Premier ‘disappointed’ in government leavers

Warning independent Cayman Islands lawmakers not to take local voters “for fools,” Premier Alden McLaughlin directed verbal barbs Friday at two Legislative Assembly members who left his government backbench in late 2015 and early 2016.

The premier steered clear of directly criticizing long-serving Bodden Town MLA Anthony Eden, who, Mr. McLaughlin believes, left the party out of personal conviction. Mr. Eden opposed the Progressives party stance, or lack thereof, on legalizing civil unions.

“We know full well his conviction and the basis on which he departed,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “Everybody else is still speculating why the other two left. I can only believe that they think it’s a better place for them politically.”

The “other two” referenced by the premier are Bodden Town MLA Alva Suckoo and George Town MLA Winston Connolly.

Mr. Suckoo, a former Progressives member, also criticized the government for not taking a strong stand against civil unions and same-sex marriage and went independent in late December. Mr. Connolly, the only independent MLA left in George Town, departed in January, voicing a general concern about party politics.

Anthony Eden, Alva Suckoo and Winston Connolly
Anthony Eden, Alva Suckoo and Winston Connolly

Mr. McLaughlin said he views the moves as nods to the members’ personal political ambition instead of serving out the remainder of their terms with the government bench.

“Having contributed to all that the government has done and achieved …. [they] really expected the people of this country – you take them for that big a fool? – to come down here now in June and say … ‘don’t mind what the minster of finance has said and the premier has said. This is a bad budget, this is a bad government … they don’t care about you, they don’t care about unemployment,’” Mr. McLaughlin said.

“All of a sudden, everything the government has done is bad and wrong. Unless I know nothing about the politics of this country, you have a hard sell to convince the people out there that you who were here and part of this are now better placed over there, in the opposition to help them.”

The political opposition, which Mr. McLaughlin described as “disunited and dysfunctional,” now has eight members, including independents and members of the Cayman Islands Democratic Party. Mr. McLaughlin’s government bench has nine members.

Mr. Connolly responded to Mr. McLaughlin’s comments Tuesday, indicating the premier is within his rights to say anything he wants in the House.

“I’ll continue to give my objective perspective on this side for the benefit of all Caymanians for as long as the people of George Town want me,” Mr. Connolly said. “I’ll always support what I believe is in their best interests, and criticize what isn’t, as well as give my opinion – that’s what I was elected to do.”

Mr. Connolly said he was elected with as strong a mandate as most Progressives MLAs “when you look at the number of votes from the last election.”

“That means there’s a nearly equal amount of people in George Town that believed in what independents were saying and who wanted a difference in opinion and perspective,” Mr. Connolly said. “I’ll continue to listen to them and speak for them while I occupy their real estate in George Town and apologize to no one but them for anything I say or do whilst acting on their behalf.”

Mr. Suckoo said Tuesday that he did not want to engage in a political “back and forth” with the premier.

“Nobody can challenge that I have remained consistent on the key issues of employment, crime, voter equality, discrimination against Caymanians, issues affecting our young people, our disappearing middle class and education, in particular the need for technical and vocational education and training,” he said. “I knew my move to join Mr. Eden on the opposition bench would be met with criticism and that I would be attacked for it. I know within my heart that I did the right thing.

“I put selfish political ambitions to one side and took a leap of faith for the people I represent. I love these islands dearly and I feel that if I continue to put God and country first, my contributions will bear fruit in the future. I hold no ill will towards the Premier or his government and will continue to positively and without malice serve our people.”

Mr. McLaughlin said on Friday that he, and voters, may not be sure what to believe from the two MLAs.

“I am listening intently to hear … why they expect to be re-elected,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “Bear in mind where they’ve just come from and ask yourself which story you want to believe … the one they’ve been telling you for the last two and a half years or the one they’re telling you now.”


  1. I do not want to believe that Eden, Suckoo, and Connolly ever did have two feet on deck with the Progressive Party, and as I see it they took the bold step after much consideration.
    Personally I like the Premier, but to my view, he has became soft target for FCO and wandered away from his people for too long.
    One has to only look at the EY report to see some things that will make all Voters scratch head.
    Let us look first at the Civil Servants report. They are being “Spoiled” and those who are working, no matter where you are from, work permit or no permit; they should be paying a portion of Cinico Premiums.
    Foot dragging on this again. “Why are the Progressive Government rolling this back to 2018?” and the Premier will dare to think that voters are not watching this, Political strategy?
    Education, “Oh what a mess, only change can fix”
    Not privatizing Water and Port Authority, good thinking, however Water authority need to give us better water. Poor people is drinking it and it is killing them.
    The Dump!! A political foot ball which became every body’s problem. Mr Alden, yes voters are watching and waiting to see what happen soon.
    Thinking of selling out Radio Cayman is out of the question, but it can surely do with some improvements big time. Under cover boss need to go in, too much lazy workers not keeping up with their job.
    The Bodden Town Post office is big as a condo, and not even a quarter of it is being used or needed. The Bodden Town representatives know this and should invite Companies like Western Union, a Class A Bank, quick cash, or money gram, CUC or water authority Booths to set up there. A Good supermarket. Old people, bedridden, sometime cannot not get to Country side Village.
    The Bodden Town Library need to Close, not being used, waste of money. All schools have libraries, books should be donated to the Bodden Town Primary School and an experienced librarian set to managed. Internet station can continue at the site of BT Library but persons should be charged for time used. Bodden Town need a Change. We got nothing in four years, how can we vote back in the same old same old, and neither are we going to vote for those who have not shown us what they can do. Because that will only make people want stay with the foolishness they know. It cannot go on any longer.

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