PPM complains laws rushed

| 09/09/2010

(CNS): The opposition says that government is rushing laws through the legislature without proper consultation and closing down public discussion periods on important new bills. PPM member for George Town, Alden McLaughlin, complained in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday morning that, once again, government was rushing laws through the House by suspending Standing Orders and giving little or no time for these new lawsto be properly considered by the opposition as well as the wider community. The former Cabinet member said this constant suspending of Standing Orders was not only resulting in poorly crafted laws but it was also unconstitutional. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

Following the entire opposition bench’s vote against the suspension of Standing Orders, he pointed out that there are already major complaints coming from the financial services sector over the recent dormant accounts legislation, which was just one example of why legislation needs a period of consultation. Despite that, he said, here government was again seeking to rush through all the stages of consideration on four new pieces of legislation without offering any opportunity to the opposition or anyone else to consider their implications.
 
Speaking about the amendment to the immigration law, which will usher in a news certificate for domestic helpers who are taking care of the sick and elderly, enabling them to bypass the rollover policy without the right to permanent residency, McLaughlin said the opposition had only received what is a very important legislative change on Monday morning.
 
“We voted against the suspension because, again, on such short notice government proposes to go through all stages of the bill in one sitting without any public consultation, without giving any opportunity for consideration by the opposition, let alone an opportunity for us to consult with our constituents,” McLaughlin observed.
 
He said the increasing practice of the current administration to suspend Standing Orders to rush bills through was resulting in poorly drafted legislation, adding that he had heard the dormant accounts bill “was a disaster” and would have to be returned to the LA for a number of significant, amendments.
 
“Unless there is a genuine emergency thepeople in the community need time to consider legislation that will impact their lives and the future of this country,” McLaughlin said.
 
He also pointed out that the new Constitution sets out the need for government to provide adequate notice of bills to be debated under the Standing Orders and they could not be suspended without very good reason. However, government was suspending the Standing Orders on a regular basis, closing down debate and public consultation on new laws and significant legislative amendments.
 
Premier McKeeva Bush hit back at the opposition member, however, and said the PPM would not even let him speak when he was in opposition because of their speaker. He claimed that there were not enough people to help draft the laws as the country had such a small legislature. The laws needed to be passed, the premier stated, so whenever they were ready government had to bring them to the House. He said that his government intended to get work done so had no choice but to bring the bills as soon as he could to get them passed and implemented.
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Comments (18)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The opposition party is so weak this government can get away with doing whatever it wants.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Once again we see a blatent misuse of power by the Premier.  His team of Court Jesters continues to blindly follow his wishes with no concern for their constituents who put them in office. It is an insult to the people to not be given time to consider and give input to legislation.

    This needs to be stopped. 

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Only Caymanians can do this.  So it will never happen.  Even those in power and in oppsition to Mac can do nothing.  Or maybe more truthfull to say won’t even try to do anything that takes standing up.

      • Anon says:

        I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again.  If you’re going to pull a coup out of your ass you’ll have to stand up.  I really, really don’t get why it is so impossible for Cayman to extricate itself from this ridiculous man!  Can somebody please explain it to me?

  3. Anonymous says:

    More of this Mac-attack approach. God help Cayman.

     

  4. Anonymous says:

    The Premier thinks because he is the leader of Government he is entitled to pass laws on his own, without debate and consulting with the opposition and with the people of these Islands, but he is wrong.  He has almost turn Cayman into a 3rd world country with the status grants, now he is out to ruin the financial industry and he is rapidly destroying the tourism industry.  This man has no education and he should not be in control of these very strong industries.  He is so vindictive to PPM, he only looks at revenge and fighting.  He needs to be bi-partisan and work together with everyone, to accomplish what is BEST for Cayman and not what is suitable for his rich friends. he will go down in Cayman History as our WORST Politician.

  5. IRON CLAD says:

     THANK YOU ALDEN.

    Thank you for standing up and speaking up on this subject YET again. All we need is the rest of the PPM to take some REAL ACTION on this matter to have ol’ Mac IRONED OUT with this abuse.

    Thank you for being a better Statesman.

    Your ‘Stranger’ Friend. 

  6. Hallowe'en Jack says:

    "so whenever they were ready government had to bring them to the House."  They weren’t ready – some of them were a complete dog’s dinner with atrocious drafting.

  7. nauticalone says:

    What a shame then that the new and modernised contitution does not have with it a law with teeth to ensure this foolish waste of time and money does not happen.

    Both PPM and UDP are being overpaid to do nothing more than blow their horns at eachother!

    Neither of these teams saw this type of abuse coming? Cayman really needs some new, modern and sensible leaders.

     

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am not sure that even with "proper consultation" that the laws would be any better. Petty politics seems to get in the way.

    What is needed is leadership that works at getting win-win legislation on the books.

    And I mean "win-win" for Caymanians, expat domestics and expat professionals. It is not an easy task but given sound ethical principles and hard work, it is possible.

     

  9. Anonymous says:

    Big Mac’s own words "people were benefiting from Cayman’s mistake" yet he can’t put is ego away and work with the rest of the elected members to try and turn this economy around!

    God help us one have baked idea after another being passed through ! Reminds me of the disastrous status grants given years ago !  

  10. Dale says:

    Mr. McLaughlin being the chief architect of the new constitution should get the blame for not inserting an article in there to provide for a minimum consultation period for non-urgent bills. If it was included, it would have strengthen the powers of the people and remove breeding grounds for budding dictators.  He knows well why he did not do it.

    • Dirk says:

      The Constitution lays out that Standing Orders must provide adequate time for consultation and that they may only be suspended for good cause. That is what it is supposed to do. The problem is not with the Constitution, it is with the way the Premier is defining good cause and what you term "non-urgent bills".

      The Constitution is the highest law of the land and may not be changed willy-nilly, so the Constitution must outline basic provisions that are then elaborated upon in subsidiary legislation (or in this case Standing Orders). It is impractical and inefficient to lay out relatively insignificant, detailed and technical matters that are often subject to change or interpretation in the Constitution.

      The Constitution outlines general rights, principles and responsibilities – and it’s long and complicated enough just doing that! The Constitution is not meant to fully detail every single thing that may come up and is not the only check and balance on executive power. That’s what subsidiary legislation (i.e. all other laws) is for.

      • Dale says:

        Sounds great. However, Standing Orders could be suspended by a majority vote and a dictator can get any bills passed with little or no notice to the opposition. This constitution should have a complete set of articles regarding bills because the constitution and other basic laws of the country could be impacted by any new bills/proposed laws.  Ideally, during the public consultation period, the people should have the right to challenge any proposed laws/bills in the highest court of the country i.e. Supreme Court when they feel that the proposed laws are not in compliance with the constitution or violates basic human rights.  Hence constitution is seriously lacking in this regard.  Any modern constitution provides for this type of basic protections to the people. It’s too late and we may have to wait for few years until we fix these shortcomings.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This is nothing new, this is what UDP do all the time, going back to their time between 2001 & 2005, and during their present disasterous terror reign. That is the hallmark of ‘almost little’ mac.

  12. A Concerned Caymanian says:

     The do something about this!  Don’t allow one man to run this country on his own!  All voting members of the LA need to stand against all these breach of our rights as citizens of the Cayman Islands. Remember we put you there for a reason now please help protect us and our country!