The new government of the Cayman Islands led by Hon. Premier Wayne Panton has received the blessings of HE Governor Martyn Roper as it sets about managing the affairs of the jurisdiction for the next four years.
“Elected Members of Parliament, you are privileged to have been chosen by our people to represent them. You have four years in which to justify their faith in you and I am sure you will wish to fulfil your leadership roles with integrity, passion and energy.
“Above all, I urge you to have the best interests of the people of these wonderful Cayman Islands firmly in your hearts and minds,” Mr Roper said at the swearing-in ceremony for the incoming administration.
The PACT (People-driven, Accountable, Competent and Transparent) administration is taking over power while the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage but with a vaccination programme seen as a pathway back to some semblance of normality.
“There are likely to be many challenges facing the Cayman Islands during your term in office, particularly as we move to reopen our borders and build back better in the midst of this global pandemic,” the Governor said.
But he said he is “confident that you will face these challenges head-on and do your utmost to lead these islands to a brighter future.”
Key to this is Cayman’s continuing relations with the United Kingdom as the administering authority.
“The UK/Cayman relationship is in very good shape,” Mr Roper affirmed, adding that “I look forward to continuing to play my part to strengthen it further.”
The Governor offered that where UK technical expertise can be helpful, “I will continue to do my utmost to secure it.”
In that respect, he listed the environment and climate change.
“One area of major concern is climate change and the environment, an existential priority for our entire planet, highlighted by the public and a majority of candidates during the campaign. The UK is open to assisting the new government on analysing the risks of climate change, renewable energy, biodiversity and any other areas they will find helpful.”
Remarking on the just-ended electoral process, Governor Roper commended Elections Supervisor Wesley Howell, his team in the Elections Office as well as other departments and agencies including the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service(RCIPS) for a seamless operation.
He noted that voter turnout “was a highly respectable 73% continuing Cayman’s strong track record for high voter participation, and comparing very favourably internationally.”
But there were elements of the campaign that Governor Roper is clearly concerned about.
“I recognise it has been a hard-fought election campaign. The last week has been a tense and challenging one for everyone in our community. I hope we can now put this behind us, come together as a community and support the new government and the official Opposition as they start work," he urged.
The election was monitored locally by a team appointed by the Governor and remotely by a delegation of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association(CPA).
“In their statement of 15 April, I am very pleased to say that the spokesman for the local observers confirmed that they had full confidence in the integrity of our elections process,” Mr Roper said.
In looking forward to the two reports from the election observers, he advised that “We should carefully consider recommendations for improving the process for future elections.”
According to the Governor, “There are some areas that need addressing, including election finance, to enhance our good governance. It is my hope that the incoming government will make this a priority in the early part of its term in office.”
In the meantime, Mr Roper has addressed what he says are concerns coming from the public about the conduct of politics in Cayman.
“I believe one of the messages the public clearly sent in these elections is about the great importance attached to the integrity and behaviour of elected parliamentarians, Ministers and senior officials. I therefore welcome the incoming government’s announcement it will agree on a code of conduct for Parliamentarians. I hope we can also agree on a code of conduct for Cabinet Ministers.”
HE Governor Roper, who was posted to Cayman two-and-a-half years ago, said he looks forward to working with the government and parliament.
“I will continue to respect the autonomy of the Cayman Islands for domestic affairs and seek to exercise my responsibilities, including for good governance, in the spirit of partnership, mutual trust and collaboration that have marked my first two and a half years as Governor.”
He also paid tribute to former Premier Alden McLaughlin “for his contribution to our Islands over the last 8 years, particularly steering the country through the global pandemic and to his Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries for their public service to the people of these islands.”
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