No objectors to talks release

| 26/05/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island headline News(CNS): The elected arm of government, the opposition, the churches, the Chamber of Commerce and the Human Rights Committee have all said they want to see the transcripts of the Constitutional Talks released to the public. However, the Cabinet Office has still not made the documents available, despite the ruling by the information commissioner last week. CNS contacted each of the parties involved in the talks to find out if any objected to the freedom of information request by the Human Rights Committee for the transcripts to be released and none of them did. Following the revelation by the information commissioner that the UK is not objecting either, there no longer seems to be any legitimate reason for the transcripts to remain under wraps.

Sara Collins (above), who was at the time of the negotiations chair of the Human Rights Committee, explained that the HRC made the request some time in March/April 2009. “At the time, there was a lot of public debate about what actually occurred during the negotiations. We wanted to check the record of the negotiations for the bill of rights in the context of that debate and requested a copy of the transcript in our capacity as participants to the talks. Our request was refused,” Collins said.
However, following an internal review and mediation, Information Commissioner Jennifer Dilbert made a ruling on Friday 21 May that the release of the transcripts was in the public interest and the Cabinet Office should release the documentation as requested.
“I think the disclosure ruling is correct and significant. This transcript is an important part of our country’s historical record. The fact that the FCO withdrew its initial objections to disclosure suggests that the original reasons for withholding the document could no longer be valid concerns, if they ever were. The outcome of the negotiations is now a fait accompli, since the constitution was approved by referendum a year ago. When all relevant factors are weighed in the scales, it is sensible and appropriate to release the records now,” Collins added.
When asked by CNS on Tuesday if the office would be releasing the transcripts, the Cabinet Secretary said that a “final decision on our next course of action has not yet been taken.”
However, McKeeva Bush stated emphatically that he, as premier, and his UDP party delegates who attended the talks were in favour of the release and had been since the negotiations with London began when he had requested that the talks be held in a public forum.
“We would have no objection in the release of the minutes, in fact, it was me who tried to have the public attend the meetings here in Cayman, which the PPM and the UK commissioners rejected,” Bush said. “Let it be understood, as the premier and the leader of the UDP we have no objection to the minutes being released.”
Although at the time the UK had requested the talks continue behind close doors, the information commissioner indicated in her ruling that the UK had lifted its objection in November of last year.
The PPM stated that it now had “absolutely no objections” to the transcripts being released and Wil Pineau also revealed that the Chamber of Commerce was completely in favour of the release.
Pastor Al Ebanks, leader of the Cayman Ministers Association, said it was great that the documents were going to be public. “From the very beginning we were among those who desired the meetings to be open and the documentation available,” Pastor Al said. “This is the constitution of the people of the Cayman Islands and the information should rightfully be made public so that everyone can see for themselves what took place during the talks.”
The most tentative of the representative of the talks was Pastor Shian O’Connor of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, who said he could understand why there may be some reservations over releasing the documents. Although he said there was nothing in the deliberations that needed protection from public scrutiny, one had to be mindful that the release could be used for purposes not intended.
“One such possibility is interest groups using the information from the transcript to advance their own personal agenda,” the Seventh Day pastor suggested. “Since the talks were held in private, it allowed individuals to express themselves in a manner and to make comments that they perhaps would not have had it been in public or had they known at the time that the transcriptwould have been made public .”
He said parties may have a legitimate expectation that those transcript would be kept in private since there was no indication that subsequently they would be made public. However, O’Connor did not say that the Seventh Day Church objected and stated it was “indifferent” as to the outcome of the decision.
The HRC request was for the full transcripts of all three rounds of talks, which Dilbert has now ordered to be released. The Cabinet Office had 45 days to release the documents or seek judicial review. The information commissioner said there was no evidence the release of the transcripts could cause harm.
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Comments (20)

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  1. Rev Nicholas Sykes says:

    My normal policy over absurd and inaccurate personal comments by people preferring to hide behind anonymity (yet ironically in this case making use of a discussion on openness!) is to ignore them. Nevertheless out of an abundance of fairness I should make clear that I am always open to a one-on-one discussion with anyone who chooses to abandon anonymity with me and is able to make an appointment with me.

    For the record, I too encouraged the transcripts of the talks to be released after every round of the negotiation. I hope now they will be released.

    • Fag G. Ot says:

      Thanks for that Rev. In your opinion, should homosexuals be treated equally, fairly and without prejudice as members of society?

    • Ali Louya says:

      We have to post anonymously because we are scared of intimidation from the regime that you have cuddled up to as part of your attempt to force extremist views onto a population who do not care for it.  The teachings of Christ are very very different from the views you want to impose on us.

    • Rectus femurous says:

      People have to be anonymous because most of the people in power in Cayman are bigoted and vindictive.  

      You should know, Rev. Sykes, because you spend all your time reassuring them that their prejudices have God’s blessing. 

  2. Anonymous says:

    The root crime here is that the PPM, in power at the time, put together the worst imaginable group to negotiate the constitution.

    Example: Rev. Sykes, a priest who presides over a congregation of about 11 people has for years been very public about his belief that Caymanian gays should be discriminated against. He was openly against fairness and equality for all Caymanians but was given a powerful role. Why?

    Same with Sinead O’Conner of the Seventh Day Adventists (Millerites still waitin’ on the end after all these years). Why was even there? This was supposed to be a constitution for diverse and free country, not some church document. Oconner and Pastor Al can’t agree on what day the Sabbath is but they sure do agree that prejudice against Caymanian gays is okay.

    Only in Cayman would the Human Rights representatives on this committee have been seen as some sort of radical rebels who needed to be outvoted by holy men. Well, actually that stuff is the norm in other countries too. Iran, Yemen, Afghanistan, etc. Great choices for something to aspire to, idiots.

    Thanks for the mess PPM! Your only saving grace is that the public doesn’t understand the constitution because it is written so poorly and unessesarily complex. If they ever figure it out, they’re going to be pissed at you guys for the historic screw up that you engineered!

     

  3. Carolina Ferreira says:

    Simply a note for clarification: the Premier is quoted as saying that he has no objection to the MINUTES of the meetings being released, but my understanding is that the TRANSCRIPTS in question are in fact much more than just mere minutes.

    I only ask to make sure that we, the people,  know what to expect. One hardly gets the full picture from "minutes" of a  meeting.

  4. Janice says:

    LOL… excuse me, I had to laugh…

    So… they agree to release the information!

    Must be after reading the comments on CNS –  Info boss orders key release and hearing comments over the radio and media, the fear of people’s disfavor sunk in.

    Funny, they are all for the people now, but when they had the talks and felt the power that they represented everyone, they seemed to shut everyone out! Please people, don’t forget what they did –

    BEFORE A SERIOUS VOTE, THESE FOLKS SWEEP EVERYTHING UNDER THE RUG TO KEEP THE VOTERS UNINFORMED

    A sin that cannot be justified not even by the ministers

  5. Anonymous says:

    no surprises about the reservations fromt the 7th day gang…… what the hell werethey doing there in the first place????

    i recommend everybody reading into the beliefs of the 7th day adventists….it’s up there with scientology mumbo jumbo…

    • Anonymous says:

      To "No surprises about 7th day"  you sound like an idiot.  If 7th day is close to scientology, you either don’t understand scientology or the bible and then that would mean all denominations are like scientology  OR maybe you are sooooooooooooo UNINFORMED and should do research before blabbing your mouth and looking stupid.

      • Anonymous says:

        perhaps you would like to explain then rather than having a malicous rant at another human being who you do not know? Explain why it is different?

      • Anonymous says:

        What’s wrong with Scientology? There are several Scientologists on the island and they are great people. John Travolta is one too.

        • Ali Louya says:

          Their explanation for the nature of the universe makes as much sense as the one in the Bible.

          Scientologists, the Bible, Hans Christian Anderson, the Brothers Grimm, they are all doing the same job as far as I am concerned.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think this person was pointing out that church and state should be separate. In the Cayman Islands they are joined at the hip and the connection harkens back to the day when the King of England had to ask the Pope for a divorce. Clearly this island is one of the few religious bastions still stuck in the dark ages. Church goers at Constitutional negotiations? Disgusting…

      • Anonymous says:

        he did not compare it to scientology but it anyone who beleive in either is seriously deluded….

  6. Anonymous says:

    It is simply not credible that the Cabinet Office would withhold the transcripts if the elected government wanted them released. I can see the elected government saying to the press and public that they have no problem with releasing the transcripts, but if they are not being released then I suspect that a different line is being taken in private.

    • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

      I’m not suggesting that a different line is being held by the government in private, but the cabinet and its administration is not above the FOI Law.

      Consider Section 55(1) of The Freedom of Information Law 2007, which reads: “(1) A person commits an offence, if in relation to a record to which a right of access is conferred under this Law, he-

          (a) alters or defaces;
          (b) blocks or erases;
          (c) destroys; or
          (d) conceals,
          the record with the intention of preventing its disclosure.

      (2) A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) is liable on
      summary conviction to a fine of one hundred thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.”

      Source: http://www.gazettes.gov.ky/pls/portal30/docs/Folder/SITE83/GAZETTES/GS2007/GS882007.PDF

      • Anonymous says:

        GOOD!

        Let’s summons the government, because the constitution we have is illegal: 

        IT WAS NOT A TRANSPARENT PROCESS and…

        IT GAVE THE GOVERNOR THE POWER TO DISREGARD THE PEOPLE’S ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES ON BEHALF OF HIS MAJESTY’S INTEREST (Part 2, section 33 of the Constitution)

         

  7. Twyla Vargas says:

    VERY INTERESTING talks,  over the release of these transcripts, and I quote, Pastor Shian O’Connor, who said he could understand why there may be some reservations over the releasing of the document.  Although there is nothing in the deliberatiions that needed protection from public scrutiny, and that  "One had to be mindful that the release could be used for purposes not intended"?  

    Very Interesting, because I remember asking a Priest of the Church this  question.  "Were there other documents, books of the bible that were not released to mankind?", and I was given this exact answer.   So I guess one is left to wonder.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is such thing called the Lost books of the Bible!  Sorry to pop people’s religious bubble, but it was the Roman Catholic Church, head by the Pope at the time, which came together and put all the Books of the Bible as one canon!

      Interestingly, many churches like rebellious daughters broke away from her reducing the Bible to 66 books instead of 70; moreover, through their ministers claiming that the book is and I quote, "the whole truth and nothing but the truth," as if truth is limited to what they say and books says.

      History shows the niaveness of her daughters. Catholics simply discarded ancient works such as the Gospel of Thomas from the Bible-canon just to fit their Sacred Traditions.  Then other Reformers came and reduced the number of books in the Bible.

      As for me, Truth is everywhere, it is nature, it is all, and should not be hidden or mischaracterized. It was never intended to be limited to what a minister or Pope says, a belief, some "holy book," or a "mental" concept of God is.  In politics, the same rule goes! People are entitle to know what is what to the full! 

  8. Anonymous says:

    They are not releasing it because they believe in transparency. Transparent in this case meaning invisible. We can see right through it to the constitution but cant actually see the transcripts.