Public invited to talk about UK relationship

| 20/10/2011

(CNS): The committee established by the premier to consult with the people regarding the UK’s new White Paper for the Overseas Territories which is to be published next year, begins its public meetings next week. The goal is to explain to the process to the wider public and allow them to provide input on the final document which will be discussed by the leaders of all of the OTs and the UK government at next month’s annual overseas territories council in London. Thepeople can, however, circumvent the government committee and give their input directly to the UK via a web portal created by the Foreign Office.

Last month the UK’s FCO minister with responsibility for overseas territories invited the people of the Cayman Islands and other OTs to submit their thoughts and ideas directly to the FCO on the future of their relationship with Britain. Henry Bellingham called on everyone in the territories to have their say and in particular the younger generation.

“I want this consultation process to include as many people in the Territories as possible,” he said. Keen to allow people in the overseas territories have an opportunity to provide feedback and thoughts direct to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office an official portal was created on the governor’s office website to enable people to go direct to the source here at Overseas Territories – Have Your Say

Contributors can email or write directly to the FCO or alternatively post their comments on the website. The only comment posted on the site so far from the Cayman Islands is a query about voting rights for long term residents. They can also make their comments via the Cabinet office website here.

The main goal of this process is to replace the existing white paper that guides the relationship between the OTs and the UK, which was put in place more than a decade ago in 1999. The territories had very little say in that white paper OT leaders are also eager to see more input from the territories this time around.

Bellingham said the UK government’s strategy towards the new paper was about having a dialogue on how best the vision and values between it and the territories could be expressed. He pointed out that the UK’s fundamental responsibility and objective was ensuring the security and good governance of the fourteen territories.

“We recognised that the Overseas Territories are remarkably diverse; and that policies to meet these objectives need to be tailored to the specific circumstances of each territory. So there’s no question of one size fits all,” he said when he launched the dialogue process.

He pointed out that on the question of independence the current government followed the same policy as its predecessors and that it is for the territories themselves to decide whether they wish to remain connected to the United Kingdom. “Any decision to cut that link should be on the basis of the clearly expressed wish of the majority of the people of the territory in question,” he said.

The government committee will be making a presentation about the process on Tuesday, 25 October for West Bay residents at the John A. Cumber Primary School at 7.30 pm and then on Wednesday, 26 October  for George Town and Bodden Town residents at the Mary Miller Hall also at 7:30pm.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Serious people including financiers and tourist promoters must wonder if we know what we are talking about or have any common sence. We just got a new constitution and before the ink is really dry we are talking about independence. The outside world was wonder how responsible we really are. I wonder who is stirring the pot here, is it the current goverment who seems to be attacked daily on the internet? 

  2. Anonymous says:

    Interesting that you can only answer the questions that they ask on the website. It's quite restrictive of what can be discussed.

  3. Alan Nivia says:

    Only one thing needs to be said – without the relationship Cayman is totally screwed.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Why consult the general public on such a complex issue?  What on earth does the general public (or high-school children, or college or university students) TRUELY understand about the complex politico-economic function of an overseas territory?  It's very likely that opinions will be misinformed, knee-jerk, jingoistic, and anti-UK.  Or is that the whole idea? 

    • Anonymous says:

      It's called democracy. What does the general public understand about the complexities of govt. yet in every democracy the people are electors. Why consult the public on the adoption of a new Constitution? Why have referenda anywhere on any issue?  Sorry to hear you have such a jaundiced view of the Cayman public i.e. "misinformed, knee-jerk, jingoistic, and anti-UK".

    • Anonymous says:


      We arent anti – U.K.; we are anti – non performing (any body), racist, high position, the natives are illiterate and wear grass skirts, think I will just collect my salary & enjoy the sun UK!

      We love the hard working AUDITOR GENERAL type, who just get on with it and stop making excuses UK.

      I dare say theAG needs more staff but you never hear him complain. Take the 3.5 mill left from the Police and boost the AG staff and we can get som real crime results from someone with leadership.