In a development that has sent shockwaves throughout Cayman today, Chris Saunders, Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance and Economic Development resigned from the PACT government of Premier Wayne Panton.
Mr Saunders, who represents Bodden Town West will now sit as an independent member in Parliament.
In a message to his supporters and the wider Cayman public, Mr Saunders said he split from the coalition PACT administration (People-driven, Accountable, Competent and Transparent) over differences with Premier Panton.
“Earlier today, I held a brief meeting with Premier Panton. It is clear from that meeting that the Premier and I have differences that are material to us working together, and as such, I have resigned as a Minister of Cabinet and a member of PACT effective immediately.”
Mr Saunders however would not disclose the specifics of the rift between himself and the Premier which would have warranted his stepping down from the second most senior position in the administration, choosing only to state that he prioritises political stability in Cayman over his differences with his now former leader.
“While I am sure that many of you would love to know what those differences are, in the best interest of our beloved Cayman Islands it is best that those differences remain between the Premier and me. The political stability and the international reputation of the Cayman Islands are more important than those differences.”
He also stressed: “As you would imagine, the nature of politics requires that this situation be used to destabilize the government and by extension our country, and as such, I encourage you all to not fall prey to those temptations and instead keep this Government in your prayers.”
Despite Mr Saunders’ appeal, his abrupt departure is certain to lead to speculation and analysis over what might have been so serious to cause him to quit and whether this was sudden as it appears or the result of a widening rift between himself and Mr Panton.
“In the past, I would remind my colleagues that M.P. means more to me than D.P. and I look forward to continuing my role as an Independent Member of Parliament representing the good, decent, and hardworking people of my home district of Bodden Town West,” the now independent Bodden Town West MP declared.
He concluded his statement: “The Government's failures are our failures. The Government's challenges are our challenges. The Government's successes are our successes. I wish my former colleagues in the PACT Government all the best and look forward to working with them on the opposite side of the aisle in Parliament.”
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