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‘John John’ tells it Like it is at Public Meeting

Government 03 Apr, 2023 Follow News

Labour and Border Control Minister, the Hon. Dwayne ‘John John’ Seymour addresses and audience of Bodden Town East constituents at a public meeting on Thursday, 30th March, 2023.

Premier, the Hon. Wayne Panton addresses Bodden Town East constituents at a public meeting held by Bodden Town East MP, the Hon. Dwayne Seymour.

By Staff Writer

A public meeting billed as a mid-term update was held by Bodden Town East Member of Parliament, the Honourable Dwayne ‘John John’ Seymour on Thursday, 30th March.

Listeners were eager to hear what Mr. Seymour had to say, after the recent reshuffling of the government’s Cabinet, and Bodden Town East, which is the largest constituency in the Cayman Islands, were joined by onlookers from other Districts, as well as listeners on radio. 

“On ‘D’ Day,” as Minister Seymour referred to the now well publicized exit of Mr. Saunders, “I was sitting down waiting for Caucus. The former Deputy Premier got a call and folks left the room. Upon returning we were all made aware of the news,” he revealed.

He explained that Premier, the Honourable Wayne Panton told the Members of the decision he had made and outlined 4 points, before indicating that he needed to select a new Deputy Premier.

Minister Seymour said upon being asked to serve as the Minister for Labour and Border Control, he was surprised because just the day before, he and the Premier had a disagreement.

He said the Premier then chose Mrs. Julianna O’Connor Connolly as the Deputy Premier, because she is someone who had experience and had served in many parliamentary roles.

“If you are not happy with the Premier, you have to decide,” ‘Do I ruin the party or do I ruin the country?’ he remarked, adding that reshuffling in Parliament was not uncommon and one has to decide whether to attempt a coup or get on with the country’s business.

“We have a responsibility to the good ship Cayman and what we need is solidarity,” said Mr. Seymour.

Initially, Saunders’ departure from Ministerial ranks had been shrouded in mystery and while the matter of his resignation/firing and what lead to it is still not entirely clear, he has since come out and said that it was due to material differences between he and the Premier.

He later released a statement, which pointed at a proposed waste management deal, which he said would cost in the region of 2 billion dollars, being a factor and warned that the country would be headed for taxation if the project and certain aspects of the anticipated National ID programme were instituted.

In recent interviews, however, the Premier has suggest that Mr. Saunders was in fact, asked to step down but refused and so was made to do so, due to issues relating to his conduct.

Additionally, Mr. Panton has gone on record to state that several public servants are on leave after making complaints about Mr. Saunders’ alleged conduct.

During his remarks, Minister Seymour spoke about the serendipity of his personal time in politics and noted that he was in the position of Minister today, because of providence, adding that Thursday’s public meeting was timely, considering the most talked about thing since the pandemic took place recently, (referring the resignation of the Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, Mr. Chris Saunders.)

Minister Seymour has served in Cabinet during all three of his terms in the Legislative Assembly and has been well position at the right time in most instances.

“In 2012, when one of the Ministers went down, I was one of the strategic persons in the room.

“In 2017, when there were issues in forming the government, they called on me and I became the Health Minister and not one person died during my watch,” said Mr. Seymour, who attributed his Office’s success during the pandemic to the grace of God.

In 2020, Mr. Seymour ended up on the Opposition bench, until he said he was approached by Tourism Minister, the Honourable Kenneth Bryan and the Minister for Agriculture, the Honourable Jay Ebanks, who then called on him publicly to make an affirmative decision to join the PACT Government.

He said on each of these occasions, he has never asked for a Ministerial seat but declared that from now on, he would demand one.

“I am here for country and I can fight from behind, because I do not need to be in power to be powerful,’ he declared.

Minister Seymour said that many said the PACT government would not last one year but noted that, “lots of arms hold up the good ship Cayman,” adding that the country does not need instability.

Touching on various topics, ranging from traffic to education and finance, the Minister noted that he also wanted to make a serious statement about the ‘one man, one vote’ political system in the Cayman Islands, which he said was divisive and not serving Cayman well.

“One man, one vote is not working as intended and no one is ready or prepared for it, from civil servants, to constituents,” he remarked, adding that it was causing a situation where persons were now saying, ‘you are not from my area’,

‘We need a united approach,” he urged, before honing in on more of the issues that concerned him.

Mr. Seymour said he has always supported the Covid-19 vaccine programme, but noted that at this point in time, he no longer supports mandatory vaccinations.

In addition, he said he did not support mandatory National ID’s and explained that the East West Arterial was needed urgently to alleviate to the traffic woes of those living in the Eastern Districts.

“1 more hour of sleep,” read the slogan on a t-shirt brandished by the Minister during Thursdays event.

Other speakers at the mid-term update, include Mrs. Julianna O’Connor Connolly who did not elaborate on the situation concerning Mr. Saunders.

Though she alluded to the events, explaining that democracy is in danger when person feel that if they can’t be captain, they have to mash up the engine room.

Premier Wayne Panton told the audience that he was prepared to get the East West Arterial in motion once and environmental impact assessment had been done and said he empathized with the plight of those dealing with traffic in the coming into Town.

He lamented the fact that there were over 8,000 cars imported in the last year, which he said would add up to 24 miles if lined up back-to-back.

The Premier did not say much regarding the ongoing situation with Mr. Saunders and seemed to focus more on practical issues affecting the Territory.

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