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The Lion And Aunt Sookie To Challenge Mac
GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman (CNS) -- Veteran MLA and opposition leader, McKeeva Bush, may have been the first candidate to be nominated in West Bay West on Wednesday but he wasn’t the last.
At around 2:30pm Daphne Orrett (a.k.a. Aunt Sookie), who served in the Legislative Assembly in the 1980’s, was nominated as a PPM candidate and Paul Rivers (a.k.a. ‘the Lion’) arrived to challenge the Cayman Democratic Party leader in the constituency and create a three-way race.
Earlier in the day Bush said that the people he expected to challenge him were “minor candidates”, but when CNS caught up with Rivers immediately after he was nominated, he said that the people of WBW did not see him as minor and was confident he could beat Bush.
“I can’t be a minor candidate, especially as McKeeva Bush was practically begging me not to run against him,” he said. “My constituency is telling me I am not a minor candidate, and when I did my evaluation on voters in West Bay West, I see that I have almost 65% of the support.”
Rivers told CNS that his goal was to start some real social development programmes in West Bay to make a change in people’s chances to earn an honest and decent living. He said the system has neglected the people in the constituency and in “order to change the system we need to change the players”.
Describing himself as part of the new guard, he said people had to elect new representatives to force change because the old guard had fallen asleep on the job.
Rivers also pointed out that one of the main reasons that people supported the change to ‘one man, one vote’ in single-member constituencies was to create more accountability, but if they voted for party members they would be undermining that accountability because they would be voting for people who are blinded by party loyalty and a herd mentality. He said the new accountability should lead to better, more accountable politicians.
The West Bayer said he believed it was possible to form a government of independent thinkers who could come together in a transparent way without horse-trading or selling out principles to agree on the “people’s agenda” and not their own.
He said there was no more certainty with the party system than a collection of independents, as the UDP had split during its last administration, and just two years into the PPM administration, they lost two of their party members to the opposition benches.
Rivers was sounding confident but it was clear he had been hoping for a head-to-head run with the incumbent. However, the arrival of Orrett in the constituency on the PPM ticket will now see whatever opposition votes to Bush that exists in the constituency divided, paving the way for Bush to serve a record 8th term as an MLA.
The PPM played a carefully orchestrated, strategic game in the capital to secure for the premier a more certain path to the LA in the district of Red Bay. But the Progressives appeared to take their eye off the ball in West Bay, giving an easier ride to the opposition leader.