Government is running out of time to consider a long list of potential laws, including the Legal Practitioners Bill, new rules for government authorities, the elimination of independent FOI and complaints commissioner’s offices and the establishment of local fuel market regulations, as lawmakers face the final three weeks of their current term.
Starting Wednesday, legislators will have about three weeks until parliament is dissolved on March 28 ahead of nomination day (March 29) for the general election.
Unless legislators decide to meet on Tuesdays, generally reserved for Cabinet meetings, or on weekends, that schedule leaves 12 working days to finish everything.
In addition to a few dozen bills left to approve, lawmakers are also expected to convene a meeting of the Legislative Assembly’s Finance Committee to review supplemental expenses made since mid-2013. A slew of parliamentary questions and about a dozen private members’ motions remain on the agenda as well.
Progressives postpone party conference
In a sign that the ruling Progressives party expects the meeting to go down to the wire, a political party conference set for March 18 was delayed until April 8.
“We’ve had to postpone our party conference due to the fact that the Legislative Assembly is in session and it is anticipated that this session will last a few weeks,” according to a notice sent to Progressives party members Monday by General Secretary Barbara Connolly.
Lawmakers have not met since Monday, Feb. 27, due to scheduling conflicts, including Premier Alden McLaughlin’s trip to London in the middle of last week.
The trip was made partly to discuss recent amendments to Cayman’s Companies Law to formalize a beneficial ownership agreement with the U.K. government.
Both of Cayman’s major political parties, the Progressives and the Cayman Democratic Party (formerly the United Democratic Party), have significantly delayed planned candidate announcements for the upcoming May 24 election.
The Progressives are expected to run all of their current slate of 10 office-holding candidates, including veteran MLAs Kurt Tibbetts and Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, both of whom have vacillated about their future political plans in recent weeks.
A recent list of potential Progressives candidates that was sent around the islands had current Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton leaving Bodden Town district to run for one of the seats in George Town, but Minister Panton described that list as “nonsense.”
A number of other names for potential Progressives candidates in Bodden Town and West Bay districts have been mentioned, but so far the party has confirmed none of them.
The Cayman Democratic Party has confirmed a number of candidates, including its own party members as well as a number of independents.
Party leader McKeeva Bush said in February that he and other Cayman Democratic Party members, MLAs Eugene Ebanks and Bernie Bush, would join former MLA John Jefferson Jr. in West Bay.
In George Town, Mr. Bush listed potential CDP candidates as former government Minister Mike Adam, businessman Jon Piercy and Dr. Darley Solomon. Mr. Piercy confirmed he did intend to run with the CDP, and Mr. Adam said he was “leaning towards it,” but had not yet confirmed. Dr. Solomon said recently that he was leaning away from the campaign due to personal considerations.
At least three other CDP candidates have been named and discussed, but party officials have not yet confirmed the names. Mr. Bush said he was also inclined to support George Town independents MLA Winston Connolly, Karin Thompson and Kenneth Bryan if they all choose to contest the election.
In Bodden Town, Mr. Bush said he would support either veteran MLA Anthony Eden, an independent, or his successor if he chooses to retire. Mr. Bush said independent MLA Alva Suckoo would also get his support. Businessman Robert Bodden, a candidate in Bodden Town East, could also get CDP support if he runs, Mr. Bush said.