The leader of the Progressives, Roy McTaggart has made an impassioned plea for calm in the Cayman community in the wake of the uncertainties coming out of Wednesday’s elections.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Mr McTaggart who heads up the Progressives and Independents Alliance camp, also reached out to his opponent Wayne Panton, leader of the post-election group PACT group of independents ((People-driven, Accountable, Competent and Transparent) to join him in the appeal.
“This behaviour is not condoned by The Progressives. It is potentially harmful to the reputation of the Cayman Islands as a major international financial centre,” Mr McTaggart said.
“I call on Mr Panton to join me in asking for calm and an end to this uncharacteristic aggressive behaviour by a loud minority of his supporters.”
Mr McTaggart said he is “deeply concerned by what appears to be a deliberate attempt by those who support Mr Panton’s PACT to destabilize the process by public protests, threats and abuse of lawfully elected candidates in the recent election.”
He also remarked on the closeness of the division of seats between his Progressives and Independents Alliance camp which had campaigned jointly, and that of the PACT group lead by Mr Panton which was hastily formed after the election.
“My fellow Caymanians. We are now four days out following the General Election. It is regrettable that there is still no clear picture as to who will comprise the next Government of our Islands.”
Looking at the current state of the parliamentary arithmetics, the Progressives leader noted that, “As of today, Mr Panton has eight candidates who are now aligned with him and the Progressives Alliance has nine candidates supporting us.”
In explaining how Cayman’s democratic system works, Mr McTaggart outlined that “following a general election, every elected member is free to decide who to support for government and their preference for Premier. That is the democratic process.”
He referred to Mr Panton in his press release of Saturday, which he observed "rather presumptuously states that it is coming from the Office of the Premier Designate, and in which he observed that the PACT group leader “commented that they will be finalising their cabinet this weekend.”
“Mr Panton may very well make decisions on a cabinet on paper but to actually form a cabinet he first needs to form a Government and be selected as Premier,” Mr McTaggart noted.
“At the moment he does not have the support of the majority to form a Government, unless he chooses to include Mr McKeeva Bush in his Government.”
The status of the Speaker of Parliament McKeeva Bush who successfully defended his West Bay West seat has become pivotal to the government formation. That's despite many of the incoming MPs asserting during the campaign distancing themselves from him due to his conviction and suspended sentence last year for assaulting a woman.
Mr McTaggart stated that if Mr Panton does include Mr Bush in his cabinet to gain a majority, “then the irony of that choice will be obvious given that his reasons for leaving and campaigning against the Progressives was his not wanting to work with former Speaker Bush.”
“Indeed, prior to the election he indicated that he would not run with the Progressives because of Mr. Bush. Time will tell how deeply his convictions run,” the Progressives and Independents Alliance leader added.
In urging the public to remain calm, Mr McTaggart stated: “In closing, I will ask my Caymanian people to let the political process play out. Candidates who are elected, especially those who are new, are getting their first real understanding and taste of the political process.”
“The process will play out and will end as it always does,” he reminded.
“But I implore my people to ignore the online bullies who attempt to use you for their own purposes. This is not a style of politics that we practice here, and it is not a healthy style of politics to adopt. The Progressives will not adopt it.”
In that vein, Mr McTaggart also addressed the events of Saturday where a protest was held in East End by PACT supporters against victorious candidate Isaac Rankine.
They were upset because he was one of two new MPs who quit the PACT group within a day of joining it after the election and joined the Progressives.
That effectively removed the PACT’s majority - which they already communicated to the Governor - and effectively tipped the balance of power.
Although, the other MP, Sabrina Turner, subsequently reneged and returned to the PACT fold within a day following an immense outcry and protest against her by PACT supporters, some of whom called her a traitor, the PACT majority has suffered a serious setback.
“I hope that the RCIPS will take a dim view of yesterday’s events and ensure that all elected members receive the protection necessary to prevent this harassment and intimidation and frankly to prevent the attempt to hijack the democratic process,” Mr McTaggart said.
He ended the statement imploring that “God bless all of our elected members, and May God bless the people of these beloved Islands.”