A sliding scale of judgement

| 23/04/2021 | 73 Comments

Public Servant writes: I listened tentatively to conversations about the re-appointment of William McKeeva Bush as speaker of Parliament. Some viewpoints were positive. Some were negative. Others were in-between and hopeful. Overall, though, there seems to have been a shifting of accountability from the previous government to the new one. I believe that this shift warrants a closer look.

In 2012, Alden McLaughlin gave a passionate speech, arguing why the then unconvicted Bush should be demoted from his position. Although the investigation into the allegations against Bush had not yet concluded, Mr McLaughlin and others pushed ahead for a speedy judgment both in court of public opinion and within Parliament. As noted in the records of the Hansard, Mr McLaughlin was successful in his efforts and Bush’s post was eventually downgraded.

Five years later, in 2017, Bush was a key component in the formation of the Progressives-led Unity Government. But in 2020, Bush found himself in trouble again, this time in the form of a common assault of a female hospitality professional.

Upon hearing the public outcry for steps to be taken against Bush, members of the Progressives-led Unity Government did a few things: (i) they (most importantly) did not follow their 2012 approach; (ii) they allowed Bush to take a leave of absence (an option which does not appear to be expressly provided for in the Cayman Islands Constitution); and (iii) they stood by their claim that no comment could be made by the Progressives-led Unity Government until Bush was convicted by the courts of the Cayman Islands. In essence, the Progressives-led Unity Government took a position of “silence”.

Subsequently, members of the public protested the silence of the Progressives-led Unity Government. However, this time (and unlike 2012) there was no interest in the court of public opinion. There was also little interest shown by the Progressives-led Unity Government in pursuing Bush following his actual court conviction. Although members of the Progressives-led Unity Government had previously indicated that there was nothing they could do until they received the court judgment, they continued to be silent regarding Bush in the face of a clear court judgment.

One immediate action that the Progressives-led Unity Government could have taken under the Cayman Islands Constitution was the passage of a vote of no confidence. Not only did the Progressives-led Unity Government NOT take this initiative, they strategically thwarted the efforts of the then opposition to call a special meeting to pass a vote of no confidence to remove Bush as speaker.  

If you have not been paying attention up to this point, this is the moment that your eyes  open and you see that this is where the real accountability lies. When the members of the Progressives-led Unity Government had the opportunity to do the right thing, they refused to do so. They refused to remove Bush. (The idea that Bush’s removal would have caused the government to collapse is largely a fallacy and remains untrue, based on the options available under the Cayman Islands Constitution.)

The new government

On 21 April 2021, a new independent-led government was sworn into the Parliament of the Cayman Islands. Bush was voted in as speaker of Parliament. The “Bush vote” could have been avoided if the incumbent members of the Progressives had accepted previous offers from the independents to form an “inclusive government”. Roy McTaggart could have been minister of finance and deputy premier. Another incumbent could have been speaker. Even the public was made aware of the sincere efforts of the independents to include the incumbent members of the Progressives in the new government.

Several games were played and members of the independents were poached to strengthen the position of the incumbent members of the Progressives. These games failed. The independents formed the new government based on the elected members that remained available. In the process of doing this, they also considered the people’s mandate, namely for an independent-led government. Further, the independents put in place several conditions, including a written apology from Bush and the implementation of a code of conduct (which the Progressives previously failed to do).

She is still supported

Bush remains in the wrong for his actions. The independent-led government is taking steps to put in place a mechanism for the removal of Bush and other MPs in the event of relevant breaches of the incoming code of conduct. This must be supported by an amendment to the Cayman Islands Constitution (to be done by way of a referendum by the people or Order In Council by the UK Parliament) to include further disqualification provisions for candidates and MPs.

Each of us is now accountable to make this happen. We must not only promote this but also help the independents to legally and constitutionally solidify that #sheisstillsupported.


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Category: Politics, Viewpoint

Comments (73)

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  1. Jonathan Adam says:

    The heinous status quo remains the same.

    • Anonymous says:

      Excellent observation for someone whom I thought was in the anti-PPM camp, or worst, willing to accept anything that wasn’t PPM. Admittedly, I am guilty of ambivalence towards PPM, as well as all previous governments. However, I am surprised at the number of people that I hear saying that they voted for PACT, seemingly oblivious to the fact that PACT came after the election.

      I believe Wayne to be an honest and upright person, and will give him the benefit of doubt, except with regards to McKeeva, for a considerable period of time. But I do wonder how long it’s going to take before some of the PACT wishcasters start whispering “The Emperor (or one of his minions) has no clothes on”.

  2. Anonymous says:

    In 2012 Alden was calling for McKeeva to be removed because he was accused of (and charged with, and about to be on trial for) corruption in public office and was the sitting Premier. In 2020 it was assault in his private life. Still awful and something that impacts his official position. But you cannot objectively say that they are the same thing and reactions should be treated the same way.

  3. Anonymoose says:

    Once the code of conduct document is in force why can’t there be a vote of no confidence to remove Mac based on that document – retrospectively??? Can that happen ??

  4. Anonymous says:

    Every time I think of Bush in that Chair I feel betrayed – and angry.

    We the people need to get him out

    • Anonymous says:

      There will be NO code of conduct under Panton’s 2 years, or so.

      However, if there were to be one, it would be utterly useless!

  5. To those Dissing PACT for BUSH - says:

    👉🏽 The Panton/Saunders had no choice but to include McKeeva Bush. They had 9 members, and 1 short of forming a government. And at the time, nobody from the PPM side was shifting to their side. So, they were left with Bush, who was available. Had Panton/Saunders refused Bush, freezing the Parliament by 9 IND /9 PPM, a divided government, and Bush left in the center, another Election may have culminated… And that may have been a golden opportunity lost for the Independents. Just Sayin

    • Anonymous says:

      An immoral decision is OK provided it results in power. Sad and unfortunately probably a predictor of many more immoral decisions to come. I had such high hopes.

      #gethimout

      • Sad says:

        You sir don’t understand how parliamentary democracy work

        • Anonymous says:

          You sir don’t understand how parliamentary democracy ought to work, and in particular how it ought to work without any corruption.

      • Anonymous says:

        lol.. what a DUMBO. Why don’t you guys admit, you just don’t like the PACT government! If you can’t put differences aside and focus on running the country, you can never be a Member of Parliament! That’s what they have to do all the time to form a government.
        PLEASE STOP POSTING CRAP!

    • Anonymous says:

      No justification – crawl back under your bridge, Troll @ 4:50pm.

      • Anonymous says:

        I suggest a similar crawl back for the new troll @10:31pm.

        The sad part is that you are either a sitting MP or a Chief Officer.

    • Realcayman says:

      Why not negotiate a real coalition Gov’t with the PPM? Were they that power hungry? They had a choice.

    • Anonymous says:

      If the PPM had accepted Bush as Speaker Im sure some of the independents would have jumped ship and we would have had a PPM led government.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Lets have some transparency. The PACT party had no intention of forming a coalition and inviting any of the Progressives. The meeting lasted 15 minutes because their offer was 2 Ministries – Education and Tourism and no leadership position and NO Finance or Financial Services for McTaggart. Do you really think Saunders would allow that. Other suggestions for a coalition that would utilize the experience of former Ministers was put forward but rejected the PACT. Panton will have his challenges managing and controlling his new team and i wish him luck.

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      That’s not true. They DID in fact invite several of the progressives, who declined, apparently favoring making a political point over serving our Territory.

      Moreover, the Progressives made various offers to the independents who had already given their word and signature, resulting briefly in a crossover from independent to Progressive.

      This is part of why the party system is not functional. I can vote for a person based upon their platform and their professed views, but once they have joined a party, those views are worthless, trumped by those of the leader of that party.

      I want us to have a government formed by ALL independents. Make them all get along. I also want the OMOV amended to where we vote for Premier as well as our district MP.

      • Anonymous says:

        Completely disagree. The idea of a party is that you can vote for a single vision for the kind of government and policies you want across the board as laid out in a manifesto. You may or may not get that but that’s the idea. When you vote for an independent, unless your MP is likely to be the leader, you have no clue what any government they might form’s policies might be, none. They are independents not the Independent Party.

      • Realcayman says:

        This debacle shows why we need parties. Form a new political party that has a manifesto to which all members subscribe and a leadership structure. Voters will then be clear who and what they are voting for at a national level and who will be the premier if that party wins. If your party obtains a majority, or a plurality, of the votes then you can genuinely claim a mandate and the process of forming the Gov’t will be far more efficient and not involve back room deals that lack transparency.

        The criticism you just leveled at parties applies with equal if not greater force to independents forming a marriage of convenience after the election. Who knows what the ultimate policies will be?

      • Anonymous says:

        2:17 This makes no sense to me. Once a representative is part of government they are no longer independent. Until we are mature enough to have a two party system there will always be a bunch of bs after every election.

  7. Anon says:

    Well written post except: maybe I missed it but I do not think PACT would have ever accepted Roy as Dep Premier over Chris Saunders. To my knowledge it was not made public what PACT offered in terms of including Progressives Ministers and in fact Wayne’s account and Roy’s account of the meeting were quite different. So….the T in Pact is off to a bad start really.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are right – no transparency on the deal with Mac and no transparency on the deal offered to Roy and others

  8. Foolishness says:

    PACT is responsible for McKeeva remaining relevant in Cayman politics.

    No one put a gun to Wayne’s head and said you have to do this. He took the expedient route to power and needs to accept responsibility for it.

    It was a stalemate where PPM thought the Independents would crack if it went on much longer so they kept trying to recruit additional “Independents/PACT” to their side.

    No one wanted to deal with Mac for obvious reasons but Wayne must have been worried about his coalition cracking and frustrated by his inability to peel off just one person from the PPM side before he lost another of his followers.

    So Wayne made a deal.

    It is really that simple and none of the history matters in this context. We know who and what McKeeva is and this is a sad moment in time.

    Wayne you got power but you need to own how you did it. You’ve shown that your true colours are just as changeable as the others so let’s stop pretending and get on with things.

    In four more years we can all try again to get this right and hopefully we will have better people running than we have had in the past.

    • Anonymous says:

      Pact should have made E. Miller speaker an left Bush j ust in the back bench. North Siders will soon feel sorry for themselves

    • Anonymous says:

      Wayne to watch Saunders or Bush don’t take over from him

  9. West Babe says:

    This thread is either full of trolls or it’s just one whining over and over again.

    What the heck do you expect them to do?? Just roll over and say we give up on all the change the people of this country deserve because of one person??

    What does the accusation “power grab” really mean? They wanted to control the house? Hell yes they did!! (Pssst… that’s the point… ssshhhhh)

    You think Alden and Roy weren’t prepared to form a government with Mac if it came down to it?? How naive can you be??

    Get real. It’s not always pretty and it’s not always nice but there is no way in hell I want 4 more years of PPM rule.

    You want to swim in seas full of dead coral and murky water? You want to watch the rich hey richer and the poor get poorer? You want to work to the bone for basic living necessities? You want to never afford land in your own country?

    I don’t.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dead coral vs Mac – talk about a really bad false dichotomy.

      Personally I don’t want Mac or dead coral

      I believe what Wayne said about transparency and accountability. Hopefully Wayne will show us that his promises were not just hot air and will provide the terms of the deal with Mac and then everyone can decide for themselves whether it was the right thing.

    • Anonymous says:

      7:37 Of course Alden and Roy were not prepared to make a deal with Mac or they would have done it and they would be in power today

  10. Anonymous says:

    Any decision to put a convicted criminal in a senior government position is likely to result in suspicion regarding every other decision, and rightly so.

    • Judas says:

      And I thought any turd that was convicted for breaking the
      law could NOT be seated in the government. Silly me!

      • Anonymous says:

        Well that would be a logical assumption. But the law says as long as you are not convicted of a crime that carries a sentence of more than 12 months in jail, or involves dishonesty, you are good to go. Common assault – perfectly fine. Now in the UK there didn’t even use to be that prohibition – the ban on people serving who were currently in prison with sentence longer than 12 months was introduced to prevent IRA prisoners from standing for parliament.

        However, the UK also went on to add law that says if your MP is sentenced to prison for less than 12 months, if 10% of their constituents sign a petition they are recalled and there has to be a by election. Not surprisingly our MLAs/MPs show no enthusiasm for introducing that provision! Perhaps Wayne should – would get that rooting albatross hanging around his neck and reputation off!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Transparency please! What are the terms under which Mac became Speaker?

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry. That is top secret.

      • Anonymous says:

        Apart from the fact Wayne told us what it was you mean? He gets to be Speaker with all the pay and status that involves, and he has to sign the code of conduct and give 10% of his salary to the Crisis centre.

  12. Anonymous says:

    For voters who understand the way the Cabinet must be formed out of duly elected 19 MPs, this was a hard decision most could not have made. As one of 19 duly elected MPs, the burden was on one, to form a government with those elected by the voters in each District. Thank you to Premier Wayne Panton and his PACT Independent led government for such maturity to lead this Country through a peaceful transition of power in such difficult circumstances. It remains to be seen what other less transparent bumps in the road have been left for the current administration to undo. Their success is our success.

    • Anonymous says:

      All I know is that they have more ministers than substantive subjects.

      Imagine having a “House of Parliament” where almost 50% of the MPs are in the Cabinet?

      Laughable at best.

      • Anonymous says:

        What about Roy Tatum job ?. Is he now going to be chief adviser to the new Premier ? Or is his job gone ?

        • Anonymous says:

          Because you would have Roy Tatum as your personal adviser given his relationship with Alden? ROFLOL.

      • Anonymous says:

        Premier, Deputy Premier, and six Ministers. 8 out of 19 which is 42%.

        I am Caymanian and I want us to have more MPs, so our Parliament can be like the UKs – not always attended but still able to do business. With these tight margins, the political side of Government business has to stop for every sitting of the House because every Minister is needed for every vote – or could
        be. At least once a term we hear about a law that was almost defeated because of technicalities around numbers, that had Government support. That’s one of the reasons why they package so much legislation together then rush it through, it’s to keep sessions short so they can go back to Government business. But try to explain the benefits of more MPs to anyone and all they do is complain about the cost which pales in comparison to the cost of an inadequate political system. Look how much power individual MPs had this time around. That was not intended. But it enables people in each constituency to act like an entitled mob so we aren’t hearing about how it needs to change. Not yet anyway.

        • Anonymous says:

          11:40an, so you want more M P’s, so we tax payers can pay them more more, ARE YOU CRAZY, need to make a law that the M P s need to attend all meetings, and only can be absent due to sickness , and they must vote, not be allowed to walk out during voting time. Those things should be in the law

          • Anonymous says:

            Then there will be no Cabinet Ministers determining policy and giving instructions to civil servants for most out of the year. They will be stuck sitting in the House instead listening to the Opposition talk. Is that what you want?

    • Anonymous says:

      Rubbish – the appointment of mac was a convenient means to get to power

    • Anonymous says:

      Speaking of transparency, it would go a long way to demonstrating that the PACT statements are more than just talk would be for the terms of the agreement with Mac to be released. Until that happens the secrecy of this arrangement will continue to be the focus of attention.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think the reality is that the harder choice would have been to not form a government with McKeeva, or to have reneged on said deal when an alternative Speaker was proffered. The first is more unequivocally moral, but the latter would also have been in the best interests of the country.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I hope that everyone has a great weekend and that we can begin the week fully refreshed and revitalized – as we get down to work mobilizing for our march on Parliament to demand the removal of the current Speaker. #gethimout

  14. Anonymous says:

    twaddle with a capital T

  15. Anonymous says:

    #sheisforgotten

  16. Realcayman says:

    What a futile exercise in deflection and self-justification. Here are some simple facts:

    1. Wayne (and Heather) resigned from the PPM over their failure to remove McKeeva from office in relation to the assault on the young woman. That was long before he was actually convicted of the offence but they were clear that it reflected that they no longer shared the same values with the PPM. Wayne was a part of the #sheissupported campaign.

    2. Many Independents made the position of candidates on McKeeva being in Gov’t a central plank of their campaign. One was expected to affirm that they would not be part of a Gov’t with him in it. Many did so in categorical terms including Deputy Premier Chris Saunders. A rally was held against McKeeva. They assumed a moral high ground on the issue. McKeeva was returned but with only a small majority of the vote and for the first time in decades was unable to carry his running mates with him. If there was one issue on which successful candidates had a clear mandate is that they should not form a Gov’t with McKeeva in it.

    3. At the first opportunity and purely on the basis of political expediency PACT formed a Government with McKeeva giving him the exact same position from which they had campaigned to have him removed. The same person with whom being in Government with showed you no longer shared Wayne’s values. Apparently, they think the public will be duped with the 30 pieces of silver from McKeeva.

    The PPM didn’t make you do it; a lack of moral compass and a lust for power did. You are no better than them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good summary

    • Anonymous says:

      No the PPM didn’t make them do it….Issac Iscariot did!

      • Realcayman says:

        Why Isaac Iscariot? From during his campaign, Isaac let it be known that he was determined to be in Gov’t. He obviously didn’t rule out a later alliance with the PPM since it was publicly acknowledged that he had met with Alden during the campaign. He owed no allegiance to the collection of independents called PACT.

    • Anonymous says:

      I still say Mac was wrong but If PPM had did what they was supposed to do in first place we would not have had a Mac in there.And if Alden didn’t change the election date the outcome would had have been totally different trust me on this one. So in my view I think our country won’t be sold out this time around so FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY LETS WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE THE 3 CAYMAN ISLANDS BETTER .

  17. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, off topic – Listening today on my drive to collect lunch, in the MLA, the whining I heard about the mudslinging, name calling etc., Wah wah wah. Nothing new. They all sounded like whiney teenagers.

    They are in public office and should expect people to voice their opinion. There isn’t ONE MLA, that in their career, should not be held accountable for their childish actions.
    GROW the eF up People!

    • Anonymous says:

      voicing opinion yes, but the tripe that has come out of Facebook groups claiming to be news has been extremely damaging

  18. Anonymous says:

    #maybeifweadoptanew#thatsays”sheisstillsupported”thepublicwillforgetthatwef’dupbigtime-causeweknowthattheyaresoverygullible

  19. Anonymous says:

    So the 1980’s punch line of ‘The Debil Made Me Do It’ has evolved into the denial of the decade; ‘The PPM Made Me Do It’ (*by demonstrating integrity by refusing to cut a deal with Mac no less)

    Flip Wilson’s version was funny for a few months in the 1980s. the new version was lame when first floated by PACT. Now it is irritating as it shows that they must think that we are totally idiots who will be persuaded if they just keep repeating the same nonsense over and over.

  20. Anonymous says:

    You must be so deep into PACT that the sun don’t shine if you are hearing anything positive about Wayne’s appointment of a convicted woman beater to be Speaker.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Not sure about ‘sliding scale of judgement’ – seems more of a rationale for situational ethics.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Wayne made a horrible mistake appointing Mac. He should admit that mistake and apologise to the Cayman people for it. The more he and his people try to convince us that that disgusting appointment was a good thing or someone else’s fault, the worse Wayne looks and the more his credibility and that of PACT evaporates.

    A very concerned PACT supporter

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think Caymanians could survive another 4 years of a government that does not support them. Additionally, had PACT not done it, the PPM would have. That would have us back in the exact same place we were 4 years (politically) but with hole continuing to be deeper and wider for Caymanians.

      The past two elections have shown Caymanians wanted change. The Caymanian people even reached out to the PPM candidates to try to get them to cross the aisle. McTaggart was elected as an independent who chose to join with the PPM, why couldn’t he have done the same in this election…

      Sometimes you do make a deal with someone you didn’t want to…..to protect your people. As a Caymanian, my heart was in my throat until Wayne was declared premier. We have great hopes for his government.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm….As a “public servant”, how is it that you know so much about the inner workings of the horse trading events and offers that supposedly went on to be able to pen this pationate defence of the PACT? #justsaying #youcanfoolsomepeoplesometimes

  24. Anonymous says:

    Give it a rest – Wayne screwed up – Mac must go – it is Wayne’s responsibility to get him out asap.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Ummm – nice story but for some reason you forgot to mention the events of March 2020 – let me help you –

    https://caymannewsservice.com/2020/03/panton-finally-quits-ppm/

    “Panton, however, confirmed his decision to part ways with the party after the events surrounding the speaker’s involvement in a violent assault on a manager at a beach bar last month. He said that it was clear that he and the Progressives no longer shared the same values.“

    So seeing the events of the past few days in which the PPM refused to cut a deal with Mac to hold on to power, and Wayne was not so particular, I guess Wayne was right – Wayne and the PPM apparently do have different values when it comes to …… what shall we call it? integrity??? consistency??? both???? or something else????

  26. Anonymous says:

    If you believe the narrative in this Viewpoint you are probably totally convinced by the guy in the article about the new helicopter facility on the Brac.

  27. Anonymous says:

    This code of conduct, used as a sop to try to justify the disgusting appointment to the post of Speaker, is at best a pipe dream. First of all none of the new government, with the possible exception of Wayne, are going to support it if it might limit the benefits that previous politicians have kept out of jail for. Second, even if there was support, the process of amending the Constitution will take years and those just taking power will likely have died of old age long before it comes into effect.

  28. Anonymous says:

    CNS published this post in response to another item yesterday but I think that it is equally if not more relevant here:

    “If a civil servant was caught securing a government job for a convicted criminal in order to secure a personal benefit, the Anti-Corruption unit would be called and that civil servant would quite likely get jail time. A politician does the same thing and he gets what ??? could the answer be a very high salary and a government gold card??

    I cannot speak to criminality but I am quite sure that the non-transparent way our government is currently formed is unethical – although the politicians seem to think that it is a great way to do things.”

    • Anonymous says:

      The age old saying “not worth the paper (digital space) that this is written on” would be too kind to describe the foolishness written in this Viewpoint.

      Wayne put Mac in the Speaker’s Chair in April 2021 with the help of at least 3 “women”.

      It is what it is, game-set-and match!

  29. Anonymous says:

    Scales need metrics so I have a simple one:

    Demonstrating integrity by not appointing mac gives a scale of judgement score of 10 out of 10 – an excellent result

    Cutting a deal with mac to get power gives a scale of judgement score of 0 – showing at best 0 judgement in relation to what it is appropriate to do.

  30. Anonymous says:

    “The PPM made me do it” narrative is ridiculous. That argument might work as new lyrics in the old Shaggy song but it is not credible in any other context.

    A desire for power and a certain integrity deficit rings much more true.

  31. Anonymous says:

    What a lot of disingenuous revisionist rubbish.

    The public understands that it was Wayne’s BFF and now Cabinet Minister Kenneth who blocked the ouster of Mac in Dec 2020 as you conveniently forgot to include in your fairy tale. To jog your memory:

    “The special meeting of the Legislative Assembly to debate a no confidence vote in House Speaker McKeeva Bush and elect a new deputy speaker will not take place because Kenneth Bryan (GTC) voted against it at a meeting of opposition members over the weekend. “

    https://caymannewsservice.com/2020/03/bryan-blocks-meeting-ousting-speaker/

    The idea that the PPM is responsible for Wayne cutting a deal with Mac to get Wayne power is derisory at best. I say that having known and respected Wayne for quite a few decades.

    Wayne is a grown man who knew the deal with the devil he was making to get power and knew that virtually the entire country would be filled with revulsion at that decision. He thought that the public were sufficiently dim-witted and amoral that they could be bought.

    His idea that public revulsion could be bought off using a donation of 30 pieces of silver, or 10% of Mac salary plus an unseen code of conduct that may or may not come into existence in the next 20 years, shows the depth of his integrity in relation to getting power.

    Before someone suggests that I am some PPM backer, please understand that I am absolutely furious at the betrayal that is Mac’s appointment, but I have always voted for independents my entire life. I would not even vote for Wayne when he was PPM.

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