Mac changes legal aid policy

| 13/10/2009

(CNS): As Finance Committee proceedings drew to a close on Monday evening the government made an unexpected move to completely alter the way legal aid will be funded in the future and slashed this year’s allocation by $1m. In the absence of the attorney general, government pushed through a Finance Committee motion to create a legal aid office, taking the appropriation for legal aid from the judicial administration and placing it under the leader of government business, who said the new office would be a non-governmental organisation to which his ministry will give a grant of $500,000 in this financial year.

McKeeva Bush also moved a motion to amend several allocations and appropriations to absorb the $1 million he cut from legal aid into other ministries, including $400,000 to add to his own special fund which he had described last week as a “nation building programme”.

The Legal Aid Office motion was tabled by UDP backbencher Dwayne Seymour, who gave little detail of how the office, which will be created by local attorneys Steve McField and Theresa Pitcairn, will function, where other funding, if any, will come from and where the handful of criminal defence attorneys currently doing legal aid will fit into the picture. The motion stated that the creation of such an office would reduce the burden on government while ensuring legal aid was distributed fairly.

Following an adjournment of the committee to prepare the motion, when the members returned the LoGB took over the debate, making it clear that while it may have come from the backbench it was being fully supported by government front benches, which intended to press the amendment to the budget appropriations through, effectively changing legal aid policy without the need to change the law. “The member put forward a finance committee motion to set up a legal aid office to change the way it is done,” Bush said. “We have considered it and feel it appropriate to do what the member asks.”

He then went on to say that it was anticipated that the office would provide funding to a broader cross section of people, as well as train young Caymanian lawyers in the legal aid clinic. Bush said the office would be independent and run to a high standard of equality and transparency. Bush then moved the motion to reduce the Legal Aid Services appropriations to the chief justice (which had been voted and passed on Friday when the AG Samuel Bulgin had attended Finance Committee) from $185m to $300,000, which was left, he said, to cover outstanding payments.

During his appearance before the committee on Friday, Bulgin had answered a number of questions regarding legal aid and its future plans but had not mentioned the establishment of a legal aid or public defender’s office. Bulgin had said that, following the recommendations by the law reform commission, the department was looking at ways that local law firms could be asked to contribute hours pro bono, either with the provision of barristers or financial contributions, which would be agreed at the time of the granting of their legal practitioner’s license. There was no indication at all that the official arm of government would be relinquishing the management of this funding.

In his absence on Monday evening however, the allocation was cut and a new appropriation inserted into the Ministry of Finance as a Legal Aid Office with a grant of $500,000, Bush said, “to reflect the new policy.”

Alden McLaughlin, the opposition PPM member, noted the irregularity of what government was doing, raising concerns about how such an important matter was being dealt with. He said the opposition had been given no time to consider it, that they were not privy to the representations made by the two attorney’s involved,  that there was no comment from the AG, the chief justice or other defence lawyers and the House was  being presented with a fait accompli.

“In almost nine years in the LA I have never seen anything quite like this,” said McLaughlin with regard to how such a major policy change was being pushed through at such a late hour in Finance Committee. He said not only was this matter about a considerable sum of money but, more importantly, about the system of justice and fairness. He said it was apparent that the posing of the motion and the pretence at debate in Finance Committee was merely a formality as government had clearly made up its mind.

“This should be moved on the floor of the House,” McLaughlin said, lamenting the absence of the AG and the views of the CJ. “Then we have the staggering proposition that the allocation of legal aid is being given to the premier’s office.” The opposition member suggested that for the highest elected official to have the last word on who was allocated legal aid looked pretty bad. He asked what other lawyers had been consulted or been offered the opportunity for what was essentially a government contract of half a million dollars.

“To say this is irregular is an understatement,” McLaughlin said. He added, however, that he was not pouring cold water on the idea of a legal aid office or the two attorneys involved, who were both respected and competent lawyers, but he said such an important issue could not be handled in such a cavalier manner and that the Law Reform Commission’s report was just being dismissed.

Bush chastised McLaughlin for trying to suggest there was something untoward about the action. “He is scaring this up to be something terrible,” Bush said, adding it was a good plan and it would save government money. He said that the AG was off island but he’d spoken with the solicitor general, Cheryl Richards. He said the idea that he would be dispensing the legal aid was rubbish but that his ministry would be giving a grant to an NGO who would dispense the money. Bush rejected the accusation that he was dismissing the work of the Law Reform Commission as he said they may have recommended something similar.

He said at the moment people were getting legal aid for every conceivable thing and the money needed to be more evenly distributed. Bush added that if it didn’t work out than they could always change the policy. The motion was passed by 9 to 2, supported by government members and Ezzard Miller, the independent MLA for North Side, but was opposed by the two opposition members still in the chamber.

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  1. Bridger Over Troubled Waters says:

    Anyone know how tall the Attorney General is?

  2. Anonymous says:

    No, no, no. A public defenders office is a BAD idea. The Law Reform Commission report already said that the current system (where attorneys who do legal aid work are self-employed or work for law firms) offers value for money. It has the advantage that overheads and expenses are not shouldered by the public purse, so saves money for the state. It also means that there is a ‘market’ of attorneys – people who need an attorney can choose who they want, and good attorneys will be successful and get a lot of work, while those who are less competent or able will not. If all you have is a public defenders office, the public will have no choice over who is their lawyer and the people who staff it will, I’m afraid, have little or no incentive to work hard and be the best in order to get work, because the work will be guaranteed. If you need an example of this, look no further than the Legal Department, whose lawyers (with exceptions, of course) have not always covered themselves in glory in recent times.

    So it is not just the WAY in which this new policy has been announced and introduced but the policy ITSELF that is at fault. No, no, no.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Quite frankly Cayman having it’s own public defenders office is long over due.  Just set it up right, the doubters will come around when it is all spelled out.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nobody is denying the need for a Public Defenders office, people are simply questioning the manner in which it is being done. I think we can all agree that a Central Tenders Committee made up of professionals to review all submissions for large scale contracts with government was a good idea as well. So why is a bunch of his political supporters conducting the review and shortlisting the contractors for the new cruiseship dock? And the winner will be announced at a cruise industry meeting? Is this a government or a circus?

      People may or may not support the government giving money to churches for afterschool programs, and yes there would be complaints if "x" dollars is budged for church A and "y" dollars is budget for church B, but only the most rabid of supporters can see nothing wrong with giving the LOGB $3 million and letting him decide who gets what. Surely everybody knows of the long line of people waiting at the West Bay MLA’s door each morning asking for handouts. This is the kind of nation that most sane people do NOT want their government to build.

      The LOGB is so busy appointing or approving each and every member to every board, and so involved in the minutest of details that he even forgot he was the one who met with Kernohan and told him "the bald one" was the senior officer leaking information to CNN.

      I believe he will have a massive heart attack or stroke before his term is up. Then in true Caymanian style everyone will pay tribute to him and speak in glowing terms of the many wonderful things he did. I believe his eulogy was listed on the UDP website just before the elections. Then sure enough someone will nominate him as a National Hero. I hope we get some money in reserves soon to cover the cost of all that brass.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Will Premier McDinejad have the power to make Steve and Theresa QC’s?

    If not they will have to settle for MC’s.

    • Anonymous says:

      Forgot to add, they are already EC’s. Extension Cords for those not familiar with local politricks.

    • Anonymous says:

      As a UDP supporter & member, I am not pleased with this decision. What is the point, & what was so wrong with it? I am a believer in "dont fix if it aint broke." This too shall pass & we will all be back behind our LoGB despite this minor set back, we all make mistakes & this is just a very minor one by him, & we will get over it.

  5. Anonymous says:




  6. Anonymous says:

    I have a few questions…….

    What about government offices which attrack large salaried employee and no revenue generated?  Portfolio of the Civil Service?  Complaints Comissioners Office? Freedom of Information Office?

    With every department hiring (many not needed) their own HR why is there this huge expensive department still having meetings after meetings accomplishing what? Get rid of HR departmentally or get rid of PoCS. Stop double dipping.  Quite frankly you need the centralized PoCS because the unfair practices with out it is rampant.

    Is the complaints Comissioners office worth the overhead?  Same with the FOI office?  I think  few cut backs here will offer a larger savings than legal aid which is now going to cost even more.

    There is so much that need immediate attention why trouble something that is obviously going to need law amendments.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Oh, history: "The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance". Cicero, 55 BC

    • Anonymous says:

      People(s) who do not learn (from) history are condemned to repeat it.

  8. Anonymous says:

    This is just another ignorant, stupid, idiotic, undemocratic, reckless UDP/McDinejad decision that will have to be reversed when sensible thought is applied…….you know like the Pirates Week, Civil Service Pensions, Sale of Government Assets, Civil Service pay cuts etc etc decisions recently.

    I don’t understand how Julianna, a trained attorney, can just sit there knowing that this is fundamentally wrong and that it injects politics into the Judicial System in this country and that the mixture of politics with Judicial activities is only permitted in countries like Cuba, China, Iran and North Korea.

    Wake up Cayman. MCKEEVA MUST GO NOW !!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymouse says:

      I wish you luck,  I wish you joy!  Getting rid of Mac is about as possible as a man having a baby boy.

  9. deja vu says:

    mac is excellent in running his own show, mind you.  we, the caymanians, are mere spectators.   he will be selling cayman to all his ‘friends’ and we cannot do a damn thing about it.    he practically ‘ambushed’ his way to change a policy instead of going through the whole gamut of discussions.  he’ll do the same in other issues, just watch.  it’s his way or the ‘effing’ highway!

  10. Twyla Vargas says:

    CHANGING THE LEGAL AID policy was a good idea.  My reason is that too many persons were getting the benefit of it and did not deserve it.  Check it out.  Number one why should persons who are not from here, come to this Island, commit hideous crimes and expect the government to take up the bill.  That is madness.

      Furthermore why should Caymanians take up the gun, rape, break into peoples homes and governement pick up the check.  Madness again.   I do not know if it is something else we are talking about?    It makes sence to agree to disagree on a subject and also to disagree to agree on a subject, but personal political attacks is venimous.   Agree or disagree, nothing wrong.  Walk good.


    • Anonymous says:

      surprise, surprise Vargas. Defending the indefensible deeds of Mr. Bush? What a surprise! Ok, the legal aid system may have been abused at times, but does that give Mr. Bush the right to make such a drastic & dictatorial type decision as to open a legal aid office, employing 2 of his close associates at a time when this country cannot afford to? Put your prejudices aside & think before you write. You are entitled to your opinion as I am, but how can you, Mr. Bush or anyone support such drastic actions? WE CANNOT AFFORD IT, not even for colleagues, family, friends or supporters. 

    • Portia says:

      Twyla, you are wrong.

      Changing this policy is a good idea? Wrong. This plan is ill-conceived, based in misunderstanding, and will deliver a poorer standard of justice in Cayman.

      Too many persons were getting the benefit of legal aid and did not deserve it? Wrong. This is just simply a repeat of an ignorant mantra. Legal aid has only ever been awarded to those charged with offences which should attract it according to the Legal Aid Law (i.e. really serious offences, like murder) and if the person does not have the means to pay for their own attorney. In fact, most persons before the Cayman courts do NOT receive legal aid at all.

      And whether you like it or not, if persons do come here, commit a hideous crime and ‘expect’ the government to take up the bill (and this hardly ever happens), if Cayman is ever to stand a chance of being considered a safe, modern, reliable jurisdiction by the outside world (and if you don’t think that matters, imagine the tourists, banks, law firms, funds, etc. were removed from your economy and see what would be left), then the government DOES have to pay the bill, for ALL in the system accused of serious crime and who cannot afford to defend themselves. The ‘madness’, as you put it, would be in refusing to pay. If you go around putting people on trial and convicting them unfairly (whether they did it or not), you should expect costly appeals and international condemnation for being nothing more than a ‘banana dependency’ where human rights mean nothing.

      And, yes, personal political attacks are venomous – when you have politicians like this, who do this sort of thing, they have to be, don’t they? Meaningless phrases playing on ‘agreeing to disagree’ and ‘walking good’ really get us nowhere.

  11. Anonymous says:

    How was this allowed to happen?

    • Anonymous says:

      Because he who is responsible for good governance in the territory is once again failing to perform his job. He is allowing all of this build up for a TCI style takeover by the UK Govt.

    • Anonymous says:

      The sooner the Cayman people wake up and realise what is going on the better it will be for Cayman. I wonder if people heard that The Financial Secretary gave his LAST report to the Finance Committee before you know who takes over. YES, it will be the same person who has the Portfolio that controls the Three Largest Industries of The Cayman Islands, namely The Tourism Industry, The Building and Development Industry and The Financial Industry and now he will be The Chairman of the Finance Committee. People, believe it or not I am talking of McKeeva Bush and shortly he will be The Premier of The Cayman Islands, and if we, The people of The Cayman Islands continue to allow this man to have all the power he wants, no one will have a say and we will be run under a Dictatorship. By setting up an office for Legal Aid, run by two of his cronies, he will control who gets legal aid aswell and as he controls certain "high ups" in the Judiciary, he will also control that Department too. Cayman People, please put a stop to what is happening in Cayman before it is too late and I am serious!


    • Anonymous says:

      For McKeeva Bush to suggest that Alden McLaughlin is using scare tactics in his concerns about the new legal aid office is totally irressponible and just "par for the course" for him. Alden and the whole of the Cayman Islands should be concerned with what MacHitler is trying to do and it just amazes me how the rest of the UDP can just sit by and let him do as he pleases – what a bunch of spineless wimps! Please Alden, for the sake of Cayman, stand strong and let us know what he is trying to push through under our noses in the quiet of the night – it is time for a coup to get rid of this wanna-be dictator! 

  12. Anonymous says:













    CNS: Thanks for contributing. Next time could you post without the caps lock on, please. Thanks!

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly….didn’t you hear Mac do the same thing to Austin and Gilbert when he went on their show. He told Gilbert he wanted him to chair the Island Council group and said he thought "someone like Austin could make a valuable contribution on the council too"……..and right there and then Mac neutralised both of them.

      You seebecause they want to be in the position of power they will not dear talk too bad about Mac and upset him lest they lose their right to be a part of Cayman’s downfall…….unfortunately neither of these two clowns understand the position that Mac is putting them in and that he’s setting them up to be his soldiers and they can’t serve that role and at the same time be impartial talk show hosts…..

      Which is it going to be guys ???


    • Anonymous says:

      And they try to say that we are not a dictatorship?

      I have never seen such amazing xxxx in my life! Bush. M claims that the country is bankrupt, how can he now demand $500,000 to open some office to house his friends? This is unbelievable! And if his supporters are so concerned about our economy they would tell Bush M ‘thanks, but no thanks.’

      This is greed, & unnecessary. We cannot afford to pay our civil servants, we can’t even afford $100,000 to hold out national beauty pageant, but the udp can find $500,000 to open a new office & hand it over to supporters to control. This is shocking, & very very selfish.  

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually its 500,000 that was already allocated for legal aid that will be used to open the new office. In doing so, the LoGB actually cut money from the budget by reducing the amount of aid money that was available. Not sure how this is greedy.

        • Anonymous says:

          Because he then took an additional $400,000 from the cut expenses and funneled it into his personal office slush fund. And that’s ignoring that now the entire legal aid system will be under his control, even if it is "cheaper."

  13. Anonymous says:

    The absurdity of this decision will be felt by the Caymanian people sooner rather than later. While I have the uttermost of respect for Theresa Pitcairn, I feel not enough research has done in passing this motion. What qualification does Dwayne Seymour have to propose such a bill?


    Why was the Hon. Sam Bulgin’s views not taken into account and more importantly what is the rational for moving the LEGAL aid department from under the judiciary and putting it under Ministry of Finance? In which other jurisdiction is this acceptable? What about the important separation of powers (state vs. judiciary)


    The creation of a legal aid authority/ office is a great idea and it would be normally headed by one person and supported by a small staff. You may hire a few attorneys to work within that office to have conduct of the civil and criminal matters and hence you reduce cost because you pay these attorneys a set monthly salary. Outside Counsel can be retained for particular cases upon approval.


    However, I am very confused as to the role this new operation will have and further the role of Mr. McField and Mrs. Pitcairn. Will these attorneys be conducting matters or simply overseeing the office and its cases? Also what about the outstanding bills owed to attorneys right now who currently hold valid legal aid certificates?


    This is all very comical but no one is laughing!

    • Anonymous says:

      And of course they will become civil servants with all the benefits and need staff to support them. LOL!!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      We, the people used to complain that when reports & cases of suspicions of corruption was sent to the legal dept it would come to a screeeeeeeeching halt when it reached a certain level, especially when it involved a certain politican known as Big MacHussein. 

      Now we see that Big MacHussein has for some unGodly reason put the Legal aid office under his control, manned by 2 of his cohorts. My GOD, what are we coming to? Fellow Caymanians, the time is coming. We must stand up before it is too late. Can’t we see what is happening? This is the same thing that has happened under Chavez, only it is happening far more quickly here in Cayman, & it is the same type of thing that was happening in Honduras until the Honduranian people said enough is enough. 


  14. Anonymous says:

    What a sad, disgraceful farce. This new policy towards the provision of legal services, and the manner of its introduction, must expose those behind it to the criticism that they are little more than ignorant incompetents. In a country where the standards in political and public life are often woefully inadequate (though of course with notable exceptions), this is surely a new low. How can it be right that such an importantchange is made with no consultation of any stakeholders, in the absence of the country’s senior law officer – theAttorney-General, and flying rather in the face of a recent Law Commission report into this very issue which found that the current system for the provision of criminal defence services provides ‘value for money’? It is another example of politicians playing fast and loose with the criminal justice system because it is something they simply do not understand. It does not even appear that the anticipated costs of running the ‘McField-Pitcairn system’ will make any substantial savings (a projected CI$1.2M per annum versus the current CI$1.8M per annum – and I’ll believe that when I see it). And I do not think we can be reassured about the quality of thought behind any of this when the best answer from the LoGB when challenged is that, ‘if it doesn’t work out, we can always change the policy’ – what utter nonsense.

    No-one likes the idea of ‘criminals’ having their lawyers paid for by the public but let us not forget that, on any given day, down at the courthouse and in the dock, and in amongst those ‘criminals’, will be ordinary men and women, either wrongly accused or simply feckless and helpless. They will be prosecuted by a lawyer, before a magistrate or judge. Their liberty might very well be at stake. The least that can be said is that they deserve and need the highest quality of defence, paid for, if they cannot afford it themselves, by the state. If not, you have one thing – injustice. This new policy risks exposing us all to exactly that evil. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I have read CNS for a while now and in my humble opinion – that is the most thoughtful, educated, and unbiased response I have read.

      Surely all educated readers can appreciate the gravity of the situation as sufficiently pointed out. To all others — you can now be tried without any legal defense. Good luck with that.

      Or Mr. Bush might realize this cannot legally transpire so he’ll make the law firms on the island donate, I mean as part of the Business Staffing Plan, have an employee volunteer his/her time to criminal defense $


  15. Anonymous says:

    I can see the Foreign and Commonwealth office suspending our new constitution. Just like what happened in the Turks and Caicos Islands this year. Why is it that the voting public always goes along with those that speak a loud and castigatge the most.


    People please note how the majority of the people in Bodden Town was so quick to get rid of Charles Clifford who stood up against poor Governance and Corruption.


    • Anonymous says:

      It is my opinion that the FCO cannot suspend our constitution soon enough! That is the only thing that will save us now! Please, FCO, come & save us from Mckeeva Bush & his UDP lackie boyz & girlz! Come & save us from Caymans missik & co

  16. Anonymous says:

    If the l.o.g.b, start to run the judicial system. it will fail..if it fails we all fails cayman fails. i wonder if this could be a plan to have some defendant defend themselvesin court, and get a long time in jail, some get off for lack of repersentation. please remember the two jamacian that are charge with estella scott death. will they the best defence attorney.or they will not get one so they can walk.think about this caymanians.  do you all know how close the l.o.g.b. and the ja community is. these are the same people who are giving him advise, after they distroy thier own contry                                      now tell me where this male got his legal experiene from. this matter should be left to the judicial dept.  i notice that he did not check with the chief justice… i wonderrrrrrrr whyyyyyyyyy

    • Anonymous says:

      If Jamaican had the power to alter the course of another’s country, wouldn’t you think they’d attempt to use that power to better their own situation? The idea that the removal of control from the judiciary is all part of the the hidden agenda by the Jamaican people to control Cayman is obviously the blunderings of the uneducated and prejudiced. FYI both the Chief Justice and the AG are Jamaicans. With Jamaica, the UK and all other manner of powers seeking to undermine Cayman, I’m quite surprised to find it still standing.  

      No-one has any idea of how the newly created office will be run or how the process will be operated. Before raining condemnation upon the LoGB, why not try and get all the facts? The facts that we do know is that under the current regime, the legal aid fund routinely ran out of money due to the odd practice of allowing defendants to retain QC’s and other attorneys from England for many trials. This practice was not only expensive but it carried with it the inference that local, qualified caymanian criminal attorneys were not capable to do the job. Since so many are concerned with ex-pats taking the jobs from locals, I would have thought a refined legal system which only granted aid for QC’s in the most dire of circumstances would be applauded. But I guess the public doesn’t need to be uniform either their convictions or criticisms.

      • Anonymous says:

        Please 15:47, go back under your rock. You are blind, so please go back under your rock & take a nap, a very long nap!

      • Anonymous says:

        Well said, (15:47) at least the second paragraph. 

        Unfortunately this sudden seemingly knee jerk action has caused a lot of typical irrational responses.  You would have gotten a powerful statement accross if you would have left out un-necessary opinion with it.

        The process and plans should be demanded by the people before the bashing.  Obviously an offfice for this purpose with set salaries would be generally less costly.  Accountable approved applications process would be a great benefit.  there is great potential here.

    • Anonymous says:

      as we see, it is not the new constitution that is broken, it has not even come into being as yet, it is the people we choose to elect to represent us.  We need to make wiser choices as a nation.

  17. A Lone Voice in the Dark says:

    How is this going to work when there is a conflict of interest?  You cannot have a notional chinese wall between attorneys in a firm (there is case law to support this proposition) and so what happens when one defendant is blaming the other (the simplest example of a conflict).  What happens when one is professional embarrassed? etc etc.  Vera Baird was heard to say that the Public Defenders Service which was piloted in the UK in a few regions was a great success.  When asked why she said in the regions in which the public defender was used there was an increase in guilty pleas by over 30% and this led to substantial cost savings.  mmmm who is this a good thing for I ask?    I do agree with the idea that defendants here  frequently manipulate the system by sacking their lawyers and asking for a new one.  In the UK this used to happen a lot and then the Chief Justice of England and Wales issued practice directions which meant that effectively defendants get one legal aid lawyer or no lawyer at all.   There are exceptions but generally it is extremely rare to get Legal Aid certificate transferred here.  When a legal aid certificate is transferred there is an enormous amount of duplication of work done by the new lawyer.  To effect these changes stops a defendant shopping for who they think will do what they want to do as opposed to what the lawyer is allowed ethically to do.  For example a defendant will often give instructions here that mean he or she is guilty of an offence.  They refuse to plead guilty have been advised of the law by their lawyer and tell their lawyer to run a case which is simply a lie.  Some, and thankfully few, lawyers here will do that but often in Cayman defendants will sack their lawyer if they don’t get what they want.  Do away with the system by which defendants can name who they want to represent.  Do as in england – have a pool of legal aid lawyers who do their stint on a roster basis at the police station and that is who they get for their case.   Just some suggestions….I could go on and on  

  18. Anonymous says:

    Notwithstanding my high regard for both Steve and Theresa, this is obviously a bad move as it can have the effect of politicising the administration of legal aid.   

    LOL! Proposed by Dwayne Seymour? What does he know about the issue? Clearly, it was felt that it would improve his political profile if he signed on the dotted line.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah – I would like to see John John asked a direct question in public by the Media on this one……good luck if he has to get into any real detail about this one!

      • Anonymous says:

        The poor guy had no idea what he was signing….come on Bodden Town you gave up able, intelligent and progressive Leadership for this joker and his partner Mark the road paving H1N1 machine.

        Oh and BTW, its time for Tony "The baseball cap and slippers farmer" to stay home. He has contributed nothing during his tenure other than to declare that he is "impressed" with everything !!!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Oh joy,he’s cutting more programs and taking a big chunk of the "savings" to funnel into his slush fund. If this were done purely to save money and create a more efficient system, I’d be more supportive, but then let all the cuts be cuts and don’t add to your personal stash of cash… This is just outrageous!

    • Anonymous says:

      I tell ya…..this would be hilarious if it were not so sad….feel sorry for this Country if it goes down the path Mac and the UDP wanting it to go!

  20. Anonymous says:

    He who pays the piper calls the tune.  Everyone must now dance to McMissick’s favourite tunes.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I think this is an excellent idea but it should be left to operate under the ambit of the Judiciary with certain rules.

    We cannot any longer afford the system that we have now where justice is delayed and exceptionally expensive because those accused know that we cant afford it so they ask for the most expensive lawyers and QC’s just to delay their trials and justice to those they wronged knowing full well tht their case will be thrown out if the people of these islands cannot afford to pay up.

    McKeeva, good idea but you have enough things on your plate, leave it for the judiciary to run.

  22. Mises’ Musings says:

    As a former UDP supporter I think that this is horrible. I have nothing against Steve or Theresa but they are there at the whim of the Emperor and I suspect that they will be replaced by others who are less scrupulous and more willing to do the Emperor’s bidding in the near future.

    I suspect that in the near future to get Legal Aid it will be necessary to show UDP membership or at least support. That would certainly create the forced "loyalty" of some interesting people. I can see it now – promises of fridges and paved driveways for some and legal aid for others.

    In other jurisdictions this type of move has been the precursor to setting up party "enforcers" or "soldiers" who have effective immunity from prosecution and "insurance" in the form of "legal aid" in case by some miracle they actually get charged.

    Perhaps the "nation building fund" will provide funding for the military arm of the UDP or the establishment of Cuban style "block commmittees" to enforce policy and direct the "soldiers" to those who need to be "disciplined" for questioning the Party.

    This is a dark day for Cayman. Lord help us.

  23. Young Caymanian says:

    So where does this leave the men accused of murdering Estella?  They must have a fair trial otherwise the case will be thrown out and there will be no justice.  If legal aid isn’t given proper support it may argued that fair trials are not possible leaving many accused in limbo or, God forbid, released!


  24. Anonymous says:

    Cayman we must stop this mad man……McDinejad. This is direct political interference into our Judiciary and will certainly be our downfall.

    You think we had international initiatives aimed at us before……check out whats going to happen over the next 12 months because of this UDP move.

    This is what happens Cayman when you elect incompetent people like John John who clearly has no idea of the serious ramifications of his motion……who is being led by an uneducated and inept Leader of Government Business.

    In a democracy you CANNOT have political interference and control of ANY component of the JUDICIAL system. Can you imagine McDinejad having the last say in who now gets legal aid and which lawyers benefit from the Legal Aid fund. If McDinejad says he will have nothing to do with it that is just another lie. He who pays the piper calls the tune !!!!

    I hope Bodden Towners understand now that Theresa was not an independent candidate in the last election but was the 3rd UDP candidate in disguise……..Oh how much more gullible can we get ???

    I hope that our Chief Justice, AG and private sector will call the government to task over this ignorant and ill-advised move !!!!

    Our opposition is ineffective and way too soft for McDinejad….come on guys wake up !!!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Good to see Ezzard blindly voting with the UDP apparatchiks on this one.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ezzard you were on a roll my friend……but you have made a fundamental mistake with this one !!!!

      Correct it now before its too late. Remember only fools and dead men can’t change their minds !!!!!!!!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Is it just me, or is this government operating in the same manner that "Tacho" and "Papa Doc" did at the height of their power?

  27. Anonymous says:

    You are asking (Dwayne) Seymour how the legal aid office motion will function? Thats a joke !! both him and Mark are UDP puppets. They will never have an answer for anything because they dont know what the He** they are doing.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I agree with making cutbacks and saving money where possible. As long as it doesn’t mean that  a lot of people who cannot afford to pay are forced to trial in kangaroo courts on trumped up charges (particularly foreigners) because they upset somebody or their cousin. We need to ensure everybody gets a fair trial regardless of public perception. Otherwise somebody without a lawyer is going to end up in jail for a long time based solely on their lack of understanding and a few gossip mongers and headlines becuase they were foreign and couldn’t afford legal aid.

    In a lot of cases as we have seen, police just find somebody to blame to appease the public.