Cayman risks losing constitutional gains

| 12/01/2011

(CNS): The people of the Cayman Islands are at risk of losing the hard won democratic gains they voted for in the 2009 Constitution, Alden McLaughlin has warned. As a result of the current government’s continued use of the term “Governor in Cabinet” in all of the new legislation it is passing, the former minister says that the changes gained regarding the balance of power in favour of the Caymanian people and away from the UK’s representative are being undermined. McLaughlin says that he is taking up what he has described as a “constitutional fiction” with Attorney General Sam Bulgin and intends to ensure that it becomes a matter for wider public discussion.

During the first legislative sitting of the New Year the government brought several pieces of new legislation to the Legislative Assembly in which the term “Governor in Cabinet” continued to be used — an issue that McLaughlin says he is objecting to for far more then semantics. He believes the dangerous and unnecessary use of the term is giving back power to the governor which had been eroded during the constitutional talks.

The changes in the new Constitution regarding government, he said, were about much more than creating a premier. The long negotiations with the UK involved finding a way to give the country’s elected representatives more control and responsibility, addressing the political balance of power more in favour of those who are elected. McLaughlin said the premier’s decision to return to the old way of describing government is a way of avoiding taking responsibility for the decisions the UDP government is making. It is giving the false impression to the public that the governor is still involved in the day to day running of government.

“Cabinet is no longer an advisory body to the governor in terms of general policy,” said the MLA who was one of the main architects of the 2009 Cayman Islands Constitution. He explained that outside the governor’s areas of responsibility, such as law and order, the day to day areas of governance under the various elected government ministries are now the responsibility of those elected officials and the premier should be taking on that responsibility.

“It is regrettable that the government is continuing this constitutional fiction,” he told his legislative colleagues, and said the issue had serious implications. “If no one else is going to take this up, as a duly elected representative of the people it is my sworn duty to protect their constitutional rights.”

McLaughlin said that when the relationship betweenthe CIG and the UK is going along well people can be fooled into thinking this sort of issue doesn’t matter. However, he warned that as soon as conflict arises, then the people will understand why this is so important.

He said he would have expected that the attorney general would have understood at this stage the legal implications of this and pretending Cabinet is still an advisory body to him is simply wrong. “Passing legislation which is using the term “Governor in Cabinet” is giving the power back to the UK,” the George Town representative warned. “The elected government needs to take on the authority and responsibility for decision making given to it in the new Constitution,” he added.

McLaughlin says he would be setting out the legal position to the attorney general in an open letter and would take the argument to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office if he has to. The MLA stated that he will do all he can to get the premier to acknowledge the change and the shift in the balance of power.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Alden McLaughlin continues to mislead the Caymanian people, just as he and the PPM misled them into this entire constitutional consultative process that ultimately led to the constitutional negotiations being held behind closed doors and away form public scrutiny.

    Those negotiations should have been held in public, on TV and radio, so that every single Caymanian voter would have known exactly what they would have been voting on in the referendum.

    It was never the Caymanian voters intent to hand more power to a local government over the authority of the Governor…

    The Caymanian majority’s views have always been that the current status under Britain is the better of two bad alternatives, given the path of other former colonies that have taken independence.

    I would challenge Alden McLaughlin to present evidence of public opinion being any different now, meaning that Cayman’s majority are now in favour of independence.

    Because both political parties, along with their church allies, conspired to keep the voting public from actual involvement in this process is where Alden McLaughlin can now claim that a different interpretation of the Constitution is what was intended….

    Intended by him and his cohorts….

    Not the Caymanian people.

  2. flipper says:

    I read all these posts in utter disbelief – you people still do not get it…  still arguing about the same old nonesense, PPM this or UDP that.  Hello!!!!!!!! The PPM and the UDP are one and the same – cut from the same cloth.  A poster before me summed it up best by stating:  "A politician is a selfish creature with little conscience and a big ego."  The Cayman Islands are in a downhill slide that neither the PPM or UDP can stop – the only thing they care about is their own pockets, their fragile egos, and politricks…  If, come election time, you do not elect "new blood", civic minded people, who truly care about your country, kiss your precious island good-bye!

  3. ready to go to work says:

    It sounds like the crownies of the UDP are speaking up. It will be interesting to say the least to see who the appointies will be. Then we will be able to tell who’s helping bringing the country down.Arden better hurry and form your commitee for EE, like Mr. Miller in NS. WB done have theirs. Only BT and GT left. So let’s form ours too. You’ll have the left and the right. Well done Mr. Bush in dividing your people. I can see your smile from here. Ah! Power Boy. I wonder if Perlina wroye that speach.

  4. SOS says:

    "CAYMAN ISLANDS RISK LOSING GAINS" if Alden and the PPM gets back in power!  And Cayman, this time you won’t just have an 80 million deficit and an economic downturn. "LOSING GAINS" alright!  That is what Alden and Kurt did with their much spending. And now… diverting the issues of the economy to the Constitution, a document that never had any backbone to it. They are scared to touch the economy for which they helped ruin in 2008… and so now, they become champions of a document that has done little to reduce the powers of the Governor.

    So please Alden… spare us from your rhetoric! 

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman is losing gains with the UDP in power. We do not RISK losing gains, we ARE already losing gains with this lot in power. We have NEVER been in a worse position than we are now & it is all because of the UDP. They have been in power for almost 2 years & have screwed things up & made it worse. I have never heard so many people disgruntled & hurting as now, even from the people who voted for them. Only GOD can save us from this lot. Give us back the PPM for GOD’s sake, we were FAR FAR better off then.

  5. Caymanians for long range Planning says:

    Cayman, Do not be fooled by the name change to Premier etc and all this talk of “democracy” and “risk of losing gains”. The UK remains in full control ultimately, that has not changed and will not until Independence- the UK has said that. This constitution is all about window dressing. It is up to Caymanians to decide when we move to Independence.

    Please read the “Letters of Entrustment” buried in the new 2009 constitution to see where the power resides. The last folks that “entrusted” their island to a Colonial parent I think were the people of Chagos! Do not miss the Youtube video Link below to see where that got them.,4660113&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

    • PPM ashamed says:

      That is why Alden don’t know what the hell he is talking about!  I am PPM and I can tell you, Ezzard makes him look so small when it comes to Opposition!  I must wonder sometimes….

    • Pit Bull says:

      It is not a real CNS thread unless the Chagos Islands are dragged up . . . .

  6. Anonymous says:

    For a man that has brought down the country to an 81 million dollar debt in 2008, Alden is showing alot of concern in losing that democratic right to spend, spend, spend. For he very well knows that he will be the next man in when Big Mac steps out 🙂

  7. Anonymous says:

    It’s all politics. . . . .

    If they really cared about us, we would have no crime, no unemployment, good health care, education, secure jobs and incomes.

    A politician is a selfish creature with little consciense and a big ego.

    We are on a path of self-destruction, history will show. . . . . .and there is no turning back.

  8. Anonymous says:

    cayman is losing its shine since 2-3  years is now we realize.dont you think we caymanian has to stop showing fingures and find ways so we can again be on top bracket.

    Premeire if  you really care about us,then find source of income,change the roll over,change whatever you can..but get good results for us.

    PPM OR UDP ,its not who will be in next rulling about getting  things straighten up or by time u keep on holding reforms,strategies,policies  and using dirty politics to get back to power,it will be too late and we be no where.

  9. the Original Anon says:

    This may sound like a lame question but does the Governor actually do anything besides judging architecture?

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course the Governor is doing something else, he is doing quit efficiently his main task…cocktail party my friend!

    • Anonymous says:

      The Governor is an awesome swimmer too…. he ROCKs in the water!!!

  10. ready to go to work says:

    That’s right Alden, leave no stones unturned. PPM supporters time to rally and unite.United we stand Divided we fall.If you care for this country it’s time to stand up and be counted

  11. anonymous says:

    Well done!!! Alden, Ezzard, Arden and Kurt for exposing the Government’s rejection of our new Constitution.  The UDP Government are determine to undermind the efforts put fort to create that piece of document.  Despite them putting Steve McField up to call in the Radio Station every morning to make his clarifications on their behalf, the constitution is still the Law. They are trying their best to prove their point, by being defiant to that fact. Regardless of they voted in the ouse, the Constitution was voted on by the people, for the people and should be honoured by them, as such.  They are real upstarts!!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, but instead of pointing out the obvious, just pool your resources and get cracking on sorting this crap out.

  13. Not Impressed says:

    Alden talks about more control and responsibility in favour of those who are elected over the unelected Governor. But Cayman will never get to the point of a full and true democracy!  Why?  Because it takes Independence to achieve ABSOLUTE control and responsibility from an elected legislature of the people and for the people!  Hence… like I have always said before, the Constitution is immaterial document. It does not provide clauses for such control and responsibility. The Governor can still override the Cabinet if he feels that Her Majesty’s interest is being threatened. Sorry Alden… it is a flimsy Constitution and the reason why I did not vote for its ratification in the first place!

  14. Annoymous says:

    The PPM’s comeback is looking better everyday.


  15. Anonymous says:

    We call upon The Governor not to sign this unconstitutional Bill.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t call. All of his lines are busy for the moment…

    • PPM ashamed says:

      The Constitution itself was Unconstitutional from the start!  What are you talking about?

  16. Slowpoke says:

    This, the Distric Cuncils issue, the poor human rights clause… All make me feel proud for haing voted “no” for this Constitution.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Alden looks like he is Kurt’s right hand man.

    Who else will step up for the PPM leadership or is this the succession planning Kurt spoke about?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Well said, Alden. Fight the good fight against the forces of darkness.

  19. Anonymous says:


    Continue to light a fire under the premier, and all nine of his faithful minions.  Once again, they are spitting on our constitution.   This Government is a disappointment and no government has been ever so unpopular even before their half-way mark through the term.



    • Anonymous says:

      lol… Alden concerned about the Constitution, a Constitution that is flimsy and still gives power to the Governor if adhered to…