George Town Central incumbent Kenneth Bryan launched his reelection campaign on Saturday, 20th March at the Kirk Home Center parking lot.
The former television journalist’s political journey started out as an assistant to the Premier from 2013 to 2015, before clinching a seat in Parliament in 2017, edging out then Minister of Finance Marco Archer.
Running under the slogan, ‘Together We Still Can’, Mr Bryan was joined on the podium by Bodden Town West Member of Parliament, Chris Saunders, George Town North Candidate Johann Moxam, as well as Newlands Candidate and former Minister for the Environment (2013-2017) Wayne Panton.
In endorsing Mr Bryan’s candidacy, Moxam expressed delight at the prospect of the MP regaining his seat, noting that he did not envy Mr Bryan’s opponent and the task he had before him.
“There is no harder working representative in Caymanian politics than Kenneth Bryan, noted Mr Moxam, who added that those who doubt his abilities only do so because they are unable to control him.
“He reminds me of two of Cayman’s greatest politicians in one; Kurt Tibbetts and McKeeva Bush,” declared Mr Moxam, whose remarks were followed by MP Chris Saunders, who wasted no time in letting the audience know exactly how he felt about Mr Bryan and the present government.
“Folks I don’t have much time because Bernie Bush is in a fight up in West Bay and we have to go there after this to support him,” noted Mr Saunders, who then gave anecdotal evidence of what Mr Bryan had been able to accomplish in Parliament despite staunch opposition from the Government.
Mr Saunders explained the extent to which the Opposition had to go to in order to get the pension withdrawals from up to CI$35,000 to CI$50,000 - CI$15,000 more than was originally intended - and MP Bryan credited on parliamentary skills in ensuring that.
“Ladies and gentlemen that is how much the government did not want to work with him and they made no secret of the way they felt about him, but we were able to get it done in the end. And, if that is what we have to go through to get things done for Caymanians in this country, then we are in a sad state of affairs.”
“We have to send them a strong message and give Kenneth Bryan a 95% victory so that they know Central George Town is off the table and his opponent (Alliance Member Frank Cornwall) will not get back his deposit,” he said, calling for a clear victory to send a resounding message.
Wayne Panton declared that he was ready and willing to work with Kenneth Bryan and praised the MP’s work ethic and commitment to his constituency over the past four years.
In his main address, Mr Bryan spoke of the plight of working-class Caymanians urging leaders to stop focusing on the wealthy and focus on creating opportunities for locals instead.
“We must put our people first, as our people are our greatest asset,” he remarked, adding that concessions are needed on a project called, ‘Cayman First’.
He said the cost of living was the major issue that needed urgent attention and called for a review of import duties.
“We need to review duty and other taxes that make the cost of living so high. Duty for women’s products are 22 per cent and that is a tax on our women, our mothers, our caregivers,” said Mr. Bryan.
He lambasted the minimum wage of CI$6.00, saying it was inadequate to live on.
“When you elect me, I will find solutions to increase the income of all Caymanians. We are all in this boat together and we must all be paddling in the same direction.”
The George Town Central incumbent appealed for more opportunities for Caymanians, especially in the private sector. “Removing barriers to climbing the corporate ladder and give our people the same opportunities as those that come from overseas.”
This is Mr Bryan’s third General Election, having lost in the first, winning the second and now defending his seat in Parliament.