Our election coverage continues in West Bay North, a constituency that’s seen its share of violence and other social issues.
Independent candidate Sarah Orrett-Ebanks told Cayman 27 the community is in crisis and she said the education system shoulders much of the blame.
“We’re not dealing with South Sound, we’re not dealing with Vista del Mar, we’re not dealing with Prospect, we’re dealing with West Bay North, and it makes a huge difference,” said Ms. Orrett-Ebanks.
The issues facing her constituency are well publicised. Since November 2016 there have been at least three shootings, including a hostage situation that left one man dead in January.
Ms. Orrerrt-Ebanks met Cayman 27 in the car park of Super C’s restaurant to give her take on the issues facing the constituency.
“Many of these incidents that have taken place is what we call a run-off of our kids coming out of school too early, we’re just throwing them out,” said Ms. Orrett-Ebanks.
She told Cayman 27 16-year-olds are leaving school unprepared to join the workforce at age 18. She said trade schools can help bridge the gap.
“We don’t have to build a billion-dollar complex, all you have to do is find places,” she said, pointing to examples in her community.
She suggested turning the old Treasure Chest Bakery into a culinary arts complex, or possibly teaching beauty and barber arts at Leda’s Salon on Watercourse Road.
“What we shove down the throats of our people in school from the time they were 14, 15, you have to be a doctor, you have to be a lawyer, dentist, or an auditor or an accountant,” she explained.
She said the country should place more emphasis on the value of blue-collar trades.
“Everybody has a different skill set, so we have to harness what is it that these young people are strong at,” she said. “Every job is valuable.”
Ms. Orrett-Ebanks said she’s sick of seeing her community in decline. She’s counting on her background as a community activist to turn things around.
“We need more community leaders, people who are going to step up on a voluntary basis to heal this community,” she said.
Ms. Orrett-Ebanks is in a three-way race in West Bay North against CDP candidate and sitting MLA Bernie Bush and independent Mervin Smith.