The Official Opposition in the Legislative Assembly has accused Hon. Premier Alden McClean and HE Governor or Martyn Roper of playing a blame game over the enactment of the Civil Partnership Law.
In a release on Tuesday stating that they were “utterly disappointed by Premiers blame game”, the group of MLAs have called Friday September 4th - the date on which Governor Roper single-handedly authorised civil partnerships into law - as “indeed a sad day for the Cayman Islands and its people.”
“It was the day that saw the culmination of the Governor’s and the Premier’s ill-conceived plan to impose the Domestic Partnership Bill (DPB) into law using colonial heavy-handedness,” the statement said.
The MLAs claim that “indeed, it is now obvious that this was planned well in advance of the proposed legislation being introduced by the Premier to the Legislature.”
They state that as early as February this year, “it was reported in the House of Commons that the Premier was preparing to introduce the legislation, this year.”
An Appeal Court ruling in November last year on a case seeking legal recognition same-sex marriage had directed that the government should introduce legislation granting same-sex and other couples a “legal status equivalent to marriage”.
Tabled as the Domestic Partnership Bill, it was defeated by a one-vote margin resulting in the Governor’s intervention passing what’s now the Civil Partnership Law.
Hon. Premier Alden McLaughlin who had admonished his fellow MLAs of the likelihood of the law being imposed by the Governor using his Reserve Power, subsequently said he was “utterly humiliated that because of our failure to do our duty as a Legislature, the UK Government has been forced to legislate for us”.
But in its statement on Tuesday the Official Opposition took exception to that declaration by the Premier.
“(We) would like to assure the Premier, that like a great many Caymanians, we too are humiliated by his lack of leadership and petulant behaviour which has now resulted in this unfortunate set of circumstances.”
The statement quotes Leader of the Opposition, Arden McLean, as saying: “The Premier’s attempt to blame the opposition and other members has not gone unnoticed. We remind the Premier of the fundamental tenet of democracy that ‘majority rules’. He has leadership of the majority in the Legislature; hence he is the Premier and accordingly the Legislature is subject to his direction.”
He said the Premier should “stop blaming everyone else, and undertake some introspection.”
Mr McClean also directed remarks at Governor Roper saying he “must bear no less blame.”
“Despite his protestations that he did not want to find himself in this position and his love for the people of this country,” Mr McClean stated, “it is alarmingly obvious that he too used this opportunity to fulfil a personal agenda.
"This is borne out by his total lack of respect for the members of the Legislature who voted against a bill that was flawed and rushed.”
He further criticised the Governor for publicising a letter to him from the Minister for Overseas Territories Baroness Liz Sugg.
“The Governor’s actions and disregard for our Caymanian way of life, attests to the saying, ‘A man can’t serve two masters’.
"While the Cayman Islands public purse is paying for his salary and lifestyle, he remains very much a devoted UK public servant,” the Opposition leader added.
He also repeated his criticism that the government did not allow sufficient time for public consultation on the bill in its original form then.
According to Mr McClean, “It should be noted that the Opposition assisted with a survey on the question of whether the people supported the DPB (Domestic Partnership Bill) in its original form, and of the over 1000 people who responded 90+% rejected the proposed legislation.”
He also listed a range of socio-economic issues impacting Caymanians and called on the Premier to prioritise them.
“The Premier needs to put his personal ego and pride aside and instead feel some level of humiliation for the many Caymanians” Mr McClean said were struggling.
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