Retroactive effect – an injustice

The recent Tower Marketing Survey reported on in the 25-21 January Cayman Observer shows that a substantial number of Caymanians and others consider that the application of term limits to people already residing in the Islands at the time the relevant law was passed is the most repugnant feature of the legislation.

I am personally on record for many months as standing opposed to the retroactive effect of this legislation, by letter to the newspapers and by direct submission in the consultation period – but as yet, it seems, to no avail.

I consider the legislators should look again at the matter, however.

Retroactively effective legislation should be scorned as unworthy of the finest traditions of this country.

First, we are a people of Christian heritage and conviction; it does not take the arcane interpretations of human rights legislation to tell us if a thing is right or wrong: it is written in our hearts.

Secondly, being British, we are heirs to the greatest common law tradition of the world, which historically has spurned retroactively effective legislation as the unjust tool of tyrants.

Added to this, our sister Overseas Territory, Bermuda, has conducted itself on this particular point with principle and foresight, qualities we can only admire and emulate.

Moreover our own people appear to be reaching consensus on the matter, that whatever the merits or otherwise might be of a rollover policy, applying it retroactively is objectionable. Therefore what else do our legislators need before they agree to draw back from this course?

‘Prevention is better than cure’ – especially when the malady in question could profoundly sicken us. To promote and allow a widely felt injustice would be a blot upon our legislative and historical record.

Such matters should not be left to tourist brochures and economic inducement measures to attempt their whitewash or erasure.

Reverend Nicholas JG Sykes

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