McLean calls out gov’t indies for u-turns

| 05/06/2019 | 44 Comments
Cayman News Service

Arden McLean, as the new leader of the opposition, in Legislative Assembly, 5 June 2019

(CNS): Addressing the Legislative Assembly, the new opposition leader said that Premier Alden McLaughlin should not judge the independent members in the group he now leads by the “behaviour of those on his side”, indicating the independent MLAs in the government who had not fulfilled their campaign promises after joining it. In a speech marking his new job, McLean said that one member, whom he did not name but was clearly referring to Austin Harris, ran in the election opposing everyone and the port project, only to u-turn on that campaign platform once in the Unity government.

Another member had promised a freeze on work permits on his first day in office but that never happened, McLean noted. Again, he did not identify the member but it was clear he was talking about Dwayne Seymour (Bodden Town East), a one-time member of the UDP and then the PDA, who ran in 2017 as an independent.

During an event in the election campaign, Seymour’s suggestion of a moratorium on all work permits had been a huge crowd-pleaser.

McLean said these two members were following different policy platforms from those they campaigned on because they were now following the policies of the government they had joined.

“I could have reminded the premier that three members of his current government are independent members,” he said, and asked if that meant they also lacked the cohesion, industry and commitment to work in the government, as McLaughlin had suggested recently about opposition members.

“Is that why one of his independent members who campaigned for a freeze on work permits and stated during a Chamber of Commerce forum — and I quote, ‘On day one, the first thing is to put a freeze on permits and sort out the unemployed’ — had not done that? I am only asking in light of the record number of work permits that has now been granted under this government of which he is a member.”

As he defended the change in leadership on the opposition benches and the role of independent members and their value, McLean accused the premier of being disingenuous when he dismissed their role, saying the country had been built by independently minded MLAs. Before the early 2000’s every member was independent and most of those holding office now had started that way.

McLean said there was no room for government to criticise the opposition, given that his government was more diverse and now included people who had been members of many different factions over the years.

“There is no evidence to suggest that governance by a coalition of diversity can only be done by those who make up the current government and no one else. Truth be told, by the premier’s own admission, there are challenges within that coalition,” he said.

However, McLean said he still believed that the post-election horsetrading can only be addressed through structured groups. Nevertheless, he said the people had voted for and supported independent candidates because trust for party politics had declined.

McLean dismissed issues surrounding the change in leadership, suggesting that it was not particularly unusual. He said McLaughlin had been wrong to weigh-in on the situation of the opposition and that he could have learned from Speaker McKeeva Bush.

“We on the opposition were disappointed in the manner in which the premier embedded himself in the issue of the resignation of Mr Miller from the role of leader of the opposition without first trying to ascertain the reasons for, in his words, ‘political infighting and personal ambition riddling the current opposition group’,” McLean said.

Reminding the premier that “there are always two sides to every story”, he said, “That statement could very well have been made on the occasion of his rise to this position in 2012 also.”

He said that “this is one time the premier could have learned something” from Bush. Addressing the speaker, he said, “The maturity that you displayed in not getting into the inner workings of the PPM at that time should have been commended.” He added that Bush “displayed a great deal of maturity”.

See McLean’s full speech in CNS Library

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Category: Politics

Comments (44)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Arden McLean has back bone. He is a fighter who will fight for what he believes in and I will support him as long as he continues to do the right thing.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sadly, the only thing Arden will fight for is replacing any ‘white-man’ in way of his Caribbean friends being promoted. He can’t or refuses to address policy of fairness across the board, he only gets up there and cry about one or two people XXXXX…. and they might deserve mention but NO politician should be focused only on specific individuals unless it it’s to bring about real change in new laws, regulations or procedures. Argue about that Mr. Arden

  3. Anonymous says:

    Arden is the epitome of anger. Alva epitomizes self service. Chris epitomizes broken promises. And, Kenneth is clueless. Anthony is AWOL. Therefore we pretty much have a Opposition that Slocum, Curwell, Soler and Shellbun would make look bad.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Yes Austin Harris is the biggest sell-out. I honestly thought he had some integrity but I was wrong.

  5. Ron Ebanks says:

    6:18 pm then that is a hell of place , can’t trust no one , and everywhere you turn you are been suckered in .

  6. Ron Ebanks says:

    Arden he can’t because that is how bully politicians do it , they bully you politically until you come over to his side of grass piece.
    I guess you should make new signs to put in the LA to remind him , “No bullying No bullshit”

  7. Anonymous says:

    It’s an appallingly self-centered speech, whining about how he was supposed to be appointed first loser back in 2017. Rambles on about governance and transparency but ignores the 800lb gorilla of the failure to enact the SIPL. This is all about ego and tenure and not about good governance or fulfilling the oath to the people who put him “in repose” for 18 years – his words.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Wow, I had completely forgotten that Austin Harris was an MLA.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The reason Arden was not made the leader of the Opposition in May 2017 is because he threw one of his famous juvenile tantrums and refused to take the position because Alva challenged him for the leadership position.

  10. Anonymous says:

    i would encourage reading the whole address not just this article. context is everything

  11. Gray Matter says:

    Before he does the work of the country…. McLean is like a school child .. You said this and you did that……A TOTAL WASTE OF TIME.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Most of the politicians in Cayman are mainly interested in the benefits associated with the job. The vast majority are not qualified to make any meaningful contributions and the whole process is really just about who should get free money and other taxpayer funded benefits for a number of years.

  13. Question time says:

    CNS, I’d like to know now there’s a new leader of the opposition, does the last leader keep his salary the same or is it reduced.back to a regular MLA?

    Regarding this post it appears that McLean is a bit upset with the Premier…

  14. Anonymous says:

    Arden tell us why you left the PPM?
    You seem driven by anger and upset with Alden is he keeping secrets for you?

  15. Anonymous says:


  16. Anonymous says:

    Austin Harris is a one term wonder.
    I hope he’s saving his money because we will not allow him to trick us again with his lies. He is the BIGGEST disappointment of all independents from 2017. He has no shame sold out for a few extra dollars.

  17. Anonymous says:

    LOL Arden already kissing Mac daddy’s ass!!!


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