On 10 November, Kurt Tibbetts announced he was stepping down as leader of the opposition People’s Progressive Movement.
He remains leader of the party until early 2011 when a new leader will be chosen, and he will remain a member of the Legislative Assembly until the end of his elected term.
“Nothing is going to change except that someone else will shoulder the responsibility of leadership,” Mr. Tibbetts said in a public announcement.
He added: “I am not going anywhere.”
Following the announcement, Mr. Tibbetts held a public meeting at the Seafarer’s Hall to explain his reasons for stepping down as PPM leader.
The Cayman Islands’ Constitution requires that government or opposition leadership changes be announced at least 60 days in advance of their taking effect. The Opposition Leader is appointed by the Cayman Islands Governor once a majority of elected opposition party members assent to that individual’s leadership.
An extraordinary party conference is planned for 12 February, 2011, at the Mary Miller Hall, at which time a new PPM leader, deputy leader and general secretary will be chosen. The new constitution calls for a deputy leader of the opposition.
The PPM plans to hold a special party conference to work out leadership issues on 12 February to choose a new leader, deputy leader and general secretary. Mr. Tibbetts said he would remain party leader until then.
“There will be no time when the party does not have a functioning leader,” he said.
Mr. Tibbetts, who received an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 Queen Elizabeth II Birthday Honours for his work in business, community service and politics, said any of his current elected colleagues have the qualities he would look for in the next PPM party leader.
“Either one of my colleagues would be able to fill that position,” he said. The George Town MLA said he took full responsibility for the PPM’s general election loss in 2009.
He also said there is a clear need to bring “new blood” into the party.
“Immediately after the 2009 general election, I advised my PPM colleagues that I should not be the one to lead the PPM in the next general election,” Mr. Tibbetts said. “However, that was not the moment to create further worries in the movement.” He said the party needs to sort out the question of new leadership ahead of the 2013 elections to be effective.
Mr. Tibbetts help found the PPM party in 2002 and was unanimously elected leader of the party in 2003.