Loyalty over principle rejected by candidates

| 11/04/2013

WHOGENE.JPG(CNS): Blind loyalty to a leader has been rejected by all of the candidates so far at the  forums hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, even though at least one of them has already fallen into the trap. At Wednesday night’s forum, the West Bay candidates were asked if they would speak up if they were part of a government and the leader proposed something they disagreed with, such as a payroll tax. All of them, including Captain Eugene Ebanks, said they would not go along with something that was against their principles. However, the UDP backbench MLA also said he did not agree with any kind of direct taxation, even though in June 2012 when the payroll tax was proposed by then premier McKeeva Bush, he remained silent.

Despite the answer given by the West Bay incumbent, who has remained completely loyal to Bush, his party leader, there was no rebuttal during the forum, which has thrown up very little debate so far this election season.

Ebanks said he rejected all forms of direct taxation and would not support any proposals, despite the fact that he did not speak out against the idea when it was proposed by his party leader during the 2012/13 budget preparations.

“I will speak out against any kind of taxation,” Ebanks stated when he appeared on the panel with his UDP running mate for the district, Velma Powery, as well as PPM candidate Woody DaCosta and the two independent candidates for the district, Andrea Christian and Dwene Ebanks.

Although that was exactly what the West Bay backbencher had failed to do last year, he was not called out on his answer. All of the other candidates said that they would not blindly follow and insisted they would resign.

Speaking to CNS on Thursday morning following the forum, Woody DaCosta said that Ebanks' comment was laughable, given the circumstances, but he and the other panel members were prevented from rebutting or calling out their political rivals. The Progressive candidate said the Chamber had shut down opportunities for any crosstalk.

“The forums are not debates this year and it was made clear that the candidates would be asked the questions and given the chance to answer but there would be no room for any rebuttal,” Da Costa said. “The forums cannot be described as debates.”

DaCosta said Ebanks should have been challenged on his answer because he sat by throughout the entire UDP administration, despite everything that unfolded. “He didn’t stand up at all during his time in office and some of his answers last night demonstrated the irony and hypocrisy with the representation in our district for too long.”

The issue of blind loyalty came to the fore last week, when Cabinet Minister Dwayne Seymour, the former UDP backbencher and incumbent member for Bodden Town, revealed that the former premier had thrown him and his party colleagues "under the bus" regarding the proposal to relocate the George Town landfill to his district. He revealed that he did not support the proposal and had never supported it but had not spoken out against his leader at the time as he did not want to air their squabbles in public.

His cabinet colleague Cline Glidden had also endured a public split with the UDP leader over the cruise port debacle but he too had remained tight lipped about the circumstances surrounding the port deal and had given his tacit approval to the talks with the Chinese firm when he remained quiet on the issue.

Speaking about blind loyalty during the first Bodden Town forum, in which there was no debate at all on Tuesday, both PPM hopefuls for the district also said they would not put party loyalty above principles.

Wayne Panton said he would never be thrown “under a bus” as he would resign if he felt strongly about an issue that became party policy. During the BT forum, where only the two Progressives were present, his party colleague Al Suckoo said he had not joined the PPM to be a “Kool-Aid drinker” and was attracted to the party because of the way it was run. He said the members discuss issues and being part of a political party did not mean he had to always swallow the party line.

The forums, which are being broadcast on Radio Cayman live and then posted on the Chamber website, move back to Bodden Town Civic Centre this evening, when the line-up includes independents Vincent Frederick and Arnold Berry, the UDP hopeful Chris Saunders, former district representative and PPM member Osbourne Bodden and the incumbent minister and member of the newly formed PNA, Mark Scotland.

Go to the Chamber website to see more and listen to the forums.

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  1. Anonymous says:

     IF you are going to be a Politiciajn. You have better make sure your Closets are very 




  2. St Peter says:

    The Captain's photo gives new meaning to the term 'sedentary lifestyle'…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Clearly this man is a waste of time and money! I hope the people of these islands are now more educated, expect better representative of our country and its people. I hope the days of me liking him is out the window and Xs are placed by people of integrity, character and country first. We don’t have many ‘good’ ones to chose from but pick the right people and God continue to bless our country!

  4. Anonymous says:

    That picture says it all. RUN FOREST RUN!!!!   

  5. The lone haranguer rides again! says:

    9000/month 6000/month for life after one term, they are willing to sell there souls to the devil for that, me too.

  6. Rorschach says:

    I believer wholeheartedly that the candidates will speak out against issues that go against their prinicples…problem is…there is NOTHING that is against their principles…

  7. Anonymous says:

    “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”  With apologies to Martin Luther King Junior. Eugene, you have been silent on a lot of things that mattered greatly for the last 16 years. I am sorry that all of us had to pay your salary during that time but I am appalled that we will have to pay your pension. The only glimmer of light is that your salary will end on May 22nd. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    Silence is golden.


    This is especially true for these very well paid stooges who do nothing but hang on McKeeva's coat-tails.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Cant help wondering if Capt. Whogene got his badge the same way mckeeva got his forever honerable one.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Mr E, can you let me know when you're gonna be walking round WB, I need a likely ting like last election. Tanks…. XXXX

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hey cap't. Whogene. would you care to speak out against collecting a very large paycheck for years on end for doing absolutely nothing whatsoever besides supporting anything on earth mckeeva says is right?

    • Anonymous says:

      Capt who?  Don't know him….oh yeah!!! thats right he has been collecting a cheque for the past how many years doing nothing??????????

    • Anonymous says:

      Cuz cuz,

      please give us a break and resignfrom politrx, and by the way drop the Capt title

      you have achieved no such qualification.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Any member of the recently past UDP government that says that has proven themselves liars.  Plain and simple.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Jerk chicken should be served at these rallies, not baloney.

    • Anonymous says:


      if mckeeva had gotten through with CHEC they would be serving turtle meat.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Eugene = dead weight

  15. CayStudent says:

    Eugene, I believe firmly that a politician should serve his or her people and you have not. You haven't positviely contributed anything since elected and your false words should be noted by all. You're only a politician, by definition, because you are one of Bush's several cronies that he can order and control at his discretion. Anyone who has mental sense will know that you do not deserve a vote.


    Unless someone can give me a good reason why this guy isn't a joke, he'll remain so in my books.

  16. Anonymous says:

    He will speak against. That is garbage he rarely speaks talking bout speak out.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Whogene is laughable, he was probably asleep when all the "expat tax" stuff was going on. Perhaps he thinks if he didn't hear it, he didn't have to object ot it LOL.

    Ms. Velma actually states in her interview that the UDP brought in FOI! Where do they get these people from?

    • Anonymous says:

      And to think how much Mac loves responding to all those FOI requests he would rather have surpressed. I suppose the UDP will try to take credit for inventing conch fritters next.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I don’t even know why they bother to ask questions like that. It’s like begging the candidates to fire off several lines of BS.

  19. Anonymous says:

    i didn't think whogene could speak….

    • Anonymous says:

      Its sometimes better that they can't speak – look at the mess Mac and Joeys big mouths have caused!!

    • Anonymous says:

      It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. Mark Twain.

    • Anonymous says:

      Someone probably told him in the past that it is better to remain silent than to open your mouth to change feet!

  20. Anonymous says:

    His silence can be easily explained since he only went to the house to sleep and rarely took interest in any of the proceedings.

    • Anonymous says:

      10.17…sadly probably very true and the least of all offences comitted in that place…

    • Anonymous says:

      much like kurt…


      • Anonymous says:

        Please dont class your worthless UDP cronies with Kurt Tibbetts. Kurt EARNED every single penny he has ever collect from the Cayman Islands treasury, and praise be to Almighty and we should all be rejoicing that he will do it again.

      • Anonymous says:

        I dunno bout him sleeping so much in the LA, when Kurt speaks you can definitely hear him. All the way down Mary street and along the waterfront too.

      • Anonymous says:

        I have learned by personal experience that you when you think Kurt is asleep he is in fact listening intently. You only realise this when his subsequent questions/comments are on point. He has a quick grasp and is far more impressive in person than you might think.  

  21. Anonymous says:

    Lies.  The people of Cayman and indeed, the Cayman Islands are already suffering due to too many members towing the party line rather than representing their own opinions and those of their constituents.  I don't believe this of any party, particularly the UDP.