The post-election political drama was continuing in Cayman on Friday evening as members of the Wayne Panton-led PACT group of independents(People-driven, Accountable, Competent and Transparent) tried to hold on to the coalition that they had announced within hours after Wednesday’s election.
But by Friday, the Progressives-Independents Alliance had produced a counter list containing the names of two of the signatories in the Wayne Panton PACT coalition.
Sabrina Turner and Isaac Rankine had left the group resulting in a frenzy of political activity and confusion surrounding which group now controlled the majority to form a government.
A protest organised by supporters of the PACT group and a hastily arranged meeting saw Sabrina Turner returning to the group on Friday evening on the basis that mistakes were made and all was now forgiven.
Speaking to a large gathering of PACT supporters in her freshly-won Prospect constituency, she recommitted herself to the group while stating that negotiations were still continuing.
Leader of the PACT group, Wayne Panton confirmed during the meeting that she would be offered a cabinet position in a government headed by him.
But the parliamentary arithmetic surrounding who now has the majority of seats to form the next government remains unclear.
With the return of Sabrina Turner to the PACT fold and no change in the current circumstances surrounding Isaac Rankine who defected to the Progressives and Independents Alliance camp, this suggests the narrowest of margins.
In the ensuing seesaw for which team has the majority in the 19-seat Parliament, the latest shift saw the Progressives and Independent Alliance losing their newfound 10-seat majority by one down one to nine with Sabrina Turner returning to the PACT.
The Panton-PACT coalition of independents which was the first to declare a majority of 10 seats but subsequently lost two taking it down to eight, has since regained one (Turner) taking it up to nine, still one short of a clear parliamentary majority.
In this parliamentary arithmetic, the critical seat now appears to be that of McKeeva Bush, the longstanding West Bay West incumbent who many of the now elected MPS had previously voiced a reluctance to form a government with him due to a recent conviction for assaulting a woman.
He was reported to be part of urgent talks on Friday afternoon with the PACT group to rescue their majority.
Mr Bush, who was Speaker in the past Parliament, was at the centre of the Progressives-led government’s decision to call a snap election to deflect moves for a motion of no-confidence in him.
The situation is further complicated by the fact that the Panton-led PACT coalition had already advised the Governor that they had formed a majority.
In the swirl of uncertainty, HE Governor Martyn Roper issued a statement on Friday afternoon saying that arrangements were continuing for the swearing of a new government - possibly as early as next week.
Indications up to that point suggested that it was most likely to be the Panton group as he had only received documentation from them and had not heard anything from the Progressives-Independent Alliance group.
But the names on that original list would have since changed and reduced by one. Any constitutional implications arising from that were not immediately clear.
The Governor's statement said: “As part of the constitutionally mandated process, the candidate representing the majority of votes in the Parliament must meet with me to confirm their ability to form a Government, as Mr Panton has done. I have to date received no formal requests concerning this matter from any other candidates,” the Governor said in the statement.
He also outlined that “the next step in the process is the publication of a proclamation to call a session of the Parliament, which Mr Panton has requested for Wednesday, 21 April, at which all newly elected and appointed Members of Parliament will be sworn in and vote for a Premier.”
More developments across this weekend are not ruled out.
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