(CMR) The Official Opposition has issued a strong message Wednesday afternoon expressing their disappointment in the Premier's decision to not meet again for the remaining session of Parliament. They allege he is breaching the constitution by refusing to hold at least one meeting before the May election.
The move appears to be fueled by Alden McLaughlin's refusal to address the Motion of No Confidence to remove Hon. William McKeeva Bush as Speaker of the Parliament filed for the next meeting by the Hon. V. Arden Mclean and the elected Member for North Side, D. Ezzard Miller.
The Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009 (as amended) requires that Parliament meet at least once per calendar year. According to section 83 (2) There shall be at least one session of the Legislative Assembly in every calendar year.
The Opposition claims that the refusal of the Premier to call a session of Parliament for this calendar year is in breach of Section 83 (2) of the Constitution.
Accordingly, pursuant to Standing Order 8(2), the Opposition yesterday filed a request for a Meeting of Parliament with the Clerk of Parliament to debate a Motion of No Confidence in the Speaker, the Hon. William McKeeva Bush. In addition, the Leader of the Opposition has written to each of the Members of Parliament individually inviting them to sign the request, which requires seven (7) members in order to be triggered. Six (6) Members of Parliament have already signed the request for the meeting. Those members are:
- V. Arden McLean, MP East End
- Alva Suckoo, MP Newlands
- Anthony Eden, MP Savannah
- Chris Saunders, MP Bodden Town West
- Bernie Bush, MP West Bay North
- Ezzard Miller, MP North Side
Arden McLean, Leader of the Opposition, said:
“It should be a matter of grave concern for the entire country that the Premier is so reckless and cavalier in operating the Parliament in breach of the Constitution, in order to facilitate his political objectives and avoid debating a motion of such magnitude and public importance as to challenge the continued tenure of the Speaker. The responsibility of every duly elected Member of Parliament is to ensure that the Constitution is upheld and never circumvented to prevent debate on matters of national interest. This behavior is tantamount to despotic leadership, the likes of which we have seen emerging around the world. This does not bode well for our country and its people, and creates public distrust and political division that does not lend itself to social harmony.”
The statement continues that:
It is also very unfortunate that the Premier continues to spin the narrative that the Government may fall if he calls a meeting of the Parliament and debates a Motion of No Confidence calling for the removal of the Speaker from that position.
This is simply false.
To remove the Government, it would require an affirmative vote of the Parliament of no less than 13 members, the same number required to remove the Speaker.
By our count, even if the Speaker is removed from that post, the Government would still have a clear majority and could continue to function as normal for the remainder of this administration. It should be noted that to achieve 13 votes, the Official Opposition would be required to participate in those numbers.
The Official Opposition does not have the appetite to vote to bring down the Government and has not sought to bring a No Confidence Motion in that regard. Therefore, the Premier’s expressed concern of bringing down the government is simply baseless and intended to confuse the public so as to create some sort of excuse for not taking the right and honourable action regarding the Speaker.
Embarrassingly, the Cayman Islands have been asked to participate in a roundtable discussion by the Commonwealth and Parliamentary Association on the best practices of legislation and implementation protecting women from violence across the Commonwealth later this month. How can we add value to the process when one of the highest post holders on our island was recently convicted and found guilty of violence against a female and so many MPs remain silent?
We would therefore urge the Premier, to do the right thing and end the division being created among our people and the damage being done to the reputation of these islands by the Speaker continuing to serve under the cloud of his severely damaged reputation.
Come on Mr. Premier, the Caymanian people and the tens of thousands of residents that call the Cayman Islands home are good and decent people and they know that we are better than this. This kind of behaviour has no place in any country much less any holder of public office. It is never too late to do the right thing; our people deserve better than this.”