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MLAs lament long list of laws

| 22/09/2016 | 39 Comments
Cayman News Service

(L-R) MLAs Ezzard Miller, Arden McLean (not seen), Winston Connolly and Alva Suckoo

(CNS): With close to 30 pieces of legislation on the agenda for the next meeting of the Legislative Assembly, the independent members claim to have been burning the midnight oil in order to scrutinize the upcoming bills. Criticising government for the number of laws coming before the parliament in this next session, North Side MLA Ezzard Miller told a public meeting in the district that he believed it was a record in the history of local politics for a government to bring so much new legislation in one meeting.

At the second in a series of public meetings the five independent members are hosting around the islands, the MLAs were critical of much of what government plans to steer through the House at the next meeting. As well as the content of the bills, a major concern was the way the legislation is being presented.

Alva Suckoo (Bodden Town), formerly a member of the PPM, told CNS that the MLAs were familiar with some of the legislation as there have been long public consultations on a few of the new pieces. And as former members of the government, he and his colleagues, Anthony Eden and Winston Connolly, had been involved in some of the caucus meetings regarding the earlier preparations.

But Suckoo said that with so many laws on the business paper, many of which had changed dramatically since the last time the opposition members saw them, it was a challenge now for them all to be prepared for the meeting starting on 4 October.

During the meeting in North Side, where around 20 people attended, Suckoo said he had started to become suspicious over the way laws were being presented and the content because there were so many problems and “glaring concerns” in the long list of laws. He said non-government members were battling to keep up with the barrage of legislation coming at them with just a few days to go before the meeting opens.

Suckoo raised the issue of the infrequency of parliamentary meetings, which was creating the heavy legislative load for the MLAs all at once.

All backbenchers and opposition MLAs are paid around $9,000 per month, regardless of whether or not the parliament sits, and although members are expected to work on behalf of their constituents all year round, Suckoo said it was the work in the parliament which was where they earned their salaries.

“The Legislative Assembly is not meeting anywhere near enough,” he said, adding that unspecified, but presumably government, people were “scared to come down”.

Suckoo raised concerns about the failure of the current administration to address the long-standing question of the independence of the LA, which has cross-bench support but it still hasn’t been tackled. He said efforts by the committee set up to look at the independence, of which he was a member, “wasn’t going anywhere”. He also pointed out that the only constituency with an advisory district council, established in the constitution to help MLAs communicate with their constituents and vice versa, was North Side.

Indicating that he was less than impressed with a lot of the bills that government is bringing to the next meeting, he suggested that government’s agenda was an “international one”, addressing things that are not important to the man on the street.

A number of the pieces of legislation that are being brought to the LA relate directly to the forthcoming Financial Action Task Force review that Cayman needs to get through to ensure it protects its financial services sector from the onslaught of continuing criticism of low tax jurisdictions, and by implication the jobs and money that sector generates.

But Suckoo said government’s trickle-down policies were failing the common man and he disputed the recent figures from the government regarding the fall in inflation and unemployment. While the government reports a significant decline in overall unemployment, Suckoo pointed to the high unemployment rate among young people. He said that the cost of living was on the increase, as certain important things, such as food and accommodation, had increased.

“We are being bombarded by constituents who genuinely cannot even afford to buy school uniforms,” he said as he lamented what he claimed was a failure on the part o government to do anything about youth unemployment.

The series of political meetings continues this evening (Thursday 22 September) at Prospect Primary School, and not as originally scheduled at the South Sound Community Centre, as a result of a double booking.

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Category: 2017 General Elections, Elections, Laws, Politics

Comments (39)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Here is an idea, let’s take a year off from implementing any new laws and let’s focus on enforcing existing ones. As a 25 year resident I have lost track of the laws that have been created but never enforced.




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    • A don't want to be politician says:

      The caliber of our representatives is poor. None a dem speak in a cohesive and coherent fashion. There is a serious lack of experience in business, human rights, developmental issues, health issues etc and the country suffers due to this.

      There is no leader in these present times in the Cayman Islands that has shown in words and deeds a vision for the future of these islands, a future of growth, prosperity, stability created by policies that strongly addresses; an educational strategy that takes in all levels of industry and contemplates retooling of young and old to be in line with the growth strategies. There is no pointed strategy visible that speaks to the necessity to have a local population that is healthy and programs put in place to educate and inculcate a healthy life style. There is no program that addresses the prevention and recovery of of our youth at risk and reintroduction to society of non violent crime offenders, there is no concrete plan of dealing with the growing number of mental health disorders in the country. There is no strategy or policy that strengthens the national security of and protection of the people and its land and sea borders.

      There is no one in the front or back benches and in ministerial posts who understands the need to stop and think and produce not just budgets but a plan for CAYMAN and its people today and in the future. Look inward politicians of today and tomorrow , educate yourselves, understand that we live in a global village full of changes and challenges which cannot be met by being arrogant, uneducated and hostile to new ideas, to human rights and the well being of all the people who live or visit our shores. The natives of this country are tired of the rhetoric, are tired of money being spent on pages and pages of reports and no concrete action nor results, the people are tired of their money being spent on hundreds of people who are capable of working but yet are receiving handouts, the people are tired of losing their jobs and homes and no government help, the people are demanding accountable and responsible civil servants and politicians to run this country.

      How will it be and where will be in 2020 is the question that every able bodied voter needs to ask, and who is going to get us to the point where we can again be a homogenous society free of nonsensical poliTriks, a society which respects and is respected for its values, it’s humanity its progress and sustainability in all aspects of life.




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  2. MM says:

    18 political seats x average $10,000 per month salary = $180,000 per month (KYD2,160,000 per year). These politicians are getting a Law Firm Partner’s salary with little knowledge of law or what proper policies to put in place to encourage economic stimulus.

    CNS: The rest of the comment has been posted here MLAs’ salaries too high




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  3. NS Bob says:

    yup..what has Mr. miller done for his own voters in his district. you still have kids smoking pot, dealing drugs, hassling tourists to buy them a beer at the entrance to North Side. Are we supposed to hire them…to do what? What about the dock project…what about this and what about that. Its all about me…and my money. $9000 per month is earned by sitting in Parliament…joke dis place is becoming…worse and worse. Spend your monthly salary and put a speed bump across the road in North Side before someone gets killed by a wreckless driver or motorcycle idiut on a Sunday. Nah…we will do that after someone gets killed, and then blame someone else….same ol, same ol!




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    • Anonymous says:

      It’s the reckless drivers that you need to watch out for. Thankfully, I remain one of the wreckless ones after 40 years of driving.




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    • Really? says:

      Seems to me the parents should be thr ones sorting out the weed smoking kids. Why is Mr Miller being held accountable ? Call the Police or their parents. WTH????




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    • Uncle John says:

      Stop being a fool that’s what we have the police for,politicians make laws and inforcement officers carry them out, you all know that if you don’t support everything the government of the day think is right you will be cutoff.




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  4. Anonymous says:

    What they really want to say, is that it should be a crime to bring legislation to the house that requires members to read anything other than the Bible before voting.




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  5. Anonymous says:

    Burning the midnight oil yeh!!!! This is what you should have been doing all along. You and the rest of the MLAs stop complaining and do what you were elected to do – represent at best ALL citizens of the Cayman Islands.




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  6. Anonymous says:

    I guess the PPM’s idea here is for the Independents’ contributions to not count, or matter. The PPM already know the content, including the amendments, in these laws. So, when these laws are tabled for debate & voted on, the PPM will have a resounding “aye” and the Independents will be left scratching theirs heads. It’s all part of political gaming; thus, meaning there will be less for the Independents’ to say.




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  7. Anonymous says:

    30 new laws. I’m so impressed. Stop complaining and get on with it. Many of these laws are uncontroversial and relate to the financial industry.

    So proud of another history making achievement.

    Remember the LA can meet for the next two months or for as long as it takes to do its business. What’s the issue ?




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  8. Anonymous says:

    Oh no, a full month to read over 30×20 page drafts. Do some work. These morons wasted two sessions flailing their arms and ranting on about how they would never implement Cayman’s territorial obligations in regards to civil and human rights. I hope the Overseas Minister tears them a new one and puts forth order in councils on same sex unions and on resuming the path to citizenship that has been deliberately frozen by this regime. We need to increase the depth of intelligence at the voter level, and force retirement of the unprofessional dinosaurs that milk their position and waste public money obstructing the rights of their own citizens and defying territorial obligations.




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  9. Anonymous says:

    WOW! PPM trying to accomplish much in this last stretch! Laws, roads, etc. I know from good sources that some issues, like the Older Persons Policy, Disabilities Legislation,etc. were initiatives of the UDP and of course PPM will try to claim them as their own. Anyway, doesn’t matter as long as good, sound policies get implemented. But the question is, how many are “good and sound”? Will we see amendments to them the very next sitting?

    They need to spend this time cleaning-up or repealing old, worthless legislation!!




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  10. MM says:

    $9,000 a month to back-bench? And we wonder why this island is in ruins?

    Lower ALL political salaries (then we can truly see who is running “for love of people and country”; then use the savings to pay down some of government’s debts. Simple.




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    • Anonymous says:

      I know I will get criticized for this, however a $9,000 salary is too low to attract the real brains.




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  11. Anonymous says:

    My sympathy meter reads 0 for these politicians’ complaints. Yes the la meets not nearly often enough and i realize the people making the complaints are members of the opposition so they have less power to call meetings. Still, with the exception of Ezzard, I haven’t heard any of the opposition members agitating for more meetings this past year. It seems like they were happy with the lack of parliamentary work, until of course now the time comes to work through all the backlog. The only thing these opposition members have been complaining about are the lgb rights, a total waste of time. Why don’t they just live and let live and instead focus on pressing the ruling party for more important things, like, I don’t know, ruling the country and doing some actual work?




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    • Wow says:

      Politicians “serve” they don’t “rule” and your comment shows just what kind of voter you are




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      • Anonymous says:

        I’m the original poster and I hope your comment is tongue in cheek (I left a LOL for you just in case) because serving the public is not something the politicians on this island have been doing lately (or maybe ever? But I’m not old enough to know)




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    • Anonymous says:

      Speaking to an elected member I gather that the situation is thus – that as The main purpose of the LA is to pass laws – it is pointless for the LA to meet unless the laws are complete, have been vetted by the technocrats, been presented for public vetting, and passed through cabinet and published. This takes time and so it is pointless for the LA to meet unless there is business that warrants a meeting. Secondly Ministers have a job to do in their Ministries as well as dealing with constituents. On thinking it through – it is pointless to meet more than is necessary and to meet only when there is work to be done.




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  12. Anonymous says:

    They should be well-rested and ready to go.




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  13. Had enough says:

    I’m sorry the members of the duly elected Government don’t have as much time as one might like for the independent muckrakers and opportunists to spout off their uneducated nonsense at them. These are smart, dedicated people who are working hard to GET so many bills to the LA, many of which are long overdue. And to ignore the ‘international agenda’ AGAINST Cayman is bad for the man in the street, so if one uses one’s brain, one sees that some laws which fight that agenda, are good for the man in the street.

    Not sure how you can call the cost of living increases and bonuses the 6,000 civil servants have been given a trickle-down policy.

    This Government didn’t create thousands of poor Caymanians with the stroke of a pen; a previous government did. What do you expect this one to do, just hand out money? I thought Winston wanted to ban that?

    Constituencies are changing; incumbent MLAs after the next election can seek whatever counsel they wish to discharge their duties, it doesn’t have to be the advisory council provided for under the Constitution.

    We all know why the employment rate among young people is so high: many are unemployable because they received appalling schooling and parenting. We hired someone from the NWDA list and I was wondering when he was going to shoot up our office until the day he left.

    Food costs are going up because the world population is going up, its climate is changing and food producers are having problems with some key crops. Nothing Cayman can do about that; perhaps your constituents could try the farmers market where they can buy better, healthier produce for half or less than the price they pay at Fosters Countryside.

    The members of the Government are not scared of the second-rate politicians in the LA who are not members of the Government. They know what they’re doing, they know what those second-rate politicians are trying to do, and they do not have days and weeks on end to sit in the general direction of opposition hot air.

    Finally, an MLAs’ salary is earned year round by being a community representative and dignitary, participating in events, keeping up to date with the Government’s agenda, reading its proposed legislation, keeping constituency hours, assisting constituents, and anything else the particular MLA is minded to do for the betterment of the country. The actual sittings of the LA are the MLAs chance, Government or opposition, to bring what they do to national attention, vote on and propose amendments to bills, and talk off the top of their heads until the Speaker tells them they’re out of time. That’s it.

    I wonder how Mr. Suckoo feels about the minimum $200 spent catering every day the LA sits and how many school uniforms that would buy?




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  14. Anonymous says:

    I have a question for political buffs: Does Ezzard Miller have the smallest parliamentary constituency in the world? The smallest in the UK has 21,000 voters, in Canada the smallest has 18,000 voters, in India the smallest is 47,000 voters. In North Side there were 576 registered voters at the last election. Still 20 people turning out to a public meeting, wow, that’s impressive. Is there a politician in the world with fewer people to represent?




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    • Anonymous says:

      Certainly the small gene pool of voters.




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    • Anonymous says:

      What a great comparison (sense my sarcasm). Let’s compare a island to developed nations with substantially larger populations then attempt to compare them. GTFOH with this garbage




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      • Anonymous says:

        Well they don’t forget to pay themselves more than politicians elsewhere do they? I don’t know about now but five years ago the Prenier of the Cayman Islands was being paid than the President of the USA




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        • Anonymous says:

          Exactly, 2:11!! But a sensible point like that would be beyond the moron who posted rudeness @ 12:36.




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        • Anonymous says:

          I’m not even going to detail how wrong this statement is. I’ll just prove you wrong with one fact: the US President gets 400k a year, and another 169k for expenses. The vast majority of what he does or where he spends his time is paid for by someone else. His house, for example. You may go now.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Caymankind




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    • Anonymous says:

      and your point exactly is…..




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  15. Anonymous says:

    Well maybe if they sat at least one week a month you wouldn’t have this problem.
    Part time MLA’s with part time ideas and full time 100k salaries a complete and utterly clueless lazy bunch of law makers.
    Working for self interest only.




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    • Anonymous says:

      +1




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    • Veritas says:

      To expand this comment by 12.19pm, we need to know exactly how many days a year the LA is in session, and more importantly the attendance records for all MLA’s, so the taxpayers can form an opinion on whether they are getting value from their representatives for the $109,000 pa they earn, along with their generous non contibutory pensions and medical benefits.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Good question! You can find that information on the LA website. According to thr hansard, the LA met as follows since August 2015:
        1- August 12 2015
        2- April 27 to 29 2016 (how nice it must be to have a 6 month long vacation!)
        3 – May 2, 4, 5 and 6 2016

        So if I’m right, our parliamentarians met 8 times in the last 13 months. They should be required to publish a summary of their activities when the legislative assembly is not sitting so we can see if any meaningful work gets done in the off months to justify a 10k (!!) per month salary




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        • Anonymous says:

          And they wonder why parts of the work force have issues working when the example they set is inglorious…b’stards




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