Equality and human rights for all

| 11/03/2009

Following World War II, Kurt Hahn founded the United World Colleges movement to help ensure that the atrocities of the two World Wars would never occur again.

The fundamental idea was that by bringing young people together from many countries and cultures around the world with an aim to bridging the gap between those countries and cultures, this would foster peace, tolerance, and respect for human rights and human dignity, regardless of racial or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, age, or religion or other status.

More than 40 young Caymanians who have shared the United World College experience understand that the process of cultural understanding is often not an easy one, but that there are great rewards of friendship, shared stories of family and humanity, and the commonalities of love, loss, joy, dreams and ambitions. As teenagers, we left Cayman to join young people from every corner of the planet in order to pursue an education, not just an academic education but an education in life, an experiential classroom which taught us about co-existingon this fragile planet with people who shared different languages, cultural norms, values and practices. We began to understand each other based on what we had in common, and learnt very rapidly that for the most part, teenagers all over the world share many similarities indeed.

The many late night discussions, shared by teenagers from around the world, mirrored the most intense of those held in the halls of the United Nations. We discussed each other’s experiences of race, religion, ethnicity, apartheid in South Africa, and the situation in Israel and Palestine, to name a few. As Caymanians coming from a small peaceful community, we learnt from our friends from Sudan, Ireland, Northern India and Pakistan the terrible human costs of discrimination and lack of respect for all people as being equal. We witnessed the shattered lives that they left behind, in countries torn apart by discrimination and hate. We learnt first-hand the value of creating a world where peace and equality were the hallmark of designing a safe place to live and thrive as human beings.

Whilst we learned from others, the UWC experience helped us to reflect on Cayman’s strengths, and we all returned home valuing the quiet, safe comforts of our beloved country, and the open minds and hearts of those in our community who maintain an equally hospitable approach to both the less known and more familiar. We believe that traditional Caymanian values include hospitality towards others, generosity of spirit, and kindness as well as sharing our Christian heritage of God’s love. We also believe that Caymanians do not value another person based on standards of discrimination. For all that we have learnt as Caymanians through our international and multi-cultural education, we understand the tremendous importance of equality for all, and working towards a common understanding of humanity. Our experience, through UWC, in seeing first-hand the results of discrimination and cultures of fear, compels us all to accept nothing less than a Cayman which upholds the rights and dignity of every member of our society to the fullest extent.

We believe in equality for all persons in the Cayman Islands including the disabled, children, and the elderly, as well as those persons who are of a different ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, and physical or mental ability. We trust that the country which sent its first students to United World Colleges 25 years ago to learn in a multi-cultural environment with others from around the world and bring home lessons of peace and international understanding, will now endeavour to do its best to ensure that the rights and dignity of every member of the Cayman Islands society are upheld.

For more information about United World Colleges please visit www.uwc.org or email: ciuwcfoundation@yahoo.com.

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  1. Case Study: BVI says:

    While all we can do is speculate on the exact outcome of the implementaion of the Bill of Rights – with or without a free standing right, and rely on legal and consitutional experts – about what these clauses in our consitution will mean in practice – we do have some empirical facts to help us out :

     

    The British Virgin Islands, in 2007, implemented a Bill of Rights with free standing right to non-discriminiation.

    Result:  2009, all is still well in the BVI.

    I have asked people from BVI if there have been any negative outcomes of this Bill of Rights – they respond in disbelief: What could possibly be bad about the right to not be discriminiated against by your Government?

    Foreigners have not turned Government services on thier head, policies on what foreigners and BVI nationals – are entitled to – from the Government – have not changed.

    However – I’msure that in 10 years from now, the BVI will be far ahead of the Cayman Islands with respect to laws and services which cater to the disabled, eldery, women, children etc (assuming we make the tragic mistake of implementing the currently proposed Bill of Rights).

    • Anonymous says:
  2. Anonymous says:

    Lets get this straight – a free standing right to non-discriminiation would NOT stop the Cayman Islands Government giving preferential treatment to Caymanians – in areas such as educational  scholarships, healthcare, affordable housing etc

    The HRC has explained that the CMA and Alden & Co are simply wrong in making this claim (that Caymanians interests would be hurt as the Govt would not be able to give them preferential treatment) and laid out clearly why this is so – Sec 16 (4)  ensures Caymanians rights are protected – it allows the Government to give preferential treatment in some areas to Caymanians – where it can be justified – and it would be able to justify it areas like  –   free or cheaper healthcare only for Caymanians, affordable housing only for Caymanians, scholarships only for Caymanians etc

    What would be unjustifiable discrimination? Refusing to perform emergency  life saving surgery on a Philipino/Jamaican etc national  who is in critical condition and needs this operation to save his/her life, who does not have adequate insurance or the money to pay for it. Thats unjustifiable. It is however justifiable to have a policy that allows Caymanians to have free or subsidized healthcare. The Government will NOT be obliged to privide free healthcare to every nationality. They will able to maintain policies such as no or lower stamp duty for Caymanian first time home owners etc

    The CMA have not responded to the HRC clarifying this – they simply keep repeating the same misleading statements over and over. Pastor Al is not a lawyer – he is a religous minister – I think we can trust the legal and human rights experts of the HRC for a more accurate interpretation of these clauses in the Bill of Rights. Perhaps I’m wrong to make such as assessment. Perhaps I missed the fact that Pastor Al is also a lawyer? 

     

    http://www.caycompass.com/cgi-bin/CFPnews.cgi?ID=1037819

    The HRC explained the effects for Caymanians of a free–standing right against discrimination.

    “The inclusion of a free–standing right would not mean that the government would be prevented from acting to protect Caymanians where it is justified to do so,” the HRC said. “Section 16 will only prevent unjustifiable discrimination. Section 16 will not prevent government acting in favour of Caymanians or giving Caymanians preferential treatment where there is reasonable and objective justification for doing so.”

    The HRC pointed out that Section 16 (4) of the proposed constitution ensures Caymanians’ rights are protected.

    “It says that no law passed by the government will be discriminatory simply because it discriminates in favour of Caymanians in relation to employment, business, any profession or movement within the Cayman Islands,” the HRC response stated.

    “It is simply wrong to say that we will lose control of our immigration law as a result [of a free–standing right against discrimination].”

    HRC Chair Sara Collins said her group understands the need for discrimination in certain cases.

    “Our position is that the constitution allows justifiable discrimination,” she said. “Otherwise you wouldn’t have any immigration controls.”

    With regard to education, the HRC pointed out that Section 20 of the constitution contains an aspirational right to education that the government agreed should be included.

    “It obliges the government to take reasonable steps, within its resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of the goal of providing every child with primary and secondary education,” the HRC’s response said. “Even if section 16 were removed entirely, the government would still have that obligation.”

    The HRC said Section 16 did not impose an obligation to provide free healthcare or free education.

    “It does not prevent the government giving preference to Caymanian nationals for these things,” the HRC said. “However, it could and should prevent the government from discriminating where it is not reasonable to do so.”

    • Anonymous says:

       

      TO: Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/13/2009 – 16:31.
       
      No, that’s not getting it straight, that’s getting it confused.  You are simply parroting phrases from Ms. Collins without fully understanding the issue. In particular, you have not addressed the points I made under ‘Church Ministers Deny Mean-Spirited Sentiment’ when you first trotted them out. Assertions do not gain validity by repetition. Section 16(4) does not of course ensure that the Cayman Islands Govt. may discriminate in favour of Caymanians in areas such as educational scholarships, healthcare, affordable housing etc.
       
      1.                   Section 16(4) (b) permits the Government to discriminate in favour of Caymanians with respect to the entry into or exclusion from, or employment, engaging in any business or profession, movement or residence. Section 16(5) permits preferential treatment to Caymanians with respect to appointments to a public office or service in a disciplined force. Note that none of these matters relate the issues of affordable housing, healthcare and government scholarships. Note also that there is no provision which permits discrimination in favour of Caymanians generally. 
       
      2.                  Your argument therefore entirely depends upon the courts interpreting the reasonable justification exception in such way that permits government discrimination in these areas. There are a number of points to note:
       
      (a)    This is a matter for the court’s (not the HRC’s) interpretation in the circumstances prevailing at the relevant time. The draft Constitution has unique provisions which have not been tested in the courts. It follows that the HRC cannot reasonably give us any guarantee in this respect as these will be matters of first impression.
       
      (b)    Insofar as there is any relevant case authority the courts have demonstrated that they will interpret any special protections in human rights legislation very restrictively. See for example, the decision of the Privy Council Thompson v. Bermuda Dental Board, 2008 where special protection for Bermudians in respect of employment was held not to include special protections for Bermudians in respect of being registered to practise the profession of dentistry (which may or may not have involved being employed). This overturned the decisions of the Bermuda High Court and Court of Appeal. While the Bermuda Human Rights Act also contains a justification exception, counsel apparently did not see fit to argue it in this case and therefore it was not tested. 
       
      (c)    Section 16(3) provides that “no law or decision of any public official shall contravene this section if it has an objective and reasonable justification and is reasonably proportionate to its aim in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health. However, it is clear that Section 16(3) pertains to any decision of a public official and would therefore cover a decision for example by a government scholarship body to makescholarships available only to Caymanians, or to make government financial assistance available only to Caymanians. It is also clear that tertiary education scholarships, for example, do not fall under any of the heads of defence etc.
       
      (d)    You are therefore left with the residual provision in Section 16(4)(d) and it is on this that you have pinned your entire argument. It reads:
       
      Subsection (1) shall not apply to any law so far as that law makes provision –
      … whereby persons of any such description of grounds as is mentioned in subsection (2) may be subjected to any disability or restriction or may be accorded any privilege or advantage which, having regard to its nature and to special circumstances pertaining to those persons or to persons of any other such description, is objectively and reasonably justifiable in a democratic society and there is a reasonable proportionality between the means employed and the purpose sought to be realized”.
       
      Please note:
       
      (i)      This provision only applies in respect of a law. Matters like the eligibility requirements for government assistance for overseas medical emergency treatment or the eligibility requirements would not normally be determined in the provisions of a law but instead by decisions of public officials.
       
      (ii) Since the areas of education, healthcare could easily have been included along with employment, entry into business or profession etc. (which would have a similar justification for preferential treatment to Caymanians) there is a viable argument that if the legislative intent was to give a general protection in respect of education etc. it would have done so in Section 16(4)(b). Instead, education is included as a qualified right to all residents under Section 20. 
       
      I could go further but I believe I have demonstrated my point (and wearied the non-lawyers) which is not that it is inconceivable that the courts could interpret the reasonable justification provision to permit preferential treatment to Caymanians but rather that there can be no reasonable assurance that it will do so in respect of the issues mentioned. Please consider these points carefully HRC and provide the public with the objective assessment it needs and expects, and not disinformation to promote your agenda.     
       
        
       
  3. Anonymous says:

    TO: Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 03/12/2009 – 21:00.

    Interesting. Why don’t you write an open letter to the HRC and have them respond to you directly, for you and the benefit of everyone?

    • Anonymous says:

       I have a question, and it may be a silly one but please patronize a fellow under-informed Caymanian. 

      My understanding is that this "free standing right" will prohibit the government from providing the privaledges it currently provides to Caymanian citizens such as affordable housing assistance, scholarships, healthcare for those who cannot afford it etc.

      This is apparently because preferential treatment towards Caymanians can also be seen as non-preferential treatment towards non-Caymanians, which can in turn be construed as discrimination against non-Caymanians. 

      The government cannot afford to provide those privaledges to all residents of these islands due to the obvious budget constraints that plague us as a relative tax free society (and other causes of course).

      Personally, I have nothing against homosexuals, transgener persons etc. By all means, live your life the way you choose, that’s your God given right and far be it for me to judge you and discriminate against you. Fortunately I have better things to do with my time. What I do have an issue with however is the fact that should the HRC be successful in their mission, the government will be forced to revoke a lot of the above mentioned initiatives as they won’t be able to provide them to all residents, and cannot give Caymanians preferential treatment. The alternative of course will be a totally destitute government and over-populated island.

      Which leads me to my question: Is there no way the government can protect homosexuals, disabled people and whoever else feels that they are at risk of being discriminated against reasonably through laws, and leave section 16 of the constitution the way it is?

      Someone please help me answer the following questions, I’m curious to hear people’s opinions.

      Is it not mandatory that non-Caymanians and permanent residents (i.e. work permit holders) get health insurance through their employment? Can we not better police that?

      Should work permit holders be allowed the "right" to affordable housing? Isn’t part of the condition they come here under the fact that they have secured housing and can afford it, if not should they be here?

      Should the children of work permit holders have the same access to government scholarships as Caymanian children?

      Who should be employed first? a Caymanian with a certain set of skills or a work permit holder with the exact same skills?

       

      P.S. I totally agree that the HRC is undermining all of the hard work that went into the contitution process and has shifted focus completely from other pertinent items in the document to this.

      • Anonymous says:

        Just to briefly touch upon your question, the concept of a "free-standing right" doesn’t entail that preferential treatment for nationals will thereby be deemed unconstitutional. Nations with full, or nearly so, bill of rights such as the UK, Canada, the US, France, etc. still practice certain discriminations against non-nationals, specifically regarding the right to work, health care,  opportunities for scholarship, and the cost of attending higher education. Arguably the concept of "nationals" has become a bit blurred in European states, and now is generally understood to be European nationals rather than say French nationals, but the point being that a full bill of rights with a free-standing anti-discrimination clause does not necessitate that individuals on work permits will be able to claim prefernce to Caymanians as illegal.

        The reason that this has worked out in these countries is that it falls to the judiciary to determine how the constitution is applied and to what extent protections of a constitution are granted to non-nationals residing within the country. To this point, no judiciary has determined that a constitution (created by nationals specifically for a nation) offers the exact rights to non-nationals as it does nationals. So the real question of whether a free-standing anti-discrimination clause would deprive Caymanian nationals of their legal preference in the areas you mentioned isn’t if the constitution would inherently create this situation, but whether judicial interpretation would do so. Given historical trends, the answer to that is absolutely not. Also,the idea that the legal system would become weighed down with cases where non-nationals filed suits of discrimination is equally unlikely. In a common-law system, all it takes is one case to set precedence and demonstrate how protectionist of nationals the Caymanian judiciary is likely to be. Again, using historical examples from other major countries with broader bills of rights, it can be said with absolute certainty that preferences and protections for Caymanians will be preserved.

        The point of the original bill of rights was to provide protection to all "Caymanians" from discrimination. And yes, the HRC has caused public focus to fall upon the change to the bill of rights, which has arguably detracted from debates about other sections of the constitutional draft. But keep in mind that this is quite simply their purpose – to pursue greater human rights within Cayman. They are not trying to discount the importance of other sections of the constitution, but rather are calling attention to the section their job is solely concerned with. The failure to address other aspects of the draft constitution is one that falls to individuals who should be responsible for educating the public about the them – which is to say the government itself and namely elected officials. To be truly representative, they must do more than legislate, they must also educate and inform (and in this case it should be about the entire constitutional draft, not just the controversy over section 16).

        • Anonymous says:

          TO: Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/13/2009 – 16:29.

          "So the real question of whether a free-standing anti-discrimination clause would deprive Caymanian nationals of their legal preference in the areas you mentioned isn’t if the constitution would inherently create this situation, but whether judicial interpretation would do so. Given historical trends, the answer to that is absolutely not. Also, the idea that the legal system would become weighed down with cases where non-nationals filed suits of discrimination is equally unlikely. In a common-law system, all it takes is one case to set precedence and demonstrate how protectionist of nationals the Caymanian judiciary is likely to be. Again, using historical examples from other major countries with broader bills of rights, it can be said with absolute certainty that preferences and protections for Caymanians will be preserved".

          You have made a number of categorical assertions. Can you support them with hard data? You are not credible when you make assertions that countries such as the UK with a "full Bill of Rights" (by which you apparently mean contains a free-standing non-discrimination clause) can still practice certain discriminations against non-nationals, when the UK Human Rights Act 1998 simply brings the European Convention on Human Rights (which does not have a free-standing non-discrimination clause) into UK domestic law and the UK has declined to approve Protocol 12 which would make such a clause free-standing (see Constitutional Secretariat’s Statement in Cayman Net News of 13th March) . You also do not appear to understand that the UK is a member of the EU in the same way as other "European states". In the U.S., the Bill of Rights is comprised in the first 10 amendments to the Constitution and does not include freedom from discrimination.  

          Insofar as any historical trends may be discerned they reflect precisely the opposite: a tendency to blur distinctions along national lines.  

          The "Caymanian judiciary", as you put it, includes all our courts right up to and including the Privy Council which has not shown itself at all inclined to be guarding the special protections of Bermudians under their Human Rights Act (see Thompson v. Bermuda Dental Board).  Indeed, the decision appeared to suggest that there should be no distinction between Bermudians and Britons since they are all "British Citizens".  

          The number of possible applications of a free-standing non-discrimination clause is almost infinite. One case on a particular matter will obviously not be determinative of all discrimination issues. 

          All of the foregoing tells me that you simply do not know your subject but yet are making statements with "absolute certainty" in the hope that someone will be misled.     

           

          • Anonymous says:

            As an American, I have little working knowledge with the laws of the EU and UK regarding discrimination or human rights, nor do I have truly detailed information on the origianl, or revised version of your own proposed Bill of Rights in Cayman aside from that given from news sources such as this one. However, I would like to point out an error you made in citing the US to strengthen your argument on this forum. While it is true the first 10 amendments to the US constitution are referred to as the Bill of Rights, those 10 amendments are not the exhaustive constitutional source for human rights laws. In particular, the 14th amendment acts exactly as a protection against discrimination, and has been recognized as such in numerous US Supreme Court cases. Specifically, the "equal protection clause" of the 14th amendment has been cited as an example of constitutional guarantee of protection against discrimination.

            In any case, as a person interested in the region and human rights issues, I have found the overall debate to be quite enlightening and, for the most part, approached in a generally professional and intellectual manner. In light of such, I felt you, who seem to value writing from an informed capacity, might appreciate the correction to your argument so as to avoid misusing it in the future.

            • Anonymous says:

              "Specifically, the "equal protection clause" of the 14th amendment has been cited as an example of constitutional guarantee of protection against discrimination".

              Thank you for pointing out that the equal protection clause has been used by the courts to approximate a freedom from discrimination clause. However, this goes to support my points concerning judicial activism and the potential scope of such provisions.  For example, the cases show that it has been used to strike down state laws which limit welfare benefits to citizens and long-term residents of the United States (Graham v. Richardson) – one of the every points at issue here – as well as laws which would fine businesses which hire illegal aliens.  There are even debates that illegal aliens ought to be entitled to drivers licences.  

               

              • Anonymous says:

                More on Graham v. Richardson, 1971.

                This was a unanimous decision of the U.S. Supreme Court based upon the application of the Fourteenth Amendment (equal protection clause) to an Arizona law.

                The Fourteenth Amendment provides, "[N]or shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. The term "person" in this context encompasses lawfully admitted resident aliens as well as citizens of the United States and entitles both citizens and aliens to the equal protection of the laws of the State in which they reside.

                The Arizona law stated:

                ‘No person shall be entitled to general assistance who does not meet and maintain the following requirements:

                 

                  "1. Is a citizen of the United States, or has resided in the United States a total of fifteen years. . . ."’

                Under U.S. traditional equal protection principles, a State retains broad discretion to classify as long as its classification has a "reasonable" basis.

                In this case the state of Arizona sought to justify its restrictions on the eligibility of aliens for public assistance solely on the basis of a State’s "special public interest" in favouring its own citizens over aliens in the distribution of limited resources such as welfare benefits.

                The court concluded that a State’s desire to preserve limited welfare benefits for its own citizens is inadequate to justify Arizona’s restricting benefits to citizens and longtime resident aliens and held that a state statute that denies welfare benefits to resident aliens and one that denies them to aliens who have not resided in the United States for a specified number of years violate the Equal Protection Clause.

  4. A Young Caymanian says:

    Why is it "preposterous to bring issues of slavery and the denial of civil rights for American blacks into this"? Not too long ago in the United States, citizens of a different race and skin colour were denied equal rights on that status alone. Section 16 as it stands limits the rights of and government protections afforded to Caymanian citizens and other residents of this island based purely on sexual orientation. This is being done by refusing to name this status as a protected category, ensuring that the proposed BoR only apply to the public sector, and making only "unjustifiable" discrimination unconstitutional.

    I also want to say in response to the same commenter that I think it is insulting to claim that the motivation of those speaking out is purely to be named in the company of such great people as the first commenter has listed. I would hope (and in many cases know) that social activism is not purely for personal gain and individual praise, but for the advancement of what activists believe to be the common good, and to improve society as a whole. To denigrate this passion shows a lack of respect and/or understanding.

    As you have also said that "race and skin colour have no moral content" I can safely assume that you believe sexual orientation does, specifically that homosexual/bisexual/transexual/transgender individuals are inherently immoral because their choice of who to love and have relations with happens to be someone of the same sex, or their lifestyle otherwise goes against what you believe God intended. Even if this is not your personal belief, many have expressed this opinion and I will take this opportunity to call this out as what I consider to be: bigotry.

    I understand that most attribute this position on homosexuality to our "Christian heritage", and while I believe that religion can produce a lot of good, I also believe church and state should be separate (so no, I do not believe the CMA should have been invited to participate in the constitutional negotiations in the first place) and that we need to move past this antiquated position and the stubborn refusal to govern our country without using the Bible as justification for our values and legislation. I know that many, many people here will disagree with me, but this is my personal opinion. Please feel free to argue with me and provide reasons for your own stance, but simply calling me ignorant or godless and praying for my salvation reveals your fundamental misunderstanding of my position and your refusal and/or lack of ability to defend your own. This country needs constructive engagement and debate on important issues, not more mud-slinging.

    It is my belief that morality does not only derive from religion; proper laws and an appropriate and comprehensive legal framework (that not only prevent societal ills but also promote the greater good and seek to continue improving our country and the world) can be ensured without citing scripture; and good governance can be implemented without dogma. This does not mean leaders cannot or should not have their own personal religion. Just please do not bring it into your rhetoric when no other justification for public policy is available. Tell me why something should be done in language and with reasons that all people believe are appropriate, and utilising standards that all citizens uphold.

    Both sides have recently attempted to shy away from the "homosexual issue" (perhaps because they realise the absurdity of this focus and that on these islands it is virtually unresolvable) and debate Section 16 on other grounds. The CMA has thrown up what I consider to be a smoke screen, claiming now that they are fighting for limited rights in order to protect Caymanians. A post-facto justification holds little weight with me, and this most recent diatribe appears to merely distract people and instill a sense of fear. On the other side, some of the most recent outcries against Section 16 as it stands have somehow shifted the focus of that activism to only protecting children, the elderly and disabled persons. The message seems to imply that if you support Section 16 as it is currently written, you are just as bad as the bus driver who left a blind woman standing on the side of the road because he did not want her guide dog on the bus.

    At the polls on May 20th we should not cast paranoid, fearful or guilty votes. The implications of Section 16 are so much wider than either of these arguments show. And the fact that people are arguing exact opposite legal interpretations of the same document shows how little we understand it. One thing I believe is that discrimination based on sexual orientation should never be justifiable, especially by the government of a modern state seeking respect on the world stage. I’m not satisfied with that half a loaf. I want a modern constitution, I think many of the other changes that it will bring will benefit this island. However, it just hurts my heart that a "yes" on that referendum will also be a "yes" to a limited Bill of Rights which will then be practically etched in stone, unable to be expanded upon by future leaders who see its absurdity.

    On May 20th I want a choice between Section 16 as it was originally written and the Section 16 of the proposed draft. The government’s excuses for refusing this request do not satisfy me. I was not at that table in London, so I am did not agree to this change. I am a citizen of this country and I love it dearly, why don’t I have a voice?

    • Anonymous says:

      There is a smokescreen- but it’s not one caused by the CMA, it is the smokescreen the HRC have up to let people think that they are fighting for rights for the vulnerable in our society but it is quite clear to me they have another agenda.  They need to be forthright and admit to the people of this country the true ramifications for Caymanians of what they are proposing.  If people weren’t so blind-sighted by Ms. Collin’s eloquence they would realize the merits of the stance of the CMA, the Government, the SDA and the comments I have heard by local lawyer Steve McField who all agree that, while imperfect, this new draft is one that is largely agreeable for this country. 

      Read the CMA’s statements again-with objectivity this time.

      • Anonymous says:



        You’re right. The CMA couldn’t possibly do something like detract from the actual debate by trying to distract from the real issues at hand. How dastardly the person writing the comment you replied to must be to be so insidious! The CMA would never do something like incorrectly alluding to the idea that most states with a full bill of rights are communist in nature so as to associate members of the HRC and public who support the original BoR with the negative imagery of communism. This is all clearly a ploy by the pinko-commies in the HRC and their associates to burgeon the judicial system by allowing people who are discriminated against to actually seek justice until the very fabric of society is torn apart.

        Certainly both sides of the debate will claim the greatest validity; they both strongly believe what they are doing is best for their objectives. The CMA wants to protect the world from finding out gays aren’t really as hellbent and harmful as they preach on Sundays, and the HRC wishes the world were closer to utopia where people won’t hate other people for being different. One is ignorant, the other naive. Legislation does not change behavior, unfortunately for the HRC, but it goes a long way in upholding the inherent value of each individual in having the right to be an individual without fearing punishment for traits they were born with. And in the meantime, while these two throw stones at one another, those on the sideline who have been suffering quietly from discriminatory action with no outlet to raise their grievances and truly be heard can only hope that one day people will recognize the value of their humanity.

        This isn’t a question of whether the revised BoR is better than nothing, simply adequate, or “largely” agreeable. “Imperfect” should never be a word associated with human rights. Law is meant to represent humanity’s aspiration to rise above imperfection, by holding us accountable for the times when we falter. Should a constitution, the veritable representation of a nation, show the world that we don’t aspire to be better? Are we, in the end, content with being merely “good enough?”

         

    • Anonymous says:

      What a long-winded and opinionated fellow Young Caymanian is. 

      "I would hope (and in many cases know) that social activism is not purely for personal gain and individual praise, but for the advancement of what activists believe to be the common good, and to improve society as a whole. To denigrate this passion shows a lack of respect and/or understanding".

      It’s not about making generalized statements about activists. It all depends upon the particular activists, their methods and motivations.

      "On the other side, some of the most recent outcries against Section 16 as it stands have somehow shifted the focus of that activism to only protecting children, the elderly and disabled persons. The message seems to imply that if you support Section 16 as it is currently written, you are just as bad as the bus driver who left a blind woman standing on the side of the road because he did not want her guide dog on the bus".

      Now you are speaking truth.

      "The implications of Section 16 are so much wider than either of these arguments show".

      True again. We have no idea of the scope of the possible applications which is precisely why it should not be a free-standing right. 

      "Just please do not bring it into your rhetoric when no other justification for public policy is available. Tell me why something should be done in language and with reasons that all people believe are appropriate, and utilising standards that all citizens uphold".

      Bringing your own rhetoric into it is of course precisely what you are doing. Clearly, there are no standards that "all citizens" uphold. That is precisely the problem. However, I believe there is a broad consenuus among Caymanians although this has been eroded somewhat by the cultural imperialism of the human rights agenda.   

      It is the HRC that has engineered this controversy over Section 16. It has done nothing but polarize the community and cause it to lose focus from the many good things that are in the draft Constitution. It is behaving irresponsibly.

      "As you have also said that "race and skin colour have no moral content" I can safely assume that you believe sexual orientation does…I will…call this…bigotry".

      You can call it whatever you like. I am quite secure in knowing that it is not. I am not at all impressed by name calling: "hateful", "homophobe" xenophobe" etc. etc..  Wikipedia includes name-calling as a tool of propoganda and gives this insight: "Namecalling is thus a substitute for rational, fact-based arguments against the an idea or belief on its own merits".

      "And the fact that people are arguing exact opposite legal interpretations of the same document shows how little we understand it".

      No member of the HRC (or any other competent lawyer) would offer a legal opinion (on which they could be sued) that preferential rights of Caymanians on the issues cited would definitely be protected under the justifiability exception in section 16.  The possibility of being sued always concentrates a lawyer’s mind wonderfully.  The HRC has clearly overstated its argument. The HRC has not rebutted the points I have made, because they cannot. This is simply disinformation to lull Caymanians into a false sense of security so that they will agree to a free-standing section 16.  If they were successful when the courts determine the matter differently it would for them it would simply be "Ooops".

       

       

  5. Anonymous says:

    It is preposterous to bring issues of slavery and the denial of civil rights for American blacks into this. However, being named in this company is no doubt the motivation for the HRC activists.   

    • Anonymous says:

      Since no reference is made to slavery nor denial of civil rights for American blacks in this article, I am afraid that your comments are unclear as to how they relate to the statements made therein. Perhaps it would be most constructive for you to elaborate on your thoughts so that an intelligent discussion may take place, and perhaps you may be enlightened as to the ramifications of Section 16 of the Constitution, on all who co-exist in the Cayman Islands.

      Have you perhaps responded to the wrong article?

      • Anonymous says:

        I was not referring to the article itself. I am afraid I (together with the writer of the post I was commenting on)  was assuming that there was widespread knowledge of American history in this regard so that I did not have to explain the significance of the names Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln etc. Look them up on Wikipedia. 

        Race and skin colour have no moral content.  

  6. Anonymous says:

    This is an excellent message from the generation that I hope will lead Cayman forward. Weface difficult political and economic times in the years ahead. Our only hope for weathering those storms is to call upon all of our strengths as a nation, to promote the development of skills and talents which will ensure our economic and social survival. We cannot afford to cut ourselves off from the rest of the world but rather should be encouraging leaders who will be able to take their place, even stand out, on that stage. One of our strengths is the growing ranks of young Caymanians who are blessed not only with intelligence, but the bravery to call for us to do the right thing. I hope they will indeed lead this country into the 21st century. We all deserve no less.

  7. Beatrice says:

    Wow, beautifully said and very well written. All we need now is for our elected officials to stop taking the people of these islands for a ride around the George Town.

    We are not stupid.

    We will not be lead quietly away into the dark.

    We will speak out.

    We will make a difference.

    Thank God we have not lost all of our senses and abandoned what is right. We don’t have to like certain lifestyles that we think are against our moral standings… but to try to convince a populationthat by penalising the ‘minority’  we are upholding our values, excuse my french but that’s hogwash!

    I thank God for the people who have and continue to be vocal in the name of truth, honesty, goodwill and justice and I pray God will continue to strengthen and empower them to not be afraid to do the right thing even though the cost may be great.

    I can name a few people who did the same thing against controversy, hatred and violence a strong few who decided it was better to die fighting for the right thing than to live blinded by ignorance.

    Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln,  Estella Scott-Roberts, Sara Collins, Susan Anthony, Elisabeth Stanton just to name a very few.

    Keep praying Cayman and like the good book says Good will conquer Evil!