PPM forms new government

Update 11am: Cayman Islands Premier-elect Alden McLaughlin is set to reveal who will hold which ministerial post in his new Cabinet tomorrow, Tuesday, 28 May. In a short statement released to the press Monday, Mr. McLaughlin said: “Please be advised that I will announce the new Cabinet for the Cayman Islands at a press conference tomorrow morning at the Progressives headquarters at 10am.”

It is said that politics makes strange bedfellows.  

Cayman Islands Premier-elect Alden McLaughlin announced Saturday that his nine-person Progressives contingent had agreed to form a government by adding a 10th elected Legislative Assembly member, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman representative Juliana O’Connor-Connolly and making her Speaker of the House. 

Such a move effectively takes one elected member out of most of the assembly proceedings in order to preside over them and leaves the Progressives with nine members on the government side of the House. That leaves – for the moment – three United Democratic Party members, three Coalition for Cayman-supported members and two independent members on the other side, making eight in opposition.  

Mr. McLaughlin said during a Saturday press conference at Progressives headquarters in George Town that his government had offered one coalition-supported candidate, West Bay representative Tara Rivers, an undefined ministerial position with the government. He said Ms Rivers was considering the offer and hoped she would make her intentions known before government was officially sworn 
in on Wednesday.  

Neither Ms Rivers nor Ms O’Connor-Connolly would be required to switch their allegiance to the Progressives party in order to form the government, Mr. McLaughlin said.  

Meanwhile, Ms Rivers and the other two coalition-supported legislators, Roy McTaggart and Winston Connolly, were said Saturday to be seeking support for an alternate coalition with independent assembly members Arden McLean and Ezzard Miller.  

However, with only five elected members to start, the group would have to gain another five members – including at least one person from the newly-elected Progressives party – to form a 10-person coalition. This speculative scenario would also likely require members of the United Democratic Party, including former Premier McKeeva Bush, to join up with Messrs. Miller and McLean, as well as the coalition-supported candidates who all campaigned heavily against Mr. Bush’s former government during the election season.  

How far discussions had proceeded along these lines wasn’t known by press time Sunday. However, Mr. McLaughlin said as far as he was concerned, his Progressives party had the numbers and would go ahead with forming a government this week.  

“We’d be delighted if all the other members who aren’t with the UDP would come and sit on the government backbench,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “Politics is the art of the possible … you have to be pragmatic about things. Both [Mr. Miller and Mr. McLean] are very able legislators … with a wealth of experience, I think it would be a travesty, if not a tragedy, that they were to beat about on the opposition benches for another four years. 

“I’d much rather that they work with us, in a number of ways, to help move the country forward.”  

Mr. McLaughlin said in previous discussions about forming a government, coalition-supported and independent members had “insisted on more than [the Progressives] were prepared to offer”.  

“There are five of them and we were offering two [ministerial] seats,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “We think we’ve been more than fair.”  

The Caymanian Compass contacted Mr. McTaggart, Mr. Connolly, Ms Rivers, Mr. McLean and Mr. Miller Saturday evening for comment. A spokesperson for Mr. Connolly said he would issue a press release, but didn’t say when. The other four didn’t return calls or text messages by press time Sunday.  

 

The government  

The Progressives government was partially announced at the Saturday press conference.  

Mr. McLaughlin will be premier and also minister of home affairs. That new ministry position has, among other things, direct responsibility for the finances of police, immigration and customs services. Previously, those areas had been delegated directly to the appointed deputy governor.  

Cayman Brac and Little Cayman lawmaker Moses Kirkconnell will be deputy premier and serve as tourism and district administration minister. Mr. Kirkconnell said the appointment of himself as second-in-command and Ms O’Connor-Connolly as speaker will give the Sisters Islands a great deal of influence in government affairs. 

Freshmen legislators Marco Archer and Wayne Panton will be named minister of finance and minister of financial services, respectively. Mr. Archer will be responsible for the purse strings of government, while Mr. Panton will have oversight and work with the international financial services industry.  

Bodden Town representative Osbourne Bodden will also become a Cabinet minister, but in what role is as yet unknown. Depending on what Ms Rivers decides, there will be another one or two Cabinet positions open.  

Mr. McLaughlin said he wanted to hold Saturday’s press briefing to inform the country “who will be taking responsibility for what I call ‘the big issues’,” he said. 

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7 COMMENTS

  1. It would be such a shame if Tara squandered this opportunity.

    Roy and Winston have already nixed their chances by making foolish statements about never working with an Alden lead government (and are now forced to stand by those statements). However, Tara should take advantage of the no strings attached offer and put her skills to work for the greater good of the country.

    It is time to put petty politics aside and do what is necessary to right the good ship that is the Cayman Islands.

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  2. Clever move, putting the former premier into the speaker’s chair. Offering at least one ministerial position to a non-member of the party is also diplomatically quite clever.

    Let’s see what these can get done.

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  3. Why is it that some who has been shouting coalition, hesitates when asked to be part of a coalition. Is a coalition only preferred if you have the biggest say in it.

    I give thanks to the former Premiere for her continuing duty to these Islands instead of sitting it out for the next four years. And to the former speaker of the house, Ms Lawrence; Thanks for your efforts, history will detail your commitment to these islands even if some articles wilfully omit.

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  4. Well all I can say is that Alden got the POWER that he has been so hungry for for so long!! Listen do what you have to do and do it right because we are watching!

    Please do not forget to assist the scholars (currently overseas with GPAs of 3.20 – 3.50 and continue to maintain this, and to the new scholars that will be seeking scholarships) who only have a year or so to complete their degrees, these young people are the future politicians, hotel managers, doctors and teachers of Cayman.

    I pray that the new government will work together for the betterment of the Islands and its people.

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  5. I would like to see a law in place that caps a term limit to the amount of times a person can become a sitting MLA.

    Have it that no person can serve as an MLA more than three terms. I think a decade of the highest prevelege in the land is long enough. It will also remove the old politicians you keep seeing every time there is an election like Anthony Eden, Kurt Tibbetts, Captain Eugene, Arden McLean, and McKeeva Bush.

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  6. Needlecase that was the most decent needed comment I have read in ten years. Yes it is about time old frumps stop running. I am sure they are peppered up enough for a few months, but by three months they will all be snoring in the LA again. A waste of government money. How can Bodden Town and George Town people be so dumb.

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