No confidence

| 01/05/2011

The country has lost confidence in Mr Bush and the UDP Government. Even those who voted for him at the last election realize that he is failing the country. Some of his ex-supporters criticise him openly. Those who want to speak out on his behalf can find nothing good to say about his achievements, so they rant against his critics and opponents.

In this time of global economic crisis leading to global unrest, all countries have great need of wise democratic leadership. Many countries that lack such leadership are already suffering terribly, both internally and externally, and it will be years before they recover. In Cayman we have the same need for wise democratic leadership, but the last two years have been a sustained demonstration of unwise undemocratic government.

For a while it was right to give the new government a chance, though some of us thought we knew what to expect. But now it is frighteningly clear that this government is taking the country down the wrong road. There is no longer a rational basis for thinking it may get better.

After the 2009 election voters hoped that Mr Bush would fix our economic troubles. That was the big election issue. He had blamed our troubles on the previous Government, and said that he was the man to fix them. Many were taken in. They wanted to believe that there was an easy answer to Cayman’s troubles, and they were willing to give Mr Bush a shot at it. But they have been sadly disappointed. He has done nothing. No one feels better off. Many are worse off. Much has been said, but nothing has been done, for the short or long term future of our economy. Only the ostriches still believe his story about the previous government being to blame.

In fact Mr Bush made things worse – by shouting that the country was bankrupt, by imposing ill-considered tax-hikes which he was not big enough to reverse, by failing to put together a sensible plan to deal with the problems and dangers explained in the Miller Report, by playing about with the country’s borrowings (which he has still not explained) and claiming to know more about arranging high finance than his own Ministry or the CTC.

It was only public pressure that prevented him selling the new government administration building. His fiddling with the schools project has served only to delay it and add to the cost. He does not understand that this is the crucial investment for our country’s future. And there is no bigger waste of public funds than leaving a part-built project unfinished – or a completed building unoccupied.

His fiddling with the cruise ship berthing project has got us nowhere. It has shown many of the signs we now recognize from the Cohen fiasco: Mr Bush thinking he knows best or preferring the private advice of friends, jetting off to take personal credit, then having to backtrack, and failing to dispel rumours of improper inducements. And the country pays the price.

In the financial industry there have been good and bad developments, but the good ones are due to the efforts and outlay of the industry itself, and many hours of hard work by a score or more of unsung individuals. Tourism figures improve slowly, but again no thanks to Mr Bush or his government.

Mr Bush has said repeatedly that he will revive the economy; he even gave himself a deadline for announcing and implementing his plan. But everyone now sees that this was just talk. He hasno plan – only the hope that the global economy will recover in time to save his political neck.

He has announced several projects for diversifying the economy, a few of which do sound interesting. But he has made his usual mistake of trying to take credit for a project without giving information about it, without caring about the worries it creates, and without having an assessment of its feasibility, cost, or effect – on the economy or the environment. Nonetheless he struts about saying that he will make it happen. And then he is surprised and aggressive when people ask questions. He seems to think that people should stay quiet and trust him. But he has not earned trust. People do not even trust him, or his colleagues, to keep their hands out of the cookie jar. And nothing has happened.

Mr Bush’s view of democracy, accountability and the Constitution has been clear for many years forall to see. It is quite simple: he believes that power should be in the hands of one unaccountable person – himself. To mention only the most recent demonstrations: he is against one man one vote; he wants to roll back freedom of information; he will not publish, or expose to audit, the accounts of the Portfolio of Finance that would show the true state of government finances when he came to power in 2009.

Some suggest that the answer is a people-initiated referendum to remove Mr Bush from office, or the whole government. But that is a misunderstanding of the new Constitution. It allows referendums to impose decisions on the government, but not to change the Premier or the government. The people cannot themselves change the Premier or the government between elections, only the MLAs can do so. The people can only put pressure on MLAs to do the right thing. That is why the Leader of the Opposition has brought the motion of no confidence.

A motion of no confidence is a serious measure. It is not a political plaything to be fired off whenever the Government makes itself unpopular. But today Mr Bush is not just unpopular. He has had two years, and he has proved again that he is unfit to lead this country – at a time when the country has particular need for wise democratic leadership. Everyone wonders what will be his next foolish, embarrassing and harmful announcement.

We are seeing a replay of Mr Bush’s first UDP government in 2001-5 in which he demonstrated his unfitness as leader; he achieved absolutely nothing of value despite all the talk about decisiveness; and he showed how divisive a leader can be, creating and deepening divisions in our community which are still with us. His colleagues and backbenchers in the UDP, who had originally thought they would keep him under control (and had constitutional power to do so), proved to be incapable. Reluctant to give up power, or to risk it, they stuck with Mr Bush until near the end of his term, before breaking away. Of that so-called “united” team only Juliana O’Connor-Connolly and the three West Bayers stayed with Mr Bush. The others were right to break away, but they should have done so much, much sooner.

So now the question is whether Mr Bush’s colleagues and backbenchers in the present UDP government will do the same as those in the last UDP government. They can be in no doubt about the unfitness of Mr Bush to lead the country, or about their own inability to keep him under control. Will they put the country’s interests first? Or will they hang on to power? That is the question.

It is a vital question for the country. It is the reason why the motion of no confidence was necessary – to confront Mr Bush’s colleagues and backbenchers with the question, to expose them to public pressure, and to compel them to make a public decision for which they personally and individually will be held to account. Let us hope that the pressure is strong, and that the break-up comes now, before more harm is done.

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  1. Dennie Warren Jr. says:


  2. The Original Anon says:

    This article is spot on.  Earlier this year I looked into my crystal ball and couldn’t determine a thing with any certainty.  While the Premier has not actually accomplished one single thing, everything that drops from his brain to his mouth creates anxiety.  The proposed Shetty hospital will be in 1 of 7 locations possibly in a location near you.  Same thing with the oil refinery, the North Sound dredging/artificial island project,  East End project, Mt. Trashmore, taxes, etc.  If the man had never opened his piehole once since the election the island would have been far better off.  He could just keep touring the world and the only damage he would be doing is racking up huge travel bills.  As it is, every time I ask my magic 8 ball if I should stay or go the answer is, "Not clear at this time."

  3. Anonymous says:

    this is no time for a no-confdence motion. we should be supporting our premier in his efforts.

  4. anonymous says:

    I am no ordinary Caymanian and “I man born Ya” 52 years ago, with both parents born ya too. Mr. McCann, I don’t know who you are and where you are from, but you hit the nail on the head with your viewpoint. Perhaps you should listen to radio Cayman rebroadcast of the LA Proceedings and you will gather more viewpoints. Our Government sounds very disorganized and dictatoral. Imagine the Opposition cannot debate any issues? The Government comes in like a Mob Squad against the opposition. Disgraceful!!! We need Mr. McKeeva Bush and Ms. Mary out of the house now.

  5. Anon says:

    lol… man… you blame this government, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. If you can’t change the UK and her policies toward the Overseas Territories, you will always have inadequate governments, a do-nothing-Governor, and a flimsy constitution that does not represent the people! Real change must start with the ones who hold power over us!

    • Anonymous says:

      Real  change has to start with the people, the masses.  As long as we pass the blame to someone else nothing will change.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Very well written and said. Long overdue. Mr. McCann, I look forward to further contributions/ viewpoints along a similar vein – clear, concise and factual.

    Unfortunately, there is lots more fodder for you to write on. Sigh

  7. UDP Supporter says:

    Just another "viewpoint" by someone who doesn’t know what ordinary Caymanians think. We all support our Premier!

    • Anonymous says:

      You need to wake up and smell the coffee. Self-deception is not helping you nor Cayman (or even the UDP).

    • UDP&PPM U says:

       Then the real problem is the ordinary Caymanians.  Please set me straight on the "ordinary" Caymanians like yourself. To be ordinary means you still have a gas card, working and pension, job with no responsibilities whatsoever, and never pay a garbage,sewer,or hospital bill and half of your family is in jail.  Boy there are a lot of you here.  Hence the "ordinary"!  Explains everything.

      • Anonymous says:

        Your post is very insulting to Caymanians.

        • UDP&PPM AFU says:

           But ask yourself if its true.  To most "non ordinary" people working hard for their money on Cayman it is.

    • the Rest of the Cayman says:

      Please stop playing the idiot. This is a serious issue, and whether you are just making a wind-up post to piss people off or you are foolish enough to think you could actually speak for anyone but yourself, you are wasting our time and distracting us from a very serious problem.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Mr. NcCann. Thanks for a well written and objective examination of the facts. Good reading.

    Please keep writing…

  9. Anonymous says:

    Great viewpoint, Mr. McCann!

    I completely agree and hope that the MLAs who are to vote on the No Confidence motion read this and take it into serious consideration before their vote is caste. Their political futures, along with that of the country, are on the line.

  10. Anonymous says:

    When Big Mac gets back from Canada he will organize another world tour with Tony, Paul, a few UDP Backbenchers and a dozen or so random workers from the financial services sector who might be interested in an all expenses paid, first class travel, to Dubai, Singapore, and places beyond.

    This time he will  stay away until everyone can see that he has turned the economy around.

  11. nauticalone says:

    Well said Mr. McCann.

    It is past time for “One person one vote”! To assist with “Good Governance”.

    Mr. Governor….what do you think?

  12. Lachlan MacTavish says:

    What a great "viewpoint". Very well written and exceeds anything I could ever express. Thanks for posting.

    Bottom line is I hope you and the people will continue to place pressure on the MLA’s to "put us right" and to get going on the road to recovery.


  13. Anonymous says:

    I am impressed with this viewpoint. Let’s take it a step further, and demand for the removal of the Premier, by marching. Oh yes we can! The time is now to take action! Enough of the talk, let’s do the walk. What are we waiting on, 2 years is too far away.

  14. Anonymous says:

    By not speaking out against the Premier the other MLAs are committing political suicide.  Notice when asked if they support Mac they either turn the question around somehow or avoid it totally.

    For them to claim that they have the support of the people is just wishful thinking.

    If they are so sure they should propose some kind of referendum to prove it.  But we know they would never do that because they know they have lost the support of the people because of Mac’s actions.

    I totally support a referendum on one man one vote.  If someone is working on this I would like to know.



  15. Anonymous says:

    Excellent. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Well done, Mr. McCann.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Well written.

    I sincerely hope that someone is drafting a referendum which will have the effect of moving the country in the right direction. My suggestion is for the referendum to require the current government to implement within 90 days single member constituencies in which persons are elected on the basis of each elector getting only one vote. That ought to make clear to the sheep currently counting on continuing to ride on the Premier’s coattails that they need to change strategies. 

  17. Anonymous says:

    Has the General Elections Office closed down? I’ve been trying to register to vote and nobody is there. Upon investigating, I’ve discovered that the Office Manager has retired and there is no replacement. No voters list has been released since October 2010 because there is no Revising Officer appointed since the former Magistrate Donalds has retired. Needless to say, the Election Law has been broken and CNS needs to enquire what is going on. The Government has told Mr. Kearney Gomez he is no longer the Supervisor of Elections. Are we going to become like Egypt and Libya ruled by dictators?

    • Anonymous says:

      Someone had the sense to close it down temporarily between elections to save money by not having to pay staff to sit around all day in a very expensive office doing absolutely nothing,, zero, zilch but smoke a cigarette outside the office and also by not having to pay Mr Gomez a very large allowance for being Supervisor of Elections day in day out, year round even when there is no election in sight for another 3 years and 364 days. Making silly remarks like comparing Cayman to Libya and Egypt does not help any argument you may have – and I think you may indeed have a point about possible infractions of the Elections Law, which should be easy enough to remediate.

      • Anonymous says:

        Silly comment! Someone should be named to that post because in the event that an early elections needs to be called (Like they might need to be very soon!!!!) we need to know who will manage the elections!

        Also, Supervisor of Elections can be taken on by a civil servant in another full time position as it is a position that usually only needs major attention every 4 years…so it won’t cost as much as you think.

        • Anonymous says:

          Anyone who wants to can find out how much the Elections Office cost to run when Mr Gomez was supervisor and (unlike me) you clearly have no idea how expensive it was with all the trappings and hangers on (unless, of course you were one of them and are now disgruntled). And (if you are not one of them!) how long do you think it takes to name someone to the post? It can be done in 24 hours! I agree with you it can be done by a full time civil servant but when Gomez did it he got his normal salary plus a big allowance. They call it ‘double dipping" these days I notice.

      • Anonymous says:

        Having a Supervisor of Elections during the period between elections does not necessitate paying anyone a silly salary every month for 4 years. The post should be assigned to a Chief Officer or a Deputy Chief Officer who is already in post and receiving a good salary. We have more than enough of them.

        The idea that every time a civil servant is asked to do something they need to be given an additional salary is ridiculous.

    • AlmostWrite says:

      Anonymous 14:09; you are ALMOST along the correct lines.


      2.)The Elections Office does (technically does NOT) have someone there – but that ONE person also runs the office, basically the courier for the office & does the Government Id’s, Voter Id’s are what ever other Id’s she is intructed to do. So please bare in mind that she may not always be at the office. Which is understandable seeing that it is NOT her fault that they, P I E, retired the Executive Officer- with no form of replacement in sight, & they STILL can’t seem to put a contract in her hand!!

      3.)You can get the form to register on their website* and hand it in…but remember, there is STILL no Magistrate appointed, and we the General Public can not find out when we will get one appointed, so your application might sit there and collect dust!!!

      I say, keep the good questions rolling though, hopefully we get ANSWERS!!

      We the Caymanian people NEED to KNOW exactly what is going on- and they, the CI Gov./P I E need to be the ones to tell us!


    • Anonymous says:

      Since we are on the topic of The Elections Office, would someone be so kind as to tell the people of the Cayman Islands WHY this particular office is being shared with ANOTHER Government Department?

      I was there recently, and it is absolutley ridiculous! They have NO SECURITY what so ever! So that means that EVERY PRIVATE & SECURE file in that office is at risk for the public or employees of the other department’s access!! That is ludicrous! If you go in there to change your information or get a picture done, there are subject to hear your business and be all up in the mix! I’m sorry, but as a Born Caymanian, I am uncomfortable with it!
      What about the Candidates!? What about when they go there to sort out their political business? Where is the security?? Nothing seems to be going the correct way with this Government! They are breaching laws & have thrown all common sense out of the window! It is like putting the GT Hospital to be ran out of the Court House!! Come on Cayman!! Lets get this fixed ASAP!!

      Sick & fed up Born Caymanian!

      • Anonymous says:

        Dufus, you haven’t a clue about what you are talking about unless you are the Elections Office employee who used to sit outside at the Smith Road building where the office is,doing absolutely NOTHING but smoking all day (the Governor walking out and in never stopped you, God bless you!), in which case you know exactly the claptrap you are writing.Please, all you hangers on who have been sucking the tit of the Elections Office for donkey years stop posting and complaining because someone FINALLY agreed to stop your ripping off of Government.