2013 Constitution Day Message

| 28/06/2013

On 4 July, 1959 the concept of constitutional development began in the Cayman Islands after Caymanian Assemblymen petitioned the United Kingdom resulting in the issuance of a Royal Order-in-Council. After several revisions, the major one in 1972, the Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009 came into force on 6 November, 2009 following Cayman’s first national referendum.

Often referred to as the highest law in the land, the impact of the Constitution on our daily lives cannot be overstated. The concept of the document is that democracy is the cornerstone of our country. As a country which has a rich heritage of friendliness, generosity and resilience the Constitution only reaffirms our desire as a nation to live and work in an environment which respects each other’s values and rights.

Providing a foundation for our people and a framework for our government, the 2009 Constitution has brought positive changes to how the country is run by creating a more balanced style of governance through increased consultation and accountability at a local level. It provides the people with greater protection for our rights and freedoms and greater authority to defend those rights and freedoms.  It envisages that all of us have a responsibility to embrace and defend our differences.

The Constitutional Commission is a three-person body which seeks to advise the Government on questions concerning constitutional status and development in the Cayman Islands; to publish reports, discussion papers, information papers and other documents on constitutional matters affecting the Cayman Islands;and to promote understanding and awareness of the Constitution and its values.

As we continue to work towards fulfilling our constitutional mandate the Commission will, in the near future, be commencing a round of public consultation to solicit input and comment from the people on areas of the Constitution in respect of which persons have questions, thoughts, concerns or require clarification.  While a wholesale constitutional review is unwarranted and undesirable so soon after its coming into force, there can be little doubt that there are several sections of the Constitution that do need review and amendment particularly in the context of issues surrounding our recent general elections, many of which have been the subject matter of spirited public debate.  Our Constitution can only serve us well if it is clear and concise and as free of ambiguity and uncertainty as one can reasonably make it to be.

On 1 July, 2013 let us not only celebrate the day as a public holiday,  but let us instead each take this opportunity to tell another what this day really means for the Cayman Islands. Let us all take a moment to remind ourselves that today is the day in which we celebrate our heritage and the freedoms we have been blessed with because of the work of our forefathers to create this democratic nation underpinned by a Constitution that truly reflects the needs, aspirations and desires of our people..  

You may contact the Constitutional Commission by e-mailing info@knowyourconstitution.ky or calling 244-3685.

Remember it’s YOUR Constitution! Embrace it!

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Category: Viewpoint

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  1. Anonymous says:

    "… the 2009 Constitution has brought positive changes to how the country is run by creating a more balanced style of governance through increased consultation and accountability at a local level."

    Wow! Can you imagine how bad things could have been? Imagine if McKeeva hadn't been restrained by the Constitution. He would have made decisions on his own without consulting anyone and then denied having ever done anything wrong. People in the government wouldn't have been held accountable for not producing any financial documents as mandated by law. Those who abused their gasoline cards would not have been prosecuted. And so on. 

    "… our desire as a nation to live and work in an environment which respects each other’s values and rights."

    Yes, without the Constitution as a guiding light for Cayman, there would be all kinds of abuses. Imagine domestic workers having benefits and wages withheld and then being shipped off the island without due process for complaining. Imagine a place of incredible tension and discord between expats and Caymanians; a place where the comment "if you don't like it you can leave" would be commonplace.

    Yes, no more concerns here about the Constitution, no need for Human Rights legislation; everything's just great in fantasy land.

  2. Libertarian says:

    The Constitution issue is one thing I notice the parties don't want to tackle. PPM don't want to re-address the document they spearheaded because it would place doubts on Alden's work who was awarded by the Queen for it. And UDP is so caught up with corruption and deals, they have not put the average Caymanians first over the well-off few. So both parties it seems are reluctant to change this Constitution towards a more democratic participatory one, tilting the scales of power more on the people's side.

    The document was composed to mostly benefit politicians, the Governor, and the Queen… to hell with the over 50,000+ people living on this rock. Section 30's of the Constitution and section 125 will say it all:  It is for "Her Majesty's Interest"  to hell will ours over Hers!

    All Caymanians should know by now that the only way out of this constitutional delemma, is either Independence, Free Association, or kiss mother's arse. Yet Caymanians are in a fix if we should go the route of Independence and Free Association. Will the UN be on our side?  And the fact that there is no real checks and balances in the Constitution we have now; there is nothing therein to safeguard the majority from corrupt leaders in the LA. So if we should ever move to Independence or Free Association, we would be handing our government over to local polititians without a UK watchdog to make them accountable. Such an Independence would be devasting to our politics, seeing the weakness of our Constitution.

    I understand that the PPM didn't really have much say in it, because everytime they proposed a draft document, they had to send it to the FCO for approval. So at the end of the day the Constitution was drafted through the FCO, Governor, and a few religious minister's influence. The Caymanian public at the time were told to vote for the document because it would bring better  transparency and all the good works that came with it. They were to vote for it on the same day of General Elections, so there was party influence on the voters to have this document pass. When it was passed, Alden received his award. I personally don't think a award should have be given, but this was the FCO's decision. As far as our rights are concern, the Constitution was incomplete and the Governor / FCO knew this for a fact to there advantage to retain more power over the the Cayman Islands.

    I think any talk from the Constitutional Commission or a politician other than changing this document or abolishing it for a one that gives more power to the people, that "talk" should be considered garbage!  If its not for our interest solely in terms of who can dissolve parlaiment and who can't, then it is not really our Constitution – for the Crown on any day, can dissolve our elected parliament because it hinders their interest over ours. 

  3. Anonymous says:

    If you mean work permit holders then obviously they shouldn’t have rights same as they don’t have them in the UK (unless you are a Commonwealth citizen), the US, Canada or Australia. You must really think Caymanians are idiots to even consider such a thing.

    • Anonymous says:

      except cayman is a country that is finacially dependent on work permit holders who also make up the majority of the resident population….

      • SSM345 says:

        18:11, the Caymanians that complain the entire time and bash expats don't seem to comprehend that it is the work permit holders that actually keep this island afloat, without them we would be completely crippled.

        • Anonymous says:

          And for that I guess our politicians and heads of Government are not that smart afterall.

        • Anonymous says:

          Expats come to help themselves and not to help keep Cayman afloat. But of course none of that has anything to do with granting them the right to vote.

          • Anonymous says:

            If the chips were down, you could not make them leave. You don't have enough guns, planes or ships. If you go independent, they will want citizenship and the UK will give it to them. Count on it.

            • Anonymous says:

              It is exactly this kind of mentality why Caymanians are wary of expats. 

              • anonymous says:

                Then you shouldn't have let so many in. All the tough talk will not get rid of them.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think what you mean us that we have a much greater proportion of expats here than those other countries. That would be an excellent reason against, not for, granting voting rights to them.

      • Jonas Dwyer says:

        so, we are dependent for them on one thing , but it does not mean that we are or should be dependent on the permit holders to have a formal vote. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m not sure I follow the logic. Because we need expat workers we should should grant them political rights which they are not entitled to? That’s ridiculous.

      There is no expat bashing in my post.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The posters so far seem to have completely missed the main point of the article which is that the Commission will be conducting a mini review of the Constitution and soliciting input from the public. We should all welcome that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Reviews of our constitution needs to be coupled with its introduction in our schools. If we had been successfully educated in this document and understood its basic tenets we would have picked up on some of the glaring issues that we are now talking about. Remember understanding comes with with careful nurturing of the mind.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Is someone not man or woman enough to sign this Viewpoint? Even they must have realised it was embarrassing crap.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Was this drafted by a computer programme to test the limits of artificial intelligence?  I mean, there are words here, but the don't make sense or have a point.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Gibberish. And by the way what this commission says is merely their own opinion.

  8. Anonymous says:

    what a bunch of waffle…god knows how much someone was paid to 'write' this……

    the constitution is worthless to half the people living on these islands who have no noting rights or representation of any kind……

    • Anonymous says:

      go back to your own country/people & excercise your rights all u want

      • Anonymous says:

        ah yes…thats the caymankind we all know and love……

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes.  This is the friendliness one cannot expect anywhere else in the world apparently.

          • Anonymous says:

            First you are demanding rights which you are not entitled to and which, if granted would disenfranchise Caymanians, and when Caymanians object this means they are unfriendly? Lol.

            • Anonymous says:

              Who suggested taking votes away from Caymanians?

              • Anonymous says:

                You must be a simpleton. If there are more expats than Caymanians and expats are given the right to vote obviously the disenfranchises Caymanians.

                • Cayman Is My Home says:

                  I end with this – would the expats here tolerate the countries of their origin to grant foreignors the right to run for president or leader of their country???  I thought so…. CASE CLOSED  ;o)

                  • Anonymous says:

                    if he was voted in by the people of the country why not???…..you have nothing to fear from democracy

                    • Anonymous says:

                      So I guess you want the Constitution to change so that just anybody who is not of this country can become an MLA?  … And to you that is good for Cayman because it is democracy that is free for all? … sounds good but you have one major problem with your idea:  the issue of local knowledge… if you elect someone who is not familiar with the people here, the island, the nature of the island, its environment, how can there be a representation that "understands."  It can be dangerous to give political power to people who have never experience the island for themselves and live here to know the people for themselves… the danger lies on the amount of "interest," estranged from the people.  I think democracy is better when you have laws to protect people, don't you?  

            • Anonymous says:

              fao:  caymanians…of cayman….the great christian nation…..

              what would jesus do?

              • Rorschach says:

                Jesus would smack all ya'll and tell you get along…

              • Jes Jokin' says:

                If he were alive today?  He'd pound on the underside of the floor of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and yell out "Get me out of here!"

                • Anonymous says:

                  If you’ve made a discovery of the remains of Jesus’s body you really should have reported such an earth shattering archaeological find!

              • Anonymous says:

                Lol. All of a sudden expats are interested in what Jesus would do. There is no reason to believe that he would demand that Caymanians be disenfranchised in their own country.

          • Anonymous says:

            according to caymanians…..

          • Anonymous says:

            You seem to think that friendliness equals stupidity.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Maybe we should have another section in addition  to "Viewpoint", a section entitled "Inane Verbiage Published For The Sake Of It".  This would be well suited to the second column.