Governor says five-person government legal

Ousted premier cries foul

Cayman Islands Governor Duncan Taylor has denied claims by ex-Premier McKeeva Bush that the governor had somehow acted unconstitutionally by appointing a local government with only 
five members.  

Typically, to form a government in a 15-member legislature, Cayman Islands ruling administrations have had to comprise at least eight 
elected members.  

However, following a no confidence vote against Mr. Bush on 18 December, Mr. Taylor said he took legal advice and was confident in his decision to create a minority government up through the scheduled 22 May general election.  

“I am entirely satisfied that the appointment of the new government is in line with the requirements of the constitution,” Mr. Taylor said. “My main aim in taking my decision was to ensure that we had a stable government in place.”  

Mr. Taylor reiterated his view that new Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly can maintain a stable regime until the election.  

“You refer to a ‘tentative minority government’,” the governor said, referencing questions the Caymanian Compass asked about the situation earlier in the week. “My observation in its first two days is that the new government led by the Honourable Premier, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly is anything but tentative.” 

Section 49 (2) of the Cayman Islands 2009 Constitution Order states: “Where a political party gains a majority of the seats of elected members of the Legislative Assembly, the governor shall appoint as premier the elected members of the assembly recommended by a majority of the elected members who are members of that party.”  

Since five of the nine members of the United Democratic Party government – which fractured after the no confidence vote against Mr. Bush – chose Ms O’Connor-Connolly as premier, Mr. Taylor said, it was so ordered.  

On Thursday night, Mr. Bush said he believed that decision was “ultra vires the rules of the constitution”. Ultra vires is a Latin phrase meaning “outside the law”.  

Mr. Bush said Thursday the appointment of a five-person minority government to run Cayman’s affairs until the 22 May elections represented an “undemocratic and unconstitutional 
decision” by Governor Taylor.  

“The constitution can’t be half right and half wrong,” Mr. Bush said. “It can’t be right to revoke my appointment, but say that five Cabinet members is a majority.  

“I am going to insist that the constitution must be upheld,” he said, although the premier did not mention any specific remedies he might seek for what he 
believed to be the unconstitutional act.  

Whether the five elected members of the minority government would remain in the United Democratic Party beyond this week was also seriously in doubt.  

The five have been summoned to a meeting of the United Democratic Party later this month that will consider their removal from the political party.  

According to correspondence obtained by the Caymanian Compass last week, matters to be discussed during the Saturday, 29 December, meeting are the removal from the membership of the UDP on a complaint of “undesirable conduct”.  

The letter goes on to state that the complaint pertains to “your support of a no confidence vote against the government without first having the 
concurrence of the [UDP] General Council”.  

The Compass only obtained one of the letters sent to a government member, but it was understood all five had received 
similar communication.  

During a media conference last week, the five members of the ruling minority government indicated that they were largely uncertain of any future role they might have in the UDP, whose leader, Mr. Bush, was deposed by the no confidence vote. 

Premier O’Connor-Connolly said in Thursday’s editions of the Caymanian Compass that her government was prepared to take the risk of removal from its former party due to the no confidence vote. 

Gov Duncan Taylor

Mr. Taylor


  1. Please Mr. Bush stop grasping at straws and just take it like a man! This Country needs a serious change which consist of people who care about these Islands and listen to the people’s needs and wants! May 2013 couldnt come quick enough!

  2. I see the Governor has commented on this matter, but has not commented to date on why the RCIPS, which HE is responsible for, covered up the fact that their vehicle was stolen for over six months.

    That stated (I am sure the Media will shiver at the thought of asking HE such a question):

    It seems to me that closer attention will need to be paid going forward to the words of s49(2)…who are members of that Party

    At the time of the decision the Governor may have been correct to have said the five were actually members of a Party (though I doubt he made such enquiries with the respective Party)- however it is clear that the respective Party has now taken steps to remove the five individuals, and therefore if called upon to make this decision again prior to March, the Governor may have to decide differently.

  3. I see the Imperial Curriculum continues to bare fruit.

    All my previous post sought to say was:

    1. HE hasn’t explained why the RCIPS covered up the missing vehicle for six months; and

    2. HE made the correct decision – but the facts have changes subsequent to that, namely the 5 are no longer Party members, and so IF asked to make the decision again, HE may have to make a different decision given the wording of the Constitution.

    Let me know which of those offends your sensibilities.

  4. It’s only a two month difference,so who cares? Bush doesn’t have enough votes to win another no-confidence vote, so who cares? Bush may win his district in the next election but please don’t vote for his friends in other districts.

  5. hmm…if the governor could cover up the rcip, am wondering what else is he covering up? the governor should be made to release his spending expenses for the year to the public? smelling to many rats

  6. The Governor was going to suspend the constitution and enforce British rule. The 5 Ex UDP members negotiated the removal of Mac to save the country from that. suspending the constitution and enforcing British rule would have caused an absolute collapse of the banking industry.

  7. Atticus:
    Sensibiities is not the issue here – but sense, common sense, and the greater good of Cayman, is.
    I think you may agree on this? Or do you not, for some reasoning you may care to share with us?
    Bare fruit may illustrate the problem?
    We unfortunately can look forward to hearing more of the UDP’s pronouncements – the sort of political stuff Cayman and the world has seen an awful lot of these last decades.

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