The newly formed People’s Party held their very first district meeting in George Town Hall on Monday 17 November. There were roughly a dozen attendees including George Town MLA Kenneth Bryan, who asked several questions about the new party, and expressed an interest in the new party. Also present was former Minister of Health, Gilbert McLean.
During the meeting, interim Chair, Donovan Ebanks and Interim Leader Ezzard Miller presented the new party’s aims, explaining that its vision was really for power to come from the grassroots level upward, thereby heralding what they hope will be a new level of democracy and people participation, transparency and accountability in the political system. Because the party’s philosophy is based on people-participation, they had left the formulation of a manifesto to a later time, when more members will have joined. At that time, too the party officials such as Chair, Leader, and Secretary (presently, Gilbert Connolly who was not present at the town hall meeting) will be appointed by membership input, and so transition from their present ‘interim’ designations to substantive offices.
Taking the podium, Mr. Ebanks said, “It’s a grass roots initiative, to empower the citizens of Cayman in a way that they haven’t been empowered in the past. At the moment we have been registered by the Elections Office, and also registered as a non-profit as well.”
Attendees were given pamphlets explaining the vision of the new party, and they were also treated to a video from the United Nations, on the topic of widening the scope of democracy and people-centred government. The video made the link between participatory decision-making and sustainable economic and beneficial societal development, and highlighted the range of ways, besides voting once every four years, in which people can participate and become more active agents in their communities.
Using the CPR campaign as an example, Mr. Ebanks said that despite constitutional provision for a peoples’ initiated referendum, the government had consistently discouraged participation. “We think we have to change the way we do business…It isn’t good enough,” he said.Mr. Ebanks encouraged people to take one of the forms provided sign up and get involved with the new party. “It’s a different plan, and we think it is one that the community needs,” he said.
Mr. Miller said, “What we are trying to do is to put together the structure that gives you the opportunity for participatory democracy…This is not about Ezzard Miller as Premier… we understand that this is transformative…. With an aim of getting the government in 2025,” he said. “What we are trying to do tonight is to get people to take a brochure look at it and have a conversation about doing things different from what we normally do. We are going to walk and talk, and meet people in their living room. That is the way that it is going to be. We don’t need a whole pile of money what we need is commitment. We have to restore hope for Caymanians we have to restore their faith in the system of governance.
“The young people in this country are getting fed up… (there are) Educated young Caymanians who don’t believe they have a fair chance in their own country. A lot of them are using their feet and going to another country. We can’t afford that kind of brain drain in Cayman.”