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Opposition, independents make mark on bills through debate, amendments

Bodden Town MLA Alva Suckoo said a strong opposition bench has left its mark on many of the 29 bills brought to the Legislative Assembly in October’s mammoth meeting.

He told Cayman 27 amendments from opposition and independent members helped make for better bills and a more robust democratic process.

“We did accomplish quite a bit, so I’m encouraged by that,” said Mr. Suckoo.

As lawmakers catch their breath after one of the busiest LA meetings of the in recent history, Mr. Suckoo said the 8-member opposition bench made its mark on several of the 29 bills through vigorous debate.

“I think we are a very strong opposition, even though we don’t have the numbers, we are very vocal and we are very deliberate in the way we present our arguments,” said Mr. Suckoo.

He cited the legal practitioners bill as example number one.

In September, Mr. Suckoo and other independent MLAs barnstormed against the bill, which was eventually pulled after concerns were raised in debate.

“If it comes back in January, hopefully it comes back in a revised format that we can all support, but if it doesn’t then we will continue to fight,” said Mr. Suckoo.

He said what he called overreaching ministerial authority in the education bill was toned down with amendments.

“If you have a minister that can go straight to the director, that’s jumping over the chief officer and that could be a bit dangerous, you know. People have responsibilities and there is a chain of command,” said Mr. Suckoo.

He said, counter to what some may suggest, that a strong opposition helps, not hinders the political process.

“When you have a strong opposition, as we are, it helps the democratic process and helps even things out and the people get to be heard, but we don’t want to be reckless about it and we are not doing that,” Mr. Suckoo.

He pointed to the evidence, 29 bills passed in three weeks, which he said shows that cooperation for the sake of country can bridge the political divide.

“We offered as much cooperation as possible, in helping the government get this agenda through, get this load through,” he said.
The next meeting of the LA is expected to take place in January.

About the author

Joseph Avary

Joseph Avary

Joe Avary joined the Cayman 27 team in January 2014, bringing nearly two decades of experience in TV news to the islands. He spends his time away from the office scuba diving, practicing yoga, and trying to make his friends laugh at his comedic stylings. He proudly calls the district of West Bay home, and loves nothing more than relaxing visits to the Sister Islands.

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