In serving his second term as the Cayman Islands government’s leader, Premier Alden McLaughlin – if he finishes the four-year stint – will be forced to leave the post.
The Cayman Islands Constitution Order (2009) sets a two-term limit on the office of premier.
According to the governing document in section 49: “The governor shall not appoint as premier a person who has held office as premier during two consecutive parliamentary terms unless at least one parliamentary term has expired since he or she last held that office ….”
According to the law, Mr. McLaughlin – if he continued as an elected member of the Legislative Assembly – would have to step down from the leadership role for at least one four-year term before seeking it again.
However, the premier has said on numerous occasions that he has no such ambition.
In a statement before the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce in November, the premier said he would embark on a different career path if his Progressives, or a new coalition government, controlled the political scene between 2017 and 2021.
“I will retire to my farm in the bush in East End, worn out, but contented,” Mr. McLaughlin told the Chamber of Commerce’s annual Legislative Luncheon at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
Mr. McLaughlin said before the election that he felt the work of his Progressives-led coalition government could not all be completed in the then-current term of the legislature, which ended in late March ahead of the May 2017 general election.
“I acknowledge full well that there is more work to be done,” he said. “We will fight hard for the opportunity to return to office and build on the work of another term.”
On Wednesday, in a speech outside the Legislative Assembly building, Mr. McLaughlin said his Progressives-led coalition would now work on forming a governance plan that could be supported by all 13 members of the new government. He said this plan could be released as early as July but could take longer to formulate.
Cayman’s new budget process, adopted last year, gives the new government more breathing room in drawing up priorities for the next term. In the past, a new government would have been pressure to propose an interim budget for the fiscal year that started July 1 – roughly five weeks after the election.
Now, lawmakers have to plan a two-year budget, but the new fiscal year will not start until Jan. 1, 2018. It is likely the budget review process will begin in the assembly sometime during October or November.
Mr. McLaughlin acknowledged it would not all be “smooth sailing” in the next four years since there are genuine government policy differences among members of the Progressives and CDP coalition as to how to grow the economy and provide opportunities for Caymanians.
“The [debate] process, I believe, will lead to better policy positions,” Mr. McLaughlin said.