Bryan apologises quickly under cloud of controversy Loop Cayman Islands

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Cayman Compass

Minister Kenneth Bryan is the subject of Cayman’s latest controversy and apology. The source of the controversy is Minister Bryan appearing in a video on Facebook supporting his wife in her new career endeavour as a real estate agent. Minister Bryan’s show of love and affection, however, was referred to by Roy McTaggart, Leader of the Opposition, as “shocking” and a “flagrant breach of the principles of good governance” under the Ministerial Code of Conduct, in particular sections 19.1 and 19.4.

Alleged breaches in detail

Regarding these alleged breaches, McTaggart noted that section 19.1 provides that “no Minister should endorse in any media, product or service,” in connection with which Minister Bryan allegedly offended the provision by appearing in a video on Facebook, reportedly endorsing the real estate services of his wife.

McTaggart also quoted section 19.4 of the Ministerial Code of Conduct which states:

In speeches, it is appropriate for a Minister to speak positively about the objectives and achievements of an organisation or business. It is not appropriate for a Minister to explicitly promote that organisation, or it[s] products or services.

In this case, Bryan was said to explicitly promote his wife’s business.

Capacity unclear

Notwithstanding that Bryan is a minister subject to the Ministerial Code of Conduct, it is unclear what capacity he was acting in the video. That is, the Ministerial Code of Conduct permits any minister to act in a number of different capacities:

Firstly, in a ministerial capacity, making decisions, and determining and promoting policy with particular ministries/portfoliosSecondly, in a political capacity as an elected Member of the Parliament, representing the best interest of the Cayman Islands as a whole, as well as the constituency or particular community interestsThirdly, in a personal capacity as an ordinary citizen.

In order to obtain an objective understanding of what capacity Bryan was acting in, it is useful to review his wife’s statement in the video.

She said:

I have now recruited him to do some ‘flyering’… but don’t worry, I’ve only got him for today for a couple of hours and he’s all yours again tomorrow.

Objectively speaking, the statement by Minister Bryan’s wife suggests that Minister Bryan was acting in a personal capacity as an ordinary citizen for a few hours and not making a policy decision or a political decision and not carrying out any function for a ministry or a portfolio. For emphasis, Bryan’s wife clarified in the video that “he’s all yours again tomorrow,” suggesting that he would return to his ministerial or political capacity the next day. This is a very technical distinction, however, technicalities are important in circumstances such as this one.

Regardless of the capacity, however, the Ministerial Code of Conduct requires Bryan to “act lawfully and to behave in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the highest ethical standards.”

A close observation of the requirements here will cause one to highlight that the Ministerial Code of Conduct does not appear to be an official law (had it been a law, it would have been referred to as a law or an Act and not a code of conduct). In addition, no specific reference to an official law was made in the allegations against Minister Bryan in this case, even though one could speculate as to which one might have been applicable in this case.

Examining the second part of these requirements, any minister would have been required to uphold the highest ethical standards in carrying out any actions. Since “ethical standards” is not defined in the Ministerial Code of Conduct, one could refer to the ordinary dictionary definition, one definition being that “ethical standards refer to the principles that promote trust, good behaviour, fairness and governing the conduct of a person.”

Regarding this, McTaggart noted that Minister Bryan’s endorsement of his wife’s business could unfairly impact others operating within the same business, in particular, those offering similar services in Minister Bryan’s constituency. Looking at things from this perspective, an objective person could see how an interpretation could be reached about the particular conduct being fair or unfair.


Reacting to McTaggart’s comments, Minister Bryan apologised, explaining that he will redouble his efforts to ensure that his actions are in keeping with the highest ethical standards of the office he is humbled to hold on behalf of the people of the Cayman Islands.

In doing this, Minister Bryan complied with the Nolan Principles – the Seven Principles of Public Life – by being accountable for his actions (submitting himself to scrutiny), being open and transparent about his actions, being truthful to the public and restating that he fully supports the Ministerial Code of Conduct and the principles of good governance it was designed to enhance.


One of the take-aways from the controversy surrounding Minister Bryan is that, perhaps, instead of creating a code of conduct, Parliament should seek an order in council in the UK to amend the constitution or the people of the Cayman Islands should seek to amend the constitution by way of a referendum to expand the consequences for certain conduct of members of Parliament, for example, drunk driving or assault or non-performance of duties, in connection with which voters would have the power to initiate a recall of the relevant member of Parliament, eventually removing him or her from their seat.

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