Bermuda politicians plan debate on FAC report

| 05/03/2019 | 40 Comments
Cayman News Service

Bermuda Premier David Burt

(CNS): Politicians in Bermuda plan to debate a motion in their legislature calling on the UK government to reject recommendations in a new report from the Foreign Affairs Committee over fears that it may be gathering traction in the British parliament. So far there has been no indication that Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin plans a similar response to the controversial report and the provocative issue of non-status holders in British Overseas Territories being granted the right to vote and run for office.

Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller has already made the case for such action but McLaughlin has yet to respond to calls for a debate in Cayman’s Legislative Assembly to present the same united front against the report’s findings as that planned by Bermuda.

McLaughlin has rejected the report’s findings on the issue of wider voting rights and allowing non-Caymanians to run for office, making it clear that if the UK were to pursue such an imposition, this would drive the Cayman Islands to independence. But he has also stated that, given that the constitutional issues are already devolved and that the report is not government policy, it does not pose any real threat.

However, speaking at a press conference yesterday, Bermuda Premier David Burt raised concerns about the report and the support he said it had in the British parliament, given that the recommendations appear to “defy the very nature of our relationship with the UK”.

The UK government has two months to decide whether or not it will act on this report, and Burt said he was tabling a motion to ensure that Bermuda’s position was made clear on the beneficial ownership issue, which is also dealt with in the report, as well as voting and candidate rights.

Burt said the report represented a “growing threat” that “some have sought to downplay …as only a committee report that should not be taken as the views or intentions of the UK Government”. He pointed to the cross-party amendment introduced in the UK parliament ahead of the debate on the finance bill that would force the issue of public beneficial ownership registers, which has growing support.

The UK government postponed the debate when it realised that it would not be able to defeat the proposed amendment, as was the case with an amendment to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill, which introduced the idea of imposing registers on the UK territories.

While nothing has yet come up about other recommendations in the report, such as enforcing same-sex marriage and the issues over democratic rights for non-status holders, Burt warned that some members of the House of Commons are not “waiting for the government to take a position on the report” but are already pressing to get some of the recommendations into laws.

In a statement last week Miller said the report might not be UK government policy yet but that does not mean it will never be. He said the Legislative Assembly should debate it and come to an agreed position.

CNS understands that the next meeting of the Legislative Assembly is scheduled for 13 March. No details of the agenda have yet been released, and while the report may be raised in passing during the sitting, there is no indication it will be part of the formal order of business.

See the committee report and relevant documents in the CNS Library

See press conference on Bernews YouTube channel below:

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Category: Business, Financial Services

Comments (40)

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  1. Mr Burt, Mr Ezzard Miller et al,

    Before you dismiss the whole report, at least do children of BOT (Bermuda) descent born out of wedlock, who are denied citizenship by descent, the time of day, and support the one thing that should be taken forward and supported from this report. Don’t dilute us with the other hot button emotive issues. We have suffered enough disrespect over the years, without you shutting the door too.

    Critical points raised in the recent Foreign Affairs Committee report which some in the media/press and locally elected politicians/leaders are either ignoring or not giving enough coverage too, perhaps because the “hot-button” issues in the report are overshadowing and drowning it out? It’s a pity because contained in this report is a significant issue that BOT governments’ should be very concerned about the issue and get behind it. They should utilize their own legal departments in mounting a vigorous campaign to get it resolved. It’s not that they have not been made aware of it; they have several times in writing. They [BOT elected leaders, AG’s & Governors,] have to date, not had the common courtesy to even reply to our letters. Disappointing to put it mildly. Having their support is critical, and they of all people should be in the driving seat leading the charge! Their mute responses are astonishing:

    It mentions the present day & historical unfair & unequal treatment of its people. The denial of British [OT] citizenship right’s to children, now adults of descent, born abroad, outside of marriage. While the same category of children, now adults, with mainland UK fathers, got give a retrospective right to register for their father’s nationality under Sec 65 Immigration Act 2014. The same category of children, now adults of BOT descent, were intentionally left out due there being “No time to consult” the territories before the implementation of these amendments (per Home Office Minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach and Lord Ahmad). The same historical discrimination does not apply to BOT mothers, or anyone born to a father or mother after 1 July 2016

    Page 3 (Summary): “the UK Government needs to ensure that those who should be able to claim British Overseas Territories citizenship can do so.”

    Paragraph 4, Pages 58: “The issue of citizenship by descent stems from an anomaly in the British Nationality Act, which means that fathers with British Overseas Territories Citizenship cannot pass it on to children born outside the OTs between 1948 and 2006 if they were not married to the child’s mother at the time of birth. In May 2018, the Joint Committee on Human Rights described this anomaly as an unacceptable form of discrimination, while Montserrat’s representative, Janice Panton, said it “has caused a lot of anguish among some parents.” Lord Ahmad is not able to indicate when the matter would be resolved. He said that “discussions are ongoing across Government on this.”

    Paragraph 4, Point 60: “The Government should urgently address concerns in the OTs about the issue of citizenship by descent and anomalies in the British Nationality Act that have taken too long to resolve.”

    The people of the OTs have a right to be fully informed and engaged on the issue. We hope this post will raise the conversation and get people to demand their OT Elected leaders & Governors have a hand in fixing this demeaning and hurtful piece of legislation which places our flesh & blood at a disadvantage.

  2. Anonymous says:

    12:26pm, Bermudans are looking for their people, these jackasses here opened the flood gates, giving status to people who are now wards of the state. Check NAU and you will appreciated how wise the Bermudans are by not selling out their country and people, for status holders.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I am an expat and I am apalled at this assertion that non Citizens, i.e. guests in another person’s country should be given the right to vote and to seek elected office. As a Jamaican I would hate if an expat came to Jamaica and decided that because they have been living in Jamaica for a long time, or had Jamaican children or a Jamaican spouse or contributed financially to Jamaica with their investment then that gave them the right to vote or to seek to hold a seat in Gordon House. These people can’t do that kind of thing in the US or Canada. Why do they believe that they can come to the Cayman Islands and do this.

    Its like having a guest in your home telling you what you can and cannot do. It is absolutely ridiculous and the Cayman people should not stand for this.

    • Anonymous says:

      But it is not “another person’s country” is it? It is British territory. Big difference,. Why should Brits be denied political rights in their own land?

      • Anonymous says:

        Because it’s not their land in the way that matters. We are a unique people. We have a history here, from long before industrialisation, of humble, self-sufficiency and self-governance. We have had indirect taxation for almost 110 years too – no expat invented that, by the way. Our ancestors sustained a population here with no comforts or technologies from the outside world for almost two centuries. We were not even made a dependency of Jamaica (for administrative purposes) until 1863; we simply existed as inhabited land over which England had sovereignty under the Treaty of Madrid 1670. Why do you think that because this is a British Overseas Territory and you are British, that this is your land? We have the right of self-determination: we can remain a territory forever, or start up an independence referendum right now. Why should you be able to just elect to become one of us when a) you aren’t, by culture or descent, and b) we have the right to chart our own course? Who gets the franchise is our decision because it determines who gets to cast those big votes with us that shape our future. You can’t just barge your way into the polling booth because the UK is sovereign; we are not part of it.

        • Anonymous says:

          So? British territory. All that matters. Our turf. You want economic ruin you can have it for yourselves, your special oh so special unique selves. No? Thought not.

        • Anonymous says:

          Cayman was Never a dependency of Jam. Cayman had Jam (when Jam was British ) as its Protectorate …but Jam treated Cayman like a red head stepchild .. ie. No aid or help sent to Cayman via Jam was ever passed after the 1932 hurricane . So Cayman could not wait to part company when brutal Jam claimed independence from England.
          See how Jam even mash up the West Indies Federation attempt?!
          Them too fally fally .

      • Anonymous says:

        Their own land ? Which part of Cayman is theirs ? We are only British because we choose to be ..remember that

    • Anonymous says:

      Fine, but as an expat in a British Territory, please refrain from telling your hosts what to do and what not to do.

      If there is anything Caymanians and Brits will readily agree on, it is not to follow the Jamaican example of how to run a country.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are 27 members of parliament as of 2018 born outside of the UK as elected members of the government. Good to see the motherland leading by example for once. No back in your discriminatory little boxes.

    • Anonymous says:

      Most Jamaicans after living 5 years in Canada become Canadian citizens. They then get full rights to vote and hold a seat in Parliament ifvelected. I know a number of them personally. One can live and work in Cayman for more than 10 years as well as own property, but one can still not vote or run for political office. One is basically a second class citizen.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well…stay in Jamaica – or England…or Canada…wtf is up with people expecting and demanding a smooth transition on every instance of them leaving their country of birth, relocating halfway across the world, and setting up house in another country?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Why are so many mainland Brits obsessed with what goes on in the territories AND relocating thereto?

    Have they no national pride?

    Why so quick to pack up and leave your beloved homeland – and bringing along entitlement and twisted expectations?
    Furthermore, many arrive with disdain for locals and their culture, and strut about with high noses. It really begs the question; Why bother?

    I am a proud Caymanian and as such, possess no desire to permanently relocate elsewhere.
    Would be nice if some folks felt the same, respectively.

    The world would be a much happier place.

    – Whodatis

  5. Anonymous says:

    always funny to hear poorly educated locals talk about denying basic rights to its citizens….3rd world stuff….zzzzzzzzzzz

    • Anonymous says:

      Re “denying basic human rights” – you do realise that Caymanians have ZERO access to ACTUAL democracy, correct?

      Our constitution is a mere Order in Council, our “elected government” can be dismantled at any moment if the UK sees fit, and we have no democratic input into the UK elected government.

      So, you may want to cool your jets about “basic human rights” in this particular conversation.

      – Who

  6. MI6 in Paradise says:

    Alden McLaughlin is a coward and his flippant response shows how out of touch he his in the issue. He tries to talk tough but signs every agreement placed before him by the U.K.

  7. Anonymous says:

    While they focus on this non issue the EU are getting ready to possibly black list them. The commons will not give a darn about any debate in Bermuda or Cayman on this issue. That only gives the thing legs and Keeps it alive over there. More likely then that they will vote on it without bothering what we think.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Because having a UK appointed governor as the highest position in the overseas territories who has never been an indigenous citizen in the history of the position wasn’t good enough. Hypocrites much.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Denying British citizens political rights in British territory is a disgrace and the current rules are clearly outside the permitted range of discretions under the ECHR as considered by Py v France.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Bermuda does not allow expats a clear path to status. Cayman does. An important distinction. Let Bermuda further destroy itself. It is and will be our gain.

    • Anonymous says:

      And this is the game you play? Bermuda has NEVER belittled, spoke down on, wished harm on, stood grandiouse over, spoken in arrogance over your Beloved Cayman Islands, quite the contrary Bermuda has Given support to your Judiciary, your Police, your Government, they have even cleaned your streets and turned some of yours power back on after various storms..Let me advise you of what you CAN learn from Bermuda and Bermudians HUMILITY….It’s no wonder you don’t feel ready for Independence.. Their is a Maturity that comes with that readiness.

      Also understand that Bermuda is not Cayman, never has been, never desired to be. They’ve had a challenged history very different from Cayman, they walk their own path

      • Anonymous says:

        When I think of traits common among Bermudians, humility is not one that is near the top of the list. Reading this post do you sense humility?

      • Anonymous says:

        A Bermudian with humility. Now there’s a thought.

      • Anonymous says:

        You can post that after the treatment of Cayman by certain Bermuda law firms which established here, and the fight that Bermuda put up to try to stop Cayman firms opening there? Welcome to competitition. Run the same race, or get off the field.

    • Anonymous says:

      12;26, Bermuda sure got it right with their new Canadian built airport. We got a third class airport when we could have had a world class airport. Disgraceful when a few big commercial and political interests here made the decision to go local and look after their own pocketbooks first.

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