September 18, 2020

Cayman Islands political aide to the premier loses his job – replacement named

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKenneth Bryan (34), who worked for local television company CITN/Cayman27, as a reporter, gave up the job to run as a member of the now ruling Progressives (People’s Progressive Movement – PPM) in the May 2013 General Elections.

Bryan stood as a George Town candidate and obtained 1,735 votes but failed to win the seat.

However, the PPM leader, Premier Alden McLaughlin named him his political assistant working as an aide in his office with responsibilities that included providing administrative, logistical, research and policy support to the Senior Political Advisor and the Premier, assisting with recommendations on press matters and helping the Premier maintain contact with constituents.

In October, 2014, Bryan was arrested and charged in connection with an alleged incident in the parking lot of Dream nightclub. The charges are of disorderly conduct and assaulting police during an argument in which he is accused of cursing a police officer.

Bryan, speaking to local media house CNS said he was involved in a “dispute between an off-duty female police officer and a former lover who was harassing and frightening the woman. Bryan and a number of other people became involved in order to stop the harassment but when the police arrived, Bryan saw that they were jumping to the wrong conclusions and were attempted to arrest one of the Good Samaritans rather that the man who was intimidating the female officer. In an effort to set things straight, Bryan himself ended up on the wrong side of the law and was arrested.” –SOURCE: https://caymannewsservice.com/premiers-assistant-seeking-witnesses/

Bryan has denied disorderly conduct and assaulting police. In the interview with CNS he is appealing for witnesses who were there that night to contact him as he believes there are at least two people who would have overheard what he said to the police officers.

Bryan is asking him and the other man to contact him via Facebook or email ([email protected])

When Bryan made his first appearance in court last January there was no one from the PPM present to show support but he did get support from opposition leader McKeeva Bush.

Now last Friday (27) McLaughlin has announced he has terminated Bryan, whom he placed on administrative leave in December because of the charges against him.

Speaking to CITN last Saturday they reported McLaughlin as saying, “I have been without a political assistant since early December…Quite simply I need somebody to do the job he was employed to do. My constituency work is being neglected and the needs of the people I was elected to represent are not being met. I regret that it has come to this but I have no choice but to replace him at this point.”

The Premier also said he wished Bryan no ill will.

Bryan has confirmed he has been dismissed. He also said he understood that he may not have been able to work in the government building, but he did not believe that the allegations against him necessarily hindered the work he was doing at constituency level. Noting that the premier, who is the third elected member for George Town, had not held a clinic since early November, Bryan also queried whether there may be other issues impacting the constituency clinics.

He told CNS, McLaughlin had not been able to meet with constituents for some time, even before Bryan was suspended.

Although his job was paid by the public purse, Bryan did not have the legal protection given to civil servants.

The following questions come to mind:

1. Who else has a political assistant?

2. Who assigns the political assistants?

3. When was this protocol instituted?

4. What is the annual cost?

5. Should the public purse bear the burden of maintaining political profile?

6. Should not every elected member have a political assistant?

7. Many countries, eg. USA, prohibit the use of public money for political activities. Should the Cayman Islands be the same?

We have just been notified that Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin has named Frank Cornwall Jr. as his new Political Assistant.

Frank Cornwall  Jr.*“I welcome Mr. Cornwall to the staff,” said Mr. McLaughlin. “I have been without a political assistant since December. I need someone to do the job. My constituency work is being neglected and the needs of the people I was elected to represent are not being met.”
Mr. Cornwall has been in the construction business for more than a decade and is a former Environmental Health Assistant in the Cayman Islands Government Department of Health. He is a member of the People’s Progressive Movement and gives time to the community at the Savannah and Prospect Primary schools where he teaches students about football and how to be better students. He is also a Women’s National Football Programme coach.

He has three children, Kareem Anthony, Vania Trey and Zacrae.

Mr. Cornwall is a political appointment on contract.

* From The Office of the Premier

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