Opposition faces bitter-sweet Constitution Day

| 03/11/2009

(CNS): Despite the fact that the leader of the opposition has not been invited to speak or take any formal part in the Constitution Commencement Day on Friday, PPM members say they are still upbeat about the implementation of the 2009 Cayman Islands Constitution. Alden McLaughlin said that, while he felt it was a shame after fighting since 2001 for the new constitution that his party is not at the helm of government, Friday was still a very important day as it heralded in some significant changes to governance in the Cayman Islands. (Photo: Alden McLaughlin speaks at one of the many constitutional meetings)

“Getting the constitution through was a ray of sunshine on the dark day of the general election last May,” McLaughlin said. He noted the irony that the leader of government business has said frequently in recent month that he did not vote for the constitution and that he is being forced to be the first premier. “Despite how we feel about the arrival of Premier Bush,” McLaughlin joked, “we are ushering in a model of new governance that’s going to improve democracy and reduce ability of the governor to act outside of the advice of the elected representatives.”

Speaking at Monday night’s PPM council meeting, McLaughlin said the provisions the PPM had pressed for were important, especially given the current concerns regarding the relationship between Cayman and UK and what governors will and won’t be able to do in the future. “If we continue to have governors that can undermine the image of these islands, I shudder to think how Cayman will survival in the long term,” he said, but added that at least with the improvements in the Constitution Cayman would be less dependent on governors being ‘kind’ to Caymanians as there are now laws in place to curtail their behaviour or bad judgement.

The former education minster and tireless advocate for the Constitution during the run up to the referendum said the new Constitution increases involvement of elected officials in the day to day running of government. Above all, it has taken the sole power the governor previously had and placed it in the hands of committees, which includes members of the public as well as politicians, he explained.

However, McLaughlin lamented the failure to secure a police authority that would have taken that power away from the governor and given it to the people. “We had persuaded the UK to accept the idea,” he said, but explained that the UDP had refused to go along with it and, as an agreement with the UK was so close, London said it was not going to allow that one issue to upset the apple cart. “So we got a document that did not include a police authority,” he said. “I know the UDP must be kicking themselves now because of what happened with Operation Tempura and Cealt, which could happen again. Whenever power is concentrated in hands of one person, things are likely to go awry. You need more than one head to protect democracy.”

On Tuesday morning Ezzard Miller, the independent MLA for North Side, said he was profoundly disappointed with the way the occasion was being handled and accused the governor of playing down the celebrations to promote himself.

“This is an historic event for Caymanians and it should be Caymanians that are featured, and the keynote address should not be given by the governor but by the first premier,” Miller said on Rooster’s morning talk show Crosstalk. He also criticised the fact that the leader of the opposition had not been invited to speak. “That is disgusting. Not only is his position recognised in the Constitution, it was the honourable Kurt Tibbetts and his government that shepherded in the Constitution and took us through the process to a referendum,” he said. “It’s just rude not to invite him to speak.”

Miller said it was the country’s biggest constitutional advancement since 1959 and should be a day of celebration, with street parties and local bands playing and revealing in George Town. “We could celebrate two things, the coming of the Constitution and Jack off the island,” he added. The celebrations were being handling badly Miller stated. “This is about Caymanians stepping up and being recognised; it is not about Her Majesty’s governor,” he said.

The Commencement Day ceremony will take place at the Legislative Assembly on 6 November and will include the swearing-in of the premier, the deputy premier and the deputy governor. The event starts at 10:30 am with performances from the Cayman National Choir, the Harmony Singers, Rudy Myles and Jamessette Anglin. There will also be the usual pomp with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Band, an inspection of detachments from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, Fire Service, Her Majesty’s Prison Service, the Cadet Corps, the Girls Brigade, the Scouts, and the Gideon Pathfinders.

Refreshments will be served free of charge to the public at the close of the event followed by an invitation-only luncheon at the Ritz-Carlton. The inaugural day has also been declared a public holiday for this year only.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Remembrance Service should not be changed at the pleasure of any one person.  It was appropriately planned for 10:30 with the traditional moment of silence at 11am …. as is the tradition …. and as it will be in Grand Cayman.  In fact it still shows this on the community calendar for the Sister Islands on the gov.ky website! 

    This is an insult to all of us Brackers that Julianna puts her convenience ahead of the decades of tradition and our right to celebrate this in accordance with the rest of the world.

    Does her Bible tell her to be self-serving?


  2. Anonymous says:

    Look at the UDP… the new constitution hasn’t even been implemented yet and we have the premeir designate thinking he is the king.  Better yet… the deputy premeir designate has change remembrance day services over in Cayman Brac to suit her schedule.  Maybe it’s me, but I’m pretty sure that there is a reason why services have always been at 10:45am on remembrance day.  She might want to check her clock and realise that the world doesn’t revolve around her.

    It’s only the beginning… much worse to come.

    • Anonymous says:

      THE UDP fought tooth & nail to stop this new constitution. Despite saying that they agreed that our constitution needed to be modernized, they put roadblocks in the way of all the courageous efforts of the PPM & the secretariat (Ms. Bothwell & her staff). The UDP did all they could, & MORE, to stop any advancement of our constitution, BUT NOW THEY ARE DOING EVERYTHING IN THEIR POWER TO MAKE A BIG DEAL OF IT!

      Can you imagine that their leader, & most of his cronies, publicly say that they DID NOT vote for the new constitution, but look at them now!



  3. Anonymous says:

    Dont worry we are not stupid. We know that it was you Ms Altheas Boy that worked for 8 years to make this happen, and today we are singing our praises to you and your buddies. We know that you are a brilliant Man and are very proud of you.


  4. Anonymous says:

    Alden McLaughlin said that, while he felt it was a shame after fighting since 2001 for the new constitution that his party is not at the helm of government…Alden we needed change and that is what we the people of the Cayman Islands did.

    The new government (majority UDP) has "inherited the financial mess that your party left these Islands in… your party spent and borrowed and spent and borrowed like there was not a tomorrow."

    You (the PPM members that were re-elected) are all just  sore losers…so just get on with what you were re-elected to do, you are still taking home your BIG salaries each month but yet you and your party members are sitting in the back and behaving like high school teenagers!!

    It is really tough to accept when the shoe is on the other foot!! 

    • Anonymous says:

      Honestly…..you need to wisen up my dear! I guess you really think that the UDP is getting on with what they were elected to do AND not behaving like teenagers!! Oh well, some of us will never learn!!  Perhaps you should not act like such a sore ‘winner’ and instead give credit where it is due! The PPM have much to be proud of and they especially shine when it comes to this new Constitution and Mac keeps reminding us of that by repeating over and over again that he voted NO to the Constitution! The UDP on the other hand, well they have Boatswain Beach! But hey, if that’s enough for you then go ahead and party for the next four years while you wait to see what other ‘masterpiece’ your darling UDP going come up with for you and your children!

      • Anonymous says:
        • da wa ya get says:

          LOL! I literally Laughed Out Loud when I read this post.

          Will youplease list out what the UDP has accomplished in these past 6 months other than creating fear, division and instability in our country?

          PPM accomplished more positive things for this country in four years than ANY government before, including your precious UDP. I wish I had a copy of the PPM manifesto so I could list every thing out line by line.

          I’m not by any means saying that the PPM was beyondreproach and that they didn’t make mistakes but they are a far cry from the ridiculous crap that the UDP is consorting about with.


        • Anonymous says:

          Hmmm… accomplishments by the UDP:

          –  roused the lazy Civil Service from their slumber, taken them away from boring jobs helping residents and put them busily to work dealing with McKeeva’s whimsical politically-oriented demands

          –  created a Cayman "style" of dress wherein any color other than UDP colors is worn at your own risk.  It is refreshing to listen to grown ups discuss whether or not they can wear the color red in public without drawing down the wrath of the UDP.  By the way, I’m not up on all the teen gang thing.  Is green the color of the Bloods or the Crips?  Not sure which gang of thugs I am supposed to support.

          –  made any statement which does not praise the UDP and it’s glorious leader part of some evil conspiracy against Cayman and it’s glorious leader.  Why don’t people just love the glorious leader and let him do whatever he wants?  That would be glorious.  And why do people say that anyone who sees conspiracy under every rock and tree is paranoid?  To suggest that our glorious leader is a bit unstable is just wrong and obviously part of some conspiracy against the Cayman Islands and our glorious leader.  Long live our glorious leader, Kim Jong Bush!

          –  provided lessons in advanced civics, showing the young people of the Cayman Islands just how government works, which is government of the people, by McKeeva and for McKeeva.

          I only hope that at the end of this administration there is still something left to call the Cayman Islands.

  5. anonymous says:

    Bittersweet is right!

    Neither PPM nor UDP used the opportunities during the pulic consutation meetings last year to educate themselves or the public about Human Rights (for all). Instead they allowed the CMA to espouse discriminatory rhetoric about gay people and gay marriage…and watered down the Human Rights section for everyone just to ensure that gays don’t get rights.

    This new constitution gives mainly Politicians more power…the people get very little more…even the criteria for the people to bring a referendum is set at a higher standard than that of what the govt. set for itself to pass the new constitution (double standard?)

    Cayman continues to herald itself as a "Christian" place…but it seems there is much more "judgement" of others going on rather than "compassion and tolerance". And both parties continue to do little to bring about harmony in our society…choosing instead to only look out for their party’s interest.

    So yes! Bittersweet it is…and so it should be.