Archive for April 28th, 2012

Mac debate in speaker’s hands

Mac debate in speaker’s hands

| 28/04/2012 | 63 Comments

LA speaker.JPG(CNS): It is now down to the speaker of the Legislative Assembly whether or not the people’s representatives will debate the situation surrounding the premier when legislators return on 9 May. The opposition leader and the independent member filed a motion of no confidence on Friday morning and appealed to the speaker to waive the requirement for motions to be filed five days before the start of a meeting as the LA is currently part way through its fifth meeting of the 2011/12 session. In a letter to Mary Lawrence, the PPM leader writes that the motion is was made as a result of the “shocking announcements” about the premier being the subject of three police investigations and his refusal to step aside untilthey are concluded.

“The current state of affairs presents a matter of the gravest national importance,” Alden McLaughlin states in his letter. “This motion will therefore require your waiver of the notice in order to be proceeded with during the current meeting and we hereby make that request to you. This is not a matter which we could have anticipated prior to the start of the current meeting since the announcements were only made over the past weekend. Given the gravity and importance of this matter we do ask you to accede.”

The opposition members and Norht Side MLA Ezzard Miller have stated that they will not take part in the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly unless the speaker allows the motion and that it is the first order of business when the parliament reconvenes.

McLaughlin said that the current state of affairs presented a matter of the gravest national importance and that convention within the Westminster system of government required that when there are credible allegations of misconduct on the part of a member of parliament, that member either resigns or temporarily steps aside to allow the investigation to proceed unimpeded and to mitigate embarrassment and reputational damage to the government and the country.

“As an example, just this past Sunday, your counterpart in the Australian Parliament, Speaker Peter Slipper, stepped aside amidst allegations of sexual harassment on his part," McLaughlin wrote.

In the wake of the allegations, Slipper, who is also accused of misuse of funds, said it was appropriate for him to stand aside until they were resolved.

Meanwhile, here in the Cayman Islands, Mckeeva Bush has refused to step aside as he says the allegations are baseless and he has never been formally told of any investigations. At least two of his Cabinet ministers have now publicly declared their support for him and the opposition motion is very likely to fail, despite being a conscience vote.

Nevertheless, Miller stated that it was still a worthwhile exercise as it would allow the people to judge for themselves the integrity of their elected officials because the government members must publicly state why they support the premier retaining his position while the three police investigations are on-going.

"It is the only tool we have,” Miller added. “There is no constitutional mechanism that requires a leader to step down under these circumstances as they are expected to do the honourable thing.”

Miller stated however that the UDP does havethe power to remove Bush painlessly and select another premier.  If they elect a new leader of the party and approach the governor then the transition can be made without any crisis in the continuation of government, Miller added.

He explained that the constitutional problem the elected officials now faced was that there was no room for a lack of confidence motion in individuals but only government.

The North Side member reiterated the point that in the end it was for the premier to do the right thing and step aside, cooperate with the investigations and bring them to a speedy resolution if he had nothing to hide.

Pointing to the irony of Bush’s latest accusations and comparing his circumstances to Operation Tempura, Miller noted that the senior police officers in that were all required to temporarily step aside from their posts.

See letter to speaker and no confidence motion below.

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