Cayman Brac East candidate Elvis McKeever said the Cayman Islands education system is failing the country’s children because it is focussed only on ‘high achievers’.
His opponent, incumbent Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, who is the Minister of Education, declined the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce‘s invitation to participate in its ninth candidate forum held Thursday night.
O’Connor-Connolly also declined to participate in an earlier debate hosted by the Cayman Crosstalk radio show.
McKeever said, “The high achievers will make it. That’s why we call them ‘high achievers’. The ones that are falling behind, that’s not the high achievers.”
He said the country’s construction boom has created opportunities for Caymanians to pursue technical careers in plumbing, carpentry, landscaping, etc.
“But we are not teaching our people that. You know what we’re saying, ‘Oh well that one belong. This one, you can’t teach them nothing.’ So they’re not going to learn, so you throw them on the wayside,” he said.
“You know where they’re headed? Down the road to Northward [Prison],” he said.
McKeever said, “They don’t get a job, so they smoke a stick of ganja. Can’t get no job, then the foreign policeman come up. They got a record. So that’s ruined. And they’ve done it to all of our young people, and they continue to do it.”
As a basic measure, McKeever said every school, from nursery to secondary, should have grow boxes to teach students how to farm.
“Everyone should be learning to grow something, and appreciate it. When you plant a seed and you watch it grow, you are thinking about tomorrow,” he said.