Mon | Dec 11, 2023

Cayman's premier survives motion of no confidence

Published:Wednesday | November 15, 2023 | 1:54 PM
Premier Wayne Panton during the debate on the motion of no confidence against him on Tuesday. - CMC Photo

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands, CMC – Cayman Premier Wayne Panton's coalition government survived a motion of no confidence late Tuesday night with the opposition failing to receive the necessary two-thirds majority required to unseat the administration.

When the vote was taken, eight legislators voted in favour, while seven voted against with three abstentions. Two of those abstaining came from the ruling PACT coalition.

Both the government and opposition have nine seats each in the 19-member chamber, leaving the Speaker Catherine Ebank-Wilks with a critical casting vote.

At the end of the debate, Ebank-Wilks, called for constitutional reform to be considered especially pertaining to the position of the Speaker in such situations and for the role to be autonomous.

Earlier, Premier Panton, had urged legislators to vote against the motion of no confidence in his coalition government, rejecting calls for the establishment of a government of national unity.

“Madam Speaker, this motion deserves to be voted down,” Panton said, telling legislators that his coalition had been delivering to the people of the Cayman islands and it is necessary now for his administration to present the national budget “to reflect the wishes they expressed in 2021 that we have been toiling to deliver on their behalf”.

But McKeeva Bush, who resigned the PACT government last Thursday, said he agrees with the Leader of the Opposition, Roy McTaggart, for the formation of the government of national unity, saying that he is prepared to serve within that administration.

McTaggart , the leader of the main opposition People's Progressive Movement (PPM/Progressives) In piloting the motion, referred to what he called “an unprecedented situation”.

He told legislators that the motion was directed at the policy shortcomings of  a dysfunctional government that has now lacked the parliamentary majority to govern effectively.

The former finance minister said he was particularly concerned about the status of the upcoming budget and its implications for the government's economic management.

McTaggart had said that the resignation of Bush had left Premier Panton without a viable government, and as a result he should step down.

Panton in rebutting the allegations, told legislators that he has never been about “political expediency” adding “it is not something that you want to deal with ever”.

He insisted that his coalition has been “providing stability” and that “we are delivering what the people expect and we are doing it with integrity.

“The difficulty that we have at this point is disagreement over how we address things that are critically important to us,” Panton said, noting that for instance the Cayman Islands,which is seven feet above sea level, is still feeling the impact of climate change.

“The impacts are becoming clearer and these are things we cannot run away from,” he said, adding “so we have to make sure we deal with these critical issues”.

The ruling coalition has seen three of its members leaving this year including former finance minister Chris Saunders and former labour minister Dwayne Seymour.

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