08 February, 2009

Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands reach agreement with British Government on a new Constitution. There is a new article in Cayman Net News written by Tad Stoner on the talks that concluded at Whitehall yesterday. The Cayman Islands delegation is returning home with a new Constitution. All negotiations are concluded. All that remains is for the people to be asked to approve the new Constitution in a referendum.

There were three outstanding issues. The first was the bill of rights. What we call our “fundamental rights and freedoms”. The fundamentalist Baptist association of the Cayman Islands had been objecting to gay people getting equal civil rights. They consider such a concept immoral. It is, in their view contrary to the Bible. As if the Bible does not celebrate enough murder and adultery among the kings and prophets of Israel! They need to waste their time fulminating on the rights of gays? They influence a lot of votes. The politicians decided to play along with them on this stupidness. Well, they had to give in on that one. To refuse gays fundamental civil rights is to make the British break their obligations under the international human rights treaties that bind them. They can get sued for damages if we discriminate against gays and our courts refuse to give them justice. The British prefer that not to happen.

The second concerned the powers of the National Security Council. The British wanted it to be merely consultative. The Governor could listen to its view when it came, eg, to appointing a new Commissioner of Police, but he could ignore them if he wished. The Caymanians wanted the Governor to be obliged to listen to local expertise. The British have now agreed that, in national security issues, he must follow the advice of the NSC, except in the unlikely event that he is of the view that to do so would prejudice Her Majesty’s Government. That means that we in Anguilla will not get much of an obstacle when we ask to have the same provision in our new Constitution.

The third was a requirement that Whitehall consult the local government on the appointment of a new Governor. The British dug their heels in on that one. The Cayman Islands delegation accepted their position.

What about checks and balances, I ask myself. Have the Caymanian people ensured these are in place?

You can read the entire article by clicking here.

Related articles:

Gays: Colonialism 3

National Security Council: Executive Council

Governor: The Governor


  1. Cayman is already far, far ahead of Anguilla with checks and balances. They have an excellent Auditor General who is truly independent, doesn't care who he embarrasses and who releases reports to the public. They have a Freedom of Information Act, something our Chief Minister doesn't even understand. They have the best Ombudsman in the Caribbean and he represents the people, not the politicians. They have a functional Public Accounts Committee, something our opposition has always been to lazy to establish or manage.

    In comparison, all we've got in Anguilla is Hubert and yet another of his new lovers, Eddie. Lod!

  2. How obnoxious of the Baptists to attempt to inject "religious" bias into a Constitution. What if Anglicans or Catholics or some other denomination decided to pressure the Government to outlaw, in the Constitution no less, Baptists? They had better wake up.

    The Governor should be appointed only on the advice of a 2/3rds majority of the elected Members of Parliament. The days when the British should arbitrarily put whom they wish to "govern"the colonials are long spent! Time to repatriate that important function. And, the Governor should be a Belonger of Anguilla too!

    But, we know our Politicians do not have the desire to fight the British on these or any other important Constitutional matter, and we will therefore get a retrogressive pure colonialist Constitution. I dare the Government to stand up to the British. I double dare them !!

  3. Dear Mr. Mitchell,

    You are guilty of committing the same crime which you so often accuse the Anguillian Newspaper of, i.e. reporting what is already news on the radio.

    Should Whitehall consult the local government on the appointment of a New Governor for Anguilla?

    Come on Mr. Mitchell, you cannot sit on the fence on an issue like that!

    Are you telling Anguillians, the British and the watching and listening world, that you agree with Whitehall not even consulting with "the natives" through their elected Government, before they impose a new Governor on OUR island?

    Are you saying that you agree with Whitehall that it should impose any glaringly unsuitable person to be the Governor of Anguilla? Do you mean they can send back Shave and Harris or they can shift Tauwhare and DeFreitas from Turks and Caicos to be Governor and Attorney General of Anguilla?

    Mr. Mitchell if you were my lawyer, I would fire you. You are suppose to be arguing Anguilla's case for a measure of respect in our new "partnership" with Whitehall. Instead you appear to be supporting the British case for continued disrespect to the Anguillian people and their duly elected representatives.

    You cannot fight for justice for a people , if you do not believe in their cause! If you cannot see the value in a simple matter such as CONSULTATION, how will you see it in issues which are really fundamental to the Anguillian people?

    Shame on you Mr. Mitchell, you are fired!
    I am seeking new counsel who will represent my interest and not sell me short!


  4. To "Annoyed":

    Mr. Mitchell is not sitting on the fence regarding approval of future Governors. He is simply reporting what happened in Cayman. It would be offensive to Caymanians for some retired Anguillian judge to be expressing an opinion on their constitutional provisions.

    Mr. Mitchell does have a position on this issue, but it is for us in Anguilla, not Caymanians. It is found in the recommendations of the Constitutional Review Commission, of which he was Chairman. It reads:

    "Representations have been made to the Commission that the Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition should have the right to be consulted prior to the appointment of a Governor or Deputy Governor The Commission considers this to be an essential means of facilitating good government and in keeping with the promise of partnership. The Commission recommends that the Constitution be amended to provide that the Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition will be consulted prior to the appointment of a Governor or Deputy Governor."

  5. I want to thank the person who responded to Annoyed for me.

    But, for complete accuracy, I ought to point out that the Report of the Commissioners does not always reflect my views. The Report reflects the views of a majority of the hundreds of Anguillians who made representations to us. The Report contains some recommendations that went against my personal views. I did not consider that the Report should be a vehicle to carry my views when they were in the minority. All of the Commissioners compromised in this way, not only me.

    It so happens that by chance I do strongly support this recommendation contained in the Report.


  6. The UK Foreign Affairs Select Committee, in its report on the FCO's governance of the Overseas Territories last year, made the following recommendation:

    "We recommend that Territory governments should be given an opportunity to pass on their opinions of the candidates for Governor before appointments are made."

    The Foreign Office, however, declined to comply, stating in September:

    "As the Committee notes in its report, the FCO consults Territory leaders about the particular qualities they would like to see in a new Governor before the recruitment process begins. Their views are taken into account in drawing up the job description against which candidates are selected by the FCO senior appointments board. The board recommends an appointment to the Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister. The Chief Minister is formally notified once Her Majesty has made the appointment. There is no provision at present for Territory leaders to comment on individual candidates.

    "The Government fully understands the wish of Territory governments to have a greater say in the selection and appointment of Governors. However, Governors are Her Majesty’s representatives in the Territories and the constitution of each Territory requires the Governor to act in accordance with the instructions of Her Majesty given through a Secretary of State. This means that we must preserve the position that selection of Governors is by Her Majesty’s Government in London on Her Majesty’s behalf."

  7. A correspondent has pointed out that there is an excellent analysis of the problem at the Overseas Territories Review. See the article posted on 10 February 2009.


  8. Whatever is in the new Cayman Bill of Rights, it is so sensitive that it hasn't been released to the public, and after the new constitution comes into effect there will be a delay of three years for the Bill of Rights section while they "educate" the public.

    I think what this means is that it will take the public three years to accept the fact that a person may no longer be evicted or fired simply because he's gay.

    Meanwhile, here in Anguilla the courageous APP evade questions about equal rights for gays by saying they stand for equal rights for all persons. But they refuse to comment on who this includes. Fundamentalist "Christian" gay bashers among their supporters have suddenly gone silent. We can only wonder what they have been offered in exchange for their silence.

    Corruption isn't always cash in a brown bag.


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