Miller: Premier’s term extension never on agenda

| 12/07/2019 | 30 Comments
Cayman News Service
(L-R) Premier Alden McLaughlin, OT Minister Lord Ahmad and Ezzard Miller

(CNS): Former opposition leader Ezzard Miller has said the issue of extending the number of terms a premier could serve was never on the agenda during the recent talks between the Cayman Islands and the UK about the Constitution. Miller, who had been part of the government delegation while he was still leading the opposition, said he does not agree with the current opposition members’ claims that government has made deals behind closed doors.

Miller said that while he does not oppose a referendum on constitutional change, he was not advocating for one because the changes that have been agreed are based on issues in the public domain. He said he had talked about them publicly for months and does not believe anyone would oppose them.

CNS learned recently that no deal has yet been formalised between London and Cayman, but the proposed changes are largely confined to limiting the governor’s ability to stop or change local legislation directly. However, the changes would not alter the UK’s power to issue an order in council, and section 125 of the Constitution will remain intact.

Miller, the independent MLA for North Side, confirmed that the UK rejected the idea of removing section 125, which is the final and most fundamental part of the constitution that gives the UK ultimate power to make laws for this jurisdiction. However, the FCO has not ruled out the idea of, sometime in the future, placing some conditions when the short but very significant paragraph could apply, he said.

At present section 125 states: “There is reserved to Her Majesty full power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Cayman Islands.”

But the changes that the delegation did achieve relate to section 80 and section 81, which Miller said he had discussed openly since the premier first revealed his intention to seek talks with the FCO after the UK parliament’s imposition, via UK legislation, of mandatory public beneficial ownership registers.

These sections will be amended to prevent any governor actually blocking domestic legislation or trying to impose legislation on Cayman directly. It was under these provisions that Stuart Jack forced government to continue funding the controversial and well-documented Operation Tempura probe into RCIPS corruption.

Miller also said that the Legislative Assembly will be formally changing to a “Parliament” and the current role of ministry councillors will be properly defined and renamed “parliamentary secretaries”.

Miller, who had presented a united front with the government over the potential changes, said that he had urged the premier to get the issues resolved before the end of 2018 because he was afraid that it would become a political issue.

“That’s exactly what is happening now,” he said. “I do not agree with the current opposition members who are suggesting that government has made closed-door deals, and the question of extending the premier’s terms was never on the table.”

Miller added that the changes were worthwhile and helped modernise the Constitution but they were not fundamental and have been openly discussed.

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Category: Politics

Comments (30)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Term limits for all should have been on the table. Particularly given our recent move towards garrison politics.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Premier,

    I appeal, and as you know,

    There are some in government that think they are smart, but they are the exact opposite.

    They fill all the right social squares and talking points, but they would not know a square from a triangle.

    They propose a single payer system they would love to control, yet they can’t singlely control anything as everything they touch is a disaster.

    Please, don’t let these idiots ruin this country.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Do you all see how the Leader of Opposition is undermining Ezzard? What a piece of work.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Miller is a Mason.
    McLaughlin is a Mason.
    Truth is irrelevant.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Notice how Miller said he openly talked about them; presumably to the 3,000 voters in his patch. What about everyone else?

    If the changes are minor why can’t the government clearly spell them out so we can decide for ourselves?

    At the end of the day, the only truth coming out of their greedy mouths is that the changes will benefit them and not us the people!

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  6. Anonymous says:

    It is a set deal as the UK wants the current Premier to stay and he loves the power position as well. Excuse number 1 is so he can make sure the port fiasco goes as they have planned. Watch if MLA Miller does not get a new spot with the Unity team.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    So they basically just went up there to stroke their own egos. the LA is now renamed Parliament. It’s not Parliament. You can’t have Parliament in a country that is ultimately under the control of another country. There is a Member of Parliament in the UK that speaks in Parliament ‘on behalf’ of the overseas territories. So this renaming makes no sense and carries no power. So as usual… massa we need to limit your power over us…. no I’m not agreeing to that but you can create the illusion that I’ve done so by calling yourselves something different. oh the irony that this is taking place as a direct result of clear inappropriate UK involvement in local matters.

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    • Anonymous says:

      http://www.parliament.bm/
      https://www.parliament.gi/

      These links show that your assertions perhaps required further research.

      Furthermore, no one speaks in the UK Parliament on our behalf. That’s why we can have a member of the House of Lords with responsibility for the OTs. He/she is not elected period not even by people in the UK and especially not by us and therefore cannot represent or speak for a single soul here…not even you. But bear in mind they are there to answer for the UK Government’s handling of the Overseas Territories which again is governed by a Constitution. They aren’t in Parliament to represent us.

      Note that the current OT Minister is also responsible for the Commonwealth and United Nations. Clearly he is not speaking in the house of Lords on behalf of the Secretary General or Jamaica, or India. See the point yet?

      Furthermore, good luck having him walk over to ‘the other place’ to speak on anything, yet alone the OTs. So the name change is completely permissible, and as has been demonstrated- in existence in Gibraltar and Bermuda- both of whom we are larger than and far more sophisticated.

      The lesson here is that we should all take some time to research before spouting off nonsense.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I’m afraid you’re a little off the mark. Removal of the Governor’s ability to initiate and sign legislation without the LA having any say is not symbolic. The Governor is a UK appointee only. All the FCO has to do is instruct the Governor to pass a law here, and he (or she) can. The same is the case for disallowing, or not assenting to, legislation that the LA has passed – FCO says do it, Governor does it. That is not at all the same thing as the UK Government, through the Queen’s prerogative power which it exercises in her name, legislating for us by Order in Council. It is also not the same as the UK Parliament legislating for us. Removing these powers of the Governor increases both our actual level of self-governance and our apparent level of self-governance. There will no longer be a man (or woman) ‘on the ground’ who can make law for us against our will.

      In relation to the title “Parliament”, the only other territories whose legislatures are entitled “Parliament” are Bermuda and Gibraltar. They are the only other overseas territories considered and regarded as more self-governing than we are. They are treated as such by the UK, by other sovereign countries and by other territories. Bermuda is entirely self-governing internally (something it got because the UK believed in the 60s it would be going independent in a few years and needed to practise without the training wheels), and Gibraltar almost entirely self-governing internally. This change in title, coupled with the weakening of the Governor, moves us closer to Gibraltar. To tell you exactly how much closer, I would have to compare both Constitutions section by section, and this post is long enough already.

      The change in title also means – hold your stomachs for this one – our MLAs will become MPs. Again, as in Bermuda, and Gibraltar.

      To the extent the symbolism of all of this is important, it is important because when we as Cayman claim that our toes are being stepped on, the UK is more likely to step off them, or not step on them at all in the first place. It is granting us these upgrades in status and will have to act towards us in a way which recognises and respects that status. It may not change the fact we are not sovereign and can still be legislated for against our consent, but you don’t see UK MPs lecturing Bermuda or Gibraltar. Little bit more difficult to do that credibly when they share the same titles. Their heads of government are given complete freedom to act, look and sound like true heads of government. The same is now apparently being done with us. In politics, appearances, symbols and titles matter hugely, and as I said, the changes to the Governor’s powers are not merely symbolic anyway.

      To the poster below, you have made some of my points more succinctly, but I have expanded and touched on some other aspects. You could also have done with a bit more research: Cayman is now the most populous OT, but of course, no one would argue that Bermuda and Gibraltar are indeed far more sophisticated (however, for quite different reasons).

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard Miller is the most competent and knowledgeable member of Parlament.
    Never voted for him but I wish I could.

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    • Anonymous says:

      10:20 have you read the above ? Not surprising to me what Ezzard is doing,,,and I already believe and have told a few that this government is moving to change the constitution for Alden to be premier again,,,,,but I also know that the wicked only last for a time

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      • Anonymous says:

        You are 100% correct; they all just want to remain in power for the rest of their lives and keep collecting that big paycheck. If Miller is so knowledgeable, what happened to his pharmacy business?

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        • Anonymous says:

          Trained Pharmacist yes.Look around you how many people you know are doing what they were trained to do?We will change Ezzard when some else comes along more qualified.

  9. Anonymous says:

    How can anyone really trust anything that comes out of our government officials mouths?
    No matter what you say about Miller, we need someone like him as opposition to keep those sneaky snakes on track. If they all got along and agreed to everything, we’d be as successful as Haiti.

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