Archive for February 13th, 2013

Mac backs party system

Mac backs party system

| 13/02/2013 | 133 Comments

P1010024 (287x300).jpg(CNS): The former premier made a staunch defence of the party system when he hit the West Bay campaign trail on Tuesday night. McKeeva Bush, the leader of what he described as the National United Democratic Party, said that no politician could achieve anything by themselves and that Cabinet-style government cannot run properly with independents. He said that whatever the independents put forward on their manifestos, none of them would be able to fulfill those promises without the support of a group or party. Bush said there was a lot of misinformation about parties but getting things done required like-minded people to work together.

Bush was speaking at his first public political meeting in his own constituency of West Bay since he was arrested in December and then ousted from office after his former party colleagues supported the opposition leader’s no confidence motion, but the betrayal had not dampened his enthusiasm for the principle of the political party.

Described again as the “People’s Premier” by the new YUDP president, Miguel Barcelo, Bush explained that party politics was not at fault because governments needed like-minded people with the same goals and objectives to be elected in order to succeed. He added that parties with a cohesive plan acted together and worked together to implement their specific policies and ideas.

“If one member puts forward a manifesto, there is no way to carry out that promise if the member is elected alone,” Bush said. “It takes ten people to come together to make a government and true independent candidates are not bound by a collective plan.”

He said there was no reason for parties to have animosity all the time and the groups could be friendly, as he criticised the opposition leader, Alden McLaughlin, for always trying to knock down government. But, he said, he still had friends in the PPM and he acknowledged that debate on opposing views was healthy and democratic.

The former premier said that once a government was elected, it had to work together as a group to follow through on the planned and promised policies. “Cabinet government can’t be run by independents who don’t know if they have the support for their policies,” he added, explaining that a Cabinet of independents with opposing views could not act as a unit and do the best for the country.

Pointing to the number of independents that are running for office in May, Bush said there was nothing wrong with that but each wouldl have their different views and he remarked, pointedly, that some independent candidates would have more to spend on their campaigns than others. But even if any of them were elected, he said, it would be difficult for any of them to achieve their vision without joining a group or party.

Whether party, group, or team, the former premier, who is a political veteran of almost thirty years, said it was about working together on the same plan. The constant reference by some of the independents who are running or planning to run in the 2013 election to better days when the Legislative Assembly was made up of independents was misguided, he said.

The LA did not function any better because they were no political parties, Bush said, noting that there had been significant bitterness. But enough people had worked hard to achieve the goals despite the situation, not because of it. In addition, the politicians of the past had far less bureaucracy to contend with and government had good administrators who worked for the country instead of trying to block things, he said. The lack of parties was not the reason why the government appeared to be more successful then but because people worked hard with fewer stumbling blocks.

During the meeting, which was held at the Four Way stop in West Bay, Bush announced that Tessa Johnson Bodden would be installed as the new party chair at the forthcoming UDP conference. He did not offer anynames of potential candidates who would be running with him in West Bay. However, Chris Saunders, who has been tipped to run in Bodden Town for the UDP, spoke at the rally. Meanwhile, Renard Moxam was present on the platform with Ellio Solomon and Mike Adam, three of the George Town team, along with Kenny Rankin, the district chairman for the capital.

Close to 300 people gathered at the meeting to hear Bush, who MC’d the event himself and delivered the final speech, in which he referred only briefly to his legal difficulties. However, he pointed to the bureaucracy and those working behind the scenes who he believed had deliberately tried to stop him from accomplishing anything good and prevented him from achieving many of his goals while he was Cayman’s first premier.

Although he said he was not yet launching the campaign officially, he spoke about a few broad issues before he told the people he would be vindicated as he had done nothing wrong. He said he would fight the election witha new group of “National United Democratic Party” members, implying something of a party re-launch before he asked the people to vote straight for the UDP.

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