In another bizarre twist to the seemingly never-ending political intrigue that has enveloped the Cayman Islands in recent weeks, it seems that Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly did not resign with the rest of her government colleagues from the United Democratic Party last weekend.
Attempts to determine Ms O’Connor-Connolly’s official status within the UDP were unsuccessful by press time. The premier did not respond to repeated requests for comment about the matter throughout the week.
UDP General Secretary Ellio Solomon said Wednesday it was his understanding that four of the five current members of the Cayman Islands “minority government” submitted resignation letters to political party district committees on Saturday. Those letters were submitted just hours prior to district committee meetings where the members had been summoned to explain their no-confidence votes in the Legislative Assembly against the UDP government led by then-Premier McKeeva Bush.
However, Mr. Solomon declined to state which one of the five government members had not resigned. Other sources within the UDP and outside of it confirmed the hold out was Premier O’Connor-Connolly.
In any case, the lack of a formal resignation may matter little. Mr. Solomon said all five members of the government that revolted against Mr. Bush’s administration during the 18 December no-confidence vote in the assembly would not remain UDP members.
“There is a process as a party we must undertake to remove members,” he said. “We are going through that process now.”
There was no indication from anyone involved that the lack of a resignation by Premier O’Connor-Connolly from the UDP would affect the functioning of the minority government, which is now leading the territory through to the upcoming 22 May general election.
Last weekend, Deputy Premier Rolston Anglin said he felt there was no point in attending the district committee meetings and that the government’s position on the matter of the no-confidence vote had already been fully explained.
“The bottom line is … that we couldn’t caucus together,” Mr. Anglin said. “Our colleagues walked across the floor [of the Legislative Assembly] for whatever reasons [prior to the no confidence vote being taken on 18 December]. We did what we had to do.” Mr. Anglin, Premier O’Connor-Connolly, Health Minister Mark Scotland, Tourism and Development Minister Cline Glidden, Jr. and Community Affairs Minister Dwayne Seymour joined the legislature’s four opposition party members and two independent members of the assembly in voting 11-3 in support of the no confidence motion; which effectively removed Mr. Bush as Cayman Islands premier.
Opposing the no confidence motion were former Cabinet Minister Mike Adam, Mr. Solomon and West Bay Member of the Legislative Assembly Capt. Eugene Ebanks. Mr. Bush abstained from the vote.
According to a copy of Mr. Anglin’s resignation letter sent Saturday to the West Bay UDP district committee: “After deep consideration surrounding the recent developments within the membership of the Legislative Group of the United Democratic Party (“UDP”) I feel I have no other option but to resign as a Member of the Legislative Group,” Mr. Anglin wrote. “Please accept this letter as formal notification of my resignation as a Member of the UDP Legislative Group and Party. “Let me take this opportunity to thank you and every member of the UDP District Committee for West Bay, and wider UDP, for your friendship and support over the past 11 years. I wish each of you and your families well,” the letter continued.
During a public meeting held in George Town just before Christmas, former Premier Bush openly questioned the legality of the minority government that was formed by Cayman Islands Governor Duncan Taylor in the absence of any group in the legislature having a majority of eight members.
“I am going to insist that the Constitution be upheld,” Mr. Bush said at the time.
However, in a New Year’s message issued Wednesday, Mr. Bush indicated that he would adopt a much more conciliatory approach.
“Since the governor went against my advice and decided to appoint a minority government, those serving the Cayman Islands in Cabinet must be given a chance just like any other government,” Mr. Bush said in the New Year’s message.The full text of the message can be found on page four of Friday’s newspaper.
“Those who I have helped the most politically have hurt me most,” he continued in the address. “In spite of this, the Cayman Islands is bigger than the person of McKeeva Bush and hence we must now move on.”