Governor’s role is to support, not interfere

| 16/12/2020 | 44 Comments
Governor Martyn Roper in his office in the Government Administration Building

(CNS): The governor’s role in the Cayman Islands is to support institutions and ensure a system of good governance but not to interfere directly with devolved issues. With public confusion over why he stepped in to impose the Civil Partnership Law but hasn’t said anything about other topical and significant issues, Governor Martyn Roper told CNS that his role is to support the checks and balances.

“We have an elected government which is responsible and accountable for running Cayman,” he said. “That’s where responsibility and accountability should rest. They are elected to take the decisions as government and they should be held accountable for those decisions at elections. That’s how democracies work.”

British representatives play a balancing act in the territories based on the constitutional relationship and the level of autonomy. Roper pointed out that he is required to respect the many areas that are devolved and leave the management of those to the elected government.

“There is devolved autonomy pretty much for all domestic issues and I have to respect that,” he said, noting that the recent constitutional changes underscore even further that domestic affairs are the responsibility of the elected officials. His role, he explained, is to support the independent commissions and other institutions that underpin Cayman’s democratic system of government.

“The role of the governor in good governance is really to try and ensure that the mechanisms we have in place for good governance are there and are working, not to interfere in what they do, as they are independent, but to make sure they have the resources… and support from the civil service,” Roper added.

Over the last few months Roper has been both criticised and lauded for using his section 81 powers to pass the Civil Partnership Law. But the public response to that has been to challenge why he won’t step into other areas that are fuelling public grievances, such as the speaker’s position, as well as to ask what is stopping him from using his section 81 powers whenever he sees fit to undermine the will of the people.

Roper pointed out that such direct action is required only in the very rarest of circumstances and is almost always directly related to the UK Government’s own obligations. “I stepped in on civil partnerships because that brought into question one of the UK’s obligations. There was a specific reason why we had to intervene on that,” he said.

The governor stressed that it was not his job to interfere in specific aspects of the day to day affairs of the government. “I should fully respect the elected government’s right to take the decisions it feels are in the best interests of Cayman.”

The UK remains watchfully aware of what territories do and if things go badly wrong, as for example in the Turks and Caicos Islands, it will step in, but otherwise Britain leaves internal affairs to internal government, Roper explained. “I have to respect the fact that in domestic affairs Cayman has autonomy and the elected government, the premier and his ministers, are responsible for most decisions,” he said.

Public concerns have been raised that in the closing months of this administration government is over-spending and could be using the pandemic’s impact on public revenue and the need for additional support because of this to disguise other extra expenditure. The administration has been criticised for going on a pre-election spending spree while breaching the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility, which was created by the UK directly when it stepped in to provide guardrails on public spending across the territories.

Despite the certainty that the elected government will breach the rules in that framework during the current budget cycle, largely because of the pandemic but not exclusively so, the governor indicated that the UK will not be strong-arming the government over the breach.

He said that the UK thinks Cayman has handled its finances recently extremely well and because of COVID-19 there will be some flexibility regarding the FFR. He said there should be no interference from the UK regarding the budget and the $350 million line of credit government has secured with several local banks.

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Comments (44)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    That ship has sailed.

    It would be good for the governor to go to the voters during the next general election with a question about their level of confidence in his leadership. He could then be informed by the response as he makes decisions going forward.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Your word salad of idealism in upholding democracy, and having to respect a devolved system/entity is worthless Mr Roper. What you are forgetting is the fundamental value of ‘right matters’ and therefore only lend yourself to being complicit with all of the other MP’s in the broad acceptance of Mr Speakers behaviour. As Larry Flint said, ‘if four wolves and a sheep are deciding what they’re having for dinner, the process isn’t working’.

    • ACaymanian Male says:

      Whatever minimal gains this so called Progressive Unity cabal May have been achieved have been severely finished by the lack of denunciation on the behavior of theSpeaker of theParliament of the Cayman Islands.

      We’re even today shown in another article what is happening in the community with respect to violence against females. Indeed shameful, we seem to have lost our moral compass shame on all who condone violence against women and of any kind.

    • Kiss me neck says:

      What is really striking in this deplorable issue woman beating is that not even the females in the Parliament and the Business and Progessional women’s association and females with some notable exception in the public at large have said a word on the matter of The drunken beating of a female by a member of parliament. It’s bad enough for the Male MPS
      To keep quiet, but ya own gender ? or is it. Beabuse she nah from ya. Come on women where is your sense of morality,

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, I said the same in my comment. So many women’s organizations in Cayman…I guess they are only good at organizing gala events and inviting self proclaimed “celebrities”. Such a shame.

    • I told ona so says:

      Creating a “Unity” government last election may have been a political strategic move by the Progressive at the time however, it is now very evident t that the cows have come home and ther3 is no more milk in the barn, as the bull brought in has committed Harri Kari. Oh what a Minnie!

  3. Anonymous says:

    When is the day you will shove abortions down our throats?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Until something doesn’t fit your leftist political ideology.

    CNS: The UK government to which the governor answers is Conservative, i.e. right wing. The governor uses his powers here at the behest of the UK government. His own political ideology is unknown and irrelevant.

    • Anonymous says:

      Leftist ideology? Hahaha. Wow. Some people need to get away from Cayman and Florida once in a lifetime and learn about the world.

      • Anonymous says:

        Stop helping people you commie. Be selfish and take everything for yourself. Everyone is your competition. That’s what its really like here sometimes. You even suggest anything that would help their fellow Caymanian and its leftwing communist propaganda uttered by Karl Marx himself.

  5. Linda Clark says:

    Good Governance is NOT what we have currently in Cayman.
    The multiple constitutional breaches and legal challenges speak for themselves.

    Why is the referendum that was legally triggered, the bad law held up in court, not being held at the same time as the election? To not hold the referendum is a catastrophic failure of our democracy.

    Environment Charter
    What about the Environment Charter signed between the UK and the now Speaker of the House? The UK has taken responsibility there.

    General overview and history

    Cayman specifically:

    Code of Conduct for Elected Officials
    For Good Governance, the Country need a Code of Conduct for MPs that is at least as equal to that expected of the Civil Service.

    Since the MPs have spent more time renaming the LA to Parliament, performing ceremonies at the cost to the public, there is NO excuse to not have implemented a Code of Conduct for all Elected Officials. This is the mechanism which would hold Mckeeva’s violent actions to account and demand he resign. This is what the Governor needs to ensure is in place.
    “The commission went on to say that the matter of Bush’s admitted assault is outside its remit at this time.

    And while the public may find that utterly inconceivable, the spokesperson for the commission made it clear that it will not be any help in resolving this particular matter. However, the commission said one of its functions set out under the Constitution is to recommend codes of conduct.

    “In 2013 and 2017 the Commission provided extensive feedback on the original and revised Draft Ministerial Code of Conduct produced by the
    Cabinet Office,” the commission stated. “The Commission has made several requests for updates on the finalisation and implementation of the Ministerial Code of Conduct, which we understand remains in draft form. The Commission encourages the finalisation of a code which would apply to all elected members.””

  6. Anonymous says:

    King Martyn Roper!

    • ACaymanian says:

      Isn’t it time we face reality, we are screwed. We are royally screwed when we have spineless
      Leadership who abuse women and who by their silence condone this type of action. We are screwed because he Parliament as we called it today ( minus one) has become a cabal of two sides one with power and a lack tof understanding of good and balanced governance ( which does not give away your country) while the other side is hungry to get. In and do more of the same stupidi stupidness we see over and over and over again.

      There is a cry in this country for young and educated people to run and take over the country, but I dare say that it it is not necessarily the solution to our woes. The Parliament today has a high level of educated persons , and overall a non aged group, however, what we lack or rather what they training and experience a malaise which exists throughout our entire working society which is clearly demonstrated in the many material positions held by non Caymanians and yes in areas of the civil service also. Yes there will be those who say oh he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but yeah I know I have been there and know the struggles and yes I was trained here and abroad with many years of experience, good attitude, and good work ethics, yet

      There is a need for a keen look by ourselves the people, and the Mother Country if they mean us well, at what the failings have been in our government structure and in the way politicians and civil service work with each other to determine why we don’t get the picture why we don’t prioritize, why we hire consultants and projects never get finished in one election cic
      and are rolled over ad infinitum. Why is it that we over and over change the educational curriculum and achieve the same results, why our children are failing we ask.??

      Why is it that our Caymanian society works against each other rather than with each other to achieve common goals, yet we complain about the foreigner this and the foreigner that. The solution is in our hands people make no mistake about it , but we are caught up with the syndrome of working our asses off to be like the joneses while our country goes to the newcomers who see our failings and take advantage of them whenever they can. Ask ourselves this important question in relation to our land, can our graduating classes of the last 10 election cycles have they all been able to buy a piece of property and. Build their own home,is their income sufficient to live what less qualify for a mortgage . Can those without highs academic achievements continue to live at $6.00 or $15.00 an hour with this fictional economy we have encouraged and which has no real value to a great and ever increasing number of locals.

      Well if we don’t get the picture with all of the above and we don’t find a way to elect young and older experienced and educated people to run the government of these islands , in less than no time, your access to education will be further limited, where you would like to live will be even further inaccessible, where you want to go to eat and where you want to swim will be prohibited and you will be stuck in government provided housing on scarce to none government housing or tenement yarrds, all because of what your inaction, your complacency, your allowing people to come here and disrespect you and your traditionsand your way of life because you fail to mobilize and instead of making the financial merchants buy your politicians you ensure that you elect men and women who are not only young or old, but who are educated and as important experienced in organizing, in understanding how the real world works and how we all can benefit from good governance , I repeat “ALL” not some can benefit from policies that ensure that we all are not just fed but that the quality of every aspect of our community benefits the people of these Islands we call home The Cayman Islands.

      Peace and Goid will to All .

  7. Anonymous says:

    It should have been the governor gettin choked, hair pulled and slapped around and then see how fast he use that section 81.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The issue with the Speaker is up to us. Each voter that feels that Mac should resign from the speaker position should make sure that their MP knows that. Then if they do not act each voter can take action in May 2021.
    If Mac is as patriotic as he maintains, he should resign the position. Be a regular MP if allowed by the court and by his constituents in WBW. If he steps down and moves to the opposition to make the government fold and require an early election, then it simply shows he does not really give a damn about country.

  9. Len Layman says:

    “The role of the governor in good governance is really to try and ensure that the mechanisms we have in place for good governance are there and are working” it is clear that the mechanisms are not in place and not working. We have a person who pleaded guilty to two counts of violence against a women sitting as Speaker and only one Member of Parliament is speaking out; all the other elected MPs are turning a blind eye and deaf ear to it. All looking out for themselves, not the good of our country. Our governor doing the same making lame excuses for doing so. As the representative of the Crown the message Mr. Roper is sending by his “not interfering” is that the crown is just fine with this situation. To me it is a cop out by him and the UK. To me this defines where the moral soul of our country is headed.

    • Say it like it is says:

      Len Layman you are wrong. Read what the Governor said his mandate is not to interfere in our governance except in exceptional circumstances. This is not one, it is up to the voters to remove these “M.P’s” and the Speaker in the next election. When your own are either drunkards or spineless vassals it is your fault, not the Governor’s for putting them where they are, and you need to sort it out.

      • Big Bobo In West Bay says:

        We need to sort out the mess in our own house. We got ourselves in this situation and we should not be asking our colonial master to step in to sort out our Caymanian family problem. Time for our Caymanian representatives to grow some cojones.

        Start acting like adults.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not interfering! Am I reading this upside down? Ha ha ha, why? He surely interfered with the CP. What a mess.

    • Concerned says:

      In the UK the head of state is the Queen. She would absolutely not get involved in what is a political situation. EVERYONE knows what Bush did was grossly and morally wrong. Him staying in his post indicates loud and clear the type of person Caymanians have repeatedly put in power. It isn’t the Governor’s fault. It is the Caymanian electorates. You are repeatedly voting in people with immoral character. It is your judgement that put him and others who acquiesce to his behaviour in power. It isn’t like he and others don’t have a past track record. Yet you keep voting them in. They preside over one of the richest GDP rates globally in terms of per hundred thousand of population, yet there is rabid inequality, racism at every turn, poor health care, a ridiculously incompetent public sector, ridiculously poor education…need I go on. Your legislators are beyond incompetent. They have no morals and are in it for their own greed. Wake up Cayman. Vote the lot out next year. It’s your duty to the islands. Stop whining about the Governor. He has no position to act. YOU DO.

  10. Anonymous says:

    That’s just it…what if we didn’t elect this government? What if we didn’t return either the PPM or the UDP (3 seats?!?) with any mandate to lead and form a government? That was my recollection of what happened in May 2017. Both the traditional rival parties lost seats, no decisive winner could be declared, and plenty of disorganized independents were double-crossed and relegated to the back benches, by a secret corrupt deal made between Alden and McKeeva.

    • Anonymous says:

      5:34 – really?

      Just about all of the current back bench swore they would not form a Government with Bush as PREMIER but that is exactly what they agreed to do.

      In fact Tony Eden and Alva Suckoo took out an ad in the paper denying a rumour that they would do exactly what they did a few weeks later.

      That agreement fell apart but not because of either one of those two. Clearly purely self interested and unprincipled and not worthy of trust?

  11. Anonymous says:

    “I stepped in on civil partnerships because that brought into question one of the UK’s obligations”.

    For goodness sake, come on man. Isn’t a zero tolerance approach to violence against women also a UK obligation? By doing nothing, the UK is complicit in this situation. And they are allowing this buffoon of a man to stick two fingers up to all women.

    The MLAs I can understand in keeping quiet. They only care about their thumping big wage and perks. And Mac revealing the skeletons in their cupboards.

    A lot of UK expats saw you as a man of integrity and common sense. Did Mac scare you with his ‘cockroach in a rooster fight’ nonsense when you stepped off the plane?

    For the sake of ALL women on this island, DO SOMETHING!

    • Concerned says:

      The civil partnership issue was an international obligation. Hence the UK had to act. This is different albeit still serious there is no international obligation to act. It is a domestic political situation that if Bush had any moral fibre would resolve itself. Because he doesn’t it is the duty of Caymanians to vote all who acquiesce out of power.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Which is why Anwar Choudhury was fired?

    • Anonymous says:

      He was a down to earth person and I am sure he had the Cayman people at heart. Anyone who is decent and cares about the people, will always be booted out. They schemed and made it very difficult for him, only because he was outspoken and understood all of the devious traits in them.

  13. Anonymous says:

    NO PLEASE INTERFERE. Push for our disgraceful speaker to resign!

    • Anonymous says:

      How about pushing for enforcing the law on the speaker’s crimes?????Where are the police? Where are the members of Parliament?? Where is our PREMIER ?? What do YOU think about it, Mr. Governor?

    • Anonymous says:

      Push for his incarceration! He will never resign.

  14. Anonymous says:

    He’ll interfere when Alden tells him to….like with the DPL>

  15. Anonymous says:

    LOL!! It’s too late for that. Actions speak louder than words.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Yeah right…I have some beachfront land in Arizona too.

  17. Anonymous says:

    What he meant to say is that he only jumps in when he feels like it and for now he’s happy to sit back with his bowl of popcorn and watch how Bushgate plays out.

  18. Diplomat or Doormat says:

    Some see our Governor as a doormat, far from it. We would not be having this appalling situation on our hands if the majority of our elected members were of the same calibre as our Governor.

    This situation is a clear example why section 81 was not struck from our constitution. Keep paying out the rope Gov., more voter apathy and ignorance next year and Cayman will soon hang itself. The dumb voters in Cayman created this mess. Don’t blame our Gov. for standing on the sidelines while we slowly implode.

    • Hubert says:

      Truer words could not be said. The dumb voters of Caymani created the unholy mess we find ourselves in now. We have no one to blame but ourselves.

      The children have to grow up one day.

      • Anonymous says:

        Is this the first time that this imbecile disgraced us? How many more times should we have to hang our heads in shame because of him. His tirade is a recurring decimal. The saying is “you can take the pig from the sty but you can’t take the sty from the pig”. Put lipstick on him and he still a pig.

    • Anonymous says:

      2:37 pm
      When the MPs voted down the CP, who stepped in and did what he HAD to do? Well, that same person ought to do what’s right in McKeeva’s case. He is a disgrace to these islands and the people of WBW.

  19. Anonymous says:

    weasel words and has not got the backbone to confront mac who has pleaded guilty to violent assault of a woman.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mac has been your elected and most loved Leader for a long time so he is just what you deserve. If anyone should be confronting him it should be you and all those like you. But don’t let that stop you from doing the Caymanian thing. Blame the Non Caymanian for all your troubles and then leave it on their doorstep.

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