Appointments made to three new commissions

| 13/01/2010

(CNS): Pastor Al Ebanks (left), the head of the Cayman Ministers Association committee that helped negotiate the new Constitution and stood in strong opposition to an unqualified bill of rights, has been appointed Chairman of the Constitutional Commission. Chairing the new Human Rights Commission is former Attorney General Richard Coles, while Karin Thompson, a local attorney and member of the Sexual Harassment and Stalking Taskforce, will chair the Commission for Standards in Public Life, according to a release from the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs.

The Constitutional Commission is a three-person commission established under section 118 of the new Constitution. Also appointed by Acting Governor Donovan Ebanks along with Pastor Al are community activist and former Deputy Clerk of the Courts Julene Banks and CEO of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce Wil Pineau.

Under the Constitution, this commission has a threefold remit of advising government on questions concerning constitutional status and development, promoting public understanding and awareness of the constitution and its values, and publishing reports, papers and other documents on any constitutional matters affecting the Cayman Islands. In broad terms, this commission may be said to combine the functions of an advisory body with those of a think tank on constitutional matters, the portfolio explained.

The five-member Human Rights Commission replaces the Human Rights Committee and is established under section 116 of the constitution. The newly appointed members are Richard Coles (Chairman), who was attorney general for the Cayman Islands from 1992 to 1999; local attorneys Sara Collins (who was chair of the Human Right Committee) and Alistair Walters; Cathy Frazier, a member of the Planning the Future for Persons with Disabilities Steering Committee, and the Reverend Nicholas Sykes, a member of Negotiating Team for the Constitutional Negotiations.

The primary responsibility of the commission is to promote understanding and observance of human rights in the Cayman Islands. This remit includes educating the public about the Bill of Rights, Freedoms and Responsibilities (Part 1 of the constitution), most of which are scheduled to come into effect on 6 November 2012. The Human Rights Commission has powers to establish mechanisms to hear and investigate public complaints about potential breaches of human rights, to provide a forum for mediation or conciliation, to give advice and guidance to enquirers of all kinds in relation to their human rights, and to publish reports on its own initiative on human rights issues.

Appointments to the Constitutional Commission and the Human Rights Commission will be for renewable terms of between two to four years, with members serving for different periods, so that new appointments or re-appointments can take place in a staggered fashion.

Five people have been appointed to serve on the Commission for Standards in Public Life: along with the chair Karin Thompson, Managing Partner for KPMG, Roy McTaggart; Pastor Winston Rose, a former member of the Public Service Commission; former Chief Education Officer Nyda-Mae Flatley; and local architect, Hedley Robinson.

Established under sections 117 and 121 of the Constitution, this commission has a broad remit but also specific responsibilities. Its overall function is to promote “the highest standards of integrity and competence in public life in order to ensure the prevention of corruption or conflicts of interest”. As such, it is entrusted with the specific responsibility for developing and maintaining up-to-date registers of interest for those employed in public life. In conjunction with its primary role of promoting standards in public life, it has powers to monitor compliance with such standards and to investigate breaches of them. In addition, it has powers to review and strengthen procedures for awarding public contracts and making public appointments. In broad terms, it acts as a watchdog, it responds to citizens’ concerns, and it promotes public trust in public servants and elected members. Under the constitution, its commissioners serve a four year term.

Administrative support for these three new commissions will be provided by a joint Commissions Secretariat, consisting of a Manager and up to five staff. The Secretariat is being established under the aegis of the Deputy Governor’s Office. A “joint services” approach to supporting the new commissions is considered prudent in the current fiscal climate.

The Commissions Secretariat will also support a fourth commission, the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, which will advise the governor on all judicial and legal appointments and will develop a code of conduct for the judiciary and a procedure for dealing with complaints. It is anticipated that appointments to the Judicial and Legal Services Commission will be made within the next two to three months.

The portfolio said these commissions would broaden citizen involvement in constitutional governance and strengthen our democratic way of life. For more on the commissions, see Institutions Supporting Democracy.

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  1. Joe Bananas says:

    Welcome to Banana Republic  The people of Cayman with their Silence have once again spoken loudly.  Corrupt, uncaring,incompetent Goverment.  YES!! YES!! YES!!   More of the same please!!!

    Fun place to visit, Dangerouse place to live.  Be careful out there.

  2. Anonymous says:

     Pastor Al?

    Mercy Lord Mercy.

  3. Anonymouse says:

    So, do church-goers not have a ‘right’ to have their views represented?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Whatever happened to separation of church and state?  Or does that not apply in Cayman?

    • Anonymous says:

      First there is no such thing as separation of church and state in our Constitution, and second the appointments of persons who happen to be members of the clergy in no way violate that. Church people are as much part of this society as anyone else and to exclude them would be discrimination.  

  5. Anonymous says:

    What a sad joke!

    Pastor Al? Rev. Sykes? Coles?

    Human rights!!!!!!!!

    What, Mugabe and Mullah Omar weren’t available?

    Geez, these men think human rights are a bad thing. They have gone on record fighting against basic rights. How in the world does anyone expect them to promote human rights in Cayman?

    Oh, right, that’s the idea. A human rights commission that fights human rights. I get it, you put people in place who are the opposite of what the group is supposed to be about so that nothing positive gets done. Genius.

    What’s next? Pastor Al, Rev. Sykes and Pastor Bob as executive officers of the Cayman Islands Gay and Lesbian Coalition?

    McKeeva Bush to chair the Cayman Islands Conservation Review Board?

    Julianna Oconnor-Connolly-Connolly-Connor to head up the Cayman Islands Science Education Initiative?


    • Anonymous says:

      10:15 Richard Coles should not be put in the same category as Sykes and Pastor Al. He’s liberal and tolerant and not homophobic.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Rev. Sykes will bring much needed balance to the Commission. It will be a welcome change from the loony, radical, liberal left.

    Good choices, Mr. Bush.


    • Anonymous says:

      Horse manure 9:25! Which of the other named members of the Commission are you referring to in such terms? I don’t see any of them as radical, loony or leftist. They are decent balanced humane members of our society. And Mr Bush didn’t choose any of them.

  7. gene hunt says:

    run a poll CNS run a POLL!!!!!! this is something that rhymes with full split….

  8. Anonymous says:

    not all bad…cayman moves another step towards direct rule !

  9. Joke says:

    Sykes on the Human Rights Commission!  That would be like inviting Nixon onto the Senate Ethics Committee.

  10. Anonymous says:

    So typical!  Someone from the Church on every panel.  This should be interesting…the concept of "human rights" enforced by reverned and pastor so and so. ummm something just does not add up…… so disappointed but not surprised!

    • Anonymous says:

      Doesn’t seem like a very diverse panel.  So typical of Cayman.  Not what you know, but who you know.  And WE know these are not objective thinking people.  Disappointed but not surprised. 

  11. Anonymous says:

    One of the appointees is accused in court documents of numerous negative activities , engaging in overt conflicts of interest, and unethical  and possibly dishonest conduct. And now they are to oversee the standards of conduct by those in our government. Brilliant!

    Go on – search the register of writs back a few years. Were I a journalist I would love this one.


    • Anonymous says:

      Did the individual not allegedly divert significant client funds for personal purposes? How can they be among the appointees? 

  12. slowpoke says:

    Human Rights Commission : Reverend Nicholas Sykes…. The new definition for “oxymoron”

    • Anonymous says:

      Amen Slowpoke! Unbelievable! Only in Cayman. His native UK would consider him too intolerant to sit on such a body.

    • nonsense says:

      And the pastor that vehemently oppose equal rights is the Chairman of the committee — you’ve got to be kidding me!

      This is absurd.