It is very important that the Caymanian people know what some of the present checks and balances in the present constitution are.
Present politicians, in a move to grab more and more power, will seek to remove these under the guise of advancing the constitution.
The constitution of the USA is 220 years old and has been amended 26 times of which only 12 times in the past 100 years but never replaced and the United Kingdom has no written constitution at all.
These are two of the worlds leading powers and they prove that the honesty, ability and quality of the peoples’ representatives are far more important than new constitutions.
If it is not broken do not try to fix it.
The main checks and balances in the present Cayman constitution, which we will expand upon in later letters are:
• The Legislative Assembly in a public legislative meeting (not the leader of government or chief minister) can remove a cabinet minister. chief ministers of advanced constitutions have power to secretly remove other ministers without any cause. Compare this excessive power to a private company. The chairman of the board of directors or the chief Executive officer of a private company does not have power to remove or appoint directors. The shareholders remove and appoint directors and the board itself can appoint additional or fill a vacancy of a director only.
• Civil servants, including the most important civil service officials, are not subject to political directions or appointment or political parties or party whips. They include the chief secretary, financial secretary, attorney general, judges, police and auditor general. The stability of any country depends on these persons not being under political influence but discharging their important duties without fear or favour.
• The right of the United Kingdom to intervene when instability or confrontation arises and to act only for the peace, order and good Government of the Cayman Islands. A recent case with the UK shows that its courts will strike down an Order in Council that is not for ‘he peace, order and good government of an overseas territory. So Cayman is protected by this ruling. International businesses will not stay if they feel that stability or continuity is being compromised. They know how many other Caribbean Islands with their advanced constitutions have high crime rates, are financial disasters, their people suffer economically and socially and cannot get back the good business they once had while those countries were a dependent territory.
The present constitution and laws do not allow a chief minister or a leader of government to have control of Cayman’s finances or pension funds. In advanced constitutions the financial secretary is removed from the Legislative Assembly and the chief minister normally has himself appointed finance minister.
Will the PPM and UDP parties pass a law and later put a section in the constitution that the names and amounts of year round contributions to political parties must be disclosed publicly as this is the most important information under the freedom of information / transparency principles, which both PPM and UDP say they agree to?
At present there can be at least three phases before Cayman faces independence and possible disaster. Full ministerial government or full internal self government such as Bermuda now has and what UDP and PPM want is the last stage before one smooth talking government leader backed by his party and a referendum will make us independent.
Normally the chief minister and his party pick a fight with the United Kingdom and use it to go independent. The newspapers recently reported the Commonwealth Parliamentary Associations debate on independence. Do not risk full ministerial government because this is how most of the other Caribbean countries got independence and the people later regretted it. Many of the CPA members in the debate came from independent countries.
Caymanians, be wise. Honest experienced and capable politicians have worked under the present constitution for over 30 years and Cayman has prospered. Political parties will seek to remove some or all of the checks and balances to grab more power. Already we see and learn from some concerning hardships created since these parties took office.
Our children’s future depends on the electorate as much now as we did when our forefathers chose to remain a colony of England rather than a colony of Jamaica or to go independent.