C4C candidate won’t pick sides as election nears

| 29/04/2013

mervin (226x300).jpg(CNS): With just over three weeks to go before the general election, Mervin Smith said he would not pick sides when it comes to stating ahead of Election Day which of the two parties he would support to form the government. Along with most of the candidates who are not with one of the two political parties, Smith, who is running for a seat in West Bay on the Coalition for Cayman ticket, was not prepared to say if he would support the Progressives or the United Democratic Party if neither of them gained a majority. Smith also said that he would not be asking the West Bay voters to support anyone else with their remaining votes except for his C4C running mate, Tara Rivers.

As the clock ticks towards 22 May there is an increasing likelihood that the two parties will still hold the most seats on the morning after. It will then be a fight on 23 May for the leaders of the PPM and the UDP to recruit independent candidates to help one of them form a government. Smith, who has voiced his opposition to the UDP on a number of occasions, still refused to commit to assisting either party to form a government.

“The electorate will decide who will serve in the House.  If elected I will maintain my independent status while working with persons I believe are the best representatives to lead this country,” he said.

Although voters in West Bay have four votes, Smith said he would not tell the voters how to use their 3rd and 4th votes. “I am running as an Independent. I will not promote any other candidate other than my fellow independent, Tara Rivers, in the district of West Bay. I urge the West Bay voters to educate themselves about all the candidates that are running in this election for the district of West Bay.” 

Given his reluctance to support a party, if he is elected, Smith is unlikely to find himself as part of the next government. But like all back-benchers, if he can find one other person he has the right to a private members motion to the Legislative Assembly for debate and government consideration if he can persuade a majority to support it. The West Bay hopeful said he would use the opportunity to bring a proposal regarding government procurement and expenditure to institute clear lines of accountability.

“Our people are simply struggling too much for the government to continue its wasteful spending through the procurement process. I will also push for enforceable criminal charges for those who misuse government funds,” Smith told CNS as he spoke about his aspirations for office.

Although a staunch advocate of keeping the West Bay Road open, Smith said he hoped that the legal proceedings against the road’s closure and the NRA agreement would end with the best result, but did not indicate whether he would attempt to use his seat in the Legislative Assembly to change the current situation.

With significant unemployment in Cayman and in his district in particular, Smith’s campaign has focused heavily on addressing unemployment and Smith takes the position that the current immigration law has to be enforced. He explained that work permits should only be approved if there is no qualified Caymanian for a post.

“That is the existing law of the land and it must be enforced,” he said. “The current structure does not link the work permit approval process closely enough with the Labour Department. This must be done if we are to see any decrease in unemployment.  I also believe that the use of seasonal work permits should be encouraged in industries with seasonal work so that our own people are not the first to be laid off during the slow season. I have also proposed an incentive system to return Caymanians to the tourism industry,” Smith stated.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Follow the Chuckster's lead Mervin. It is a very simple question. If you had to form a Coalition Government with one of the two parties which one would you prefer to form it with ?

    Chuckster said the PPM……what say you Mervin ? We in West Bay find it hard to believe that you would consider the UDP but perhaps we are wrong. But we will not risk this. You need to tell us or we will unfortunately have to rule you and Tara out.

    We want some certainty and clarity Mervin…….we respect and would like to support you !

  2. Anonymous says:

    more smudging and fudging….. this election is a joke…. with every candidate afriad or unable to give straightforward answers to simple questions….

  3. Anonymous says:

    Huh. Sound to me like Mervin is a world-class fence sitter. Waiting to jump onto the winning team. Voter beware!

    Be careful when you vote for these so-called independents that we don't end up with the UDP again like we did last time around when we thoughtthat giving a few independents our votes would strengthen the opposition benches.

    Don't make me learn that lesson again.


  4. Wow says:

    If the C4C cannot rule out the most corrupt group out there as a potential partner then they are no better than them.


  5. CayStudent says:

    Mervin's twang may be strong, but do not fool his accent with being uneducated. He is far from it and is very community-minded. 


  6. Anonymous says:

    I do not agree that it is a forgone conclusion that the independents will need to work with the parties…it may well be the other way around.

    I cannot vote but I do sit and observe as impartially as I can. As far as I can see UDP and PNA have been letting themselves down increasingly badly every day. Who says they will get any seats? (maybe 1 or 2 possibly). PPM are doing better but from what I read most people remember the last mess they left Cayman with and do not want a repeat. So it may well be the independents who end up with most seats and the others will need to fall in line with them.


    I really do not think there can be any forgone conclusions here, something the candidates should all remember..

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is something that has bugged me for a while. How can these C4C candidates claim honesty, integrity and the promotion of transparency when they can't even tell us who they would support once in office? If you don't want to say that you support one of the party leaders then fine… But there must be someone from the group of 54 eligible candidates that you would support.  So here is my plea to all  voters intending to vote for either the independents or the C4C candidates. Ask them to put their money where their mouth is. Force them to tell us who they would support as their choice for the next premier. If they are able to answer then that would be a true show of transparency. And if they aren't? Well then we know that they are all talk and no action. And we've had enough of those politicians in Cayman

    • Anonymous says:

      In most European democracies no (mainland where coalitions are the norm) people may have ideas who they could work with, but the haggling does not start until the picture is clear. Why would you waste time on an uncertain event?

      • Anonymous says:

        But you can declare from the start who you WON’T work with which I would guess is what most people want to hear in this case…..

    • Anonymous says:

      The issue is that despite the ‘look at me I’m an Independant and clean image’ nobody will align themselves until they see which of the ‘old guard and most likely to be able I help the newbies get a nose into the trough’ will stand a good chance of winning and therefore be worth aligning themselves with …sorry it’s just same old same old

  8. Anonymous says:

    Sensible attitude and response by Mervyn considering the obvious pro-ppm leanings of the author. The essence of being an independent is to work with whomever is prepared to bring motions and solutions that will put Cayman’s best interest first. On the 23 May the winners will have to work with what they have so the question at best is our conjecture and speculation.

  9. Anonymous says:

    A true independent.


    Unlike others who pledge a shake-down.., er, i mean support in exchange for a Cabinet seat.