Independents evade key issue

| 11/03/2013

vote-for-me.gif(CNS): Only four of eleven new independent candidates who were asked by CNS how they would deliver on their campaign promises as just ‘one’ in a parliament of 18 attempted to address the question this week as the rivalry between the parties and the independents heats up. With both the UDP and the PPM pushing the party message over the last few weeks, CNS gave the independents a chance to explain how ‘one’ could make good on election promises. But with the exception of Roy McTaggart, Sharon Roulstone, Matthew Leslie and Dwene Ebanks, none of the other new candidates responded. However, veteran independent Ezzard Miller told CNS that independents can deliver for their constituents but they need to pursue policies that have broad public support.

After almost four years sitting in what he describes as his “southeast corner” in the Legislative Assembly, Miller has fought consistently for his North Side constituents and everything he has done has been with their backing.

As the only MLA with a district council, Miller has consulted with the electorate in his district on every policy, bill, amendment and motion put forward by government to see if they want him to support government business or not and has sought the backing of his council for all his own private members motions. Whenever he could, he said, he has also used his position in the Legislative Assembly to squeeze resources out of government or support for projects, such as the North Side dock and the CCTV in the district, which he coordinated. When there was no public money for projects, he raised cash in the private sector.

On the occasions when he has managed to get motions through, it was as a result of the consensus he had managed to create with his LA colleagues based on the power of public support. However, independents needed support for their policies from others to even get a motion on the order paper as it needs a seconder, he noted.

“It is harder for independents to build consensus and it is not possible once elected to operate in your own silo and expect to get anything done. You need to work with others and develop alliances on issues that have wide public support,” he warned the potential independents for this election. He said that without the public buy-in to policies and proposals, it was not be possible to gain the necessary support to bring a motion, and then it was an uphill battle to get the majority needed.

Miller has brought a number of motions to the House, many of which were voted down by the previous government majority. Although some were accepted as motions, they were still not implemented by government. Miller has consistently offered alternatives wherever he has objected to government proposals and has been a staunch voice for his constituents but has not often been able to change the path that government has followed.

Acknowledging that parties are in a better position to deliver, he said, that does not necessarily mean that they will do so. The UDP, he noted, made many campaign promises that were not fulfilled, despite their majority.

With around 15 independent candidates at this point making their political debut on the hustings this election, few of them have been able to say how they foresee the role they will play in the LA if elected and how they plan to keep their campaign promises once they have a seat.

Roy McTaggart was the only candidate who has been formally endorsed by C4C  to respond to the question of how one can deliver on a promise in a parliament of 18 unless they have already canvassed support for those promises from a potential nine other candidates.

He said parties have, in the past, issued manifestos purporting to take a stand on a range of issues but were not held accountable for their broken promises. “Until now, the only way to correct this ineptitude and effect change was to vote out an entire party,” he said. “There is, for the first time, a stream of highly qualified independents that have aligned themselves based on a single vision so as to form a seamless government once elected.”

He said that their accomplishments and involvement in the financial sector presented an opportunity not just to lead but to take Cayman to new heights. “The only way we will achieve the type of government Cayman deserves is for the electorate and the media to stop believing that a particular party is the answer.  Power blocks with tunnel vision are the antithesis of success.”

Confident that the electorate would get it right, he said those who are returned could move forward with “transparency, honesty and integrity in future dealings”, but he did not address the specific issue of how his own policies that he will be revealing on the campaign trail would be delivered.

Sharon Roulstone, who is expected to be endorsed by C4C, said she did not believe parties were the only groups that couldn deliver. “This election will be different than any we have had in the last twelve years,” she said. “The electorate is not content with just numbers any more, they are not convinced there is 'safety in numbers' just because a particular party may be running a full slate of candidates.”

Roulstone said the electorate is hungry for leaders with a demonstrated track record in business with integrity who will put the interests of the people of Cayman above self. “In this election, quality over quantity is what will determine the outcome and the electorate will be looking for quality in their candidates irrespective of whether they are independent or are a member of a party.  The days of voting 'straight' are over, there is no question our next government will be a coalition.”

She said the common thread that binds the many professionals who have walked away from good paying jobs to enter the political fray is their selflessness. “They do not need a manifesto promising that they are going to put their country first,” she said.  “Their actions to date have already demonstrated that they are putting their country above self by entering the race in the first place and this has not been lost on the electorate,” she added.

Meanwhile, Matthew Leslie, who has put forward a ‘10 in 10 Plan’, was unclear on how he could deliver his policy promise but pointed out that the election result in George Town was going to be very hard to predict. “As an independent candidate I am willing to work in unison with anyone elected as we should all be coming in here with one goal to better Cayman and its people,” said Leslie, a former key figure in the Young United Democratic Party.

“So far, the 10 in 10 Plan I have brought forward lists 10 topics that most candidates, if elected, should take a common interest in, issues that 'common sense fixes' could easily solve.  There is no self gain in any of them, and I think if we all keep in mind that being elected is not for self-interest, we should be able to tackle the 10 in 10 Plan and accomplish them.”

In West Bay, Dwene Ebanks, the first independent to declare outside of the C4C ticket, said his election would be an endorsement from the community that they agreed that the  magnitude of West Bay's issues were bigger than the smallness of party politics.

Ebanks said, “I will roll-up my sleeves and leverage the political-power they entrusted me with to help the community first.” He acknowledged the numbers issue and said he had made contacts to this end.

“However, my hope and belief in the collective wisdom of the Caymanian people on 22 May is that they will elect candidates that better reflects their goals and aspirations versus any one political leader. The mixed dynamics would mean beautiful things for the Caymanian people and especially for West Bayers. The power of one in a parliament of 18 then becomes equal – allthings considered,’ he said.

CNS contacted candidates on Friday, including the seven C4C candidates who had declared by then and four other independents that have given their contact details to CNS. Although we are aware of three other candidates who have declared their intention to run, they have not yet supplied their details to this news site and therefore we were unable to contact them.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    As a voter, I need to know who are the forces behind the C4C? What is their agenda? Most of their candidates were once connected to the UDP, so what are their idiologies? What solutions they have? Who are their lobbyiest? Who are YOU?  What have you done for Cayman? We know what some of you have achieved, but we don't know what you have done for Cayman and its people? Give us some answers please. Were you part of the ForCayman Alliance? were you connected to the Dart takeover? tell us…….

  2. Anonymous says:

    It really sounds like C4C don’t understand what it means to “form a government” and how you achieve that. Their answers make no sense and in no way try to address the question. Are they that green? Or are they trying to pull the wool over our eyes with something, AGAIN?

  3. Harrow says:

    Many just going for the salary

  4. Anonymous says:

    Is anybody else having an issue with the way that the Parties are under handing the Independent candidates?

    I've been listening to them, and all I can hear is, "They can't do nothing without having a party of um.."  "they won't get anything passed in the house…" Well, really?! How are other democratic societies, who aren't using the party systems thriving then? & believe me our people is actually buying this crap!

    Caymanians, our independents can get in there and work together, just as well as these parties do! They are educated, and qualified to do the job. If you the voters just go out there and educate yourself before Election Day, and make sure that you give your representation to who you see fit on that day!

    The independents need to also tell us how they would go about working together in the house if there are opposing views.Will we be at a stand still because they can't agree? We need to hear more from them, as this is the first time that we have had such a big turn out,  the Caymanian people are waiting and listening because they are looking to turn our islands around!


  5. Anonymous says:

    I beg to differ, Blogger 22:24

    West Bay = CG, Rolston, Woody & Tara

    George Town = Kurt, Alden, Sharon, Lucille, Kenneth & Roy

    Bodden Town = Ozzie, Alva, Chucky & Wayne

    NS = The Untouchable – Ezzard

    EE = The Action man – Arden

    Cayman Brac = Moises & Someone else other than Julianna.

    That would be a very powerful team.

  6. Here is how I see it says:

    BT – Clean Sweep for PPM, Anthony, Alva, Osbourne, Wayne

    Braqc & LC Moses and Julie

    NS – Ezzard (unopposed)

    EE- Arden

    WB – Woody, Tara, Mac and CG

    GT – Alden, Kurt, Marco, Joey, Kenneth, (Lucille or Jackie) Could be another clean sweep for PPM.


    • Anonymous says:

      I beg to differ with your skewed predictions. The country is SICK and TIRED of party politics. We keep electing and recycling people who only gripe, complain and attack one anonther. In as much as you have made predictions, let me counter yours with mine and say:

      UDP- 5 successful candidates island wide

      PPM- 5 successful candidates island wide

      Independents- 8 successful candidates island wide. (this includes 1 or 2 of the current fab 5 government. I only put them here as I am unaware that if they are forming a party)

      So there is no doubt that the next government will have to be formed as a coalition and the independent winners will hold the key card.


      • Anonymous says:

        UDP – 4

        PPM – 6

        C4C – 3

        Fab5 – 2

        Other independents  – 3

      • Anonymous says:

        I'm all in favour of parties – but they should be limited by law to only Friday and Saturday nights!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    One candidate i know that will fight for caymanian is dwene ebanks. I witnessed his stand for caymanian people when he is managing a store long time ago. He fight to hire a caymanian first before expat. This man should be in a ministerial position of labor department. With dwene, everything is possible.

  8. philo the philosopher says:

    WOW! This is going to be a "HELL OF AN ELECTION". I can hear the turtle-meat pots steaming already. 

    Let me give "all you candidates" some good advice. Make friends with everyone you can, who is vying for the same seat you are, because when and if elected, there will have to be much reasoning and negotiation among those who are elected. And if you are fortunate enough to win a seat, for once, put "our kids" and "Cayman" at the top of  your agenda! And let all your reasoning be based on the "PRIORITIZING" of the most important and needed projects and services that will get us back on the road to economic prosperity, and, making sure  that  "CAYMANIANS"  get equal opportunities to compete in the job market by assuring  them a level playing field on which to compete. 

    REMEMBER! All those who have been there for so many years, and have had more than ample enough "TIME AND MONEY" to have gotten us in a more viable position "Financially, Socially, Educationally" and more, had they not been looking after their own interests instead of ours.  And most assuredly they will be coming to you trying to solicit "YOUR VOTE"  by making those well rehearsed "promises" that will be  forgotten once they have been elected!

    So let us send them a most powerful message. Which is!                                                                        

    You can fool some of us  all of the time.                                                                                                And even all of us some of the time.                                                                                                    But "YOU WON"T FOOL ANY OF US THIS TIME".

  9. CayStudent says:

    I don't if its just me who has picked up on this, but the media definitely has a huge influence on how elections turn out. Remember, folks, don't believe everything you read. Question it, and challenge everything you read or hear from others. The title of this article could paint a misleading picture of all independents…

  10. Anonymous says:

    I believe independents are the way to go . They have the qualifications first of all. Just because they are independents doesn't mean they can't come together on some issues. Some issues may cause them to disagree.Then of course there will be a debate . If someome for instance wants casinos . There may be some who say yay and some who say nay thats called a democracy.

    The other way we had it was whatever one person wanted it. Usually the leader.  When cline was told to step down and ellio took over on the GLF. I don't want that to happen again do you??

    This way after the debate we count hands and proceed if we have the majority.If not then it doesn't happen. Democracy.

  11. Anonymous says:

    It would be really cool if anyone of these potential leaders actually told us where they stand with God.

    A politician who truly stands with God will not be ashamed to say so and their lives will bear witness of the fact. In addition, they will stand up for what is right and be compassionate to the people.

    I have yet to hear a single candidate say anything about true faith up until now.

    Please understand that I am not talking about charlatans who get "saved" every 4 years.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is time we had separation of Church and State. Man is fundamentally flawed and to call on God for the choices one makes in politics is offensive and also not representative of the entire country. I am Christian and do not want my political leaders using their faith as an excuse for their misdeeds nor do I want them at conflict with the rest of the voting population who are comprised of numerous faiths. What business do the Churches have in running the business of this country would you throw us back in to the dark ages? Set a King Henry up as premier so that if he or she disagreed they would call on the Churches to overturn our government because in the name of his or her faith all things would be done to his or her will?

      Cayman has changed by our own hands and a person’s faith has no business in the LA

      Now if you talk of ethics and morals then by all means lets have a debate of ethics as one may proclaim a faith and have no ethics I choose an ethical candidate over one who spouts dogma at me.

  12. Anonymous says:

    If the PPM and UDP represent ideal political parties and Ezzard Miller represents an ideal independent candidate, is it any wonder C4C is trying something new?



  13. Anonymous says:

    Of course Independents evade "key issue". They hope to become politicians which means they will evade almost every issue for the next four years. 

    Key Issue? They might want to have a look at their door locks too. Independents who stick to their guns might end up needing one.

  14. Anonymous says:

    As far as I am concerned, Dwene Ebanks is the only true Independent in that line-up.  Great response Dwene.  West Bayers would be wise to choose you.  From all I have read and seen from you has been refreshing and a breathe of fresh air!  Good job!

  15. Anonymous says:

    It’s amazing that a story that starts out about the NEW independent candidates can speak about Ezzard for so much.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why doesn"t these C4C guys just own up to the fact that they are a party controlled by big business?  That's how they hope to get things done, not by being "independents".  But the real question is, assuming they get 3 or 4 seats, who are they going to work with?  Based on the previous track records of Jude, Winston and Roy, my guess would be McKeeva.

  16. Anonymous says:

    The answer to the question is they are only independent until elected, ezzard is not independent he leans towards the ppm , remember Moses kirkcornell was independent too , it’s amazing how much people forget in 4 years , and politicians always use this to their advantage.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ezzard has proved his independence. In his 2009 campaign Ezzard announced his preference to support the UDP. Later on he agreed with the PPM that McKeeva needed to be removed or resign his office. That did not make him any less independent as he disagrees with them on a number of issues.  

    • Anonymous says:

      A true Independent Candidate should neither seek nor accept endorsement from any Party or from a "Party-in-Waiting" such as the C4C Alliance.

      Sharon Roulstone is a very strong Independent candidate who should easily get elected by pulling the women's vote, as well as those male voters who admire her talent, expertise and integrity.

      Hopefully she will stand by her convictions and remain truly Independent.


      • peter milburn says:

        She will and I can only hope she gets the chance to show how much integrity she has and always has had when she chaired the various boards that she has been appointed to.I just wish that we had a few more like her to choose to put the country back on its feet.Tara Rivers and West bay comes to mind.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ezzard stated before the last election that he would support the UDP forming a government. Not sure how you conclude that he is "with PPM". 

  17. Anonymous says:

    The only thing the PPM have done is change their name to the Progressives. When will that party offer up solutions to the country's problems?

    And when will CNS call the Progressives on their lack of solutions?

    • Well says:

      Mr C4C I have not heard one solution from your party…crickets chirping

      • Anonymou says:

        So your response to my accusation that the Progressives have offered up no solutions to the country's serious problems is that C4C have offered up no solutions as well?

        Think about that a moment we need people in government that have responsible solutions and need to hear them before election day.

    • Anonymous says:

      If elected, will the Progressives bring up back to the standard of living we enjoyed up to May 2005?



  18. Anonymous says:

    My only question:

    "If I cannot trust to lend you my car on a Friday nite, why should I trust you with running the country?"

  19. Anonymous says:

    It's kind of sad to see the title of the article. Goes to show how the media can influence in their power. 

    Grouping all the "Independents" together in the title and article, defeats the purpose of them being "independent". So the fact that some evade the the question, whilst others don't is unfair on those who have.

    • Anonymous says:

      The point is that all Independents are in the same boat on this issue and it is therefore legitimate to ask each of them individually the same question. I think what you mean is that considering their answers collectively makes the their inability to form a govt. more obvious. It is all well and good saying you are independent but if each independent candidate has his own manifesto (and he must in order to be truly independent) then there will need to be a lot of horse trading to get anything done and who knows where we will end up.

      Don't shoot the messenger.

  20. Anonymous says:

    The truth is that only Ezzard has a realistic answer to this question. The others are simply high-sounding rhetoric with no substance. Take for example Roy's "There is, for the first time, a stream of highly qualified independents that have aligned themselves based on a single vision so as to form a seamless government once elected”.

    Persons who have aligned themselves with a single vision to form a seamless govt. have formed a political party, something which C4C denies. If C4C does not have at least 10  candidates ELECTED it cannot hope to form a "seamless" govt. based on a single vision. So far it does not appear that they are even running 10 candidates. If C4C will form the govt. it will have to be in coalition with one of the parties. The only questions are: (a) which party, and (b) what will C4C need to compromise in order to form the coalition. The likelihood is that the former party affiliations of C4C candidates will come to the fore in that case. 

    No one is buying the hype of the C4C straw poll.    

    • Anonymous says:

      WE need a coalition govt! it will be great to have some party members + independants running the country. That way they will work together for the betterment of the people.  

  21. Anonymous says:

    the whole thing is a big joke… has anybody in cayman ever heard of an election manifesto.?…

    no-one knows what c4cor it's 'independents' stand for…

    as for the ppm….they have offered nothing as an opposition… and they still do not offer concrete alternative policy proposals…

    as for the udp…. the last 4 years should tell everybody what they need to know….



    • Anonymous says:

      The big joke will be on you and others who think like you.  Please remember that PPM still have a large support base.  While UDP is fragmented and C4C having trouble identifying who they are  the PPM is going about their business canvassing constituents  and getting very good results.  The only pole worth taking is the "one on one" with the voting public.  So far only PPM doing that.  KEEP IT UP.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well those PPM supporters who wish to return to a nearly bankrupt country can go at it alone. The rest of us would rather go with a government that can get things done. Whether you agree or not with how McKeeva does things, you have to admit he has a vision and can get things done. All the PPM did was get us in serious debt! I'm also not sure of the C4C. They started out by being deceitful in telling people they are not a party, but it's the party of the rich Caymanians that want to control big business. And they are throwing money at everyone. XXXXX

        • Anonymous says:

          lo. Really what did he get done? He accomplished absolutely nothing for the country except a bad reputation.