A long-expected retirement from Cayman Islands politics became reality Monday night as Legislative Assembly members from both sides of the aisle bid farewell to Planning Minister Kurt Tibbetts.
Premier Alden McLaughlin confirmed that Mr. Tibbetts will not seek re-election in the upcoming May 24 vote.
“I say that with a great deal of sadness, but with immense pride for all that he has done in the 24-plus years he’s been a member of this honorable House,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “He’s been my friend and mentor for a long time.”
Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush said he’d remained friends with Mr. Tibbetts “from the good days when we worked at the Canadian Bank of Commerce in 1971 to the bad days of politics.”
“That’s what’s important,” Mr. Bush said.
Mr. Tibbetts, who was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1992, and has remained there ever since, has long been rumored to be retiring from the political scene. Mr. McLaughlin revealed that the former Progressives party leader actually didn’t want to campaign again during the 2013 elections, but that party members convinced him otherwise. There apparently was no convincing him to run for a seventh term in office this time around.
“Kurt has never wanted power for power’s sake,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “[He’s] a big man, with a bigger heart whose place in Cayman Islands history will forever be assured. I know of few people who have given more of themselves … than Darwin Kurt Tibbetts.”