Cayman Voices founder Taura Ebanks has spoken out against the Wayne Panton-led PACT deal which puts West Bay West MP McKeeva Bush back in the Speaker’s chair.

In a statement Tuesday, Ebanks, who heads the group that was part of the movement to oust Bush as well as lending its voice to the #sheissupported group, which campaigned against Bush remaining Speaker after he was arrested for assaulting a female bar manager last year, said the original PACT configuration without Bush was best.

“To have the PACT’s first step into governance be to embrace the very person whose actions, compounded by the inaction of the Progressives, which again, puts us in the same position as we started in, is simply too high a price to pay,” she said in her two-page statement.

Bush, who issued a statement on his deal with PACT Tuesday, apologised for his actions in the assault for which he was convicted late last year.

As part of his deal Bush promised to donate 10% of his salary to the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre as well as commit to the immediate implementation of a code of conduct for all Parliamentarians “where any infractions would lead to immediate dismissal from their position”.

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The Cayman Compass reached out to the Crisis Centre on whether it would accept the offer; however, it has declined to comment.

This file photo shows supporters of the #sheissupported movement, which PACT leader Wayne Panton supported, outside the Parliament calling for McKeeva Bush’s removal. – Photo: Taneos Ramsay

Unlike Ebanks, a number of prominent faces in the protests against Bush and in the #sheissupported demonstration including Panton, have taken a U-turn when it comes to Bush.

Some of those who vehemently opposed Bush over the last year are now welcoming his addition to the PACT government as “a means to an end” as it removes the Progressives and puts an independents-led administration in office.

Ebanks, however, holds a different view.

“Our country is divided, and the only way to truly bridge this division would be to form a true coalition government with capable members from within both groups coming together to lead. Unfortunately, as we have seen, this does not appear to be possible. As such, it appears as if the PACT has in fact taken steps to reseat McKeeva Bush in the Speaker’s chair,” she said.

She pointed out that, since the election was held on 14 April, the country has found itself once again in an untenable position as speculations circulate over who will form the next government.

“Many people who may feel exhausted, angry, and disenfranchised, have reacted accordingly. In numerous chat groups, behind closed doors and at work cubicles it appears that the question has boiled down to this choice: Choice 1: A PACT led government that includes the convicted criminal, McKeeva Bush. OR Choice 2: A PPM led government that includes the convicted criminal, McKeeva Bush. In a perfect world our response would have been neither,” she said.

Ebanks said, with the current state of play “we are grappling with our disappointment, but we are not defeated”.

She said it is clear now that Cayman Voices will need to redouble efforts to push for the necessary change needed in the country.

“We will hold both sides to their campaign declarations of supporting greater accountability, the implementation of a robust code of conduct, for MPs, clear procedures for resignation, revising and updating the eligibility clause for those who wish to hold public office, and the implementation of a recall mechanism so that we are never put in this position again,” she said.

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