January 27, 2021

Rivers remains upbeat

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TARA210X277Today (Friday) the whole island will be waiting, and as Dave Martins says “pulsating”, and just as eager for Cayman’s Chief Justice, Anthony Smellie, to deliver his judgment at 2:30pm on Minister Tara Rivers’ election case.

Courtroom 5 will be crowded as we all wait for a decision that will determine constitutional and Election Law challenges to the nomination and election of Tara Rivers, who was the second elected member for West Bay in the 22nd May General Election.

The challenge to Rivers qualification to become a Member of Cayman’s Legislative Assembly was made at the very last moment by Gordon Hewitt, the husband of Velma Hewitt, who had the dubious distinction of becoming the only United Democratic Party candidate to fail to get a seat in McKeeva Bush’s West Bay stronghold. She came a distant fifth.

If the Chief Justice’s decision goes against Rivers, the petition argues that Velma Hewitt should be automatically returned. However, that was never discussed in the three-day hearing three weeks ago. The Chief Justice instructed the attorneys representing both Hewitt and Rivers to argue the main points of qualification first before he turned his decision to the remedy.

I would expect a bye-election would be called if Rivers is disqualified but even if this does not happen The Progressives (PPM) will still keep their majority. With Mervyn Smith, Rivers’ running mate coming in only six votes behind Velma Hewitt at the May election, I would not bet on Hewitt’s chances on succeeding if there was a run-off decided.

The challenge to Rivers was filed on the renewal and use of her American passport as an adult, and on her residency outside of the Cayman Islands for a significant part of the seven years prior to Nomination Day.

We will soon know if Rivers rocks or rolls.

Rivers biography:

A qualified attorney with extensive international education and training, Tara Rivers was the driving force behind the first comprehensive National Youth Policy for the Cayman Islands (2000).

Currently the Chair of the United World Colleges (Cayman Islands) National Foundation, Ms. Rivers was one of the youngest recipients of the United World College scholarship at age 15.

She has always had a passion for public service. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, she joined the Ministry of Youth, where she formed and led a 28-member task force that developed the National Youth Policy for the Cayman Islands. This blueprint for youth development initiated projects such as the radio programme “This Is How We Do It!” and later “Youth Flex”, the National and District Youth Forums, the National Youth Commission, the Youth Parliament and other youth development programmes.

With a MBA and an LLB, Ms. Rivers is eligible to practice law in four jurisdictions.

She currently holds the position of Minister of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs in the PPM Government even though she ran as an Independent under the Coalition for Cayman (C4C) umbrella in the General Election.

iNews Cayman will bring you the result immediately we hear it.

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