The new Premier of the Cayman Islands, Mr Wayne Panton has appealed for consensus-building as the jurisdiction emerges from the turbulence of a post-election horse-trading drama.
Addressing a gathering of MPs, dignitaries, supporters and other invited guests outside the Parliament after Wednesday’s swearing-in ceremony inside the chamber Hon. Premier Panton said:
“This event today represents that consensus, the campaigning is over. It's time for us to work together to build consensus, build our community and build our country.”
A flurry of flip-flopping and ship-jumping by some MPs, making and breaking allegiances only to renege and return, set off a storm of reaction from supporters on both sides of what had then become a deepening political divide between the Progressives and Alliance camp and Mr Panton’s PACT team formed after the election.
Premier Panton stated: “The initial uncertainty following the election a week ago, rather than being a paralysis, empowered democratic voice expressed in many forms, and showed the community spirit, that creates country.”
Mr Panton whose PACT (People-driven, Accountable, Competent and Transparent) coalition of independents now controls 12 of the 19 seats in Parliament.
But, aware of the divisions which the post-election events have caused, he made a timely ‘cease-and-desist’ call referring to the spirited campaign and the subsequent political uncertainty much of it plated out on social media platforms.
“Posts, photos dances and rants that filled up our social media space during the campaign and shortly thereafter, must now cease,” he urged.
“We must always ensure, ladies and gentlemen that our behaviour, reflects dignity and respect, even for those we may disagree with.”
Premier Panton’s comments echoed the earlier sentiments of HE Governor Martyn Roper in his address while presiding over the earlier swearing-in ceremony in the Parliament.
“The last week has been a tense, and at times 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 while fully respecting everyone's right to express their opinions,” Mr Roper admonished.
“I continue to urge everyone to treat everybody else in our community with courtesy, dignity, respect and fairness at all times.”
In his inaugural address as Premier, Mr Panton singled out his predecessor Alden McLaughlin for praise and commended the people of the Cayman Islands on the peaceful transition of power despite the political differences.
“We should forever be thankful to former Premier Honourable Alden McLaughlin for his steadfast leadership during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the contribution he and his administration over the past two terms made to our country,” he said.
“Most of all, I want to thank you, the Caymanian people, for giving all of us, a life of purpose and service. It is the Caymanian people we are gathered here today
to witness the peaceful transfer of administration, as required by our Constitution.”