Monday 11th April, 2005 Posted: 16:09 CIT (21:09 GMT)
The United Democratic Party launched its national campaign last Thursday night before several hundred enthused followers at the Quincentennial Celebration Park next to the Court House in George Town.
During the festive evening that featured live music, balloons and free refreshments, the UDP also released its Party Manifesto.
Chairman of the UDP’s George Town Committee Delroy Howell introduced a recurrent theme of the presentation of the evening in his welcoming address.
“Actions speak louder than words,” he said, speaking of the accomplishments of the UDP in face of the criticisms of the party’s opponents.
Mr. Howell said he saw confidence in the crowd gathered there.
“I see confidence in our leaders, like McKeeva Bush, who I’m going to call the Mailman, because, as you all know, the mailman delivers, just like McKeeva Bush.”
All 14 of the national UDP candidates spoke during the programme with the exception of Cabinet Minister Roy Bodden, who was ill and could not attend.
Minister Frank McField was the first candidate to speak, and he got the crowd worked up with a spirited presentation.
Mr. McField warned people not to believe everything that is written or said by others.
“You need to believe that actions speak louder than empty promises,” he said. “We are ready to serve you with actions and not just words.”
Speaking of the UDP’s George Town candidates – himself, his sister Beulah McField, Lloyd Samson and John Henry Ebanks – Mr. McField called them the ‘Force of Four.”
Mr. McField said much had been accomplished during the current government’s term in office and there was still much more to be accomplished.
“We want you to give us another four years to complete the job,” he said.
Edlin Myles, who shared the emcee duties for the event with Pearlina McGaw, reminded the crowd that “unity is strength.”
“Vote straight UDP,” he urged.
West Bay candidate Cline Glidden said the UDP did a good job rebuilding Cayman since Hurricane Ivan with an emphasis on helping the people help themselves.
“We put your financial industry back. We put your tourism industry back. We did this to give you opportunities to help yourself,” he said.
New North Side candidate Alex Johnson said her passion was people.
“Win or lose, I’ll continue to support my community,” she said. “I won’t desert the ship.”
Captain Eugene Ebanks was the next candidate to speak.
“You have a civic duty to vote for the government that can best lead the country forward, and I suggest to you that government is the UDP,” he said. “Where would we be today if it weren’t for the UDP?”
Cayman Brac’s Lyndon Martin praised Leader of Government Business, McKeeva Bush.
“I’m going to big up WMB,” he said. “He’s the man with the plan, the man of action.”
Bodden Town candidate Mark Scotland struck the same action chord.
“I’m a worker, not a talker,” he said. “You must remember, actions speaker louder than words.”
Rolston Anglin spoke specifically of some of the actions the UDP had accomplished, like a balanced budget, immigration reform, liberalisation of telecommunications and rolled back prices from CUC.
“You need to elect the government that has the guts and courage to do what is right,” he said.
Cabinet minister Julianna O’Connor Connolly spoke of the opportunities that Caymanians have under the UDP government.
“If you want to go to college now, your family name doesn’t matter,” she said. “It only matters that you’re Caymanian and you want to better yourself.”
First time candidate Lloyd Samson explained why he decided to run in the elections.
“We are at a critical juncture in the history of this Cayman Islands,” he said. “The decisions we make will affect the quality of our lives for many years.
“The UDP is the party possessed of the talent, the intellect, the energy and the courage to fact the challenges of the future.”
George Town running mate John Henry Ebanks also spoke of the courage to make decision.
“Leadership is about making bold decisions; decisions that might not always be popular, but need to be made,” he said. “We will form a government you can trust to get things done.”
Minster Gilbert McLean brushed aside criticism from a certain media house and the opposition.
“We are not a government that just talks,” he said. “We see what needs to be done and we do it. We don’t complain; we act.”
Saying she was a candidate “with a heart” Beulah McField spoke about Cayman’s recovery after Hurricane Ivan.
“If it’s true that God helps those who help themselves, then the Cayman Islands are truly blessed by God because we didn’t wait for help from others,” she said. “We gave help to each other.”
Delivering the keynote address, McKeeva Bush had the crowd on its feet.
Mr. Bush indicated the next four years would be critical.
“We have challenges that we must fact, but with every challenge comes opportunity,” he said.
He made mention of the recent International Monetary Fund report praising Cayman.
“Our world–wide reputation in history has never been better,” he said.
Mr. Bush admitted the UDP has made some mistakes.
“We’re not perfect. We’re not angels,” he said. “But we have been and will continue to be good representatives for the Cayman Islands.”
Mr. Bush outlined many of the items in the manifesto.
“We cannot promise we can fulfil all of these (goals) at one time, but we promise we’ll work toward it,” he said.