The coalition of independents led by Leader of the Opposition Ezzard Miller plans to form a political group that will run a candidate in every constituency at the next general election.
The five legislators that make up the official opposition – Mr. Miller, his deputy Alva Suckoo and MLAs Anthony Eden, Chris Saunders and Arden McLean – plan to formalize their partnership with the formation of a new political entity to be known as the Cayman Islands People’s Alliance, according to Mr. Miller.
Though they have stopped short of referring to themselves as a new political party, members of the group acknowledge that they are putting together a political organization and actively recruiting candidates to run with them in the next general election.
“Now that the two political parties have become one, I think the country deserves an alternative,” Mr. Miller said, referring to the partnership between the Progressives and the Cayman Democratic Party to make up the current coalition government.
Mr. Miller, as leader of the parliamentary group, said he would be looking to run as leader of the group with the hope to be elected premier at the next general election. But he insisted it would be a coalition of equals and he could be replaced at any time.
He said the group had already has conversations with prospective members and would be working hard over the next year to assemble a slate of candidates in preparation for the 2021 election.
“I have always said from the time I took over as leader that I intended to spend about 18 months earning the public’s credibility as leader of the opposition and then I would make an effort to expand the organization in preparation for the next election,” he said.
“I would expect that we could come together to put a good candidate in every constituency.”
Mr. Miller first referenced plans for the “alliance” in his New Year’s message. He said the group’s focus would be on increasing participatory democracy and increasing opportunities for those “left behind or neglected.”
Elaborating on the concept in an interview with the Cayman Compass this week, he said, “It is not a political party in the sense that you don’t have to toe the party line. It is important that we encourage dialog and get the brightest and best minds. I want a group of equals, not two or three people running things and everyone else just toeing the line.”
The move has been inspired in part by the chaos that ensued in the aftermath of the last election, when a legislature dominated by independent members struggled for several days to form a government.
Mr. Suckoo, deputy leader of the opposition, acknowledged that “preliminary discussions” had taken place over a more formal political partnership between the independents on the opposition benches.
He said the confusion that reigned after the last general election, when a majority of independents were elected, but were unable to form a government, meant that a new approach would be needed.
“At the last election, a lot of people said they wanted independents, but with the negotiations to form a government, we saw the dangers of not being totally bound together as a group,” he added. “There is a need, I think, for a closer grouping going into the next election.”
He said the details of the partnership had yet to be finalized and discussions will continue in the new year.