Rushed laws unconstitutional

| 20/10/2010

(CNS): The government’s frequent suspension of the public consultation period on pieces of legislation before bringing the bills to the Legislative Assembly is unconstitutional, members of the Constitutional Commission said yesterday. One of a number of issues raised in their first report, the commissioners have pointed out that the Standing Orders governing procedures in the Assembly have to be changed to reflect the constitutional requirement that all bills are published 21 days before they are presented there, except in emergency situations. The commissioners warned government that it is vulnerable because of a number of gaps between existing legislation, orders and processes and the requirements of the constitution that it has not yet addressed. (Photo Dennie WarrenJr)

Legislation has to be compliant before the implementation of the Bill of Rights in November 2012, and government should be in the process of addressing laws and policies in preparation, the commissioners said. But they also noted that a number of issues with regard to the main body of the Constitution have still not been addressed, despite the fact that it was implemented almost a year ago, including the issue of Standing Orders in the Legislative Assembly.

“The commission believes that the government may be vulnerable to unseen liabilities if it does not close the existing gaps by completely and effectively implementing all the sections of the Constitution,” said the commission’s chair, Pastor Al Ebanks, at a briefing on Tuesday morning in which his fellow commissioners, Julene Banks and Wil Pineau, presented the findings of their report to the media. “The commission in the course of its work will do its best to assist and advise where necessary.”

The commissioners pointed to a number of provisions that have not yet been tackled, including the government’s failure to pass legislation relating to the people’s referendum law, the failure of the governor to appoint a director of public prosecutions, and the Cabinet’s failure to update the Guide to Operations of the Cabinet, setting out the constitutional changes affecting procedures as well as the way the premier and minsters are appointed.

The commissioners also pointed out that, while the Electoral Boundary Commission had submitted its report to the governor and the Legislative Assembly several months ago, the government’s position on the report has not yet been presented to the LA.

The current question raised by the premier of whether another cabinet minister can be appointed from the elected representatives before the 2013 election, when the number of seats in the legislature is set to rise, may be delaying that report. Although they have not yet been asked to take a position on this question, Ebanks stated that it was an area the commissioners would be examining. He pointed out that they would be taking legal advice to establish if such a change to the Constitution, if it happens, would require a referendum or not.

Pineau noted that the report, which is a public document and will be available on the constitution website, covers a wide range of issues, including concerns raised by various stakeholder groups during consultation meetings. Furthermore, he said it prioritises the issues which government must address, including, among a number of other pressing issues, the need to rewrite the LA Standing Orders to make them compliant with the Constitution.

Julene Banks pointed out that the Constitution was not something from which people could pick and choose as it suited them, but it was the highest law of the land which sets out the procedures and processes that government must follow. She noted that the 21 day publication requirement was one of many elements that contribute to good governance, openness and transparency that the Constitution is designed to protect. “We need everyone to abide by these laws,” Banks stated. “It’s not a document of convenience; there are standards set by the people, things which the people believe are good and we call on legislators to operate constitutionally.”

Since coming to office the government has voted to suspend Standing Orders on the majority of important laws and amendments that have been passed over the last eighteen months, closing down public debate. Banks stated, however, that the suspension should only occur in the case of emergencies and the people need to ask it this was the case on every occasion. “There should be a mandatory 21 days to allow people time for discussion and debate,” she added.

Section 71 of the Constitution states that Standing Orders must provide for fair procedures, adequate notice of bills and motions, and a sufficient opportunity for members of the Legislative Assembly (including opposition members) to speak and otherwise participate in the proceedings of the Assembly. It also indicated that they shall not be suspended or revoked without good reason. In Section 77 it states that, except in a case of emergency, every bill introduced by the government shall be published at least 21 days before the commencement of the meeting at which it is scheduled to be introduced.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Have these requirements of the constitution actually gone into force. If not, it’s hard to see how these votes could be unconstitutional.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Is this the better way forward that Norman Bodden, Dick Arch and Joy Basedo promised us we would get if we elected the Mac and his UDP team?  WOW!

    • Anonymous says:

      What Mr Bush has criticized as "bureaucracy" has been revealed to be the "law of the land"… the Cayman Islands Constitution.  Clearly Mr Bush seems perturbed at the expectation that he limit his behavior to what is LEGAL.  When the leader of a country chooses to ignore the laws of the country and act as he desires – how can that lead to anything but chaos?  And whether you embrace societal chaos or try to control it, can this end in any way other than with police/soldiers in the street?

    • Anonymous says:

      And it gets worse, news at eleven as they say on US television.

    • Anonymous says:

      One fool makes many the old folks say

  3. Anonymous says:

    How long will England allow these unconstitutional acts to continue? The time has come for the Governor to make some hard choices to defend and enforce our Constitution before it is too late. The current state of affairs should be remembered before thinking of independence for Cayman. If Mac and his buffoons had no to look over their shoulder it would be a complete disaster.

    • Loriane says:

      Sorry to say this, as much as I love England, you have some jokers up there who all they want is power to do their own thing. Democracy?!  When did you ever see England stand for democracy in terms of the colonies?  I recall America kick their butts by a revolution, and that is how they got rid of them!  As for Cayman, our only hope is outside help, or the "good people" in England who has power and can make a difference on our behalf. 

  4. Anonymous says:

    Who is really surprised by this? The BT 2 elected members ignored the constitution and all of the UDP continues to do so!

  5. West Bayer says:

    10 story buildings anyone…….DUH!!!!!

    If God himself came down and told Mac this, he would look away with a grin!

    The best thing for us as Caymanians to do right now – is PLEAD with England to take us over before CHAVEZ does!!!

    • GunAdvocate says:

      hah!  You would rather english colonial-slavery-dictatorship-limey rule over being run by a Chavez who is at least more democratic than George Bush???

      lol… you should have mentioned some other country to take us over other than England man!  God!  Your unbelieavble!  It is like you jumping from one pot of hot boiling water into the next pot! 

      As a Caymanian, Please don’t INCLUDE ME


      • Anonymous says:

        GunAdvocate please take it easy on poor old West Bayer,i stayed in my house and heard that slap you gave to him from miles away,go easy on him man,jus cool!!

      • Lizzy II says:

        "As a Caymanian"? No such thing. Surely you meant "As a British Overseas Territories Citizen".

      • Anonymous says:

        You would rather be ruled by a dictator like chavez (have you heard what happens to those who oppose him?) than to be a dependent terriority of the UK? WHAT? Oh, wait a second, I just noticed your name GunAdvocate, that explains everything! GunAdvocate & Chavez go together like bread & butter so I would not expect any better. But as a Caymanian, PLEASE don’t include me in your plans under Chavez, give me George Bush anyday over an evil dictator. Chavez? Really? Unbelievable! And you say you are Caymanian? We need more George Bush’s in the world, we were all safer then, but now? Chavez????????? hahahaha (if I don’t laugh I’ll cry for God’s sake)

        • Anonymous says:

          We need more George Bush’s in the world,we were all safer then………man you have got to be smoking cow itch or maden plum bush, are you crazy? you need to go check your self into rehab cause your thinking is seriously screwed up.Thank God for Obama,(at least he is more on the peaceful side and most of the world is loving America once again)can you imagine if the war loving republicans had won? there would be war in the East ,West North and South,and you mr anonymous @ 21:25 would be wetting your pants at this very moment. I am not for Chavez but as far as i know the dictator from Venezuela is not responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent women and children in the Middle East and around the world.Crimes against humanity should be dished out to all heads of state guilty of murder but in this unfair world only the small third world leaders must trod carefully or face the courts in Europe. Anonymous @ 21:25 for God’s sake please check yourself into rehab immediately before it’s too late,laugh if you like or cry if you want but please don’t delay.!!!

  6. UDPAreKillingUs! says:

    UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!……….Caymanians, how long are we going to allow this present Govt to remain in control of our rights, our children’s future and all of our Constitutional Rights?????????

    When the Petition of No-Confidence Vote appears in front of your face, please DO NOT let the $50 hand-out, a load of marl, or a fridge or a washing machine cloud your judgement!!

    If you vote by the standard of FREENESS and allow the present Govt to be the first dictator of our islands, and to seize and control your Rights and Freedoms, then what will you Will to your children and your future generations to come???

    We, the Electorate; We the People of these islands MUST retain control of this islands, not the Govt.  This is the SOLE reason why the CONSTITUTION was created and passed by us, The Elect!!!

    Lets take action!!……..and I don’t mean by spewing hot air when taking about this matter!!!

    Signed:  An Honor to be Caymanian – I love my People!!

  7. Pink Floyd Ebanks says:

    We don’t need no Constitution, Mac Daddy got things under control. No PPM not going to object, Tibbetts leave our Bills alone. Hey, Tibbetts, leave our Bills alone!

    • O'Really says:

      For what it’s worth, I appreciate your humour! As things stand, what can you do but laugh?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yow Star, Grow up boy!

      Yes, I talking to you Pink Floyd Ebanks.

      Even the prickles you getting cant make you that oblivious to what taking place under this Government.

      Prickles cant help you in the future when Cayman is destroyed!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I once heard Charles Clifford say that a lawless government would eventually lead to a lawless society…… Clifford’s prediction coming to past ?

    What is the sanction for a government that insist on operating outside the constitution ? Whatever it is it must be an effective sanction such as the removal of the government by His Excellency dissolving the LA and calling early general elections !!!

  9. Shock and Awe says:

    These are not called "Cheques and Ballyhoo".  They are "Checks and Balances".  Is a true democracy too difficult for them to comprehend?

  10. Richard Wadd says:

     The Constitution … "the highest law of the land which sets out the procedures and processes which government must follow."

     Should read … " not worth the paper it is written on".

    What good is ANY Law if it is unenforceable or unenforced?

    It starts with trivial things, like Election Laws, and Contract Awards, then Standing Orders, etc.

     Soon to come Planning and Development Laws, Environmental Laws and more.

     Statements have been made in the National Media that certain Boards and Committees and are interfering with the Govts. plans, and "we are going to do something about it".

     Anyone think that the East End Quarry (sorry, I mean Port) isn’t going to happen? Think again.

     BTW, there IS an alternative to what Mr. Joe Imperato proposes, but no-one wants to talk about it. One wonder$ why?

  11. Very Concerned Citizen says:

    We have been overrun with thugs and criminals masquerading as upright members of society. They change the laws to suit their own ends. They do not consult the people and they divide the spoils amongst each other.

    No good can come of this. "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." For your actions of hypocrisy, theft, deception, lies and secret double dealing, there will be an equal reaction to correct you all.

    Never in my life have I seen such a blatant misuse of power and utter incompetence by a group of people who claim to represent the people.

    I am sick and fed up of our liberties being eroded every day by these pathetic politicians, many of whom I am convinced are mentally ill.

    The governor is ominously silent in these matters. I wonder why that is? Sir, if you are reading this can I implore you to make a statement as to the state of this country as seen through the eyes of the crown?

    This country is getting worse off by the day and these politicians have been totally clueless. Nothing of any note has been achieved in the last 8 or so years other than extravagant levels of national and personal debt.

    How dare they then turn around and actually have the gall to bring God into this? God is far from this debacle and certainly would not put His Name to it.

    I don’t hear the churches speaking out about this, because they are just as corrupt and worldly. Their congregations are ruled by the law of money and they are afraid to speak out and declare the truth.

    The Emperor has on no clothes!

  12. Macman says:

    Come on who is surprised, this is the same government which has two members who broke the elections law and were still made members!!!

  13. Johnson says:

    Interesting how we have a Constitution and yet the Governor and MLA’s continue to fail us in having the document implemented right away!  Why the delay??? 

    It just shows you how immaterial is the Constitution and the Law!  It is not a perfect document, but disregarding its implementation is like a slapping Caymanians (the People of the Constitution) in the face!

    Cayman is not a FAIR and TRUE democracy!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone actually believe that Beloved Leader cares whether the Constitution is followed or the safeguards associated with a democracy are preserved?

  15. Anonymous says:

    direct rule now!…… governor, where are you?

    • Johnson says:

      lol… I think that is what the Governor and all his UK supporters want… they don’t care for the Caymanian "natives"

      Saw what happended to Turks and Caicos. Just one year after they got their NEW CONSTITUTION… funny… the UK declared full rule on them, taking away everyone’s full "democratic representation." They use "corruption" and Premier Misick as an excuse to take over government treasury.  The Governor there has also recently refused them to vote.

      And we brag so much that we have a Constitution and Law that is immovable!  Guess again…

      • Chris Johnson says:

        ‘Submitted by Johnson’

        Not my goodself.

      • westchest says:

        Premier Misick was corrupt – the island needed a change!  Learnt that when they made the declaration, they sent a warship to convey their message to the inhabitants. Yes… it was a bit extreme and the UN condemned it, but TCI and its people is a mere colony under UK government like Cayman Islands.  It was not like TCI was some big place effecting millions of people for God sake!

        Please spare us from your flimsy rhetoric!

      • anon says:

        I am pretty sure the UK has better things to do than to have to get involved in this pettiness and if the law was indeed followed then they would not.

        elected ‘Leaders’ of both Turks and Cayman have a moral duty and a responsibility to act within the law… not to act as they themselves see fit and to suit themselves (sound like any body we know?)

        you should be asking them to stop acting like greedy fools… it is emabarrassing for us all!!


    • kissmebackfoot says:

      scary… wouldn’t want that either… that is like the other extreme – independence. Both ways… full British Rule or Independence… and you have a Dictator – if not a UK one, a local one!

      I think we need the UN for help on this one!

  16. Anonymous says:

    lawless government!!!!!!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Whether the Premier or any other government figure did not vote for it:

    ‘Julene Banks pointed out that the constitution was not something from which people could pick and choose as it suited them, but it was the highest law of the land which sets out the procedures and processes which government must follow.’