There may be a coalition government for the Cayman Islands on the cards after all.
Following an enthusiastic meeting in West Bay Monday night, where hundreds of people advocated Coalition for Cayman-supported candidate Tara Rivers to join the Progressives-led government – but not join the party itself – it appears the two other coalition-supported candidates may be having a change of heart.
According to a statement released Tuesday morning from Premier-elect Alden McLaughlin: “I have just received a response from Ms Rivers proposing that all 3 [Coalition for Cayman] representatives will join the Progressives government, subject to certain conditions. My team must consider this.”
A press conference scheduled to announce the formation of the new government has been delayed until 6pm Tuesday to allow for further negotiations, Mr. McLaughlin said.
The premier-elect announced a partial government formation on Saturday, with himself as the leader and minister of home affairs, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman MLA Moses Kirkconnell as deputy premier and tourism minister, Marco Archer as finance minister and Wayne Panton as minister for international financial services. The Progressive’s Bodden Town MLA, Osbourne Bodden, has been promised a Cabinet post as well as Ms Rivers, if she decides to join the Progressives-led Cabinet.
Former Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly is expected to be nominated as Speaker of the House once all the MLAs are sworn in.
Of the two remaining coalition-supported candidates, Roy McTaggart has said he would accept a position in a government led by Alden McLaughlin, reversing an earlier position taken by the C4C-supported candidates prior to the election. Winston Connolly said Tuesday that he “remains committed” to forming a coalition government.
“I am willing to work with the other independents and the [People’s Progressive Movement] to form a government that involves independent members in meaningful roles,” Mr. Connolly said. “It is the duty of an independent to have an objective voice in government decisions and policies, free from party persuasion and influence.
“I will, as I said on the campaign trail, work with anyone who has the country’s best interests at heart to make our beloved country stronger.”
Asked Tuesday morning if he would accept Messrs. Connolly and McTaggart joining the Progressives as backbench members, Mr. McLaughlin said ‘yes’.
However, it was not known if the Progressives would have to part with another Cabinet position, besides the one being offered to Ms Rivers, to make that happen.
Compass journalist James Whittaker contributed to this story.