(CMR) Leader of the Opposition, The Hon. Roy McTaggart filed a motion of ‘Lack of Confidence in the Speaker, the Hon. McKeeva Bush OBE, JP’ earlier on Friday afternoon. He confirms that the motion was seconded by MP for George Town South and supported by the entire opposition.
The move will now certainly leave Bush sitting on the back bench with the Opposition members. CMR became aware of something else that was pending politically after McTaggart and his wife were a last-minute no-show to the Cayman Heart Fund Award Luncheon held at the Marriott Friday afternoon.
In an ironic fate, the same political group that was not willing to remove Bush in 2021 when he assaulted a bar manager and was eventually convicted and issued a suspended sentence has finally agreed to put their backing behind such a motion. At the time, then leader and Premier Alden McLaughlin opted to call an early election instead of debating a lack of no confidence motion brought by former Opposition Leader Arden McLean.
On the day Bush was handed a 60-day suspended sentence, McLaughlin said he was not sure the country would be well served by presenting a vote of no confidence against the speaker. He also admitted that he was not aware of the outcome of the trial, which at the time was the most watched court event in the islands:
Their staunch refusal to do anything about the situation after several protests and prominent members leaving the party is in contrast to their current position. Premier Panton and former MP Osbourne Bodden parted ways with the Progressives over their handling of the situation. For months, Panton shared his support of the victim with a placard at his community office in Savannah:
McTaggart took the opportunity to use this against Premier Panton, accusing him of being unable to remove Bush. He noted that now he is prepared to do with Panton is “afraid to do”. He noted:
“It has been increasingly obvious to me over the past week that despite his letter demanding the resignation of the Hon. McKeeva Bush as Speaker, the Premier does not appear to have any intention of acting to ensure the removal of Mr Bush from the post. The most recent confirmation of this is the Premier’s excuse that the Opposition’s filing of a motion of a Lack of Confidence in the Government somehow complicates his handling of the matter of Mr Bush and he went on to question the Opposition’s priorities.”
He then asked what the priorities for the Premier are.
Premier Panton and the rest of the country spent last week preparing for the narrow passage of Hurricane Ian. On Thursday's The Cold Hard Truth, Premier Panton explained that the next sitting of Parliament is on Wednesday. Because the Progressives filed a vote of no confidence against the entire government, that would take precedence over any further actions he was contemplating and had to first be dealt with.
When asked if he had any concerns about the success of their motion against the entire government, Premier Panton demonstrated complete confidence that his government was solid and they did not have the support of any PACT members.
Despite promises to Premier Panton, Minister Jay Ebanks and the Governor, The Hon. McKeeva Bush has failed to tender his resignation to the Clerk of Parliament. CMR sources indicated that Bush appeared to believe he still had some negotiating power and was not willing to resign without any conditions attached. There were concerns that he was still trying to wiggle out one more political play before his departure.
In a social media post, he went as far as claiming that the current allegations against him were politically motivated and not true. Despite these assertions, exclusive sources confirmed that the police investigation is very much alive and witness statements had been provided to them.
The historical vote could see Bush finally removed from the Speaker position but would clearly need to help of the PACT members to succeed. Pursuant to the Cayman Islands Constitution Order, a 2/3 majority is needed to make any motion of no confidence successful.
The question of who will become the next speaker of the house is already being mulled over by many. Participate in CMR's online polls. The first question is whether or not the speaker position should be filled from inside or outside of Parliament: