Opposition leader staying put despite cracks

| 02/04/2019 | 65 Comments
Cayman News Service

Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller at Tuesday’s press conference

(CNS): Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller has said he intends to retain his position unless and until the remaining members of his group formally ask for his resignation in writing, as cracks in the group appear to widen. Speaking at a press conference Tuesday, after Newlands MLA Alva Suckoo quit the group, Miller said he believed he still had the support of the other members. The former deputy leader resigned from the official opposition last month, and although he was silent at the time about his reasons for doing so, it appears Suckoo’s departure relates to Miller’s refusal to step down and pass on the baton of leadership.

All six MLAs who sit on the opposition benches originally ran as independents, with only very loose alliances among some of them. While all six had originally signed a letter supporting Miller as the opposition leader for this four-year parliament, the members had run on different policy platforms. The first crack appeared relatively early on when Kenneth Bryan parted company from the group less than six months after the election.

Since then the rumblings about a lack of cohesion among the official opposition has persisted, though the opposition leader has pressed on with allocating shadow ministerial portfolios for the group. At the beginning of this year he announced plans for the creation of a fully fledged political alliance that would field candidates on the same ticket in all 19 constituencies in 2021.

But on Friday, 22 March, Suckoo formally announced his resignation, though there had been mounting speculation that this was his intention for some time. Miller confirmed Tuesday that Suckoo had previously threatened to resign from the group, citing his desire to focus on his family and his legal studies, as well as his constituency of Newlands.

Miller stated that on another occasion Suckoo had wanted to resign because he was constantly irritated by another opposition member, but he had persuaded him to stay. But in January Suckoo asked for a secret ballot on Miller’s leadership, the opposition leader said. Miller had refused and instead suggested an open poll, which was rejected.

When Suckoo finally announced his resignation less than two weeks ago, he had refused to detail the reasons. But over the last ten days it has emerged that his departure relates to claims that Miller had agreed to serve as opposition leader for only 18 months before passing on the baton to the younger members.

CNS understands that there was no written agreement to this effect. All six members had signed the letter sent to the governor supporting Miller as the official leader of the opposition for the full term. But it is claimed that Miller had made a verbal deal not to remain for the full term, which today he publicly denied.

The opposition leader told the press that this “leadership struggle” began on day one and it was instigated by Suckoo. But Miller said that in the end, he was unanimously supported as the opposition leader, which “is in complete contradiction of the member of Newlands’ claim that the group had agreed at the time of my appointment that my tenure was to be for 18 months”.

The opposition leader said that at the beginning of March, when the issue of his leadership was again raised by Suckoo, he gave him the opportunity to canvas the other members of the group to support the request that Miller step down.

The opposition leader said he had asked Suckoo to present the request in writing, also indicating who the group wanted to lead them instead, which he would willingly take to the governor. But, he said, no letter has materialized and until anyone else in the group makes it clear they want him to go, he saw no reason to quit the job.

Miller said he believes that he has made an effort to coordinate the opposition but has admitted that it has been a “steep learning curve navigating among some very strong personalities”. However, he said it was his responsibility to do so and he re-affirmed his commitment “to adapt” and that he was “looking forward to a renewed spirit of partnership” on the opposition benches.

Following the opposition press conference, Kenneth Bryan, who also states that Miller had agreed to depart after 18 months, said that while he was no longer a member of the official opposition, and therefore not involved in the current split, he believed the opposition leader was attempting to deceive the public about the original agreements.

“I am very disappointed that the opposition leader has chosen to lie to the country about what transpired at the meeting,” he told CNS, referring to the post-election meetings that took place as the country waited for a government.

Bryan said that there was a verbal agreement that Miller would start as the opposition leader because Suckoo was not as experienced but then he would step down after 18 months and pass the baton on. “The Newlands member is correct,” Bryan added.

It is not clear why all six members chose to sign the letter that led to Miller being appointed as the official opposition leader for the full term if all six had agreed that he would step down after a limited period.

But after neither of the political parties (the PPM and the CDP) secured enough members to form a government in the last election, the closed-door horsetrading in the days afterwards led to some double-dealing on all sides.

Less than two days after the election result Alden McLaughlin struck a deal, as leader of the PPM, with the C/UDP leader McKeeva Bush to form a coalition government, with himself regaining the premiership while Bush would become the speaker.

But even before the ink was dry, Bush cut another deal, with himself as premier leading the group of independents. But the next day that deal fell apart and was followed by a weekend of closed-door meetings and horse-trading, which ended up with Bush returning to his original deal with McLaughlin, along with independent members Dwayne Seymour and Austin Harris.

The details of that horse-trading or the final deal between the PPM the UDP, which led to the formation of the current Government of National Unity, has never been revealed, despite claims by the premier that once it was formalized it would be revealed. Efforts by CNS to press for its release via the FOI law failed.

The details of the opposition’s own horse-trading have also remained largely under wraps, including what transpired between the independents and Bush, the departure of the two independents to the PPM-led coalition and the discussions between the remaining six who eventually formed the opposition.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard couldn’t lead himself out of a wet paper bag.

  2. Anon says:

    I’ve had no time for Miller ever since the time abut 10 years ago, when I heard, him on the radio, deliver a statement in answer to a question that reeked of casual racism.
    He was asked for his opinion on a proposed infrastructure development.
    “The danger is,” he said, “that the company might decide on a way forward and then jew out on the agreement.”
    Despicable man.

  3. Voter says:

    ON SAME-SEX ISSUE

    Ezzard Miller proves himself to not be conservative enough. He states he supports civil unions for same-sex couples! So he didn’t react to the Courts involvement like a leader should have done.

    Im with Sukoo. He needs to toughen up or resign!

    • Anonymous says:

      11:15 am: He actually did — at Tuesday’s press conference. It has just not yet been reported on in the press.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Surely if the opposition leader is cracked, he ought to be towed to dry dock and mended, instead of staying put…

  5. Anonymous says:

    The Darts won’t allow him to be leader, he’s the only MLA they can’t buy.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hey Leader of Opposition:

    Will you oppose the gay marriage ruling by signing the petition going around, or will you do the courageous thing like the rest of your colleagues in the LA and stay silent?

    • Anonymous says:

      Little too close to home

    • Anonymous says:

      One of the half-truths that Kenneth and Alva keep bandying around is the-supposed agreement that Miller would step down after 18 months.

      Okay, so let me tell you exactly what happened, as Miller seems to want to hold back on revealing what took place in the backroom negotiations post the last General Elections.

      Miller had indicated that he was not interested in taking on the leadership role — he wanted to concentrate on his constituency and he wanted to spend more time with this family after years in politics.

      But when the team could not agree on who should lead the team, they turned to the reluctant Miller and suggested as an inducement that he take the leadership for 18 months. The 18-month period was to persuade him, and in that context, the team was suggesting that he could risk it because by then some of the younger ones might be experienced enough to take it on.

      However, after that conversation, Miller went home and talked it over with his family. When his family agreed that he should give it a go, he decided to take on the leadership and to do so wholeheartedly.

      It was after his family gave him the green light that he drafted the letter agreeing to the four-year term — and I can’t imagine that he would not have gone back to the group to say, hey guys, my family has agreed and I am going to give the leadership my best shot.

      So then he drafted the letter for a four-year term and they all signed it, committing Miller and the group to the four years. Otherwise, he would have written 18 months into the agreement, because he was at the same time locking himself into the four years. If your perspective had not changed and you are still reluctant, why would you tie yourself to four years?

      So what is happening now when Alva and Kenneth raise the 18-month discussion is that they are not giving the full context to the discussion at the various stages and to the final outcome in Miller’s decision to assume the full responsibility.

      A point to be taken into consideration at the same time is that no one can fully estimate how long it will take for anyone to gain the necessary experience.

      Clearly the team members who are now holding on to the no-longer-applicable 18-month-period discussion had acknowledged they did not have the experience then—and they certainly have not since gained it.

      This is particularly true of Alva, who has spent his time mostly unproductive politically, concentrating his energies in instigating discontent in an attempt to force an advantage to his claim to leadership. That and the distraction of law studies.

      There you have it ladies and gentlemen, the unvarnished truth of what actually happened behind the scenes back in May 2017.

      I know Alva’s memory is not so great (he confessed to that in his Radio Cayman appearance), but I think Kenneth’s should be a little better.

    • Anonymous says:

      Which rock you living under Ezzard declared his position publicly three weeks ago and called on the Government to act and not wait on the courts
      He called for legislation to support civil unions.
      He has stated his position on the CJ ruling and he does not agree with it.

  7. Two Cents says:

    Whether you like Ezzard Miller and what he stands for or you don’t, no one can say that he doesn’t work hard for his constituency and his country. It speaks volumes that Suckoo’s beef isn’t about things the Opposition should be doing but are not.
    It’s all about him being the Leader.

    • Anonymous says:

      Although I shudder to think of Ezzard in the Premier seat, he seems to be one of the few that consistently shows up and are reliably prepared for LA work/sleep sessions having reviewed some of the material and prepared questions (even if they are at times misguided). He continues to be the only voice on any bench, raising their hand on the failure to enact SIPL law, even if that effort is at times half-hearted. He was one of the few to (begrudgingly) support some semblance of equality – shame that he’s now back peddling on that. If he was a student, he’d be one of the few in this class without disciplinary sanctions and at least a passing grade. Not a high pass though. Cayman deserves access to a better field of candidates, a mechanism for better district soundings (not just preferred interest groups), and better representation of the more sophisticated fabric that call themselves Caymanian voters.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Arden for Supreme Leada!!! ROFLOL

    • Dream Team says:

      McKeeva is Arden’s leada these days. Birds of a feather plotting to settle all political debts next election

  9. Anonymous says:

    How can Ezzard expect to be leader when he airs the Oppositions internal disagreements to suit his purposes? Within these groups there are always disagreements. I bet you dont see Alden out airing his party’s dirty laundry like a bully when things don’t go his way. Miller is not fit for leadership and his many years in mediocre positions of government are a testimony to it. Alva! boy keep your head up, you did the right thing and that is what counts at the end of the day.

    • Anonymous says:

      6:57 — you are misguided. Alva was first out of the gate making false allegations. Miller had to respond — but he did so only when he had no alternative. He had to clarify the distortions put out by Alva.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard has really reformed himself over the past year and has learned valuable lessons. Which is the sign of true leadership. This has likely made some bullies anger and now look what has happened to the team There is talk of a west bay MLA joining the opposition. If that happens the entire opposition is doomed.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Well the Ezzard Bots are out early today. The ink was not even dry on this story which once again contains gross inaccuracies and lies. Wait until the rest of the Opposition start talking. Alva did what a good deputy would do and stepped down after he found he could not support Ezzard. He didn’t jump ship, he was elected as an independent and he remains an independent. Ezzard on the other hand is yesterdays news, what is he bringing to the table ? A monorail ? Hahaaa what a joke

  12. Anonymous says:

    A chain is only as strong as its weakest links. Now that the two weakest has exposed themselves the chain should be much stronger now. I dont think anyone with commonsense would vote for these two again..
    Keep up the good work Mr. Miller they were only dead weight to the group.

    Lets work on legalizing ganja now bobo.

  13. Anonymous says:

    the ‘opposition’ is a rag-tag bunch of small minded, small town, inward looking jokers….
    who are only in it for their fat pay-check

  14. Anonymous says:

    ezzard miller…. a prime of example of why status holders should be allowed run for office.

  15. Anonymous says:

    haha…’leader of opposition’….cayman deserves what it gets….
    the most educated & successful caymanians can’t even run for office.
    this place is a joke.

    • 8th Generation says:

      You can go back to your home country and run if you are so eager to hold public office.

      • Anonymous says:

        the usual caymanian response…

        • Anonymous says:

          A very sensible and factual response from a Caymanian. You found us here we do not need you to run the country.

          Try it on home soil if you are truly wanting to make a difference.

          • Anonymous says:

            wrong…you need expats to do everything on this island….but somehow won’t allow them full democratic rights even after becoming caymanian.
            what you afraid of?

        • Anonymous says:

          Get off our island.

    • Anonymous says:

      1:37 am: you know when Mahatma Ghandi (my hero) was asked by the departing British if he did not think the Indians would make mistakes — he said, “Yes, but they will be our mistakes.”

      I prefer our own people to make the mistakes — don’t you kid yourself, the record of the British overlords in Gov and in the private sector are replete with mistakes.

      I am with Ghandi — let the mistakes be our mistakes.

  16. Anonymous says:

    So Alva, you couldn’t command the support of the group over which you were deputy Leader to get a simple signature from each of them. Whatever made you think you would succeed as the leader? If you think Ezzard has a hard time harnessing the troops, you would get a shock.

    As for your new found lonely friend, be warned.

    Never a truer word: misery loves company.

    • Anonymous says:

      Suckoo did not actually gain any experience in leadership during the 18 months — he was too busy with his law studies and trying to organise a coup— at which he ultimately failed. He tried to lead the horses to the water but he couldn’t make them drink the cool aid.

      That lack of leadership experience and skill would have invalidated any agreement to turn over the leadership to him even if the agreement existed—according to Kenneth the time limit was ostensibly to enable the younger ones like Alva and Kenneth to gain the necessary experience. I would not give either Suckoo or Kenneth a passing grade on that score. Experience requires more than putting in the time. It requires hard labour and some vision and expertise.

      • Anonymous says:

        First of all Mr. Suckoo has not indicated anywhere that he wants to be leader of the opposition, so people need to stop making assumptions. Second of all, we in Newlands are very happy with his representation and hard work on our behalf, so all of you Ezzard-ites nee to stop trying to make it seem as if he is only concerned with himself. He, unlike many others has truly concerned himself with the needs of his constituents.

        • Anonymous says:

          Be careful what you assert there is a WhatsApp from Alva to the group quite clearly saying that he wants to be leader, I understand that is why Arden quit and Ezzard became the leader.

    • Anonymous says:

      Battle of the egos. All want to lead and no troops to follow.

    • Anonymous says:

      Having Kenny back you up really does not mean much…

    • Anonymous says:

      Ezzard Miller is not known to always tell the truth. What kind of a leader he would be if he cannot keep anything said to him in confidence. He sounds really desperate. He can only lead if everyone lamely follow him without questions or comments. A true leader can only lead by collaboration, conversation and confidentiality. Mr. Suckoo you have nothing to be embarrassed about- high time some of these old recycled people step aside and give the younger, more educated persons an opportunity to bring new ideas and innovations into the mix. You should be applauded for your efforts, it must have been hard working with him. Do not look back but always strive towards the future. Do not waste time and energy in any back and forth with Ezzard, he is on his last hoorah and still believes that to climb higher he has to pull someone down but you know better. Blessings always. When God is for you who dare be against you !!

    • Anonymous says:

      Folks what is really weird here, during the last election campaign series I attended AL’s first meeting at the ICCI complex and Ezzard was telling us what a fine man he was, how educated he was how kind and caring he was- in other words, a real great person. Now because he has tried to hold Mr. Miller to his word he is now in his view a villain. AL you are still that educated, kind,caring ,person and I will now add a statesman. Block out the noise and strive each new day to do better than you did yesterday.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Cayman politics is a joke full of parasites and persons who can’t get a job in anything else with very few exceptions. Would you hire any of the mla’s currently elected to run your business?

    • Anonymous says:

      I tell you what. Give me Alva over Ezzard any day.

    • Anonymous says:

      Listening carefully to the talk show, its evident Miller is now the self appointed Leader of the Opposition. Typical Ego overtakes good judgement.

  18. Wha ya think about this fiasco. says:

    Suckoo crotch must be very sore from jumping fences all the time. The man appears to be a lunatic running a-foul of anything and everything that he joins. He started out with McKeeva, jumped to Alden, jumped to the independents, and has now jumped again. I dare say in 18 months or so, we shall see him jumping yet again. Good sources has stated that he has expressed a desire to return to the PPM. Go figure👍🏾

    • MM says:

      I believe what Mr Suckoo has realized is that there is no good side in that LA building; he is trying to pick the best side of the evil.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Miller seemed to have the Opposition in order. Then all of this happens which will guarantee another four years of McKeeva and Alden alliance. Talk about shooting yourselves in the head.

    • Anonymous says:

      Who are you going to believe “me or your lying eyes” lol dont be so fast to praise Ezzard, I hear it has been a party of one for quite some time now.

  20. Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

    Just Another Day in Absurdistan

  21. Anonymous says:

    Suckoo—you are still not ready. Not sure of the prognosis either.

    But it is clear this is all about your desire for the top job.

    Here is a tip: work hard and demonsyrate your ability. And bide your time. Most of all—stick to something long enough to learn the ropes.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Those that is the opposition ranks that remain silent are proving themselves to be cowards

  23. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard Miller has been a very good leader of opposition and has evolved since being in the role.

    The same egos and jealousy that prevented Ezzard Arden Alva Anthony Chris Kenneth and the other independent members from forming the government in May 2017 still exists today. They should all be embarrassed.

    It will be interesting to hear the views of Arden Anthony and Chris because someone is telling a lie that makes all of them look like a bunch of power hungry crabs in a bucket.

    • Anonymous says:

      it was Ezzard who refused to work with Mackeeva

      • Anonymous says:

        And THAT my friend is a GOOD thing!!!!! I cannot imagine why you would think it was a bad thing.
        I actually got naturalized JUST to wote against Mackeewa. I’ll keep hoping WB will wise up.

    • Anonymous says:

      No Ezzard has just become better at fooling people. A tiger doesn’t change its stripes when it gets old it just becomes more cunning and conniving because it can’t hunt as good as a young tiger. What we are seeing here is the old tiger trying to eliminate a younger one and maintain dominance. We know who will win this fight!

  24. Anonymous says:

    The letter of appointment of the leader of the Opposition clearly states he would be appointed until 2021.

    Suckoo is supposed to be studying law. Strange that both he and Bryan would sign a letter prescribing a four-year appointment while they privately agreed an 18-month tenure.

    Not a good sign either way you take it for lawmakers.

    • Anonymous says:

      I guess Ezzards word cannot be relied on then ! I thought he was honorable SMH.

      • Anonymous says:

        6:24 am: Not so — the other guys are not telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth — there is a reason you say that in court — telling half the truth will lose the case.

        I think you will find that Ezzard had committed to four years as an outcome of the discussions — the guys are remembering perhaps early pats of the discussions to encourage him to take on the job. When Ezzard agreed to take the job he went full hog — that is the type of man he is.

        I think the whole truth will come out eventually rather than the poor contextualizing that we are now seeing as to what happened in those early discussions.

        In the final analysis — the six of them appointed him for four years!

  25. Anonymous says:

    This man leads nobody. Never has, never will.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Neither Bryan nor Suckoo are suited for leadership.

    I noticed in the Compass story that Bryan said that he had not been consulted on the leadership. What a joke! Cayman is a small place, Bryan. It has been known for sometime.

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