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Premier: I had to sack Deputy Premier

Government 27 Mar, 2023 Follow News

Premier: I had to sack Deputy Premier

Speaking on Radio Cayman’s talk show, ‘For the Record’, Premier Wayne Panton filled the gaps on former Deputy Premier and Minister for Finance, Economic Development, Border Control and Labour, Chris Saunders', departure from Cabinet last week.

Firstly, on the subject as to how Mr Saunders actually left Cabinet, the Premier said he had had to sack Mr Saunders. He said it had not been an easy decision to make and he tried to make a fair decision and had offered Mr Saunders the opportunity to resign.

“He did not accept the opportunity to resign at that time,” the Premier said.

The Premier said thereafter he had to exercise his authority to advise the Governor to revoke the appointment of the Deputy Premier and Minister for Finance, Economic Development, Border Control and Labour.

“I hope that brings clarity to that point,” the Premier said.

The Premier went on to talk about the rumours circulating that there had been material differences of opinion between the two.

“To be frank, this was not about any sort of differences. I could not identify any particular significant differences,” he said, adding he thought there was “more alignment than normal”, on subjects such as how to measure success within the country and how to measure unemployment numbers.

“We both recognised...that these quantitative measures are not always a good indication of how our people are doing and it’s really important to me and many of my colleagues to ensure we have an understanding of how people are doing,” he said.

Getting to the crux of the issue, the Premier said the reason for Mr Saunders’ departure was unfortunately that there had been issues of conduct.

“I ended up having to make a very difficult decision; it was a very sad decision to have to make,” he confirmed, stating that he had to, however, take his responsibilities to the country seriously. People should be able to live and work without being harassed and berated, and not have to put up with “unwelcome approaches”, Premier Panton said, suggesting that was the behaviour Mr Saunders had displayed and which had given rise to his departure.

The Premier said that not only was it up to government to ensure that people could live and work in an environment free from such behaviour, they had to also ensure that identities were protected in case of future retribution, something he had to honour and respect.

The Premier also clarified the rumour in the media that there had been a disagreement between the Governor and Mr Saunders which they said culminated in Mr Saunders’ removal, but that was not the case at all, he confirmed.

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