Says he’ll run again in 2017
George Town MLA Roy McTaggart removed the “independent” from his title Tuesday, joining the Progressives political party and announcing that he would campaign with the Progressives for re-election in 2017.
The ranks of the Progressives party membership within the ruling government are back up to 10 as a result of Mr. McTaggart’s move, at least for the time being.
The shift does not affect the overall balance of power within the 18-member Legislative Assembly. Mr. McTaggart was already a member of the Progressives backbench, along with fellow Coalition for Cayman-supported candidate Winston Connolly. The Progressives-led coalition maintains a total of 11 representatives on the ruling government’s side of the aisle, including independents Mr. Connolly and Minister Tara Rivers, but not counting Speaker of the House Juliana O’Connor-Connolly.
The opposition benches recently gained a new member with the departure of Bodden Town MLA Anthony Eden from the Progressives, placing a total of six elected members on the other side of the House.
Mr. McTaggart said Tuesday that he viewed his move to the Progressives as “natural and logical.”
“I have generally supported policies and legislation introduced by members of the Progressives, so this move is what I consider the next natural thing for me to do,” he said. “I intend to remain part of government following the next election, assuming I am re-elected.”
Premier Alden McLaughlin, whose administration was rocked by the departure of Progressives’ founding member Mr. Eden in November, said he welcomed Mr. McTaggart with “open arms.”
“Roy has been an integral part of this government since the May 2013 elections,” the premier said. “It is obvious that he shares the same ideals and philosophy of the Progressives.”
Mr. McTaggart was one of the more popular candidates in George Town during the May 2013 general election, getting more votes than any other district candidate, with the exception of Progressives Minister Kurt Tibbetts. Mr. McTaggart actually received more votes than Premier McLaughlin did in George Town.
The move appears to consolidate the Progressives’ power base in the territory’s largest district, with five of the six elected members from George Town being members of the party.
The lone independent elected member in George Town is now Mr. Connolly, who did not respond to queries seeking comment about Mr. McTaggart’s shift in political loyalties.
Local political observers speculated last month that Mr. Eden’s leaving could cause a “domino effect,” leading to other departures from the Progressives-led coalition.
Mr. McTaggart was not one of those mentioned as potential party leavers, but Bodden Town MLA Alva Suckoo was named as the next in line for the door.
Mr. Suckoo himself has not made any definitive statements about his political intentions.
“Too many people are speculating right now, it’s getting dangerous,” he said in early December. “I’m not saying anything right at the moment.”
Mr. Connolly, also suggested to be another potential departure, has not responded to questions about his political status since late November.