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Rankin Plans Independent Run In Newlands

Rankin Plans Independent Run In Newlands
Mario Rankin.

GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman (CNS) -- A former chairman of the United Democratic Party’s Bodden Town district branch, Mario Rankin has announced his intention to contest the seat of Newlands in the May General Election. However, the local businessman appears to be running as an independent and not with the Cayman Democratic Party (the renamed UDP), headed by McKeeva Bush. Rankin’s candidacy was revealed this weekend on Facebook and the political hopeful is launching his campaign on Saturday. Rankin’s guest speakers include Chris Saunders, who plans to run in the neighboring constituency of Bodden Town West in a loose alliance with Rankin.

Rankin will launch his “Vision for the Future” at 383 Hurst Road at the junction of the bypass at 6:30pm on 18 March.

Rankin is the third independent candidate to declare his intentions to run in Newlands, which could prove to be a tough race for the candidates when all potential runners are declared on Nomination Day. One of the fastest growing residential areas in Grand Cayman, it has 1,265 registered voters on the most recent list.

Already declared for the district is political newcomer Raul Gonzalez, who is also running as an independent, and incumbent Alva Suckoo, who is running as an independent in an alliance that includes Gilbert McLean, a former health minister in the first UDP administration, who is standing in the Bodden Town West constituency.

Neither the PPM nor the CDP have revealed who will be running on their party tickets in the Newlands district. The CDP leadership may decide not to challenge Rankin and hope that if he won he would be more inclined to support Bush in the event of a mixed result.

In the 2013 elections, ballot results for the polling stations that encompassed both Newlands and Savannah had a strong showing for the PPM.

Anthony Eden collected 772 votes in the area in 2013 but it is not clear if Eden will run in the 2017 election. Having left the Progressives, if he runs he will be doing so as an independent and will prove a difficult candidate to beat. Cabinet ministers Osbourne Bodden, who garnered 688 votes in the area, and Wayne Panton, who picked up 763 votes, both did well in the Savanna-Newlands polling stations, with Suckoo, who ran on the Progressives ticket in 2013, collecting 664.