Local KC to chair Human Rights Commission

| 14/12/2023 | 5 Comments
Ben Tonner, Cayman News Service
Ben Tonner

(CNS): Local attorney Ben Tonner KC has been appointed as the chairperson of the Human Rights Commission (HRC). Tonner has been a member of the HRC for over four years, from 2015 to 2018 and again from September last year to date. Tonner was appointed by Governor Jane Owen, and his tenure as the chair began last month. Congratulating him, Owen said the commission plays a pivotal role in supporting democracy here by promoting, protecting and preserving human rights.

“I commend Chairman Tonner and all members for their commitment and dedication to the work of the Commission,” she added in a press release.

Tonner has a track record of taking on human rights cases, including one of Cayman’s most high-profile, which eventually led to the introduction of same-sex unions.

He was part of the legal team that represented Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden, who had been refused a marriage licence because they were a same-sex couple. The legal efforts began with a resounding success when they won the first round, with the former chief justice effectively legalising same-sex marriage. Tonner worked with the team in a series of appeals ending at the Privy Council in London.

Established under section 116 of the Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009, the Human Rights Commission is an independent body with the responsibility to promote understanding and observance of human rights in Cayman.

Alongside Tonner, the current members are Deborah Barker Roye, Nick Quin, Cathy Gomez and Jennifer Hunter. Roye sat as interim chairperson from the last year.

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Comments (5)

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  1. Mario says:

    this is a fantastic appointment. we need more persons like Ben to step up and serve.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great group for the tasks. Good luck!

  3. Anonymous says:

    It makes a change seeing an accompanying image to a story that has someone with integrity and brains!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I didn’t realize we still had a human rights commission.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully Ben will advocate for the Caymanian consumer that has no recourse. And for the minimum wage permit workers that were duped into flying here only to wait every morning for their daily marching orders. We need to treat all of our people better – all of Cayman, including those lured here under false pretenses. No shortage of issues to tackle.


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