it was important for Caymanians to be involved in the economy and he agreed that required a world class education, which he said he hoped would be achieved soon when he rolled out the rest of the reforms following on from past work. He also said he wanted to see government regulate and legislate but it needed to get out of the way of business.

Echoing comments made by McLaughlin, he said he wanted to see Caymanians embracing employment opportunities in tourism. He said that for too long there had been a cultural phenomenon that discourages local people from that sector and there was a desperate need to bring down government debt.

Solomon said Cayman needed to become more self-sufficient when it came to food and that he wanted to see a slow and measured approach to reducing the size of government. He also pointed out that, although both McLaughlin and Anglin had been labour ministers in the past, neither had introduced a minimum wage, something that Solomon himself did not appear to support, although he called for a review or committee.

McLaughlin said that although the ministry had already undertaken reviews, research and consultation (as called for by Solomon) when he was minister for labour, the strong opposition in the business community meant he ran out of time. Anglin pointed to the lack of full support across the UDP and implied that Solomon himself was one of those blocking the move.

When it came to the issue of one man, one vote, only McLaughlin remained fully committed, with Solomon wanting a national slate and Anglin still wavering over single member constituencies but he accepted that the country would likely move to one man, one vote.

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Comments (46)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    … and STILL there are no textbooks in schools, while parents ara asked to donate photocopier paper AND toner!!!

    And these MLA "stooges" jet off to see Big Ben last week again!!



  2. Anonymous says:

    I believe the solution for our children especially ones with single parents is a boarding school right here in Cayman. A school for boys that will teach them not only an education but teach them responsibility , manners, phonics , discipline, proper english with a Caymanian accent. Then he can go get a job anywhere in the world not just Cayman. 

    Minimum wage its time its time. Stop the politics.

  3. Gone fishninn says:

    Foolio why do you bother. Do you really think we will forget ? You’ll always be a mini Big Mac and we sure know one thing : you ain’t getting back in. Maybe one day when you grow up and I don’t mean in height either.

  4. Anonymous says:

    One word sums them all up Disappointing

  5. Anonymous says:

    This country is in serious trouble if Rolston Anglin, Alden McCloughlin and Ellio Solomon represent the best Cayman has to offer as leaders for the future! None showed an ability to deal with simple questions or provide a vision for Cayman Islands

  6. Gone fishninn says:

    If you both (lol) are serious about minimum wage do it NOW and we just might take you both seriously. All you have to do 2 combine your others and you have the majority of the House. Nothing better then show us what real Politicians can do by working together for WE THE PEOPLE. Rich getting richer and poor getting poorer. Not good. But what bothers really bothers me is Richard Parchment; former right hand of deposed former leader(no honorable here for you) and now top adviser to our new Premier. Hum …. Do you all smell that. I call Mr. Parchment a double edge sword or … Don’t like it

  7. Anonymous says:

    It was so sick to see Rollie and Al kiss up to each other like silly school girls and obvious they are now prepared to work together to further waste monies on their collective vanity in the name of politics.
    Those two cannot hold a candle to what McKeeva Bush and Kurt Tibbetts have done as leaders nor have the respect their predecessors command.

    • Anonymous says:

      People have been yelling and screaming about "too much division in the country", and now you're complaining because they actually agree on certain issues? Come on man!

  8. Anonymous says:

    How sad is it that those three arrogant clowns represent the best hope for their respective parties? Cayman needs an overhaul and new leaders to emerge because Alden is a lost cause with bad judgement and suspect temperament, Rolston is a complete waste of potential who has trouble with the truth whilst Elio is a never was and a blow hard from the very start. Save yourselves and vote them all out!

    • Anonymous says:
      • Anonymous says:

        Jude Scott, Donovan Ebanks, Arden McLean, Kurt Tibbetts are good examples of leaders

  9. Anonymous says:

    to Blogger 12:44 Maybe we should advocate NEIT – New England Institute of Tech. to come here and establish a proper Trade School at the GHHS old Site.  I believe that was Alden's idea after the other schools were built.  NEIT is where most of our children aresent for vocational training and I am sure, if the thinking heads will sit down with that school leaders, something can be worked out.

    • Anonymous says:

      They both do a piss poor job in managing the financial affairs of the country, and now they want to cut jobs.

      Let me use some of my education I gained back in the UK, while obtaining my little degree in Economics.

      1) Governments cannot save themselves out of a recession. (Don't take my word for it, read what Economist, that got the Nobel Prize for being the leaders in the field)

      2) Austarity measure's only add deadweight to a weak economy. Again, look at what is taking place in some of the EU countries.

      3) An economist in the US, who got the Government to finally understand (after the great depression in the 1930's) that it has to take the lead on economic recovery. By way of stimulating the economy.

      What we witnessed in the US a couple of years ago, with the Bush/Obama stimulas, was nothing new. It was done in the past, and thats why they did it again.

      Save and cut all you want. But creating unemployment and less GDP growth sure as hell won't put money in the coffers. But hey, what does little old native me know?!

      • Slowpoke says:

        You and your silly little facts.  Everyone knows that "facts" and "science" have a liberal bias and so, have no place in Cayman.  This is why Miller-Shaw is deemed to be almost as Holy as the Bible.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Combined they do not equal anything close to a Big Mac.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank God!  Maybe if you added blow-hard, underhanded, schoolyard bully to the mix it would add up to bigmak.  Forget him…. he's gone and goner.

  11. Anon says:

    It was funny to watch 3 blind mice try to explain how they will fix a mess that they have created and even demand that financial services industry must pay for it. No vision, hope or solutions just the same rhetoric

  12. BT Soljah says:

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend in politics and the dynamic duo are proof of this. Do not worry cayman, they will work together for show but eventually betray each other for the next best deal.

  13. Anonymous says:

    ..Because theyre ALL THE SAME!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Rolston and Aldon see themselves as the only bright ones for the future so the public show of back slapping and affection was very cute. Why didn’t they show the same qualities on the Frank Sound school instead of spending $110m on 1 school?

    Why give them another chance to fail us what have they done as Ministers of Labour? Where is minimum wage law? 8 years and a lot of long speeches but nothing to show for all the brains they got

  15. Anonymous says:

    Now that Bush is gone, the government finally seem to be working. That should tell you something.

  16. Anonymous says:

    The most important part of a world class education system are not the expensive buildings, but the world class parents that would involve themselves in the growth of their child: instilling values and morals, delivering their young prepared and willing to be taught, and ensuring that their progeny are either at school, sports, or doing homework instead of purse-snatching and spray-painting gang slogans after midnight.  It's a truth that hurts, but a national concern that should be at the heart of the educational reform discussion.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you!!  As a professional educator, I have been saying for years that students get instructions at school, but they learn at home.  Unfortunately, no one listens.

  17. Working class says:

    A Trade School.  That is what is sorely needed.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with being involved in the trades and young people should be made aware of it.  Without this focus and the proper facility for training a majority of the work permits will be issued for people from elsewhere who have trades training.  Electricians, plumbers, carpenters,heavy equipment operators etc. etc. the list is endless.  Not everyone is interested in becoming a bank manager.  With the proper training and qualifications the trades are good wage paying opportunities for many. That is also where the majority of the jobs are. Wake up.

    • Anonymous says:

      We've had trade schools in the past. What is needed is a reorientation of the thinking of Caymanians so they do not see the trades as unworthy occupations.

    • Village idiot of Absurdistan says:

      I agree 100%. Heres some proof to further back up your claim.


      It would have a very positive impact in a relatively short amount of time. I believe many younger people would flourish. Yes fewer work permits would be required, however due to the gradual shift in people working these positions, the loss of revenue to government would not be sudden and dramatic. 

      Let's hope someone is listerning who can make a trades school happen.


    • Anonymous says:

      Christ, I for the life of me can't figure out why ANYONE would want to be a bank manager.

  18. noname says:


    It is past time that you set a minimum wage and stop politicising the issue.

    This is not the time to stand on the political grand stand,People are hurting, have no jobs, can not make ends meet.

    about the hospitality industry. Well if it is attractive enough, they will take those jobs.

    But why push them into the hospitality industry when they are Caymanians that have always controlled the bank teller jobs, etc.

    Why do we have bank tellers here on work permits?   Do something about this. Our school leavers should have those jobs, and they can make banking a carreer. someting we have always done, Caymanians are born bankers.


    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps if we start turning kids out of school with a proper education and work ethic (like we used to back in the day), we wouldn't have these issues… oooh, so add that to your "To Do" list also Mr Anglin please 🙂

  19. Anonymous says:

    In other words….

    They are both scared sh*tless of the new independents in the running (and no doubt other candidates who will be declaring their interest in the coming weeks/months)…

    Gentlemen your days are numbered!

    • Anonymous says:

      Damage control at the last hour when everyone hopes to be re-elected rather than having to go back to real work!

    • Anonymous says:

      "both"? There were three on the panel, right?

      • Anonymous says:

        No, that third dude was some kind of a religious fund raiser. He pops up (and off) all over the place.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well spotted 10.56. Not only that but when all the ballyhoo is said and done, they find much common ground in having no ideas at all. After all, it is nice and warm in the sh!t, so why would they even try to get out of it? They would not know how to, even if they wanted to…

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you saying politicians are largely spineless!?

      If not…then I am!

    • Anonymous says:

      but then, where were the independents? Not a good way to start particularly if they were invited.

  20. Anonymous says:

    That’s because there is no difference between UDP and PPM… These are not real politicl parties, just small time personality contest


    • Anonymous says:

      Now we see who is in bed with the U D P,

      Ahhhh these people keep tripping themselves up

      but yet they keep pionting the finger at others.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is just not true. The PPM functions as a political party while we've seen the UDP does not. We have no reason to believe the PPM is corrupt but there are many reasons to suspect UDP corruption.  

      • Anonymous says:

        As a taxpayer / voter I have the following choices:

        1) PPM – Honest with no financial sense. With complete arrogance and ignorance Alden put us in a financial mess. The PPM did not have the expertise to get us out of financial problems. This is why they lost so handily, lest we forget. Their solution for 2013, promote Alden to leader. Genius is not a word that comes to mind. Only in politics.

        2) UDP – or whatever they are now. They are allegedly dishonest with lots of financial sense, but alledgedly they are the only onese to benefit from this. I don't want to use the word corrupt as nothing has been proven – YET. I will say this though, arrests and prominent UDP members seem to go hand in hand. And they have done nothing but travel / live an incredible lifestyle, while raising my fees. I don't get the sense this batch cares much about me. 

        3) Independents. I don't know where the recent candidates, if successfull, will take us. But I do know independents have served us well in the past. Plus its refreshing to see persons who have actually been successful at something come to the foreground. Imagine, persons having real degrees, and have obtained wealth through honest means. They may actually know what they are doing. 

        By process of elimination …





        • Anonymous says:

          Keep in mind the C$C group are the ones that supported the UDP now they are trying to "buy" a new group of elected officials and helping the "independents" my endorsing and helping them with financing their campaigns with expectations that they will do as told.

          So by process of elimination it is not so easy as you make out.


        • Anonymous says:

          As a taxpayer who cannot vote I say just take my money and whatever……………

        • Anonymous says:

          UDP has shown absolutely no financial sense. It is a complete myth that they understand or have been good for business. They have greatly increased the cost of doing business and made us much less competitive. It has only got us deeper into financial problems. And I repeat there are many reasons to suspect corruption. Virtually every deal reeks of it.

          As for the financial mess both UDP and PPM contributed to that together with the worldwide recession.

          Since you are so fond of the word "allegedly" when it comes to the UDP, please remember that the deficit the PPM left was only "allegedly" $81m. We have no audited financial statements and no proof of it other than Big Mac's say so.

          The UDP have absolutely nothing to recommend them.     

      • Anonymous says:

        PPM functions as a party?

        That not saying much: a very public defection by Arden McLean, Kurt handed over to Alden who promised a full slate of candidates but that has still to materialise, and the quality of the opposition by PPM has Ben abysmally poor.

        • Anonymous says:

          People disagreeing with party leadership and leaving is part of a properly functioning democracy. A hand over of party leadership in accordance with the party's constitution is another sign of a properly functioning party. It is early days yet to announce the full slate of candidates and I don't think any party or group has done so so that is a non-point. The opposition has not been "abysmally poor" at all. It has held the govt. to account and brought matters to our attention that otherwise we would have missed.  

          Is that the best you can do?