Alden M. McLaughlin, MBE
Premier, Cayman Islands
Alden McNee McLaughlin Jr., MBE, JP, is a Caymanian politician and Premier of the Cayman Islands. McLaughlin serves as leader of the People's Progressive Movement in the Cayman Islands. McLaughlin is the Third Elected Member for George Town, serving his fourth term in the Legislative Assembly. He has represented the district of George Town in the Legislative Assembly of the Cayman Islands continuously since 2000.
Early life and education
Alden McLaughlin was born and raised in George Town where he received his early education.
He joined the Civil Service in July 1981 as Assistant Labour Officer. In 1982 he was transferred to the Judicial Department and appointed Deputy Clerk of the Court. In 1984 he resigned from the civil service and joined the firm of Charles Adams and Co. as an articled clerk. Mr. McLaughlin graduated from the University of Liverpool (Cayman Islands) in 1988 with a Bachelor of Laws degree and was made partner in Charles Adams, Ritchie and Duckworth in 1993.
He was elected to the Legislative Assembly in 2000 and is a founding member of the People's Progressive Movement.
During May 2005 - May 2009 under the People's Progressive Movement administration, McLaughlin served as Minister for Education, Training, Employment, Youth, Sports and Culture and Second Elected Member for the district of George Town in the Legislative Assembly. As Minister of Education he led the transformation of education in Cayman, laying down the foundation for world class 21st century learning. This included a reform of the administration of education, the first ever national curriculum, a different approach to teaching and learning and special attention to early childhood education and special education needs. He was responsible for the creation of the new Education Modernisation Law and piloted its passage through the Legislative Assembly in early 2009. This new law raised the mandatory age for school attendance from 16 to 17 and set in place the framework for what is now being called the Year 12 programme in the government high-school system. He has also spearheaded the construction of 21st century learning environments with the new Clifton Hunter and John Gray campuses, an initiative for which he has and continues to receive both praise and condemnation. Despite the criticism of his detractors, he remains as passionate as ever about the need to improve education in the Cayman Islands and to produce young people who are creative and innovative, problem solvers and critical thinkers and who possess skills and abilities which are locally relevant and globally competitive.
McLaughlin has represented the Cayman Islands Government at the highest level internationally at forums and conferences and as a member of delegations to London, Washington, D.C., Brussels, Melbourne, Australia, Cape Town, South Africa and a range of other jurisdictions. He is a great proponent of good governance and of the need for open, honest and accountable government. He has been an advocate for more democratic government, freedom of information legislation and for a Bill of Rights for the Cayman Islands.
From as early as 2001, McLaughlin was at the forefront of the constitutional modernisation process for Cayman and during his term as Minister, he led the national discussions regarding constitutional change as well as the negotiations with the UK Government. The result was a new constitution which was approved in the country’s first referendum held to coincide with the elections in May 2009. For his contribution to constitutional development in Cayman, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II awarded him the M.B.E. in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2010.
On February 12, 2011 The People’s Progressive Movement made history when it became the first political party in the Cayman Islands to transfer leadership. Kurt Tibbetts the then current leader of the opposition and founder of the PPM, stepped down as Leader of the Opposition an Leader of the People’s Progressive Movement at the extraordinary conference, passing on the party’s top job to Alden McLaughlin. McLaughlin was sworn in as Leader of the Opposition on February 21, 2011 in the Legislative Assembly of the Cayman Islands.
McLaughlin led the Progressives to win half of the seats in the 2013 general election. Following the election, outgoing premier Juliana O'Connor-Connolly crossed the floor to join the Progressives giving them a majority and paving the way to McLaughlin becoming premier. McLaughlin also secured the support of all 3 independent members belonging to the Coalition for Cayman parliamentary group, giving him a 13-5 majority. McLaughlin currently serves as Premier and Minister of Home and Community Affairs in the People's Progressive Movement Administration.
Mr. McLaughlin is a past President of the Caymanian Bar Association of which he has been a member for 16 years. He has been a Lion for more than 16 years and is the immediate Past President of the Lions Club of Grand Cayman.
Honours and aawards
McLaughlin was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2010 Queen Elizabeth II Birthday Honours. McLaughlin also serves as a Justice of the peace.
Mr. McLaughlin and his wife Kim are the parents of two sons.