I do believe that the people of the Cayman Islands could term this year the Year of the Constitution.
We the people of these three Islands are faced with very serious and far reaching decisions and I believe that much time should be allowed before any decisions are made.
One such issue that deserves debate, along with many others, is the move towards full independence. For too long this issue has been swept under the carpet and locked in the closet. The time has come that it be brought to the forefront and receive the same debate as other issues.
The ruling and opposition parties have both stated that they have no intention to seek independence and it is their right to state such but the people deserve the right to know why. Is it they feel they are not responsible enough to lead these Islands once they become independent?
For too long the word independence has been held over the heads of our people like the Sword of Damocles. The time has long passed when we should accept such excuses as ‘just look at other countries that have gone independent’.
We have over many years, through higher education, become a more enlightened people. We will soon have in force the FOI Act and we constantly speak of transparency in government, so the time has come when we should not be afraid to bring independence to the table for discussion.
If we the people of these three Islands hope to survive and prosper we need to elect people to represent us who are not afraid of the Mother Big Bad Wolf.
The time has come when we need extremely well educated people as our representatives so that we may be able to best understand the various situations in the world today. Today, democracy allows the one who can criticize and have the most rhetoric the opportunity to rule although that person might have no knowledge of the office he is elected to serve. We have living proof that well educated and trained persons can perform to the highest standards in our Legislative Assembly.
Over the years, our speakers of the Legislative Assembly have been Caymanians and they have been the envy of many countries and so can all members of our Legislative Assembly if we can encourage our well disciplined and educated people to come forward and offer themselves for office.
If we can achieve this, then we can cease being afraid of advancement in our constitution. The Legislative Assembly should be a place short on rhetoric but plentiful in progress.
What we seem to have is the complete opposite and while important time is wasted, major decisions are left on the back burner to simmer until they reach a panic stage and then they are decided on in haste. Actions like this will, in all likelihood, have a negative effect and far reaching repercussions on our Islands. The old adage applies here: Decide in haste and repent at leisure.
Let us be thankful that our representatives have been able to bring us this far but we have to realise that we have a long way to go. I am pleased to see that in recent times some of our well trained and educated persons now serve in our Legislative Assembly. I would encourage many more to follow in their footsteps. This we are in great need of if we expect to compete and move forward in the very expanding world of today.
Brainard D. Watler