Alden unopposed for top job

| 20/01/2011

(CNS): Opposition member Alden McLaughlin will almost certainly become the leader of the opposition next month as he will be running for election as leader of the People’s Progressive Movement unopposed. It appears that the candidate who had been expected to run against him in the party’s leadership, Arden McLean, has opted not to contest the party’s top spot. The role of leadership of the opposition and the party became vacant following the announcement in November last year by former leader of government business and the PPM’s original head, Kurt Tibbetts, that he was stepping down. The veteran politician said that after the party’s defeat at the polls in May 2009 it was time for a change in leadership. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

The vote, which is now merely a formality, is due to take place at the party’s national conference next month, when other positions within the PPM as well as deputy leader will also be decided by the party membership.

McLaughlin, who served as education minister in the previous administration, was elected to the Legislative Assembly in 2000, was tipped as ‘heir apparent’ soon after Tibbetts’ resignation, though any one of the other four members of the PPM that serve in the country’s parliament could have stood for election by party members. A qualified lawyer, the George Town member has proved himself to be one of the most articulate members of the LA but in doing so has also become a major target for criticism by the government’s front bench.

Kurt Tibbetts, the PPM leader who will be relinquishing not just the leadership of the party but the formal position of opposition leader, has served in the Legislative Assembly since 1992. When he announced his resignation from the top job he said that once the new leader and other party officials were elected he would be there to offer support but would allow “the new blood of the party to take the PPM forward” and would not impose on them.

“I have always been a firm believer in succession planning and now the PPM needs new blood at the top, new people to lead the movement and carry out its mission. From time to time every organization needs a change of leadership to foster growth and allow for continuity and the PPM is no exception,” he said.

The PPM national party conference, which is open to the public, will take place at the Mary Miller Hall in Red Bay on the 12 February from 6pm. 

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Its a shame that the PPM didn’t have better succession planning in place.

    The party is very clearly in “hospice care” now and on their way out.

    We betterfind an alternative to MAC soon……..yes I said MAC because there really is no UDP…….its just MAC !!!

    Time is running out for us Cayman !!!!!!!!!

  2. kris says:

    Ahhh… wasn’t this the same man in charge over our economy during the years 2005 to 2008???

  3. Anonymous says:

     This is EXCELLENT news! Kurt was good but Alden will wipe the floor with McKeeva

  4. Anonymous says:

    Oh No!!! his is sad news!! Might as well build the PPM vault now!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Well, I just decided I am supporting Ezzard and whatever group he brings out with him next time around. The independent candidates are the way to go!

    • Anonymous says:

      voting for independents in the last election is what got us where we are today! hopeless!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm….given the number of comments so far there doesnt seem to be too much interest in this story and that is indicative of the relative unimportance of this story to the Caymanian people. Why ? Because Alden is Kurt and Kurt is Alden……so nothing will change.

    So no newsflash here CNS but thanks for reporting the inevitable. We appreciate it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I speaks of the maturity of the PPM.  I admire the others for allowing Alden to lead, even though they are all quite capable leaders in their own right.  Perhaps they too will all take turns at leading, as it is a very demanding and tiring job.  I say congrats to them all and I look forward to PPM leading this country again in the very near future.  They are a very respectable and honourable set of people who have this country interest above self interest.  To Kurt, I say thanks.  You have demonstrated that you are a great statesman, slow to anger and would not rush to making hasty decisions that would prove foolish.  I wish you well as you retire and mentor those who will carry the ideals forward.

  8. CSI says:

    I’m a little surprised – I thought we might see an interesting party leadership race, with Alden’s formal education background, Arden’s "for the people" tenacity, and Moses’ ties to the merchant establishment.  Three different skill sets, and any of them would be a good leader for the party. That being said, it’s times like this that make me glad I am not allowed to vote in Cayman.  Alden eventually has to publicly admit that the new schools were a mistake (seriously Alden, what were you thinking?).  If the schools are an indication of how he will approach party leadership, and national leadership should he win the election, then it could be a good deal more tough sailing ahead.  On the other hand, while Big Mac and his Fries have made some positive steps, they have shown time and time again that they have no direction, XXXX, and they are the closest thing to a dictatorship that I have ever experienced first hand.  Now that I think about it, the achievements of the current administration could probably be counted on one hand.  Seems like even the die hard UDP supporters are fed up with them this time.  If I was allowed to vote, I think I would have to choose independent candidates!

    • Anonymous says:

      Moses’ tie to the merchant establishment – thats a joke – have you seen his store – theres nothing in it – none of the PPM can run a business profitably so how can we expect them to run the country.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Figured Arden didn’t have the courage to do this…..all mouth !!!!!!

    • Fed up Caymanian ... says:

      Alden got plenty mouth too (too much at times)…hope he is up for the "fight" and can take the blows from Premier Bush the man with the push!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    The PPM is formalising the role that Alden has played from the very beginning in the absence of a real leader… what will change ?….NADA !!!

    Sorry to burst unna bubble peeps !!!!!!!!

    Third political option required urgently……………

  11. Anonymous says:

    RIP PPM !

  12. Anonymous says:

    My goodness, the UDP must be thrilled at this news as realistically this all but guarantees the PPM as being unelectable for as long as Alden leads it. My suggestion is that he be allowed to (try to) lead until the next election, then those whose heads are not in the clouds (I mean with nonsensical statements like Alden having attended law school  for pity’s sake) can elect, and present to the voting public, a viable alternative to Mac. I’d wager the report in Wednesday’s Compass on the new school ("futuristic experiment") hasn’t inspired too many independent voters to think "Gosh, this is exactly the kind of decision-making person we need to lead the country, I can’t WAIT to vote PPM next election".

    Would suggest that with Alden’s record of incompetence/fantasy-chasing/ mad spending he’s absolutely the wrong choice, but then there are some who will think "Yes, sadly that’s all too true, but anyone’s better than Mac", but I suspect not enough to effect the needed shift at the polls. PPM historians/thinkers: study the fortune’s of the UKs Labour party in opposition with Neal Kinnock as its leader in the 80s and 90s. There was a reason Maggie Thatcher was the UKs PM for donkey’s years, and it wasn’t because she was particularly loved, indeed quite the opposite, but more so because there was clearly no real alternative being presented to the voting public due to poor Neil being viewed as not really PM material.

    I mean, does the PPM honestly believe that Alden as leader in any way shape or form strengthens the party in the eyes of the public? I would suggest quite the reverse, and that you are deluding yourselves if you think otherwise. I mean, I’m thinking, is this the best the PPM can do for a leader? Doesn’t exactly inspire too much confidence in the party’s ability to lead the country, surely. Can’t help but feel "Better the devil you know" and come on PPM, let’s get serious with some real potential talent and move on, I for one would appreciate it. Thank you.

    • Anonymous says:

      ‘…….and come on PPM, let’s get serious with some real potential talent and move on, I for one would appreciate it. ‘

      So who would you nominate?

    • Anonymous says:

       This really is very good news as well you know…  Alden has always been totally for Cayman- – even if one mistake was made re timings of schools he has learnt from it – McK never learns and takes the country for fools!

  13. Concerned Civil Servant says:

    Do people realize that there may be another 81 million deficit upon this country if they make this man Premier?!  Before our economy began to plummet in 2008, it was Alden who was Kurt’s right hand man and advisor of the economy.

    Don’t you people remember?  Or, is it that you are all suffering from amnesia? 

    I recall before the Global Recession how McKeeva Bush pleaded to Kurt Tibbetts and Alden Mclaughlin in the Legislative Assembly to stop the extravagant spending. And do you recall the PPM’s response?  Kurt Tibbetts reply was to the effect – "Never in one of these mornings." In other words, they made up their minds that spending before a recession was best for the economy! 

    I guess you all forgot that is why McKeeva became Premier! 

    Sorry… when I see Alden, I don’t see change! 

    I see a repeat!

    • Just thinking says:

       O intelligent civil servant, apparently you are clueless about economics because government spending during a recession is actually a very good thing. I know it is hard for some individuals to see the bigger picture, you are probably only looking at your own situation and thinking "who spends during a recession" but government spending is encouraged during the recession. 

      Sadly McKeeva’s pleading and rantings at the time was all for public show. McKeeva has no real interest in the well-being of these islands displayed by his selfish acts and dictatorship attitudes since his party won and he became the Premier but I am assuming that you are one of his "blinded by too much sunlight" West Bay voters so could we expect anything else? If you aren’t that is "wusser" because it means he is reaching out beyond WB! 

  14. Anonymous says:

    Well done PPM for choosing the right leader. Don’t get me wrong, Arden you are also a leader, but not just now.  You will be Aldens right hand man and I thank you for compromising.  Alden has that Law degree and he can fight those battles legally and the right way.  Not like these current bunch of cronies.  This bunch is only about lining their own pockets, they are not statesmen.  They have no respect for country.  Its all about them and to hell with the people and the policies.  Thus the reason they are disrespecting our new Constitution.  Ooooooh they love that Premier position, but it hurts me to see them destroy the values of that position.  Alden, Arden, Moses and Kurt you guys are honourable Statesmen and I beg you, do not do anything to destroy your intregrity!!!  Thanks for being my country’s leaders and thanks for the wonderful job you have done in the past.  The schools will still come to fusion , the GIS Building is beautiful, I love driving on those new roads, I enjoy the farmers products and I know there are still a lot more things need to get done and you guys will get it done!!  The UDP for 2 years has not gotten anything done and the next 2 years they will be ramming all their agenda through, without any thoughts of the reprecrussions. ala the Dormant Accounts, Immigration Policy, Shetty Hospital and imperato deal.  A Bunch of jokers!!

    • Anonymous says:

      06.50, here is the link to a BBC interview with Dr Shetty. It’s worth listening to, before you write him off.

      In my view, as long as Cayman is held to ransom by corruption, we will stay on a long and steep road that leads to nowhere. I believe the PPM, for all their embarrassing fiscal incompetence, had integrity, something that is becoming a rare commodity these days. Surely the PPM must have learned something from their egregious mistakes? Or does that represent the triumph of hope over experience?



    • Just Commentin' says:

      Earth to 06:50, come in…

      When you come down from your orbit in the nether regions of reasoning, consider this:

      If Alden’s degree gives him the ability to "fight those battles legally, why hasn’t he been seen wearing the victor’s crown? Lot’s of battles to fight. But no meaningful fighting going on. From what I can see, Big Mac has been holding his hands up in victory after every round with Alden. Has Alden even landed a punch? So far, Alden is all about a slick package and smooth words.

      I will agree with you that the UDP is a sorry lot; but sorry is what the people of this country wanted, and sorry is just what they got. Until morons are denied the right to vote, this country will never improve.

      Moral of the story: In Cayman politricks, bellicosity will triumph over a fancy education and eloquence every time.

      Sorry, Alden, you loose.

  15. Anonymous says:

    He may have made amistake starting all the schools at once but at least he did something (or tried to) for education.  Splitting George Hicks into 4 schools was an excellent idea and worked very well.  From what I hear from parents of children at the high schools, it is absolute chaos.  The teachers cannot discipline the kids because there is no policy in place to deal with this.  The teachers are unable to teach properly because of the chaos.  All this govt. has done is undo what the last govt. started.  No one could foresee the world recession and education has been ignored for far too long in this country.  One of nephews in Grade 7 can barely put a sentence together and doesn’t know his 3 times table let alone anything higher.


    Well done Alden.  I hope you get a chance to finish what you started. 

    • Anonymous says:

      this is such an accurate comment.. –

      much of what ALden started the UDP have adopted and claimed as their own – even the vocation centre at GHHS was Alden’s decision,,,,  so much did get better  BUT Rolston has started undoing all the work decided in massive consultation with us Caymanian people –  

      where is the consultation done by the current Ministry team ?? – nothing – it’s Ms Mary and Rolston – running amok causing damage yet again…

  16. Michel Lemay says:

    Alden has what it takes to be a good Leader. His Passion for his Country and Love for his people speaks volume. He has had the opportunaty I am certain, to learn much since beingin the opposition and has become humble yet very aware of what it will take to lead by example and gain the respect of the people and their needs. I am certain that he has learned what not to do. The party he shall lead will need to unite and to honestly listen to the people, associate themselves with people not seeking self gain but most important keep the people informed at all times with the truth good or bad should they be our next Government. In the meantime we must all work together to also have our Country at heart. While very aware of our current positions it does not serve anyone any good to continue to bashing in such an arrogant manner towards each other and our current Gvt. Nothing is wrong in voicing our opinions and concerns but it’s how we say it. My biggest concern at this time is the attacks and provocations between both sides( Caymanians and expats).It is more damaging to the Country as many,many persons from overseas read those comments( some made from persons not even living here) and must seriously wonder what we have become as a people if they once were here and enjoyed their stay. To those who have never been here I hope and pray that you will not judge us all by those negative comments that may seem like we are not civilized. As you will notice the majority are hiding behind signed Anonymous for various reasons(our civil servants cannot sign their name) but could also be from only a few individuals motivaded to simply cause chaos. Yes we have our problems and like most places have been affected either by lack of long term vision amd a bad economy(like most places) and rapid growth causing unbalance in our population. But what is most important is that we are aware of it and if we all pull ourselves together we will make Cayman safe and CaymanKind for everyone visitors, residents and locals alike. It’s everyone business to care. May God continue to Bless our beloved Cayman Islands, all three. 

  17. Anonymous says:

    I would like to see Alden as the party leader. He has more than a bush level education and that in my opinion can only be a plus. 

  18. Anonymous says:

    One can only wonder if some back room succession planning is happening within the PPM but given the transparency of the process we must accept the election results.

    Is it considered a democratic process when one is elected unopposed?

  19. Albert Jackson says:

     Congratulations Mr. Alden. You have a chance to reshape your party in your own Image while bridging the gap between the mindless and the spineless. Having a leader that will trim his sail @ the drop of a hat is rudderless leadership. Thanks for stepping up and may you have fair winds @ your back. God Bless

  20. Anonymous says:

    This one was a ‘no brainer’…

    Look out now for the ‘independence agenda’ to come to the forefront in the next 2 elections in Cayman !

  21. Anonymous says:

    just get it done already…we have had a lame duck opposition for nearly 2 years….

  22. People' s popular front says:

    At last someone with real brains,passion and fortitude will be taking a leadership position in local politics.

    Whilst the al – mac battle will be entertaining more importantly the prospect that Cayman will have a leader in just over two years time who has not only been to college but law school as well is a very exciting and rather novel!!!


    • Anonymous says:

      Well lets hope that Arden stays with PPM as the PPM really need someone like Arden to stand up to the bully for Caymans sake!

      What a fighting combination in the house: Leader, AMc and Deputy Leader AMc.

      This is just perfect to take on the bully in the house and it will only be the bully to take on as the 8 "blind mice" are also mute in the house!

      Interesting times ahead Cayman.

    • Pass the koolaid... says:

      Ummm…  They were talking about Mr Alden – former minister for Education who took on WAYYYYY to much in the school’s project because he felt EVERY district needed a school right away so NO KID felt left out.

      Sorry Alden, VERY NOBLE are your intentions, but you are so classically following the downfall of kids in the US (in particular) today – where NO KID can be allowed to fail.

      Listen, we learn from our failings.  If NOONE loses a race, everyone thinks they are a winner, and EVERYONE thinks they should be top dog.

      If NOONE failes a test, EVERYONE thinks they are qualified to run the show.


      I learned that if you fall at the first post, chances are, you won’t win the race, but you get up and run like hell on the chance you will.  Now, if you fall, you walk off, ’cause your getting a medal anyway.

      ALDEN – you made a mistake, admit it, we SHOULD have developed the schools in stages.  Far from being the only burden on the government purse, it was still significant.  

      The schools should have been developed in stages, the youth would learn that you don’t get everything everyone else has, and you might have to fight to get anything at all.

      Now however, I have to explain to my complete dimwit of an employee that flunked school graduation, that just because he WENT to school, doesn’t mean he should BE the boss – thanks for that, Alden – sure teaching ME how to change the way we run a business…


      • Henry Hill says:

        No kid being denied the opportunity to attend school does not equal no kid being allowed to fail.

      • Anonymous says:

        Alden was the only one who took on education reform in almost 30 years! Yes, he made a mistake in not phasing the cnstruction of the schools, but he was making progress! He was turning around the education system that had been neglected for decades! Why do you think the kids in the workforce are not up to par?Sub-standard education from primary school up…Alden was finally fixing the problems that all other education ministers have neglected. Johnny-come-lately (Rolston), has the system in such a mess now trying to undo all the strides that Alden made in his term.

        Think sense man. Alden has learnt from his mistakes with the schools construction and he is the right person to fix the school system (Roslton, in the meantime better try to get on with the job and stop making excuses). Alden will be the right person to lead our country.

        • Anonymous says:

           well said

        • Passthe koolaid... says:

           You make good points, but Alden running the country is like asking in anther Mugabe or Papa Doc.

          WE NEED CHANGE.

          Cayman is om the cusp of growing to a new level.  Medical tourism (MIGHT) come, and so might tech-parks.  

          But, we need a complete breath of fresh air into government.  NO PARTIES, no irrational divisiveness, lets get back to working for the people.

          Cayman is too small to try and emulate the bg-world politrix.  That time is better spent looking at what is right for Cayman, the Caymanians, and the culture we live in in Cayman!!!