No confidence vote planned
(CNS): The opposition and independent member today called once again for the premier to step aside until the various police investigations surrounding him have concluded. Alden McLaughlin and Ezzard Miller said Monday that they want to see the premier resign by Thursday of this week, otherwise they will file a 'no confidence' motion in the Legislative Assembly on Friday, where they will demand to be able to debate the situation. The two men called on the UDP members to put the country first and ask Premier McKeeva Bush to step down until the police probes are concluded as the current situation was untenable.
In the face of a defiant position from the premier, who issued a statement on Sunday saying he would not resign as he’d done nothing wrong, the opposition leader said that in no democratic country he was aware of would this situation be allowed to continue.
McLaughlin was speaking at a PPM press briefing on Monday lunchtime called in the wake of revelations that the premier was the subject of three police investigations - two regarding financial irregularities and the third was in connection with a recent unlicensed shipment of dynamite.
But in the face of Bush’s reluctance to voluntarily do the right thing, the opposition leader called on the other members of government and UDP party members to ask him to step aside and elect another member to take up the post of premier.
“McKeeva Bush continuing in office as premier of the Cayman Islands is untenable,” McLaughlin said. “We call on all of the right thinking members of his administration and his party to exert whatever pressure is necessary on Mr Bush to have him do the right thing by the country. His continuing in office under the weight of these criminal investigations is not only a disservice to the country but it is doing actual harm to the reputation of this jurisdiction.”
He invited cabinet members and backbenchers to insist that he steps down and allows the deputy premier or whoever else to take the reins of office until the matters are concluded, and it need not be a constitutional crisis.
He said the PPM and Miller had drafted a lack of confidence motion ready to file on Friday if he did not step down. He said that just because government had the numbers did not mean the lack of confidence motion was futile as it was a free vote and the UDP members would need to search their conscience and ask themselves if they could continue to support him staying in office.
“We are going to prevail upon their right mindedness, their professed love of this country and their wish that the country is held by someone with integrity as a basis for breaking party line and voting with conscience.”
McLaughlin said they would be prevailing on the speaker of the Legislative Assembly to ensure that the motion was the first piece of business when the House returns on 9 May. If it was not, he said, the opposition would not participate in any of the proceedings until the motion was on the floor of the chamber.
McLaughlin stated that the options open to the opposition were quite limited and the 'no confidence' motion was one of the few they had. He felt the opposition had a duty to the country to use whatever mechanisms open to them to try and address the issue.
“We can’t just sit on our hands,” McLaughlin said, despite the challenges the opposition will face getting the motion to the Legislative Assembly. “We have got to do whatever it is that we believe is right to bring attention to this issue and to get the attention of all those who matter, including the FCO.”
Miller added that he intended to boycott the opening session of the Legislative Assembly on the day to show his disgust and he invited the public to join him in protest on that day.
The independent member said he believed that one of the main issues regarding the situation was that the premier clinging onto office was undermining the progress of the investigation.
“I don’t share the confidence that his supporters have that he will not attempt to interfere with the process. I believe the very nature of the premier, his modus operandi and the way he promotes fear and intimidation will in itself, for as long as he remains in office, be detrimental to the investigation.”
He said it was an international embarrassment for the country to have a premier under investigation for three separate matters and that the best and least risk to the constitution would be for the UDP to follow their own party constitution and elect a replacement for him among the party membership.
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