Constitutional talks priority for CIG’s London trip

| 30/11/2018 | 9 Comments
Cayman News Service

FCO building in London

(CNS): Premier Alden McLaughlin will be leading a sizable delegation of local officials to London next week to attend a series of meetings and events dealing with issues ranging from the environment to the priority of reforming the Constitution. McLaughlin will be leaving Cayman on Friday evening with Financial Services Minister Tara Rivers and Attorney General Sam Bulgin for the Political Council of the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA), ahead of the annual Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council, which will be followed by the constitution talks.

Following the JMC meetings, Commerce Minister Joey Hew will join the delegation, along with Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller and his deputy, Alva Suckoo, for constitutional discussions with the United Kingdom Government. The Cayman government’s constitutional adviser in London, Sir Jeffrey Jowell, QC will also be present.

“The constitutional safeguards we are striving for are to have aspects of our constitution clarified to ensure that the Cayman Islands government has autonomous capacity in respect of domestic affairs and that the UK Parliament will not legislate, directly or indirectly, without consultation or, in matters of domestic autonomy, without the consent of these Islands,” said McLaughlin in a press release about the London trip.

“Our goal is to put the Cayman Islands in the best possible position constitutionally to govern our own affairs, to resist constitutional overreach by the UK government and parliament, and to continue to thrive and prosper as a modern, progressive and successful democracy,” the premier added.

There will be a series of meetings before the delegation gets down to what may be challenging talks with the British government officials. On Monday, 3 December, the premier will host the UKOTA Environmental Workshop. The environment and climate change workshop will include leaders in environments across the BOTs, NGOs and associations from the UK.

Nadia Hardie, the executive director of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands. UKOTA will be represented for the first time at the COP24 Global Environment meeting, a significant milestone in the global climate change conversation.

Political Council meetings will incorporate an in-depth review of the activity of UKOTA through the year, which includes working with the UK Government on items such as diaspora consular issues, citizenship and passport issues, environment and climate change, European Union engagement and BOT student engagement.

The annual JMC meeting will involve two days of intensive meetings with the UK government reviewing and discussing the overseas territories’ relationship with Britain, including environmental issues, Brexit, trade and economy, health and education, and disaster management.

Officials here said that a number of UK ministers will attend the JMC meetings, including Minister of State for the Overseas Territories Lord Ahmad; Minister of State for International Development Lord Bates; David Lidington, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster; and Mel Stride, Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

The Cayman delegation will also meet with the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Cayman Islands, including the chair Sir Graham Brady, Lord Naseby and Andrew Rosindell MP.

During his visit to London the premier will attend the Queen’s annual diplomatic reception, where members of the royal family will join over 1,500 people from around 130 countries, including members of the British government, prime ministers and public figures.

The premier will also host a dinner with Friends and Associates, as well as a reception for Cayman students in the UK to ensure the delegation connects with Caymanians abroad while he is in the UK.

Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose; the senior political adviser to the premier, Roy Tatum; the Cabinet Office’s policy coordinator, Jason Webster; and the premier’s PA, Jana Pouchie-Bush are also part of the delegation.

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Comments (9)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The UK government should not waste time with such matters until after the CIG has the beneficial register up and running.

  2. say it like it is says:

    It looks like Govt are hoping to rival OFreg with their overseas trips. Bad timing on this one with the fate of the British Govt and it’s economy on the line over the next 9 days, nobody will pay attention to our bloated delegation.

    • David S. says:

      Hopefully the premier does not speak for the people autocratically because constitutional changes is supposed to be pursued by the people, not a president mnor premier. Who knows what commitments he will make that will put a noose around the necks of the people of these islands. This is troubling, demand an explanation and some transparency, hes not being forthcoming. Something’s up God help us if he asks for independence while hes in office!

    • Anonymous says:

      The timing for a visit is absolutely stupid. Do people in CIG know what is currently going on in the U.K. The UK is on the verge of breaking up and CIG wants more power from London. Be careful what you wish for because after BREXIT it might just be good bye Cayman Islands.

  3. Ron Ebanks says:

    CNS , do you have any explanation for why CNS readers hasn’t shown any interest in the above article ?

  4. One thing that falls into the realm of ensuring the constitution is right, fair & equal is, how the British government regulates who gets BOT nationality/citizenship in BOT’s. Especially how under the British Nationality Act 1981, BOT (Cayman) fathers with children born abroad, out-of-wedlock, between 1948 to 2006, are still barred from passing down their BOT/British citizenship to their children born outside of marriage. While BOT mothers can do this irrespective if they marry or not, finally, the same category of fathers & children who happen to be born in mainland UK were given this retrospective right to register such children in 2014, when Sec 65 Immigration Act 2014 amended the BNA 1981, which controls nationality matters for the UK & its Territories.

    BOT’s were deliberately left out of the legislation because the UK Government said:
    “There was no time to consult the governments’ of the territories before the implementation of the bill. “It promised to look for suitable opportunities to consult the territories after the bill was made law”

    Well, is this not a clearer enough example of legislating on citizenship without the involvement of BOT government’s and its people’s on such a sensitive matter that would help remove years of discrimination against BOT menfolk and their offspring? We have an odd situation today where under the same nationality law, which goes to the heart of our constitutions, one group has, and the BOT’s families are shut out and remain divided. It is time for BOT governments to take the UK Government to task and push for them to correct such a fundamental inequality.

    Why are BOT government’s allowing themselves to pushed around on such a straightforward issue? Where is the political will and indeed the peoples voices? It is time to say, “Fix this, and fix it now,” and make sure you involve us, so our people and their offspring are never placed at a disadvantage again!. Stop dividing families and rectify the law by putting our citizens & their descendants on an equal footing when it comes to nationality.

    Earlier this year, the Joint Committee on Human Rights of the British Parliament sent a report to the Home Secretary telling him this anomaly is a breach of the European Humans Rights law that also include BOT’s and demanded it is remedied by amending existing legislation or bring forth a new bill. Its unclear at this time, what they are doing about it other than pontificating!

    We are a grassroots campaign group made up of real citizen people that have been hurt by past discriminatory laws. We are not politically affiliated. We want fairness and a voice for those fathers & children, and families affected & divided. Please provide your support by calling your Premier’s office and elected members of government to demand every one of our citizens are respected and treated fairly under nationality law. This is their mandate to take this up with the UK Government next week.

    Trent Lamont Miller, Actor
    BOTC/British Citizenship for Children Born Out of Wedlock Campaign

  5. Ron Ebanks says:

    I think that the topics that are mentioned in the article that does pertains to be Constitutional issues, and that it’s more of a boasting trip . But I don’t see the sizable delegation of Caymanian delegates , like should be there to make sure that he is not saying one thing and doing something different. The delegation I see mentioned is mostly all the party members except a few .

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