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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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)

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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.