February 24, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Peace and goodwill

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With the last seven days of shocks and aftershocks, I’m sure most of us were expecting another one yesterday (Wed 31) when the new government for the was sworn in.

There was a shock for me. No shock.

In fact it was a day of peace and a feeling of goodwill towards all men and women.

If only this will be the order of things to come. Or is it just the calm before the storm?

The only surprise for me was the naming of veteran politician Ezzard Miller as Leader of the Opposition. Actually, I believe, it is a wise good choice. It certainly is for the Premier, Alden McLaughlin, “the better the Devil you know”!

It seemed to be a surprise to that his wish to join the Government bench was turned down although he made the best of it by telling his supporters he wasn’t surprised.

As expected by this young man he said, “It is a reality that may have come as a result of the campaign, the past history and lack of maturity in respect of that administration.”

He also said Miller was only going to be Leader of the Opposition for 18 months then it would revert to Miller’s Deputy, Alva Suckoo.

So now Bryan is going to “hold the government to account” and “shame them if necessary”. I’m sure the government must be “quaking in their boots” at hearing that!

Despite this the government have appointed him to various committees. He will certainly make them more vocal.

In contrast to that woeful childish verbiage from Bryan we had a very dignified speech from the new Speaker of the House, McKeeva Bush, who recounted the early days when the Governor resided over the LA proceedings. He gave the impression, however, that successive Cayman Islands governors wanted to keep this role but many of them said it was time for us to have our own Speaker. I well remember two past governors actually falling asleep during the LA proceedings.

It was McKeeva who brought the motion in the House to withdraw the governor as Speaker and for us to elect our own. This was done over thirty years ago.

He urged both the government and the opposition to work together as without it “we cannot make it, We need all of you, your gifts, your energy and your ideals. We are here to serve our people, not to make mountains out of molehills and destroy opportunities.” Well said.

He made us all laugh when he said the Speaker’s Office is a”lonely place”.

When Premier Alden McLaughlin made his speech he pointed out that the Progressives were very close to having a majority government. Both Wayne Panton and Marco Archer nearly made it past the post with just a few votes separating them from the eventual winners, Suckoo and Bryan. He paid tribute to the great work they had done over the last four years. He also included Osbourne Bodden who came in third place to the eventual winner Dwayne ‘Jon Jon’ Seymour.

McLaughlin said it had been the hardest and most exhausting last few days of his whole political career.

He said there had to be co-operation between all. He knew it would not be all “smooth sailing”. He hoped when there were “policy gaps over traditional differences, future discussions would, in the end, lead to better decisions”.

He also thought that the only differences between all the elected members was “style rather than substance”. There was “plenty of common ground” he said.

McLaughlin said Miller had told him the election battle was now over and it was time to move the country forward.

I hope that is true. We will see how long it will last.

At the moment I can see more of the Independents having more in common with the Progressives than with each other.

Peace and goodwill to all of you and especially to our lovely Cayman Islands.

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