Four new members of Human Rights Commission

| 02/04/2014

(CNS): As the country’s still relatively new Bill of Rights begins to make more of an impression on life in Cayman, the governor has appointed four new people to the Human Rights Commission (HRC) along with Alistair Walters, the remaining member who has been appointed as chair until his term on the commission expires next January. James Austin-Smith (left), a lawyer and former Human Rights Committee member, will take over the chair next year. The other new members are Chelsea Frazier Rivers, a well-known activist on behalf of the disabled; Lisa Hurlston-McKenzie, an environmental expert and advocate; and Rev Donovan Myers, known for his community work with drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, violent crimes and homelessness.

Established under Section 116 of the 2009 Constitution, the Human Rights Commission seeks to promote, protect and preserve human rights in the Cayman Islands.

Walter, who takes up the chairmanship from Richard Coles,  offers continuity from the last commission. An attorney for over 20 years, he is the managing partner of Campbells and is also a member of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman.

James Austin-Smith is a lawyer specializing in commercial litigation and dispute resolution. He is a former member of the Cayman Islands Human Rights Committee and has been appointed as a member until 1 January 2015, when he will assume the role as chairman for a three year period.

Chelsea Frazier Rivers raised the issue of abuse of disabled parking with the Blue Spot campaign, “calling out” the able bodied who use designated disabled parking spots. She has served as chairperson, member and advisor to several committees and associations in her quest to make a difference in the lives of Cayman's children and those less fortunate. Rivers has been appointed as a member for a period of two years.

Lisa-Ann Hurlston-McKenzie is an environmental and sustainability consultant in the private sector who previously worked for the Department of Environment. She has worked on a number of publications and facilitated numerous national and regional meetings related to climate change impacts, vulnerability, adaptation and mitigation in small island states. Hurlston-McKenzie has been appointed as a member for a period of four years.

Reverend Donovan Myers is the minister at the Savannah United Church. He has a personal interest in human rights and justice and is a former member of the Human Rights Committee and the current chair of the National Youth Commission. Reverend Myers has been appointed for a period of three years.

The governor said she was very pleased to make the appointments to what she described as an important body. “I have no doubt that the backgrounds of each of these members will go a long way towards enhancing the work of the HRC,” she added.

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Comments (8)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Any contact details if members of the public wish to speak to someone on this comittee, or is that not how it works?

    Anyone please? Thanks.

    CNS: The HRC website has a complaints form and a phone number but doesn't seem to have a general enquirey email address, which it should.

  2. Ok, please change the law:Expat Slave says:

    Great, but even escalating to the FCO has ignored the plight if a person married to a Caymanian (even after a decade and has full Caymanian status through residency and the marriage) cannot obtain Naturalisation without their husbands approval is a Human Rights Violation.  The best they advise without any promises is to re-apply under your own application (and still need husband's paperwork, marriage license, status letters for approval and add $1000+ filing fee) Where are the free HR advocates for beholden spouses? If I cannot get my husband to sign a form, how am I supposed to get $1000 for paperwork filing?

    Home dependant with CI status but no path to passport or naturalisation. Sounds like a Human Rights issue to me.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Another mandatory religious representative to get in the way of real human rights enforcement and review?

    • Anonymous says:

      Now, who is the narrowminded and stereotyping assumption maker?  I thought that was reserved for tose religious types.

  4. Anonymous says:



    Criminal Rights, not human rights!!!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      The Bill of Rights is a joke. Ask anyone who has filed a complaint or tried to have their rights enforced.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hi, 03/04/2014 – 16.58. I agree with that. I made a complaint and the decision to reject came before they had even had the time to read the paperwork.

        I made an appeal which was based on 'text-book case' quoted from their own Bill of Rights – they still rejected it.

        Hope this new lot are the 'brooms that sweep clean'