Brackers may decide which party Juliana O’Connor-Connolly will represent following the next election, the interim government’s premier has declared.
Speaking during a weekly media briefing on Thursday, Ms O’Connor-Connolly countered speculation that she had plans to return to the United Democratic Party, the party of which she was a member when she was elected to power in the 2009 election and with which she split after she backed a no confidence vote in then-Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush in December.
She insisted she would be focusing her energy on getting herself and the other members of the interim government re-elected and would not run on a UDP ticket.
“I can tell you I’m going to work my butt off to make sure that these four are elected and at least six more, inclusive of Juliana,” she told reporters.
Asked to respond to rumours she intended to go back to the UDP, Ms O’Connor-Connolly said: “If that’s what they’re saying about me, let me take it as a compliment. They think that I’m a valuable asset.”
The only way she said she could envisage returning to the UDP – or joining a coalition or banding together with independent legislators – would be if she were the only one of the five members of the current interim government to be re-elected in May and found herself in a position where her seat was needed to form a government and Cayman Brac would secure a Cabinet position.
“Once they’re honest, they have integrity and their best interest is the Cayman Islands, I’ll have to go to my people and say ‘This is not my party, it’s an opposition, it’s a coalition, or it’s a group of independents, what do you want me to do?’.
“If they indicate that ‘No, you stay on the back benches as a lone ranger crying in the wilderness for the next four years is the way we want you to go’, I’ll have the choice to resign or follow their mandate. If they come back and say we want politicians working together, then I’ll go with whatever group it is, providing they are a group of honesty and integrity and they will take this country forward.”
The premier also insisted she and her colleagues had not signed any agreement among themselves or with the United Kingdom government to stick together as the minority government members until the 22 May election.
“We have not signed any secret agreements or any agreements that need to be made public, but out of the interests of the country and doing the best of our ability to sustain a viable, democratic and successful government, that is the commonality that binds our hearts and souls together,” she said. “If it came to a point where we felt we had to sign a commitment to keep together, that is the point where I would immediately say, ‘I need to make my departure.’”
“You cannot build a country on lack of trust, last of honesty and lack of integrity,” she said.
She declared that she was “happy to be part of this government” and that there was “no need … for us to sign a binding, bonding, non-negotiable agreement”.
The five members of the ruling government – all former UDP members – may intend to run together, but so far they have not announced if they are forming a new party or revealed if they have even chosen a name for themselves. They appear to have, however, at least decided on a party colour. In recent weeks, at the live televised media briefing, the male government members have been sporting purple ties.
Asked at an earlier briefing if they yet had a name or were officially a party, they replied they had “no name” and described themselves as a “team” rather than as a political party.