Alternative government plan fails

McTaggart would have worked with McLaughlin

As the Progressives took strides toward forming a government this weekend, independent members were meeting in an effort to negotiate a more inclusive coalition. 

People’s Progressive Movement leader Alden McLaughlin said Saturday that he had successfully formed a majority government by appointing Juliana O’Connor-Connolly as speaker, leaving his party with a 9-8 majority on the floor of the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly.  

He was poised to announce his Cabinet on Tuesday morning with independent West Bay representative Tara Rivers still considering an offer to join the government at press time Monday. 

Behind the scenes this weekend the independent legislators met in an effort to begin talks over a coalition with the PPM. 

Roy McTaggart, a representative for George Town endorsed by the Coalition for Cayman, said talks had taken place, but had failed to bear fruit. 

He said he had been prepared to relax his stance against working under Mr. McLaughlin’s leadership “in the best interests of the country”, if a genuinely inclusive coalition could have been formed. He said he had been impressed with Mr. McLaughlin’s conciliatory and inclusive statements since Thursday’s vote and was now reconsidering whether to sit on the government back benches. 

“At this time I am not in any discussions with anybody else to try to form a government. I have accepted this will be a PPM, Alden McLaughlin-led administration,” he said Monday. 

What was being discussed among the independents was a “genuine coalition” between the PPM and independent members with the independents playing a more prominent role than is now envisioned. The discussions did not reach the stage where the PPM was directly involved, Mr. McTaggart said. 

“I am interested in a genuine coalition,” he said. “That is what I have tried to achieve from the outset. It would have to have been negotiated to see if we could achieve a more even share of responsibilities. We had some discussions among the independent candidates as to whether we could do that. We had no meetings with the PPM and at the end of the day, it just hasn’t happened.” 

He said there had been no discussions between himself and the United Democratic Party leadership, specifically legislator McKeeva Bush. 

There remains some doubt as to whether the decision to appoint former Premier O’Connor-Connolly as speaker does in fact give the Progressives the majority required to rule effectively as government 

The Cayman Islands Constitution requires a quorum, made up of the majority of the elected members, to be present in the Legislative Assembly, “in addition to the person presiding” for any business to take place. That suggests that the PPM would need a 10th person to join the government (in addition to Ms O’Connor-Connolly’s appointment as speaker) to enable it to pass legislation without opposition cooperation. 

Those concerns may be rendered irrelevant if Tara Rivers accepts an offer to join the Cabinet. Mr. McLaughlin said at a press conference on Saturday that he had offered the West Bay newcomer, also endorsed by the C4C, a position in his government. 

He said she would not have to join the PPM and she has indicated she would remain an independent member if she does decide to accept the post. Ms Rivers was scheduled to meet with constituents in West Bay on Monday night to decide her future. 

Mr. McTaggart said there would be no pressure from anyone else endorsed by the C4C and it would be up to Ms Rivers to make the call. 

“She can seek advice if she wants to but there is no pressure for her to talk to anyone,” he said. “She’s an independent member and it is her decision alone.” 

The winning Coalition for Cayman threesome, from left, are Roy McTaggart, Tara Rivers and Winston Connolly. – PHOTO: JAMES WHITTAKER

The winning Coalition for Cayman threesome, from left, are Roy McTaggart, Tara Rivers and Winston Connolly. – PHOTO: JAMES WHITTAKER
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5 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. McTaggart has proven himself to be quite the political snake in the grass. One minute he will never work with an Alden lead government and now he is willing to relax his stance against working under Mr. McLaughlin’s leadership.

    This type of political immaturity is not what the country needs at this time.

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  2. Mr McTaggart is a very sincere man and I will expect him to continue for what he stood for C4C and nothing else.
    To Tara, I say be very careful of golden spoon offered to you. Maybe you did not realized what happened, and who pushed the division in the UDP that caused them to split. Ask questions and find out who caused this and then those persons slyly slipped under the mat.
    C4C and the independent I say be very careful of the PPM offers. Ms Julie my question to you is are you like a drowning man? Shake yourself up woman and stand with where you are, INDEPENDENT. So who is opposition leader? Everybody wants to go to heaven, and no body wants to die.

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  3. We have really short memories! The befuddled mess we had before, now almost cleaned up, will only start again. if we are going to pay such astronomical salaries to people, shouldn’t we ask for a decent day’s work? Sitting around, wasting time is not going to help any of us! CUC, the water companies, basic communication bills are all still there! We need to know how we are going to continue to pay them. Take a lesson from some of our sister Caribbean islands. We have no where to run to. This is our home! We should all demand a plan that is going to work for all of us, UDP, C4C, PPM or whoever we may be. When we get hired (elected) for a job, we cannot choose a lot, other than are we going to remain employed? Do the best job you can, work with all of your other hirees or step aside and let someone who will, do the job you are so graciously declining to do. You all know who you are! We are depending on fair representation from all of you new hires, regardless of party, indepent or whatever you choose to call yourself!

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  4. Elections last week; Alden holds press conference (on Saturday last) and announces who he is giving the ministerial seats to! What a slap in the face if Alden now has to shift around the cabinet members because of Tara? I know your PPM Brothers will not allow this to happen though.

    No press conference at 10 a.m. today because Tara has not made up her mind if she will accept; and now an update will be announced at 6 p.m.

    Newly elected members not even a week old and all this fuss and commotion (hands over eyes* or hands over ears*).

    Hurricane season starts on Saturday 1 June, we had all better prepare for the worst and pray for the best, and God have mercy on the Cayman Islands and its people, if this is how the RED GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO START OFF THEIR 4 YEAR TERM.

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  5. I have to disagree with you Praying 4Cayman. It would be unwise for Tara to jump into something too quickly. She is taking her time with this important decision in order to make an intelligent choice. I think it is VERY admirable that she had a meeting last night to see what her constituents, the people who voted for her because they believe in what she stands for, think!

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