Less than a day after a new government was announced - just hours after Wednesday’s election, another post-election shocker has sent tremors throughout the Caymanian society.
A pact to form a new government of independents led by Wayne Panton has disintegrated and the leader of the Progressives/Independents Alliance Roy McTaggart announced early on Friday morning that this party now has enough support to form the next government.
The new agreement signed by ten MPs now includes new independent MPs - Sabrina Turner (Prospect) and Isaac Rankine (East End) who have joined the seven victorious Progressives MPs and Independent Alliance member Dwayne Seymour (Bodden Town East).
Sabrina Turner and Isaac Rankine were previous signatories to a pact with nine other MPs to form the next government led by Wayne Panton
In a statement whose brevity is only matched by its impact, Mr McTaggart wrote:
“I am pleased to confirm that we have an agreement with 10 elected members to form the Government and to elect me as Premier.
“This will allow the country to have a stable Government and continuity as we address the rebuilding from Covid.”
It was widely expected that the narrow outcome of the election would have resulted in serious and intricate negotiations to form the next government.
Just hours after the election, in a development that surprised many political observers and others due to the quick decision, it was confirmed that a coalition of independents led by Wayne Panton and including Sabrina Turner and Isaac Rankine had signed a pact to form the next government.
Once again, as happened in the 2017 election, independent candidates walked away with a majority of seats.
Of the 19 seats in the Parliament, independents not aligned to the Progressives won 11, while separately a 12th independent seat went to incumbent Dwayne Seymour who campaigned as part of the Progressives/Independents Alliance. He was also a minister in the PPM-led Unity coalition government.
The Progressives on their own won seven seats plus an eighth with Mr Seymour of the Independents Alliance.
With this Friday morning’s surprise development, it is expected that a new statement confirming the new Progressives-led government will now be forthcoming from the Governor’s Office.
The previous agreement for what would have been a Wayne Panton-led independents coalition was framed under the banner of PACT (People-driven, Accountable, Competent and Transparent).
That agreement was already signed off by HE Governor Martyn Roper as part of the constitutional provision that Mr Panton at that time had the majority of support among the elated MPs to form the next government.
A statement on Thursday afternoon from the Governor’s Office had confirmed that “newly elected candidate from the Newlands electoral district, Mr Wayne Panton met with His Excellency the Governor, Mr Martyn Roper at the Governor’s Office today, Thursday, 15 April 2021.”
It said: “Mr Panton presented to the Governor his letter confirming that he has the support of the majority of the elected candidates who were successful in yesterday’s General Election to Parliament and that he intends to form the new Government.”
With the Progressives now claiming to have majority support to form the next government, relief in their camp is matched by disappointment among the Panton PACT supports.
A statement from the Governor’s Office acknowledging the turn of political fortunes was awaited.
The Government has sought feedback on the Digital Identity bill which is to be debated in parliament. Do you support the introduction of this Bill?