So, a constitutional buzz is in the air!
What does it all mean, and how does it affect the lives of Caymanians personally?
By the way, who is a Caymanian anyway?
In this first article, I will give some background information on this buzz, and starting next Friday, we will begin diving into the specific issues in more detail, exploring and discovering the true meaning and importance of this document.
Before getting started, it will be helpful to recall some Caymanian history.Our British colonial status really started when England attempted to extend its sovereignty over this territory with the Treaty of Madrid in 1670.settlers came, made a new life, and became the indigenous Caymanians.
Neglected by England, for over the next 100 years, on 31 December, 1831, Caymanians took the initiative to pass the first local law.was not until 1863 that the Cayman Islands was formally declared a dependency of Jamaica.Jamaican independence in 1962, the Cayman Islands chose to remain a British colony and remain colonized until today.
Now, let’s define the word constitution.
Many of you are able to think of a thousand scenes on US television where someone is always referring to some amendment in the US constitution. So that we can better understand what ‘our’ constitution is, we need to define what are ‘written constitutions’ and ‘unwritten constitutions’.
The Cayman Islands ‘constitution’ is a written one, but the UK’s constitution is unwritten.
For the Cayman Islands, “our” current written constitution or codified constitution means:
A printed document in which some of the beliefs of the UK and some of the beliefs of the Caymanian people are written down. The governor, assisted by the MLAs, should adhere to those same beliefs as the UK reigns over the Cayman people, and when they are writing the laws that, they expect Caymanians, residents and visitors to obey.
Since we are a colony, if the UK Cabinet wishes to make changes to the wording of ‘our’ constitution, they can, even if we don’t want them to. The full name of ‘our’ constitution is, ‘The Cayman Islands (Constitution) Order 1972’.
For England, their unwritten constitution or uncodified constitution means:
A collection of many different written documents, such as laws, court cases, and unwritten customs, conventions, etc. by which the UK Cabinet reigns over its citizens and subjects, including the Cayman Islands; the same powers once enjoyed by kings and queens.UK Cabinet will follow its customs etc. when creating the laws it expects its citizens, residents and visitors to obey, unless the UK Cabinet feels like changing those customs etc.
Unlike any other constitution of its time in the world, the United States Constitution is best described as:
A printed agreement between the American people and themselves, embodying the beliefs described by Abraham Lincoln as, “… government of the people, by the people, for the people …”The United States constitution allows the American people to establish, demolish and replace any parts of their government if they feel it will result in greater safety and happiness for the American people.
Until next week, I recommend everyone watch the online video Stealing a Nation.you can see how the UK’s power of Order in Council has affected the Chagos Islands, another British Overseas Territory.