YCLA presents controversial keynote speaker

| 12/03/2013

allen_west (290x400).jpg(CNS): US army veteran, former congressman for Florida and the director of Next Generation Programming, Allen West, has been invited to speak at this year’s Young Caymanian Leadership Awards (YCLA) on Saturday 23 March. Although West is seen as a role model for leadership through the specialist programming, which encourages followers to stand up for the nation’s collective future, he also has something of a controversial military history. While serving in Iraq during the second Gulf War he was charged with violating articles 128 (assault) and 134 (general article) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice as a result of the methods he used to extract informaiton from a prisoner.

Although West ended up facing an Article 15 proceeding (a non-judicial hearing) rather than court-martial, he was fined $5,000 and retired with full benefits in 2004. After leaving the army he was elected to the House of Representatives by the constituents of Florida's 22nd district. In January 2013, he joined PJ Media as the Director of Next Generation Programming.

"We are very excited to have Allen West as our guest speaker at this year’s YCL, at a time when all eyes are focused on the importance of leadership in the Cayman Islands”, stated Melissa Wolfe of the Young Caymanian Leadership Foundation. “Next Generation TV’s goals are a perfect fit for our mission to restore and promote the values and principles upon which our nation was built and our quest for putting forward the most positive example of leadership in all the roles we play in life. We really can make a difference to the choices our children make and what happens to them in our community,” she added.

West supported the Tea Party movement and rejected the notion that it was motivated by racism. He has been described as a "tea party star" and became a member of the congressional Tea Party Caucus in February 2011. West, along with Tim Scott, became the first African-American Republicans in Congress since J.C. Watts retired in 2003. A darling of the Republican right, he is viewed as a "torch bearer" and "conservative icon", who has made many controversial statements about Muslims

Officials said that each year the YCLA planning committee, made up of the YCLF and its event partners, Cayman27, Celebrations and the Ritz-Carlton, develop a new theme with fresh, strong messaging that will resonate in the community; for 2013 the theme is "Be The Difference, NOW".

YCLA 2013 will highlight the urgent need for immediate strong leadership and community involvement at all levels in order to help inspire hope in our young people, officials said.

“We all need to ask ourselves, what am I doing to make a difference?” asked Jackie Hansen, Director of the YCLF Honorary Board. “Our youth are increasingly preyed upon by negative influences. Now, more than ever, we need to understand and apply the unique principles of leadership in our homes, schools, churches and across our community.”

This year’s finalists are Michael Blackburn, Marzeta Bodden, Victor Crumbley, Melanie Scott and Shomari Scott.

The awards on Saturday 23 March will be televised live on Cayman27.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Local News

About the Author ()

Comments (6)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    And what if he did extract information from a prisoner during wartime that was most likely a murdering terrorist. It's still OK for american liberals to legally KILL babies every minute of every day of the year going on 40 years now? The culture of death the american liberals promote and protect is far more controversial! Mindless Hypocrisy!!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for inviting a right wing torturer to address the youth of the Cayman Islands.  This is not the first time the committee have selected someone of this extreme political persuasion whereas I do not recall particulalry liberal leaning speakers being invited to provide any impression of balance.  Is there an agenda behind these awards?  It sure looks like it.

  3. YCLANominee says:

    Conservative, narrow minded and backwards? These individuals are selected by people in our community. It is an honor and a privilege to be selected for this award. Young Caymanians today are seeking role models that posses leadership qualities, enthusiasm and dedication to making Cayman a better place for future generations. You cannot say that the likes of Colin Anglin and Natalie Urquhart have not provided value to this country. They are a main reason why so many kids have changed their view on their future goals and are focused on bettering themselves. We now have an opportunity to support them on their quest to encourage our young people and provide opportunities for them to excel.

  4. Anonymous says:


    really? this is so typical with all that's wrong with our country –  just another opportunity to spread negativity and tear each other down. For what gain?  You are totally missing the point.  The YCLA is doing good work – recognising fine young Caymanians who give up their time to help OUR kids and help them understand and uncover their potential.  How is it idiotic to congratulate young people who are doing the right thing? or to find fault with a group who are trying to focus people's attention on the importance of family, character and ethics in our community.  God knows our young people need good role models now more than ever!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Of course they're bringing down a guy who talks about censoring the media, criticises liberal women who strive for equality and would call progressives communists.

    This jackass is the tea party STAR and embodies everything the YCLA stands for: conservative, narrow minded and BACKWARDS.  It's a shame that they use these finalists to legitimise their idiotic award.


    • noname says:

      If ever there was a BIGOTED, NARROW MINDED, BACKWARDS and IDIOTIC statement at Tue, 03/12/2013 – 14:33 this would be it.  ESPECIALLY as it pertains to a Black Man and the multicultural YCLA.