On Valentine’s Day, a so-called day of love, it appears there’s none lost between premier Alden McLaughlin and opposition leader McKeeva Bush. The two are trading jabs on whether government should be able to enter into contractual agreements with an election looming just 99 days away.
“The governor knows it’s not good governance according to what’s been practiced in this country,” said Mr. Bush.
He told Cayman 27 he has called on the governor to prevent government from inking any big-dollar contracts before election day.
“I’ve called on the governor to stop these humongous contracts of the dump, where it between 500 and 750 million dollars and they are not only committing to the contracts, but they telling them what they can and can’t do,” said Mr. Bush.
He said any late term deals could potentially tie the hands of future administrations.
Premier Alden McLaughlin took to the aiwaves Monday to fire back.
“The leader of the opposition of all people should be the last one to talk about any government entering into agreements or passing legislation before the end of the term,” said Mr. McLaughin on Radio Cayman’s “For the record” radio show.
Mr. McLaughlin referenced Mr. Bush’s 11th hour deal with Dart. He said a government’s authority extends from dawn to dusk of the four year term.
“While you could adopt a policy or you could even write it into the constitution that the government couldn’t make any agreements in the last year, what you’re effectively doing then is cutting the term short by a year,” said Mr. McLaughlin.
“The premier is absolutely wrong, as usual,” said Mr. Bush, who defended his deal with Dart, saying it’s different since it was based on the giving of financial incentives.
He told Cayman 27 six months to an election should be the cutoff point for contracts.
“I don’t think they should go beyond six months, any government,” he said.
The premier said he would be very careful about entering into controversial agreements at this stage in his term.
Government has indicated contracts for the cruise berthing facility and solid waste project are not likely to be signed before the election.
The governor’s office told Cayman 27 the civil service is responsible for managing contracts and advising officials in the run up to elections, and expressed confidence in civil servants’ ability to manage the process.