Update 4.30pm: Cabinet Minister Mark
Scotland told members of the Legislative Assembly that, while he still
maintains confidence in his government colleagues, that the ‘no
confidence’ motion was the only option available in the current
situation. “We find ourselves in a situation that we would rather not be in,” Mr. Scotland said.
Update, 4pm: A Legislative Assembly meeting convening Tuesday afternoon to debate a ‘no confidence’ motion against the Cayman Islands government got under way at around 3.30pm. At the start of the meeting, Premier Bush and three members of his government – Minister Mike Adam, West Bay MLA Capt. Eugene Ebanks and George Town MLA Ellio Solomon, got up and moved to the opposition benches. Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin started the meeting by stating he was bringing the no confidence motion “with a heavy heart”. “I am deeply saddened that we have come to this point,” he said. “I cannot say how disappointed I am that the premier has brought us to this point. The reality that faced with all of this, the premier will still cling …to the office of premier.”
Update 11am: United Democratic Party lawmakers said later Tuesday morning that a meeting to debate the no confidence motion would be held at 3pm. Meanwhile, George Town MLA Ellio Solomon said he would absolutely not vote to support the no confidence motion and would not rejoin the UDP after such a vote, if it was successful. “This puts the government and more importantly the country in a very precarious position,” Mr. Solomon said, adding that no one was certain what government would look like after such a no confidence vote.
A written requisition asking for a special meeting of the Legislative Assembly Tuesday afternoon has been signed by 11 members of the house, according to Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin.
Mr. McLaughlin said the requisition seeking a meeting of the LA Tuesday at 1pm was supposed to have been delivered to Speaker of the House Mary Lawrence by 6.30am.
Signing the document were all four members of the opposition People’s Progressive Movement party, the Legislative Assembly’s two independent members and five members of the United Democratic Party government. They included: Education Minister Rolston Anglin, Deputy Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, Health Minister Mark Scotland, Bodden Town MLA Dwyane Seymour and West Bay MLA Cline Glidden, Jr.
The remaining MLAs who did not sign the document requesting the meeting were Minister Mike Adam, West Bay MLA Capt. Eugene Ebanks and George Town MLA Ellio Solomon.
A requisition containing at least seven signatures does require the house speaker to call a special meeting of the LA.
Premier McKeeva Bush has not commented on the recent motion for a vote of ‘no confidence’ that was filed by Mr. McLaughlin in the house last week.
If a vote is taken after a debate on the ‘no confidence’ motion in government, a total of 10 ‘yes’ votes – a two-thirds majority – would be needed to remove the sitting government.
What might occur after that is unclear. Mr. McLaughlin said Tuesday morning that there would be no coalition government with the United Democratic Party.
However, he acknowledged that the legislature could decide to meet as a “minority government” in the short term, taking the country through to the May 2013 elections. That means neither side would have at least eight members in its ranks and any votes taken on laws would require at least some support from the opposition benches to pass.
“There will probably be only one more sitting of the house [before it is due to be dissolved in late March],” he said. “This could only be done for a short period of time.”
The governor could also decide to dissolve the legislature early, if a ‘no confidence’ vote in government is successful.
United Democratic Party members could still also decide to form a government with their remaining eight members if Mr. Bush is ousted.
Please check back with www.caycompass.com for updates on this story throughout the day…..