Governor says law is ‘legal’

| 28/10/2011

(CNS): Despite the fact that the Immigration Amendment bill was not given the required 21 day public consultation period before it reached the floor of parliament, the governor is assenting to the law.  The independent member for North Side wrote to the governor after that bill and one for amendments to the National Pensions Law were passed in the Legislative Assembly earlier this month asking him not to assent to the bills because they were unconstitutional. But Duncan Taylor has stated in his response to Miller that because the law provides for the 21 day period to be suspended in an emergency, which is not clearly defined in the constitution, he would be signing the amendment to the immigration law. (Photo Dennie WarrenJr)

In his letter Taylor says it appears that government believed there was an “urgent and pressing need” to pass the immigration law and took steps to suspend the necessary standing orders. He tells Miller he said he did not think assenting to the bills was inconsistent with the constitution and also noted his reluctance to undermine a decision taken by the elected parliament.

"I am only too aware that any decision I might take, as Governor, to refuse to assent to legislation duly passed by the elected representatives would be an extraordinary one which should only be employed in the most exceptional and prescribed circumstances. I do not consider that such circumstances exist here," the governor writes to Miller.

On receiving the letter Miller said he was not entirely convinced, as the governor was, that it was an emergency. “While I accept the governor's decision to assent to the immigration law, I do have some difficulty in accepting his rationalization that ‘a case of emergency' existed at the time the bill was introduced or that the premier or the government made the case, given his included definition of emergency.”

However, Miller said he did find it much easier to understandthat any move the governor made to refuse to assent to legislation passed by elected representatives would be extraordinary.

The North Side representative said he was pleased that, if nothing else, his letter had influenced the government to start following the process as the last Legislative Assembly meeting has now been properly adjourned in preparation for a new meeting to start on 16 November and the bills which will be considered in that next meeting have been circulated to members.

While Miller’s move has not prevented Taylor from giving his blessing to the immigration law, and more than likely the pension’s law when he receives that, it does appear to have caused government to rethink its strategy towards parliamentary process.

“I am pleased that the government has terminated the second meeting of the Legislative Assembly and called the third meeting to start on November 16, which will make all the other bills intended for the second meeting compliant with section 77 (2) of the Cayman Islands Constitutional Order 2009 and there will be no need to suspend Standing Orders to allow the first reading,” the governor writes in his letter to Miller.

Government had decided to close that last sitting of the Legislative Assembly sine die, which means when legislators return they will continue with the same meeting, preventing the opposition and the independent member from submitting any parliamentary questions or new motions.

The independent member and the opposition benches have been protesting extensively over government’s disregard of the 21 day consultation period on laws and the way meetings have been managed, which they say is effectively stifling debate and is an abuse of the democratic process.

The decision to adjourn the previous sitting however, means the 16 November opens up a new window for the opposition benches and Miller to submit new business and read the proposed laws for the next meeting.

“I am very pleased the government decided to respect the constitutional provisions, which means bills will have been circulated 21 days before the new meeting,” Miller said. “My main complaint has been over the introduction of government business without any time to consider the bills let alone consult with anyone or to discuss them with our constituents whom we represent.”

Category: Politics

Comments (34)

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  1. Knot S Smart says:

    Was it a planned emergency?

    or a lack of foresight emergency?

    or  an accidental emergency?

    or a travel emergency? like the flight on our Banker's plane from the Bahamas…

    or an emergency/emergency like the recent China trip?

    or just part of the general state of emergency that befell us when the UDP got elected?

  2. so Anonymous says:

    Perhaps from now on all Governors should be granted Status so they too can be free of getting blamed for anything they do like the Caymanian Premeir?  Why is blaming anyone not Caymanian for something done by Caymanians such a big cultural thing here?  Perhaps a look into the past and how Caymanians came to be Caymanians instead of what they were originaly is in order.

  3. Anonymous One says:

    This is utter rubbish.Duncan Taylor has now set the threshold so low for declaring an emergency ,that it renders that part of the constitution totally useless.Since the precedent has been established, we can now look forward to a lot more"emergency" laws being passed not only by this administration but by future administrations.For example we can expect the oil refinery ,and North Sound Dredging projects to be declared  and passed as "urgent and pressing needs"by the UDP Administration. (By the way did anyone notice that a part of this dredging project is now disguised as a "hurricane hole" or storm shelter for boats in the Barkers area?)Also we can expect the Group replacing tht UDP in 2013 to bring forward emergency legislation to undo some of the damages caused by the UDP;such as repealing or replacing the laws creating a Special Economic Zone for just one developer.Or repealing the Shetty law or other such exclusive laws.Mr Taylor you sir have just created a national disaster for the people of the Cayman Is. Perhaps we would have been more willing to accept your answer had you stated simply that you were unwiiling or afraid to rule against the wishes of a majority in the LA; but please do not expect us to believe that a real emergency existed.

  4. Name changed by moderator says:

    Am a Caymanian I too am sick and tired of hearing about people who can't find work. as a teenager growing up in Cayman Brac, to get my pocket money, I had a job after school a few times a week where I racked up leaves and helped around around the house. I did this because I wanted to earn my own spending money. It made me fell proud and it taught me that no matter what the job you do as long as it honest and you feel good about it thats all that matters. Young people in Cayman have life too easy now a days. Stop the complaining and get out and find something to do. Answer me this question. Which country dosen't have an expat work force, therefore, if all the expats left Cayman, wouldnt the country come to a halt. Not just because you are born here means you should get a free handout you have to earn what you want in life. And the government are the people of a country we are the ones who pay import fees, duties and money for services so whay are we wasting good money on so much that is not needed. Buckle down Cayman and live within your means.

     

    I would like to know when will the pension change take effect.  

     

    CNS: Can you register please if you are using your own name. Thanks!

  5. The Chickens Have Come to Roost..... says:

    Disgraceful………someone please enlighten me on the EMERGENCY!!!! Just how many free passes do you have in your briefcase anyway Mr. Govna……….or perhaps they just continue to multiply while we sleep…….

  6. anonymously says:

    cayman, this is the constitution your leaders wanted… no clear definition or interpretation. that way they can insert their own interpretation as suits them

  7. Anonymous says:

    Good decision HE and Mr. Premier now is a good opportunity to close the West Bay Road (see what happened there last week with the seas and sand) this is definately an emergency.  We need cheaper fuel so that our CUC bills can be less is also a good time for an oil refinery another emergency.  Ship are by passing us and George Town is now a ghost town people need business and jobs so now is a good time to get the port and sign a deal with China Harbour this is also an emergency.  The deal with the major investor about creating two islands in the North Sound and bringing in Mega Yachts is needed and will benefit Caymanians in getting jobs and other opportunities is also a good one and an emergency.  Mr. Premier you are trying your best to turn the economy around and you must be thanked for this, good job and I just hope that the government use the emergency powers to pass every single bill that is necessary for the development and growth of this country to help its people.  Now Mr. Premier and all members of government this is your great opportunity to set this country right, no more excuses because now you know that the governor will not hold up any good law that is in the interest of the country and deemed an emergency which in my opinion is all that you need to get the ball rolling.  You need lots more people here with money to spend byinvesting in buying properties, so that we can have more construction jobs and more people with money to spend.  Again good job HE and many thanks for your vision and good judgement.

    • Anonymous says:

      If he is so afraid of McKeeva, he should pack his traps and move on.  The investigation is taking too long and the next thing we will here is that the statute of limittation has expired.  It sure is strange the way some cases are handled.  We want answers now, not later.  No one is above the law, therefore, let's get cracking and put everything in perspective.

      If it wasn't for Mr. Miller speaking up and speaking out we would be in the dark about a number of issues.  Thanks Mr. Miller, you sure is fighting for the people.  You are the change shaper. 

  8. Anonymouse says:

    I am not surprised this governor thinks this way. No backbone and afraid of McChewbacca.  Can we ask for another real Governor now, one that knows what he is doing and not pretend not to know. Pirates can have him too.

  9. Anonymous says:

    What is an emergency issue about this? That is the argument.  What is an emergency is our own people with no jobs and , no food.

    • common sense says:

      What do you want? food stamps and low income housing? If everyone got rolled over whose term is currently or almost up did get rolled over as a country we would stop. Quit complaining about "our people" starving with now work. It makes me sick. I have never in my 50 plus years in Cayman seen so many of my people wanting hand outs and thinking they deserve something simply because they were born here.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are PLENTY of jobs.  Why aren't caymanians getting them is the real question.

      • so Anonymous says:

        Because they can't do then is the real answer.

      • Michel says:

        Read te paper lately ? $ 3 to $5 per hour. Pool of gratuity every hour, excuse me ? the wages are going down and are being portraited for those who for them is a lot of money back home where they are basically starving. Some of us are beginning to starve now because our monthly bills are way out of line compare to our earnings.Almost cheaper to stay home and freelance in conch, lobster and a little of this and a little of that. I have never seen wages so low, what are people suppose to do. Am I the only discussing  this with many ? The Island will reap what it sows. questionnable service, divisions amongst nationalities, more robberies and so on. Not to mention that our regular old visitors return to visit and ask where is everybody that treated us so good for many years and were friendly and actually knew about things in the Cayman Islands we thought they were locals, did they leave. And no you can't drive to stingray city or what about Rum Point ? you know old Jud or ok then the Hyatt after. No sury dunt now bout there! hein what you min. Sounds funny ? No it's pathetic and there goes our regulars deciding time to go somewhere else. The only ones who will like us and Cayman are those who never been here before so it won't matter. Bring on the Cruise ships then at least the wheel will start turning again.

  10. Big Whopper says:

    Thank you, Mr. Taylor you have restored my faith in you.

  11. Anonymous says:

    every day under this government and governor is an emergency!

  12. Anonymous says:

    It's not me, it's da unclear constitution document. Can we please have a governor that will acutally make sensible decisions? Sounds to me like da blame game that the UDP plays really well. It's not me, it's da PPM. Whateva Gov, you just lost my respect.

  13. Anonymous says:

    So the pensions amedment is an emergency????????

    The pensions ammendment is just plain stupidity.

    Surley Mr Gov you have the legal grounds not to refuse it but to send it back to the LA to meet the proper requirements.

    Talk to your controller in London.

  14. Dennie Warren Jr. says:

    Clearly H.E. feels most people want this type of Government, so I guess H.E. is respecting the wishes of the “majority”.

    However, it will be interesting to see how democratic the UK Government will be on governance, because it is clear that the UK has looked at TCI and has already decided how they are going to change the way they govern the Cayman Islands.  The questionnaires at –
    1. http://www.ukoverseasterritories.readandcomment.com
    2. http://www.ukincayman.fco.gov.ky
    3. http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.ky
    4. http://www.surveymonkey.com
    are very concerning to me.  

    The world, and especially the 4th Committee at the UN, will think the Caymanian People were consulted on the matter.  The world should however know that the way is which this so-called consultation is being conducted, is that any non-Caymanian in the world can submit their views via the questionnaires, outnumbering the Caymanian People.

    • never been a better time to sell says:

      That is your consultation and your referendum right there.

      The house of cards has been assembling for the last couple of years.

      Although it was always anticipated, I am actually shocked how this has gathered pace and momentum.

       

  15. Shock and Awe says:

    Constitution Lite!   Try it! 

    Like ordinary Constitution but with fewer calories and less recourse for abuses of power.

  16. Libertarian says:

    "But Duncan Taylor has stated in his response to Miller that because the law provides for the 21 day period to be suspended in an emergency, which is not clearly defined in the constitution, he would be signing the amendment to the immigration law."

    What a Constitution they left us with… with no clear definition!  What a joke!

    • Anonymous says:

      The problem isn't the constitution, it's the premier (and government) who are abusing it and the governor who is neglecting his responsibilities in keeping them in line when they fall off.

      • anonymously says:

        LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL

        LMAO  :-))

      • Anonymous says:

        a typical PPM response!  You need to swallow your pride and contemplate what your leaders left us with… a flimsy document and a dictator for a primier!  Opps… did I step on somebodies toes?

        • Anonymous says:

          I suspect that the writers never thought that a Caymanian elected to the lead his own country's government would abuse the Constitution the way McKeeva Bush has.  They were not stupid.  Just naive.

           

  17. Absurdistani says:

    I am only too aware that any decision MacDinejad might take, as premier (lowercase "p"), to declare an emergency and ensure that legislation is duly passed by the elected representatives would not be an extraordinary one. MacDinejad employs the option of suspending the 21-day consultation period as he sees fit, and not in the most exceptional and prescribed circumstances, remaining consistent in his bulldozer style of politics leaving no room for opposition; effectively nullifying the democratic process.  I consider that such circumstances exist here.

  18. Simple days says:

    Honestly… this is a joke, what a f’ing cop out

     

    ‘It appears to me that the Government clearly considered that there was an urgent and pressing need to deal with that bill and took the necessary steps to ensure that this could be done in accordance with the prescribed process. I do not, therefore, consider that this process was repugnant or inconsistent with the Constitution.’

     

    UDP freedom set in stone … 55 words to freedom

     

    It took the Governor 55 words to turn his back on this matter and defend the decision because in the minds of the Government (UDP) this ‘..was an urgent and pressing need to deal with that Bill..’ so basically ANY BILL… ANY BILL … that the government NOW wants to pass they can use this defence well it was an ‘emergency’.

     

    I understand the governor may want to choose his battles and he felt this was not one of them but at the same time it is the small battles that help you win a bigger war.  

     

    Ok so my question is then since this bill has been passed how many people have been able to recover pension funds and are currently in the process of or have been approved for home ownership…?

     

    Since it was deemed an emergency…all of the government low income homes should be filled by now right…!!!??? Because the government had a list of people who were in desperate need of a home because they were facing the possibility of being homeless RIGHT…aka an ‘emergency’?

    • Anonymous says:

      If he is choosing his battles isn't it about time he picked one before it is too late for Cayman?

  19. Anonymous says:

    The governor  has just given Mac a free reign to continue to abuse that clause of the Constitution.  I am sure he is sitting in china with a big grin on his face right now.

    It is now full speed ahead to continue to abuse The 21 day .

    The only "emergency" was that Mac wanted it pushed through with out debate.  He continues to abuse the over and over cutting the people out of our so called "democracy".

    Thank you Mr. Taylor for again turning your back on the Cayman People.

    • Joe B says:

      How is it premeir Bush, the voice and face of the Caymanian people, is the Governors fault?  How is it the constitution, and the ability to use it for or against the people of cayman is the Governors fault?

      Its because he is the one man who is not Caymanian so it has to be his fault.  This is being done to the Caymanian people and the expat workforce because Caymanians want to do things their own way and so they are.  And that is not working out for anyone but those on the CIG payroll.  Too bad they can't stand stand up and  take responsibility for anything.  It would help but then again a Caymanian taking responsibility for his actions would be suspect now. Thanks to the premeirs way of leadership.   Good luck Cayman.  Your going to need that and a lot of expat help.

      • Anonymous says:

        Joe B, your post would have been more effective had you taken the time to proofread before posting. No offense meant, but I'm having a hard time following what you are trying to say.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Very disappointing to see the Governor cop-out on this.

  21. Whodatis says:

    Keep 'em on their toes Ezzie.

    The worst thing would be for us to spiral into a comfortable culture of careless disregard for constitutional processes.