October 19, 2020



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The government hosted a public meeting last night (8) in the George Town Hall – full report in Thur (10) newspaper. The purpose of the meeting was to begin the process of appointing a district advisory council for the MLA’s in George Town. At the time of writing this editorial the PPM (People’s Progressive Movement) are to boycott not just this meeting but the whole process as Alden McLaughlin, the PPM leader, said it “runs counter to the spirit” of the original intent. “

The reason for their dismay is the Government members themselves are appointing these local government committees instead of allowing the people themselves to choose who they want to advise their elected representatives on their behalf. This decision by Government is also criticised by the constitutional commission. Wil Pinneau, CEO of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce, said: “We hoped Cabinet would have waited before rushing ahead with advisory district council legislation for some of the results of this research. We are doing the research to evaluate how government works and what we have already … We wanted to understand what the role of the councils would be.”

Mr. McLaughlin said, “The objective of creating the councils was never for them to become creatures of government bound to carry out government’s will. This country will wind up with functionaries of government sitting in a constitutional role pushing government policy, which cannot be an improvement on democracy. It is a tragedy the Constitution is being used to introduce something as undemocratic as is being proposed.”

As George Town is split with both the PPM and UDP (United Democratic Party) – who rule the Country – and the first two elected members of the District are PPM, including the present leader and past leader, I can sympathise with their position. However, I am dismayed at their decision to boycott the meeting. This is not the way to go about it. It doesn’t hurt the UDP one bit, in fact, it makes it easier for them. The PPM elected members were elected by their supporters – the public. They were elected to represent the public. History has proved boycotting something has not helped one bit, especially if you are in the minority. Let your voice be heard and let your vote be counted. It won’t if you don’t attend. You are paid to attend – not to sit at home and gripe. The country needs leadership and a strong opposition is the very best way to achieve this.

According to the law, as many as ten members may be appointed to a council and the Cabinet will select and appoint four officers. Up to six other members may be appointed. Of these regular members, the Leader of the Opposition must recommend at least two.

I can only hope that some commonsense will prevail. If we take Mr. McLaughlin’s argument that it “runs counter to the spirit” of the original intent, then he would boycott nearly everything going on in the Legislative Assembly.

It will be interesting to see how many people actually turn up at the George Town meeting. I may be dismayed at the numbers. What we don’t want is a ten member UDP committee.







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