Commission asserts autonomy

| 11/04/2011

(CNS): The constitutional commissioners have stressed their independence in the wake of criticisms by the premier. Although the three member body has not yetrevealed the contents of a letter sent to the governor and the country’s political leader in response to the damning statement about the commissioners in the Legislative Assembly recently, at their first public meeting last week the commission chair made it very clear that the commissioners were not subject to direction or control by anyone. Pastor Al Ebanks said they would continue their discussions and fact finding work when it came to constitutional issues. The members also urged the people not to give up on making their voices heard, despite their frustrations.

Speaking at a district public meeting in North Side last Thursday, the constitutional officials described their role as part think-tank, part advisory body and an educational unit. The commissioners said it needed input from the people to function properly but was autonomous and not subject to any agency. Ebanks said that while the members might have friends in political parties, the members were not affiliated to any political group or position. “We will not be pressured by anyone in fulfilling our mandate,” the chair told the people of North Side.

The comments come after a statement made by the premier in the Legislative Assembly last month in which he severely criticised the commissioners and accused them of stepping outside their remit. McKeeva Bush said that if they wanted power they "should go get money and get elected."

Speaking about the impact the constitution had on the man on the street, where there made be need for change and what was and was not functioning well to uphold good governance, the commissioners told the people not to give up on speaking out about the issues that concerned them and pressing for change. The commissioners said that the constitution itself protected public participation in politics and the people had to ensure they remained engaged.

Commissioner Julene Banks stressed the fundamental importance of public input in a democracy, and while the people may not always make a difference on every occasion, politicians and government still reacted to public opinion. She urged people to remain involved and not to be discouraged as the commission was one vehicle that could carry the voice of the public. She warned against apathy, even though people were frustrated when government didn’t listen. “We want people to know freedom of expression is alive and well,” she added.

Those who had turned up at the meeting, however, pointed out that government had not listened to the extensive public input over the desire for single member constituencies during the public consultation process in order to address the increase in the membership of the Legislative Assembly. Pastor Al acknowledged that and noted that it really was difficult to see how the public could have made it any clearer about what they wanted.

The district MLA, Ezzard Miller, who was present at the small meeting said the current constitution did not make a material difference to the man in the street and that he could understand people’s frustrations over getting their voices heard. He said the words “good governance and transparency” were almost as over used and as disingenuous in the Cayman Islands as the words “I love you”.

Miller pointed out that the problem in local politics was that it was not possible to legislate for morality and integrity. "You really need politicians who believe in parliamentary democracy,” he said, adding that unless the political members of the government supported something, it wasn’t going to happen, regardless of the recommendations that may be made.

The commissioners are continuing their programme of public district meetings and will hold the next meeting on Thursday, 14 April, at the East End Civic Centre. The commissioners will meet on Thursday, 5 May, at the Bodden Town Civic Centre and on 19 May at the South Sound Civic Centre. All meetings start at 7pm and meetings are planned in June for West Bay and the Sister Islands. 

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  1. Michel Lemay says:

    I applaud the Comissionners for their perseverance in the face of adversity. Now you are getting a taste how intimidating our Premier can be. And it is was what is dividing our Cayman islands and it’s people so much. Because of his my way or no way attitude, the wishes of the people are absolutly ignored and is now affecting our future. For instance the party system are now seen as taboo because of the action of one man and his silent party on many issues. Please keep it up on our behalf for we know that this too shall come to pass. As you can see from this blog alone , it’s begins with a subject and then end’s with another. The sign a very nervous and confused populace that Our Premier toy’s with. As john 19-1 tells us ” Be quick to Listen. slow to Respond and slow to become Angry” and pray for him for he knows what he is doing as a” Former Christian”. God Bless.

  2. petermilburn says:

    Keep up the good work Commissioners.Keep on doing what is right for the country not just the chosen few like some others are doing.Democracy at work is what we need to remember.for the good of all.

  3. nauticalone says:

    I was at the meeting and while i can relate to the frustrations expressed i was also encouraged by the Commisioners to continue to show up and speak up.

    Cayman needs educated, articulate, and most importantly professionally ethical leaders.
    And it’s no way in hell that we have that with the current leadership!

  4. Just Commentin' says:

    Uummph! Take THAT Mac! Pastor Al sure told ya, nah?

    Hey, Mac: Pastor Al is telling you dat ya nose has no place poking around his committee and that you need to butt the hell out and keep ya trap shut and stop ya whining and ya bad mouthing!

    I LOVE IT!

    If anyone needs a think-tank, a good advisory body and an educational unit, it is Mr. Bush. Maybe Pastor Al can get him clued in to the way tings bees; no one else seems able to.

    Good going Pastor Al! You really put Mac in his place! This major diss could be yet another nail in the UDP coffin. And what can Mac say? Not much as Pastor Al is De Man in church circles. Get the Christians mad and Mac’s chances for re-election are less than nil. So, Mac, you better heed Pastor Al and just back off politely and with as little fuss as possible. (Of course we all know Mac ain’t about to let this go, so things could get interesting!)

    Pastor Al: I hope your flock puts some extra bux in the plate this Sunday!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Well done Commissioners !

  6. Anonymous says:

    This just about says it all:

    ‘McKeeva Bush said that if they wanted power they “should go get money and get elected.”‘

    • Anonymous says:

      Didn’t Mac have it backwards?  Don’t you get elected and then go get the money!

      That is how he does it.

    • Anonymous says:

      the man knows what he knows!

    • Anonymous says:

      I thought it was get elected and THEN you get the money

      • Just Commentin' says:

        No, no, nooo!

        Firss yah muss cass ya bread pon da watahs!

        You need enough dollars to buy votes to get into office. So den haftah many deys de bread a-come back.

        Like an offering to Benny Hinn, your little “partnership” portion given to the right people pays its dividends and returns to you pressed down shaken together and multiplied into the Big Bux, and all expenses paid five star first class global junkets, and chefs, bodyguards, chauffeured limos, countle$$ other perk$, and six figure pensions while still in office. But, unlike the dollars you waste sending to Hinn, the money spent on getting elected can actually pay off BIG time around here.

        This is the math>>>

        $$$ + B.S. = Votes

        Votes x bamboozled people = winning election + power

        (Power + more B.S.) x bamboozled people = Lots and lots and lots and lots of money

  7. Ms Geography says:

    Why do people insist on calling Grand Cayman a country? Its an Island. Some children have a hard enough time with Geography,they dont need to be confused further by miss inforned adults.

    • Ron Kipp says:

      Wrong. It is an ISLAND and a COUNTRY. Like Australia.

      • Anonymous says:

        Jesus Christ, Mr Kipp! Grand Cayman is ONE island out of three Cayman Islands. It is NOT a bloody country – wha wrong wid you? Maybe the Cayman Islands is a country, although that is open to debate, but Grand Cayman is not!!!

        • AMC says:

          Whether or not the three Cayman Islands meet the criteria necessary to be considered a country, hopefuly we can all agree to do our best to get our opinions across in as mature and civil a manner as possible, and without blasphemy.  




      • Anon says:

        Wrong.  GRAND CAYMAN is one of three islands that make up the Cayman Islands, which is a territory not a country.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you suggesting that an island cannot be a country ???

    • Just the Facts says:

      Ms Geography. It seems that geography is important to our children in your estimation, but perhaps not so much spelling, grammar and punctuation. You have six such errors in your very short letter, the point of which I agree with entirely, by the way.

    • Anonymous says:

      and some people should learn how to spell before they act like they know it all. You might as well have put “mister informed” in your comment. Not being petty…just saying…

    • Just Commentin' says:

      Contrary to those who would disagree, indeed, the Cayman Islands is not a country; it is correctly termed a British Overseas Territory (BOT). There is a significant difference between British Commonwealth countries and BOT’s.

      If we include Vatican City there are some 195 countries in the world. Sorry, the Cayman Islands is not on the list.

      By all accepted standards the Cayman Islands does not meet the criteria and definition of a “country”; therefore it is erroneous (and in many cases, delusional) to call the Cayman Islands a “country”.

    • The Beaver says:

      Ms. Geography, you may wish to give Ms. Grammar and Ms. Spelling a call.  Just a suggestion – what you do with it is entirely up to you.  The Beaver

      • noname says:

        I didnt make the comment just to have a bunch of anonymous people TRY and give me advice about my spelling / Grammer. Couldent give a rass what the pious self righteous few, who are always venomous and hateful on this site think. Grand Cayman is an Island NOT a country. Fact. Keep your lessons for your children.

    • Kung Fu Iguana says:

      Are people really this stupid?

      Iceland.  Madagascar.  An island and at the same time a country.  Both of them.  Does that blow your mind?

      Island is a geographical term.  Country is a loosely political term. 

      I can understand that you had a tough time with geography.  I bet you had a tough time with everything.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ah! But she has a point.  Grand Cayman is NOT a country but an island that is a part of the Cayman Islands, which IS a country.

      Not sure if she ment this but to restate the same thing to sound like I’m simplifying for those who get confused easily by overlooking the simple facts that explain themselves… O,o

      The Cayman Islands is a country made up of 3 islands, including Grand Cayman.

      Now remind me why we are arguing about this?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone really care what these three conclude about anything? It’s another useless commission of which you have too many already…