LA breached CI constitution say human rights groups

| 22/12/2010

(CNS): Some twenty five international human rights groups and individual activists say the Legislative Assembly and its speaker breached the Cayman Islands Constitution 2009 as well as the UN Declaration of Human Rights by revoking the privileges of and call to prosecute local reporter, Brent Fuller. In an open letter circulated by the Centre for Law and Democracy on behalf of another two dozen people and organisations, to the Speaker of the Cayman Legislative Assembly, the activists said that Fuller’s right to freedom of expression was protected under international law and section 11 of Cayman’s own constitution. The human rights groups said the article at the heart of the issue was legitimate comment on the Legislative Assembly, a key public body in Cayman.

“We believe that the right to engage in criticism of elected bodies, even of a trenchant or unreasonable nature, is central to a democracy,” the authors stated in the letter sent to Mary Lawrence the LA Speaker on Wednesday.

Following the Attorney General’s announcement that he would not be prosecuting Fuller in the wake of the LA’s vote 9-4 to do so and the activists said the attempt to prosecute was still “likely to exert a chilling effect on local coverage of this important public body,” in the letter.

They also criticized the move to undertake the FOI law review behind closed doors which was the point of the article written by Fuller and the supporting editorial both published in the Caymanian Compass.

“As advocates of openness, we also believe that it is inappropriate for the legislature to conduct discussions regarding reform of an access to information law in secret,” the authors stated. “International good practice dictates that such meetings should be conducted in the open and that any committee reviewing such a law should provide as much opportunity as possible for public input.”

The authors of the open letter (attached below) called on the speaker to ensure free reporting on the Assembly, by repealing the motion suspending Fuller and to use her influence to ensure that legislative discussions about reform of the Freedom of Information were held in public.

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Comments (22)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Right to locals supposibly enemployable being hired against unquilified cheap labor: BREACHED

  2. Anonymous says:

    It is only a matter of time before the Cayman Islands will have its government brought into court for violation of human rights.

    It will be a shock for them to realize that the “old days” of heavy handed control and intimidation are over.

    The sooner this occurs the better.

    • Anonymouse. says:

      Ezzard is so power drunk he recently threatened to jail the acting CEO of Cayman Airways because he failed to fix problems that was created by his predecessors. When a politician reachers that stage of Lunacy it is high time to dump them. Question is, who in their right mind would want to tackle the mess that exist particularly when they could go to jail for failing to fix the problem even though they have given it their best.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ezzaard Miller can’t send anyone to jail on his own say-so, as much as he loves to threaten people with jail….

        The next person Ezzard Miller threatens needs to file charges against him themselves under the human rights laws that already exist for the Cayman Islands…

        The Human Rights Commission under Richard Coles should be taking a leading role here but they are curiously quiet on all this…

        Have they too been silenced, like Sarah Collins and the Human Rights Committee were ?

        Time for someone to haul Ezzard Miller and any other big-mouthed, bullying politician before the EU Human Rights Court…

        It can’t be done through the Cayman courts for the time being but a petition to the Governor  will have a reverse action from Britain…

        Britain does investigate human rights abuses against any of its citizens in any British territory; I have had to make such an appeal myself through the office of the Governor against the RCIPS and results were achieved.

        This is not information that the Cayman Islands Government wishes its Caymanian citizens to know or use but the system works just fine once the process has been started.

        A well-written letter of official complaint to the British High Commission in Jamaica, to the office of the Governor or Foriegn Commonwealth Office is all it takes to trigger an official investigation into the complaint; the British Govt. by law, has to investigate any serious complaint lodged through the proper channels.

        Time to take on this bully at his own game…


  3. Anonymous says:

    proof that ezzard miller is what he is….. ‘a small town windbag’ who loves the sound of his own voice….shame on rooster for giving this man air time on ‘super’ tuesdays….zzzzz

    • Anonymous says:

      It is true that many of the present politicians in Cayman could not survive outside of the country. They are (overall) pretty low functioning, as the recent vote to take the press to court has proved. What absurdity. Lord knows what outsiders must think – a bunch of small-minded individuals with tunnel-vision, absent any vision divorced from their own best interests. Cayman cries out for men and women of integrity and yet none seem forthcoming. Is this present shambles the very best Cayman can put forth? I pray not.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Cayman Islands. First world country maybe, Third world leadership, definitely.

  5. Anonymous says:

    When the Cayman Islands successive governments decided and were allowed to not ratify the existing human rights statutes that the UK were signatory to back in the 70s and 80s,this situation was created….

    The real problem is that Cayman’s politicians have not seen where things have changed, particularly since 1997/98 when Britain fully embraced the EU Charter on Human Rights and created its own Human Rights Act 1998, a charter that was meant to give British citizens the right to pursue their cases in British courts, without having to go to Strasbourg, a long, drawn-out and expensive process.

    Amazingly, Cayman’s voting public allowed their politicians to trick and bully them out of immediately enshrining their own Bill of Rights in the 2009 Constitution and opted to wait for 3 additional years until 2012…

    In the meantime, its clearwhat Cayman’s politicians intend to attempt to do within that 3 year period.

    This Speaker of the House, Mary Lawrence, has even tried to interfere with the work of the Constitutional Commission who has come out and said that this Bill of Rights and its underpinning legislation should be instituted now.

    Cayman’s politicians have a local population scared and ignorant of the their rights and the process of accessing them…

    But not the international community….

    At some point in time, someone in the Cayman Islands political and government structure is going to end up before the European Court of Human Rights on major human rights violations charges….

    In my opinion, the sooner the better.

  6. IRON CLAD says:

    For this I can only say 10 words… YES, YES YES, YES YES YES, YES YES YES, YESSS!!!

    Let’s make it 21 more… It is about TIME we get some INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION. Hope MacKeeva gets even MORE attention with his political abuse.


    • Anonymous says:

      Wasn’t Mr. Bush one of the 4 who voted AGAINST attempting to prosecute the reporter? How does that equal "political abuse" as you put it?

      • Anonymous says:

        Just to provide balance.  I’m sure this was on his instructions, given his hostility to the media.

  7. Anonymous says:

    whats new…this is just another day in wonderland…..zzzzzz

    any comment from our mute governor on this?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, when are we going to hear from the governor? Not that I envy him, poor fellow. Can’t be long now before he realises that in the madcap ‘Through the Looking Glass’ that is Cayman, he’s beginning to age in dog years, and that after even four years here he’ll be leaving aged about eighty, with only the most tenuous of grasps on reality.

  8. The Crown says:

    It is odd however,there are numerous “breach’s” in my view,if our human right’s groups have paid even a pittance of attention & quite awhile before this one.Oddly again,who are they? It doesn’t take alot of nob turning to conclude that human right’s,humans & human right’s groups must be amalgamated. And obviously,not only to come out of the closet on occasion,but to encompass the globe. Isn’t that the need & the point? My god, people,the United Nations Declaration Of Universial Human Rights is now 62year’s old! My..god.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Although not explicitly stated, it seems the activists are really arguing that the LA Powers Immunities and Privileges Law is in breach of the Bill of Rights and the ECHR. I would be interested to hear the views of our Human Rights Commission on this.

    The case authority cited is not of course directly relevant as it concerns whether a local authority had the right at common law to sue for libel. There is no such question in view here as the issue is whether the conduct complained of constitutes an offence under the statute (and not at common law) and there is no question that if the offence is made out then a prosecution may ensue. The courts would not be entitled to dismiss a prosecution on that basis. However, what is relevant is the apparent suggestion by their Lordships that any statute criminalising defamation of apublic authority would be viewed with suspicion and would likely be in breach of Article 10 of the ECHR.

  10. au revoir says:

    there are those in the cayman islands who still believe that they can do as they please, world be damned. unfortunately for them, if they want to play with the big boys, they have to abide by certain rules… shame on mrs. mary lawrence and those members of the legislative assembly (ie. mr. miller et al) who tried to intimidate those who guard the rights of the people. didn’t work out so well for you, did it now?

  11. nauticalone says:

    Nothing official from our local HRC?

    I told them politicians to leave this alone. How can politicians be qualified to lead these islands and behave like this?….trying to ignore FOI (unless it suits them) and muzzle the Press.

    What a waste of time by our very highly paid lawmakers. Such a shame!

  12. Anonymous says:

    The Speaker should resign for her totally out of date approach to issues like this. She and her late husband castigated viciously Jim and Haig Bodden and Truman all these years ago in the Herald and especially “The Voice” but when the tables are turned and she herself is part of the political process she is unable to think and act rationally in a manner that is appropriate for the office of Speaker.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The AG ‘s correct decision not to prosecute doesn’t matter, the intent of the politician who made the motion was served with the intended threat and those politicians who agreed with him raised the ante by passing his motion.

    The threat was made regardless by the original motion.

    Then he tried to step away from his motion unsuccessfully by saying he spoke for a shorter period of time than other politicians.

    Where do these guys come from?

    Imagine the damage to the LA and the Cayman Islands government in the eyes of the world press had the AG not shown professionalism and dropped the motion.

    Then a party staffer tried to blame those who voted no to the foolishness.

    • Dred says:

      Actually about time he did something correct. I am still quite bitter over his turning away from the BT issues.

  14. Legal Beagle says:

    Which rights do they not breach?

    1) The right to vote and stand in elections to a legislature? Breached.

    2) Right to education?  Breached.

    3) Right against discrimination on grounds of national origin? Breached.

    4) Right to free speech and free assembly? Breached.