Knowing issues, personalising involvement

The Constitution and You

12 January marked the launch of the Public Consultation Period of the Constitutional Modernization Initiative.

Some may ask why is it important that know the facts and provide the Secretariat with my views? The simple answer is because before the May referendum is held, your views will have to be obtained and assessed to determine what the majority views are with respect to constitutional reform.

These views will then help shape and guide the final constitutional recommendations before the referendum, debate in the legislative assembly amongst our elected representatives and certainly before our elected representatives enter into negotiations with representatives from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

As director of the Secretariat, I invite Caymanians to begin familiarizing themselves with the issues.

The major topics set out in the Summary of Proposals that are intended to stimulate public discussion include the legislature, the executive, the governor’s responsibilities, officers, oversight bodies, elections, referendums and future amendments to the constitution.

Even though we as a country are restarting constitutional discussions, we have been in the process of constitutional reform for quite some time.

Hence, there are many materials that you as citizens may read to inform yourselves of what issues are new, what issues are reoccurring.

At present, resource materials are available at all public libraries and on our website. Some of these resource materials include the 2002 Constitutional Commissioners Report, the position papers of both the People’s Progressive Movement and the United Democratic Party, The Hansards from the Legislative Assembly and the draft 2003 Constitution that was subsequently drafted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

To facilitate national conversation on the issues, the Secretariat will be using various means to obtain public views.

The CMI public meetings begin in January.

The meetings for the month of January will be held at Mary Miller Hall on 30 January at 7.30pm for the district of George Town and 31 January at Botswain’s Beach at 7.30 pm. for the district of West Bay.

I encourage residents of each district to turn out to the respective meetings.

Likewise, the Secretariat will also facilitate constitutional education and debate via radio beginning 1 February on Radio Cayman on Mondays and Friday’s.

It is hoped that we can use this platform to inform people of the issues and discuss them with the citizens of the country. A similar, but less frequent programme will be featured on CITN Island 24 details to be announced.

The debate at this early stage of our constitutional debate is heated, especially amongst our elected representatives.

Their views are important and should be considered. However, your views are just as important and should be made known publicly and should also form part of the debate. Some of the issues are complex; therefore, they should be studied carefully as God is in the detail.

I already know of at least three families and two work groups that have come together to begin discussing the issues amongst themselves.

This is a good way for us as citizens to discuss the issues ourselves and put together views that are specific to you.

If you are interested in starting such a group and you would like information or assistance from the Secretariat, please call us at 244-3603 or e-mail us at [email protected] Let’s Shape Our Future Together.