Elder MLAs to shape constitution proposal

| 30/05/2018 | 77 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly

(CNS): A ‘Council of Elders’ comprising members of the Legislative Assembly that have served at least two full terms will be established shortly to hammer out a proposal to amend the Cayman Islands Constitution, Premier Alden McLaughlin has said. The government, supported by the opposition, decided to seek discussion with the UK to amend the current constitution and even the possible removal of its reserve powers in the wake of the passage of British legislation that will impose public beneficial ownership registers on the overseas territories without their consent. 

While the issues relating to the potential creation of a public register in Cayman still have some two years to play out, the premier has stated on several occasions that it is the impact of the UK imposing legislation on Cayman outside of its areas of special responsibility that is more of a concern than the actual register.

The worry for Cayman is that this move sets a negative precedent and could have far reaching implications for future British governments that may want to impose other legislation on the Cayman Islands without its consent any time it disagrees with the local government. He said it was “absolutely critical” for Cayman to seek to restrict the ability of the UK to do what it has just done.

McLaughlin believes that now is the time to address the issue and ensure greater protection for Cayman’s autonomy. With Prime Minister Theresa May willing to enter into talks about an amendment, the premier has said he wants to move quickly while the UK appears to be listening. He said the UK government was currently “more amenable to the discussions” that it has ever been because of the consequences of the legislation it has passed.

“The UK government is quite embarrassed that it was forced to do something by the UK parliament that it would not otherwise have done,” he told CNS after a short media briefing with Britain’s OT minister, Lord Ahmad, Wednesday. “I am pressing forward quite swiftly with this,” he said, adding that the issue of constitutional reform would now be on this year’s JMC’s agenda.

He said he would be making a formal statement about the next steps relating to this issue early next week. But he revealed plans for a special legislative council of the longest serving MLAs to formulate Cayman’s proposed amendment, as he emphasised the need for the cross-bench initiative to protect the territory from constitutional overreach.

McLaughlin said that in the first instance he will be seeking agreement with his LA colleagues. Once they have agreed on a draft proposal, there will be a period of public debate before it goes before the entire House on a vote. The agreed proposal will then be put to the UK for negotiation, with the goal of significantly amending or even removing section 125 of the Constitution, which is the final line in the document that states, “There is reserved to Her Majesty full power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Cayman Islands.”

McLaughlin is hoping to either remove the entire section or at least substantially amend the ambiguous nature of the section. And the country’s leader appears confident that this is a good time for Cayman to press this issue and advance its constitutional status, as well as prevent what happened over beneficial ownership registers happening with anything else.

“It is important we do this while the UK has the appetite for it,” he added.

Lord Ahmad also confirmed that while the UK sees the 2012 White Paper as the basis for the constitutional relationships, it will be happy to consider proposals from the Cayman government for constitutional amendments.

Related article: Lord Ahmad: We didn’t want this

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Well if the council of elders can go to court and represent me from paying a ticket than I say go ahead with that plan. But if we are really serious than get a proper lawyer who has been to court in the UK and stop wasting time.
    I really feel that the financial sector on this island should get their wallets out and pick and pay for the proper representatives. They have the most to loose in this fiasco.Yeah yeah we make money too . But they are the ones that got to move and set up somewhere else which may not have all the amenities we offer. Room for thought?

    • Anonymous says:

      Why don’t you suggest the same for the tourist industry, forever sucking the teat of government while moaning she’s not producing enough?

      They could begin by contributing to the airport upgrade and/or building a cruise ship port themselves, instead of constantly telling government what they need from it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    How will Captain WhoGene possibly find time to sit in on this Counsel of Elders. He so busy with motions, papers, research, more motions, more papers, international negotiations etc etc. What a multitasker.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Will the elders be meeting with the minister of funny walks under the agency of wasting your time.

  4. Anonymous says:

    our constitution should allow us to vote for a member, two or three of the UK parliament to represent us… that should be added, particularly if parliament is supreme can can willy nilly just legislate for us without any concern for its territories and people.

  5. West Bay Premier says:

    Talk about the Council of Elders . The education Minister just learned a few days ago who had saved her life at birth . You don’t want those kind of people messing around with doing any changes to the Constitution . I say to the PEOPLE STOP THE PREMIER and tell him if any changes have to be done he must get qualified people to do it , not the Elders from the LA .

  6. Anonymous says:

    Council of Elders? “Prime Minista, the tribe has spoken.”

  7. West Bay Premier says:

    Mr Premier , why a Council of the Elders , and not a Council of the one with a brains. You would need that when you go up against those in UK .

  8. Anonymous says:

    This means nothing. Just get back to living.

    • Anonymous says:

      I wonder if all of you constituents out there realize that by the Premier decision to call up politicians who have served two terms or more that to discuss the changes to the constitution that he is eliminating his own Minister of financial services under whose responsibility this falls. Why is he doing this? He is proving to be so devious and divisive.

  9. Simmer Down Na says:

    Don’t get your boxers or maybe panties in a twist and try playing first world politics with this one. Just open wide or bend over, take a deep breath because here it comes.
    Face it, if it’s going to be the norm for the first world our little rock will be swallowed up by this wave of reform. Don’t waste public money or time on cobbling together some numpty star chamber.

  10. Anonymous says:

    None of the two+ term MLAs, so willing to alter the Constitution (including adjusting term limits), have so far been unwilling to enact the Standards in Public Life Law (2014). Being honest, forthcoming, and transparent about conflicts remains far far down the priority list.

  11. Anonymous says:

    To comply with the EU’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive, we should just agree to adopt the UK’s opaque and flawed version of compliance by 2020, which is a “Persons of Significant Control” Public Registry. Otherwise, at the count of three, we shall be the only kid in the sandbox with our pants at our ankles, actually disclosing the verified UBOs. We could have two compliant registries: 1. the Tax and Law enforcement special access UBO Registry for launch this summer, and 2. a Public PSC Registry for 2020 with the names of controlling nominees. Done.

    • Observer says:

      2:54: don’t lose focus: The proposal to change the constitution is not about the registry — it is about the overreach of the U.K. Parliament.

      In the case of the two previous orders in council the U.K. was obliged to ensure that it and its territories complied with international conventions. There are currently no international requirements mandating an open registry, as evidenced by the U.K. Parliament’s failure to include its Crown Dependencies.

      • Anonymous says:

        I wouldn’t call it overreach, we are a BOT, and we’re part of their area of responsibility. Riddle me this: the EU’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive requires all EU-member states to have a public register by December 2019, regardless of Brexit. The Crown Dependencies can pretend to sail in another direction for two years, but they may find that they are cut out of the international money and settlements systems. The UK will say, “they are not our responsibility”. Without access to EU custodians, they will be up Schitt’s Creek with or without theoretical Orders in Council. It seems to me, we’d be better off linking arms with the motherland and adopting their bogus public register standard. The zeitgeist is upon us and not theoretical.

  12. Captain says:

    Can do other changes to the Constitution:

    #1 – The Premier to serve no more than 2 to 3 terms.

    #2 – The district electorate to have power to recall a district MLA – vote them out by a referendum!

    #3 – That during an Election, the people have the right of “Two Men, Two Votes” – in other words, everybody has one vote for their district MLA, and a next vote to elect the Premier

    • Anonymous says:

      All of that is just incorrect. As you have written them, each of your proposals is impossible, for reasons you likely would not understand. Your opinion is however noted.

    • Anonymous says:

      Inane Americanisms, each and every one. Leave them over there.

      • Anonymous says:

        Can you promise you will not:

        1) Use a baby or fake marriage to anchor yourself to US citizenship
        2) Not enter the US illegally and take US citizens jobs
        3) Not use any of our products, culture, or welfare and education
        4) Not ask for help when the hurricanes hit
        5) Not accept any tourism dollars from the US or financial fees from US companies

        If so, then we have a deal and the US will gladly leave you where you are.

  13. Anonymous says:

    What is this foolishness about having to have served 2 terms to be included in this work?! Who came up with this, which is obviously designed to disallow certain younger politicians from taking part. We didn’t elect our representatives so that the Governemnt and opposition leadership could conspire against them via discrimination while working on the very document that protects against discrimination. This is so out of order that it should be immediate evidence to all of us that this is simply about Alden and Ezzard and not about what’s best for the Caymanian people. To not allow any politician to take part in constitutional discussions is completely inappropriate, out of bounds and disgusting. But alas I am sure there will be many comments from people who fail to realize that what has just been agreed is a rape as significant as the one the U.K. just did to us and which sparked this constitutional conversation in the first place.

    • Anonymous says:

      Would you happen to be from one of the constituencies with an either completely novice and/or useless politician? Feeling disenfranchised? Choose more wisely next time.

    • Anonymous says:

      Let the record show that I Ezzard Miller has told the Premier on at least two occasions that I do not subscribe to his council of elders and that all members of the Opposition are being treated equally when it comes to discussions on the constitution. I have further offered them a conscience vote on any constitution changes. While I will expect and encourage robust debate within our group on these proposed changes so that we will have the opportunity to learn from each other. I will as I have always done encourage consensus, but when it comes to the vote in the Legislative Assembly they are free to vote as guided by their conscience and as to the dictates of their respective constituencies as we do practice participatory democracy.
      D. Ezzard Miller

      • Anonymous says:

        Will the public get a vote on constitutional changes?

      • Anonymous says:

        Mr Miller: I am a driftwood Caymanian, as they say nowadays, of very many years standing, married to a Caymanian for over 30 years. I appreciate the fact that you always give your name when you comment. I do not feel I can do that because in today’s Cayman I would be told to get out and shake the sand from my feet, don’t let the airplane door hit you etc etc. So, since we rely on intelligent people like you to speak for us, could you please realize that there is something taught in high school called subject/verb agreement which marks off people and separates sheep from goats. “I, Ezzard Miller has” should be I, Ezzard Miller have”.

  14. Anonymous says:

    more wonderland stuff….
    why not have a council of industry leaders??
    you know the top international accountants and lawyers on island you refuse to give any representation too???

  15. Anonymous says:


  16. Anonymous says:

    Why not just get Helen when she returns to do it.

  17. Anonymous says:

    And the UK will say “Thanks for your views, now how is the public register coming along?”

  18. Anonymous says:

    Councill of Impotents is more fitting. Try sourcing some from the Pines if you want to use elders. They’d probably be more effective anyway.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the goal. However any substantial change to the constitution has to be put to the people by a referendum.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is the substantial change just the amendment/removal of s.125 or is it an overhaul over the entire document? If the latter, I agree it would require a referendum.

      Also for god’s sake please do this properly the first time. Forget the elder council and hire a proper constitutional attorney. This may well end up in the courts so best to start with this in mind at the beginning of the process.

      • Anonymous says:

        CIG cannot think further than next election…. wait that’s too much. They can’t see past their noses. They reactive rather than proactive.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Council of Elders??? Since when are proximity to senility, the wearing of Depends and not having your own teeth qualifications for modifying constitutional language?

    • Anonymous says:

      Elders like who Bernie?

      You got to be joking. These guys can’t run a business must less this country.

      Just keep them away from the civil service and we will be fine.

  21. Anonymous says:

    “A ‘Council of Elders’ comprising members of the Legislative Assembly that have served at least two full terms will be established shortly to hammer out a proposal to amend the Cayman Islands Constitution.”

    Based upon the success or lack thereof of this little club of entitled politicians it seems that they will do what is best for themselves first last and always.

    • Anonymous says:

      Get a better cross section of individuals like Johan Moxam, Wood Foster, Gary Rutty, Dan Scott, Don Seymour, James Bergstrom, Tony Travers, Chris Kirkconnell Lloyd Sampson and David Ritch involved

      • Anonymous says:

        Government wouldn’t ask these individuals because they would take less time and do it right

      • Anonymous says:

        Excellent choices 8.26 , they all have in common….Education and real world work experience.

      • Anonymous says:

        Please add paget-brown to the list and all of the elected politicians. The premier is beginning to sound like “the great orange one

        • Anonymous says:

          That would be too many. When everyone is responsible, no one is. We need only our very, very best, and they can be drawing upon the views and thoughts of others who make the shortlist but not the final list.

  22. Anonymous says:

    So the constitutional amendment is ensure that anyone without a Caymanian Parent who has lived in Cayman for more than 40 years will NEVER be able to run for elections! As it stand under the current constitution the UK has reserve powers.

    • Anonymous says:

      A restriction on standing or voting in elections after about 10 years would almost certainly be contrary to the ECHR by reference to the existing case law. Essentially upon becoming Caymanian one ought to have full access to all political rights.

  23. Rick says:

    older heads = Banana republic

    • Co Worker says:

      Now rick i down with you on that one! some of them cant even spell constitution wha ya think write one, total waste of space time and money “Council of Elders” more like Botla Republic Aka Burro Bananas which fully describe some of our so called states men Burro means Donkey .

  24. Anonymous says:

    I really do not understand why the Premier decided to leave out the newer members of the LA in this. So that means the group will consist of Mckeeva, Ezzard, Arden, Juliana, Anthony and the Premier. Some of the younger politicians might not have the many years of political baggage dragging behind them but they are much more intelligent and articulate and can add much to the debate. I see no reason why he is not including those who have already served at least one full term. I understand having a select group but that does not mean that the younger members should be ignored. Just suppose something like this comes up again and all the “elders” have retired or been voted out , wouldn’t the experience this time count for something? Why is he trying to stifle the younger politicians? Is he just playing politics again?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes he is. And Ezzard is so far up his behind that of course he is along for the ride

      • Anonymous says:

        He is so happy where he is that he cannot remember that he is leader of the opposition. I agree that the opposition should support the government provided they know what the Premier is doing and not just along rubber stamping everything. The only way. this will be done transparently and above board is if all members of the LA are present at the table. All members besides the Speaker. His position should be neutral and there should be no side bar associations and meetings going on. The Premier is going down a very slippery slope here and if we are not alert and call him out on this we might regret it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Each one of the elected politicians represents a particular constituent and therefore each one deserves to be included in any debate on changing the constitution. Elected representatives please show up and speak up and do not allow the Premier to get away with this. It is really not just about him and a select few but all of us. Is he a dictator or what?

    • Anonymous says:

      I know, I heard Ezzard on the radio talking about being the next Premier. God help us all! He pretended that he was just joking but those of us who knows him well know that he damn well meant it. I pray that will never happen.

  25. Souron the light says:

    Oh Lord!!! not these imbeciles again “council of elders” sounds Lord of the rings re runish. The problem we have there are too many Rings on too many fingers and one big chain and UK extension Cords still plugged in and that is what has got us in this mess in the first place! Why 2 full terms sound like somebodeee upset wid a certain ex finance minister eh Alden aaah boy the antics and games we play? or could it be you stumbled on to some treachery hahahaha like the Men at Work song says Who can it beeee Now???

  26. Anonymous says:

    Why is it so bad to show who is hiding his wealth in the Cayman Islands ?
    Is it because it’s drug money, terrorist funds, tax evasion ?
    How do Caymanians benefit from hiding money for the top 1 percent ?

    • Anonymous says:

      They don’t benefit.

      • Anonymous says:

        That is the pronlem . We should have charges a tax on every dollar passing through from dsycone. Whether

      • Anonymous says:

        I believe that The Cayman Islands is one of the select few places with such stringent anti- drug money, anti tax evasions laws. Does suspicious trsnsactions occur, of course they do, but I can tell you that such transactions are reported and investigated to the highest level. We however should have charged a percentage fee on each transaction, suspicious or otherwise, that came through then we would at least have gotten something to compensate for all the bull crap that is being posted from idiots like the one who posted at 6:32 am. These countries should implement their own laws to prevent all the examples he/ she listed and stop expecting the Cayman Islands to police their citizens. Since he is so sure that they are involved in such activities then he should go ahead and report them even if he is s part of the ring.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, it means that as a Caymanian everyone in the world is going to be able to see behind my company name – why? How is it any of their business?

    • Anonymous says:

      The Cayman Islands is a member of the Common Reporting Standard, which, along with dozens of Tax Information Exchange Agreements, FATCA filings, enhanced FATF-compliant KYC, CIMA-required tax declarations, and an Ultimate Beneficial Owner Registry for Cayman Companies available to tax and law enforcement, essentially means there is little opportunity for tax evasion or criminal industry here. There were never any anonymous numbered bank accounts here – that theatre only exists on TV shows and spy movies.

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re missing the point. It’s not a transparency issue. It’s an issue of countries competing against eachother for business and the U.K. legislating that the OT’s should be placed in a disadvantaged position when competing for business against the other countries that offer the same services. Our list of competitors includes the U.K. itself and the U.K. territories, which were not included in the legislative edict, hence unfair competition and discrimination in order to steal market share from Cayman. You may think this doesn’t affect you but with our financial services industry being impacted comes shrinkage and less money available in our own economy, which leads to recession and all of the woes that come with recession, including job losses not just in financial services but in many industries in Cayman. All of this means Govt has less money to meet the infrastructure and other needs of the country. This all adds up to lower standards of living and making life in Cayman harder for everyone, especially those already struggling.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is nothing to hide. When the rest of the world is ready to open their doors so every Tom, Dick and Harry can access their beneficial ownership register then we will play ball. Until then lead by example and submit to CNS all of your information relating to business interests and directorships. I wont hold my breath.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Good luck chums!

  28. Anonymous says:

    A council of dinosaurs.

  29. Emperor Newclothes says:

    Why elders? When the old take charge, the future does not reflect the wishes of the young. Example – Brexit. Also, are younger ministers somehow less capable?

  30. Anonymous says:

    The UK has absolutely no appetite for this and Alden is clutching at a straw like a drowning man. If he thinks the UK is willing to relinquish control after they just demonstrated their power he is completely lost. I think he needs to resign now,

    • Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

      Just Another Day in Absurdistan

    • Shhhhhhhhhh. says:

      Now is the best time 12.27 am because this UK govt is very weak presently, with barely a majority in parliament, and have just been severely embarrassed by the exposure of what was done to West Indian migrants and their families in the Windrush scandal. Further heavy handed measures against any BOT would not go down well in the UK, whose population these days is very diverse, with strong West Indian, African, and East Asian ethnic roots. They lost a large amount of their support from these minorities in the last shambolic election, and are not likely to offend these voters once more. It is not a simple scenario at all, with many factors British, local and international, all in play.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why should he resign? Did he do this? And is he or is he not a qualified, experienced attorney who can seek and follow correct advice? We are, in fact, as well positioned for this as we could have been. Alden has been building genuine goodwill for years. He’s the one who brought back our fiscal independence. People are so ignorant. We have the right leader, okay! Jesus.

      • Anonymous says:

        Remember he was the one that over spent on roads and schools? Or you just choose to ignore that one fact?

        • Anonymous says:

          I didn’t choose to ignore anything. It wasn’t overspending at the time. It was affordable investment in neglected physical and social infrastructure that is vital to our future, that we are still trying to invest in. We didn’t know banksters in the US had been defrauding everyone and were about to cause a global financial meltdown. There’s even a movie about the few people who did (The Big Short – watch it and learn).

  31. Anonymous says:

    A council of elders made up only of current and former MLAs?! Dinosaurs and dino-ladies?! No thank you! Tony Travers, Tim Ridley, David Ritch, Jude Scott, and anyone else of similar stature can easily find the path through this maze. I will be personally impressing my view that such persons should be involved upon the Premier.

    • Anonymous says:

      Tony human rights
      Bernie hater and speech writer

      Off to a great start

      Come on Premier. Get serious.

  32. Anonymous says:


    • EYES WIDE SHUT says:

      Alden’s ego has finally landed. The man cannot help himself as he see’s himself as our savior when he’s more like our most delusional and narcissistic leader in recent history. His political legacy is failure e.g. $100m Clifton Hunter school and now BO registry after six years of being the UK’s puppet. So much for repairing the relationship with the U.K. after the McKeeva Bush years of bullish diplomacy.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Council of Elders??? …that’s the problem with Cayman now, and why this place is backward, and full of bureaucracy.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Yawn…quite a show if you ask me. We are waiting for the master deceptor tricks to begin taking place. In the 33rd degree.

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