Parliament undergoing comparative review by CPA

| 24/10/2023 | 20 Comments
House Speaker Katherine Ebanks-Wilks (2nd from left) and Clerk and Chief Officer of the Parliament Zena Merren-Chin (far right), with CPA representatives Shannon Dean and Clive Baker

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Parliament is going through benchmark assessment this week with two representatives from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. The review is a voluntary, comparative initiative that will enable officials here to see how the local legislature compares with others around the world, what Cayman is getting right and where it can do better, Speaker Katherine Ebanks-Wilks said.

“This is a great opportunity to see for ourselves where Cayman’s legislature is performing well and where we need to improve our parliamentary practices,” she said in a press release about the assessment. “I welcome this opportunity to gain a better viewpoint of our accomplishments, such as our improved communications, as well as finding solutions on how we can strengthen our parliamentary governance.”

The intensive assessment exercise is being conducted by Clive Barker from the CPA’s UK Headquarters and Shannon Dean from the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, Canada. The pair will review the legislative and operational aspects of the parliament against 132 indicators of good governance that the CPA developed in consultation with other Commonwealth legislatures between 2006 and 2018.

Zena Merren-Chin, the clerk and chief officer of the independent parliament, said it was an opportunity to see how the benchmarks can be used to improve the overall performance and management. The benchmark indicators cover a broad range of topics relating to legislative governance, including election processes, the organisation of the legislature, gender representation, practices of committees, parliamentary staffing, public input, separation from the executive, financial oversight and openness and transparency.

The two CPA representatives began by conducting interviews on Monday with the speaker and the clerk, followed by a meeting with Governor Jane Owen. They will also meet with Premier Wayne Panton, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, Opposition Leader Roy McTaggart, Minister Kenneth Bryan, Auditor General Sue Winspear, Annette Stephenson and representatives from the Disability Council, several chief officers, legal professionals, members of the media, and staff of the parliament.

“Meeting with stakeholders in the Cayman Islands Parliament for this CPA Benchmarks Self-Assessment will allow us to scrutinise their parliamentary procedures,” Barker said. “We hope that the recommendations in our outcomes report we produce will help… establish a roadmap to reforming the institution, with our help where needed.”

Ebanks-Wilks explained this is not an external review so much as a unique chance for stakeholders to reflect and measure the progress in achieving good governance against the standards adopted by the CPA.

“We will be hearing from a wide range of members and civil servants throughout this benchmarking exercise, which will help to contextualise our performance against these benchmarks that have been adopted by other legislatures in the region and will only serve to strengthen our own practices,” she said.

The benchmarks also complement the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for all countries around the world, which aim to improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth.

Following the week-long assessment, the CPA will prepare a report amalgamating the responses given by the various participants. The report will guide Cayman’s parliament in improving its administration and legislative functions. As a member of the CPA, Cayman is able to take advantage of this type of initiative with support from the UK through the FCO.

“The beauty of being a member of the CPA is that we have access to resources that will enable our parliament and parliamentarians to advance,” the speaker said. “I am hopeful that, at the completion of this assessment, we will have a clear development plan for our parliament”

She also said the review would assist with the much-needed modernisation of the Standing Orders, which will include a schedule of regular meetings and the rollout of the Code of Conduct that all Members of Parliament will be bound by.

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Category: Government Administration, Politics

Comments (20)

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  1. WBW Czar. says:

    Looking good Kathy!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yawn, can they fix the damn dump while they’re here?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Another paid vacation that will result in F!@% All getting done besides a very expensive report.

  4. Anonymous says:

    just look at how many days the la is in session each year. there
    is your answer.
    cig/civil service is an overstaffed, underperforming rats nest of incompetence and failure.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Waste of time and money! If the members refuse to follow the rules and act right, no Parliament will function properly. Someone ask Wayne if he has read the standing orders yet. So busy these days trying to stay in power.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Let me guess, we need more scoundrels in Cayman’s parliament to be on an equal footing with the UK’s.

  7. Anonymous says:

    How about they ask why some of us have lived here for over 15 years, paid all our fees, never got in trouble with the law, did all the proper stages of the path to status but still are in limbo. Then ask about all the status grants of criminals under Bush.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hope they are here to take a look at all the criminals that currently occupy the house of parliament.

  9. Mar alex says:

    Well, I hope you don’t forget that a refugee is not the same in a country as on an island, violating the appendix that states that a refugee can establish his place of residence in any place, place or country that understands that his life is not in danger, I hope they do not forget that the ILR implemented on them expresses that they can travel without restrictions or immigration controls where these refugees cannot do so, meaning that it is totally out of place among hundreds of other inconsistencies, thus giving way to psychological disorders due to the long confinement of the refugees

  10. Anonymous says:

    I should like to submit a proposal that the visiting CPA reps interview the MP (BTE) and submit in the report accordingly, -just as exercise only, that’s all.

    • Anonymous says:

      They might be in for an unexpected, shocking and confusing interview. MP for BTE is “unique” to say the least.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Can’t fault Parliamentary procedures, because that came from Britain, Thankfully.
    However , Members of parliament leave a great deal of room for improvement in all areas, particularly Integrity.
    For supporters of Mac, Saunders, Seymour, Kenneth Jay and Bernie…INTEGRITY means doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m surprised that you left out all of the Regressive party members who have achieved unsurpassed supremacy in construction project kickbacks and awards of contracts.

      Integrity my rear.

  12. Parliamentary Game Show Comes to Town says:

    These two CPA reps need to be expeditiously directed to all CNS archival articles relating to our legislative performance, or rather legislative underperformance and miserable failures. I strongly suggest they meet with the Office of the Auditor General and Ombudsman too.
    I’ll hedge to say that all CS individuals involved in this consult will have been properly groomed on how to respond, so objective information might be difficult or impossible to garner at best.

    If our grade is reported as anything higher than “needs much improvement in all areas” then this exercise amounts to nothing more than a farce and merely meant for parliamentary self gratification.

    Finally, expect numerous Franzie awards to all participating.

    • Anonymous says:

      I was thinking higher than a grade of banana

    • Anonymous says:

      I like your style; get those excuses in early for when Mommy Britain’s report says “Had a right quick look around, guv’na, and everything’s fine here. In fact, Cayman’s the shit and we don’t want to leave, either. Toodlee-oo!!”


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