People had been suggesting that she run for years, said first-time office seeker Alvera Maduro-Caines, and she certainly considered it. But it wasn’t until the charge of her ailing mother that she committed.
“She said, ‘Go and represent your people. I may not see it, but you should still do it,’” Ms. Maduro-Caines said. Her mother, Cynthia “Gwen” Maduro, died last year.
Ms. Caines had confirmed that she would run for the Sixth District seat during a March National Democratic Party “big tent meeting,” but last Thursday under a tent to keep off the rain, she officially launched her campaign.
About 65 people crowded under tents or on porches behind OneMart to hear her address to the public.
She told the crowd that she has lived in the Sixth District all her life, and that if elected, “I will be here for you all the time and you will see me.”
Her top-priority issue is youth in the territory, she said at the launch. She would like to see a trade school established to help young people, particularly those in the Sixth District, who she said are full of “hope and untapped potential.”
In a phone interview after the launch, Ms. Maduro-Caines said that too many young people are being given short-term jobs instead of training or support for long-term careers.
“We’re just giving them a little bit of sit down and hush money,” she said. “Petty contracts to cut bush are one thing, but we need to empower our youth. What about opening your own landscaping business?”
Young people are a big part of Ms. Maduro-Caines’ day-to-day life, she said. The mother of two said her home is nearly always full.
“They always know they have a place to stay here, and their parents don’t worry if they’re here. They all call me mom,” Ms. Maduro-Caines said by phone.
As much as possible, Ms. Maduro-Caines and her husband, Emmett Caines, try to assist the young people they know in an empowering way, she said. Sometimes this means giving them a place to stay while they attend classes; other times it’s a job and training at the family’s restaurant and catering business.
“It’s just so that they don’t become just another group of lost boys,” she said.
Ms. Maduro-Caines said her other priority is the physical infrastructure in the district.
For one thing, she is eager to get Sixth District residents better access to the main road, she said. At the moment, she added, residents living along the road near Brewley’s Superette in Purcell Estate have only one road in or out.
“If we ever needed to evacuate, this could be a real emergency,” Ms. Maduro-Caines said, adding that she and others in the Sixth District have been requesting an additional road for years.
At the launch, she also called attention to the infrastructure woes in the district — “inadequate” drains, sewerage that is an “embarrassment” and roads that need to be “completely re-engineered” — but she did not offer specific proposals to fix these issues.
“I will be revealing my full plan for the Sixth District over the coming months,” she told residents.
The current Sixth District representative is Natural Resources and Labour Minister Omar Hodge.