(CNS): Parliament is set to meet on Thursday to enable members to nominate and elect a new speaker and steer through an amendment to the pensions law to allow Caymanians in the private sector to access the funds to pay off mortgages or purchase property. An official release about the first meeting called by the new premier and UPM government was issued Wednesday morning, and according to the Cayman Compass, Sir Alden McLaughlin is expected to be nominated as speaker.
McLaughlin MP (RED) told the paper that he would accept the job. “I have decided to accept the nomination as speaker for the same reason I entered politics more than 23 years ago, for love of country,” he said.
Constitution Order No.65 requires members to elect a new speaker by majority vote.
Before he became premier for the first time in 2013, McLaughlin held every role in parliament except that of speaker, from government backbencher to leader of the opposition. He is the only premier since the 2009 Constitution was enacted to serve two consecutive terms in the top job and the only premier so far to serve a full four-year term as the Cabinet leader, which he did between 2013 and 2017.
Since Wayne Panton declined the invitation to take up the post earlier this week, a number of names were circulating in the community as possible speakers, including nominees from outside parliament, such as former MPs Ezzard Miller, who has extensive knowledge of the procedures, and Arden McLean. Former Speaker Mary Lawrence has also been suggested by some as a potential nominee.
However, it seems that the current government membership is keen to stick with having a current MP in the chair, and given Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly’s comfort with her former PPM Cabinet colleagues, it is not surprising that she would support the former premier’s nomination.
After the vote, the parliament — with MPs in their new seats and the government benches led by the new premier — will be debating the National Pensions Amendment Bill (2023), which grew out of a private member’s motion brought to the House by Chris Saunders MP (BTW). This will enable Caymanians to take money from their private sector pension to pay towards a mortgage or residential land loan, among other changes.
MPs are also expected to debate the Beneficial Ownership Transparency Bill, 2023 to help maintain the current momentum of Cayman’s adherence to international financial regulations, standards and expectations following the removal of the jurisdiction from the FATF grey list.
Since this article was posted, parliament has confirmed that another nine amendment bills, all related to the financial services sector, will also be presented during Thursday’s special meeting.
The public can attend the proceedings, which are scheduled to begin at 10am, in person or follow on Radio Cayman and CIGTV as well as government’s various social media channels.