Roy McTaggart has been unanimously elected as the new leader of the People’s Progressive Party(PPM) at the party conference held on Friday 12th March at the Kimpton Seafire.
He takes over the reins from Alden McLaughlin, the outgoing Premier, who has led the party since February 2011.
Speaking after the event Mr McTaggart, the current Minister of Finance, said he was delighted to be elected as the new leader of the Progressives party following their internal democratic process.
“In accepting this role I recognize that I stand on the shoulders of two of the giants in Cayman politics, Kurt Tibbetts and Alden McLaughlin who are the former political leaders of this great party,” the new PPM leader stated.
Referring specifically to his predecessor he said: “I thank Alden McLaughlin for his leadership, his hard work and commitment, it has been a privilege to serve as Minister of Finance and Economic Development alongside him. He has left some big shoes to fill but I know I can rely on his support and experience.”
Last October Mr McLaughlin, who is completing his second consecutive tenure as Premier under constitutional term limitations, nominated Mr McTaggart for the PPM leadership leading the party into the election.
Mr McTaggart will now fully direct the PPM's re-election strategy for the remainder of the campaign leading up to the April 14th snap election being held six weeks before the constitutional deadline of May 26th.
“In taking up the mantle of leadership I assure everyone that I am more than up to the task of leading this party and together with our Alliance partners look forward to forming the new Government if the Progressives led Alliance are successful at the General Election on the 14th April,” he confidently asserted.
Mr McLaughlin who is defending his Red Bay seat will now take over the chairmanship of the PPM while Joey Hew, the Minister for Commerce Planning and Infrastructure - and George Town North incumbent - was elected Deputy Leader, succeeding Moses Kirkconnell.
Mr Hew said: “Over the next four years, I look forward to building an even stronger organisation by increasing membership with a focus on our younger generation.”
Former chairman Antony Duckworth remarked: “Though I’m now stepping down as Chairman I still have great confidence in the Progressives team and its supporters. I’m handing over the Chairman’s role to some very experienced, capable hands.”
New chairman McLaughlin is a founding member of the Progressives and served as General Secretary from 2002 to 2006, taking up the leadership role in 2011.
He thanked his predecessor Mr Duckworth for what he described as “his stellar service as Chairman" adding that "the Progressives have a strong, inclusive membership and my goal is to continue to build on this strong foundation.”
The present Executive and General Council members of the party were renewed for a further six months.
The PPM candidates for the April 14th election are: Roy McTaggart (leader), Joey Hew (deputy leader), Alden McLaughlin (chairman), Moses Kirkconnell, Julia O’Connor-Connolly, Barbara Connolly, David Wright, and Frank Cornwall.
The PPM which led the previous Unity governing coalition with independents is campaigning under the banner of The Progressives and Independent Alliance.