Talks stay secret

| 12/01/2009

(CNS):  The second round of negotiations with the UK on a new Cayman Islands Constitution open tomorrow, but besides the opening session and the concluding session, the four day talks will, once again, be held behind closed doors. Beginning Tuesday, 13 January, through until Friday, 16 January, daily, they will take place at the Westin Casuarina Resort, Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said.

“The format will include an opening session wherein all participants are welcome to deliver an introductory statement,” he said. “This session will be open to the public and the media and a final concluding session on Friday morning will also be open to the public and media.”

Tibbetts said the sessions were closed at the request of the UK government. At the last round of talks Sir Ian Hendry, the leader of the UK delegation, said the negotiations cannot take place against the backdrop of political posturing. However, the opposition United Democratic Party did leak various details from the first round as they had persistently stated that the talksshould be open and transparent.

Leader of the Opposition McKeeva Bush openly circulated the draft document, which was composed by the UK in the wake of the first set of negotiations. Since then, both the opposition party and the two religious groups have raised concerns about the content. The Cayman Ministers’ Association (CMA) has said that the draft is still unacceptable in its current form. The issue of freedom of religion and the fact that the constitution doesn’t explicitly prohibit at any future time the possibility of same sex marriage are some of the concerns with regards to the bill of rights from the religious groups. The establishment of a National Security Council is also one of a number of other issues that the opposition has objected to.

The opening session on Tuesday should see the various representatives, including the Chamber of Commerce, the Human Rights Committee, the Seventh Day Adventists and CMA, as well as the government and opposition, making their introductory statements based on the draft and raising their specific concerns.

The Leader of Government Business said that this second round of talks will determine whether the final round will take place in London in early February. The timeline, which has already been reduced further after the scheduled December talks were cancelled as a result of Hurricane Poloma striking the Brac in November, is tight if the government is to have a fully drafted and agreed document to put up for referendum at the same time as the May General Election.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Negotiations on our Constitution should be held in Public (the public should know what sordid proposals are being made by the HRC, the PPM or the UDP etcetera), and whether another country has their meetings in Public is irrelevant. 

  2. Anonymous says:

    PPM is going out the door!!! They must go.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe PPM was misled by the UK into believing that the Constitutional negotiations would be held in Public. We know that the PPM was misled about the Cayman Islands having a "blank paper" in the negotiations. 

      Its seem that the People of the Cayman Islands truly have a Government they can trust, the problem now if that the PPM can only be trusted to be misled!

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t anyone said, or believed, that Cayman would have a "blank paper" in the negotiations. As far back as 1999 the UK set out its checklist for Constitutional Modernization. 

        What I love about this is the same person who lambasted Minister Chuckie for leaking confidential information is now leaking confidential information! He says it is in the public interest, but so did Minister Chuckie.  Some might speculate that Minister Chuckie did it for political expediency, others might say the same about Mr. Bush. Isn’t it funny how some times the rules matter and sometimes they don’t? Politricks!      

  3. Anonymous says:

    The PPM needs to create its own dictionary! – I would have thought that their promises of "transparency" "open Government" "Government in the Sunshine" would have allowed these important discussions to be held in Public, but rather they are, most ironically, attacking McKeeva for releasing the draft document. Wow! I hope they put that dictionary in their 2009 Manifesto – i am dying to see what they meant when they said "taking the Country back"

    • Anonymous says:

      I think the last post was already answered already by the first one. However, I should point out that the UK has the say as to whether the negotiations are open or closed, not the PPM. The PPM is simply abiding by the rules. Isn’t it funny that UDP says it does not wish anything the Governor does as the Queen’s representative to be subject to review but yet it now defies the express directions  of the UK Govt. itself!  Is this what you mean by "taking the country back"? I thought the UDP was against independence.  The "D" in UDP stands for "disingenuous". You can’t fool all the people all the time.       

  4. Anonymous says:

    The talks are CONFIDENTIAL. I have yet to see anyone provide evidence of negotiations between countries being held in public. Amazing how the UDP are so "open", yet the previous talks they held in London on this subject were not in the public domain, but now they say that these talks should be. If not for the then opposition PPM, no NGO’s would have been involved in those talks either. Short memories I guess.

    • Anonymous says:

      WHY are they confidential? Maybe we could get a Minister to smuggle the papers out to us " in the interest of the people". We have one trained in that already.