East End MLA Arden McLean was sworn in as the new Leader of the Opposition by Governor Martyn Roper on Thursday, replacing North Side MLA Ezzard Miller who resigned in early May.
Roper announced McLean’s new role after confirming that the majority of opposition legislators supported him to be their next leader.
“I am pleased to welcome Mr. McLean to his new position as Leader of the Opposition,” the governor said in a statement. “This is obviously an important role which comes with great responsibility, and I wish him well and look forward to working with him in the future.”
The Opposition said in a statement Thursday that Miller had served as its leader for 23 months, “having served five months more than he had originally agreed to do”.
Support for Miller among the collection of independent backbench legislators had crumbled in recent months. First, his deputy leader Alva Suckoo resigned, citing concerns over Miller’s leadership. Then, the rest of the opposition group wrote to Miller requesting that he not speak on their behalf unless explicitly authorised.
Miller resigned as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee a week later. McLean will likely assume that role, too, as the opposition leader has traditionally also been Public Accounts Committee chairman in Cayman.
McLean, the MLA for East End, took the oath of office in the Governor’s Office, witnessed by family members, Suckoo and another Opposition member Chris Saunders. Suckoo has been re-appointed as deputy leader of the Opposition.
McLean said in the statement, “I am humbled that my fellow Independent Members have honoured the succession plan we agreed some 23 months ago. I look forward to working with them all to ensure that Cayman’s success story is shared by everyone. I know this won’t be an easy task, as regrettably, we have individuals in the system that are hell bent on preserving Cayman Islands prosperity for a select few. However, as I have learned from my time at sea, ‘a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor,’ so I am battle ready.”
In the statement, Suckoo thanked Miller for his contributions, including “his five extra months at the helm”.
Suckoo said he felt McLean had proven he “has the fortitude required to stand up for Caymanians”. He added, “He also has the legislative and leadership experience required to move us forward, and we look forward to working with him and supporting him in his new role.”