FFR law misses LA deadline

| 17/10/2012

_DSC8098-web.jpg(CNS): The most recent expectation for Premier McKeeva Bush to put the agreement he signed with the UK, the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility, into law was at the next sitting of the Legislative Assembly. However, this is not likely to be met as the 21 day constitutional deadline for bringing the legislation to the parliament for the next meeting has passed. Government must circulate and gazette all the bills it intends to put before the LA three weeks before the sitting opens. Members are next scheduled to meet on 5 November and government has gazetted a number of bills that it will be presenting at that meeting but the FFR law is not one of them.

Bush has missed several deadlines given to him by the UK this year and the latest indication had been that the new UK minister with responsibility for the Overseas Territories, Mark Simmonds, expected the premier to bring the relevant bill in this forthcoming parliamentary session.

However, if the premier is to bring the bill in this sitting he will need to suspend Standing Orders to overcome the issue of the 21 day constitutional requirement of public notice and consultation. If he does so after the 6 November, when the country’s Bill of Rights is finally implemented, it could open government to potential for legal action by the Caymanian public for passing an unconstitutional bill that did not involve the public’s right to consultation on new legislation.

Ezzard Miller, the independent memberfor North Side, said Tuesday that he believed the premier was about to miss another request by the UK to implement this agreement into law as no one had yet seen a copy of any possible draft legislation that could be brought in time for the next sitting.

“The FFR law should have been distributed to members on Monday 15 October and published in the gazette if the premier had intended to bring the law,” Miller said. “Of course, he could suspend Standing Orders but he cannot suspend the constitution. But I suspect he will not be bringing it anyway and, going by history, it appears Bush is going to defy the UK again. My concern about this is that the UK will get tired of this and simply send it down by Order in Council in the exact form as it is in the agreement without the LA being able to amend anything to suit us locally or to have a discussion about the best way to implement the agreement into law.”

The North Side MLA said he could not see any justifiable reason that this law wasn’t drafted because Bush has had the agreement for almost a year. “Really, it’s not that difficult,” Miller added.

The agreement was signed by McKeeva Bush with the former OT minister, Henry Bellingham, almost a year ago and he has admitted doing so reluctantly. Although he was asked to pass the law in June this year, when he failed to do so the UK made it a condition of the budget approval that it was enacted by the end of September. However, the premier revealed last month that he had told the new UK OT minister, Mark Simmonds, during a 20 September courtesy call while Bush was in London that he needed to consult with the business community about the FFR before he brought the bill.

The governor’s office said at the time that Simmonds was under the impression that the premier had made a commitment to bring the FFR into local law no later than 9 November, which would be at the next scheduled meeting. However, the premier denied that he had made any such commitment and said that the governor’s office had created a misleading picture of what was discussed. The premier claimed he never intended to pass the entire agreement into law and had not given a specific date, but had alluded to it taking only a few days once the legislation was drafted.

CNS contacted the governor’s office for comment when it became clear by Tuesday morning that the FFR bill was not being circulated in time for next legislative sitting but the office said it had decided not to comment yet on the on-going issue.

However, sources close to the FCO told CNS that the UK minister has made it clear to the Cayman Islands premier that he expects the FFR to be passed into local law shortly after the LA meets on 5 November. The enactment and ratification of this agreement formed part of the conditional approval by the UK of the Cayman government’s 2012/13 budget and is one of a number of commitments that the government has made to the UK in connection with the budget and addressing the country’s increasingly problematic public finances, which it appears to have failed to keep.

It is not clear at this point what will happen if the FFR is brought after the 21 days and the constitutional issues are sorted nor is it yet clear what will happen if Bush does not bring the bill at all in this forthcoming session. The only thing that is clear is that the premier will either be forced to defy the country’s own constitution with a later submission or defy the UK by not making one at all.

Related articles on CNS:

Mac may reject some of FFR

Mac plans clause in FFR law

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Category: Politics

Comments (29)

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  1. Anon says:

    Ooh, ooh, ooh, Kim Jong-il style!

  2. Anon says:

    Constitution smonsituition. Those rules don’t apply to our Premier. Anyone got a big pair o’ sunglasses?

  3. Anonymous says:

    The reason the FFR missed the deadline is because Mac was not able to sign the China deal just yet while in China.  Once signed, the FFR will be tabled. 

    On a side note, a man with such limited 5th grade intelect, should not be allowed anywhere close to legal contracts.  I don't let my 12 year old son read and sign my companies' contracts, do you?

  4. Anonymous says:

    In Cayman a deadline means its time to start talking about booking a flight home to start a committee to explore the possibility of discussing taking some steps to prepare an action plan to do some of what you've said you will do.

  5. SANDFLY says:

    Traveling is moreimportant the a bill our Premiere does not like. The arrogance just gushes out and we let him get away with it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I bet he comes back with a signed contract with the Chinese to build the new Cruise Ship Port. All done and dusted before the FFR is brought into law.

    • Anonymous says:

      Way to go Hon. Premiers bring us a signed contract with the Chinese to build the new Cruise Ship Port we need a cruise port and some new millionare citizens of Chinese origin.  When you get the contract with CHEC please throw in about  3,000 Chinese millionaires and their families let us give them status.  George Town is dying and becoming a ghost town they could buy it out open business and make it vibrant again.  We need to sell the many properties that are on the market the Chinese will definately buy them.  I am for the Chinese investing in Cayman.  

  7. Anonymous says:

    Direct rule!!! Mac to Las Vegas and all Cayman goes to hell in a handcart!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    has this government ever achieved anything on time???

  9. Anonymous says:

    The big surprise would have been if he did it on time and did it well.  Caymankind to da bone.  Instead of voting someone in maybe you should hire someone next time?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Independence. Soon coming to an island near you.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Mac can always use the " matter of national Importance" and hurry it through without normal timing and debate..  He has done this for bills that benefit his developer friends many times.

  12. An Appeal to HE Duncan Taylor says:

    Mr. Governor, your job is to ensure good governance of this territory.

    The Premier’s total disregard for the rules of the Legislative Assembly should be curtailed by your office.

    Yes the people are fed up. Yes, we will vote the UDP out in May 2013.

    But please until then, is it too much to ask that you ensure the Premier and his colleagues respect and abide by the rules of the LA and the Law of the land?

    • Anonymous says:

      you are correct but i don't share your confidence that caymanian voters will vote the udp out next may….

  13. Oh my goodness! says:

    WHAT AN IDIOT!

  14. Far Canal says:

    If that were to happen, Keke could blame the UK, whereas he only has himself to blame if he loses the next election. Hmmmm…..tough choice….how feathered is that nest eh Keke?  What a total shambles.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Why do you wish this on us?

  16. Anonymous says:

    McKeeva Bush knows full well that there is no point in the Caymanian public taking the government to court for anything so close to an election. Just like with the status grants, a new government would be taken to court for something that a prior government did and it makes no sense. He IS the UDP government and he will suspend standing orders and completely screw us all over one last time before we kick him out. The PPM has brought TWO votes of no confidence against this man and because his UDP lackies will not vote against him, he stays in charge of our country. Remember that in May 2013, that all of his UDP colleages put him in power and only they can remove him by voting with the opposition. 

    • Hogwash says:

      Yet the strangest thing of all is that Cayman will re-elect Bush, likely by a 2-appliance margin or better, and his silent cronies will all come back to power with him.  It's just the same old disfunctional Caymanian way – bought and paid for, and oblivious to the consequences of their actions. 

    • Anonymous says:

      The entire political system is broken and cannot be fixed, this is what happens with political parties and official corruption.  Both parties follow their mandates and both parties are to be blamed for the 2003 status grants that have messed this country up.  I am not a member of either party because of what I see happening they are basically one and the same.  There are unflattering stories to tell about both sides.  The PPM might be the lesser of the two evils but sometime standing still and doing nothing is just as bad or worst than direct contribution.   Sad to say but Cayman has become a run away train and we all know how difficult it is to control one.  The UDP might win the next election (pray that they dont) because they simply have the loyal numbers.  Native Caymanians had better realise the importance of our votes and don't give it aways for material gains, instead give it for the love and benefit of our country and native people. 

      • Anonymous says:

        PPM also to blame for 2003 status grants – no way! They were actually asked to submit their lists of cronies to be added and refused to! That national disgrace was UDP all the way.

      • Anonymous says:

        The only party that can be blamed for the 2003 status grants fiasco is the party that made the grants – the UDP. And please don't tell me about the PPM submitting names. 10 persons can submit applications for a job but that does not mean that employer must hire all 10 to do the one job. 

        Actually standing still is much better than rushing off a cliff which is what we have been doing since 2009.

  17. Anonymous says:

    TURKS AND CAICOS, HERE WE COME !!!

    • Anonymous says:

      And if that does occur, we are finished. The UK will not leave here until we are reduced to that of every other impoverished caribbean island. That means no more economy (of the little that is left), the workforce with evaporate to nothing; both local and foreign, and so on.

      So, if the UK shows up at our door, we have a tough choice to make, which I am afraid to say, Caymanians haven't been good at making those type of choices, polictal ones anyway.

      My fam has been in Cayman for over six generations, and I wish for the next six to remain here. If that happens, will depend on the coming of events over the next few months. Why you ask?….because if we can make it to the next election without the UK taking over, we might have a chance to remain in control. If they take over, well…but it this way, there will be many a flights fully booked departing.

      I have just as much faith in the UK "doing whats right" for Cayman as some of the politicians our people elect.

      • Anonymous says:

        We all know that the UK will stop the waste of Government (read the peoples) funds.  Not surpriseing that many here will not like that.  Impoverished for Bush and his Bushits means much less impoverished Caymanians over all.  But you knew that.