Hon. Leader of the Opposition, Arden McLean and Hon. Member for North Side, Ezzard Miller, on Thursday filed a Motion of No-Confidence seeking to remove McKeeva Bush as Speaker of the Parliament.
The motion comes after the Speaker was recently given a suspended custodial sentence for assault of a female and what the two signatories to the motion described as “the refusal of the Unity Government to take action against their colleague".
Stating that the Speaker of the Parliament is one of the most esteemed roles an elected member can hold under the Constitution, Opposition Leader McLean said:
“It was the hope of many Caymanians that the Speaker, Honourable McKeeva Bush, would have done the honourable thing and resigned in light of being convicted in a court of law.”
He continued: “While it came as no surprise that Speaker Bush refused to resign despite his criminal conviction and suspended custodial sentence, I am surprised that Premier Mclaughlin, as the leader of the Unity Government, refused to demand his resignation or take the necessary steps to remove him.”
Mr McLean added that he'd hoped that the Premier “ would have exercised the same moral conviction, integrity, and leadership that he displayed more than 8 years ago when he moved a No-Confidence Motion against McKeeva Bush after he was arrested and charged.”
He said, “the actions of McKeeva Bush and the inaction of Premier Mclaughlin demonstrate contempt for our democratic principles and will only further serve to marginalise women in our society.”
Meanwhile, MP Ezzard Miller MP, the other signatory to the no-confidence motion against Speaker Bush, stated:
“The refusal of Speaker Bush to resign coupled with the inability of Premier Mclaughlin and his Unity Government colleagues to do the right thing and remove him displays the highest level of dishonour and disrespect to our women and every single person that calls the Cayman Islands home.”
“We are better than this!” he declared.
MP Miller added that “Both our Court of Law and our Court of Public Opinion have found Speaker Bush guilty and it is not right that a convicted criminal should hold one of the highest positions in our Parliament.”
He further stated that he was saddened that members of the government, especially the women MPs, “have chosen to remain silent on this issue where a woman was assaulted, and the perpetrator was found guilty in our courts.”
“What message is this sending to women and the community?”, the Northside MP asked.
Mr Miller expressed the view that “this Motion of No Confidence in the Speaker should therefore not have come from Opposition members. But this is what happens when Politicians decide to worry about re-election and how it will go down with the people who support Speaker Bush.”
“This is shameful!" he said.
The motion refers to the section of the Constitution which stipulates that "a person shall vacate the office of Speaker or Deputy Speaker, on the passing, by the votes of two-thirds of the elected members of the Assembly, of a motion expressing no confidence in him or her as Speaker or Deputy Speaker, as the case may be."
However, it was not clear when or if a meeting of the Parliament will be held before the general elections scheduled for May 27th.
The parliament is due to be prorogued at the end of March.
When the matter of removing the Speaker was put to Premier Alden McLaughlin during a press conference, he’d remarked that he “wasn’t sure that the country will be well served now by my taking action which precipitates the collapse of the government and the holding of early elections.”
In a recent testy exchange of correspondence between Opposition Leader McClean and the Premier, Mr McLaughlin had challenged Mr McLean to "confirm which members of the Official Opposition support your demand for the removal of Speaker Bush.”
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