The political fallout continues unabated in the wake of the assault controversy in which the Speaker of the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly, Hon. McKeeva Bush is embroiled.
Now, opposition MLA Hon. Ezzard Miller is pressing for a motion of no-confidence against the Speaker to remove him from office.
Mr Bush has disclosed that he was taking an immediate leave of absence, although a duration was not indicated.
Mr Miller said he is not persuaded that Premier Alden McLaughlin and his government will initiate steps to revoke Speaker Bush’s appointment.
He links his call for the removal of Speaker Mc Keeva Bush to the announcement on Thursday by the Deputy Speaker Hon. Bernie Bush that he had resigned from the second senior position in the LA.
According to Mr Miller, the MLA for North Side, the Cayman Islands is on the verge of a constitutional crisis.
He is calling on other opposition members to “join him in requesting a special meeting of the Legislative Assembly to elect a Deputy Speaker and debate a Motion of No Confidence in the Speaker.”
Calling the situation urgent, he said "while there is no written Code of Conduct, there is certainly an implicit Code to which every Member subscribes."
Just a few days ago in light of the ongoing controversy, the Cayman Islands Commission for Standards in Public Life (CSPL) reiterated its call for “the finalisation and implementation of the Ministerial Code of Conduct, which it said it understands remains in draft form.
The onus is on MLAs to amend the existing code to broaden its scope.
However, Hon. MLA Miller refers to “our unwritten Code of Conduct” in making his argument for grounds to remove Speaker Bush.
“At the core of our unwritten Code of Conduct is a pledge to safeguard the respect necessary to maintaining the trust and confidence of the local population and the international community.
“When we damage that respect as has so obviously happened in this case, then our fidelity to the institution that we serve and represent must be challenged,” he asserted.
The North Side opposition member underlined his quest to remove the Speaker on the basis that despite Hon. McKee Bush’s self-imposed leave of absence he was not convinced that the government would take the steps to revoke his appointment.
“It is obvious that the Speaker will not do the honourable thing and resign,” he said in making his case a motion of no-confidence.
He also claimed that “it is also clear that the Premier and the Unity Government will not revoke the current Speaker’s election.”
In the meantime, Mr Miller commended ex-Deputy Speaker Bernie Bush for his service in the role and for what he described as “his bold and decisive action in tendering his resignation from the position of Deputy Speaker subsequent to the Speaker announcing that he is taking a leave of absence from the duties of Speakership.”
Mr Miller is also concerned that the resignation of the Deputy Speaker leaves the Legislative Assembly with a procedural void.
He cited likely circumstances where the assembly would need to deal with urgent matters such as the passage of legislation to remove the Cayman Islands from the OECD blacklist.
To address such an eventuality, Mr. Miller invokes Section 72 of the Constitution which mandates the election of a Member other than a Minister to serve as Deputy Speaker.
“In addition to the meetings provided for in Paragraph (1), the Presiding Officer [the Speaker] may, in his discretion, summon a meeting of the House and shall do so on the written requisition signed by not less than seven members, stating the terms of the motion or motions which they wish to debate. Notice of any such meeting shall be given to Members as soon as possible by the Clerk,” the Hon. MLA for North Side he quoted.
To achieve the required quorum, Mr. Miller is inviting the Leader of the Opposition and his five colleagues to join him in requesting a special meeting of the Legislative Assembly.
He committed to “sign as the seventh Member in accordance with the stated provisions of the Standing Orders.”
Mr Miller also indicated that this meeting of the House would be to debate two motions: the first, to elect a Deputy Speaker and, the second, to debate a Motion of No Confidence in the current Speaker the Hon. McKeeva Bush.
In a direct appeal to his fellow opposition MLAs, Mr Miler declared:
“As duly elected representatives of the People in the nineteen electoral districts, it is our responsibility to act in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and do the right thing for these beloved Island in safeguarding the reputation of the Legislative Assembly and of the Cayman Islands.”
Meanwhile, amid the groundswell of outcry over the assault allegations involving the Speaker, a demonstration was planned outside the Government Administration Building in support of the woman said to have been the victim of the alleged abuse.
The Cayman Islands Crisis Centre (CICC) has also stepped up its campaign supporting victims of violence, especially women and children.