Cracks deepen on opposition benches

| 16/04/2019 | 84 Comments
Cayman News Service

Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller in the LA

(CNS): The four independent members of the Legislative Assembly who had made up the official opposition under the leadership of Ezzard Miller have fallen short of asking him to resign but have asked him not to speak on their behalf. Alva Suckoo, Anthony Eden, Arden McLean and Chris Saunders all signed a letter, sent on 10 April, berating Miller over his February interview with CNS when he offered his support to civil unions. Even though Miller made it clear he was talking on his own behalf, the MLAs did not think their constituents could tell the difference.

The letter comes in the wake of Alva Suckoo’s resignation from the role of deputy opposition leader and his decision to break from the official opposition block, pulling the opposition benches further apart.

While Miller had hoped to create a more disciplined and coherent opposition that could be seen as a government in waiting, the letter indicates that his colleagues are not interested in being a cohesive group offering policy alternatives to government, as is traditional for an opposition.

The letter focuses on their desire to remain independent people with independent views on the issues, coming together only when there is consensus on an issue-by-issue basis.

Speaking to CNS following the leaking of the letter, Saunders said he still supports Miller as the official leader when it comes to the legislative agenda, but he said he did not see him as his political leader.

Saunders said he had been elected on his own merit and he did not see the opposition members as a government in waiting. He made it clear he had no desire to be led by anyone but the people of his Bodden Town West constituency.

Meanwhile, Miller has said that he will remain as the official opposition leader until such time as the members on the opposition benches put it in writing that they do not want him to continue in the role. Speaking to CNS about the letter, he said that he believed he still had support from Saunders as well as Anthony Eden.

He said that the two men had given him “verbal assurances that they remain a part of the official opposition group” and they would continue to operate as such.

“If this situation should change, I will not hesitate in issuing a statement apprising the public and doing what is best for Cayman and Caymanians,” Miller said.

Acknowledging that the opposition is made up of independents, he said the group had nevertheless always agreed “collective positions” in advance. Prepared statements representing the whole group were only issued after consultation and members had submitted their comments, he said.

“I will continue to strive for consensus, which may become easier in the reduced group. But failing that, members will continue to reserve the right to issue releases or to speak independently on any issue on which we have not achieved consensus,” he told CNS.

It was “quite unnecessary and flies in the face of the modus operandi for the group …to
request that I do not speak on behalf of the official opposition”, Miller said, adding that the authors had already accepted that his comments about civil unions were clearly his own position.

“The letter states unmistakably that it was clear that I spoke for myself,” he said, pointing to the second paragraph. But as leader of the opposition he never inhibited any member of the group from expressing personal views in the press, even if the group as a whole was not in full agreement, he said.

“As the duly elected member for North Side, I anticipated that the group would accord me the same right to my personal views, even if they may at times run counter to those of some members of the group,” Miller said.

Nevertheless, the opposition leader thanked the group for the caveat in the letter that their concerns were not a reflection on his performance or efforts during the past 22 months but what they see as the challenges of representing a diverse electorate.

In their letter the four members indicated that they all see themselves as individual representatives with different policy positions, and that they are the first group of opposition members elected under the new constitution that are not part of any kind of party or alliance.

They said that “comes with its own challenges”, but they were not opposed to Miller staying in the role of official opposition leader.

Since talking the helm, Miller had tried to professionalise the opposition, and had the members of the group take on specific policy areas to shadow ministers. This required them to do the necessary work to hold government ministers to account for their policies and the legislation.

But the letter suggests that the opposition members are keen to maintain their independence and do not appear to see the merit in a cohesive approach to the job of an opposition, which is to hold government accountable.

While Miller was also elected as an independent member, at the time of the election he campaigned in a loose alliance with Eden and McLean. Under the current constitution and the new system of ‘one man, one vote’, Miller now believes there are advantages to alliances being formed before election day and not after.

He said he remained committed to recruiting members for the Cayman People’s Alliance in preparation of fielding a team of candidates in 2o21 who will, when the time comes, run on an agreed and cohesive platform of clearly defined policies.

See the letter in the CNS Library

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Category: Politics

Comments (84)

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  1. David S,, says:

    Look Ya,
    Stop fighting for a cause that has no moral merit.Fight for jobs, a technical institute, a Workers Union, fight poverty, to keep political power into the hands of the local born infividual.lf they get away switch by his breach of judicial trust, they will surely come back demanding that foreign born jerks and jerkesses, punks and punkesses can run for office.So stop making ca fool nog yourselves. Your political freedom is at stake, not your gender choice!

  2. Anonymous says:

    So wait a flicking minute…CNS, who write that letter???

    Anthony Eden get elected in Newlands??

  3. Anonymous says:

    Anyone have a contact for the person who constructed these benches? Looking for something strong for my kitchen.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Chris Johnson, I agree with you! Why don’t you declare for West Bay next election? I’d vote for you before any of those who we have now!

    • Cess Pita says:

      Chris Johnson has resided here for more than 50 years and has an exemplary record as a leader in our all important financial industry. He is admirably suited to represent West Bay and the extensive expatriate community, as an MLA.
      However as an expatriate, thanks to our many clannish and nationalistic voters I’m afraid to say he would not stand a chance in Hell (or any where else in West Bay), of being elected. Sad.

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    • David S,, says:

      Mr.Saunders, you have been a problem from morning.Ezzard is more experienced, more knowledgeable than you and he’s your Sr.! You Saunders are the Judas traitor that betrayed the people in 2017 and cause the country to experience the chaos it is now facing. You Saunders need to wait your turn, or get out of the way. You seem to be an insufferable self seeking power hungry individual that think you are entitled to be the next premier, Well No! Because you are not as patriotic as you want people to believe.By the way this is your first term right? so sit down, shut up and learn from these elderly men how govt should be run. Have some respect!

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard keep being open minded and willing to do what is right. I’m one North Side voter who will support you. The way the lot of those MLAs have acted and behaved towards the Caymanian LGBQT+ community is disgraceful we need to get organised and vote out such bigotry. Bullies have to be exposed and shamed and for sure that was achieved last week.

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  6. LoveCayman says:

    Most foreigners want to see these islands thriving and progressing in peace – no racism, no inequality, no crime. Let’s look around the region: people are murdered in Jamaica for being gay (that is crazy). People in Nicaragua are afraid to march asking for early elections because the government kills protesters with snipers and AK47s. In Venezuela, some people are dying of malnutrition and eating from garbage trucks. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Honduras – all these countries have one thing in common: corrupt politicians who cling to government because they discovered it is lucrative for them to sell their country to foreign interests. So I beg of you, instead of suspecting us, keep an eye on your politicians. Look for the recorded house sessions on YouTube and LISTEN to how some of them spew veiled hatred, while others just try to stay out of their way. It is the oldest trick in the book, to pitch the people against the people – straights against gays, the poor against the affluent, the ones progressing against the ones struggling. No one is bringing hatred – it is brewing within and the healthiest thing to do is to nip it in the bud.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    We need ethical, transparent people that are logically centered, and capable of mentally graduating from obscure back-benches to the Cabinet. I don’t know who that is. Electoral reform is necessary to deepen the pool of candidates, otherwise, we already know who wins next time.

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    • Anonymous says:

      11.40am Of course what you are suugesting is Caymanians should give way and let expats run for election because somehow these expats are more ethical and transparent. Yea right.

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      • Anonymous says:

        No, but how about Caymanian Status holders?

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        • David S,, says:

          Status holders, hell no! I’m sure that don’t happen where you come from.Try that in Cayman and watch those young people get rid of you arrogant ingrates.

      • NonYa says:

        Replying to 12:44: Because I am Caymanian, I agree with 11:40. We MUST have ethical Caymanians willing to root out corruption. I am sure we have many with the tertiary education and the desire to contribute to building this country, aside from them in the House today. Don’t let Arden’s foreigner witch hunt rub off on you.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Are Jamaicans expats. ?

        • Anonymous says:

          Jamaicans ran the UDP

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        • David S,, says:

          Jams are yes.. but there’s a twist to that.Jamaica and Cayman in early colonial times had one governor.Many Caymanians left to go live in Jamaica, and we’re educated there.Families moved to Jamaica because it was thriving, as a successful Brit lsland.Jamaica and Cayman were sort of half sister islands befire Ja lndependence.So given the past history, Cayman must not forget that Jamaica has been more of a benefit to Cayman than these European and North American racists and gay mafia members that are now trying to overthrow the Cayman Govt. They should be put in their place once and for all.

      • Anonymous says:

        No. What they are suggesting is that ethical, mentally capable, logical and transparent people. Quality people who will stand up and start making a difference and change the politics of this island.

        Do you REALLY want to persist with the Dwayne Seymour’s of this world? Do you think his conduct last week was acceptable? A sneering, almost schoolboy style standard of behaviour. Incredible to watch.

        Ex-pats, contrary to local popular belief, have NO desire to ‘take over’ the politics on this island, however we have to live here too. Maybe we are just used to a higher standard of conduct in our respective elected members.

        And I can already predict the response…..’If you don’t like it here then go home’….etc….etc…

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    • anonymous says:

      It is interesting that the one thing that the group identified as the issue that caused the most concern is that of Civil Unions.

      Don’t they think that same sex marriage is one topic on which we expect our legislators to take a position?

      And don’t they realize that it is so sensitive that we don’t expect them all to agree on it? At least if they are transparent and honest about their true feelings?

      And don’t they know that in such sensitive matters personal positions must be respected even if we don’t agree—and that that also applies to legislators?

      The constituents are not as ignorant as they presuppose. The public is aware that on this issue there will be varied opinions, and a consensus may never be achieved — but that we cannot and must not shy away from healthy, robust debate.

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      • David S,, says:

        Civil Unions? Don’t get me started..the only Civil union Cayman needs is the urgently needed Workers Union that he was blocked from implementing.Had he been a white man doing the same thing Cayman would have a thriving Workers Union today. Warning to black people.Dont be the first to invent, start or create a cause that will make black geniuses overshadow the intellect of the white man.lt will backfire every time.
        I hope that when we all see Jesus that he is really a Black man!

        • David S,, says:

          It was Dr Frank McField,GT former MAL that attempted to form a Workers Union to help the people.
          This was in early 90’s before he ran for office.God knows, the elite cabal globalist seeking to keep down poor working people blocked his efforts and Cayman ohyans are suffering today because one black educated academic dared to go against the odds to save his people from poverty and socioeconomic apartheid. So sad not even any of the two recent premiers have a vision for a Workers Union for the people, but yet the LGBTQ mafia has a thriving civil union that defies all things Caymanian especially the church, traditional family values, and our overall family friendly way of life.

    • David S,, says:

      Electoral reform, why are you afraid to be specific, you must have some covert agenda.l recognize you l think you’re an MLA, with a hidden agenda.l don’t trust you.

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  8. SingleMomof2 says:

    We need to “air out” the LA – the place can compete with the National Museum for antiques. Am tired of hearing the likes of Arden HOLLERING that he’s been there for 15 years (or whatever many!) 🙄Serve two administrations and give others a chance to serve – all qualified Caymanians have a right and a duty to do so.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Oh boy, he does plenty of that. If he only spent half that energy actually working for the people that elected him.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Ezzard. Thank you for being the best Leader of Opposition. Continue to serve the people of North Side and this country. Ignore the naysayers and the jealous people that you trusted for so long. The same one that has knifed you in the back because he is jealous of your success. Now you are seeing his true colors.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Someone said it below….Suckoo is a spoiled child. Cant get what he wants so he pouts and carries on. Ezzard, you may have persons who do not subscribe to everything you say and do, but I daresay that you garner much more support from the public than Al Suckoo could ever dream of garnering.

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      • Anonymous says:

        @10:34 I agree plus I add that Arden thinks that he should be the leader of Opposition. He cant even lead himself.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard is the only one of the whole sorry bunch with intelligence, common sense, and integrity.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Even while he straddles the fence on SSM, he for one, acknowledges the existing requirement for recognition of same sex civil unions, and the requirement for the LA to adjust a whole slew of prejudicial laws that are repugnant to the Constitution. That’s something, I guess. Ultimately, that room, and their ill-advised lobbyists, will be brought kicking and screaming to the civil rights standard of the 21st century.

      Back in 2016, the Law Reform Commission on Bullying cautioned that our government, and society at large, did not well understand the legal consequences of infringing on a person’s civil liberties, nor of the interlinking with a number of areas of law, such as criminal law, civil law, constitutional law, human rights law, administrative law, and education law. Some of these offenses, like uttering threats, incitement of hatred, and counselling suicide, are covered in our Penal Code, Information Communications Technology Authority Law, and the Computer Misuse Law, as well as several articles of international conventions which we are a party to.

      A big painful lesson is coming for the ignorant, that’s for sure.

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    • Chris Johnson says:

      Anonymous you are spot on. Real pity he does not live in my district of West Bay where our elected members have done zilch over the past twenty years. West Bay has more gangs than anywhere and more crime. Time to get the younger generation voted in . The old gang must go including all the West Bay politicians. The new generation needs take over.

      Ezzard keep up the good work.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Watch this space. I know some other stuff will soon come out

  11. Anonymous says:

    Suckoo needs to figure out what side of the fence he is going to be on. First UDP, then PPM, then Independent, and now who knows what he is. As for me and my household,he has lost 5 votes.

    Now lets hope that Wayne Panton joins up with Ezzard to make a formidable and promising party.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I hope so too. But they saying that the business people would want Arden over Ezzard. You want to know who the business people is?? check who is his fishing buddy. And his fishing buddy dont like either Ezzard or Wayne.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe a go fund me page can be established so that a horse saddle can be purchased for Al to ride the fence on rather than exposing his bare skin.

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    • Anonymous says:

      8.02am Agree with you. As to what side Suckoo is on…he’s on the side that puts Suckoo in charge. It’s all about the power. Just imagine a cabinet made up of Al and Chris and other independents trying to decide policy but unable to get agreement because as Chris is quoted as saying ” he had been elected on his own merit and he had no desire to be led by anyone but the people of his ..constituency”. Total chaos would reign supreme.

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    • Anonymous says:

      God help us, the two of them have one agenda – legalize same-sex marriage

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    • Anonymous says:

      Hahaaaaaaaa omg too funny

  12. Anonymous says:

    Just as I said when the story first broke that Suckoo stepped down as Deputy Leader
    (You can go back and check that story I commented it there as well)

    Of course this is all linked to the civil unions comments from Miller

    Suckoo and Eden are staunch anti-homsexuals (they might try to frame it as being anti-gay marriage but lets be real they are anti-gay period) they are against any concept of equality or any acknowledgement of discrimination, they also oppose any form of remediation including civil unions they want to keep gays as 3rd or 4th class citizens
    In fact I’m sure if Eden had his way the citizenship of gay Caymanians would be revoked and they would be expelled from the Islands

    Arden falls into a similar area as Eden and Suckoo though he has been less vocal on the issue probably because it is more convenient

    I know for a fact Chris Saunders is playing politics, from knowing him what I believe to be his personal position doesn’t line up with what he is saying but he doesn’t have the “testicular fortitude” as he would put it to dare oppose on this issue in public so he is just going with the flow
    Its quite embarrassing being one of his constituents, the man understands what is going on and remains silent, history will judge him harshly

    Out of the lot of them Kenneth Bryan had the most surprising response to men, while he clearly isn’t going to be waving a rainbow flag anytime soon he seems to be the only one even willing to acknowledge the reality in the current state of affairs he admits the situation has to be rectified

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    • Anonymous says:

      Bodden Town simply made the wrong call in every district last election. Seems like these are the skill sets that were elected: Chris can grin, Anthony can hate, Alva can waffle, and John John can do bad stand up.

      What more do you expect from this group of people who want to be elected because it’s a job rather than a passion?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Arden is not probably, he is as anti-gay as Eden and Suckoo. Didn’t you all see his behavior in the house when he was debating (screaming and behaving like a lunatic) the motion he brought on the first day of the Legislative Assembly?

  13. Al Catraz says:

    Some cracks have gotten deeper than others on those benches.

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  14. Miller Time! says:

    Ezzard Miller, keep being who you are don’t even change a little bit for anyone. A true statesman is shown here today folks. For the rest of the so-called team, find a new career, please.

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  15. Sea egg in a bucket says:

    And to think that 2 of the 4 who signed are lodge brothers to the one to whom the letter was issued is yet another indicator of the struggle for power. The 4 of these characters are about as useful as 2 teats on a bull.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    I voted for Alva, but next election I will vote for someone different – if Alva is a candidate for Newlands.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard is an excellent leader of the opposition.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Arden McLean is a disgrace must go along with the other diva Suckoo

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    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. He has sought to undermine Ezzard from day one. Ezzard finally discovered how he was being stabbed in the bank by his so called friend.

      Ezzard now knows how it feels to be deceived in the same way we were deceived in East End all these years.

      A disappointed deceived East Ender.

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    • NonYa says:

      Many of them are a disgrace, 8:28pm. East End, West Bay and the Brac keep shooting the the country in the foot; we also urgently need to start exposing and prosecuting the corrupt, come what may.

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      • Anonymous says:

        We keep doing what we have been doing and keep getting what we have been getting…we deserve that in East End. My mama and her sisters say they nah voting for him again. I gah make sure I register this time.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard Miller you are surrounded by traitors. Although I disagree with your views on many topics you deserve far better.

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  20. Tywyn Lannister-Ebanks says:

    Arden and Alva are petty boys showing how silly they are. None deserve another term getting paid to do nothing. Tony just needs to resign now for the love of God. Chris get out before they ruin your reputation as a smart guy.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Alva is being led astray by the non-action man who despises his own East End people through his utterance at Mango Tree

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      • Anonymous says:

        Yea, I hear he talks bad about them east enders when he go mango tree

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      • Anonymous says:

        Hey if you gonna go that far to discredit Arden 9:43 pm, why don’t you open ya pretty little mouth further and say what he said. It’s people like you that need to be tarred and feathered.

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        • Anonymous says:

          I know wha he said…I also know that one east end fella even saw him afterwards and dared him to repeat it again.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yep Chris is a good MLA but if he gets pulled into Alva and Eden’s corner I would prefer him to be a one term MLA
      He was promising but he is straying down the wrong path

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard, I am sure your grandmother used to say, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”

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  22. NonYa says:

    One is a religious zealot. The other dreams of being Minister of Finance. A third is intelligent but treats people lIke dirt. And the last one wants to be accepted by the elders so much, he rarely voices an opinion of his own. Not a ting wrong with supporting civil unions – a LEGAL mechanism. I support legal unions too. -Shrug-

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Just say no to crack!

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    • Anonymous says:

      So after 22 months all they can find to complain about is that one instance involving one issue? And that Miller mustn’t express a personal view but that they demand a right to have independent positions?

      Their letter has only proven what a difficult job it must have been to try to pull them together.

      The Cabinet to which they all aspire would be one holy mess.

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  24. Anonymous says:

    Once again, despite Ezzard miller’s “gruff” personality he has displayed he has the intelligence, political experience and leadership ability to represent Caymanians as Opposition Leader, regardless of whether or not his “colleagues” accept or appreciate that fact.

    Ezzard don’t step down!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Puleeeeze

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    • Observer says:

      I agree heartily with you 6:31 pm. In my view the rest of the Opposition are by and large a lazy bunch. And if given a chance they will make lazy ministers that wouldn’t get much accomplished.

      Ezzard was the thorn in the flesh that tried to motivate them to perform. Most irritating. They prefer the freedom of doing their own thing—which means not much between elections when they make promises that they won’t fulfill.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Well, you can lead the horse to the water but you can’t make them drink.

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      • Anonymous says:

        or think

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      • Anonymous says:

        Suckoo needs more than water- he needs triple antibiotic cream to rub on all the scrapes and cuts he must be getting from yet again jumping and straddling the fence. His second term is proving to be like his first- can’t get what he wants so he throws a tantrum and adopts a spoiled child mentality. He has “flip-flop” down to a T.

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