Bryan let go months before criminal trial
Premier Alden McLaughlin’s political assistant, Kenneth Bryan, was fired Friday following a closed-door meeting with the premier and Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose.
Mr. Bryan, 34, faces a criminal trial in August over allegations that he assaulted police and was disorderly outside a West Bay Road nightclub last October. He had been suspended with pay from his job since early December when he was charged in connection with the incident. He will receive full salary from the premier’s office through May.
A replacement had not been named as of press time Sunday.
Admittedly angry over the dismissal, Mr. Bryan told the Cayman Compass Saturday that he felt it was the result of politics.
“[The premier] admitted to me that I’m a liability to him,” Mr. Bryan said. “He could care less about what’s happening to me. If it’s going to affect his reign, then he’s going to get rid of me. “I personally think he wants to get rid of me before this trial comes to court. If I’m successful [in defending the case] he can’t get rid of me.”
Mr. Bryan recently pleaded not guilty to disorderly conduct charges alleging that he used “abusive and calumnious language” in the parking lot of Dream nightclub during the overnight period of Oct. 10 and Oct. 11, 2014. He also pleaded not guilty to charges that he assaulted a police officer at the scene of the disturbance. The assault charge is a common assault, meaning physical contact did not necessarily occur. He remains free on bail pending the trial date.
Premier McLaughlin said Saturday that the termination of Mr. Bryan’s employment had more to do with the practical nature of running a public office.
“I have been without a political assistant since early December,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “Kenneth’s trial is not until August. I needed someone to do the job he was employed to do. My constituency work is being neglected, and the needs of the people I was elected to represent are not being met.
“It is untenable for me as premier to operate with Kenneth while he is facing charges which include assaulting police. I regret that it has come to this, but I have no choice but to replace him at this point.”
Mr. Bryan said he was consulting with attorneys regarding his contract. Initially, Mr. McLaughlin had indicated Mr. Bryan would be placed on required leave pending the outcome of the charges against him. However, Mr. Bryan is not a civil servant, but a political appointee in the premier’s office and his employment is governed under the terms of the contract, not the Public Service Management Law.
In any case, it appears Mr. Bryan, a former TV journalist and 2013 political candidate with the Progressives party, will be without a job starting in June while facing criminal charges.
“Who’s going to hire me before this trial?” he asked.
Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush, who sat with Mr. Bryan in the court dock during at least one of his recent appearances, credited Mr. Bryan with gaining for the Progressives party – Mr. Bush’s political opponents – significant support in George Town’s lower income neighborhoods during the May 2013 general election.
“[The Progressives] used Kenneth Bryan,” Mr. Bush said. “Now [they] take the steps to fire him even before any verdict by the court.
“I feel for Kenneth as he has two children and just obtained a mortgage. This is a bad economy to try and get a job.”