(CMR) A new political group, the United People’s Movement (UPM), comprised of 12 existing Members of Parliament, has come together under Honourable Julianna O’Connor-Connolly as Premier and Honourable Andre Ebanks as Deputy Premier to form the government.
Former Premier Wayne Panton will be nominated to the role of Speaker of Parliament.
Her Excellency, Governor Jane Owen was duly notified of this transition and has accepted the composition of the new administration, comprised of 12 Members:
1. Hon. Juliana O'Connor-Connolly MP: Premier and Minister for Finance, Education, District Administration, Lands and Cabinet Office
2. Hon. Andre Ebanks MP: Deputy Premier, Minister for Financial Services & Commerce and Investment, Innovation & Social Development
3. Hon. Kenneth Bryan MP: Minister for Tourism & Ports
4. Hon. Johany “Jay” Ebanks MP: Minister for Planning, Agriculture, Housing, Infrastructure as well as Transport & Development
5. Hon. Sabrina Turner MP: Minister for Health & Wellness and Home Affairs
6. Hon. Isaac Rankine MP: Minister for Youth, Sports and Heritage
7. Hon. Dwayne Seymour MP: Minister for Border Control & Labour and Culture
8. Hon. Katherine Ebanks-Wilks MP: Minister for Sustainability & Climate Resiliency
Heather Bodden, MP, remains the Deputy Speaker as well as a Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministries of Tourism and Ports and Social Development.
MP Bernie Bush graciously offered his position in Cabinet to former Speaker Katherine Ebanks-Wilks and he will remain with the Government. Outgoing Minister Bernie Bush was pivotal in the reconfiguration of this Government and all Members of the UPM thanked him for his unwavering dedication and passionate advocacy for the subjects of his former Ministry. McKeeva Bush, MP will also sit on the Government’s backbench.
This represents a reconfiguration of roles to emphasize the group’s shared ideals as they work together in pursuit of the Government’s five broad outcomes for the people of the Cayman Islands:
1. Improve the Quality of Life for Caymanians
2. Enhance Our Competitiveness While Meeting International Standards
3. Modernise the Government to Improve Public Sector Performance
4. Future Proofing to Increase Resilience and
5. Protect and Promote Caymanian Culture, Heritage and Identity
The Premier, Cabinet Ministers and the back-bench members also want to thank the former Premier, Hon. Wayne Panton for his dedication and service during the past two and a half years, particularly managing the country in the second half of the pandemic and successfully reopening the country’s borders. Members of the UPM are confident MP Panton will offer the country a great service as the new Speaker of Parliament.
“One of the key aspects of this smooth transition is the retention of the existing Cabinet Ministers, as a testament to the group’s commitment to continuity and stability. The UPM is determined to be innovative and to accelerate the delivery of results for the people of the Cayman Islands,” said Hon. Premier Julianna O’Connor-Connolly.
Meantime, Governor Jane Owen said she received a clear proposal to form a new Government, led by Premier Hon. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly and Deputy Premier, Hon. Andre Ebanks. This group enjoys a clear majority of support from the elected members of Parliament.
“I have accepted this proposal and am looking forward to working with the new Government. We have a busy agenda going forward and we need to focus on that effort in the coming weeks,” she said.
The Governor said listening to the political debate, she has been struck by the level of commitment to the Cayman Islands.
She also commended Wayne Panton for his service.
“Over the last seven months of my time in office, I have been grateful for the work and consultation I have enjoyed with former Premier Panton and commend his service, integrity and commitment to the Cayman Islands,” she said.