June 5, 2023

The Cayman Islands Constitution Comic Book launched to provide a new resource for our Youth and Educators

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About the Cayman Islands Constitution Comic Book

The Cayman Islands Constitution Comic Book has been developed for the youth of our Islands and presents the important information that is contained in our Constitution in an accessible and engaging fashion. The Comic Book encompasses the nine parts of the 2009 Constitution with updated information in relation to the recent amendments, all of which are accompanied by quiz sections designed to ensure that information is learned and retained.

The First Official Copy of the Cayman Islands Constitution Comic Book

The Constitutional Commission was honoured to be able to share the first official copy of the Cayman Islands Constitution Comic Book with Dr. Steve McField and the Chairman of the Constitutional Commission, Vaughan Carter, explained the background to this presentation:

“It goes without saying that Dr. McField has always taken a keen interest in the constitutional history of the Cayman Islands, and that he is well known as one of the jurisdiction’s greatest advocates for constitutional education and a better understanding of how our government operates. When the Constitutional Commission was in the process of developing the Comic Book, we were therefore encouraged when Dr. McField looked at an early draft and responded so positively. I was particularly pleased when Dr. McField said that he couldn’t wait to get a copy of the Comic Book for his grandchildren and to then have the opportunity to use the Comic Book to talk with them about the significance of the Constitution. From that point on, the Constitutional Commission was committed to making that discussion a reality by presenting the first official copy of the Comic Book to Dr. McField, and it is hoped that these types of discussions can be replicated throughout the Cayman Islands and across the Caymanian diaspora.”

Dr. Steve McField Shares his Thoughts on the Cayman Islands Constitution Comic Book

Dr. McField was delighted to receive the first official copy of the Comic Book and upon receipt shared his unique perspectives on why constitutional education is so critical, especially for the younger generation. In his conversation with the Chairman of the Constitutional Commission, Dr. McField shared many insights, but the following comments were particularly noteworthy:

  •   My concern is that the people do not understand the importance of a constitution. The constitution is the bedrock, it is the foundation institution for any country, and it forms the basis of good governance and values.
  •   I have always emphasised the importance of knowing and understanding where you come from, along with the importance of culture and history, and our Constitution and how it has evolved is a major part of this.
  •   The most important aspect of the new Constitution is the Bill of Rights. We have never had a Bill of Rights in our Constitution before. We have never had a right to assemble, we have never had a right to education, and we never had the right to life, at least these were never guaranteed as fundamental rights before.
  •   The Bill of Rights is enforceable against our government, and I think that if more Caymanians understood that they would hold the government more accountable, especially on the right to education.
  •   It is also important to understand who exercises certain powers. Take the executive function of government, although Cabinet legally runs the country, the Governor has executive powers. The ultimate authority rests now with His Majesty, the King, and, locally, responsibility lies with the Governor who acts on his behalf and the Governor still has the reserved powers.
  •   There are many parts of the Constitution which state that the Governor should consult with the Premier, but in some of these the Governor does not necessarily have to take the Premier’s advice. Therefore, in these instances, the executive power still ultimately rests with the Governor. It is important for the youth to learn about voting and the political system, but they should also learn about the reality of the relationship between the elected government and the Governor.
  •   In times of constitutional crisis, it is even more important to know the various roles that different people play. Under new constitutional arrangements, Parliament is now autonomous, with its own budget and presiding officer, which is the Speaker; and during the recent debate surrounding the position of the Speaker, some people were calling on the Governor to do something. However, this was more of a political matter and therefore it was really for the politicians in Parliament to resolve.
  •   Our children see a lot of television from the United States and often take note of what is happening with their government. However, what happens there is not applicable here. It is necessary to understand the distinctiveness of our constitutional arrangements in the Cayman Islands and where Cayman is on its constitutional journey.
  •   The constitutional position of the Cayman Islands is a bit peculiar in that we are not like other jurisdictions, we are special. Cayman is in hybrid situation, when it comes autonomy, we are not a Jamaica who has gained independence. Some have compared us to Bermuda, but we are not like Bermuda either, because we do not have a constitution designed as a final step before independence.
  •   We need constitutional materials that are bespoke Caymanian, with local examples to educate our people, instead of going abroad to look at their materials. The Comic Book is a great start, it is colourful and really cool. To be honest, I didn’t expect it to be as comprehensive as it is. It is very well put together. My grandchildren are really going to love this!

More Information on the Cayman Islands Constitution Comic Book

Copies of the Comic Book will be made available to all schools and public libraries. The Constitutional Commission also has the Comic Book available in an e-book format, so that it can be more widely accessed on-line via the Commission’s website at: https://www.constitutionalcommission.ky/education-1.

The Constitutional Commission

If the public has any questions relating to the Constitution and the Comic Book, these can be sent [email protected] TheCommissionalsoencouragesthepublictotakethis opportunity to learn more about the Constitution and to access the bank of constitutional materials available on the Commission’s website: www.constititionalcommission.ky.

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