“Empowering the People,” is the theme and slogan of the Cayman Island People’s Party, which was announced North Side Elected Member Hon. Ezzard Miller, at a press conference given at the Legislative Assembly on 6 November. The brand new party has just received its certificate from the Cayman Islands Elections Office. Donovan Ebanks, Gilbert Connolly, and Levon Bodden are all the party’s initial members, and joined Mr. Miller at the conference, where some of the ideas behind the new party as well as the structure of its constitution were discussed.
“The key aim of the party,” Mr. Miller said, “is the strengthening of participatory democracy in the Cayman Islands by means of an involved and empowered electorate.”
Introducing Donovan Ebanks, MBE, Party Chairman, Mr. Miller said that with his considerable experience in the past as head of Public Works, among other roles, “Brings a level of credibility and seriousness as to what we are going to do.” The next member of the new party, Gilbert, Connolly, has also extensive experience, first as a seaman, in Customs, and also financial arm of the insurance industry, as well as CEO of the Tourism Attractions Board, Mr Miller said. The fourth member of the new party, Levon Bodden, represented an opportunity for young Caymanians to be involved in the political process, Mr. Miller said. Mr. Bodden had considerable experience in areas concerning social welfare and concerns such as mental health. “What we have here today is the result of six months of work with a huge cross section of the community,” Mr. Miller said. “We have a whole spectrum of people involved in this process. As you know my mantra for many years has been participation and I believe that the people I represent have an inherent right to be involved in the political process,” Mr. Miller said. “So the way we have tried to structure the people’s party is for the empowerment of the people,”
The theme of grass-roots participation is reflected throughout the structure of the constitution for the new party, which will involve 62 party officials spread between each of the 19 electoral districts. Mr. Miller said that the constitution has been worked out to include various safeguards in the constitution in order to prevent the kind of situation he had seen before, he said, where one leader dominated the activities of the party. The constitution would also allow for a greater number of young people to participate in the party, so that transition from generation to generation can be ensured. “When I talk to the young people one of their concerns is, ‘how do I get involved? How do I get my view heard.’?” He said, adding that the new party will help ensure that their voice is heard.
Mr. Bodden said: “Give God the thanks for putting things in place I think as a part of this team here I represent a demographic that has been neglected.” There is still a lot of work to do, but Mr. Miller expects that the new party will spend around the first six months of next year establishing the Electoral District Committees, but assured everyone that the party should be all ready for the 2021 election campaign, with 19 candidates for the election.
Mr. Miller said that the constitution of the People’s Party is structured to achieve a dynamic, so that every member at all levels becomes an integral partner in the process of governance, and would be a way that the famous front-porch discussions known so well all over their Cayman Islands would find their voice in real participation. The party would rest on a foundation of small neighbourhood groups that will share information across communities and upwards to the electoral district committees, a press-release document said.
The electoral district committees would in turn be represented in a national steering committees that will ensure that the people’s needs are understood and actioned.