Miller seeks speedy constitutional change

| 05/06/2018 | 46 Comments
Cayman News Service

Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller

(CNS): The opposition leader is hoping to see a speedy advancement of plans to change section 125, the last and shortest clause in the Constitution that allows the UK government to impose domestic law on the Cayman Islands. Given the Conservative Party’s precarious hold on power, given its slim majority, and another potential threat from the UK with possible changes to the British Nationality Act, Ezzard Miller said he hopes that he and the premier can move quickly into talks with the UK to make the change.

“I share the concerns of the premier that we need to put belts and braces around clause 125,” he said. “Removing it would be the first option and I believe we can put up a strong argument to get it removed. My fear has always been that this section of the Constitution would be abused.”

Prime Minister Theresa May’s government was unable to avoid accepting an amendment to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill, which imposed beneficial ownership registries on the British Overseas Territories, due to a revolt of almost two dozen of her own MPs. In light of this, the opposition leader said there is a sense of urgency.

The Conservative government is unstable and it is clear an election could be called at any time, Miller warned, so unless things move quickly, Cayman could miss the opportunity that has presented itself after the UK government agreed to constitutional discussions.

Miller told CNS that there was a real chance Britain would listen right now as Cayman currently has some leverage following the vote in parliament which led to the territories being forced to introduce public registers before it becomes a global standard — something the Foreign and Commonwealth Office had said it would not do.

The opposition leader is also keen to ensure that he and the premier present a united front on the issue. He said there are several areas where MLAs should not be playing politics, and this was one of them.

Although he does not necessarily believe the committee formed to hash out the proposal that Cayman should present to the UK for the change should be a “Council of Elders”, as suggested by the premier, he agrees that a sub-committee of the Legislative Assembly should begin discussing the issue as soon as possible.

After that, he said, the council could present the proposals to the whole House for approval before the delegation heads to London. Miller said he was not opposed to a referendum on the constitutional amendment but he did not believe it was a requirement if the Legislative Assembly backs the proposal.

The sense of urgency relates to the timing but he is also worried about other threats that could be coming Cayman’s way with potential changes to the British Nationality Act, which will remove the need for references for people who have a legitimate right to be Caymanian. Miller said he was worried that the proposed changes to this act could even lead to the Cayman government having to grant status to children born here to legally resident parents, even when neither has any connection to the islands.

UK plans to remove nationality discrimination

Miller said that the constitutional discussions should lead to Cayman establishing some form of framework that can, over the next two decades or more, chart a course for inevitable independence. The opposition leader is not advocating for independence in the short term but he warned that the country must at some point prepare a timeline for the eventuality.

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Comments (46)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    We need a bicameral system as well, where we can have an upper house to ratify the decisions of the lower house as we have it at present. Eligibility for the upper house or Senate as it is often termed should be as it is at present.

  2. Anonymous says:

    they already sold us out…now they want us to leave??? well, i love my island….and yes i am a native….what next…martial law…?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hmm…whats in it for him??

  4. Anonymous says:

    It doesn’t matter if we change section 125. The West Indies Act 1962 would allow the UK to do the same thing. Not to mention, they could just repeal our Constitution and leave us a lawless bunch of rocks. Oh wait… And has everyone forgotten how they straight up just went in and took the TCI over? Fair enough, that was a case of systemic corruption at the highest levels of government but…oh wait. You see where I’m going with this?

    The UK’s power to legislate for us is technically unlimited. The only reason they don’t do it whenever it suits them is because there is a convention that they only do it in extreme circumstances with a strong moral imperative (abolishing capital punishment, legalising homosexual sex, and now exposing dirty money, conflicts of interest, and other things hidden by our corporate structures and NOT effectively dealt with by a law enforcement-accessible-only register. They want the media’s help rooting it all out. Read the record of proceedings in the House of Commons on the day).

    Most of their constitution is unwritten (or uncodified – not all in one place, to be more specific) and relies on adherence to conventions, so they know that to break this convention too often is to undermine their own system of government and make hypocrites out of themselves. Also, they need us to continue building our capacity to self-govern so that one day we can go independent.

    In the opinions of the Labour MPs who put all this together and the Tories who joined them, the BOTs facilitate terrorism, money laundering, drug smuggling, tax evasion, etc. and for them to not do something about it is a stain on their moral purity and their country depriving them of an opportunity to lead the world. They don’t care that we have our own legislatures, at all. They say we are British and must share British values and only when we are out of line with them for long enough do they impose on us this way.

    There is nothing we can do except limit the damage, I am very sorry to say, to my fellow Caymanians (and no, I do not mean the kind who are only Caymanian when it suits them).

  5. Anonymous says:

    can you immagine the judiciary and police force under some politician??? lord help us????

  6. Anonymous says:

    Bodden Town should be to the west by Prospect and to the East to Breakers. The capital of the island should be in the center of the island. It is more practical and George Town should have been farmland it has the most rainfall and excellent soil.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bodden Town was the capital. George Town had a natural harbour, so as we started receiving our first supplies by ship, it naturally became the centre of activity. It is also better protected from weather systems. Finally, the best soil is actually out east. If the best soil was in George Town, don’t you think it would be farmland already? The best grass is out east too, for that matter…which is why there are lots of cows…

      Not sure where you got these facts/thoughts…

  7. Anonymous says:

    One of the most powerful and consistently proven arguments against independence is the quality of the elected officials in Cayman. Right on cue, here comes Ezzard…

  8. Shhhhhhhhhh. says:

    How does a discussion on a potential and serious constitutional change suddenly become a debate about electoral boundaries? Absolutely incredible! Ha ha – where else?

  9. Anonymous says:

    The wording in this article is interesting. If the UK can impose ‘domestic’ law on Cayman, then they must intend to comply themselves with the same law they’ve passed otherwise how would this constitutional provision allow such to be enforced in Cayman?

    • Anonymous says:

      Well they already have a public register, albeit unverified. Perhaps the answer is for Cayman to create a public register that is unverified, as in the UK.

      • Anonymous says:

        No they pulled a bait and switch on us. They had us create a verified register on the premise it would be just for law enforcement, and have now ordered us to make it public. They are actually asking more of us than themselves.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Independence is neither “inevitable” nor an “eventuality” Mr. Miller.

    • Observer says:

      1:04 pm: What I read was: “The opposition leader is not advocating for independence in the short term but he warned that the country must at some point prepare a timeline for the eventuality.”

      I am ok with looking to grow up and ultimately — one day— taking charge — and anyone who does not aspire to that is just in denial.

      And by the way, the dictionary definition of “eventually” is “possible event or outcome.”

      Nothing wrong with that either.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Everyone knows Ezzard is for Independence and then the country would tank like Jamaica were that to happen. Ezzard talks like he is the national leader instead of the smallest district elector in office with several hundred votes.

    • Anonymous says:

      We are tanking anyway…by the actions of U.K. and Aldart. At least Ezzard is true opposition…everyone else is just there for the salary and behind the scenes deals.

    • Jotnar says:

      How unfortunate then that the designated national leader talks as though he is accountable to a tiny electorate and not like a statesman. Claiming press enquiry into UK jurisdiction over issues as critical as citizenship is designed to undermine a hitherto uncelebrated anniversary of the design of national symbol is just plain sad….. symptomatic of being unable or unwilling to deal with the national issues that a politician with a tiny majority and a disunited opposition of a handful of members is apparently able to grasp and speak coherently about (whether you agree with him or not).

  12. Anonymous says:

    the day cayman decides to go independent, i leaving!!! and yes, i am a native….history has shown that having England over other caribbean Islands was good!?☺?you know what i am talking about….there are many expats from other caribbean islands that have keft theirs for ours…after they became independent…..

    • Anonymous says:

      We should die like lions rather than live like dogs!!

      Let’s roar (not woof).

      • Anonymous says:


      • Anonymous says:

        Whaaaa ya sayin na? Yawn…

      • Anonymous says:

        No think like adults, get rid of the dinosaur politicians who have done nothing but keep their place at the trough. All it takes to be a politician is a big mouth and say the words, “I support Caymanians – Expats are bad”. Then they get in office at the trough and do nothing.
        West Bay voters over the years are perfect examples of my point.
        Shame on them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Really 10:59?

      I can’t believe that someone could be championing the British who scavenged what they could of “conquered” people’s natural resources and lugged them back home, who grabbed the best jobs and treated the natives like indentured servants, who established schools accessible only to themselves and the favored upper classes.

      There is a reason that they have been consistently been driven out wherever they went.

      Had they been allowed to stay the bitterness by now would have been beyond all redemption.

      • Anonymous says:

        Funny… let’s base decisions about Cayman today on the history of Britain… hundreds of years ago

        • MI6 in Paradise says:

          The U.K. are screwing Cayman now look at the Public beneficial ownership registry fiasco that Parliament passed legislation which only applies the Cayman, BVI, Bermuda but not the Crown Dependencies of Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.

          That is a modern day and best example of how Britain makes decisions that are disadvantageous to Cayman and duplicitous at its core.

        • Anonymous says:

          Actually,4:06 PM, no one was suggesting that — the comment on the historic treatment of the British was in response to a post that said that “history has shown that having England over other caribbean Islands was good!?” — although I just noticed that the poser had a question sign — not sure what that meant in the context of the post.

          History has shown the direct opposite — including present circumstances where they dictate to us for their own political gain and exempt their own.

          Anyway, there is some merit to the old adage “Can a leopard change his spots?”

          And, by the way, that legacy of exploitation and neglects has left a lasting legacy and I see no reason that we should again tempt fate. Rather, we need to begin to prepare for a future in which we are responsible for our own affairs. I do agree with Mr. Miller— it is inevitable—and we should begin to take steps towards preparing ourself for that “eventuality.”

    • Anonymous says:

      Just goes to show, people like you are unpatriotic….regardless. So please leave if that happens. One less coward to have around.

      • Anonymous says:

        I, like most indigenous Caymanians, am a British subject. Do not lecture me on patriotism or cowardice.

  13. West Bay Premier says:

    I am worried that we don’t have smart enough elders to intelligently approach and fix this issue in a hasty to do it properly . Then have more bigger problems down the road .

  14. Anonymous says:

    If he was so concerned why did he not say something sooner?

  15. Captain says:

    A SPEEDY Constitutional change?! While you’re at it, you can –

    #1 – Limit the Premier’s tenure to serve no more than 2 to 3 terms;

    #2 – Give the people (district electorate) the power to recall a district MLA – that is, vote them out if they don’t perform as expected;

    #3 – Give the people during General Election, 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.

    – – –

    And, I think the Judicial Branch need more checking powers ?

    • Anonymous says:

      Captain, where do you live, the Premier now cannot serve more than 2 terms as Premier’

      • Diogenes says:

        Actually, the Premier can serve as many terms as he wants he is just limited to two terms in a row but after one term not being Premier he can return to that postion for another 2 terms and so on, Alden can settle into a ministerial position in 2021 and then resume his Premiership in 2025 for 8 more years if he so chooses

        Take a look at section 49 of the Constitution

        Does anyone actually think that the politicians here would actually ever separate themselves fully from the opportunity to be in charge.


        • West Bay Premier says:

          Diogenes , then that should be the part of the Constitution that the UK should be fixing, because the politicians in the OT wouldn’t fix it . I think that the voters should understand that too .

    • Anonymous says:

      Government only cares about this one thing. They won’t go out of their way to limit their own power. Just the power the UK has over them. These people don’t care about Caymanians, they only care about themselves and people close to them. They all a bunch of fat piggies waiting their turn at the troft.

  16. Anonymous says:

    yawn! ? highway into the danger zone….

  17. Anonymous says:

    Never going to happen. That clause is the very definition of the nature of an overseas territory.

  18. Anonymous says:

    The one that needs to be made.with most urgency is the amalgamation of the North Side, East End and Bodden Town East electoral districts. What say you Ezzie?

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh please stop with the smoke screen. Ezzard is right. And as usual, those who don’t like what he says, either suffers from a lack of knowledge or is just fearful of losing their back door, special deals.

      Wake up Caymanians! Stop being fed sh%t by those who want to keep you on the bottom and out of control !

    • Anonymous says:

      BTE is already the largest electoral district in Cayman. Why do you want to make it even larger in both population and size?

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