RCN Editorial: A Convenient Lie.

| 19th March 2021 | 1 Comment
Alric Lindsay. Independent candidate for George Town South.

Sent in by: Alric Lindsay.

Over the next couple of weeks, you will continue to hear that the government did not have an option and was forced to dissolve Parliament.  This is a convenient lie.  Set out below is an explanation of why.

Appointment of the speaker

Our constitution provides that the speaker shall be appointed by a majority vote of the elected members of Parliament at the first sitting of Parliament after a general election.  If a vacancy occurs, the members of Parliament can simply appoint another person as speaker from inside or outside Parliament who is qualified to be elected as a member of Parliament.

Leaving the office of speaker 

The constitution includes a menu of options for a vacancy to be created for the office of the speaker.  These options are (i) the resignation in writing by the speaker addressed to Parliament; (ii) the passing by the votes of two-thirds of the elected members of Parliament of a motion expressing no confidence in him or her as speaker; (iii)  if, on or after the date of his or her election as speaker, he or she is a party to any contract with the government and he or she does not disclose to Parliament the nature of such contract and his or her interest in it and the Parliament does not exempt him or her from vacating his or her office; (iv) where the speaker becomes a minister and (v) upon a dissolution of Parliament. 

Dissolution 

As you can see from the above, the government could have asked the speaker to resign the position as speaker or pass a vote of no confidence.  Following this, they could have simply appointed another person as speaker.  In that case, the speaker would have remained as a member of Parliament, regardless of where he sat within Parliament.  During the transition, there was no reason to dissolve Parliament and the Governor was not legally compelled to agree to a dissolution, even acting after consultation with the Premier.

Even if the speaker was no longer a member of Parliament, if the governor did not issue a proclamation of dissolution, a bye-election could have been held to fill the vacant seat in Parliament.

The real reason that the choice of dissolution was made

Having established that other options were available to the ruling government, we now know that the dissolution of Parliament was a conscious choice made by the ruling government and was not something forced upon them.  They could have called a special meeting to pass a vote of no confidence or could have supported the calling of the special meeting by other members of Parliament.  Instead, political strategy was deployed and the request for a special meeting by other members of Parliament was ignored.  In doing this, the ruling government avoided any potentially politically embarrassing situation where the speaker may have aired dirty laundry of those who opposed him during the Parliamentary hearings for a vote of no confidence.   I would be inclined to agree with the observations of veteran voters in this regard when they say that certain members of the ruling government may have been in fear because the speaker probably “knows where all the bodies are buried”.  And now that it is election time, we, the voters, are expected to develop short term memory syndrome and forget that members of the ruling government were silent when their voices and action were required the most.  Fortunately, memories are long during covid19 and voters will recognise those who are now being disingenuous, ultimately voting them out of Parliament.  

Category: RCN Editorial Board

About the Author ()

John Fleming is the Editor in Chief at Real Cayman News. He found RCN in 2020, to be a young voice in Cayman Media. John likes to write about Politics, Current Affairs, Education, Community and Health. You can contact John at 925 5511 or john.fleming@realcaymannews.com

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Truth from Alric

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