OFFICIAL OPPOSITION PUSH BACK OVER SECTION 81 RETENTION
Leader of the Opposition, Hon. V. Arden McLean, has pushed back at comments made by Hon. Premier Alden McLaughlin in which the Premier said he “will always regret the opportunity that we, as legislators, and as a country have lost.”
Premier McLaughlin was at the time last Friday referring to the retention by the British government of Section 81 in the Cayman Islands which gives the Governor the authority to impose legislation and overrule the Legislative Assembly.
“It is clear that as the Premier is coming to the end of his term that he has lost sight of what is important. I want to use this opportunity to remind him that we are here to make people's lives better,” Mr McLean said in a statement on Wednesday.
According to the Leader of the Official Opposition, “It is clear that whether Section 81 was removed or not, it would not matter to the UK Government as their recent actions on the Internal Market Bill relating to Brexit show that they have no regard for their international obligations.”
“Their own Minister admitted that the Bill would be a breach of international law and scores of own members have resigned from the Government in protest. It is self-evident that the UK will always do what is in their best interests and that this Governor is here to do what is in the UK's best interests,” he stated.
The decision by HE Governor Martyn Roper to apply Section 81 to pass the Civil Partnership law which gives legal standing to same-sex relationships was cited by the British government as the main reason for refusing to concede to the Cayman Islands wishes to have that power removed.
“Rather than thank the Governor for doing what is best for the UK, he (the Premier) should learn from him and do what is in the best interests of the Caymanian people and the Cayman Islands,” Mr McLean added.
In what is seen as some of the first salvos in the campaign for the 2021 election, the Opposition leader took a swipe at Premier McLaughlin’s domestic policies.
"Rather than crying about what he thinks the country lost, he should instead be concerned about what Caymanian people have lost,” he said repeating a list of areas of domestic policies he had mentioned previously where he feels the government is failing.
These range from the cost of living, to lost productivity from being stuck in traffic, lost opportunities for the Caymanians who he said are marginalized and discriminated against in the workforce, stress-related health issues, and the lost school days for our children as a result of this pandemic.
In a political jibe at the Premier, the Opposition Leader remarked; “We are legislators - not babies. We work in the Legislative Assembly - not a day-care centre. So, stop your crying and go and do the work you are paid to do!"