Long-serving East End MLA John McLean dies

| 27/08/2019
CNS Local Life
John McLean flanked by his son, John McLean Jr, and daughter, Shannon McLean-Broadbelt

(CNS Local Life): Former MLA John McLean, who represented the district of East End in the Legislative Assembly from 1976-2000, died Saturday, 24 August, at the age of 69, after a short illness. During his long political career he also served on the Executive Council, which was the precursor to Cabinet.

Described by his children as a loving father who “never missed a birthday party or forgot to kiss us good night”, despite his busy schedule as a politician, McLean was also praised for his public service by both Premier Alden McLaughlin and members of the opposition in the LA.

In a statement to CNS, children John McLean Jr, Shannon McLean-Broadbelt and Reagan McLean, and their mother, Stephanie McLean, the East Ender’s first wife, shared memories.

“Our dad was a disciplinarian with a loving and circumspect character. He taught us to have respect for all and to know right from wrong and never hesitated to keep us on a narrow pathway,” they said. “We had fond memories with him on vacations in Miami, going into the land to cultivate our pastures and check on our cattle, goats and chickens.”

They spoke of enjoying “Easter camping, fishing, and picnicking every Sunday”, usually at Rum Point. “After, we would go home, take a shower and drive all the way back to the only pizza place on island, Borden’s Pizza, to get pizza and hush puppies. On our way home we would pick up a five gallon (tub of rum raisin ice cream) which would last us for a week, and we would do it all over again.” 

The family ended their statement by saying, “We have an abundance of memories too many to list as he always made time for us even with his busy schedule as a politician for 24 years. He never missed a birthday party or forgot to kiss us good night. Daddy was a father to many, always willing to help in any way he could. He will be sadly missed by all of us. May he rest in peace.”

John McLean Jr also noted that during his father’s 24 years of public service representing East End, his accomplishments included two civic centres, a post office, clinic, police station, the Wreck of the Ten Sails tourist attraction, the Queens Highway and multiple other roads.

(click to enlarge)

They have organised a motorcade and candlelight vigil in East End in McLean’s honour set for Wednesday, 28 August.

In a statement, McLaughlin said McLean had been “devoted to the East End community” but “advocated for development throughout the Cayman Islands”.

McLaughlin also noted that McLean was credited with the development of two civic centres in East End “which have served the people in that district well during natural disasters”.

Through his time in government, McLean had responsibility for agriculture, lands, natural resources, communications, environment and works, and was “an avid farmer, being recognised many times during various agricultural shows”.

The premier also announced that, as a sign of respect, flags would fly at half-staff at all government sites today, as well as for two days ahead of his funeral, with that date to be confirmed.

“He was a true Caymanian and will be sorely missed,” McLaughlin said.

Members of the opposition in the Legislative Assembly issued a statement on Saturday which noted McLean’s long public service, saying he was “instrumental in many aspects of the development of the Cayman Islands, including agriculture, Water Authority, road networks and the infrastructure in general”.

In addition, the opposition, which is led by Arden McLean, the district’s current representative, said, “The people of East End witnessed and benefited from a number of infrastructural projects within the district under (John McLean’s) leadership: better roads, civic centres, farm roads to name a few.”

The statement ended by expressing sadness to hear of the former legislator’s passing. They added, “We pause here to pay tribute to his many years of service to our country and in particular his contribution to our development. We share in this loss to his family, friends and people of East End.”

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Comments (12)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The motorcade and the candlelight service was nice. The current MLA admitted when he got up and spoke that he (the current MLA) has not really done anything for our district. All major improvements in the district for the last 40 years was done by Mr. John Mclean Sr.

    Thank you John Sr. for all you have done for us in East End.
    May your soul rest in peace….

  2. Anonymous says:

    RIP McLean, to his wife, his ex-wife and children my deepest condolences. Have peace in knowing he loved you all.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I will be there tonight in Spirit, Denise.
    I pray for strength for you; and John’s children, grand children and great grandchildren.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sincere condolences to his widow, Mrs. Denise McLean and their daughters, and to his other children mentioned in this article. Rest In Peace Mr. McLean.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is really sad and what a lovely photograph.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Rest in peace in God’s loving arms and rise in glory Mr. John! 💔🙏🙏

  7. Isaac Rankine says:

    The East End Community owes a gratitude of thanks to Mr. John Mclean Sr. for his hard work and dedication during his tenue as an MLA for the developments in the district, highlighted in the article above. He was very active in the community and was a very big supporter and member of the East End Pirates Committee.

    A stalwart who will be missed by all.

    May his soul rest in peace.

    Isaac Rankine

  8. Anonymous says:

    Too young. RIP. Don’t want to speculate, but what was the cause of the short illness? Is someone keeps track of death causes in this country?

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. Some of us of John’s age or older were chatting with him not that long ago and we are shocked at his death because he seemed his old self.

  9. Anonymous says:

    May he RIP.
    Condolences to his wife, all of his children, his family and friends.