HRC falls short of standard

| 28/09/2010

(CNS): The composition of the Cayman Islands Human Rights Commission does not meet the Paris Principles, as adopted by the United Nations, when it comes to human rights institutions,, experts have said. Along with a number of other problems Cayman faces ahead of the implementation of its Bill of Rights in 2012, Desia Colgaon and Serlina Goulbourne, who visited Cayman last week, said the key elements of any human rights national institution are independence and pluralism. The experts who were here to offer free training to members of both the public and private sector said Cayman lacked a human rights culture, which would take some time to develop.

The two women came to the islands as part of the Commonwealth Foundation and its project partners (the Commonwealth Legal Education Association, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and the UK’s Department for International Development) to help raise awareness and offer assistance to the community at large about what human rights mean to a community.

“While there is some technical understanding of what human rights are there is considerably less understanding of what the Bill of Rights will mean to society,” Goulbourne told CNS. “I think there is a will to embrace the concept but there needs to be support from civil society to ensure that the Cayman Islands will adopt a culture of human rights.”
She also pointed out that some civil servants had voiced real anxieties about coping with the implementation of the Bill of Rights as they said they did not really know where to start when it came to ensuring the policies in their departments were compliant. “There appears to be a sense of panic among some public sector workers but every department will need to review policies.”
Colgaon pointed out that with three lawyers, including a former attorney general, on the commission and only two lay people, one of whom is a church representative, the local HRC does not meet the Paris Principles, which were defined at the first International Workshop on National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights held in Paris in 1991. The guidelines were adopted by the UNCHR as comprehensive recommendations on the role, composition, status and functions of national human rights organisations. The principles say that the body must incorporate a cross section of people from the community or a plural membership.
She also pointed out that training and education, which is one of the roles of the HRC needs to stretch beyond government and into the wider community so that the people understand what rights they will have under the bill once it is implemented.
During the week long workshop around 100 people attended the various different seminars and Reshma Sharma, one of the organisers from the Attorney General’s Office, said there was definitely a mixed response from those who attended about how HR will take affect in Cayman. She said there was a very strong response to the training and that it was clear a lot of people want to know a lot more about how the Bill of Rights will affect them.’
The trainers will be publishing a report with recommendations for the way forward for Cayman based on their brief time here, which will be available to the public.
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  1. The Crown says:

    Is the entire god damn world socially illiterate?? Or just Cayman’s government & it’s Uk attachment. How can you be a leading financial center in world & lack so shamefully in this deparment???????? My god..

  2. lwestin says:

    The makeup of the board appears to be largely (I don’t know everyone) Caymanian. Perhaps not ‘born’ Caymanian, but citizens.

    They also happen to be from a variety of experiences , faith backgrounds and proffessions. In other words a well rounded group of level headed people, educated and also knowledgeable, about human rights here and around the world.

    I would suggest that every resident in Cayman take a first step by educating themselves about the history of the development and implementation of ‘bills of human rights’ around the world. Secondly, read about the recent (last 10-20 yrs especially) activities of the UN and the EU to change the definition of human rights to fit their social agenda. There has been an ongoing campaign around the world, to pressure ‘backwards’ countries like Cayman, to abandon their Christian cultures, their marriage institutions, their respect for life, and to amend their education systems to reflect the values of those who seem to have voice currently.

    It’s a bit of reading, but not hard to find the intent and the activity (described by themselves) of the UN and the EU in ‘human rights’ Read the documents and reports – not their media propaganda..

    Not to despair or fear. The world is changing, and those societies that were so quick to abandon their foundations are already starting to return to reality. We have only to be true to what is good in Cayman, and just. Real human rights are about justice. The right to live without fear, worship without fear, the right to work, own property, and speak without fear. Basic rights that actually exist in Cayman now. It is arrogance for outsiders to claim that Cayman does not have a ‘culture of human rights’. Arrogance, and a form of intimidation by scorn.

    As a side comment, those interested in gay marriage might like to look up the keynote speech at the recent GOProud HomoCon party ….  . 

  3. My2cents says:


    The composition of the Cayman Islands Human Rights Commission does not meet the Paris Principles, as adopted by the United Nations, when it comes to human rights institutions,,

    Uh oh….seems like the true position of life in the Cayman islands for its residents is not lost on these people. I’m glad they are standing up and calling Cayman on it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    A culture of human rights that would approve of a man marrying a man? Total madness. If that’s what these "experts" are alluding to, then they have a lot to learn about Caymanian society. Quite quaint, actually. Personally, I wish them the very worst in their humanistic endeavours. They degrade the very definition of human rights by such pursuits, which seek to corrupt the minds of our children, and lead our society towards disaster.

    • Anonymous says:

      So the Cayman culture of fatherless kids, skilless workers, stealing from employees, uneducated leadership robbing the country blind in broad daylight will not corrupt the minds of Caymans children?  I wish you the best but I doubt you’ll get it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Speak for yourself. I am as Caymanian as one can be and I want everyone in this country to have equal rights in all aspects of life. Everyone has the right to love who they love, spend thier life with who they wish to spend thier life with, not be discriminated against, have access to health care, a living wage, clean air to breath…..

      And I know many many other Caymanians who feel/think the same way.

      The Caymanians like yourself are a dying breed. Not dying fast enough however. Too many people in this country are suffering from discrimination right now because of ignorant people like you.


      I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

      I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

      I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

      I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the contentof their character.

      I have a dream today!

      I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

      I have a dream today!

      I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."2

      This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

      With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

      And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

      My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

      Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,

      From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

      And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.


      From every mountainside, let freedom ring.


      And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

                      Free at last! Free at last!

                      Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!3

      One day soon I pray Cayman will be free from this vicious hatred and discrimination.

      Blessings to all those who suffer at this society’s hands.

    • The Crown says:

      For real.. it seems,no definately why Caymanian’s & others similar to us have so much trespass. We seemed to know our rights without it being mentioned. Which is capitalized on sensing that we dont see the necessary importance in a “law” mandating our rights.For these reasons & rightly so,i totally agree with you. To struggle with the implementation of rights always suggest there is no god given right. So as advanced as the world becomes we continue to struggle with base,obvious & fundamental needs that should always be the first order of humanity & it’s furtherance. But so,so unbelievable in our case the lack of human rights under law seems increasingly a impossibility of just a mere oversight.

  5. tired says:

    Again as a christian I believe that human right are in fact  in support of jesus’ doctrine.

    They also prevent that should the social framework change  and say for example church of god people came into to power that they couldn’t go out make living hell for  all Jehovah Witnesses or vise versa.

    Treating  everyone with dignity and respect is not a bad thing!!!

    However I would agree,  that some of the first persons to become sensitive to Human right issues and learn to advocate for themselves are indeed criminals who have already deprived others of their rights.

    So do we deprive ourselves to to deprive them ??

  6. Anonymous says:

    Human RIghts basically means the right to express and live your life as a Human, without fear of marital or sexual status, or being threatened to have your job taken if you speak your mind(for example). It doesnt create criminals. In fact it allows people to live their lives in a lawful way, rather than in a way which is illegal in most of the world.


  7. Anonymous says:

    guidelines are not requirements. un bureaucrats do not establish requirements.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Every Human has rights?  That excludes Caymanians. We dont even have a right of way on the road.

    • noname says:

      In Cayman who has the right to steal from their employees without the worry of even being labeled as a criminal much less being held accountable?

      In Cayman who has the right to high paying Government jobs without being held accountable for actually doing said jobs?

      In Cayman who has the right to live and stay on Cayman without actually contributing anything to the country but trash?

      I could go on and on but I hope you get the point that as a Caymanian on Cayman you have more rights than most people in Most countries.

    • Caymanian 2 Da Bone says:

      Really I see us out on the roads all the time, but you are right we don’t have the right of way at a give way sign just like our expat breathren. The problem is most believe we always have the right of way while driving even at a stop sign

    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanains have More rights than expats on Cayman.  What they lack is the capacity to use them to their benefit.  Hence someone like the traveling Bush whacker as Premier.

  9. Hallowe'en Jack says:

    The Bill of Rights will last a year at most before it is replaced by the proper incorporation of the ECHR by a London Court.

  10. anonymous says:

    the ruination of my beautiful islands has just begun. the only persons that are going to benefit from this are the same ones that are terrorizing the country with crime.  

    • Anonymous says:

      How is it that Caymanian kids are the only ones going to benefit?  Or is it just the Caymanian gang/guys/murderers/robbers with guns/ etc?  Either you are confused or everyone else is.

    • Joe Average says:

      Gee, I wish you hadn’t said that 6:03.  On the other hand it’s alright, because it’s people with viewpoints like yours that make a bill of Human Rights so necessary.

  11. John Evans says:

    Plain English might help.

    Quote, "there is considerably less understanding of what the Bill of Rights will mean to society."

    That’s hardly surprising when much of it seems to be phrased in pseudo-legal gobbledygook.

    It is, as I’m sure the two experts know,  essential for something to be understood and trusted before it can be implemented.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The inclusion of a church representative really is ludicrous – the commission is supposed to protect us from these people. 50% of the commission should be drawn from the expat community also.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why? Isn’t the church a part of society? Or is it the only part of society you feel ought not to have a voice?

      • Anonymous says:

        Given that religious organisations have a proven track record of grotesque human rights abuses stretching back hundreds of years, and continue to promote bigotry and abuse in the name of religion, church representatives should not be allowed anywhere near the human rights commission.

        The whole point of human rights is to promote modern, rational ethical standards in the treatment of individuals. Believers in malevolent sky-pixies, eternal punishment, and absurd (and nasty) fairytales from an old book need not apply.

    • Anonymous says:

      No – if you are right it should be 70% (to reflect the actual demographics) and it is just because of that dominance in society that the contrary has to be the case on a Human Rights front.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sounds like the majority needs protecting from the minority. Particularly as the majority are denied basic civil and political rights under the vicious  Caymanian system of apartheid administered under the guise of immigration law.

        • tired says:

          wow! apartheid! wow! really ?   can you really compare the two situations. If so  please go on this is really fascinating!

    • tired says:
      • For your review:
      • Mr. Richard Coles (Chairman)( nice guy Expat)
      • Mrs. Sara Collins ( nice girl part caymanian and part expat)
      • Mrs. Cathy Frazier( caymanian)
      • Rev. Nicholas Sykes (expat)
      • Mr. Alistair Walters ( expat)
      • do the math (3/5 ) *100= 60%


  13. au revoir says:

    This is certainly no surprise.  More importantly, anyone with any sort of common sense would have arrived to the very same conclusions.  

  14. Jab Jab says:

    And here’s the problem with ‘principles’. They are impractical. There is a plurality of the cross-section of Cayman’s population that I’d rather not have on any boards, much less one as important as the HRC. (Who are these people? Three just robbed Fidelity and we can work up the list from there.) Considering what we’re starting with I think we’re starting with a good group. Hopefully their report has some actually useful recommendations.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is it also the gay/ lesbian Cayman community that you rather not see on these boards?  Good group you say????  Cayman will never see legitimate Human Rights embraced with a HRC such as the one we have!