Juliana O’Connor Connolly

the Speaker of the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly

Juliana O’Connor-Connolly

Official Title: Honourable Speaker of the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly

Juliana O’Connor-Connolly is the Second Elected Member for the district of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, which she has represented since 1996. She ran in the May 2013 General Election as a People’s National Alliance (PNA) candidate but was the only member of that party to win a seat. Two days after the election the leader of the People’s Progressive Movement (PPM), Alden McLaughlin, announced that he had appointed O’Connor-Connolly as speaker of the Legislative Assembly in return for support for his government. Since his party had won nine out of the 18 seats, he said this gave them a majority in the LA to form a government. However, there remained some doubt this was so. O’Connor-Connolly formally joined the PPM on 28 May 2013, giving the PPM ten out of the 18 seats, quashing any possible horsetrading among MLAs and ensuring a stable government.

1996: On her second run for office she was elected to represent Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

1997:  McKeeva Bush resigned from Executive Council (now known as Cabinet) in the fallout of the collapse of First Cayman Bank, of which he was associated. O’Connor-Connolly was chosen to fill the vacancy and became Cayman’s first woman to be a member of ExCo. She was the Minister of Community Affairs, Sports, Women, Youth and Culture until the 2000 elections.

2001: On 8 November 2001 McKeeva Bush, a backbench MLA at the time, led a political coup to oust Kurt Tibbetts from the position of leader of government business (LOGB). On the same day Bush formed the Cayman Islands’ first political party, the United Democratic Party (UDP), and O’Connor-Connolly was among the ten MLAs who became founding members. Following the coup, she was was appointed as speaker of the House by Bush, the new LOGB. She was the third Caymanian speaker, following Sybil McLaughlin and Captain Mabry Kirkconnell.

2003: In October 2003 O’Connor-Connolly and Linford Pierson swapped roles, with O’Connor-Connolly becoming a minister for the second time, taking on responsibility for Planning, Communications, District Administration and Information Technology, while Peirson became speaker.

2005: Following a November 2005 election win for the PPM, O’Connor-Connolly sat on the opposition benches.

2009: With the UDP back in power after the May 2013 election, O’Connor-Connolly became the Cayman Islands’ first deputy premier, a role created with the introduction of the new constitution.

2012:  On Wednesday 19 December 2012 Governor Duncan Taylor announced that O’Connor-Connolly was the Cayman Islands’ second premier following the removal of McKeeva Bush from the post. Bush’s UDP members had remained loyal to him even after it became known that he was the subject of three police investigations. However, following his arrest on 11 December, O’Connor-Connolly and four other UDP members supported a no-confidence motion in the Legislative Assembly, ousting him from office. McKeeva Bush walked across the floor of the LA, indicating his transfer from government to opposition benches, taking two members of the UDP with him. With the party now split, the five remaining UDP MLAs formed an interim minority government with the support of the PPM. As well as premier, O’Connor-Connolly became Minister of Finance, District Administration, Works, Lands and Agriculture.

2013: Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly formally resigned from the UDP on 8 January 2013. In March 2013 it was revealed that the five government ministers, all former UDP members, were forming a new party, the People’s National Alliance, to run in the 22 May General Elections. All of them lost their seats except for O’Connor-Connolly, who was re-elected by voters on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman for her fifth term. She was appointed speaker of the House for the second time in her career on 24 May 2013.

O’Connor-Connolly was born and raised in Watering Place on Cayman Brac. She first pursued a career in teaching but later received a law degree from the University of Liverpool and was a practicing attorney before entering politics.

She is a member Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and has been recognised for her services to that organisation.

She has been a member of three political parties – the UDP, the PNA and the PPM. However, she is not listed as a PPM MLA on their website.

Her current salary is CI$161,100 per year.

Biography (The Legislative Assembly)