Hon. Premier Alden McLaughlin, leader of the People’s Progressive Movement-led coalition government, has thrown down the gauntlet to political aspirants for the 2021 general election, especially anyone seeking the leadership role.
Speaking this week, Premier McLaughlin cautioned that the outlook for 2021 was at best concerning.
He was at the time reflecting on how the jurisdiction has been navigating the turbulent waters of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
With an assessment that Cayman has done “surprisingly well” both economically and managing the public health aspect of the pandemic, Mr McLaughlin sounded a dire note of caution about the outlook for 2021.
“It is going to be a massive challenge next year and for the next administration,” he said.
The government, under Mr McLaughlin’s leadership, has been credited for its stewardship during the crisis especially for its handling of the public health element.
It has also put in place a number of measures to cushion the economic impact especially relief and stimulus support for small and medium-sized enterprises, funding, and training schemes for Caymanian workers.
“If you look at what’s happening all around the world, there is going to be real work. We are doing a lot of thinking and planning ourselves,” he said of his People’s Progressive Movement-led coalition administration.
“Because we did that over the course of these past seven years is why we are as able as we currently are to navigate this very difficult current set of circumstances.”
In very sombre tones, the Premier went on to state that “anyone who believes that things are not going to very, very difficult, in the coming years don’t quite grasp the gravity of the situation that the world is facing and is going to continue to face.”
However, with the 2021 elections looming the PPM-led government’s economic policies and general track record are already coming in for close scrutiny.
General election in Cayman is due by May 2021.
Constitutionally, Mr McLaughlin who has been leading the jurisdiction through the health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is barred from another term as Premier having completed two consecutive terms.
With the global economic outlook shrouded in uncertainty, Mr McLean’s sombre warning raises many questions as much as it highlights the challenges ahead.