LA to debate over a dozen new laws

| 11/04/2016 | 9 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly

(CNS): The public has only two more weeks to digest more than a dozen pieces of legislation which the government hopes to steer through parliament when it convenes later this month. From changes to the Anti-corruption Law and the Standards in Public life Bill to a number of offshore finance bills, as well as the revised pensions law, the sheer quantity of legislation presented in one go is a lot for people to digest during the brief consultation period before the debates begin.

The premier has already confirmed that government will be boycotting the meeting called for the 13 April by the opposition members to debate the motions relating to the police. As a result, it will be adding those motions to the agenda of the meeting, which opens on 25 April and looks set to last several weeks. Many of the bills are critical new pieces of legislation impacting the broader community, such as data protection and the long-awaited Education Bill, as well as major amendments to existing legislation, such as the National Pensions Bill and the Health Services Authority Bill to remove what was recently exposed as a blanket immunity for all employees of the authority.

All of the bills scheduled to be on the order paper were published earlier this month on the government’s gazette website.

The laws include changes to the Anti-Corruption Law, which will alter the composition and staffing of the Anti-Corruption Commission. It removes the previous requirement for the commissioner of police to be the chair, allowing the governor to appoint the chair from the membership, and also addresses various procedures and changes in the provisions relating to conflicts of interests.

Another critical piece of legislation that lawmakers will be tackling was passed some two years ago but has not yet been implemented. The Standards in Public Life Bill was greeted with opposition when government passed the legislation and as a result of pressure from members serving on government boards, the law has been amended before it even commenced. The amendment bill focuses on the declaration public officers must make regarding their families and dependents and removes the term “connected person”.

The amendments also reduces the requirement for any declaration of interest by public officials or board members, who will not need to disclose any “interests, income, assets or liabilities of immediate family or of any other connected person, as the case may be, unless, given the nature of the person’s functions on the entity concerned, there is a possible or perceived conflict”, leaving board members themselves to decide what is relevant or not. The new bill also excludes the public authorities that fall within the purview of the governor’s special responsibilities.

People appointed to the Constitutional Commission, the Judicial and Legal Services Commission or, ironically, the Anti-Corruption Commission will not be under the same skills or disclosure requirements as other board members and it will be up to the governor to check that the chairmen and appointees “have the requisite skills, knowledge and integrity” to serve.

Among the many other important pieces of legislation is the long-awaited and controversial Data Protection Bill. The law, which will have an impact on almost everyone in Cayman, is 50 pages long and introduces a legal regime to protect data and the rights to privacy in relation to personal data while ensuring that certain exceptions are allowed.

Check back to CNS this week to see reviews of the important legislation expected to be steered through the Legislative Assembly this month. Members of the public can still contact the relevant ministries with queries and comments about the laws until the LA convenes on 25 April.

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Category: Laws, Politics

Comments (9)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The PPM has become a let down, they learned well from the UDP how to promise one thing then short change the electorate.

    The Auditor General pointed out the corruption of the Planning Board, their terms expired then what did the PPM Caucus do – reappoint the scallywags.

    “PPM Government you can trust”, sadly those days are past.

    No government has the fortitude to cut out corruption that is the reason why they are gutting the Standards in Public Life Law.

    We need someone to publish the CAYMAN PAPERS so that we can find out the truth of corruption in the Cayman Islands, with all of the interconnecting corruption pathways and underground tunnels.

    Shame, Shame PPM for destroying any potential effectiveness of the Standards in Public Life Law.

    We do need a government we can trust.

  2. Anonymous says:

    How is it that people with minimal qualifications will debate laws that they cant comprehend in the first place

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wonder if it excludes having to disclose all the fun that the original law spawned in early 2014.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Interesting how certain amendments were made to allow politicians to continue to feed their connections and why bother making more laws when they are already useless at enforcing existing laws. Stupidity knows no bounds.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Congrats, more unenforced garbage.

  6. Just Sayin' says:

    A dozen of which will never be enforced.

  7. Mr Wu Chan says:

    Yet another PPM rinky dinky manifesto broken promises to consult the “people” not even their own mindless PPM Con Stituents/sheep Cayman is just North Korea without Weapons!

    • Anonymous says:

      And as usual PPM is giving the Governor more power when I recall that the country was aiming to reduce her role over time, which is why our parliament excludes that post holder all together. We can’t always count on PPM to gradually take us back nto the dark ages of colonialism.

  8. Anonymous says:

    12 laws, longest 50 pages – this should only be difficult for those that can’t read.

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