September 22, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Our Constitution

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Last Monday (2) was Constitution Day and I hope all of us celebrated the public holiday in style and/or relaxation. I also hope all of us have actually read our Constitution. If you haven’t, one of the best web sites that I have found is www.knowyourconstitution.ky/learning-centre. There you will find everything you want to know.

You will also find information on celebrating Cayman’s Heritage and other Overseas Territories Constitutions. You can compare them with ours.

Cayman Islands voters will decide the make-up of our legislative Assembly (LA) – our Parliament – on Wednesday 22nd May, 2013. It is anticipated that there will be an increase from the current members of 15 to 18.

We have a Referendum before then on Wednesday 18th July that will decide whether everything stays as is (two single-member districts and four multi-member constituencies), or voters could be electing their representatives from 18 single-member districts – the One Man, One Vote (OMOV) option.

We have an unpopular and controversial premier and an opposition leader who has been leading his backbenchers out of the LA (twice) as a form of protest. A boxer doesn’t win a fight by leaving the ring!

We have a war of words, silly and provocative ones from the premier, between the government and the UK.

We are broke as a country and we have gone cap in hand to China to finance our dock project. The company scheduled to do the work has a history of corruption.

Our premier is being investigated by the RCIPS for corruption. An investigation that is taking so long that it is allowing for all sorts of speculation and is eating at the very fabric of our Constitution. No reasons are given for why the investigation is taking so long.

Crime has soared here with banks being robbed, businesses being robbed, people being robbed and most at gunpoint. The one positive from this is the RCIPS are making more arrests at this time. It is a good thing because the police record was pretty dreadful when it came to arrests and even worse in getting convictions if they even got to court. To make matters worse the RCIPS constantly produced statistics showing crime was down so there is now a question mark on anything that they produce.

People are leaving the island and not being replaced because of a Rollover Policy the present government actually tabled and passed, and the government that followed (the PPM), made into law with even more tight controls.

All MLA’s now agree, except one, that the Rollover didn’t work and has contributed to the countries present woes. It is very hard to shut and bolt a gate when the cattle have already fled.

We have a billionaire (Dart), who is almost the only person still investing here, and everyone of his projects is under fire by the public with protest marches largely supported and whipped up by the opposition.

 

With three annual Budget Addresses, all promising new projects with dates given for start up, but none actually having started, and insults hurling and blame continually (and according to the premier) will continue, laid all at the door of the past PPM government, the general public are quite naturally fed up and depressed.

Rome is burning and the premier is still playing his fiddle.

The country is divided but the noose around the government is getting tighter.

Blame is now being leveled, by the premier, at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Auditor General is being called names because he is actually doing the job he is being paid to do. The FCO put into place rules that would seem reasonable (good business practices, accounting methodology and competitive quotations for government projects) but all this is stopping the premier’s number one project- the cruise terminal. His insistence at using China Harbour Engineering (CHEC) has already cost the public purse $2.1 million without a nut and bolt being used. This was the settlement he came to with GLF who had an agreement to construct the terminal before being given the boot.

However, this is money well spent because, according to the premier, if it had gone to court it could have cost the country between $5 and $7 million, so he did a good job of actually saving the country money. We will be compensated for the settlement with the future sale of “intellectual property”.

The definition of “intellectual property” refers to, according to WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), “creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.”

I like the “creations of the mind” and “inventions” definitions.

But we do have a Constitution. The present one came into place in 2009, replacing the one enacted in 1972. It starts with:

“The people of the Cayman Islands, recalling the events that have shaped  their history and made them what they are and acknowledging their distinct history, culture and Christian heritage and its  enduring influence and contribution in shaping  the spiritual, moral  and social values  that have guided their development and brought peace, prosperity and stability to those islands, through the vision, forbearance and leadership of their people, who are loyal to Her Majesty  the Queen.”

In the second of its affirmations there are the words “a country with open, responsible and accountable government.”

Oh, how I wish that was true.

 

 

 

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