Political changes overlooked

| 26/02/2009

(CNS): Speaking in the Legislative Assembly this week, Minister Alden McLaughlin noted that the arguments surrounding the Bill of Rights and thechanges to Section 16 had so dominated the constitutional debate since agreement was reached in London, very little had been said about the rest of the document. “I am not sure whether that is a good or a bad thing,” he said, adding that the final document was a unique and modern constitution that would change Cayman’s political landscape.

With the Referendum Bill now passed, the people of the Cayman Islands will be asked a straightforward question on 20 May requiring a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer on their agreement to the entire document. During the debate in the LA on 23 February, the issue of the Bill of Rights continued to dominate the proceedings. However, McLaughlin noted that there were many advances in the constitution of which Cayman should be proud that had not been widely discussed in the public domain.

While the new document has altered Cayman’s relationship with the UK only marginally, as the country still remains a dependent territory with a governor who still has the overall final say, Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts believes the UK gave up more than had been expected. The document has introduced a number of checks and balances into the political system which may serve to temper arbitrary decisions by either the politically elected members of government or the governor and has also changed the role of the attorney general.

Currently an appointed but voting member of government, under the new constitution the attorney general will no longer be able to vote in the Legislative Assembly and will become an adviser to government. The creation of a director of public prosecutions will also see the AG’s role reduced as the new office takes over the power of directing criminal proceedings.

A number of commissions and councils have been created to support the country’s democratic institutions, as well as a National Security Council which will advise the governor on internal security issues, and the governor, under the draft constitution, will be obliged to act in accordance with its advice — unless it would adversely affect Her Majesty’s interests, though these are not defined. The council will consist of both government and opposition leaders, as well as the governor, representatives from civil society the police commissioner and the attorney general.

Other new bodies include a Human Rights Commission, a Commission for Standards in Public Life, advisory district councils, a register of interests for MLAs, a Judicial and Legal Services Commissionand a Constitutional Commission. Each body is charged, in principle, with ensuring a more accountable democratic process.

The constitution also paves the way for the government to increase the number of electoral districts and therefore the members elected to the LA as well as the number of ministers. The Speaker and Deputy Speakers will come from the elected members of the House.

People-initiated referendums are another new democratic instrument that will allow for any registered elector to bring a referendum question to the country provided the question does not contravene the constitution itself and provided that voter presents a signed petition with not less than 25% of registered voters. Cabinet will then set the question and the date for a referendum. The results would be binding if more than 505 registered voters agree with the question. Government may also hold referendums on matters of national importance.

According to the Constitutional Secretariat, the full draft constitution will be available at supermarkets, post offices and public libraries. The electorate is being urged to read and understand the document before casting their vote on 20 May. So far, however, the only stakeholder actively promoting a ‘Yes’ vote is government. The church representatives, the opposition and the Chamber have all said it is a matter for the individual voter but broadly support the document with reservations.

The HRC has said it is not campaigning against the draft constitution but will continue to educate the public on the implications of the changes to Section 16, the non-discrimination right.

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Comments (9)

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  1. Dennie Warren Jr. says:

    I write in regards to: “While the new document has altered Cayman’s relationship with the UK only marginally, as the country still remains a dependent territory with a governor who still has the overall final say, Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts believes the UK gave up more than had been expected.”

    While I’m still studying the Proposed Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009 (“Draft Order 2009”) I believe it’s important to be clear regarding the allegation that the Government is preparing for “Independence”.  I see NO evidence of that in the Draft Order 2009 or in the Letters of Entrustment.  It would be helpful to the discussion for those who believe the Government is seeking independence, to highlight the sections or paragraphs which show the Government is seeking independence.

    This news article claims, “…the new document has altered Cayman’s relationship with the UK only marginally…” the article goes on to say,”…the country still remains a dependent territory with a governor who still has the overall final say,…”  On another note of clarity, the Cayman Islands is not a country, it is a non-state territory.  In other words, it is still a colony ruled by the British Empire whose people are colonized and nothing more.

    Would someone please highlight the sections of the Draft Order 2009 where the political status between the UK and the Cayman Islands is changed from a colony to some other status?  What is the description of this perceived new political status and how does it differ from being a colony? 

    Details preferred.

  2. Anonymous says:

    We can expect a full court press of the government and the Ministers Association to ratify the Constitution in May. Thus far they have been rather quiet but I expect many sermons come April from the ministers and the politicians about the sin of non ratification.

  3. Anonymous says:

     

    To :: The writer of  " The Minister, Mr. McLaughlin"

    Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 02/27/2009 – 09:28.

    Your response in this readers colum was very much declared and You personally have tried to prove yourself a "Constitutional Expert". I was wondering if You are a "Constitutional Expert" as You Proclaim to be,  if you were on the Advisory Boards of Our Constitution?

     Your Brilliance displays the image of some one like Mr. Ian Hendry Head of the Constitutional People from the UK…  Or are you personally,   " The Minister, Mr. McLaughlin" ?

  4. Disgruntled Caymanian says:

     To the person who wrote:  Don’t mislead yourself as the day of the referendum draws closer the ministers will have divine messages telling their flocks which way to vote. It will be another miracle.

    I know what you mean.  When i said the Pastors had lost i meant they had lost thier false cover up of their evil Dictatorship ways to many in the Public.  Of course there will always be the ones they will sadly trick in their congregations with smoothe talking evil ways persuade and charm them to vote against homosexuals basically is what it boils down to for the Pastors.  But they won’t tell their congregations that they do no obey the Bible and that they sin against God by not following the order written in the Bible for Apostles and Prophets to Head over the church and to allow all the church to use their spiritual gifts God game them from the day they became Born Again into the Kingdom of God, these gifts are for the edifying, strengthening and building up of the Church and the Kingdom of God.  But see if they follow this they would become on a more equal level with the congregation and not have all of this evil Dictator power over them.

    They are in jeapordy of going to hell as it stands, because they are leading the sheep astray and blatanly disrespecting and disobeying God’s Word and sinning against God.

    How could they oppose a homosexual so fiercly of sin when they themselves are dripping in sin against God! 

    God says he who has no sin cast the first stone!

    God says all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.

    They are hypocrites!  They need to repent fortheir sins against disoberying God’s Word just as much as homosexuals need to repent!

    Sin is sin.  It is no different to God.  The Pastors are in sin!

    They are hypocritical!  They need to Repent and make straight the crooked ways! 

     

    • Anonymous says:

      You are disgruntled all right, but your issues have nothing to do with the constitutional discussion, but rather some form of neurosis.  Clearly, you believe that you have not been given due recognition as a prophet or apostle and this is your revenge. May be your conscience has also been seared by the Truth. You should seek appropriate counselling rather than trying to take it out on the pastors.  

      What I love is how you chastise pastors for saying that homosexuality is sin by saying "he who is without sin cast the first stone" but then you promptly accuse the pastors of dripping in sin. If calling sin by its rightful name means they are casting stones then what are you doing?!  Or is it that you are without sin? No one is casting any stones; they are saying what Christ said: Go thy way and sin no more.  

  5. Anonymous says:

     

      This is the most unbelievable way to run a Government and Dictate to and fool the people  by leading them wrong.

     The Minister, Mr. McLaughlin is but just trying to lead the road to their  "Independence Race",  where we will all fall victims of oppression and discrimination,  led by a Government with a Constitution and a Rulership that will cause more havoc and distubance in the Country and having a more dangerous lifestyle for us to all live in.

    The choice of selections on this "Bill of Rights" should be chosen by the Voting People, and the "Right" decision should therefore be made in selecting the "Right" answer to one"s desires to have a "Bill of Rights" such as this one, or any other "Bill of Rights" placed on the People of Cayman Islands.

     The most serious implications layed down in the Constitution are not being discussed by the Ruling Officials of the Government, who would prefere not to be discussed by no others, and for the Voting People to just give their all with a resounding "Yes" to all that is stipulated in the "Bill of Rights" and the "Constitution".

    After reading and rereading these two Documents, as I Urge all Caymanians to do. I have come to a conclusion that, the two Documents can hardly be termed as what the LoGB Mr. Kurt Tibbetts has called them, "Half a loaf is better than none at all".

     As Mr. Tibbetts and his Colleagues prepare for their "Independence" settlement with the "Bill of Rights" and the "Constitution", I have drawn my own conclusions as I urge all Caymanians in the Voting Population to do likewise.

     There is Nothing in neither of these Document to enable betterment for Cayman nor the Caymanian, although there are some things in the Constitution that really sounds good and appalling, however that will not be of much use to the People of Cayman Islands, and the Oppression and Discrimation in-which we all will fall Victims of, will only enable our circumstances to become  worst.

     We all do need a better Constitution, a better Government, a better Governor, a better Judicial System, a better Police Department, and more Justice for the People. However, these things are NOT  stipulated in the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights and the rest of the Goodie Bag, only consist of not needed circumstances to make our lives more oppressed and discriminated against.

     Therefore having made my decisions based on these necessities and Unwantedness then I have drawn the Conclusions that a resounding "No" will be place for my Vote in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I urge all Caymanians to take the necessary selections for the two Documents very serious and make the right decisions based on a sound and good judgement.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      "The Minister, Mr. McLaughlin is but just trying to lead the road to their  "Independence Race"’

      What utter nonsense. This is mere scaremongering to fool the simple-minded Uncle Toms. There is nothing in the draft Constitution that leads to independence. Practically all of the other BOT’s have been either at that level of constitutional advancement or greater for decades. They have not gone independent and there is nothing compelling them to go independent.  

      "We all do need a better Constitution, a better Government, a better Governor, a better Judicial System, a better Police Department, and more Justice for the People. However, these things are NOT  stipulated in the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights and the rest of the Goodie Bag, only consist of not needed circumstances to make our lives more oppressed and discriminated against".

      The draft Constitution does provide for these things. Try to get someone knowledgeable to explain it to you, as you clearly do not understand the document. For example, a better Governor: if the Governor is more accountable for his actions then this makes for a better Governor. A better Government: if the positions of the auditor general and complaints commissioner established in the constitution and their independence is secured this makes for a better government. If there is a Bill of Rights and a Human Rights Commission is established to protect human rights and the courts are empowered to consider human rightsissues then there is more justice for the people.  If there is a national security council which can consider overall policing policies and whether funds allocated are beign efficiently deployed we then have a better police force. In any event, the draft Constitution, although not perfect, is a great improvement upon what we have.  These are not the only checks and balances, just a quick sketch.  

  6. Anonymous says:

    Don’t mislead yourself as the day of the referendum draws closer the ministers will have divine messages telling their flocks which way to vote. It will be another miracle.

  7. Anonymous says:

    How ironic???

    "So far, however, the only stakeholder actively promoting a ‘Yes’ vote is government. The church representatives, the opposition and the Chamber have all said it is a matter for the individual voter but broadly support the document with reservations."

    To break it down further:

    "The church representatives, … have all said it is a matter for the individual voter …."

    When did the church representatives have such a change of heart???  hmmm….very interesting…???  or are they only playing mind games and being hypocritical that this is a true change of heart on their behalf by being very smart to act like they always felt this way that the People should have their votes on the matter, thus further trying to trick the People of their hypocrisy and thereby trying to win back the favour of the People under false pretense??? 

    Obviously after all of the public outcry and uproar against the church leadership being involved in the Bill of Rights and all the secrecry they were involved in while it was being drafted, the church leadership has realized how strongly they are being opposed by the People and is now trying to win back favour with the People, and in my opinion they are being absolutely hypocritical and false that they think it is a matter for the individual voter!  That secrecy that was displayed as the Constitution was being drafted will always speak louder than any words they speak now!!!  They deliberately did not involve the public input from the start because they wanted it THEIR WAY!!! 

    In my opinion they are only trying to save face and they are being completely hypocritical that they care about the people’s votes on the matter!  They didn’t care before and they still don’t now, it’s only that they don’t know what else to say at this point to save face to make people think they really cared and were not trying to be Dictators as they have now been exposed that they are!!!  If they could have it their way, they would still be DICTATORS and give the People no right to vote!!!  But see, the problem is now after all of the pubilc outrage and outcry, they know they have lost, so now they think by saying "it is a matter for the individual voter" that they can now look good again and not look like the Hypocritical DICTATORS of which they truly are!

    I doubt strongly any of them have had a true change of heart.  If any of them have had a true change of heart, then let them declare it publicly that were being DICTATORS and that they are truly sorry for being DICTATORS,  and they repent of this sin, and they will no longer DICTATE to any group of people, neither their congregations, that from now on, they will give any groups of people they lead, including their congregations, full rights to vote on every matter in the church or whatever the group is about!!!! 

    Then if they can do that, then i will believe this is a true change of heart they have had and not absolute lies, hypocrisy and falsehood to make themselves look good!!!

    WAKE UP PEOPLE OF THE CAYMAN ISLANDS!!  DO NOT VOTE FOR ANYONE WHO DISPLAYS HYPOCRITICAL WAYS!!  Keep hypocrisy out of all leadership whether in Governments, Churches, etc!!!  Then and only then can truth and righteousness have a chance to prevail!!! Where there is hypocrisy leading, there will never be truth and righteousness!