Cayman Islands government teeters on brink over parliamentary quorum

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Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (CNS) — With three government members of parliament having defected in less than two months, the People’s Progressive Movement (PPM) government in the Cayman Islands still has a slender majority on the floor of the Legislative Assembly but it is facing a problem of not being able to form a quorum to hold sittings of parliament without support from at least one member of the opposition benches or asking house speaker Julianna O’Connor-Connolly to give up her post refereeing the proceedings and take up a seat on the government benches.

However, the danger of this administration facing an early demise has seen the unlikely outcome of independent member Ezzard Miller offering his support to the government if needed to maintain ten members in the House to meet the requirements of a parliamentary sitting.

Miller said he has no plans to join government but would commit to turning up to all the Legislative Assembly meetings between now and March to ensure that there is no enforced early election before government passes the amendments to the elections law in preparation for one man, one vote in single member constituencies.

Debates about the technicalities of needing ten members to support government’s meetings rage, as some say that, if no one turns up from the opposition there would be no one to challenge the quorum, and if just one turns up to call the government out, the quorum problem is immediately satisfied.

While the official leader of the opposition, McKeeva Bush, and his three colleagues members who oppose the electoral reform might be keen to see the government fall as soon as possible and trigger an election under the current multi-member system, it is unlikely that the rest of the independent members now crowding the opposition benches will bring want to bring down the government before the elections law is amended.

Former PPM member Anthony Eden, who was the first to jump from the Progressives ship, crossed the floor in November on a very specific issue. He is also unlikely to want to force his former colleagues out of office before their time on a technicality and is also likely to ensure government can form a quorum of ten when it needs to meet.

The parliament is expected to meet later next month to deal with a number of issues, including amendments to the existing labour law to pave the way for the introduction of the minimum wage, though employment minister Tara Rivers is not expected to bring the new law, which has once again seen considerable opposition from the business community.

Republished with permission of Cayman News Service

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