Governor Martyn Roper has set 3pm Wednesday for the swearing-in of the Wayne Panton-led PACT government.
Roper, in a statement Tuesday afternoon, said he had received a revised set of signatures from 10 MPs signifying the Newlands MP-elect and former environment minister commands the support of the majority of representatives for his appointment as premier.
Panton announced Monday that he had put together a deal that would see McKeeva Bush return to the Speaker’s chair to side with his alliance of nine independent legislators to help him form a government.
Amid questions raised by the Progressives over the legality of that arrangement, Panton announced Tuesday that Irma Arch would be appointed as an outside Speaker for tomorrow’s session. Arch, who was one of Prospect MP Sabrina Turner’s nominators, is the Managing Director of Miracle Brokers.
There has been no immediate response from the Progressives on the announcement of the swearing-in.
That arrangement leaves no room for doubt about Bush’s ability to vote for Panton as premier.
In his statement, Roper said Panton presented a revised letter of support for his appointment as premier.
“It also includes the signatures of 10 elected persons currently supporting Mr. Panton’s leadership of a new Government. Following the meeting, the Governor this afternoon issued a Proclamation for a meeting of Parliament tomorrow (Wednesday, 21 April) at 3p.m. in the Cayman Islands Gazette,” the statement indicates.
Roper said MPs will be sworn in at the meeting, with the swearing-in of a new Cabinet following immediately afterwards, on Fort Street, outside the House of Parliament.
Panton stated in a press release, “I would like to thank Governor Roper and his team for all the assistance and guidance provided during this transition.
“They have all been professional and patient as we work through the democratic process. I would also like to thank Ms. Irma Arch for agreeing to preside over this historic occasion and it is a testament to our islands that during challenging times we can always rely on our women to play an important role.”
He added his thanks to the voters who had supported PACT and the independent-led coalition.
“I want to thank the thousands of our fellow Caymanians, and those who call the Cayman Islands home, that have reached out to me and to my team to not only offer their congratulations but also their desire to assist in moving our country forward.
“Their willingness serves to remind us all that Community Creates Country and I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow.”
Over the last 24 hours, there have been questions raised about the ability of the newly formed government to be able to function with the present numbers standing at nine for Panton’s team, with Bush as Speaker, and nine on the side of the Progressives. Bush has a casting vote as Speaker, according to the Constitution, but there were questions as to how and when that could be exercised.
The appointment of Arch as an outside Speaker gets round that issue – at least for now.
The longer-term plan – to have Bush retained as the presiding officer of Parliament – appears still to be in place.
Bush, as part of his deal with Panton, issued a written apology and committed to donate 10% of his salary to the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, but on Tuesday evening the non-profit, which provides shelter to victims of domestic abuse and their children, released a statement declining Bush’s offer.
There has been mixed reaction to the partnership, given that Panton and others in his team campaigned on the basis they would not work with Bush.
- Premier – G. Wayne Panton, MP Elect, Newlands
- Deputy Premier – Christopher Saunders, MP Elect, Bodden Town West
- Minister – Kenneth V. Bryan, MP Elect, George Town Central
- Minister – Sabrina Turner, MP Elect, Prospect
- Minister – André M. Ebanks, MP Elect, West Bay South
- Minister – Katherine Ebanks-Wilks, MP Elect, West Bay Central
- Minister – Johany S. ‘Jay’ Ebanks, MP Elect, North Side
- Minister – Bernie A. Bush, MP Elect, West Bay North
Heather Bodden would serve as a parliamentary secretary.