East End incumbent Arden McLean and challenger McCleary Frederick say, if elected, they will not join forces with McKeeva Bush to form a coalition government.
Both men made their position clear on the former Speaker of Parliament, while responding to a viewer submitted question during a Crosstalk district debate on Tuesday 9 March.
“Short answer, no,” said Frederick. “I will be part of a government that I believe will provide good governance for the people of the Cayman Islands, and with all that has taken place, I would say no.”
Bush was convicted in December of assaulting a female staff member, during an altercation at a West Bay Road bar in February 2019. Bush had initially denied remembering the incident, however he has since stated that the incident stemmed from a disagreement over gratuities for staff members.
In January, Opposition Leader Arden McLean expressed a desire to move a motion of no confidence that would remove Bush from his role as Speaker. However, this motion was never heard. Instead, the Progressives-led unity government – of which Bush is a part – requested the early dissolution of parliament and triggered an early election.
“The rule of law must be upheld by all of us, whether you are a member of parliament or not,” said McClean. “You are held at a higher standard when you are a member of parliament, and I am not going to support people who continually, continually, encroach on the laws and are members of Parliament.”
When asked if either of the two would be willing to form a government with the Progressives coalition, Frederick said yes.
“Whatever government is formed, if I can contribute to the good governance and the benefit of the people of the Cayman Islands, I will do that,” he said. “But I will not lower my standards to join up with a government led by an individual that has the record that he [Bush] has.”
McLean, however, said while he gets along with some members of the Progressives, he would not be willing work with the party’s leader and current Premier, Alden McLaughlin.
In the 2009 general election, both men secured their seats as members of the PPM (the People’s Progressive Movement which later became known as the Progressives). However, McLean later left the party and ran as an independent candidate in 2013.
“The reason we are where we are today is because of the Premier, and that narcissistic manner that he has, where you are not supposed to question him,” said McLean. “I am not going to subject myself to that kind of leadership again, I have been there, I have seen it, I have felt it and I have walked away from it”.
“There are many people in the PPM that I feel comfortable with. You have Moses [Kirkconnell], Juliana [O’Connor-Connolly] you have others, that I feel comfortable with, that I can work with, but I am not going to subject myself to Alden being the puppet master in this political arena any longer.”
During the debate, McLean said if given the change he would “rise to the challenge of being Premier”, noting that his 20 years in office gave him the requisite experience and knowledge.
To watch the video in full click here.