Constitution talks go public

| 03/06/2010

(CNS): Following the ruling by the information commissioner the Cabinet Office has now finally agreed to release the transcripts from the three rounds of constitutional negotiations between the Cayman Islands and UK Governments. Cabinet Secretary Orrett Connor said that even though the UK agreed to the public release of the transcripts last November his office had to consider the individuals who had taken part believing them to be confidential. However, Connor said now that the documents were in the public domain he encouraged people to read them and see how government had conducted the negotiations on the country’s behalf.

 
The original Freedom of Information request was made by the Human Rights Committee but the request was denied. The HRC asked for an internal review which still resulted in a denial. However, following a lengthy review by the information commissioner due to various delays, Jennifer Dilbert gave her ruling last month stating the release of the transcripts was in the public interest. The documents were not released immediately despite a CNS report making it clear none of the parties involved objected to the release.
 
Commenting on the eventual release of the transcripts, on Thursday 3 June Cabinet Secretary Orrett Connor admitted that the UK reversed its original decision concerning the confidentiality of the talks more than seven months ago in November of last year.
 
“This required the Cabinet Office to carefully consider any obligation it might hold to individuals who had taken part in negotiations with the understanding that the proceedings would be private. There was additional concern that local and overseas parties to future negotiations might be inhibited by the precedent of discussions designated as private, becoming public after the fact,” he said.
 
Connor added however, that the Information Commissioner’s finding that the public interest outweighed any such concerns demonstrates the integrity of the system of checks and balances built into the Freedom of Information (FOI) Law by the Cabinet Office.
 
He urged everyone with Internet access to take advantage of the historic opportunity to learn how the Government conducts negotiations on their behalf. The Cabinet Office confirmed that it had already distributed copies to the applicant and sent copies to all other participants in the negotiations.
 
The transcripts cover three lots of meetings which took place in 2008 and 2009 and are available online from the Freedom of Information (FOI) document library of the Cabinet Office website www.cabinetoffice.gov.ky. They are also in the resources section of the 2009 Constitution website www.constitution.gov.ky. A link to the transcripts is also featured on the homepage of the Government portal, www.gov.ky.
 
It is also possible to listen to audio of the proceedings. The Cabinet Office is currently considering how it can make these recordings availableelectronically and will update the public as soon as a decision is reached.
To arrange to view the printed transcripts, interested persons should contact Information Manager Kim Bullings at 244-2209.
 
Check back to CNS next week for articles based on selected highlights of the talks.
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Category: FOI

Comments (17)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    When are you guys going to read this transcript and tell us what’s in it? I’m too lazy to do it myself.

  2. JH says:

     

    Not to divert the subject a bit, I may get a lot of thumbs down for doing so, but in response to Pit Bull on Fri, 06/04/2010 – 07:37 who responded to Bradley –
     
    The UK Parliament is struggling with corruption and transparency issues themselves. It wouldn’t surprise me that one day (for the “special interest” of course) they are going to impose a law on the Cayman Islands without the people’s consent. Our new Constitution provides such provisions. “There is reserved to Her Majesty full power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Cayman Islands” Section 125 – are powerful statements over the people’s head, which can be used to justify any so-call political or economical endeavor on her Majesty’s behalf.
     
    Just wait and see when you have people in power over these Islands that all they want is money and more power, and in order to get what they want, they have to do something detrimental and harmful to these Islands. Cayman may just become the next collapsed scaffold if we don’t put measures in place to represent us over powerful elites. This is not the time for Caymanians to be in a dreamland state to comfort ourselves with the thought that mother will always be fit in taking care of her children. Is she exceptionally taking care of us now?
     
    You see there comes a time (and this does not mean Independence) that efforts should be made to better represent us as a people from those in power and "special interest" groups!
     
    I have not heard anything yet of substance from Mr. Steve Mcfield regarding his UN meetings, and pertaining to our self-determination – of course, we are not in for Independence! Just like I deeply fear the pendulum of extremity switching towards full British Rule, I dread as well the thought of it swinging to Independence, because there are some very ignorant folk who all they want is a little power to rule like some dictator over the Islands. Everybody knows that the people would be pushed to the side if the pendulum swung to the far left or the far right.  But here is the key question in light of a Constitution that was decided on behind closed doors and by uninformed voters who were emotionally charged-up by party affiliation to vote “yea” for the document:
     
    "What is being done NOW by this government to ENSURE the safety of our REPRESENTATION as a people, and ensure that such representation is not usurped by those in high places, USING THE VERY PROVISIONS THAT ARE IN THE CONSTITUTION TO DO SO???" I would like some government official to answer this for me – at least here on this forum. Or least, such question to be read on Rooster before the public for the Premier or some delegate to answer. I think the public should be educated fully on what the electorate had voted on in May, 2009.
     
    This is a very important and serious matter, seeing that the global and predatorily capitalistic model in the world today, appears to not be working – especially, in the UK. What will they do to ensure we are not used?
     
    And people tend to rely too much on the UN as well to be on our side 100% percent, seeing that the local government and UK will only be on our side 50% when they see it feasible. What we need is better representation in the UK and heavy consequences to fall on “those” who disregard us as a people.
     
    All I am concern about is government becoming more and more powerful and we are but a small nation of people. We have to look out and protect ourselves.
    • Mat says:

      Cayman Net News has given an interesting read on the updates of Steve’s visit to the UN committee. I don’t see anything about securing our representation as a people if the UK should decide to make laws over our wishes for "someone’s else interest involved." 

      I guess the Constitution (how it is) is what our politicians want, and that may be why in these talks it was important to have them behind close doors. But the article is an interesting read still and he outlines the reason why we should stick with the UK.

      Nevertheless – there is no word on "what if" our representation is taken away without our consent like what they did to the inhabitants of the Turks and Caicos Islands – all because the English found their Premier. 

      Please see the article on Steve Mcfield here:

        http://www.caymannetnews.com/news-21312–1-1—.html

       

  3. Bill says:

    I’m amazed by how much of Elio’s part is marked inaudible. Didn’t he have a job on radio, LOL

    • Anonymous says:

      I especially loved the part that went something like this —–

      CI legal expert: Now we (inaudible) why this was kept under (inaudible) and the fact that the legal aspects are (inaudibale)  and we should approve becuase( inaudibale) and furthermore (inaudibale) and really we should not (inaudibale) but yes we can.

      Mr. Chairman: I see

      We are absolutely (inaudible) !!!! pardon my French.

       

    • Anonymous says:

      Attorney General Sam Bulgin should immediately be promted to the judicial bench.

  4. Slowpoke says:

    I would like to thank Sarah Collins for standing up and representing me at these meetings, and the HRC for initiating this request.

     It took some time, but it was worth it. 

  5. islandman says:

    The Cabinet Secretary is now "encouraging people to read it eh". Must have taken some of the extra time to come up with that spin eh.

  6. anonymous says:

    Yes criticize the Constitution all you want, but it is a start to a long process and can be amended, whenever the people see its need.  At lease Kurt and the PPM took the initiative to start the process and in doing so, especially ropped in that XXXXX leader we now have.  Just imagine without that constitution what stupidness he would now be doing with this Country and its people?

  7. Anonymous says:

    so Ken Jefferson fought to retain his position!!! but why oh why do we need a financial secretary and all his glorified deputies when there is a finance minister!

  8. bradley says:

    It is a shame we are seeing this now just after the Constitution ratification was cleverly dovetail with the Cayman Islands Elections in 2009. It is a shame that all this happened on the same day to influence voters that were not informed of these talks.

    SHAME, SHAME, SHAME

    And now we the people of the Cayman Islands must live with a shady document!  The whole process was rushed and entwined with the day of Election!

    I can’t believe people are speaking so nicely about the PPM. Like the UDP – they did nothing to represent us!  You may thumbs down all you want – I am done with these two parties!

    Here’s a question maybe you should think about and try to find the answer:

    PLEASE SHOW ME ONE THING IN THE CONSTITUTION THAT SHOWS THAT CAYMANIANS ARE ENSURED FULL AND COMPLETE REPRESENTATION without THE UK’s INTERFERENCE?????????????????????

    Please show me???  I will give you a zillion dollars if you do!

    Total Shame!

    • Pit Bull says:

      As a British citizen living in this British territory it is vital that the UK keeps ultimate control over the Cayman Islands and this ultimate control allows Cayman to have such a ridiculously undemocratic local electoral process.

      Cayman is happy to prosper because it is British (and only because it is British) so it must also accept the practical consequences of this.

      • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

        Yes Pit Bull, the Cayman Islands is still a British Colony.  Are you still proud of colonialism and being the colonial master?

  9. Anonymous says:

    I have no doubt that this victory for both democracy and common sense arose in spite of the protests and foot dragging by our elected politicians and in no small part because many people, including the producers of this site, had the courage to "strap on a pair" and let their voices be heard. The FOI Commissioner is also owed a special thank you for doing her job in spite of those who would prefer for Cayman to remain in the Dark Ages.

  10. Not to be a critic

    But I think when reading this document you will see how the UDP at that time was all for transparency and wanted the meeting public. No one can contest that Mac’s words during the talks. I read the first part

    You hardly heard anything from Kurt about transparent process like Mac

    • bradley says:

      Now that truth is being told –  

      Why Kurt?!

      • Dred says:

        That’s so funny. Why Kurt?!! Really. I mean yeah why Kurt but shoudl you not be saying Why Mac? Why Mac after you cried for it and now you try to not do it? Why Mac why?

        I actually think they are both XXXXX to be honest but if you want to say Why anyone go after teh one trying to hide stuff.