Constitution review extensive

| 04/11/2014

(CNS): Although the premier recently gave the impression that the review of the constitution and the subsequent recommended changes are relatively minor and administrative, a detailed table of the 34 suggestions reveal that some of them are in fact substantive. It is understood that the opposition leader believes that there is a need for a referendum on some of these proposals which the review team have recommended and it is clear that some are much more than administrative. Issues such as how a person qualifies to vote or become a member of the Legislative Assembly to the question of free education for all children and the age of judges are some of the subjects proposed for change.

The review was completed last month and the chair of the review team and constitutional commission David Ritch wrote to the governor, the premier, the opposition leader and the joint team leader of the overseas territory directorate in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, regarding its findings. Both that letter and the table of recommended changes have now been published on the Constitution Commission’s website.

The review did not engage in a public consultation regarding the potential constitutional clean-up but Ritch said the Commission has included comments received from various other parties. It has identified 34 elements that the chair said were “sufficiently important to warrant being considered for amendment.” 

The commission also believes that changes can be made without the need for a referendum but it was ultimately for premier and leader of the opposition to decide whether they can agree to the amendments without going to the polls but it appears that they go beyond the concept of administrative changes.

In a letter to the then premier, McKeeva Bush in 2009 the FCO minister at the time responsible for the overseas territories, Chris Bryant, confirmed that any changes to the constitution had to be made after a referendum unless the changes were agreed as minor or uncontroversial by both the premier and the opposition leader.

The Commission has recommended that the leaders form a committee to consider the potential changes and how to make them. However, it is understood that the opposition leader has already indicated that he doesn’t believe the proposed changes are all minor and that a referendum will be required. As a result of the difficult in phrasing the questions regarding the potential changes and the cost of a referendum government will be hoping to avoid the need for a vote.

If Premier Alden McLaughlin and Bush cannot agree on what can be changed then the proposals will need to be put to the national vote or the changes won’t be made. Although extensive and in some case significant the changes are not necessarily controversial and have arisen after the document has been in use for some five years and the inadequacies or ambiguities have come to the fore.

However, without agreement of the country’s leading political figures the necessary amendments won’t happen without a vote.

See details of the recommendations below


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  1. Anonymous says:

    How dare anyone say anything negative about our upright and wonderful leader, Mr. McLaughlin. He needs free rein over the constitution because unlike the uneducated masses, he is a champion of the law.

    His proposed changes will only benefit his poor, downtrodden people. All hail Alden. I cannot understand why people would criticize this man. Sheesh!

  2. Anonyanmous says:

    Thingswill change when these islands study West Indian history and try to imitate stalwart men like the Hon Grantley Adams and to a lesser extent Lynden Pindling.  I don't believe most of us Caymanians are aware of the achievements of these men rather we try to immulate the leaders of other islands that have left their countries in ruins like Babylon, a great has been.

    • Anonymous says:

      Lynden Pindling the man who arranged the transport of 100s of million of dollars worth of drugs into the US, was on the top 10 most wanted list and who greed and corruption set the foundation for the disaster that is the Bahamas today?

    • Lyford says:

      it took the Bahamas about 30 years to recover from Pindling. Cayman should not look to any Caribbean leader or territory for guidance, other than what not to do.


  3. Anonyanmous says:

    Until non born Caymanians without parents/grandparents are allowed to run for office nothing will change then again maybe until this country will once again be fortunate  enough to have a born Caymanian who lived in Texas is Republican and don't get a hoot and is not afraid to give the boot, things will remain the same.

    • Anonymous says:

                     10:27.The same old "foreign is better" message I see. I guess you need to be told the story of Mr Beatty and the beans.The story goes that back in the day Mr Beatty was having trouble selling some locally grown beans,seems like his customers believed foreign was better and only wanted beans imported from Isle of Pines ,Cuba.So Mr Beatty accomodated them,sort of.He got an empty sack that was printed with a label that said "Product of  Isle of Pines ,Cuba".which he filled with the local beans.Well the beans sold out quickly especially when word got around that the latest shipment  was the best that he ever had .So you see, foreign is not necessarily better ,it's all in the mind.

      • anonymous says:

        Ok, so when are we going to see some progress and action delivered by local home grown talent?


  4. Anonymous says:

    Let's hope that they agree to widen the scope of who can stand as an MLA, so that we have a better choice than the incompetent shower that usually put themselves foward.

    Although, of course, this would not be in the current MLAs best interest – only the public's, so why would they vote for this…


    • Anonymous says:

      8:03, I hope that never happens. The "incompetent shower" that you refer to are a better choice than the alternative you are hoping for.

      • anonymous says:

        Jeez … what is the alternative to make the current shower look appealing? 

        A pile of bricks?

      • Anonymous says:

          If you are an out of work criminal then yes.  They are.

        • jkjuram says:

          That’s the M.O. of most expat posters here – to state that all Caymanians are unemployed criminals.
          If so-why are you here – or do you just fit right in with that crowd?

  5. Anonymous says:

    These proposed changes are Major, and MUST be decided by the voters-as the Constitution itself dictates!
    Most concerning are sections 13, 23+24, which speak about changing the qualification of people (esp long-time residents/permanent residence holders) to be MLAs.
    This is dangerous in a population where the locals are already outnumbered by expats.
    Is this something that the voting public wants, or a specific interest group?
    It seems these may be rushed in to allow certain people to hold seats when the new Single Member Constituencies are introduced.
    To avoid this fact or perception, ALL these changes should be dealt with in a Referendum at the same time as the next General Election (as was done before).
    That way, there would be little/no expense incurred relatively speaking!
    Another issue that Must be added is a clear definition of Native Cayman vs. a Naturalised Caymanian – for many reasons which should be obvious, and not at all prejudicial!

  6. Anonymous says:

    This cannot be changed without PUBLIC approval!
    If this is done, they can change Anything they feel like!!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    We need a weak democracy with weak leaders fed by a weak press. Let's just all stay in the dark, uninformed and oblivious. This is fun, guys!


  8. Anonymous says:

    This is very interesting. I do not agree that the changes are "not necessarily controversial". If I recall correctly (and I'm sure that I do!) there was a lot of controversy islandwide regarding this little detail:   "Issues such as how a person qualifies to vote or become a member of the Legislative Assembly … ". Mr. Anthony Eden spoke very loudly in opposition of the then proposed changes and the main politician who it appeared was trying to advance those changes had to back down because of lack of support. Now here we go again! Mr. Eden I hope that you will again stand up in opposition! There are those of us who have not forgotten and in fact have been listening and watching for it to re-emerge. General Election, please hurry come!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes very interesting 17:21. I was wondering when those particular changes would sneak up again too!. Yea, election soon come. 

  9. charles says:


  10. Anonymous says:

    A review by some of the top legal brains worldwide would be advisable-to assess impact and practicality of these changes-it is probable that some changes will be badly thought out, some perhaps deliberately so, weneed external advice on properly protecting the rights of all.

    • Anonymous says:

                 10:22    We are discussing the Cayman IS Constitution,not the UN Charter or a constitution for the New World Order.Therefore no need for worldwide consultation.

    • charles says:


    • Not Even as Smart as Knot s'Smart says:

      And what is your fee for this desirable consultation, pray?

    • Sheepish says:

      I not buying in until Steve and Frank say it’s OK. And Austin and da oda one.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Why is there not a consideration being given to abolish the post of Financial Secretary? It is a redundant post and was included in the Constitution simply to protect Ken Jefferson. Now he is the Chief Officer of the Finance Ministry (and still, I would bet receiving his former B scale salary) and Michael Nixon was listed the other day as Acting Financial Secretary. What's going on? Are we going to have two people paid the salary of an FS- a post which is no longer required? Downsizing??? Not the big senior posts, no way!!

    • Anon says:

      And another thing. When was the position of Accountant General created?

    • Anonymous says:

      Why are you attacking the Financial Sectetary? He is not only a gentleman but he is also a professional and highly intelligent. I can assure you that there are few Civil Servants that can match him. There are other senior civil servants that should never been in the positions they are in and is a laughing stock of the Civil Service. That was clear from the evidence given in court by certain individuals in Mr. Bush case.Take a few minutes and read the closing argument by Mr. Bush attorney about some of the evidence given by very senior Civil Servants. His comment certainly wasn't directed at the Financial Secretary.  

      • Anonymous says:

        00:18 I do not believe the poster was attacking Jefferson personally, simply the fact that the position is now no longer needed and should not be filled again. Please read the original post again and calm down.

      • Anonymous says:

        Name them and let's get rid of them if they are under performing. Same with mla' s.

  12. Lords of the Jungle says:

    Imagine the howls of outrage if Mac had proposed this!

    • Anonymous says:

      And rightly so. Anything he proposes is suspect. 

    • Anonymous says:

      More like gasps of astonishment! Mac, asking someone else what they thought? Come on, get real!