Says Christianity is “under attack”
Bodden Town MLA Alva Suckoo resigned from the ruling Progressives party Wednesday, saying he believes the country’s Christian foundations are “under attack.”
Mr. Suckoo is the second government legislator to resign, following his Bodden Town colleague Anthony Eden across the aisle of the Legislative Assembly to serve as an independent legislator.
Both men are opposed to any moves toward legal recognition of same-sex partnerships in the Cayman Islands.
Mr. Eden resigned immediately after Premier Alden McLaughlin announced in November a partial move toward equal rights for same-sex couples.
Mr. Suckoo also cited the debate over gay marriage as part of what he described as a more general attack on Christianity as he confirmed his resignation in a press statement on Wednesday.
He said he could no longer continue with the Progressives party.
The premier’s office said Mr. McLaughlin had no comment on the development Wednesday.
Mr. Suckoo’s resignation leaves the Progressives party with a precarious hold on government.
Even with the addition of Roy McTaggart, who joined the Progressives earlier this month, the party now has nine members in the Legislative Assembly. This includes Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, who, as Speaker of the House, does not typically vote on government business. Also sitting on the government benches are independent members Tara Rivers and Winston Connolly.
There are now seven members on the opposition side, including three from the Cayman Democratic Party, formerly known as the United Democratic Party, and four independent members.
The seat shuffling could potentially make it more difficult for government to get the votes it needs to pass legislation.
Mr. Suckoo said he would continue to support government initiatives that he believed would benefit the country. He said he was resigning on a matter of principle.
“My concerns run much deeper than a simple debate about same-sex marriage.
“The very foundations upon which we built our country are now under attack and I firmly believe that we, the people’s representatives, must now make a stand to protect those values, cultural beliefs and Christian principles that have served these islands for so long.
“Failure to do so will inevitably lead us down a path from where there is no return.”
Mr. Suckoo did not explicitly reference any government decision in his statement. It is understood that, like Mr. Eden, he is concerned about Mr. McLaughlin’s indication that government may have to consider some legal changes to ensure rights for same-sex couples.
Emphasizing the importance of the church in Cayman and the role of Christianity, enshrined in the Constitution, he said, “I cannot, as a matter of principle, follow a course of action that seeks to further diminish the importance of our Christian heritage and further deteriorate our social development.”
McKeeva Bush, leader of the Cayman Democratic Party, said he believed Mr. Suckoo had made the right decision and would be a welcome addition to the opposition benches.
“He is a good, decent young man and I believe he has never really belonged to the PPM. He is not joining any group and that is not a bad thing. I believe in the party system and I’m sure if he wanted to join the party he would be welcomed but he has chosen to be an independent and I respect that.”
Theoretically a coalition of the four independent legislators could threaten the Cayman Democratic Party’s position as the official opposition. Mr. Bush said he did not see that happening.
“I think they are what they say they are – independents.”