George Town Central MLA Kenneth Bryan said he has been “pushed out” of an alliance with opposition leaders and now will be independent of any voting blocs in the Legislative Assembly.
The first sitting of the 2017-18 legislative session begins Wednesday, Aug. 23.
The MLA’s rift with the opposition group, led by North Side MLA Ezzard Miller, began after Speaker McKeeva Bush’s arrest in July at a Florida casino. The Florida State Attorney’s Office later announced it would not file a charge of misdemeanor battery against Mr. Bush.
Mr. Bryan disagreed with an opposition statement on the arrest that called on government “to take the necessary action to restore dignity, honor and prestige to the position of the Speaker.”
Mr. Bryan did not want his name associated with the opposition statement. At the time, he publicly opposed pressure on Mr. Bush to step down as speaker.
Mr. Bryan said it would have been hypocritical of him to presume Mr. Bush’s guilt before the matter appeared in court. He also feared that forcing the Speaker out of his newly appointed role would communicate instability to Cayman’s international investors and potentially damage the economy.
“Unfortunately, the opposition is taking an approach to their style of governance, one I don’t agree with, that if I don’t toe the line, I shouldn’t be in the opposition. There doesn’t appear to be any room for any independent position,” Mr. Bryan said.
He clarified that he is still an opposition member, but not a part of the opposition alliance.
“… When the elected opposition leader releases a statement, it won’t be on my behalf,” he said.
Mr. Bryan said his departure from the opposition alliance will provide him greater freedom of choice to vote as he sees fit, and reaffirms his campaign as an independent candidate.
“Ultimately, we have two oppositions now,” Mr. Bryan said.
“I still think I will effectively be able to bring motions because there will be friends and allies who will second motions for me.”
In mid-June, Mr. Bryan joined the opposition’s “shadow government,” alongside MLAs Ezzard Miller, Alva Suckoo, Arden McLean and Chris Saunders. Mr. Bryan was tasked with shadowing the Ministry of Health, a responsibility that Mr. Miller said he will now assume.
Mr. Miller confirmed the decision to part with Mr. Bryan was made two weeks ago, but would not comment further on the split.