Saying he is “ready for the challenges ahead”, Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition and MP for Newlands, Alva Suckoo, has formally declared his candidacy for May’s general election.
Mr Suckoo who is seeking a third consecutive term says he “has maintained his independent status for the past four years while working as a member of the Official Opposition.”
He was elected as the first representative for the Newlands constituency in May 2017 with the introduction of single-member constituencies.
In a press release announcing his candidacy, Mr Suckoo said “he believes he now has the experience and leadership skills to raise the bar and represent his constituency as a member of the Cayman Islands Government Cabinet.”
He acknowledges that he is “facing a growing slate of opponents in his constituency” but says that he "plans to focus on his achievements and his plans and is ready to commit to getting to work on the challenges the country now faces."
One of his main challengers is the former People’s Progressive Movement(PPM) financial services minister, Wayne Panton, who Mr Suckoo narrowly defeated in the 2017 poll.
He is also up against businessman Raul Gonzalez and former senior civil servant Roydell Carter.
Mr Suckoo will be defending a record as the incumbent over the past four years during which he says he has “managed to accomplish a substantial agenda, despite sitting on the Opposition bench, and believes the key to his successes has been his ability to put aside political differences and work with others in the best interests of the country and his constituents in Newlands.”
First elected to public office in 2013, Mr Suckoo has run on a PPM ticket, served as a Councillor with the PPM government, then left the party “to continue his political efforts as an independent member.”
He contested the 2017 poll on a joint campaign with outgoing MP Anthony Eden and former legislator and cabinet minister Gilbert McLean, was part of the initial Official Opposition group serving as Deputy Leader to Ezzard Miller - a position he kept when that group fractured and he teamed up with the current Official Opposition lead by Arden McLean.
With the May 27th political campaign now getting into stride, a recent government project launch in which Mr Suckoo was photographed alongside members of the PPM administration led to speculation over his political intentions for this election.
Also, a comment by PPM leader, Premier Alden McLaughlin responding to a letter from Leader of the Official Opposition Arden McLean about having the Speaker removed, was seen as further questioning the cohesiveness of the opposition group.
“I would be grateful if you would confirm which members of the Official Opposition support your demand for the removal of Speaker Bush,” the PPM leader wrote, adding: “as Leader of the Official Opposition you must continue to enjoy the support of the majority of members of the Parliament who are in opposition to the government."
The Official Opposition in Parliament since Ezzard Miller was ousted, has been comprised of Arden McLean as Leader, Mr Suckoo - Deputy Leader, Chris Saunders and Bernie Bush, while Ezzard Miller and Kenneth Bryan sit as independent MPs.