Official code to hold ministers to account

| 30/07/2021 | 54 Comments
Cayman News Service
Cabinet members with their copies of the Code of Conduct (L-R seated) Minister Sabrina Turner, Deputy Premier Chris Saunders, Premier Wayne Panton, Governor Martyn Roper, Minister Bernie Bush and Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, (L-R standing) Cabinet Secretary Sam Rose, Attorney General Sam Bulgin, Minister Jay Ebanks, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, Minister Andre Ebanks and Minister Kenneth Bryan

(CNS): The PACT Government has both fulfilled a major election promise and made history in the first 100 days of its administration with the implementation of the Cayman Islands’ first-ever Ministerial Code of Conduct. It provides a comprehensive general code of conduct and guides ministers on a wide range of specific issues, including dealing with possible or perceived conflicts of interests, accepting gifts and favours, as well as ministerial travel. The code was approved by Cabinet this week and sees ministers committing to behave in a way that protects the integrity of the decision-making process and upholds the highest standards of propriety at all times.

Premier Wayne Panton said the code reinforces the commitment of PACT to be People-driven, Accountable, Competent and Transparent, setting out standards for adhering to the principles of good governance. He said it also addresses one of the broad outcomes outlined in the PACT Government’s Strategic Policy Statement, which is “Strengthening Good Governance for More Effective Government” and promotes greater accountability within the executive branch.

“The more transparent we are, the more accountable we are to the public,” Panton said. “The better we are at transparency, the better we will get at decision-making and resource allocation.”

The premier described the implementation of the code as another historic moment for the Government and people of the Cayman Islands. “I am especially pleased that this matter was given priority by my colleagues in the PACT Government for completion within our first 100 days in office,” he added.

The code mandates ministers to comply with the Nolan Principles, otherwise known as the Seven Principles of Public Life, which are selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. Panton reiterated his government’s commitment to the principles outlined in the Code of Conduct and to overall transparency as one of its core ethical pillars.

“We remain humbled by the awesome responsibility of our role as ministers. It is our duty to engender the trust and maintain the confidence of the people we serve. We, as the PACT Government, believe that to whom much is given, much is required. The call for greater accountability and transparency has been answered by the publication of a framework for the conduct the public can expect from us and that we expect of ourselves,” he stated.

The rollout of this code for the executive branch is expected to be followed very shortly by a parliamentary code, which will require all members of the parliament, including the speaker, to adhere to these same principles.

Governor Martyn Roper said it was a monumental step and a strong indicator of the government’s commitment to accountability and transparency. “It is an integral part of good governance, and encourages greater trust between the wider community and those they have elected to represent them,” he added.

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Category: Politics

Comments (54)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Well at least the Code will never need a dentist – (no teeth)

    • Anonymous says:

      Expecting honorable behavior presupposes you are dealing with people who are honorable , and not just by self awarded title.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Ok time will time if MPs and will adhere to the code of conduct. Yes remember you all arr employees of the people and we will be watching unna like a hawk.

    Now agree to not give any more salary increases for a job all of unna are over paid for.

    I wish to see value for money and then I would say you all deserve a pay increase. Until such time, the jury is out on that one.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I worked in the public service for just shy of 40 years, with the last few being responsible for multimillion $$ annual budgets. I held a ‘company’ credit and travelled on business regularly. Didn’t travel business/first class, didn’t stay in fancy hotels, didn’t waste of steal public funds! NO ONE had to tell me what was right or wrong about my behaviour/activities/performance in the Service. Decency good principles are natural – some have it and some simply don’t!

    A written Code of Conduct is great but if that’s all we’re depending on it may not be enough for some of our MPs

    • Anonymous says:

      Totally agree with you. These are things we learned in kindergarten.

    • Neverwannabeacivilservant says:

      Are there any others like you in the Civil Service?.Also are you still allowed to submit expenses without receipts?.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm…at least one Minister didn’t care much about laws up until recently (per his conviction record) so what’s to convince us he will adhere to a Code of Conduct?

    Corruption is so endemic in Cayman’s public that many of these won’t even know when they’re acting corruptly…..at least that will be their excuse.

    • Anonymous says:

      You mean like there is no law that says you can’t use a government credit card in a casino..?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Interesting to see a government minister at a WBR restaurant (not Fresh Water) at lunch today with a protocol vehicle sitting outside. Presumably nothing to do with him.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ahem! But does it apply to the Honorable Speaker? The evidence does strongly suggest that above all the rest he needs a behavior code.

  6. Anonymous says:

    can’t believe people are buying into this garbage, the Nolan Principles were already in the law that they have to follow…Standards in Public Life. Did the Premier even thank Karin Thompson for getting that done? All self-praise and little substance and lots of WAFFLE!!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    There already was a written standard its called the Standards in Public Life Act and its been in place and was put there by the PPM. Please open your eyes these guys are good at magic tricks!!!

    https://legislation.gov.ky/cms/images/LEGISLATION/PRINCIPAL/2014/2014-0003/StandardsinPublicLifeAct_2021%20Revision.pdf?zoom_highlight=standards+in+public+life#search=%22standards%20in%20public%20life%22

  8. Anonymous says:

    Well done Pact – now do something about the high cost of electricity, gas and food.

    Those are the things that are hurting the people the most.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Not sure why there was a need for the waffle. Why not just have a Code that says, “All Ministers will obey all of our laws all of the time and if they don’t they will be fired.”

  10. wish list says:

    Where is the teeth that mandates penalties for breaching this supposed code of ethics? Without teeth, this code is nothing but a wish list.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Good. I hope all of unna will now move on to some other dire requirement.

  12. Anonymous says:

    8.2 Similarly, it may not be appropriate for Ministers to participate in decision making on matters affecting family members or other connected persons; for example by:
    a. attempting to intercede on their behalf on some official matter;
    b. proposing family members for appointments;
    c. participating in decisions that will affect the financial position of a family member or other connected persons.

    IMO, there is a vast difference between “it may not be appropriate” and “it is prohibited”. It would have been nice to see the word “prohibited” or “forbidden” somewhere in the document.

    Now it just looks like they waited until after they had proposed family members for appointments before adopting the Code of Conduct.

  13. Anonymous says:

    He is missing from the picture, are we to assume these rules don’t apply to him?

    CNS: If by “him” you mean McKeeva Bush, he is not a member of Cabinet. Read the penultimate paragraph.

    • Anonymous says:

      Pity,,the forever dishonorable one is THE one that should be bound by every code of ethics and behavior .
      The “soon come” code that will include the speaker should be fast tracked.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Have u ever seen an MLA go jail fir anything they do in cayman? Knot!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I think Jim Bodden came close. But he died. So they gave him a statue (with its back to the court).

      • Anonymous says:

        What did Jim Bodden do?

        • The real question says:

          is what didn’t Jim Bodden do.

          The man is a legend!

          Loved his earth moving equipment. Didn’t love old heritage buildings.

          Also know to sell the same piece of land to more than one person.

          And the list goes on…

        • Anonymous says:

          Basically he confused his own money with money that was not his. Not unusual for politicians. His company Prospect Properties went bust owing a lot of money to locals.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I have been waiting to see what they would agree to be bound by. Having now seen it I have to give them credit. While there are some holes in this first attempt, it is better than I expected.

    If our Ministers will abide by our Constitution, the Standards in Public Life Act, the Anti-Corruption Act, the Nolan Principles and at least some of our other laws, and if our Premier and the Governor will enforce this Code, then we are way ahead of where we were and should be grateful for this progress.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Smoke and Mirrors!!!

    The Standards in Public Life Act already in place requires that all Public Servants adhere to the Nolan Principles and this law is enforceable, so signing on to a commitment that already exists is redundant at best.

    They took all this time to implement a requirement that already exists in law.

    Feel good waffle with no real substance guys – come better than this please.

    The PPM put the standards in public life in place a long time ago. Enough with the back patting and deception!

    Convince me that this is any different than what already exists ???!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Quote: “The PPM put the standards in public life in place a long time ago.”

      So why were they ignored?

      The PPM never cared about anyone but themselves!

  17. Anonymous says:

    aka… common sense and decency.
    it all means nothing when you rely on mac to stay in power.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Personally I am glad that there is now at least some written standards for our Ministers. That is an improvement.

    Thinking back to previous newsworthy events I notice that now government facilities such as credit cards are not supposed to be used for ‘political party or constituency work’, but that is it. What about Ministers who don’t belong to a political party and what about using credit cards to go gambling or buy jewelry?

  19. Where is the tyrant says:

    Where is McKeeva?
    He is the reason this code of conduct was implemented.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Interesting reading, (slow day at the office). I like a lot of it but it says near the beginning that our Ministers only have to obey ‘relevant laws’. Kind of begs the question as to which ones are irrelevant to the extent that our Ministers are above them?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Having read through the Code – (Thank you CNS for providing a link) – I am left to wonder why the only ‘gifts’ that have to be reported in the ‘Register of Gifts Received’ are the ones from foreign governments. Does that means that the practice of accepting secret ‘gifts’ from developers and others wanting things to go their way will remain unchanged? Sad if that is the case.

  22. Anonymous says:

    If anyone is interested in a comparison with what Codes of Conduct look like elsewhere, this is the UK one.

    I notice that the threshold for ‘gifts’ they are allowed to keep is about 2.5 times higher for our Ministers, but that is consistent with their priority of awarding themselves pay that is about 2.5 times higher than what any other Cabinet Members on the planet get.

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/826920/August-2019-MINISTERIAL-CODE-FINAL-FORMATTED-2.pdf

  23. Anonymous says:

    First a pay rise for themselves followed by the introduction of a Code of Conduct that is supposed to limit conflicts of interest such as voting pay rises for themselves – all in just 100 days. Well done!

  24. Anonymous says:

    This Code is definitely better than nothing and a step in the right direction. Hopefully it will be strengthened over time to give us better governments

    As for wigman – I will believe he will be held to account when I see it happen. Not holding my breath.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully the speaker will be held to account. Cause we all know what he’s capable of.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Where is the code of conduct for MP’s?

    CNS: Read the penultimate paragraph.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I guess we are just going to ignore any previous violations of this code of conduct…

  28. Anonymous says:

    Sure. I’ll believe it when anyone is held accountable in the civil service.

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