Archive | Politics


Opposition stages march demanding general election

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Jun 13, CMC – The leadership of the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) led supporters in a demonstration here late Monday evening demanding that Prime Minister Gaston Browne announce the date for fresh general elections in Antigua and Barbuda.

The move by the UPP comes as the ruling Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) observed its third anniversary in office and Prime Minister Browne being dismissive of the call for the snap poll.

UPPa“The number one objective of this gathering here today is to draw attention to the fact that the people of Antigua and Barbuda are dissatisfied with the present regime and we need to draw attention to the fact that this Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party would’ve failed the people of Antigua and Barbuda,” Opposition Leader Baldwin Spencer told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) ahead of the “Black March.”

The march coincided with a ceremony where Prime Minister Browne and members of his cabinet were handing over keys to new homeowners in his St John’s City West constituency.

The 48 homes were part of a housing project that was initially a 500 homes in 500 days campaign promise. The handover was the capstone to a series of events commemorating the anniversary of the party’s success at the June 12, 2014 polls.

Many protestors expressed concern over a number of issues, including inadequate water supply, allegations of police corruption and a sitting minister being accused of sexual assault.

Police said that the demonstration was attended by at least 2,000 people and UPP political leader, Harold Lovell said he was pleased with the turnout.

 He said his party wanted to send a clear message to the prime minister and his administration.

“There have been too many broken promises. There has not been any development,” Lovell told CMC, adding “they promised us investment; there’s been no investment.

“They promised jobs; there’re no jobs and what they have done is decide that they are going to concentrate on enriching themselves and we’re totally against that.”

Opposition legislator Chester Hughes called on Prime Minister Brown “to call the election now.

“If he (Browne) thinks he has the testicular fortitude, call the elections now and he will see how many people hate him.”

The march culminated at Parliament Drive with a festive rally featuring popular local artistes and prominent party members and candidates who criticized the governing party and pleas for an early election.

Monday’s “Black March” included a delegation from “The Movement” – a group of concerned citizens that advocates for good governance and accountability.

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UK Prime Minister Theresa May

Theresa May Reshuffles Cabinet Amid Calls for Her to Step Down

by  Jill Lawless / AP

British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks after returning from Buckingham Palace outside 10 Downing Street on June 9, 2017 in London, England © Karwai Tang—Getty Images

(LONDON) – Embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May appointed ministers to her shaky government Sunday, as some Conservative colleagues rallied to support her – and others said her days were numbered after last week’s disastrous election.

May is seeking a deal with a Northern Irish party to prop up the Conservative minority government, and lawmakers said the rebuff from voters meant the government would have to abandon planned policies and re-think its strategy for European Union exit talks.

A stream of senior lawmakers entered her office at 10 Downing St. on Sunday afternoon, to learn what roles they had been given in government.

May’s weakened position in the party rules out big changes to the Cabinet lineup. Downing St. has already said that the most senior ministers – including Treasury chief Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Amber Rudd – will keep their jobs.

As rumors swirled about plots to oust May, Johnson denied he was planning a leadership challenge. He tweeted that an article in the Mail on Sunday newspaper headlined “Boris set to launch bid to be PM as May clings on” was “tripe.”

“I am backing Theresa May. Let’s get on with the job,” he said.

The Conservatives lost their parliamentary majority in Thursday’s election – a vote May called in a bid to strengthen her mandate ahead of exit talks with the EU. Instead, she has left Britain’s government ranks in disarray, days before the divorce negotiations are due to start on June 19.

May’s party won 318 seats, 12 fewer than it had before the snap election, and eight short of the 326 needed for an outright majority. Labour surpassed expectations by winning 262.

Former Treasury chief George Osborne – who was fired by May last year – called May a “dead woman walking,” and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was ready to contest another election at any time.

Many senior Conservatives say May should stay, for now, to provide stability. But few believe she can hang on for more than a few months.

“I think her position is, in the long term, untenable,” Conservative lawmaker Anna Soubry told Sky News.

But Graham Brady, who chairs the influential 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative lawmakers, said a “self-indulgent” party leadership campaign would only cause more uncertainty.

He acknowledged that the government would be unable to get many of the measures promised in its election platform through Parliament.

May called the election to win explicit backing for her stance on Brexit, which involves leaving the EU’s single market and imposing restrictions on immigration while trying to negotiate free trade deal with the bloc. Some say her failure means the government must now take a more flexible approach to the divorce, potentially softening the exit terms.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who took the party from one Scottish seat to 13, said there would now have to be “consensus within the country about what it means and what we seek to achieve as we leave.”

To stay in power, the Conservatives are seeking support from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party. May’s office said Saturday principles of an agreement had been reached, but the two sides later clarified that they are still talking.

“We have made good progress but the discussions continue,” DUP leader Arlene Foster said.

Downing Street said it hopes to finalize the deal next week, after Parliament resumes sitting.

The two sides are looking to form a “confidence and supply” arrangement. That means the DUP would back the government on confidence motions and budget votes, but it’s not a coalition government or a broader pact.

The alliance makes some modernizing Conservatives uneasy. The DUP is a socially conservative group that opposes abortion and same-sex marriage and had links to Protestant paramilitary groups during Ireland’s sectarian “Troubles.”

Conservative lawmaker Nicky Morgan told ITV that she could support a confidence and supply arrangement with the DUP, but any closer deal would be “a step too far.”

A deal between the government and the DUP could also unsettle the precarious balance between Northern Ireland’s British loyalist and Irish nationalist parties, whose power-sharing administration in Belfast collapsed earlier this year.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny tweeted Sunday that he had spoken with May “and indicated my concern that nothing should happen to put (the Good Friday Agreement) at risk.”

The 1998 Good Friday agreement set up power sharing in Northern Ireland, largely ending years of sectarian violence.

The British government doesn’t have long to ink a deal. It is due to present its platform for the next session in the Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament on June 19. The speech will be followed by several days of debate and a vote. By tradition, defeat on a Queen’s Speech vote topples the government.

Corbyn said Labour would try to amend the Queen’s Speech to include its own commitments to end austerity and boost public spending. Without the amendments, he said Labour would try to vote down the speech.

“I don’t think Theresa May and this government have any credibility,” Corbyn told the Sunday Mirror, predicting that there could be another election within months.

“I can still be prime minister,” Corbyn said. “This is still on.”

See Corbin “I can still be prime minister.”


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Late budget gets DFID  increased support

Late budget gets DFID increased support

Enabling public service increased salary

Premier Donaldson Romeo

On Friday, June 9, 2017, Premier Donaldson Romeo, who also carries the portfolio of Minister of Finance presented an EC$159.52 million fiscal package to the National Assembly while announcing a three to 10.4 per cent wage increase for government employees among other fiscal measures.

The debate on the budget will begin on Wednesday, June 14, and the Finance Minister/Premier told legislators today that the recurrent budget estimate is EC$128.3 million.

That sum represents a 0.97 percent increase over 2016-17 on the expectation that GoM will raise EC$50.38 million locally. Budget Support from DFID (Department for International Development) will contribute EC$78 million, 61 per cent.”

The budget support approved by the United Kingdom government is £22.9 million which is an increase of £2.3 million on last year’s settlement of £20.6 million and will enable all government employees, back pay from April 1, 2017, to previously mentioned increase in addition to increases for certain categories of workers. “This will be at a total cost of $1.54 million,’ the premier said.

Among some incentives aimed at assisting people wishing to return to Montserrat, he revealed this as an effort to further complement the current home construction initiatives, and to assist in getting completed homes to full use and occupancy. The government will, therefore, reduce the import taxes on furnishings and household appliances such as white goods and TVs for every person.

He said Cabinet has approved for a period of two years from the 1st August 2017 the suspension of Import Duty rates on the importation of various goods including furniture, fridges, freezers and dryers, washing machines and cookers among other items.

He said Cabinet has approved the reduction from US$300,000 to US$200,000 for the qualifying property value under the Customs Duties and Consumption Tax (Property Developers) (Homes Built for Sale or Rental) (Exemption) Order.

“The Government of Montserrat is extending the Duty Free concession on the importation of building materials and furnishing, for homes that are to be built for the purpose of for sale or rental for a period of two years from 1st July 2017,” Romeo said, adding “this will lead to an increase in the island’s housing stock and in this case ensure that there are adequate numbers of properties that are available to rent or for sale”.

He told legislators that for 2017/18, the capital programme estimate is EC$31.14 million based on approximately 56 percent funding from DFID, 37 percent from the European Union and 7.15 percent from other funding partners.

He said the major projects in the capital programme include: EC$1.03 million for the completion of the ZJB Building to house the state-owned radio station, with EC$1.2 million to be spent on roads and bridges and EC$0.63 million for geothermal exploration.

“Under the Montserrat Priority Infrastructure Needs Project, we are also using nearly five million dollars to fund five overdue and prioritised projects.”

See more detail from De Ole Dawg – Is 2-month late budget worth the wait?

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Kamina Johnson Smith

Jamaica government clears the air over “patting down” incident involving Trinidad Minister

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jun 5, CMC – The Jamaica government has blamed a “private security company” for patting down a Minister in the Trinidad and Tobago government when she was leaving the country after attending the Regional Parliamentary Forum as part of the follow-up on the UN Declaration on Ending AIDS last week.

The Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Ayanna Webster-Roy, confirmed the incident where that it was alleged that she had been “patted down’ by immigration officials when she was leaving the country.

Kamina Johnson Smith
Kamina Johnson Smith

But Webster-Roy told the Trinidad Express newspaper over the last weekend that she did not wish to speak about the incident just yet as she preferred to speak with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dennis Moses, before issuing any statement on the matter.

But in a statement, the Jamaica Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kamina Johnson Smith, said that “our initial enquiries indicate that a search took place, but that it was conducted by a private security company retained by the international airline on which the minister and her delegation were travelling.

“Furthermore, we are advised that such searches are generally undertaken by the airline under international conventions and are based on random computer selection for additional security screening.

“While we regret the minister’s distress, our enquiries so far reveal that diplomats and ministers of other countries, as well as current and former ministers of Jamaica, across political administrations, have in fact undergone this additional screening process, notwithstanding their status,” she added.

Opposition legislator Dr. Fuad Khan, who was among a three-member Trinidad and Tobago delegation that attended the meeting, told the Trinidad Express newspaper that the government legislator was “patted down’ despite the fact that her diplomatic status was disclosed to the Jamaican authorities.

Khan told the newspaper that the trio were returning to Trinidad on Thursday via Miami when the Jamaican authorities pulled Webster-Roy as the group was about to board the aircraft.

He said he expressed alarm and dismay at the treatment accorded to a Trinidad and Tobago Government minister.

“We found out that they examined her in the most private of places. That is unheard of and uncalled for. And I believe that she was singled out as a minister of the Trinidad and Tobago Government because that doesn’t happen to anybody with a diplomatic passport, especially a minister,” he told the newspaper.

Khan, a former health minister here, said while there was no strip search, she was patted down.

In the statement, Johnson Smith said, the Andrew Holness government “is, however, taking the matter seriously.

“Even as we await a promised formal letter from my counterpart in Trinidad and Tobago, we are making further enquiries regarding the legal framework supporting such searches, as well as the specific circumstances of Friday’s incident. We will write to the airline to make a formal request in this regard.”

Johnson Smith assured the public that the Jamaican government wanted all visitors to Jamaica, including colleague dignitaries from foreign and CARICOM countries, to be comfortable in their travel to and from Jamaica, notwithstanding any security protocols.

She said that it was important to stress that even at this stage of enquiries, it was quite clear that the search was in no way related to the issue of free movement under the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), nor was it related to the minister’s nationality.

She urged her Trinidadian counterpart to convey her personal empathy to Minister Webster-Roy, “for any distress caused by the airline’s security screening process”.

Last year there were allegations by Jamaicans about alleged mistreatment and discrimination by Trinidad and Tobago Immigration authorities following the deportation of a number of Jamaicans.

This matter had led to calls by some Jamaicans to boycott Trinidad and Tobago products and Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley visited that Caribbean country to assure Jamaicans that they were not being targeted.

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Premier Alden McLaughlin

Cayman Islands new national unity government sworn in

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands, Jun. 1, CMC – A coalition legislature is now in place in the Cayman Islands following days of uncertainty after the May 24 general election.

On Wednesday, the coalition of 13 elected members was sworn in by Governor Helen Kilpatrick.

Premier Alden McLaughlin
Premier Alden McLaughlin

Leading the government for a second term as Premier, is Alden McLaughlin – leader of the People’s Progressive Movement (PPM).

The government of national unity also includes seven PPM members, three from the Cayman Democratic Party, including former Premier McKeeva Bush, and three independent politicians.

In his first address to the legislature, McLaughlin said his PPM was just a “hair’s breadth” away from having a majority government, adding that things could have been very different – but that was how things were in a democracy.

The premier said in this new administration everyone would have a say and he hoped to have a policy direction for the government before the end of July, as he conceded there would be changes in the way common concerns were addressed.

Meanwhile, Bush who is now speaker of the Legislative Assembly, signaled that he is likely to be a less conventional supervisor of the parliament than Cayman has been accustomed to.

Bush told his colleagues that the role of speaker could be “political without being partisan” and, warning that he would not tolerate efforts to stall or impeded government progress, he also made a commitment to protect the minority opposition.

Explaining why he chose to support Alden McLaughlin as premier after “difficult” negotiations, Bush made it clear that he was supporting this Government of National Unity after asking for certain things, which McLaughlin had committed to deliver and given assurance that the government would address a number of the people’s concerns. Bush asked his supporters and those of the Independents to support the government.

In his new role as speaker, Bush told the members that there was no time for any of them to play the politics of one-upmanship. He said that it was time to “work harder” and that he would “not tolerate hold-ups and wasting time”.

Despite his new-found support for the Premier, Bush implied that he will be holding McLaughlin to account on the deal struck between the two party leaders and the independent members of government, which has not yet been made public.

In the aftermath of last Wednesday’s general election, the surprise outcome saw nine independent candidates holding onto the majority of the seats.

McKeeva Bush
McKeeva Bush

The PPM secured seven seats and the CDP held onto three seats.

In the hours that followed, the politicians desperately tried to broker agreements.

The first agreement was made last Friday when McLaughlin approached his long time rival, Bush , and in a statement to the media announced their plan to work together in a coalition that would see Bush being appointed speaker of the house.

However, only hours later, in a dramatic turn of events, Bush announced that he had brokered a deal with the independents and as such, he would be the next premier.

Bush rescinded the agreement with McLaughlin  but less than 24 hours, yet another deal was announced and this resulted in Wednesday’s swearing in ceremony.

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View image on Twitter

World leaders warn Trump: ‘Paris agreement cannot be renegotiated’

 The Hill

Inform Raw

Foreign officials and many of America’s overseas allies slammed President Trump’s Thursday announcement that he’ll pull the United States out of the Paris climate deal.

The leaders of France, Germany and Italy, three key supporters of the climate deal in Europe, responded quickly to Trump’s suggestion that the agreement could be renegotiated with better terms for the U.S. 

The deal, they said in a statement, is “a cornerstone in the cooperation between our countries, for effectively and timely tackling climate change.”


It is “irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris agreement cannot be renegotiated,” they added in response to Trump saying he’d “begin negotiations to re-enter — whether the Paris accord, or really, an entirely new transaction — on terms that are fairer to the United States.”German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said the chancellor regrets America’s departure from the deal and added that Germany will continue to try to “save our planet,” while French President Emmanuel Macron responded in a video statement posted on Twitter. 

Charles Michel, the prime minister of Belgium, called Trump’s decision a “brutal act,” and the Swedish prime minister tweeted, “We urge you to show global leadership, we need the USA on the team. Your Nordic Friends,” to Trump.

I condemn this brutal act against @realDonaldTrump Leadership means fighting climate change together. Not forsaking commitment.

.@realdonaldtrump We urge you to show global leadership, we need the USA on the team. Your Nordic Friends

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who worked closely with former President Obama on climate and energy issues, tweeted that “Canada is unwavering in our commitment to fight climate change and support clean economic growth.” 

“We are deeply disappointed that the United States federal government has decided to withdraw from the Paris Agreement,” he added.

In a statement, the United Nations said it “regrets the announcement” and said the deal “cannot be renegotiated based on the request of a single party.”

“We are committed to continue working with all governments and partners in their efforts to fast forward climate action at global and national levels,” Patricia Espinosa, the executive secretary of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, said.  

Trump spoke by phone Thursday with Merkel, Macron, Trudeau and Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom, according to the White House.

He “personally explained his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord,” a readout of the calls said, and “thanked all four leaders for holding frank, substantive discussions on this issue during his first months in office.”

Trump also “reassured the leaders that America remains committed to the Transatlantic alliance and to robust efforts to protect the environment.” 

“He noted America’s strong record in reducing emissions and leading the development of clean energy technology, and he reiterated that the United States under the Trump Administration, will be the cleanest and most environmentally friendly country on Earth,” the readout continued.

Trump announced Thursday his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris deal, aiming to end the U.S.’s involvement in a landmark 2015 pact in which nearly every country in the world agreed to begin tackling climate change. 

He said the voluntary terms included in the deal by the Obama administration are unfair to the United States and will hurt its energy and business sectors.  

Trump vowed to renegotiate the deal, though a White House official said what a renegotiated deal would look like is “up to the president” and provided no details.  

The United States now joins Nicaragua and Syria as the only countries that do not support the deal.

The front page of a German tabloid marked the occasion with a simple message on Thursday: “Earth to Trump: F**k you!” 

Jordan Fabian contributed

 Statement by France,Germany + Italy: Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated, it is a vitalinstrument for our planet,

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Alden McLaughlin

Cayman Islands governor confirms finally, ‘national unity’ coalition

After General Elections – fallout

(L-R) Moses Kirkconnell (PPM), Alden McLaughlin (PPM), McKeeva Bush (CDP), Roy Tatum (PPM official), Austin Harris (IND), Dr Joseph Marzouca (CDP official), Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, Governor Helen Kilpatrick and Eugene Ebanks (CDP)

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (CNS) — Cayman Islands Governor Helen Kilpatrick has confirmed that Alden McLaughlin, the leader of the People’s Progressive Movement (PPM), has enough support to form a government with him at the helm and the former opposition leader, McKeeva Bush, as speaker, after the two political leaders went to meet with her Monday.

There were no further details yet about who will be in Cabinet and on the government backbench or who will lead the opposition benches, as there has been no official word from the politicians involved, but Swearing In Day is now set for Wednesday.

As they say, a week is a long time in politics and the week since the election is not over yet, so anything can happen, but as it stands at present the government benches will only include two independents because others who were offered seats at the government table from the various factions of independent members elected last Wednesday have refused to serve under McLaughlin.

Nevertheless, with seven PPM members returned to the LA and supported by independent Tara Rivers, McLaughlin has the largest solid group and has been able to pull together a coalition.

Following the meeting with the politicians, Kilpatrick said in a release that on Monday afternoon she met with elected representatives Alden McLaughlin, McKeeva Bush, Moses Kirkconnell, Austin Harris and Captain Eugene Ebanks.

“Mr McLaughlin provided me with evidence that he had sufficient support to form a ‘Government of National Unity’,” she said.

She added, “Accordingly, I have signed the proclamation to a call a session of the Legislative Assembly for 10:00am Wednesday, 31st May 2017 for the purposes of swearing in all newly elected and appointed members of the Legislative Assembly, voting for a premier pursuant to section 49 (3) of the Constitution of the Cayman Islands, and other attendant matters. Mr McLaughlin has indicated that he will be seeking election to the position of premier and Mr Bush to speaker of the House.”

But Not before this reported saga

Cayman Islands coalition government deal reportedly falls apart                                                                 

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (CNS) — Following a very mixed result in the first ever election in the Cayman Islands under the system of ‘one man, one vote’ in which no party, group or alliance has enough seats to form a government, a second attempt at putting together a potential coalition administration that was cobbled together just before midnight on Friday and which would have put former premier

McKeeva Bush back at the helm of government was reportedly on shaky ground by Saturday morning.

Various unverified sources suggested that veteran independent MPs, Ezzard Miller and Arden McLean, are not entirely enamoured of the idea of propping up Bush as leader. They appeared to be looking to shape another potential cabinet line-up that could see Bush maneuvered into the speaker’s chair or off the government frontline altogether.

The possibility of a new mix of the independents on the front bench, or an ‘eastern alliance’ with the former incumbent People’s Progressive Movement (PPM), was beginning to emerge.

Meetings were reportedly taking place in hotels in Grand Cayman on Saturday and, in a third possible government deal so far at the weekend, another compromise was being discussed to secure an Independent-PPM alliance that could see deputy premier and tourism minister Moses Kirkconnell as the new premier.

It is understood from Bush’s correspondence on Friday with his Cayman Democratic Party (CDP) officials that the first attempt at a CDP alliance with the independent candidates had collapsed, as Miller in particular was not keen on working with Bush in Cabinet and that Chris Saunders, formerly a Bush supporter, was also reluctant to support him as premier.

As a result, Bush went to the PPM and accepted the offer of a neutral position as speaker. In return, his two elected party colleagues Bernie Bush and Capt. Eugene Ebanks would sit on the government backbench, with Bernie Bush as deputy speaker, propping up a PPM-led cabinet with Alden McLaughlin as premier and independent Tara Rivers remaining as education minister.

But that deal lasted around five hours after Bush received significant backlash from his own supporters, who accused him of betrayal, and from the various supporters of the non-party candidates, who saw Bush as collaborating with McLaughlin deliberately to keep the group of non-aligned MLAs out of power.

Following the intervention of former MP Dr Steve Tomlinson, Bush reneged on the deal signed with the PPM and, in a classic piece of political maneuvering, he managed to secure enough support from the independents to be premier instead.

But that line-up began to splinter on Saturday. Whether further talks can hold it together to make it to ‘Swearing in Day’ on Wednesday remains to be seen. But given the lack of agreement and cohesion between the various independent groups now propping up Bush as leader, that new administration would not be a stable government.

Given the new voting system of single member constituencies, which has created an opportunity for greater accountability, voters are able to speak directly to their single representative and apply pressure to indicate what they want to see.

Although current politics is reminiscent of the horse-trading and backroom deals before the advent of party politics in 2001, there is, in addition to the formation of political parties, another significant difference between then and now: backroom talks are no longer as closed as they once were. Pictures, messages and speculation make their way on to social media with lightning speed, shaking the deals even before the ink is dry.

New Cayman Islands coalition government appears set

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (CNS) — Following an inconclusive result to last week’s general elections in the Cayman Islands, Alden McLaughlin looks set to remain as the British territory’s leader in a coalition between his People’s Progressive Movement (PPM) and some of the independent MPs, following a weekend of deals, counter-deals, backroom talks and double-crossing.

While the front bench line-up is not yet firm, McLaughlin said on Sunday he “expected to have a government in place” and would be “going to the governor tomorrow”. Although the PPM leader has not revealed details about the make-up of his new coalition government, it is believed to include some former PPM members.

Already dubbed by pundits as ‘the weekend of the long knives’, since McLaughlin and Cayman Democratic Party (CDP) leader McKeeva Bush signed a deal on Friday afternoon joining their parties in a coalition, there has been an enormous amount of backroom dealing to arrive at a new government line-up and a significant amount of double-crossing.

The Sunday evening agreement will probably sit well with the territory, as it is believed to be a broader coalition and more reflective of what the people voted for than the first deal. The deeply controversial agreement the independents struck late Friday night, which had Bush back as premier, did not appear to reflect the election result any more than the first deal with McLaughlin.

Sources close to the final deal have indicated that Bush, despite his about-face on Friday, may have accepted the neutral position of speaker of the House.

The late night agreement that Bush struck with the independents Friday night, which was brokered by former MP Dr Steve Tomlinson, fell apart just as quickly as the deal Bush made with the PPM leader on Friday afternoon. But the West Bay veteran politician left Grand Cayman early Saturday morning, and almost immediately the elder independents made it clear they were not prepared to support Bush as premier.

Talks then went on throughout the weekend between the various groups of independents and the PPM, with deals, demands, counter deals, offers and proposals over the premiership until late Sunday. At one point, it appeared that the 19 elected MPs were going to struggle to form a government at all and a second election was on the cards, not least because of the difficulties of negotiating with the independents, who did represent a cohesive bloc.

In the end, however, some independents have apparently agreed to support a PPM-IND coalition, with, it is understood, subject to discussions, three cabinet seats going to the independents and four to the PPM.

Although the deal has taken five days to broker, it was somewhat less “closed-door” than days of old, with details of the talks leaking constantly and appearing on Facebook.

The last time anything like these types of negotiations took place was before the emergence of the party system. In 2000, it took several days to get the first deal, which fell apart within 24 hours, and it was not until the eve of ‘Swearing-in Day’ that a deal was struck that put Kurt Tibbetts at the head of a coalition of various teams. That lasted 12 months, when a 2001 ouster gave rise to the emergence of political parties, which has prevented this type of backroom horsetrading over the last three elections.

The resurgence of independent candidates in this national poll has underscored the problem of electing a group of non-aligned individuals who have not discussed their policy platforms with each other before being elected, leaving the question of who forms the government being answered, once again, in back rooms rather than in the ballot box.

While there is still the possibility that everything might change again, the existence of parties and the fact that almost half of the independents are aligned in a group has meant that a government that reflects the vote appears to have finally emerged.

But now that the government appears to have been settled, the next question is who will lead the opposition benches.

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New Cayman government uncertain as independents win majority


Independent candidate Kenneth Bryan pulled off an upset win, defeating Cabinet Minister Marco Archer

GEORGE TOWN Cayman Islands (CNS) — With independents securing three major government ministers’ scalps and the opposition failing to secure any seats outside of its traditional West Bay stronghold, the final results of Wednesday’s general election have left the Cayman Islands facing significant uncertainty over who will form the next government.The results were all in well before midnight, but the question of who will lead the next government in the British territory and who will be sitting in Cabinet is completely up in the air.

With all 19 seats counted, the tally was nine independents, seven for the ruling People’s Progressive Movement (PPM) and just three for the Cayman Democratic Party (CDP) (formerly the United Democratic Party).


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court rul

High Court dismisses petition filed by well-known government supporters

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, May 29, CMC – The High Court has described as “an abuse of the process of the court” an attempt by two supporters of the government to remove two Nigerian students and all Commonwealth citizens from the Register of Voters.

Rupert Earle and William Liburd had by a claim form filed on January 13, 2014, petitioned the High Court seeking a declaration that the two Nigerian students – Oluwabunmi Jesufemi Ayorinde and Osanoto Akolade Samuel – who were studying medicine here were not qualified voters in the general election.

court rulThey also claimed that a person entering the twin island Federation as a student under the Immigration Act is not a person qualified to be registered as a voter; is not a resident under the Immigration Act and that a Commonwealth citizen entering St. Kitts and Nevis is not ordinarily resident here so as to be registered as a voter under the National Elections Act.

The two well-known government supporters, who were represented by attorney Jonel Powell, who contested the 2013 general election, also sought a declaration that a person entering St. Kitts and Nevis under a specific section in the Second Schedule of the Immigration Act is disqualified from being registered as a voter for the purpose of electing representatives.

Earle and Liburd also sought a declaration that persons entering St. Kitts and Nevis as students under the Immigration Act, in the Register of Voters is contrary to law and thus null and void and of no effect and sought an Order of Mandamus to remove the two Nigerian students and all other persons entered on the Voters Register.

But in her judgement handed down last week, Justice Marlene Carter noted that “the National Elections Act has been the subject of much discussion and discourse, much of which has led to the Court having to make determinations on various aspects of that most important piece of legislation.”

She said that that Earle and Liburd through their attorney have pointed to no instance in which the registration process has been curtailed or interrupted by the court in a manner that they now seek to have the court do now.

“The effect of a declaration being granted would be to effectively usurp the decision of the Registration Officer and to circumvent the procedure as laid down by the provisions of the National Assembly Elections Act and the Election Registration Regulations.

“If the Court is to intervene in an action before the Registration Officer/Supervisor of Elections is afforded an opportunity to make a determination, this would seriously undermine the entire election scheme and process. The acts and rights that the Act and Regulations seek to regulate are sacrosanct in a democratic society. This principle has been stated again and again by these courts,” said Justice Carter.

She noted that Earle and Liburd made clear in their submissions that the matter is neither a judicial review nor a constitutional relief claim.

 “The respondents seek by way of declaration to circumvent the clear provisions of the Act. Given the very nature of the matters with which this Act is concerned and the nature of the right that it seeks to protect, this Court is unable to agree with the submissions of the respondents that it can intervene in a manner that is sought on the claim,”

The judge said that the High Court does not have the jurisdiction to intervene in the registration process in the manner sought by Earl and Liburd and referred to a ruling of Justice Ian Mitchell in the case Mark Brantley vs Joseph Parry in which Mitchell emphasized the importance of the notice provision with regard to objections of persons’ names on the Register of Voters and its vital function in the projection of the right to vote.

“This Court does not have the jurisdiction to entertain the claim as filed…the claim form is struck as being an abuse of process of the Court. This Court makes no order as to costs,” Justice Carter ruled.

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AIDS Haiti

Regional legislators to meet in Jamaica to discuss HIV/AIDS issues

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, May 29, CMC – Jamaica will host a five-day conference that will allow regional parliamentarians to assess their role in promoting healthy living and well-being for all ages in the Caribbean.

Justice Minister Delroy Chuck will deliver the feature address at the May 30 to June 3 PANCAP Regional Parliamentarians Forum that has attracted legislators from  Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

AIDS HaitiThe forum will also be attended by the Deputy Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat; Manorma Soeknandan, the Assistant Secretary-General, Directorate for Human and Social Development; Dr. Douglas Slater as well as Dr. Edward Greene, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean; Canon Garth Minott, Chair of The Regional Consultative Steering Committee for the Implementation of Recommendations to end AIDS by 2030

Officials from the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC), Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities (CariFLAGS), Caribbean Sex Work Coalition (CSWC) and the Caribbean Network of People Living with HIV (CRN+) will be in attendance.

The organisers said that the focus of the forum will be a discussion on the targets of the Political Declaration of June 2016 and the implications for parliaments in the Caribbean.

Parliamentarians are also expected to establish the foundations for increased engagement with national parliaments and national parliamentary committees on Health/Social Protection and on Justice especially in countries such as Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, which have higher HIV prevalence rates.

The delegates will also use the forum to assess their role in promoting healthy living and well-being for all ages in the region; identify the constitutional challenges posed by the criminalisation of sex between consenting adults and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation and suggest strategies that parliamentarians can adopt to advocate for the end AIDS by 2030.

 Parliamentarians will also be updated on global best practices related to parliamentarians’ engagement on these issues.

The forum will take into consideration the targets established in the United Nations High Level Meeting Political Declaration June 2016 on ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) approved by 192 nations at the United Nations (UN) in September 2015.

The five-day forum, which is funded by the Global Fund and facilitated by the PANCAP Coordinating Unit and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), forms part of a wider intervention programme created by PANCAP within its Justice For All (JFA) Roadmap.

The JFA was initiated in 2013 by PANCAP, based on consultations with faith leaders, civil society, youth, the private sector and parliamentarians.

The organisers said that the Regional Parliamentarians Forum is expected to result in the formation of significant strategies, which will inform the critical steps regional parliamentarians can implement to contribute effectively to ending HIV transmission and deaths from AIDS.

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