Tuesday 29th March, 2005 Posted: 13:06 CIT (18:06 GMT)
Promising it would provide “a government you can trust” the People’s Progressive Movement launched the campaign of its George Town candidates last Wednesday night in Centennial Park next to the Court House.
More than 200 people were in attendance for the public meeting, with some people staying in their cars and honking horns during the meeting.
The George Town candidates – Kurt Tibbetts, Alden McLaughlin, Lucille Seymour and Alfonso Wright – also spoke for about a half hour during a meeting that was aired live on Radio Cayman.
PPM member Chris Wight chaired the meeting, which he said “heralded a major activity in our capital.”
Mr. Wight introduced 2000–2005 representative Alden McLaughlin by saying “one good term deserves another.”
Mr. McLaughlin suggested the PPM offered a cohesiveness of government policy not offered currently.
“The people of George Town must elect a group of people… who will form on government, not the five governments that currently run this country,” he said.
Mr. McLaughlin called for a “government in the sunshine” that adheres to due process, abides by the law and does not victimise its critics.
“We want to end the culture of secrecy that exists in this country,” he said, saying the PPM supports freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
Mr. Wright, who is running for office for the first time, said the PPM intends to “put a spotlight on all young adults.”
Noting recent comments about work permit holders leaving the island after Hurricane Ivan, Mr. Wright said the real “brain drain” was not being able to find good jobs for Caymanians returning home after college.
Mr. Wright said the PPM would not allow the renewal of work permits to people in a particular occupation until all Caymanians of that same occupation had jobs.
The George Town PPM candidates do not always see eye–to–eye, which is a good thing Mr. Wright said because they would not form a “rubber stamp” type of government.
“Still, we trust and respect each other, and we can agree to disagree,” he said.
Lucille Seymour, who missed being elected in George Town in 2000 by 56 votes, said the PPM’s constitution contains provisions for accountability that ensure the party would form a government that could be trusted.
Mrs. Seymour stressed making tourism “everybody’s business” and putting people on the national agenda.
“To do that, the population needs to be educated,” she said, citing the importance of improving education in the Cayman Islands.
Long–time veteran legislator Kurt Tibbetts stressed that the PPM must pick up Legislative Assembly seats in the election if it is to effect the changes the people want.
He said George Town was a key district.
“The PPM must take all four in George Town,” he said and then asked the crowd to join in the chant “we need all four.”
Mr. Tibbetts also stressed the importance of education and suggested the lack of priority on education was “the most serious indictment” on the current government.
“The role of education in the sustainable development of the Cayman Islands into the 21st century cannot be understated,” he said.
Mr. Tibbetts urged the Caymanian people to become involved in their country.
“Many of our problems come from the fact that we have stopped caring,” he said. “We must become the caring society that we once were.”
The PPM announced that it will hold a major rally of its island–wide candidates on 9 April at Hurley’s at Grand Harbour at 6:30 p.m.