Premier relieved by ruling

| 12/08/2013

(CNS): The premier said he was able to sleep again after the ruling delivered by the chief justice on Friday confirmed the eligibility of the education minister to be elected to her seat in West Bay and therefore to retain her Cabinet post. Speaking at the PPM’s National Council Meeting on Saturday, Alden McLaughlin was clearly delighted that Tara Rivers had been found to qualify and that the government was able to get back to work without the disruption of a by-election. McLaughlin said that while such an outcome would have made no difference to the government majority in the Legislative Assembly, his administration would have lost a “brilliant woman”, as he paid tribute to her cool head during the uncertainty, stating that she “never blinked”. (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

Rivers herself said that she was never in doubt about her qualification and she had told the premier not to worry, as she thanked him and the PPM government for their support throughout. Although still not a member of the party, Rivers, along with the two other C4C MLAs, all turned up to the Progressive’s National Council Meeting in a show of government solidarity. Rivers was given a very warm welcome by the PPM party faithful and everyone at the meeting.

Before the meeting on Friday evening in the wake of the result, McLaughlin, who was present throughout the delivery of the chief justice’s verdict, was one of the first to congratulate Minister Rivers on the victory and noted that he was “immensely relieved”, admitting that the prospect of a by-election was worrying because of the potential disruption to the government just as it was settling in

“We have a great deal of work ahead of us, not least of which is the budget, which we hope to present in the House, certainly by September,” he said. Although the court case was distracting, he said Rivers had “shown remarkable character in keeping her composure” and carrying on with work.

“As everyone knows now, particularly after the Chief Justice read her outstanding resume in the course of his judgment, Minister Rivers is an absolutely brilliant woman and she is a most able Minster. I have striven from the outset to have an inclusive government. I have always understood that the people of the Cayman Islands wanted something very different from what we had in the course of the past three administrations," he said.

Rivers, as a representative from West Bay, as well as her C4C colleagues, government councillors Winston Connolly and Roy McTaggart, brought diversity, a different perspective and the inclusiveness that he believed the country has called for in its government,"McLaughlin said.

"A by-election with an unpredictable outcome would have been a disruption. While it would not have changed the balance of power in the Legislative Assembly and wouldn’t fundamentally have changed the government because we have a 13-5 majority, it certainly would significantly alter the make-up of our Cabinet and of the LA. Besides, we would have lost one of the brilliant minds on our team."

Commenting on the challenge and result itself, the premier said that the matter had not been clear.

“It was apparent in the chief justice’s masterly analysis, as he went through all of the various cases, that the law on this has been all over the place, varying from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Our constitution is unique in certain respects, as was acknowledged also by the counsel for the petitioner this evening. I think for the first time, we have real clarity on the provision about passports, the issue of what qualifies as an 'educational establishment' for the purposes of the constitutional provision, as well as residency,” he added as he thanked the CJ for a “really outstanding piece of work” and very careful analysis.

“I think we all ought to be grateful for the tremendous amount of time and effort that was obviously put in to making sure that these issues become clarified going forward,” he said.

Despite the ambiguity of the constitution and the position that had been taken by the Elections Office in the Richard Christian case after he admitted holding an American passport on Nomination Day, Rivers said she was very confident all along that she was qualified.

Thanking the court for “responsibly and sensibly” setting was is now precedent, she said, “This ruling reaffirms that I was rightfully elected and now we can all move forward as a country.” She said it was now time to talk about meaningful employment and livable wages, an education system that works and gender equality.

“That is what I have been focusing on since my election to this honourable office a few short months ago. I will continue to serve the people of these islands to the best of my ability. Cayman is at a crossroads and I believe this PPM-led coalition government will put us on the right course,” she said. “There is much work to do and we will be successful – if we work together. We all deserve a country that provides great opportunities for our people and that is what I will be working towards,” she added.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Honestly, Richard Christian needs to sit down. He was disqualified by the Returning Officer who wrote to him and said that he could contest his decision in Court. Richard Christian published the letter so go and read it! Now, he is accusing the Elections Office of favouritism? Really? Now that Tara won the crazy case brought against her he and others are out there running their mouth. Other unsuccessful candidates who may now regret renouncing their citizenship have joined the chorus! The same applies! In fact, I believe one of them went to some lengths to explain why her sister, who was born in the US, would not have experienced the issues that she did because she was born here. So now that Tara won they are all singing a new tune! Pathetic.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Richard Christian needs to understand that he is responsible for the situation he found himself in. He was clearly advised by the Election Officials, in writing no less, that he had the option to seek a ruling from the Courts in the matter. HE chose not to do so! Why now is he whining and leveling all sorts of allegations etc? Pathetic really.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Resting peacefully AKA falling asleep – that's Alden alright! Sadly he knows (as a lawyer) that this is not the correct outcome for a case such as this. I'm willing to bet if the CJ knew his decision could be reviewed by a higher court the oustome would have been VERY DIFFERENT! This decision is wrong and someoen called in Creative LAW 101 on Rooster 101 and I agree!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I disagree with CJ ruling on the piont of absent but still present; internationaly it is excepted that after six months in any country you are considered resident by the fact that you would have to get a police record in that country.

      Our Premier says he is elated with the dicision, but has he considered that we also have a five year disqualification law for status holders, who are out of the country for five years. Could this also be interpeted that they can be absent but present also, as long as they can afford to mentain a home here and one abroad. So I guest our LAWs in this case donot protect, from the standpiont of a level playing field but will be about affordability and what does that say about us as a sociaty. We are whaching, your actions will speak volums, as it appears now that your Justice is about the who.    

      • Anonymous says:

        Your level of understanding of this matter matches your poor spelling.

        There is common law to support the CJ's findings that one may be resident in more than one jurisdiction at the same for certain purposes. Residence does not necessarily require continuous presence. He has carefully explained that in his Judgement.

        The decision has nothing to do with matters arising under the Immigration Law which has its own definition of "legal and ordinary residence".

  4. Anonymous says:

    As if he did not know the outcome. I did.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well then you should make lots of money from prognostication. I surely didn't. Perhaps you can explain why you think Alden did and put your name to it.  

  5. Anonymous says:

    Very good.

  6. Anonymous says:

    AMEN!!!! Thanks Be To God!!!

  7. Immigration Reform says:

    Sorry, no time to rest easy or sleep.  Now Tara can on with the NWDA and the Business Staffing Boards to STOP rubber stamping work permit renewals while we have qualified Caymanians being turned away and unemployed!  Work with the law firms to break the glass ceiling for law students and put each WP renewal under a common sense microscope!

    Congratulations you got to keep your seat, now earn it please. The process of job adverttisements in the newspapers is flawed.  The Immigration Board never sees the applications and CVs submitted by locals, is an "honour" system that companies report by their own HR departments to keep an expat is wrong.

    Our 11% unemployment needs to half itself and quickly.  A little enforcement please?  Tara, please work on our employment placements and you will cure the bloated civil service problem at the same time.

    Thr cost of public aid paid per family far outweighs a single annual work permit fee.  Good luck Tara.

    • Anonymous says:

      18; 53


      Yea…right!!, you and many more wait on Tara to change things for the benefit for Caymanians! it's not going to happen.

      I also congratulate her on her keeping her seat.

      For the last 12 years Caymanians have been crying in the wind, for equality in their country. 3 administration and nothing done.

      This tells me that no government is going to give up that  gravy train. 70 million cayman dollars, to boost their revenue. Think again, would you give up any of your income? 

      I have said it many times before, Caymanians need to create a trade, and labour union. Every civilize country has one. It is the only way to stop their government from oppression and taking advantage of their people.

    • Anonymous says:

      you say 11% unemployment ??? that is a joke !   you wish !!   unemployment is at least at 25% therer are soooo many people who have totally given up !!   just ask the school leavers from this year and a year ago !!!!!!!!! and ask the housewifes( with adults kids now )who would like to work and cant find work. ..with ads running that say "must be 35 or younger" what can we expect for these women?? it is a tragendy !!  the business owners bring in cheap labour to show a "good pay roll" and they do not realize that these people send home 20 million a year =no money into our economy =no buying in my store or your store = bad economy !!! nuff said !

  8. Kmanlady says:


    I too are please for the decision made in your case…I do believed that if you were not eligible to run in this election You would not have done so. Anyway the people have spoken once again.

    CNS Statement:  She said it was now time to talk about meaningful employment and livable wages, an education system that works and gender equality". 

    With this statement, Tara can you advise the public how you are planning to put our people back to work, when on the other hand the now premier are planning the immigration reform to extending the rollover policy to 10 yrs with the rights to residency after, I personally think this is ridiculous and it does not support the what he told the Country while campaigning for election…the people, once again listen to his promises and voted them back in.  NOW  he needs to follow through on his promisesand get our people back to work and it will NOT happening if you proceed with this new policy.

    If this law is pass what is going to happen to our children who will be returning home from college and those who are gratuating every year, what jobs will be available for them if we allow the 10 rollover policy to go in effect. Can the Premier tell us why he would go against his promise now that he is back in power……???????????????????

    TARA:  Please do not support this bill as it does not help us the Caymanians.

    Suggestion:  remove the rollover policy and replace all work permit  for only 5 years and  for that permit to be granted a Caymanian would have to be identified to be an undergratuate for that position.  The labor force needs to insure that they follow througn and make that the Caymanian is been trained…If the Company refuses to train no more work permit should be issued to that company.

    It think this will be the start to getting our people who wants to work  back  into the work force.

  9. Just Commentin' says:

    How insensitive!  How self-serving!  Alden, how can you sleep peacefully when a perfectly qualified candidate was deprived of the right ot stand for election because of the incompetance of the Elections Office? Are you so ready to gloat about Rivers retaining her seat that you simply forget about the injustice done to Richard Christian?  How very sad.

    Yeah, sleep peacefully Alden!

    • Anonymous says:

      Richard Christian was running for the opposing team, remember. That is Richard's problem, not Alden's.  

      • Just Commentin' says:

        Of course. Party politricks at is basest. What seems to be lost here is the truth: when the purity of the democratic process is compromised it is a problem that hurts us all.

        • Anonymous says:

          That's nonsense. Expecting an opposing politician to argue thatyou should have had a right to stand and run against one of their own is just plain idiotic.

    • Anonymous says:

      Saving the poor boy $1000 is hardly an injustice.

    • Anonymous says:

      Richard Christian CHOSE NOT to exercise his legal right to oppose in a court of law the Election Office's decision not to allow him to run!  The Returning Officer plainly advised him of his legal option on the second page of the letter that Mr. Christian published here on this site. Therefore I find it nothing short of hilarious that Christian and others are only now carrying on about this after the Lioness from West Bay won her seat a second time!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Why am I not surprised that the Premier has not stated he's going to seek amendments to the Constitution asap???

    There are 18 MLAs, Councillors, newly appointed assistants to the Premier, Chief Officers, Legal Commissions and many others receiving reward or awards for being involved with policy and the Premier can't state time frame for making amendments?

    What happened to the crucial OMOV? If those changes aren't made very soon the Election Office will be overwhelmed trying to get prepared.

    The Budget and Immigration Policy is important but are these the only issues?


  11. Anonymous says:

    With the constitution being as vague as it is, a lot is left up to interpretation which is why I believe Tara felt she was qualified. I am very pleased with the outcome as I don't believe West Bay has had a better candidate in a long time.

    In order to avoid future predicaments going forward, law makers will need to take a careful look at the constitution and be much more specific with their interpretation of education/allegience/etc as we don't need another matter interupting government duties. We're paying their salaries so of course we want the most out of them. 🙂

    Congrats again Tara and I hope to see a lot of positive changes in the near future.


    • Anonymous says:

      "I don't believe West Bay has had a better candidate in a long time" 

      How true, actually it has had but one candidate with three pointless hangers on, this allowed the single candidate to do the awful things he did, and that my friends is why you MUST have OMOV, and as stated by an earlier poster, the time to start the process is now.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Long live and God Bless our new Government and our country.

    • Anonymous says:

      And please, Dear Father, please pour some light on those demented thumb downers too.

  13. And another Ting says:

    Tara is indeed a brilliant woman, who gambled and won.  She did no do any prior research on this issue until she was busted.  That the CJ has leaned her way does not in itself solve the issue, his ruling if accepted has to be placed into law for subsequent similar cases not to be disqualified..  Lets see how long Her Majesties Progressives will take to make changes to the Law which I guess must be assented to by the whole House?.  If this is not so then someone form Legaalala land advise the public please.

    • Anonymous says:

      How the heck do you know what research Tara did? Obviously she did her research and was brilliant enough to know that she was right!