Unity at Brac Chamber Forum

| 27/04/2009

(CNS): Although both independent candidates, Lyndon Martin and Maxine McCoy Moore, have noted on the campaign trail the discord between incumbents Juliana O’Connor-Connolly and Moses Kirkconnell, and the tension between O’Connor-Connolly and Martin during the last election was well known (even though they were on the same UDP ticket), at times during the Chamber Candidates’ District Forum on the Brac Friday, 23 April, it was hard to tell whether the four candidates for the two Sister Islands seats were on different teams or a unified force, since they all appeared to largely agree on almost all of the questions put to them and the event remained cordial throughout.

Though there were no questions specifically on Cayman Airways, all the candidates noted at some point during the event the need for improvement in the air service. All said they would take pay cuts as MLAs. They would not control the type of vehicles imported into the Sister Islands but would provide incentives for people to bring in environmentally friendly cars. All were agreed on the importance of diversifying tourism in the Sister Islands. All four were adamant that civil servants should not pay health insurance, and there was general agreement on need for small business development.

All four said they would be willing to take a Cabinet seat if it was offered to them and that it should include responsibility for District Administration, with the two independents saying it should be enshrined in the constitution that one representative from the Sister Islands sat in Cabinet.

Kirkconnell said he had experience with Cayman Airways and business as a whole, and also had an interest in the Development Bank and what that can do for the community. O’Connor-Connolly, the only one with ministerial experience, noted that she had been promised a ministry in a UDP administration. She said she would be willing to try new areas for a ministry position, citing health, sports, youth and education.

Martin said he would be willing and able to accept a ministry, particularly in the areas of youth and education as he had experience as chairman of the Education Board for CB&LC, had sat on the Education Council, and had experience as a lecturer. He also had an interest in rehabilitation and community service. McCoy-Moore said she had always been a strong advocate for education and had served as the Little Cayman Education Service PTA President.

Three of the candidates were satisfied with the recovery progress after Paloma, though O’Connor-Connolly said that initially she was not satisfied at the “pace of revenue” from the government, though now she was. In a bi-partisan gesture, she said, “Both Moses and myself put 110% in the Paloma recovery process.”

Martin said he “differed slightly” and said the initial progress was very slow and even now, six months after the hurricane, the Brac was still not open for business and hotels still not operational. As well as emphasizing the need to make sure the outside world was kept updated, he said this had been the ideal opportunity, while hotels are closed, to elevate and improve the road on the south west of the island so the tourism sector would not be prone to flooding.

Martin called for the immediate passing of the National Conservation Bill when answering a question on the environment, the most strident answer of the four candidates, though all agreed that not enough was being done to protect it and it was an essential part of the tourism product for the Sister Islands. Martin also noted the need to “change basic human behavior” and introduce a recycle programme, an point echoed by McCoy-Moore, who also said she would immediately move the proposed landfill on the Bluff.

Answering a question from the Cayman Islands Financial Services Association, Martin said that only after the industry as a whole recovered and was in good health could it “widen its wings” to the Sister Islands. Once the industry recovered there could be particular concessions to attract business to the Sister Islands, such as reduce company formation fee, and a niche market could be found for the Brac.

Kirkconnell said it was important to understand that the Cayman Islands was not on the OEDC blacklist and a taskforce could be set up to look for ways to attract businesses from jurisdictions that were on the blacklist. He also promoted the idea of back offices in the Brac, starting with government, who should lead by example. He said government must open a company registry office here and improve air service to promote business.

O’Connor-Connolly said the first task of Cabinet would be to re-establish the requisite partnership with the financial services sector – “the experts”. Among other improvements we need to "learn art of negotiations with the Mother Country”, for which there should be "a tripartite of financial partners, NGos and government themselves” to go to London. As for the Sister Islands, she said we should “retool our people” with scholarships for the financial services.

In a discussion on the most critical areas for the district, Martin said he would start by changing the government system of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, so that ministry decisions were made at the local level covering all aeas of government, echoing an earlier statement by Kirkconnell that the Minster of District Administration should be resident on the Sister Islands.

While the other three candidates stated education, learning the Cayman heritage and more sports as their vision for the youth, Martin said we need to stop judging the young and forcing them into a mold of what we would like them to be.

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Category: Election 2009

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  1. Quincy Brown says:

    Radio Cayman’s Coverage of the Brac forum was poor. Tec problems I guess.  I didn’t attend but rather chose to remain at home and listen to the radio.  The forum was not aired fully due to difficulties.  I look forward to this Friday Morning 15th May on Rooster 101.9fm Cayman Cross Talk when Brac and Little Cayman Candidates with be on for the debate with Austin Harris as moderator.  Be sure to tune in.

  2. Anonymous says:

    WoW!!! Didn’t expect this to die out so quickly.  I guess everyone in the Brac is in agreement then.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Go. Go. Straight to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200.00. Are you people serious? A convict is the only person that you can surpport?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Julie will Ruley!!!

  5. Bracka says:

    Go Lyndon, Go Lyndon Go!!!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    # 4 Maxine McCoy Moore

  7. Anonymous says:

    Dear Me,

    I challenge you to present new ideas from either of the candidates!  What you are hearing is simply more of the seem empty rhetoric that they have always preached.  This is what a politician does.  It’s also interesting that for the previous term all of these new ideas came to nothing. So new ideas are great but what you do with those ideas is a whole new story.
    Constitution – Are you saying the current one allows you free speech as a civil servant? Let me ask you something, “Which company can you work for that would allow you to criticize or speak freely as an employee without approving you as a representative?” To my knowledge, you would be fired if you criticized any employer. Government is the employer of civil servants, they should not be allowed speak out against their employer. It’s not communism it’s that way in the entire business world. Imagine an employee of PriceWaterhouseCoopers speaking out against a partner, or partners, how long do you think they would stay there? They wouldn’t!
    Jobs on the Brac, in general, are scarce. The problem is that Caymanians don’t want to work for anything. Many of them feel like they should be given everything – similar to what certain candidates are preaching and lecturing. No one starts at the top. Work for what you want, then when you get it, nobody can tell you that you didn’t earn it.
    Look to the only candidate that has actually done something other than give false promises and toilet blocks.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Meeting Tonight 7PM – Scott’s Dock! Be there!!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    New Ideas,

    Went to Lyndon’s meeting last night – at least he is sharing new ideas.Went to Juliana’s meeting and at least she is sharing new ideas. Went to Moses’ meeting and did not hear any new ideas.

    Side comment – for you civil servants.  The draft constitution does not grant you the same freedom of expression as non -civil servants.  Both Lyndon and Juliana have publicly stated that they will vote no to the Draft Constitution.  Where do you stand Moses? Do you support the continuation of a communist sounding policy of  silencing the civil servants?

    Sign Me,

    Can’t sign my name bacause my job severely limits my freedom of expression.  (oh yeah, you got to be careful on Cayman Brac cause jobs for Caymanians are scarce!)

  10. Anonymous says:

    It’s nice to see that at least some candidates can act civil and not through slurs around.  Some of the other distrcits should really take note and try to up their professionalism to the same standard.

  11. Anonymous says:

    New ideas anyone?

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s hard to argue with the progress that Moses Kirkconnell has delivered for the people of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.   We are blessed that he was our MLA when Paloma hit.  We need to keep him working for us.