Opposition still unclear on constitution change

| 18/11/2019 | 17 Comments
Cayman News Service
Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly

(CNS): The opposition leader has still not made it clear where he and his team stands on Cayman holding a referendum on the changes to the Constitution that government has negotiated with the UK. Before seeing the draft order, Arden McLean and other members of the opposition had called for a national poll where the people would either accept or reject the package of changes. But with the proposal now public, the opposition has yet to say where it now stands.

Last week Premier Alden McLaughlin presented a letter to the House that he had received from the FCO minister responsible for the territories, Lord Ahmad, confirming the UK’s agreement to the constitutional amendments, along with the draft order. McLaughlin said the UK had made some “incredible concessions” but pointed out that in his letter, the UK minister had asked for demonstrative wide support for the package if the government here wishes to avoid putting these changes to the people.

The premier called on the opposition to back the changes. which he said were to the advantage of Cayman, and “not to look a gift horse in the mouth”.

The former opposition leader, Ezzard Miller, has retained his support for the amendments and said so during the budget debate last week. He had joined the government delegation that travelled to London for the talks and has since outlined why he believes the changes are positive. Deputy Opposition Leader Alva Sukoo, who was also part of the delegation is believed to have supported what was agreed at the time and he remains part of the official opposition nad has not yet said where he stands on the now agreed package.

Meanwhile, the opposition leader, who responded to the premier’s budget statement on Wednesday last week, did not indicate where he or his team now stand about a referendum. He told the Legislative Assemble that, having just received the letter and draft order that day, he had not had chance to read them. But he also said that “it would be disingenuous for anyone to suggest that the proposed changes had consensus” among the opposition members, as he claimed that they have never been formally briefed on what had happened in London.

The changes proposed in the draft relate to the powers the UK has through the governor to impose laws on the Cayman islands. The package includes measures that would clarify the circumstances and how those laws are made and would create a requirement for more consultation. It also removes the clause that would allow the governor to simply cancel a law made by the LA.

The changes provide for an additional minister in Cabinet, who would hold the new international trade portfolio, which is currently under the premier’s office, and rename the Legislative Assembly as a “parliament”, among other changes, which were described by the premier as advancing the Constitution for the people.

See the letter and draft order in the CNS Library

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Category: Laws, Politics

Comments (17)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The Current Opposition Leader did not want to be involved with the Government when they Ex Opposition leader and the current deputy went to London to discuss the proposed changes. Which was after all members had agreed on the proposed changes. Opposition Leader Arden McLean is just being difficult with the Government

  2. Anonymous says:

    Opposition, hold out. We need to go through this with a fine tooth comb. I like Ezzard, but this never sat good with me from day one. Johann Moxan should also be involved with this – I’d love to hear his thoughts on it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The only amendments that I would support is a return to full district representation, as opposed to this ‘garrison’ parochial constituency system and a reduction in the number of representatives. And term limits for MLAs.

    Who’s brave among you to advocate for this even if it means losing your coveted little patch?

  4. Anonymous says:

    The real Leader of Opposition is Johann Moxam

  5. Anonymous says:

    “Opposition still unclear on what day of the week it is” would have been a more accurate headline.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The ex-Leader of Opposition (Ezzard) has said that the members of the opposition at the time were kept abreast of the discussions.

    • Anonymous says:

      Abreast, does not mean consulted, or necessarily agreed with.

    • Anonymous says:

      So what was Alva doing in the meetings in the UK? Was he paying attention? He as Deputy Leader along with the then Leader of Opposition should have reported to their colleagues.

  7. Anonymous says:

    There can be no changes to the Constitution without the democratic consensus.
    I cannot understand why liberals hate Democracy.
    Trust me Cayman, this shit government we have are very liberal especially with the public purse.

  8. Anonymous says:

    One more step towards independence.. farewell Cayman! It was nice knowing you! 🙁

  9. Anonymous says:

    We may as well elect 10 people for the legislative…they are not involving the opposition. What is it that the governor really do?

  10. Anonymous says:


  11. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like the usual CIG problem of failure to communicate. Instead of going to the opposition (in this case, it varies from case to case) and giving them the full information in advance they say ‘here’s the deal, what do you mean you might not agree with it’.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think they took the Opposition with them to London for the meeting – now whether they understood the communication is something else. How much more involved could they be??? Oh sorry Arden wasn’t head honcho at the time…..

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