Miller retakes PAC chair after LA wrangle

| 08/06/2019 | 54 Comments
Cayman News Service

Ezzard Miller sits as PAC chairman

(CNS): Government’s attempt to take control of the Public Accounts Committee following the resignation of Ezzard Miller, just as it is embarking on a number of major capital projects, was thwarted Friday when Chris Saunders declined to take up the nomination for chairman. The opposition had accused government of stacking the committee and Saunders refused to accept the nomination when it became clear government was going to appoint one of its back-benchers rather than allow Kenneth Bryan to take up the empty seat that would have been created by Saunders moving from member to chair.

Saunders said that as chair of a committee made up of only government members, it was unlikely that he would be able to be effective as the lone opposition member, and therefore decided to retain his seat. As a result, the premier adjourned the House for closed door discussions late Friday afternoon.

When the members of the LA returned, the premier revealed that Miller had been persuaded to stay on the job to resolve the problem, leaving things as they were.

During the wrangling over the nomination of backbench PPM member David Wight by government to fill what would have been an empty seat, McLaughlin said that they were in that position because the most effective chair PAC had ever had, who had done an excellent job, had been removed by the opposition members.

He lauded Miller for the work he had done and blamed the opposition for his departure. “This is a result of their politics,” he said.

Even though adding Wight would have meant that government had four members on PAC, McLaughlin denied stacking the committee in government’s favour and said it was just one member.

He said he knew he was going to be criticised but if another opposition member was appointed, the committee would be in the hands of the opposition as they go towards another election.

McLaughlin implied that Bernie Bush, although he sits on the government benches, was not really part of it because he voted as he thinks fit.

“To classify him as a member of the government was a bit of a stretch,” he said, adding that the opposition’s position was good political rhetoric but did not reflect reality.

But Saunders had raised concerns that government was taking advantage of the situation after the opposition had deliberately nominated him to be chair rather than Opposition Leader Arden McLean, leaving Saunders on the committee to avoid too much political argument and to focus on the issue of value for money, given that the witnesses are usually civil servants.

He also pointed out that the ministry councillors, who sometimes act as temporary ministers, must recuse themselves from PAC when reports touch on their areas of responsibility, which shows how much the committee needs non-government members on it.

Meanwhile, Kenneth Bryan who had originally been nominated by the opposition leader to take the empty seat, said that government should not take the seat by claiming that one of its members votes independently.

He offered to step aside if it was him that was the problem because, he said, it was not right that the committee which scrutinises the government, which collects and spends tax, be dominated by government.

“If it’s just me… put another member on it from the opposition so it will be fair and balanced,” he said.

The fighting continued later, however, as government refused to accept a motion by the opposition leader to remove Miller from the Business Committee, which decides what makes it to the order paper for each meeting, and replace him with McLean.

But as Miller had not resigned, the premier said the committee still reflected the make-up of the House. Continuing to defend Miller, he said he was not going to change it, despite arguments from the opposition benches that the official opposition needed more representation.

Saunders went as far as thanking the premier for the lessons he had given in political maneuvering, as he had managed to manipulate the situation in retaining the status quo.

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Category: Government oversight, Politics

Comments (54)

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  1. CrisCrossing says:

    Saunders: no go

    Alden: it’s Miller Time, again.

    👍🏽

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    • David S says:

      Wakeup call. No Black Georgetowner has ever been an opposition leader, so much for Mr K Bryan.
      Alden you disrespected Mr Bernie Bush, never talk like that about him again. Respect is due.

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      • Anonymous says:

        4:28 pm: playing the race card here really isn’t working. We all know that the leader of the opposition post demands seniority and solid experience. Kenneth is simply not ready—no matter the colour.

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  2. Michel says:

    Give credit where it’s due. Ezzard his the right man for this commitee. Not afraid of speaking out and asks tough question. Chris you could have take up this challenge in my own opinion.

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    • David S says:

      I agree zEzzard is the right man for this job. Thank you Ezzard for acting responsible. Nside and Cayman needs you Ezzard, keep your eyes on them.

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  3. Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

    Just Another Day in Absurdistan

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  4. Anonymous says:

    1:54pm your response is exactly the type of democratic ignorance that allows these power hungry old guards to keep being elected.

    The Chair of PAC by convention goes to the Leader of the Opposition. Per the article, McLean nominated Saunders – presumably because he has been an effective member; which would make sense. He also nominated Bryan to join the committee.

    Alden said no to Bryan but yes to Saunders staying on. Despite Bryan offering to step aside, Alden insisted it had to be one his Government members.

    But here is the crucial part which you missed – putting Wright on the committee now means that the Government NOT the Opposition has the majority.

    Exactly in which democratic country does the Government control the committee that is meant to scrutinise their actions? Do you really think the committee will continue to be effective?

    Yes Ezzard is staying on as chair, but he could be dogmatic knowing he had the numbers behind him and loud mouth Saunders.

    Having watched Saunders at PAC its clear that he put the work in and would have been an excellent chair. On principle, he made the correct choice. When the government is doing something wrong, you call them out on it. You don’t bag the glory (and cash) and keep your mouth shut.

    Ezzard would rather keep his name in the press hence the reason why he kept the chairmanship knowing full well by convention it goes to the Leader of the Opposition. Another one who has sold out his principles.

    You might like it, but I will keep saying it. The minute they all joined a unity government they sold themselves and Cayman out.

    Please stop supporting the Government treat us with such contempt.

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    • Anonymous says:

      9:19 am: so ezzard knows “full well” the LoO job goes to Leader of the Opposition. The more important question is: does Arden know it?

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      • Anonymous says:

        did you miss that arden as opp leader nominated someone he thought would be better suited??

        where’s the credit for that bit of common sense?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you. They are almost all rotten now; there are certainly enough rotten apples in the barrel to spoil them all.

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    • Anonymous says:

      9.19am I have a bigger fear of the “New Guard” many of whom have been raised in homes with one foreign born parent and where looking out for the locals is not a priority.Sad but true.

  5. Youcan’tmakeupthisBS says:

    I cannot comment fully – I’m too busy laughing at McLean and Saunders. Like Arden loves to repeat: REALLY?! Saunders passed up the opportunity to expose any reckless government spending?? “Really?!” 🤣🤣🤣🤣 Who needs soap operas when you have these clowns!Bc

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  6. Anonymous says:

    I noticed that a lot of the comments so far ignore even the facts stated in the article written by CNS. It is clear someone or some people are deliberately posting comments which are intended to further distort the facts. I wonder who that could be? If a certain NS politician thinks he is going to become premier by posting foolishness on CNS I’d advise him to think again! As Leader of the Opposition Arden seems committed to making his younger less experienced members step up and take responsibility compared to Ezzard who couldn’t even maintain a working relationship with them! Says a lot about his abilities as a leader. I watched the debates online and the difference in how the Opposition operates now vs when Ezzard was Leader is night and day. Well done Arden show them what real leadership is! Ezzard will soon be a distant memory

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    • Anonymous says:

      Arden is going to come into his own. His motivations for entering politics were better than any of the main people he has tussled with and that speaks to how he will do this important job. I know him and I know what it will have meant to him to ascend to this position; he will treat it like no other politician has. I know his stock is way down now but that will change. Ezzard had a lot of the same qualities and some over on Arden for sure but Arden has some over on him too and we should expect great things from Arden. We know at least he has been waiting a long time to lead and no one who has waited for a job doesn’t have plans for how to do it well. Give him the benefit of the doubt.

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      • Anonymous says:

        He been trying to come into his own at our expense. For 5 terms now we have voted for him. How many more terms will he need to come into his own?

        I voted for him 4 times as soon as I was old enough to vote. I decided to give him another chance in 2017 and boy did I regret that. My single vote would not have made a difference but I am sorry as I feel I have wasted a vote. Arden Mclean WILL never see another vote from me again.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Arden??? Real Leadership??? Really??? Geesum, once you have taken your medications come back and post something sensible.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard should be ashamed of himself for becoming Alden’s pawn. If he resigned from the PAC out of a sense of duty then why didn’t he do the same for the business committee. A blind man can see that Alden and Ezzards new love affair is purely for revenge and to possibly replace Mac with Ezzard

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  8. Anonymous says:

    After the drama-queens have been having their little pow-wow musical-chairs events, can we ask how much work as been done for the people of the Cayman Islands?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Woke up this morning and suddenly remembered Alva and Kenneth, who were supposed to be the two younger ones waiting in the wings mid-term to succeed Ezzard in the post of Leader of the Opposition after 18 months. That was supposed to be the Great Disappointment leading to the break up.

      Interesting that the two could not even make the cut for chair of PAC, when Arden obviously turned it down in the group––even when Chris walked away.

      Chuckle, chuckle. Even the posters have forgotten about them as serious senior leadership material.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The square root of zip most likely.

    • Anonymous says:

      No because they aren’t working for you. They’re working for themselves and a few letters to the Foreign Affairs Committee from some real insiders would get us direct rule in no time. We could actually have a functioning democracy in five years where our politicians don’t do whatever the hell they want even if thousands of voters are screaming at them.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Clearly you’ve not been watching the UK where the elected parliamentarians do whatever the hell they want while tens of thousands of voters scream at them. (Because one man’s ‘whatever the hell they want’ is another man’s ‘representing the silent majority’. especially in any relatively evenly divided electorate like the UK or Cayman.)

      • Anonymous says:

        9.27pm Maybe the Foreign Affairs Committee will accept your suggestions but the FCO will most likely shoot them down like they did with those other suggestions prior. You know to force Cayman to allow all Brits residing here to vote while doing away with status or belongership.(were these your suggestions also?).

  9. Anonymous says:

    Arden has always been dumb.You may not like Ezzard but he is honest and you sure as hell can’t buy him.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    I’m not for Alden but you have to admire him for standing his ground. We have to think about these things prudently and not for power or political gain. Let’s face it the best the PAC has ever been run was while Ezzard was Chairman why change that to suit someon’e ego. We have to do what’s best for the country..

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    • anonymous says:

      “But Saunders had raised concerns that government was taking advantage of the situation after the Opposition had deliberately nominated him (Saunders) to be chair rather than Opposition Leader Arden McLean….”

      So why in the world did they “deliberately” nominate Saunders over the new Opposition Leader if convention dictates that the LoP hold the chair? Then Saunders would have remained on the PAC and everything would have been honkie dory for the Opposition?

      Seems rather strange maneuvering! Then they and their cohorts whine that they have been outsmarted.

      Does neither Saunders nor McLean want the onerous responsibility?

      Crazy. Looks a little dopey.

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      • Anonymous says:

        You are so right Arden can’t handle the PAC chairmanship the last time he was on PAC they made a mess. 14 reports not dealt with no Government accounts.
        Chris too lazy to do the work.

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    • anonymous says:

      If I understand it correctly, if the Opposition could have nominated Chris, then they could have nominated Arden. Then they would have had two members on the PAC (Arden and Chris), the same proportion for the opposition as when Ezzard was chair. Which apparently was good for Chris — that was what he wanted.

      Am I reading this right?

      So for heaven’s sake, why did they create a vacancy by nominating Chris, giving the Premier the opportunity to nominate someone to fill the spot that would have been vacated by Chris?

      I’d say they were outmaneuvered!

      Then Chris walks away and Arden is a no-show.

      So it does not appear that the Premier had any option but to ask Ezzard to return. Who the heck is left to take on the onerous responsibility?

      Anyone could have seen this coming.

      The only ones to blame are Chris and Arden — they dug a whole and they fell in to it.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The Government wasn’t going to vote for the Oppositions choices. They wanted David Wight

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        • Anonymous says:

          11:32 am: as I understand it. There was one vacancy on the PAC: the post held by Ezzard. I don’t see how the govt would Deny that to Arden.

          But instead the Opposition “deliberately” nominated Chris.

          If Chris took the top spot, then the govt intends to nominate Wight to fill Chris’s vacated spot.

          But there would have been no vacancy if Arden had been nominated and no problem for the Opposition.

          So the problem was that Arden didn’t want the job. Plain and simple.

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      • Anonymous says:

        how so—to suggest letting a younger one who has experience in the area lead is a failure?

        what about progression planning?

        shortsightednessisahellofathing

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Not a great day for the official Opposition. Saunders had a great opportunity to show some leadership.

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    • anonymous says:

      Absolutely 9:18 am — Saunders has consistently run away from responsibility. He wants to be a free agent so he can equivocate to his heart’s content.

      As PAC chair, he would have been able to demonstrate his leadership, rather than just react to PAC agendas.

      Both Saunders and McLean have walked away from the chairmanship of one of the most powerful committees, not only in the Legislature but also in all of government.

      Fascinating.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Looks like Alden outsmarted dem boys again. It is quite clear that he got exactly ehat he wanted ie keeping Miller as PAC Chairman.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    honestly you couldn’t make this up the first real item the “new opposition” have to deal with and they can’t even get that agreed lol … OK Arden who are you going to blame for this ? Ezzard! I suspect Arden is too lazy and ignorant to master the research and time it takes to be Chair of PAC …

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    • Anonymous says:

      Good news
      Ezzard seems to be the only one willing to put in the time and hard work to scrutize and ask difficult questions.

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      • Chris Johnson says:

        Excellent news. He asks the right questions and takes no crap.

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        • Anonymous says:

          He is the best chairman of the PAC in my memory. Now did you see how the Leader of Opposition tried to play poker and both he and Saunders lost. What a waste.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Ezzard continues to inject gridlock into what should be an easy committee assignment.

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          • Hancock says:

            And pray what is a difficult assignment.

            At least he understands accounts more than most politicians.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Wow! Just when you think Alden can’t sink any lower he pulls a stunt like this; power at cost of the people.

    Who is really going to challenge the government now? Who is going to ask those probing questions about the port and make no mistake, government will have to force it through – they are too heavily committed already. Why do you think they wanted to add another government member to the committee. Only in undemocratic countries do you pack the committee responsible for scrutinizing the government with government members!

    The fact that Miller has “been persuaded” to stay on in a role that he knows by convention has always gone to the Leader of the Opposition shows that he sold his soul as well to Alden.

    The only people who is showing any principle here is Mclean for wanting to give the Chair to Saunders rather than hog it for himself and Saunders for declining.

    Alden never had any principles to start with, but Miller you are showing your true colours now and its not pretty!

    Fellow Caymanians, please, please wake up.

    These elderly “statesmen” are power hungry at any cost! How else do you end up with sworn enemies in coalition together under a unity banner. Now add Miller to that banner.

    PS 1)when are we going to learn the those of the deal reached between Alden and McKeeva?

    2) what happened to McKeeva’s $20million lawsuit against the government. Did Alden settle it quietly or his hoping to slip it through now that he has stitched up the PAC?

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    • Anonymous says:

      4:01 am: maybe you needed a little more sleep:

      “The fact that Miller has ‘been persuaded’ to stay on in a role that he knows by convention has always gone to the Leader of the Opposition shows that he sold his soul as well to Alden.”

      So, so if convention dictates that the LoO should be chair of the PAC, why is the Leader of the Opposition “deliberately” avoiding the chairmanship of the PAC? Do you realize that is where the problem started?

      Or is he avoiding the role in view of the exposure he may suffer from the proverbial—”The higher monkey climb the more he expose”?

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  15. Anonymous says:

    So the Official Opposition essentially remains impotent after all. Miller still maintains his power in the Legislature. Can’t keep a good man down.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Best news I’ve heard all year.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Wow, Alden will do anything to stay in power. Even if that means throwing financial checks and balance of the peoples money out the door. 🙁

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    • Anonymous says:

      7.54pm I think you mean Arden. Arden turned down the job which was supposed to be his as Leader of the Opposition. Chris also turned it down. So please blame Arden and Chris; don’t blame Alden .

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  18. Anonymous says:

    You really can’t make this crap up!

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