UPDATE: After a second attempt to hold an emergency session of the Legislative Assembly Wednesday without enough members present, Speaker Juliana O’Connor-Connolly adjourned the meeting. Premier Alden McLaughlin attended to object to the meeting where no other government members were present.
ORIGINAL STORY: All eight elected members of the Progressives political party did not attend an emergency meeting of the Legislative Assembly Wednesday morning, leading House Speaker Juliana O’Connor-Connolly to adjourn the meeting and summons the missing members to appear later in the day.
Ms. O’Connor-Connolly reset the afternoon meeting for 2 p.m. and noted there was a “parliamentary process” defined under the Legislative Assembly standing orders if those members did not attend at that time.
The emergency meeting was called about a month ago to hear two legislative motions that questioned various aspects of local police management and its response to an incident in which five boaters went missing in Cayman’s coastal waters.
In both cases, lawmakers moving the motions have alleged multiple failures by police management and its U.K.-based supervisors. The motion seeking to review police management procedures, filed by East End MLA Arden McLean, has requested that a Caymanian be installed as police commissioner. The motion preceded the announced departure of RCIPS Commissioner David Baines who is set to leave the service at the end of May.
All eight opposition and independent MLAs were present in the House at the start of Wednesday morning’s meeting and one member of the government bench, West Bay independent MLA Tara Rivers, was present on the government side.
Shortly after the meeting, Ms. Rivers, who is the education minister, rose to object to the meeting being held due to the fact that a majority of House members – 10 – were not present.
After some legal discussions, Ms. O’Connor-Connolly adjourned the House for five minutes and summonsed the missing members, who included Premier Alden McLaughlin, Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell and Ministers Kurt Tibbetts, Osbourne Bodden, Wayne Panton and Marco Archer. Progressives backbenchers Joey Hew and Roy McTaggart were also not present.
After the short break, Ms. O’Connor-Connolly said she had no choice but to adjourn the meeting and ordered that the legislature reconvene Wednesday afternoon.
A number of residents, including former politicians and political hopefuls, had gathered in the Legislative Assembly gallery to observe proceedings. Following the adjournment of the House, North Side MLA Ezzard Miller urged those residents to “bring more people” down for the 2 p.m. meeting.
“Your democracy is under threat,” Mr. Miller yelled.
The Cayman Compass will provide further updates on this story as it progresses and will have a full report in Thursday’s newspaper.