MLAs make long goodbyes

| 24/03/2009

(CNS): Governor Stuart Jack officially dissolved the Legislative Assembly at one minute past midnight on Tuesday morning, 24 March, but not before the members said their goodbyes to the House and Madame Speaker, who is retiring from the political arena. The dissolution of parliament paves the way for the general elections on 20 May, and given the long goodbye speeches by the departing members, signalled the real beginning of the 2009 election campaign. (Left – Clerk of the LA Wendy Lauer reads the dissolution order).

Under Section 47 of the Constitution, it is the role of the governor to dissolve the House. “At the end of the four year term, the governor dissolves the House and a general election shall be held within two months following dissolution. Upon dissolution, all pending business comes to an end and Members of the House cease to be Members. Ministers of the Cabinet, however, continue in office until the Members of the new Parliament are sworn in at the first meeting of a new term of Parliament,” explained Lauer.

As the house business drew to a close on Monday afternoon following the passing of the Supplementary Appropriations bill the Leader of Government Business, Kurt Tibbetts stood to move the adjournment.

“This is it,” he said. “For better or for worse I have to move for an adjournment of this House.” Opening the floor for debate Madame Speaker asked, knowing full well they did, if any other members wished to speak.  As a result most of the members took the opportunity to make closing remarks and bid farewell to the house and Madame Speaker. Some chose to keep their thanks and good-byes fairly short while others seized the moment to begin their campaigns.

Each of the back benchers gave fairly lengthyswansongs, although most said they were optimistic about their chances of return as they declared themselves to have achieved many things during their time in officer without elaboration. Captain Eugene Ebanks and Moses Kirkconnell were the exceptions to the long good-byes from the back bench and the opposition. Ebanks, the fourth elected member for West Bay, congratulated Moyle on her service as Speaker and said although there were many challenges he had enjoyed his time in the House over the last two terms and hoped he would get to serve the people of West Bay for a third time. Kirkconnell offered his thanks to the Speaker and said her retirement from politics was a great loss. He thanked his constituents in the Sister Islands, spoke about the need to rebuild after Hurricane Paloma and recalled the camaraderie he had enjoyed in the LA.

The non-elected officials, represented by the third official member Ken Jefferson and the stand-in first official member Donovan Ebanks, who had been sworn in earlier, also kept their parting speeches short. With no need to play for the crowds, as it were, the two gave thanks to the Speaker for her work and thanked their elected colleagues. Jefferson called Moyle a mother hen who “pushed us a long to get work done.” Ebanks said he wasn’t offended, as an occasional visitor to the house, that Madame Speaker always checked his allegiance every time he came.

The PPM George Town backbenchers, however, made more of the opportunity and after thanking everyone, the fourth elected member for George Town, Alfonso Wright, called on the 1646 people who voted for himin 2005 to do so again, as he said he said he was a more enlightened and mature individual who had made a positive contribution and improved the lives of the people of George Town.  He berated the independents who were running for office and said he was a convert to party politics as it was impossible for independents to run the country.

“You can’t even bring a private motion to the house without the support of at least one other member he said,” he said adding that if a large number of independents were to be elected the country would be compromised by the horse trading that would have to follow.

The third elected member, Lucille Seymour, said her goodbyes but said she would be back as a lot was still not done. She said members were in the House to work for the people and she had learned a lot. “I have learned that politics is a nasty business, with some nasty politicians,” but she added she had found much fraternity with the PPM members. “I was 99.9% happy here,” Seymour said. Speaking to her constituents she said her journey was not finished and she wanted to continue fighting for them.

Osbourne Bodden said he hoped he would be part of the next government and was confident that the PPM would win as there was a silent majority that supported the government and not necessarily the people running their mouths on talk shows. He said the number one priority of the PPM had been to find ways to improve the lot of Caymanians.

Anthony Eden kept his address short, clearly confident in his seat as first elected member for Bodden Town. He recalled his two decades of Legislative Service and he said the people of his district knew him, where he was from and what he stood for. He said they knew he would never compromise his standards. His district colleague however, Charles Clifford the second elected member with a much smaller margin spent considerably longer on his feet justifying his first four years not only as an MLA but as a Minister who also faced a controversial commission of enquiry.

Rolston Anglin, Second Elected Member for West Bay, led the opposition charge with a speech outlining the failings of the PPM administration and the dire circumstances in which he said the country’s finances were now in. He listed some of government’s more recent embarrassing moments, which included the helicopter fiasco, the failure of the Caribbean Insurance policy to pay up for Paloma, the lack of government accounts, and the last ditch attempts to deal with the massive problems faced by the financial services industry.

He said that the West Bay UDP team was facing a record with the prospect of the same four MLA’s making a clean sweep in the district for a third time. “I can say unequivocally I am going to go into this campaign season and give it everything I have got to see that there is a change in government.”

First Elected Member for the Sister Islands, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, also confident in her seat, offered her thanks to everyone, and Arden McLean, another incumbent very likely to be returned, even took time to thank and jest with members of the press. Third Elected Member for West Bay Cline Glidden ended the evening’s proceedings with a little more campaigning, before Madame Speaker made her final ruling to her chickens that the hour was late and enough was enough.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    why does it appear that the those who appear to be completely dissatified with current government  seem to be the ones who did not "benefit’ like how they did under UDP

    I dare you to list specific examples of your "degradation" so that we all can truly see the issues.

  2. Anonymous says:

    There seems to be a common thread with the contributions thus far, complete dissatisfaction with the current or former government with particular individuals singled out for distain.

    I for one hope to see new blood in the LA and hope SOME of the independents win and force a government that is multi-party.

    No members to win who have legal problems past or present please.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good bye and good riddance to the PPM!!!!  I supported them in Bodden Town last year but definately learnt my lesson. Who new that by voting for the Red Party we would be seeing so much red(red ink that is).

    UDP, you had your faults and still do but i will take McKeeva’s leadership and business skills any day over Kurt’s indecisiveness and ineptness. At least the country was in good shape financially when they left.  As for Chuckie, Ossie and Anthony; don’t get up on your high horse and be so sure of yourself about getting re-elected. There is no silent majority out there supporting you despite what you might say!  That small group that showed up at your last meeting is your assurance that your days are numbered in Bodden Town and indicates your support level.

    Again, GOOD RIDDANCE PPM!!!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Good bye is the correct word for some of them yea

  5. Anonymous says:

    Good bye and good riddens! I hope that most do not get back in.

  6. Anonymous says:

    So long Chuckie. You played a good hand in a totally immature and useless manner. Dust off the legal degree. You’re out of there.