New Premier confirms his government

Cabinet posts for Kurt Tibbetts and Tara Rivers

Alden McLaughlin PPM main

Premier elect Alden McLaughlin confirmed Tuesday night that he had formed a government with the final cards falling into place on the eve of Wednesday’s official swearing-in ceremony.

In a day filled with significant developments Independent member for West Bay Tara Rivers confirmed she had accepted a cabinet post in Mr. McLaughlin’s government.

Ms Rivers, who will remain an independent legislator, will be minister of Labour and Gender Affairs, with the rest of the cabinet positions filled by PPM members.

In addition to the portfolios announced on Saturday, Osbourne Bodden will take the education ministry with former leader Kurt Tibbetts taking health (see full list of cabinet posts below).

Earlier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, the former Premier and previously a key figure in the United Democratic Party, was confirmed as having crossed the floor to join the Progressives.

The party now commands a 10-8 majority in the Legislative Assembly banishing any doubts about its ability to govern effectively and firming up Mr. McLaughlin’s position as Premier without the need for a recorded vote in the Legislative Assembly.

Winston Connolly, another independent member endorsed by the Coalition for Cayman, was also confirmed as having joined the government. He will assist as a counselor in Ms Rivers’ ministry.

Roy McTaggart has been appointed as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee. He was still pondering whether to sit on the opposition benches or to join the government last night, according to Mr. McLaughlin.

Mr. McLaughlin said the independent members had bargained hard for positions. But he insisted he had never considered offering more than one cabinet position outside of his PPM team.

“Every one of our team is capable of being a cabinet minister. They (the independents) fought very hard for the right to sit at the table where they could be considered for a cabinet post

“We wanted to be as inclusive as possible but we were not going to give away what we had earned through our hard fought victory.”

The political future of the two other independents Ezzard Miller and Arden McLean remained up in the air as it emerged that Mr. Miller had turned down the chance to be deputy speaker.

Moses Kirkconnell, who will be deputy premier, held talks with both Mr’ Miller and Mr. McLean earlier on Tuesday.

He said discussions were still ongoing with Mr McLean about a possible role in the government but nothing had been agreed.

Mr. McLaughlin said his government was not technically a ‘coalition government’ with Ms O’Connor-Connolly’s decision to join the PPM meaning the party now held an overall majority of elected members.

But he said he had wanted to form an ‘inclusive government’, hence the offer to Ms Rivers and the role for Winston Connolly.

He said he had spoken at length with Mr. Connolly, a critic of his during the campaign, and they had agreed they could work together in spite of some differences of opinion.

He added: “We are now in a position to move ahead with the swearing in ceremony tomorrow (Wednesday) and proceed with the business of government.

“This concludes what has been a very tense and intense period of negotiations and I am delighted that we have managed to confirm our government, all be it right on the eve of the swearing-in.”

Ministerial posts

Alden McLaughlin – Premier and Minister of Home Affairs
Moses Kirkconnell – Deputy Premier, Minister of Tourism and District Administration
Marco Archer – Minister of Finance, Development and Planning
Kurt Tibbetts – Minister of Health, Works, Agriculture and Community Affairs
Wayne Panton – Minister of Financial Services
Osbourne Bodden – Minister of Education and Sports
Tara Rivers – Minister of Labour and Gender Affairs

Alden McLaughlin announces his cabinet on Tuesday evening at PPM headquarters in George Town. Wayne Panton, the new minister for financial services, sits to his left.

Alden McLaughlin announces his cabinet on Tuesday evening at PPM headquarters in George Town. Wayne Panton, the new minister for financial services, sits to his left.
Photo: James Whittaker

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  1. I am not a supporter of the PPM but I have to say I am pleased with the way they have handled things this past week. They have been professional and tried to include as many of the elected people as possible.
    That Julianna, what a seasoned politician she is. Clearly looking out for number one.
    Lets just hope the PPM does what is in the best interest of the COUNTRY and shutdown the dump in GT, despite the protests of a small group of BTers. They know what needs to be done if they can only find the political courage to do it.

  2. The dump needs to stay where it is and dealt with where it is.

    All the other contractors who vied for that job said it could be done..with the exception of DART who had a vested interest in seeing it move in the middle of Bodden Town.

    That small majority of people you keep trying to marginalize are the people of Bodden Town, one of the largest voting blocks in the country.

    Do not disrespect their wishes as the UDP and Dart sought to do. Just as they went against the people of WB with that infernal road that was strategically placed to run right though all DARTS real estate.

    It’s self serving and the govt needs to look out for the long term interest of the country and not the long term benefits of some transient, power hungry billionaire.

  3. The generational shift has taken place with an unselfish leader at the helm Alden McLaughlin and may God continue his Wisdom of Solomon as he leads the Next Generation of the Cayman Islands.

  4. In comparison to the UDP leader who took on all finances to himself, have charges layed against him, I must say Alden is a breath of fresh air. God knows what is best for Caymanians and I hope the PPM leadership, make us proud.

    As for UDP, I think they need a new leader!

  5. Voting and non-voting Caymanians, you know everyone else in the country, want a proper waste management facility. Do you think GT had the benefit of environmental testing, the benefit of a properly lined land fill, the benefit of material sorting and recycling, the benefit of foresight necessary to build and develop necessary space for 3rd partys to operate around the dump?

    What is there now and what will remain there for the next 40 to 50 years if we are fool enough to attempt mining the current dump to reduce its size, is a huge international eyesore, human and wildlife health risk with huge swarms of flies, insects, rats, packs of feral cats/dogs. The operations and space needs to be organized, it needs more space, it needs to be tidy.

    Oh and please stop calling the waste management facilty a dump. I understand laymans terms and all but a dump is not a waste management facility. An analogy would be calling a iphone a phone when it is much more. A dump is what is located in GT, see my comments above if you need clarifiation. A waste management facility recycles, creates renewable energy and material reuse opportunities and properly disposes of everything else in a properly lined cell where drainage is collected and treated and not allowed to pollute groundwater and the North Sound.

    Once again, please stop dumbing down the Dart planned waste management facility by calling it a dump. I also repeat; the plan is not to move the dump.

  6. Well Well the Dump and the Darts are still the biggest thing on the plate. I am anxiously waiting to see how the new sheriff handles these two topics since promises to get West Bay Road reopened and keep the Dump in GT and out of BT was one of the primary vote generators.

  7. Beenie, Why do you think there are 4 PPM MLAs in BT – maybe it is a complete rejection of Dart’s Proposal of the dump there.

    As to the new Government I think the country has spoken and theses are people who were chosen to run the country for the next 4 years. They have a hard job ahead of them and will have to make stiff decisions which will not be liked in the short term but will benefit the country in the long term. Everyone there has had it easy for the last 30 years and only in the last 5 years had it hard. It is not only the working class but the middle class, which is hurting due to the cost of living.

    Out of 18,000 votes only 3,000 work for the public services so 15,000 votes have suffered because of the last government’s fear of hurting civil service votes.9,000 voters are on some sort of benefits and with this backdrop there is no minimum wage.

    We all know that we must reduce expenses in the public service before it pulls down the rest of the country as it is currently doing so but we know we can’t have massive layouts at the same time; so this means services will have to be cut as it is the only choice and performance pay enforced along with removal of bad time keepers and others which abuse the system. don’t be surprised that new contracts have co-pay on health and pension and reduced holiday entitlements as these perks where introduced when wages for poor in the civil service.

    I wish the government good luck and hope the citizens of this country put country first instead of personal greed as that is the root cause of the woos of this country. It is time to stop showing off to your neighbours and start working for your children’s future before it is too late.