Details limited on progress of UK talks

| 04/02/2009

(CNS): With the media banned from covering the constitutional talks currently taking place in London very little detail is emerging from the UK capital. Against a wintery backdrop of more than 15 centimetres of snow the Leader of Government Business said that talks had covered considerable ground.


The visiting Cayman Islands delegation joined the UK team yesterday under the Chairmanship of Gillian Merron, Overseas Territories Minister from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at Lancaster House for the first time, to begin discussions on the ten outstanding points from the second round of talks in January.

According to a release from Government Information Services (GIS) discussions on Cayman’s current stance on the points meant that some modified positions will be presented to Merron when talks continue on Wednesday.

FCO Team Leader Sir Ian Hendry has reportedly outlined the UK Government’s present positions, (reflecting the give-and-take of the negotiating table,) the points largely concern Cayman’s political relationship with the UK and civil society’s entitlements under a Bill of Rights.

The discussions also considered submissions by Cayman’s Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, QC, and the Civil Service Association (See lead CNS news story).

GIS said the first day began with the teams reviewing the present draft, correcting about a dozen omissions and typographical errors.

“I am delighted we have covered considerable ground and look forward to robust discussions over the next two days,” Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said.

Minister Alden McLaughlin explained that the Cayman delegation spent the first day reviewing the areas of disagreement among themselves to present a more united front to the UK.

 “Since our arrival, we had discussions with team members to help narrow down remaining differences,” said McLaughlin. ”There now seems to be general agreement among the Cayman delegation on the content of the Bill of Rights. While there are still a couple of issues between the Government and the Opposition, I am confident that we will resolve these. Overall, I am pleased with the commitment of all parties to achieve the best possible constitution for the Cayman Islands.”


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