UK interests ‘paramount’ in Cayman Constitution

| 12/12/2018 | 20 Comments
Cayman News Service

(L-R) Premier Alden McLaughlin, OT Minister Lord Ahmad and Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller

(CNS): The premier’s office has said that the constitutional talks between the Cayman Islands delegation and the UK, which concluded Monday, were “constructive and positive” and that the British government had committed to formally responding to the Cayman proposals in the coming weeks, having already agreed to some as yet undisclosed changes to the current Constitution. But in a release from Premier Alden McLaughlin’s office, officials admitted that the UK negotiators made it clear that the “UK’s interests and its ability to ultimately legislate for its territories must remain paramount”.

McLaughlin had asked for the talks seeking constitutional safeguards following “a breach of convention and possible constitutional overreach in May this year when the House of Commons legislated for the British Overseas Territories in the area of domestic policy”.

Following this year’s Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council meeting in London, the premier led the Cayman delegation in the constitutional discussions, which included two of his ministers, the attorney general, two members of the opposition and British advisers.

The goal was to re-emphasise the fact that domestic policy has been devolved to the territories under the terms of their respective Constitution Orders. This came as a result of the controversial issue of beneficial ownership registers after the British Parliament voted to legislate for the territories with an amendment to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill in May. This change has paved the way, contrary to longstanding convention, for domestic law to be changed by London against the will of the people of Cayman.

Cayman News Service

Constitutional talks in London, December 2018 (click to enlarge)

The Cayman Islands Government maintains that the concern was not just about ownership registers, but about what other areas of devolved authority the UK Parliament may feel it should interfere in without at least consulting the Cayman government. As a result, McLaughlin was seeking to confirm local autonomy for domestic affairs and a way to prevent the UK from legislating “directly or indirectly for the Cayman Islands without, at a minimum, consultation with the Cayman Islands Government”.

With the Government of National Unity and the opposition in agreement on the issue, the delegation provided the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with proposed constitutional changes in draft form.

According to the premier’s office, the Cayman team took the opportunity to address a small number of administrative changes to the current Constitution Order to improve the operations of the local government and legislature. None of these issues have yet been spelled out by government, though it has promised a debate in the Legislative Assembly when the UK responds.

The premier’s office said that the “majority of the proposed changes were agreed in principle whilst the remainder are still under consideration by the UK”.

The office also said that the British officials listened to the Cayman delegation and genuinely
sought to be helpful whilst asserting that the UK’s interests and its ability to ultimately legislate for its territories must remain paramount.

“The UK committed to formally responding to the Cayman Islands in the coming weeks. Their formal response will include a Draft Order in Council that will confirm the matters already agreed in principle and provide the UK’s proposals on how to address the matters that were left to be considered,” the release said.

Government officials explained that once they receive the response and it is acceptable to the Cayman Islands delegation, the proposed amendments will be published and debated in the Legislative Assembly. If approved, they will come into effect in time for the 60th anniversary constitutional celebrations next year.

There was no mention from government officials about the issue of a referendum, despite the fact that the UK has previously directed that a people’s vote would be required for any substantive changes to the document, though the definition of what is considered substantial remains open to debate.

Following the official release about the talks, the opposition also released a short statement in which the deputy leader, Alva Suckoo, who was part of the delegation, said that while there was some resistance to some of the proposals put forward, “we managed to achieve a number of significant changes which will preserve and define the Cayman Islands autonomy in domestic affairs”.

He described the talks as “intense”, but said the team achieved agreement on some of the more contentious proposals.

“I believe that we were able to successfully negotiate these changes, primarily as a result of our efforts to maintain a close working relationship with the UK while at the same time presenting a united front,” Suckoo stated. “All in all, the Cayman Islands should be encouraged and proud of what we managed to achieve, despite the current political climate in Westminster.”

Participating on behalf of the Cayman Islands were Premier Alden McLaughlin; Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure Minister Joseph Hew; Financial Services and Home Affairs Minister Tara Rivers; Attorney General Samuel Bulgin; Leader of the Opposition Ezzard Miller; and Deputy Leader of the Opposition Alva Suckoo.

Sir Jeffrey Jowell, QC was government’s London constitutional adviser, with administrative support coming from Cayman’s London-based representative, Eric Bush, as well as Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose; Roy Tatum, the premier’s head of office, Jason Webster a Cabinet policy analyst; and Jana Pouchie-Bush, the premier’s PA.

The UK team included Ian Hendry, the constitutional advisor to the FCO; Ben Merrick, the overseas territories director, Will Gelling and Greg Reisman from the FCO, as well as Governor Martyn Roper and Lord Ahmad, the OT Minister who attended for parts of the talks.

Tags: , , ,

Category: Politics

Comments (20)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. nickcayman says:


    Colonialism is largely regardeded as a relationship of domination of an indigenous majority by a minority of foreign invaders where the latter rule in pursuit of its interests.

    • Anonymous says:

      1 – there was no indigenous majority, on Cayman

      2 – For most of our existence (and even now I would say) the UK has had little to no interest in us

      3 – There was no foreign invasion, we were part of the UK via the Treaty of Madrid before any recorded inhabitants ever lived on Cayman

      If you are going to push this bullshit colonialism narrative, do your research and actually know what you are talking about for these Islands because the Colonialism talking points work in most other places but they don’t work here as we never had the same interactions as other areas of the British Empire at the time
      Does that mean our history was perfect and without conflict or abuse? No but it wasn’t the sane as other regions

    • Anonymous says:

      Except we were founded as British by British people. Sure had a bunch of foreign invaders since though – mostly attracted by the fact that we are and wish to remain British.

  2. Anonymous says:

    “Legislate for it’s territories.” You mean point fingers, make up laws and shout orders. Brexit really did a job on the UK. It is slowly but surely losing it’s own grip in the east as the country slowly bleeds from the inside out. Regression sucks doesn’t it…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Of course the nation’s interests have to be paramount to the territory’s. If Alden wants anything else he must be wanting independence.

    • Anonymous says:

      Independence on Alden’s terms would turn this country into a criminal wilderness with a smattering of gated communities, for those who do not live in Camana Bay.
      The key will turn in February.

  4. Anonymous says:

    build a reservation for us…i be first customer…cant live here anymore…too expensive!!????

  5. Anonymous says:

    Please reread the 11th paragraph in the article. Especially the words “published and debated”.

  6. Caveat Emptor says:

    The Premier needs to tell us exactly what his requests were to the FCO since he represents us. Why is it everything he does is negotiated in darkness with the expectations that people will agree after the fact? That is not good leadership, transparency or good governance.

  7. Anonymous says:

    And when will the people be informed as to what changes have been agreed?

    Or will we be told these are “commercially sensitive” as well?
    Will you claim to have a mandate from the 2017 election to amend the constitution unilaterally?

    We know accountability and transparency aren’t your strong points Alden and company
    We already know you are not going to allow the people to have any say over your consolidation of power, because as you have shown time and time again you have little if any concern for the views of the people once your closed door meetings are concluded

    The people deserve a say in this matter as allowing you and your cronies to unilaterally amend the primary document of our nation seems ill advised

    Who knows what discreet changes will be slipped in
    Removing the Premier’s term limits?
    Removing the ability for a Peoples initiated referendum?
    Removing the clauses relating to environmental protection?
    Removing the clauses relating to District Advisory Councils or the Standards in Public life Comission

    Etc Etc

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe they are waiting on the U.K. to announce what they have agreed to ? Just sayin, have a little faith o ye of little faith

    • Anonymous says:

      As an addendum to the original comment for those of you who will undoubtedly comment something along the lines of:
      “why cant you just support our government”
      “Crabs in a bucket”
      “You just dont want to see Caymanians doing well”
      “Naysayer, Negative. hater etc etc etc”

      Pay attention to this portion of the release from government:

      “In addition to addressing the principal concern, the opportunity was also taken to seek a small number of administrative changes to the current constitution Order to improve the operations of the local government and legislature”

      I ask again
      When will the citizens and voters of the Cayman Islands be made aware of these changes and when will OUR input be sought?
      These are desperate attempts to consolidate power from a coalition government that should not have been allowed to form in the first place

    • Anonymous says:

      You have absolutely nailed Alden and his government. Many of us see the steady, relentless creep towards totalitarian rule whereby the people have no say in their own future.
      Just yesterday Alden congratulated Theresa May, an unelected 5th column remainer who has frustrated democratic will of the people at every turn.
      The writing is on the wall for all of our once great nations. The political class has now become the ruling class.
      It would not be a bad thing if the (s)elected hierarchy actually did good things for the people to improve their standard of living.
      The days of honourable politics are long gone. Now, it is all about the money and the power.
      We have a long way to go until the next election. It is seriously possible that by that time, Alden and those in cahoots with him would have tightened their grip on power so much so that it would be impossible to remove them.
      He would love to hand the Cayman Islands to his masonic, globalist masters on a platter. “Well done, brother!”

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh wow that last line tho… did you have some magic mushrooms for breakfast ?

        • Anonymous says:

          You can always spot a mind-zombie, Kool-Aid partaker.
          They project their own foolishness on to you and are usually insulting without substance.
          The classic, “what have you been smoking?” line is rather tired, although the mushroom twist was rather innovative. Congratulations, pal.

      • Anonymous says:

        How has Theresa May frustrated the democratic will of the people? Im asking seriously because from what I see she is taking a big pile of licks because she refuses to do anything but ensure that the democratic will of the people prevails. They voted for Brexit, and she has pushed forward to ensure Brexit happens. So what am I missing?

    • Anonymous says:

      Omg man relax, I hope they added a clause to legalize weed so you can relax


You can comment anonymously. See CNS Comment Policy at the top of this page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Mobile Spa