By Staff Writer
After one of the most tumultuous weeks in recent Cayman political history, the jurisdiction has a new government.
The new administration of the PACT (People-driven, Accountable, Competent and Transparent) led by Wayne Panton took over the reins of power with a sudden last-minute surge - just hours before swearing-in - taking its shaky one-seat majority to an unassailable 12-7 split in the 19 seat parliament.
The six days of sheer political theatre following last Wednesday’s election was not lost HE Governor Martyn Roper who presided over the swearing-in ceremony.
First though, in his keynote address Mr Roper commended the Elections Office for the smoothly-run elections, welcomed the new MPs, commiserated with those who lost especially past MP, thanked the previous administration and charged the new government with the task ahead.
“I'm sure you will wish to fulfil your leadership roles with integrity, passion and energy. Above all, I urge you to have the best interest of the people of these wonderful islands firmly in your hearts and minds,” he stated.
Mr Roper reminded the new government that; “There are likely to be challenges facing the Cayman Islands during your term in office, particularly as we move to reopen our borders and build back better in the midst of this global pandemic. I am confident that you will face these challenges head-on and do your utmost to lead these islands to a brighter future.”
But while the formalities of Wednesday’s opening of Parliament and swearing-in ceremony brought to an end a week of political upheavals characterised, the Governor was mindful of the turmoil which surrounded the post-election coalition formation.
“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.”
Another significant point made by Mr Roper regarded issues of standards in public office.
“I believe one of the messages that the public clearly sent in these elections is about the great importance it attached to the integrity and behaviour of elected parliamentarians, ministers and senior officials,” he noted.
“I therefore welcome the incoming government's announcement, we'll agree a code of conduct for parliamentarians, I hope we can also agree on a code of conduct for cabinet ministers.”
He assured of the continued good relations between the Cayman Islands and the United Kingdom.
The Governor also noted that Wednesday’s swearing-in of the new parliament came on the 95th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Second who sadly lost her husband Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh just a few days ago.
The Parliament observed a minute’s silence in his honour.
The new Cayman Islands government will be headed by Mr Wayne Panton as Premier and Mr Chris Saunders as Deputy Premier with a parliamentary majority of 12 seats.
They will be supported in managing the affairs of government and its policy agenda by a team of ministers and a Parliamentary Secretary.
Details of the portfolio assignments were not immediately released.
The Opposition will be headed by Mr Roy McTaggart, leader of the Progressives and Independents Alliance occupying the other seven seats on the opposition benches.
Joey Hew (MP, George Town North) is the Deputy Opposition Leader.
Mr McKeeva Bush (MP, West Bay West), was re-elected Speaker of Parliament, winning the vote held as part of the swearing-in ceremony with 12 votes to seven for the other nominee Barbara Conolly, (MP, George Town South), suggesting a factional vote.
West Bay Central MP, Katherine Ebanks-Wilks was voted in as Deputy Speaker defeating Barbara Conolly also reflecting factional lines.