Opposition leadership questioned

Former Premier McKeeva Bush, who has questioned whether the creation of the Cayman Islands’ “minority government” was constitutional, asked Thursday whether the territory’s opposition party leadership is valid.  

During a debate on various legislation related to the financial services industry Thursday afternoon in the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Bush referred to Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin as the “purported” Opposition Leader.  

“I don’t know whether to call him the Leader of the Opposition … I don’t know whether he’s the Leader of the Opposition with four members or I am,” Mr. Bush said.  

Following the no-confidence vote in Mr. Bush’s administration on 18 December, the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly was essentially split into four factions. Those included the ruling minority government consisting of former United Democratic Party members Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, Deputy Premier Rolston Anglin, Minister Mark Scotland, Minister Cline Glidden Jr., and Minister Dwayne Seymour; the People’s Progressive Movement members Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin and MLAs Moses Kirkconnell, Kurt Tibbetts and Anthony Eden; the United Democratic Party members MLAs Mr. Bush, Ellio Solomon, Mike Adam and Capt. Eugene Ebanks; and independent members Ezzard Miller and Arden McLean.  

None of the factions form a majority eight members of the assembly, so Cayman Islands Governor Duncan Taylor appointed the five-member minority government, leaving the other 10 elected members sitting on the opposition benches.  

The PPM members and the two independent members signed an agreement with the five-member interim government to meet with them so a quorum could be maintained and the assembly could legally continue meeting until its dissolution on 26 March.  

UDP officials have argued that signing this agreement is tantamount to forming a type of coalition government and that their membership is now the true opposition.  

Following Mr. Bush’s comments in the assembly on Thursday, Mr. McLaughlin asked Speaker of the House Mary Lawrence for permission to address the concerns raised by the former premier.  

“This is a matter of real importance, it’s a constitutional issue,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “We cannot proceed in this House with the question as to who is the Leader of the Opposition. I invite…anyone who believes that I continue in this post unconstitutionally to take the measures to deal with what [Mr. Bush] believes is an irregularity.”  

Speaker Lawrence advised the House that she had received no directives from Britain-appointed Governor Taylor with regard to a change in opposition leadership.  

“I will have to move with what we have at present,” Mrs. Lawrence said. “If there is going to be a change, it will have to come from the governor, not here.”  

Theoretically, under the constitution, if Mr. Bush was able to get one member of the PPM or one of the independent members to join his legislative group, that group could then petition the governor to change opposition leaders, as the UDP faction would then have more members on the opposition side of the aisle than anyone else. 

Mr. Bush jokingly referred to this possibility during Thursday’s debate. “I think [Mr. McLaughlin] better behave himself or we’ll appoint the member from East End the Leader of the Opposition,” Mr. Bush said, referring to Mr. McLean.  

Mr. McLean gave no indication in the House on Thursday that he would even consider such a possibility.  

“The matter is in the governor’s hands … it is not necessary to debate it at this point,” Speaker Lawrence reiterated. 

 

New deputy speaker 

There was one new key appointment made in the assembly on Thursday; that of deputy speaker of the House.  

Previously, the position was held by West Bay MLA Cline Glidden, Jr. However, with the government re-shuffle Mr. Glidden was made the Minister of Tourism and Development.  

Legal requirements state that a minister of government cannot also serve as speaker of the House or deputy speaker.  

Legislative Assembly members voted unanimously on Thursday to elect veteran Bodden Town MLA Anthony Eden to the deputy speaker’s position, to act when and if Mrs. Lawrence is not in attendance. 

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Bush never misses an opportunity to create dysfunction. It could be because he is dysfunctional. I believe people are tired of him and his antics and want to move forward. If it’s not about him there is no normalcy.

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  2. The process was wrong to begin with and there should be some kind of judicial review over this whole exercise. How can it be that someone can get removed from office and no charges have been laid on him? That could happen to any one of us and that is a scary thing. Furthermore, the whole matter of who is the rightful leader of the opposition should also be reviewed because this has not happened elsewhere that I am aware of and the constitution is fairly clear. I think Mr. Bush should challenge all these irregularities.

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  3. These people are succeeding in making Cayman an object of derision and mockery all over the world – that is, any part of the world which has any interest in a small, previously competent and financially stable country, ruining itself.
    My heart bleeds – again – for Blessed Cayman.

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  4. mounty – there was nothing wrong with the process. The constitutional process of removal from office does not in any way depend upon charges being laid, nor should it. If he had been a senior civil servant or police officer (Kernohan, Dixon, e.g.) he would have been suspended from his duties pending the outcome of the investigation. If Bush had done the right thing and resigned as premier his removal would not have been necessary.

    There isn’t any real issue about who is leader of the opposition. Obviously McLaughlin was appointed as leader of the opposition by the Governor and that continues until Bush has a better case to be appointed.

    Bush seems to have a lust for titles and power.

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  5. Gosh, I just love that picture with Mr Bush and Mr Alden together. They look so happy and sincere laugh, I cannot believe that they are not good friends. The both of them need to work on the friendship for the good of the country. Two good looking men, and a very nice looking picture with a sincere smile.

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