Independents jittery over early poll

| 29/01/2016 | 33 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly

(CNS): The five independent members now sitting on the opposition benches have written to the governor to try and head off the possibility of early elections, in reaction to comments by the premier about this possibility. Now that three government backbench MLAs have crossed the floor of the House to the opposition benches, the PPM-led coalition’s majority is so slender that Premier Alden McLaughlin has said it may be difficult to sustain his administration to the end of its term.

The government majority has been cut to two. However, since one of these MLAs is House Speaker Julianna O’Connor-Connolly, for the purposes of voting on legislation, they have a majority of just one.

Jittery that early elections would be conducted under the existing multi-member, multi-voting system, the five independent opposition members, who all support electoral reform, have said they do not believe the premier has the constitutional right to bring the date of the next general elections forward.

In their letter to Governor Helen Kilpatrick, which was sent Thursday, Arden McLean, Ezzard Miller, Anthony Eden, Alva Suckoo and Winston Connolly implied that the premier made those comments to deliberately cause concern for political reasons and they want the governor to issue a statement on the matter and prevent an early ballot.

The independents claim that the premier cannot make the call and if he cannot sustain a government, the members of the Legislative Assembly should decide among themselves if there is a way to sustain this administration until the anticipated poll date in May 2017, which is scheduled to be held under the reformed voting system of ‘one man, one vote’ in single member constituencies, in accordance with the government’s recent motion.

The government has not yet brought the necessary legislative changes to the parliament to change the elections law and the Cayman Islands Elections Office has said its team needs a clear twelve months ahead of the elections to implement the new voting system. Therefore, early general elections would be conducted under the old system and the five independent members, in their letter to Kilpatrick, said they wanted to “record their strenuous objection” to what they described as a threat.

Asking the governor to issue a public statement to settle what they say is concern and consternation across the country because of the uncertainty created by the premier’s comments, the letter indicated that, despite their exit from the government and withdrawal of their support, the MLAs are not yet ready to take their fight with the PPM-led government to the electorate.

The members described the comments by McLaughlin that the departure of three members from his benches had led to the possibility of an early election as unnecessarily alarming because the country was not ready.

The MLAs said the premier’s comments were “dubious”, his motives uncertain and the threat of an election was a “dereliction of his duty” as the country’s leader because a premier should promote stability.

Demonstrating their concern in the letter to Kilpatrick, the five men said they would go to the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office if they had to in order to prevent the early poll, as they urged the governor to settle the matter with a public statement.

However, the premier has not said that he will be calling an election, merely that with a narrow majority in the coalition and more than 14 months to go for this administration, circumstances may arise that would undermine its stability.

Although no members of Cabinet have spelt it out, Education Minister Tara Rivers, who ran with the Coalition for Cayman group, remains outside the PPM and the speaker’s loyalty to the party may also be limited. O’Connor-Connolly was deputy premier in the last UDP administration and in the 2013 elections ran under the UDP breakaway party, the People’s National Alliance (PNA), of which she was the only successful candidate. Only after the elections did she join her former political foes, the PPM, and was immediately named as Speaker of the House.

CNS has contacted both the governor and the premier and is awaiting a response.

Letter to Kilpatrick from MLAs 29 jan

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Category: Elections, Politics

Comments (33)

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  1. Nononsense says:

    Is Cayman where the Jitterbug came from?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard and/or Arden want to be premier everyone knows it. They figure their chances are better with OMOV. End of story.

    • Anonymous says:

      Talk on marl road is that UDP will have two candidates for each area and it’s linferd and mckeeva who desire to be premier

  3. new leader says:

    PPM needs a new leader

  4. Gray Matter says:

    Its not for the independents to say we the people are not ready to vote. We are ready. the5 are being cheeky.

  5. Anonymous says:

    They all still will get Pensions for Life!
    Tek dat.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Even the independents are a miserable bunch worried mainly about their jobs.

  7. Tellme says:

    I have read the letter and the bottom line concern of the independents are the OMOV issue. It doesn’t matter more much more they add to the letter everything else that they express is just blah blah blah. Why are they not complaining about the leadership style of the Premier?

    • Anonymous says:

      The fact that the Premier is threatening to call early election under the old system when it is not only contrary to the constitution but unnecessary speaks volume about his leadership or lack thereof. It is so sad to lack understanding

  8. Consider this says:

    Oh how times are changing across the pond but indeed proud to know Prime Minister Cameron has the guts to stand up in his parliament and deal wit issues straight up.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Instead of power-grabbing sideshows how about actually doing some work for the country? Do they even remember that’s what they’re there for or do they only think about themselves and their place on the gravy train?

  10. Alden need sit down says:

    There is no urgency to go to the polls early except for one simple fact. Alden thinks its his best chance to survive what is to come (the removal of the PPM from Government by the public) and to kill OMOV once and for all. I hope he realises that we see quite clearly how obvious he is being and that we are not fooled by any of this. He still has the majority and can get on with his business. What he needs to be careful of is his blatant disregard for his colleagues and disrespectful attitude towards others. The man has no people skills.

  11. Anonymous says:

    If we take the time to read the letter to the Governor from the five independents we will see there is no “Jittery” on their part or fear of competing in an early election. Their concern is that the Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009, Alden’s “BABY” makes no provision for the Progressives to ask for an early election with a majority in the Legislative Assembly. Their concern is the effect on the country’s reputation for political stability if a precedent is set where a Premier with a majority can seek early elections any time they feel they can win at the polls to prolong their reign. God knows the country can not tolerate or afford another four years of Regressive government.
    One person one vote and 19 single member districts must be in place before the next election check the Extra Ordinary Gazette issued on November 25, 2015. No stopping this now.
    We must thank the five independents for coming together in the interest of Cayman and Caymanians to stop Alden and his PPM stalwarts form frightening the people with this threat of early elections.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Alden and his cronies are jittery if you ask me. They know under OMOV their chances are slim to none for getting re elected so that is why they are pushing for early elections. Just a manipulation of the system to try and get the results that the PPM want.

    • Anonymous says:

      Some of you are so fast asleep you cannot even think for yourself. Why don’t you stop and reflect on how many that had to leave the PPM over the past few years. Let me remind you. Arden, Chuckie, Alfonso, Kenneth. Osborne ( he was coaxed back to be treated like Crap over the driftwood fallout,, word on the street is that those two hardly speak to each other) Anthony, Al, Winston, ( not a PPMer but gone nevertheless) Woody, ( he half in half out) . The Premier and Wayne at odds over the last fiasco- daylight savings time. The common denominator is the Premier. Still think he is not to blame ?

  13. Conscience says:

    The North East corner is definitely afraid of a sudden storm, which is created by a stirring wind from the south west. One of the north east crew is supposedly an engineer , one is a Sparki one is an X soldier and the other two are BR and Messman respectively . So they have now heaved to Port to try and get support because without a full crew They are unable to man their tiny vessel in the upcoming south west wind.

    Well all I can say is we hope for fair weather soon.

  14. Anonymous says:

    just let the fco run the show……the future of cayman is going to be a ragtag bunch of independents and desperate coalitions parties…….goodnight cayman…….zzzzzzzzzzzzz

  15. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like the independents aren’t ready to give up the stability that the PPM government brings to the table despite the fact that they upset the apple cart for their own political repositioning.

    • Anonymous says:

      Stability? Do you realise how many have left the PPM over the years? They can’t keep it together for more than a year at a time. Even Big Mac manage to hold on to his people better than Alden.z

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, stability. Do you notice how financiers are more comfortable with the PPM than they were under UDP? Do you notice how the FCO has loosened the reins on the government with the PPM at the helm?
        Besides the people you talking about held NO ministerial responsibilities hardly comparable to Mac and fries PNA fiasco.

  16. Sharkey says:

    I think this is not Jittery , this is whining. This man sounds like he has a big problem with his leadership .

  17. Anonymous says:

    Political theatre at its best. The headline should have read PPM considering Hail Mary option; Opponents cry foul.

    An early election would favor the PPM, catching all the neophyte opposition off guard. In addition it lends some limited plausibility to their inevitable claim that they didn’t have enough time to make the changes they promised. Given their low popularity this is probably the only shot the PPM has.

    At the same time, most of the independents have much less to fear from SMC’s. Alva and Tony have the BT bible thumper vote sewn up. Arden and Ezzard aren’t aware there has been a change, they barely woke from their naps to pass OMOV. George Town and West Bay will be thrown into chaos.

    In other words, status quo favors the incumbents and change favors the challengers. For either camp to claim they have the country’s best interests at heart is laughable.

    The only one with a plausible claim to the moral high ground here is Winston. There is no discernible self interest for him in SMCs. That’s the great thing about having someone who didn’t become a politician for the paycheck. He is free to vote for the right thing knowing that worst case he can go back to the private sector and make some real money.

    If only there were about 12 more like him.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Go ahead, Alden, and call a new election so we can get rid of Eden and his idiotic satanic fantasies and horrible anti gay hatred, Alva and his pandering to the old time religious voters and WIMPston Connolly and his gutlessness and utter naivete. Nothing we can do about Ezzard and Arden-they are there for life, like Julianna.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why in the hell do you want to end Alden’s political career before time?

      • Anonymous says:

        The reason why we will end Alden’s career is because he is useless. He does not have Caymanian’s interest at heart. He got to go once and for all. That is the end of the story whether you like it or not.

  19. No Jitters says:

    Don’t sound Jittery to me, seems like they are calling a “bluff”

    • Anonymous says:

      The signatures of all five independent members, which includes Anthony Eden speaks volume of how they view Premier Alden McLaughlin, not to mention the verbiage of the letter.

      My observation is that the Premier is extremely reckless as the leader of our country; and if my memory serves me correctly, he was always the main person that use to accuse the former Premier of causing instability in the country and driving away Investors.

      The Premier is a very dangerous little fellow that does whatever he feels will get him re-elected. All well thinking Caymanian’s should be able to see right through him.

      He has strategically delayed taking the Bill to Parliament with the necessary changes to allow OMOV in single member constituencies. He is hoping that the Elections Office will not be prepared for the next General Elections. Then he will blame the Elections Office by saying that the new Supervisor of Elections and his team is incompetent, because they asked for one year lead time. Any well thinking person know that the one year is on the assumption that the Elections Law amendments are in order the first time around.

      I predict that he will wait until the very last minute to bring the Bill to Parliament. Then the next thing you will hear shortly after it is accented to by the Governor, is that the Bill requires an amendment to correct some inadvertently omitted section and or errors.

      Just watch it play out. Independent’s and other MLA’s don’t say I didn’t WARN you guys.

    • Anonymous says:

      The CNS report is accurate, the Hon. Premier did not mention early elections. Whether we agree with Mr.Eden or not, he went on strongly held beliefs. The rest are caught in political calculations in my opinion. While they have a right to do what they did, it was not in the best interest of the majority of Caymanians. We have a saying, “playing fool to catch the wise”. They did not think it through and now they realize the gravity of what they have done or caused to be done. Stop play politics with our future!

      • Anonymous says:

        The Premier did say that there is the possibility of early elections and also that it would have to be held under the old system. After another five years OMOV might still not happen unless the Premier stops dilly- dallying on implementing it. He was never in favour of OMOV but after seeing the support for it and seeing so many new voters registering he jumped on it because anything that seems to be done inspite of him not supporting it initially he will jump all over it and pretend it was his idea from the get go. The constitution does not allow, it and no matter how we feel about the independents or opposition we should follow the constitution otherwise instead of a democracy we will have a dictatorship. As a matter of fact this entire upheaval in the legislature was caused by the Premier making a decision not in compliance with the constitution. The constitution that he redrafted I might add. I think we all should all start paying keen attention.

    • Anonymous says:

      winston and alva scramblin now, they quit their party thinking they’d have a better chance getting elected as an independent under OMOV …. oops!

      shouldv’e cared more about us than their own re-elections

      • Your comment is silly says:

        So lets see! They left the ruling party government to become Independents, does that sound self serving? Sounds like they are risking their political futures to stand up against the PPM. They must be doing this for some other reason than re-election !!!

      • Anonymous says:

        I made a prediction May 2013 that al would leave PPM before next election, only piece missing is for his full support for mckeeva/Saunders

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