A test of character

| 21/12/2012

“Fame is a vapor, popularity is an accident, riches take wings, those who cheer today may curse tomorrow and only one thing endures – character.” – Harry S. Truman. As I reflect on events of the past months, and especially on the events of the past week, the above quote rings especially true in my view. Mr Bush faced a test of character after his arrest and failed miserably when he did not stand down of his own volition.

Admittedly few of us thought he understood that the right thing to do was to stand down, but we hoped nonetheless. He made this failure worse when, after being asked to step down by the colleagues who stood by and defended him over many years, he selfishly refused to listen to their counsel and pleas. Happily they finally realized, even if Mr Bush did not, that it was in the best interest of their party, their government, possibly their political careers, and in the best interest of the country that Mr Bush should leave the post of premier after being arrested.

His refusal to do the right thing by the people of the country left his cabinet and backbench members with two choices. Either to continue to blindly support Mr Bush staying in office and risk further harm to the country’s reputation, or to support the Progressives' (PPM’s) Lack of Confidence motion and thereby join the opposition members in voting down the government — and in so doing to send a message to the world that the parliament and people of the Cayman Islands would not stand by and ignore the arrest of a sitting premier on suspicion of serious offences.

Fortunately for the country, five of the UDP’s elected members finally stopped blindly following Mr Bush. Three, sadly in myopinion, decided that loyalty to Mr Bush came before loyalty to country. These three helped embolden Mr Bush and helped create the events that unfolded in the Legislative Assembly.  I suspect that history may be kinder to the five than it will be to the three.

Few politicians in Cayman’s history have been as divisive as Mr Bush. Indeed in my opinion he has been a destructive political force for too long and with his recent actions he may end up destroying his own party. If Mr Bush had stepped aside he could have done so while still confirming his innocence but stating he was doing this for the country.  

There would have been an orderly transfer of power to the deputypremier, with perhaps Cline Glidden (given his experience) taking a ministry position and Mike Adam remaining in cabinet. Mr Bush’s party would be intact, the country would have been saved the drama, and perhaps Mr Bush and his supporters could seek to claim a high moral ground with his ‘sacrifice’ for country. Instead, the events played out as they did this week and with a new government now being formed with the “UDP 5”. 

Whilst I am happy that the  “UDP 5” finally did the right thing and help the opposition evict Mr Bush from office, I cannot forget that they, and others, helped to prop him up through all these years, despite the many issues that surrounded Mr Bush and his UDP administration. 

The “UDP5” should also not forget the part they played in helping support and embolden Mr Bush and I pray that they think long and hard on the lessons learned. Hopefully, the tone of their first press conference along with a promise to act more transparently, and follow correct process, is an indication that they have learned those lessons. Alas the “UDP 3” have shown that no lessons were learned and, as such, I suspect that their political futures will end in May 2013.

I will end by returning to the theme of character and give Mr McLaughlin his due. I listened to his debate in the LA and again later that night on TV. He continued the approach he took after the arrest. His comments were appropriate and measured and he repeated that he preferred that the UDP had resolved this matter quickly without the Legislative Assembly needing to. 

His tone and approach to this serious matter was statesmanlike in my view and in the end he and the Progressives played a huge part in assisting this matter to come to a productive end. He has not gloated or rejoiced, or looked to take any huge credit; and this has helped cement in my mind, and I am sure in the minds of many, the character of the man.

Further cementing the view of Mr McLaughlin’s character is the manner in which he has steadily moved forward, putting together a team of quality, capable new candidates with varied backgrounds and good reputations, to compliment the current sitting MLAs. The fact that these individual are also willing to work with him, some choosing the Progressives even after approaches from the UDP and the C4C, is also an indication of the character of the man.

Since taking on the leadership of the Progressives the arrows sent his way have increased but he has stood steadfast and continued moving forward. Those who say they prefer someone more flamboyant than Mr McLaughlin need only look at where Mr Bush’s flamboyancy got us. I will take thoughtful and steady leadership any day over brashness and flamboyancy. 

In my view Mr McLaughlin, and his team of Progressive candidates understand what President Truman meant by “… only one thing endures – Character.”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Well said Roy and congratulations Alden. It is indeed disturbing the amount of anti Alden and pro McKeeva there still seems to be in some of the responses to this article, in spite of all that has happened and continues to happen. It seems that the only way this country will ever be fortunate enough to rid itself of the plague called McKeeva Bush is by way of a jail sentence for one or more of the many criminal investigations concerning him. What a complete mess this country is in.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Roy…  Well said.  Your points are worth summarising.

    (1) Mac's era of rough shod politics is ending and even at the end he continues to do harm – to his party, his colleagues, and his people & country.

    (2) The UDP 5 should not be thanked because they finally did the right thing by not propping Mac up.  They had little choice unless they wanted to go down as well.  Lets hope that their conciliatory tone is maintained.

    (3) Alden is not perfect but no one can deny that on key aspects of character; i.e.  integrity,  honesty, thoughtfulness, coupled with his intelligence and ability & experience make him a much better choice than Mac, and many others,  to be Premiere.  

    (4) He & the PPM has put together a good sound group of candidates that each bring something to the collective table.  This is positive for the future of the PPM and the country. 

    The cost of the schools did not cause the situation that we were in when the PPM lost the elections.  The world enterred a recession from hell that has impacted every country in some way and continues to impact everyone. Our income fell but our costs stayed the same and in fact increased over the UDP these last few years.

    In fact the UDP made things much worse. 

    Keep writing Roy.

  3. Boogie Yaga says:

    Any party that tries to get elected by playing on the electorates resentment and discontent with the government and who's motto is "our hands are tied" because our colonial master is running things and are clearly looking out for its own interest. You know who the PPM are and their loyal stooges.!! please please spare us Roy O Papa doc has passed his fool fool ideas to Baby doc that s all.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Alden the knight in shining armour has come to Cayman's rescue and will save the day once again…  There's a little problem with that narrative – it is false!  Alden is partially responsible for the mess that the Cayman Islands are in.  Whereas Bush used government money to finance his own special projects with it, Alden wasted it on consultants and on buildings that can be seen from space.  How many self-annointed consultants, architects and education specialists did Alden enrich?  Far too many is the answer.  These so-called professionals, charlatans in my opinion, used Alden to line their own pockets, dishing out the sh1te by the wagonload – any idiot with some commons sense would have provided better advice at 1% of the cost.  Alden's arrogance and lack of vision is exactly what the Cayman Islands do not need.  Does anyone remember how tight he chummed around with Mr. Hassan Syed, the former fugitive UCCI president – and when the sh1te hit the fan, Alden pretended to barely have know Syed.  Ohh, and how betrayed he felt – cry me a river.  No, no, no, no, no.  Alden is a failed politician, a man who lacks vision, the wrong person for the Cayman Islands – just like the present and former UDP, PPM, NDP, CPP, GDP, C$C, etc.  Toss the lot out and start over Cayman – that's my advice; and it's free… 

    • anonymous says:

      I to had my reservations about Alden, but after reading the irate above I'm beginning to think better about him. Wouldn't trade him for 10 Mr. Bushes any day. I though that the original contract for CHHS with Tom Jones was for about $70 million how much did Mr. Bush end up spending, who got those contracts? All the excuses about shoddy work and miss-management are crap. TJ, one of the biggest construction companies in Canada, would have been responsible under the original contract.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The ode to Alden is LOL funny. He is not a saviour and has contributed greatly to the mess Cayman is in at present. Please do not forget how he mismanaged the country and was all about construction politics to glorify his name. Roy do you forget the 700,000.00 spent on a single event called National Heroes Day? How easy we forget or pretend to in the name of character

    • Anonymous says:

      Alden did far worse than just one costly event I still can’t believe that as minister of culture he approved the expensive brass band from USA to celebrate our culture. I am not going to even mention the schools and all the waste there

  6. Anonymouse Man says:

    I bet a lot more people will be fixing their fridges, stoves and washers from now to May than would normally be expected.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well written Roy.  Well said.

  8. Anonymous says:

    McKeeva may have weaknesses in character, but that does not mean Alden none. Be careful.

  9. Anonymous says:

    A more biased piece I have not read! Support, by all means as it IS your right to support whomever you want.  But please step over to the side of the sheep when you are off your soapbox.  Do you really think any of the ex-UDP 5 are doing anything more than following a new shepard? Alden is not the best thing for this country, nor are any of the buffoons currently  in there, but I would be mindful of another quote: 

    You can never get all the facts from just one newspaper, and unless you have all the facts, you cannot make proper judgements about what is going on. 

    Harry S. Truman 



  10. Charles says:

    Politician:  Character is well hidden to win elections.

  11. Knot S Smart says:

    My mother taught me about strength of character and my father taught me about loyalty.

    Then my mother explained to me that my father really meant loyalty only to people who had strength of character…

  12. TX3. says:

    Like I said before, PPM is Politicians Progressive Movement, and UDP is United Dollar Party. Now we have C4C and everytime I type it on my keyboard it types C$C and not C4C. All I am saying is that character boils down to the individual and not a group. Unfortunately if you are for voting a party member, more than likely they will not standing alone to principles. If you vote in an Independent, you have better chances of finding someone with character, who will represent your district and not party, and who will not be easily swayed by other members in the LA.   ;o)

  13. Anonymous says:

    Well said, Roy.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Character? From the Leader of the Opposition. Wow what an over statement. Arrogance, conniving, destructive should be added to Yea Man Yatum.

    • Anonymous says:

      Fantastic statesmanlike character shown when he slapped down Elio Solomon in LA and when people disagree with him. Get real and take off the red colored glasses

      • Anonymous says:

        Foolio had it coming.  Too bad he didn't stay doen instead oftalking crap at meetings.

      • Anonymous says:

        After Mac this is precisely what cayman doesnt need a leader with anger management issues

      • Anonymous says:

        Ellio got exactly what he deserved and he knows it. That is the single reason why Alden didn't end up in court over it.

  15. Truth says:

    In his limited capacity to understand anything over 5th grade intelligance it is entirely possible that Bush belives in his heart that because of the self appointed "honorable" title everything he now does is honorable.  And since the title is not bestowed on the common people we all are not.  XXXX

  16. star fish says:

    You said, "His tone and approach to this serious matter was statesmanlike in my view and in the end he and the Progressives played a huge part in assisting this matter to come to a productive end. He has not gloated or rejoiced, or looked to take any huge credit; and this has helpedcement in my mind, and I am sure in the minds of many, the character of the man."  What?  That he gave a speech and appeared statesmanlike?  So that is your test that Alden has character?  Tone and speech will move you to vote him in for 4 years and repeat party blunders?  smh.. God help us and the gullible Caymanians we have.

    • Anonymous says:

      A title does not make a person honorable or reading a statement in the LA does not make a person a statesman. Cayman has many examples of politicians who have done both

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes McKeeva Bush is living and glaring proof of how many gullible Caymanians we have.

  17. Verticalpig says:

    I respect Roy, but disagree on this one.


    Fortunately for McLaughlin interest may not endure in how 'Dr' Sayeed – what a character he proved to be – was made President of UCCI,  misused an offical edit card to the tune of an estimated US$294,000 and ran off with a set of references good enough to walk into a new job in Canada


    I can see other reasons this man of character might keep his head down when accusations start flying.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Tatum, you can't be serious!  Alden McLaughlin… again?  He may be lamb-like and analytical, but he sure is not thoughtful and steady. Sorry, I wouldn't trust him with my mother's pension!  We need new blood, new characters, and not the same faces.

  19. Non-partisan from G.T. says:

    Roy, just say your a PPM supporter, trying to get Alden elected. You speak about CHARACTER. We can't forget that PERSONALITY is quite different than CHARACTER, and the two shouldn't be confused. Personality is a cover up or merely a show, and yes at times reflects character, but not all the time. I've known politicians for a long time. When their opponents fail, they rejoice because they know that it makes them look better to the public. In my opinion, most the time, true character is covered up by  "looks"? 

    Here is a character reference on Kurt and Alden you should study and consider:  The lack of fiscal discipline whilst they were both in power, and how when they were given advice to change their spending-course during the brink of a global recession, they refused to listen to Opposition and take heed. Roy, because of the weakness of their characters in showing fiscal discipline and lack of judgement when assuming they could have balanced the budget the following year in 2008, they instead caused the Cayman Islands to go into a deficit of ???millions and economic downturn. Their short-sighted decision and arrogance at the time, caused McKeeva Bush to be elected Cayman's First Premier. And did that help us get out of debt?  No it didn't. 

    And it is so insulting to the people's intelligence when you hear PPM supporters assume that the people have forgotten the mismanagement of funds by them. It is like they think we have Amnesia on these matters.