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Election Center 30 Mar, 2021 Follow News

George Town North MP and Minister for Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure, Joey Hew and his challenger Johann Moxam

George Town North MP and Minister for Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure, Joey Hew and his challenger Johann Moxam went head-to-head on Friday evening when they met in the Chamber of Commerce’s Candidate Forum series of interviews.

In what was an all-out bid by Hew to retain the seat and by Moxam to take it, the two candidates brought their individual solutions to a string of issues facing the constituency and the wider Cayman community.

Policy disagreements dominated the exchange as the two candidates viewed the scale of the issues differently with the incumbent Hew accentuating the positive of the government’s achievement and works in progress, while challenger Moxam focused on areas he felt the government has fallen short.

That was obvious when they were asked about their priorities for the constituency. Mr Hew highlighted the ongoing infrastructure works which fall directly under his portfolio.

“Creating safer roads a shared road philosophy so that residents can move around safely…dealing with the issues of flooding. One of the other issues we face in our, in our communities is that of the derelict vehicles and derelict homes and just the overall quality of living and we've been working very hard at that. It sometimes feels like a losing battle but we won't give up and just providing, again, a much better living environment for our citizens.”

Mr Moxam took a different path on that issue.

“I plan to introduce something called the Community Assistance Programme call it CAPS,” which he explained would streamline the welfare support provided by NAU.

“Also a feasibility study on public transport. Right now roads are congested, I understand Mr Hew spoke about developing more roads, but really and truly, that's just building roads to nowhere. We need a plan instead of just the politics side of building roads.”

The need for an overarching national development plan and strategy was a focal point of the exchange.

Mr Hew also referred to the PlanCayman, national development plan being spearheaded by his ministry, which should be unveiled in the coming months, a policy proposal that he reverted to quite regularly in his presentation.

“This is where we will review things such as beach access, how we address them, what can developers do or cannot do when developing, and dealing with beach access these are all things that would be a part of that discussion surrounding Plan Cayman,” he said.

However, Mr Moxam felt there is a growing urgency to move beyond conceptualising the national development plan.

“We can talk about Plan Cayman all we want, but unless you're getting the same stakeholders in a room to discuss how these things impact their life, Plan Cayman is just nice words on a piece of paper.”

The George Town North aspirant also raised concern about what he felt was the gentrification of certain areas being developed or otherwise and earmarked for development.

“When you look at what's happening, Georgetown is being killed off by the government…No Caymanian must left behind and no Caymanian must be taken advantage of, and sadly, the current administration is doing that,” he stated.

In addition to the issues which have been dominating the Chamber’s Candidate Forums based on a survey conducted by the organisation, the Hew/Moxam meet also included several topics specific to the candidates and the George Town North constituency. One was access to public beaches.

Moxam: “We have to ensure that Caymanians do not feel that they are second class citizens in their own country when they're traversing the beach.”

He blamed the government for failing to push through the relevant legislation.

“The current administration was due to bring amendments to the beach access legislation, towards the end of 2020. Without explanation they dropped that legislation altogether. I have some idea as to why they did that, but I will say that it was just unacceptable for them to kick the can down the road again for another number of years.”

But the incumbent Mr Hew questioned his opponent’s version of events.

“I'm unaware of any beach access legislation but this administration did pass the precise human rights law, and the prescriptive rights law is in place. We also created the Public Lands Commission under this administration."

Coming out of the exchange and ultimately the April 14th election Mr Hew said "whatever task they give me I'm happy to step up to do it", while looking at his prospects in government Mr Moxam stated, "I consider myself competent and capable in handling the Ministry of Financial Services, Ministry of Commerce and Economic Development."

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