Archive for May 25th, 2013

PPM reveals early jobs

| 25/05/2013 | 331 Comments

alden pc2.PNG(CNS): Alden McLaughlin has made Juliana O'Connor-Connolly speaker of the Legislative Assembly, giving him the necessary majority that he needs to form a government, while C4C MLA Tara Rivers is still waiting to decide on the Cabinet post she was offered immediately by the new premier. Marco Archer will be finance minister, Wayne Panton will be taking on the new financial services  ministry, and Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell will be minister for tourism and district administration. McLaughlin is taking on the new job of home affairs minister as well as premier but said that, based on discussions with his new team, he should maintain an oversight role and not have too large a ministry. (Photos courtesy Cayman27)

Osbourne Bodden will be a Cabinet minister but his portfolio has not yet been confirmed as the new government waits on Rivers to give her answer.

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McLaughlin said that he was concerned about the attempts at horse trading by his former parliamentary friends Arden McLean and Ezzard Miller as well as the C4C but he remained hopeful that Rivers would accept the position, which he said comes with no strings.

However, so far the message was that the C4C wanted more from him, McLaughlin said, despite the fact that with O'Connor-Connolly committed to the new administration and happy with the speaker's job, he already has a majority.

 

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Alden begins work on Cabinet

| 25/05/2013 | 119 Comments

ppm juju.JPG(CNS): The new premier in waiting was working with his team on Friday shaping the new government, which will have seven Cabinet ministers. However, Alden McLaughlin remained tight-lipped on how he would be putting together his new PPM government in order to secure a majority of ten, having won nine out of 18 seats in the Legislative Assembly. Faced with many options for securing a majority government, he told CNS that he could not reveal the likely shape of the new ruling group until he had sat down with his entire team and begun the discussions.

However, with such a great selection of well-educated and experienced people returned to office, the PPM leader said the hardest part would be selecting the Cabinet when there were only seven seats.

“We are in discussions about what form the government is going to take,” he said. “This is an incredibly able team and the greatest challenges is assigning ministries and who goes into ministerial roles,” he said, adding that the country would know soon what shape it would take, what the new ministries would be and who would hold them.

Although he gave nothing away on Friday, McLaughlin has an array of options in front of him, including offering Tara Rivers aCabinet post so that he not only has a bright woman on his team but he will also be able to provide West Bay with government representation, an issue that McLaughlin himself had raised in the past as a specific problem with the 2005 -2009 PPM government.

McLaughlin made it very clear he was exceptionally impressed with Rivers' achievements but fell short of stating that he would be offering her a job.

“I am delighted that Tara Rivers broke into the UDP West Bay strong hold in a significant way,” he said, pointing out that this was more than scraping through. “She almost beat him (McKeeva Bush),” he said, regarding Rivers position as second elected member in West Bay, only 100 votes behind the political veteran and eight term representative for the district.

If Rivers chooses to go the way of her other C4C colleagues, however, and sit on the opposition benches with Bush and the other UDP candidates, McLaughlin has other options to secure his majority. He could also select the speaker from any of the other nine candidates returned, with the obvious choice being Ezzard Miller. But if the North Side member prefers to remain in his south-east corner, the job could go to Juliana O’Connor-Connolly. In addition, the former PPM stalwart who left the party last year, Arden Mclean, could be tempted back to the fold with a Cabinet job or even the speaker position. The only choice McLaughlin is unlikely to make for the speaker’s job is Bush.

However, the lesson from the past parliament has been a clear one, that a speaker for the Legislative Assembly needs to come from the ranks of past or present politicians as the inexperience of the previous speaker led to significant and constant problems with the proceedings and the overall democratic process.

Whichever choice McLaughlin and his team finally make, and depending on who is willing to accept what the Progressive leader offers to secure his government, he must then work out who would be best suited to a Cabinet job from his own team and which ones. With seven ministers now in the government, he must also decide how to construct the new ministries and then who will lead them.

The one Cabinet seat that can be called is that the new deputy premier, Moses Kirkconnell, is likely to take the tourism ministry. It is not clear what that will be coupled with though the obvious choice would be district administration.

In addition, McLaughlin was not willing to be drawn on how he would shape his own ministry, though an educated guess would lead, of course, to education and employment. McLaughlin is very unlikely to retain the finance ministry, especially given the brain power he has in that department among his team, with the likes of Wayne Panton and Marco Archer, who are major contenders for the job.

McLaughlin described the PPM mixed team of newcomers and political veterans as the as the wisest and most experienced bunch of politicians he could have hoped for, so he is likely to make full use of the team. With the new government set to be sworn in on Wednesday, McLaughlin said he was hoping to have the shape of the new Progressives administration and speaker’s job settled before the end of the weekend.

Reflecting on the result, the new leader spoke of the huge challenges the PPM had faced during the campaign, but ultimately, he said, the team did very well and he was delighted with the result. He believed that in the end the concept of party politics was what gave the Progressives an advantage.

“The people understand importance of organization and structure and of having a plan as well as the personalities to provide good government. It is not enough to just have good people; they have to commit to a particular plan and a set of policies,” he said. “What has caused us to prevail is the consistent and coherent message about what we will do as a team.”

Pointing to the collective and agreed policies on how the new government will tackle the economy, jobs and how it will restore confidence in Cayman and its governance, he said the people had accepted that the PPM were able to form a government of integrity.

“I think clear message was an absolute rejection of the previous admin and all those that were involved in the corruption, mismanagement and all the divisiveness and disunity that particular party had come to symbolize,” he said about the UDP and the splinter PNA. He pointed to what Wayne Panton had described as the rejection in Bodden Town of the UDP and the PNA on basis that they “all had same DNA”.

Although the coalition and the independent candidates hadtried to lump parties together, McLaughlin said the PPM was simply not the same, as demonstrated by its formation, constitution and its seamless change of leadership. He said there was wide party support but he acknowledged that the PPM had shared votes with the C4C.

Moses Kirkconnell also spoke about the modernization and the professionalization of the PPM campaign and the way it had reached out across the community and delivered its message through modern social media tools as well as the more traditional methods of the public hustings and billboards. As a result, the party had been able to reach and engage all groups in the community, the deputy premier in waiting added.

“However, we spent a lot of time on the ground talking directly with voters face to face about the issues,” he said, as he reflected on the great result for the PPM and party politics.

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