‘Lack of confidence’ motion aimed at leader
United Democratic Party members said Thursday that they maintain full confidence in Premier McKeeva Bush, both as the country’s leader and as political party leader.
The comments were made at a press conference held in response to a private members motion filed with the Legislative Assembly Wednesday afternoon by Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin. The motion seeks a ‘lack of confidence’ vote in the current United Democratic Party government.
UDP members said government would entertain the motion, but refused to comment on any of the specifics of it Thursday. They also indicated that UDP elected members would vote no on such a motion.
“The fundamental tenet of democracy is for members of legislatures to have the opportunity to challenge the position of the government,” said Education Minister Rolston Anglin. “The ultimate way to do this is via a no-confidence motion. This tool, however, should be used…with due care. We believe this motion is reckless and unwarranted.”
Attending the press conference were all elected members of the United Democratic Party, save Premier Bush – who is off Island – and Deputy Premier Juliana O’Connor Connolly, who was hospitalised Wednesday with high blood pressure.
Although the motion is written stating reasons for a ‘lack of confidence’ in the ruling government, the practical effect of such a vote – if passed by two-thirds of sitting elected lawmakers – would be either to remove Premier Bush from office or to dissolve parliament and force the holding of elections prior to the scheduled May 2013 date.
According to Section 51 of the Cayman Islands 2009 Constitution: “The governor shall…revoke the appointment of the Premier if a motion that the Legislative Assembly should declare a lack of confidence in the government receives the affirmative votes of not less than two-thirds of the elected members of the assembly…”
The constitution also gives the governor the power to dissolve the assembly rather than revoking the appointment of the Premier.
Two-thirds of the current 15 elected Legislative Assembly members means 10 votes. Presuming none of the five elected ministers who currently run the government would vote against themselves, opposition members have to gain the assent of all four backbench government members and North Side independent MLA Ezzard Miller for the motion to pass.
Mr. McLaughlin was coy on Thursday about whether he thought his proposal would actually garner ten votes, but he said people shouldn’t assume that all of the current government ministers would vote against such a motion.
“There is understandably considerable dissatisfaction and disillusionment within the government ranks,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “We believe that there are a number of government members who understand that the leadership must change and this motion offers them the opportunity to make that happen.”
“We unequivocally support Mr. McKeeva Bush as the Premier of this government and the leader of this party,” Mr. Anglin said Thursday. “If we didn’t, we wouldn’t sit in Cabinet.”
“Mr. McLaughlin knows full well there is no chance of a vote of no-confidence succeeding,” said West Bay MLA Cline Glidden, Jr.
Please see much more on this story in Friday’s editions of the Caymanian Compass…