MLA claims success going it alone

| 18/04/2019 | 44 Comments
Cayman News Service

Chris Saunders in the LA, 11 April 2019

(CNS): Despite being a single, independent member of the Legislative Assembly sitting on the opposition benches, Chris Saunders claims he has demonstrated that it is possible for a representative to be successful out of government and not part of a political group. Saunders disputes the idea that it takes being the member of a political party for a legislator to get things done and that not being in government does not mean an MLA cannot have a positive impact on their constituents’ lives.

The representative for Bodden Town West told CNS that he believes he has shown that “with hard work” and speaking with the right people in the right way, a single, independent opposition member can still be a solid representative, noting that government had accepted most of his private member’s motions, including his latest one on a national pledge.

The former financial executive turned politician said that he had managed to successfully steer the motions he has filed “because of the time and effort” he has put into researching them before they reach the  floor of the Legislative Assembly. He said that in order to get government to accept his motions he has made sure that they are fit for purpose and something government can work with.

While he accepted that none have actually become law, he said it takes time for them to turn into actual policies or new legislation. But several of his motions have made a difference, and he does not think that the government’s willingness to accept the motions he has brought to parliament “was just to humour me”.

Saunders noted that during the latest meeting of the Legislative Assembly, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson updated members on the performance pay regime in the civil service — a move that originated with one of his successful private member’s motions in November.

Government had agreed to consider creating a steering committee to implement a performance-based incentive scheme to reward hard workers in the public sector. On 10 April, the deputy governor confirmed that a steering committee had been established with a diverse membership and would include input from across government.

The head of the civil service told the LA that he would report back by the end of the year on the work that was being done.

Saunders maintained that work was also progressing on other motions, such as one calling for the government to only employ Caymanians to provide security guard services at all its buildings.

The MLA also said that his constant contribution in debates and work in the Public Accounts Committee had elevated the discussion about the crisis in healthcare and pensions. He said he believed his persistence was gaining traction, as the government is beginning to come around to his arguments about the need for a national approach to these areas.

The comments by Saunders that being a lone MLA outside of the government does not mean that he cannot achieve anything comes as the opposition group continues to fracture, despite efforts by Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller to create a more unified group.

Although Saunders has offered his support for Miller to retain the formal position of opposition leader in the Legislative Assembly, he made it clear he still sees himself as an independent MLA and will not be “bending his knee” to anyone but his constituents.

He recalled that during the campaign he had “run against everyone and still won”, noting that he had faced opponents in Bodden Town West from the PPM, the UDP (his former party), as well as Gilbert McLean, who ran as part of a loose alliance with the people Saunders now sits with in opposition.

Saunders blamed party politics and alliances for the problems in local politics, suggesting that it was the pursuit of retaining power for a party that led to poor policy and governance.

A coalition of MLAs is a better form of government, he contends, because that forces individuals to compromise and work together to find solutions rather than pursuing policies in the pursuit of political power.

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Comments (44)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Dozens of wasted sessions indulging themselves in Old Testament verse, and close to zero advancing the enactment of the Standards in Public Life Law (2014), (required for good governance under the Constitution Order (2009)), nor any furtherance of the Consumer Protection and Guarantees Bill (2017)…none of our MLAs are doing a good job.

  2. Anonymous says:

    MLA Saunders appears to be very pleased with himself. Let’s see if his constituents agree.

    • Anonymous says:

      He was very pleased with the Jamaican performances at CARIFTA last night. Couldn’t contain himself.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard, drop the entire lot of losers, and form your own party with new people that are independent in mind, but collective in agenda.

    This sorry lot you are trying to shape into an actual government isn’t worth the effort.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hmm 4 against 1, seems Ezzard might be the problem

      • Anonymous says:

        To be fair, they are all the problem. +Bernie.

      • Observer says:

        Hmmm, it is true the optics are not good, but at the same time two are claiming they are still on the team of the official opposition.

        Note however that a previous CNS story quoted Miller as saying that if the support turns out to actuality not be there in any meaningful way he will make a final decision.

        Sometimes the people become the loser when people like you and the people you are looking to for leadership make it untenable for a good person to continue to serve in the best interest overall for the Cayman Islands.

        • Anonymous says:

          Hard to tell what anyone is feeling here there are no reputable polling firms
          The only thing that seems to draw any real public attention is thinly veiled bigotry under the guise of “family values” or “tradition”

      • Anonymous says:

        4:13 pm: numbers often doesn’t tell the whole story or often outright lie.

        For example, statistics boasting of phenomenal employment growth may simply mean more persons are working two jobs because of stagnant salaries.

        See what I mean? There are statistics and statistics. Analysis is usually required to get to the truth and the true implications.

      • Anonymous says:

        4:13 pm: be careful what you wish for. You might get it.

        Remember that Miller said that if the verbal assurances by Saunders and Eden don’t pan out in actuality he will make a decision in the best interest of the Cayman Islands.

        We might yet lose the one person among ALL the opposition that can effectively represent the Islands as the Leader of the Opposition. Remember that there is an international component to the role of Leader of the Opposition.

      • Anonymous says:

        4:13 pm: I do t think the Lord Jesus could get that bunch to work together.

      • Anonymous says:

        Who pays for the MLA Offices in the various districts?

        Are they ever open?

    • Anonymous says:

      From what I can see, putting a bunch of independents in the Cabinet would not be a good idea.

      After seeing all this stupid drama playing out, Including the thoughts of Sau sets outlined here, I would expect a Cabinet of independents to soon collapse with the country not getting anything worthwhile out of them.

      I will be carefully seeking to avoid voting for an independent in the next election.

    • Anonymous says:

      are you asking him to get what he has.

  4. Cess Pita says:

    I suppose in a manner of speaking you could say his opinions carry a lot of weight.

    • Anonymous says:

      National Pledge? How many pledges they expect? ‘New Caymanians’ already make two before they get a passport. Maybe he wants one in Cayman dialect, in which case he’d fail.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Chris Saunders success = making a quarter million a year, to attend a smattering of meetings, joining in on xenophobia themes, and sitting powerless outside of the irrelevant Opposition bench.

  6. M says:

    If Chris Saunders actually shouted about something worthwhile like the shameful inspection results in our schools, workforce issues, traffic issues and had some real solutions that would be great. Instead he harps on about how great he is doing by wasting hours on his soap box “debating” the same sex marriage law with no real substance on the law but quoting the bible instead as if he is a pastor not an elected member of the legislative assembly and then wasted more hours “debating” his National Pledge notion, something whether you agree with or not, I do not think had to come to the LA to be put into practice, what a waste of time and energy. There are much more pressing issues at hand, people are hungry, people are hating, burglaries continue, traffic continues, our children have no jobs or education. Mr Saunders you had an easy race in the last election, please remember that, the vote was split. Put your finance background to good use instead of trying to satisfy your voters with your “patriotism”. Real patriotism means acting on behalf of your people to ensure they have a bright future. Stop trying to please everyone, have some conviction, you don’t want Ezzard to lead but you want him to lead…Geezum.

  7. Anonymous says:

    “A coalition of MLAs is a better form of government, he contends, because that forces individuals to compromise and work together to find solutions rather than pursuing policies in the pursuit of political power.”

    Please explain this Chris: You have a coalition in opposition that no longer can work together to find solutions because they will not compromise. In what world do you see a group of independents forming a government being a viable strategy to govern Cayman as a whole.

  8. Anonymous says:

    All of the politicians in this country are in the role purely to look after themselves.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Fix the damn dump Saunders!

    • observer says:

      “A coalition of MLAs is a better form of government, he contends, because that forces individuals to compromise and work together to find solutions rather than pursuing policies in the pursuit of political power.”

      Is this the joke for the day? The person who won’t “bend his knee to anyone”?

  10. Anonymous says:

    So Chris if Ezzard is such a bad leader how come he does such a good job as chairman of the PAC. Your suggestion that Ezzard should remain as Leader of the Opposition but not lead you does not make a whole lot of sense, the very title suggest that he should have followers. I know Ezzard and while he may not be a “good politician” his principles, integrity and honesty will not allow him to continue as LoO if MLAs like your self and Anthony do not see him as your leader.

    • Anonymous says:

      Forget for a moment that Ezzard is the single greatest threat to our islands. He is in bed with the gays, understand that this alone is the issue they have with him.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ezzard is hardly an ally to SSM. All he does is acknowledge the inescapable reality that the recognition of same sex civil unions is the absolute bare minimum standard – a non-contentious legal fact accepted early on by both sets of counsel at the Judicial Review.

    • Anonymous says:

      So why didn’t Ezzard step down ? He was told verbally by the group, and then he was given a letter stating he does not lead them! Seems like he is hell bent on one thing! Please remember in the parliamentary system the Leader of the Opposition is the person being put forward as the next Premier should the Opposition win a majority!

      • Anonymous says:

        He said that if they all signed a letter asking him to resign as Leader of the Opposition then he would.

  11. Aloneorinbadcompany? says:

    🤔 He is going alone to the point of not calling a town meeting to see if the majority of his constituents would be ok with “civil union” instead of “marriage”; furthermore, he was not courageous in voicing his own opinion on the issue – he went into group-think behavior, that is not what the people pay for. I’m in his district, but have to admit that GT Central showed more courage and ⚽️s than all our guys put together, forget about hater Eden, he gotta go 😖. Bryan’s debate was honest and he can really say he is going it alone, cause the bunch of the opposition were too disrespectful to stay in their seats and listen. The whole bunch are a disgrace. 😒

    • Anonymous says:

      I must admit, Kenneth’s debate was by far the most honest and reasoned. He clearly laid out his position and the reason why he was supporting the motion. He was passionate but did not make himself and ass like a particular politician from the east who believes that he must be the leader of the opposition…

    • Anonymous says:

      You do realize the debates can be heard throughout the LA ? You don’t have to be in your seat to listen

    • Anonymous says:

      Bryan was pandering to both sides! This is not the kind of leadership we need. He needs to take a stand one way or the other. #Justsayin

  12. Anonymous says:

    Ok since you all doing so good. Explain to me why there is no Dr at the eye clinic??? My mother had an appointment from JANUARY only to be told yesterday we have no dr to see you. Dwayne making fun of people but big world class island like this and we cant keep doctors on the job. The hospital is a joke and those that you put there to take care of the sick is a bigger joke.

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