Concerns raised over rushed legislation

| 01/11/2018 | 38 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly (file photo)

(CNS): Government plans to present more than 20 pieces of legislation when the Legislative Assembly meets on 14 November, but it appears it will only be sitting for a matter of days, despite the number of bills and other business being carried over from the previous sitting. Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller says he is very concerned that government is rushing legislation through without proper scrutiny. He said that government’s failure to provide adequate time for all stakeholders to properly consider the content of the bills is leading to badly drafted laws that have to be returned to parliament for amendment, sometimes just months after being passed.

Last week government published the long list of bills on the Gazette’s web pages and as supplements to the printed gazettes in order to comply with the constitutional requirement for a 21-day consultation period. That three-week window is to give everyone the chance to examine the proposed laws and make their comments known to their MLAs ahead of the Legislative Assembly meeting and debates.

But Miller pointed out that when there is so much legislation being published all at once, including some hefty bills and important amendments, it’s hard enough for the opposition to give the documents the scrutiny they need, let alone the general public.

“We see from the frequency that laws have to be amended shortly after they are passed that they are not being well done, be it because they are being badly drafted due to poor instructions from the ministries or the workload, ” Miller told CNS. “But when there is not enough scrutiny after being made public, then the problems that the bills present are not always picked up.”

He said the whole purpose of the consultation period is to iron out any unintended consequences and ensure their practical application.

Miller cited the anti-stalking law as an example. He said that if the poor use of language and grammar in the bill is not addressed, innocent people could be arrested because they happened to be outside someone’s home waiting for a ride. He said he was in support of an anti-stalking law but it’s already a difficult thing to legislate against, and this draft bill is written in such a way that a catalog of innocent behaviour could easily be misconstrued.

Miller also noted that, once again, the Legislative Assembly meeting is going to be very short. As far as he was aware, he said, it would be no more than three days because several members of government are due in London for the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council meeting later on in November.

With just two days for dealing with government business, since one day should be set aside for private members’ motions, this would cut down the time for debate and for any agreed amendments to be made to the legislation before becoming law, he noted.

In addition to the long list of legislation, government will be dealing with outstanding parliamentary questions, new private members’ bills, those carried over from the last sitting and its own business, including statements, reports and motions.

Since taking office in May 2017, the current administration has spent less than three weeks sitting in the House.

See the list of legislation here that government is expected to deal with in its next three-day session.

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Category: Laws, Politics

Comments (38)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    See! Ezzard is on the ball again! Way to go Ezzard and Opposition bench!

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  2. Anonymous says:

    “Since taking office in May 2017, the current administration has spent less than three weeks sitting in the House”….. now if this doesn’t show the so called great leadership of Alden and his unity government then I don’t know what more can be said!! ALDEN IS A FAILURE AS A MINISTER, PREMIER, AND LEADER! HE SHOULD NOT BE PREMIER AND SHOULD BE ASHAMED IN THE WAY THAT HE LIMITS LA SESSIONS AND DOESN’T HAVE THE REAL INTEREST OF THE CAYMANIAN PEOPLE! NOW CNS…. COMPARE THIS TO THE NUMBER OF DAYS GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS HAVE TRAVELED ALL OVER THE WORLD AND THE AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT HAS BEEN SPENT! THATS WHAT THEY GOOD FOR! #2021sooncome #premiersucks

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  3. Anonymous says:

    In “The Traffic (Amendment) Bill, 2018”, “Section 22H sets out a number of offences concerning interfering with electronic tags, cameras or reading devices and using a vehicle that does not have an electronic tag affixed to it. The section provides for a $10,000 penalty for persons convicted on summary conviction of such offences.”

    To which I say…three years I’ve been waiting for my ESID plate from DVDL…how are citizens supposed to comply with this section, if they haven’t made the plates or – at minimum – provided the front window stickers?

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  4. Tj says:

    lol … you gotta love Bush ???? At least he speaks his mind. West Bayers still love em.

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    • Ron Ebanks says:

      TJ , did you see and read the article where Bush insulted the Governor , while representing. YOU and the whole Island in welcoming the Governor . And you still love him and adore him. Have you thought about telling Mac that was wrong for insulting the Governor , and ask Mac to apologize to the Governor . I would before our relationship could continue .

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    • Ron Ebanks says:

      TJ and all West bayers, it’s time to wise up and wake-up , it’s year 2018 an it’s almost gone . Stop washing Mac’s feet .

  5. Anonymous says:

    “Appropriation Changes Arising from Exceptional Circumstances”, is a fascinating document that shuffles multi-million dollar Budgeted expenses from one shell to another…it goes on for 23 pages.

    http://www.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/12718632.PDF

    “Cabinet Office” private clubhouse, in the amount, “KYD$199,000”.
    “Cayman Airways Ltd” gets “KYD$8,500,000”, “Turtle Farm” gets additional “KYD$1,412,000” – KYD$5,000,000 of that coming from CIAA budget.
    KYD$4,500,000 in court case settlements…
    Cuts to education programs and services, and after-school programs diverted to land purchases…

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Q. Who is this, “Dr. Hon. W. McKeeva Bush”, signing off on all of these things in September…wasn’t the use of that honorific title a clerical error that was to be cleared up months ago?

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Reading through these Amendments (as every voter should)…many of them were passed by Cabinet in October and take force today (Nov 1st)…Miller is correct in that the LA will be convened merely as a formality to rubber stamp Amendments they’ve already agreed to in private. It’s not supposed to work that way.

    For example, the very first Amendment on the agenda: The Traffic (Amendment) Law 2018 inserts §77A, but then doesn’t include what that section language is!

    It’s a complete farce.

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    • Anonymous says:

      All symptoms brought on by our immature democracy
      In every other parliamentary system the government has it’s way but the opposition is meant to have it’s say

      They somehow manage to screw that up here
      They rush through dozens of bills and amendments at once but then can’t put into place the things they are constitutionally required to do like district advisory councils and the Standards in public life commission

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      • Anonymous says:

        Actually, it’s worse: the Cabinet have already decided these amendments in private, some of them already in effect, and are merely tabling this business to ratify in the LA. It’s a complete rejection of debate and discussion. The governor should recognize what is going on and either sanction the Unity coalition, or dissolve the Assembly and call general elections.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    i see that Mr Miller is quoted extensively in this article, but i cannot find anywhere some kind of comment from the Government side. there are two sides to the story. this is not balanced reporting.

    CNS: There are plenty of articles on CNS from the government’s point of view based on press releases. This article is based on an interview with Ezzard Miller. If the government wishes to refute the facts or put forward alternative opinions, we’ll happily do another article. However, note that more than likely this will be done via press release; follow-up questions are likely to go unanswered. If you want to read more about the elected government’s opinions in the local news, ask them to engage with the local media, answer questions, perhaps hold regular press briefings.

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    • OLD Caymanian Captain says:

      It really make me wonder if these Lawmakers/politicians know what they are doing . They are drafting Laws all year long and piling them up , and is going to throw them all on the table at around the end of the year , and say let’s pass Laws .
      Good right the Laws turns out to be like who made them .

      Maybe the new Governor could have a word about it with them . Or is that why Mac and Alden warned him Governor about staying out of the LA business .

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      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t want to detract from Ezzard’s point about resumption of healthy LA debate, but I’ve just read through all of the Amendments and business to be tabled in detail, and it took about 2 hours. Some parts are alarming (procurements), but most is fairly benign – many are just 2 quarter pages long. Surely the entire Opposition, who are being paid by us to do lots of things that this regime prevents them from doing, can find 2 hours out of those 21 work-free days to grab their highlighter and actually do some homework for us (assuming they can all read). Btw, I found lots of mistakes that ought to have been found and corrected by now – had anyone taken the time to read this stuff. Not very encouraging!

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        • Anonymous says:

          Sadly, that was my experience as well. Mr. Miller makes it sound like tomes have to be poured over. I read more than that daily for entertainment.

          Of course, many of us are willing to jump on the dogpile of recrimination without having done as you and I have — actually reading the Amendments.

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      • Anonymous says:

        If you are only wondering now if they know what they are doing, then you have not been paying attention. No, in this very young immature democracy they do not know what they are doing and you the people do not hold them accountable. The blind leading the blind into the abyss with everyone along the way lining their own pockets and to hell with due process. Very sad for the people of the Cayman Islands. It seems that everyone is out for themselves meanwhile our country has been hijacked by our very own home grown crooks. We cant complain that its driftwood, or foreigners.

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    • Anonymous says:

      ppm don’t make statements to the press. when elected they stopped gov press briefings because they didn’t want the press taking pot-shots at them.
      true story.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Here is a link to all the bills passed in 2016/17:

    http://www.legislativeassembly.ky/portal/page/portal/lglhome/business/business/bills/Bills%202016-2017

    Over 90 new laws were on the agenda in 2017:

    https://caymannewsservice.com/2017/11/over-90-new-laws-or-amendments-on-agenda/

    All these guys do is pass laws. They come to work, ask each other what they should do, oh! “let’s pass some new laws” since we don’t know what else we should be doing.

    CNS: When you elect a member of the Legislative Assembly, you are electing someone to pass laws. It’s their job description.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Isn’t part of their job description to run the country as well?

      CNS:
      Government (made up of certain elected members) makes the policy (and lots of other important stuff) but it’s the civil service that really runs the country. In order to direct policy – to keep the country chugging along in the way they think it should go – they need to present bills to the entire LA (the people who you elect) to pass or amend or vote down.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Practically every one of the Unity team is a minister. What are they for? Having a giant bureaucracy running things is obviously not working well.

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    • Anonymous says:

      News flash: LA makes laws.

      Are civics taught in school here? Wait, don’t answer. I already can take a guess.

      All I can say is your leaders are learning a lot from the shady republicans up north.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Its amazing how many think we elect MLAs so be our personal concierge and bill payer! I have heard so many people say they are not voting for so and so because he/she refused to give them money for something. NEWSFLASH politicians are not supposed to pay your bills for you or give you cash, or find you a job when you get yourself fired, thats your responsibility.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Well said Ezzard. Once everyone gets a chance to understand what is going on with immigration alone there seems to be little prospect of adequate debate.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Grasping at straws CIG? Geez you make it obvious.
    Thumbs up to Ezzard!

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  12. Anonymous says:

    “Since taking office in May 2017, the current administration has spent less than three weeks sitting in the House.”

    Once again the shame and disgrace of the part time politico’s is displayed for all to see. Less than 3 weeks. Lets push things through without due scrutiny because my personal obligations are more important than my obligations to my country.

    Mr. Roper, this is the heart of the issues with the CIG, this and greed.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Everything is decided behind closed doors now. Look at just one ministry, education. No experts are consulted, instead decisions are made in ignorance of good practice. The Minister thinks the education system can be fixed by addressing the proper wearing of uniforms and throwing pay rises at teachers. When her CEO at the Ministry tried to inject balance into the debate she had him moved. This my friends is the same in other ministries too. Seriously folks we are going backwards not moving forwards.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Miller what would we do without you? Each Ministry legislates in haste and repents at leisure.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    The Cayman Islands is drowning in regulation!

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