As you can tell from the last week’s column, the House of Commons was very upset with the UK Government regarding the Chagos Islanders.
The same country from which the world received the Great Magna Carta, who desires to see more democracies and governments respecting the rule of law, acted “unlawfully”. Is the UK government above the law?
I believe the UK has lost its authority to counsel us on human rights, and I hope that we never see a British government shame its colonies in this way again. From my perspective, there can be forgiveness, but only after repen-tance and in this case, only a public one will do.
The above brings us to our local Government’s support for the principle of, “parliamentary sovereignty” it is what the UK considers the most important principle of their uncodified constitution. Under which the Parliament can make or cancel any law, and that any laws passed by Parliament, cannot be invalidated by any court. However, over time, the UK Parliament has passed laws that have limited itself. Those laws result from the political developments both within and outside the UK. Such as, them joining the European Union in 1972, the passage of the Human Rights Act 1998, and a few others. Another equally important principle the UK claims is the rule of law.
Our local Government also supports the principle of parliamentary sovereignty. Essentially, they are both saying that is it a football association that makes the rules for a football game and not the referee, who must apply those rules.
So, they both view the courts as a referee and a member of the association who is responsible for making those rules.
A question that should come to our minds here is who will be the check against this supreme power of the Parliament? People for Referendum contend that it must be we the People, via Initiative, Referendum and Recall, but that is a future column.
Upon becoming a member in 1945, the UK bounded itself to the UN Charter, where Article 103 specifies that, “In the event of a conflict between the obligations of the Members of the United Nations under the present Charter and their obligations under any other international agreement, their obligations under the present Charter shall prevail.”
No treaty should be ex-tended to the Cayman Islands before a debate in our Legislative Assembly and all treaties should require our approval before being extended to us.
Under Article 73 of the UN Charter, the UK, as or Administering Power, has agreed to “… recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of [the Cayman Islands] are paramount, and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by the present Charter, the well-being of the inhabitants of [the Cayman Islands], and, to this end:
a. to ensure, with due respect for the culture of the [Cayman Islands, our] political, economic, social, and educational advancement, [our] just treatment, and [our] protection against abuses;
b. to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the [Caymanian people], and to assist [us] in the progressive development of [our] free political institutions, according to [our] particular circumstances …;
c. to further international peace and security; …”
Some say that “our” 1972 constitution has severed us well, and are asking others why change it. Let us explore that question a bit.
In whose interest is the UK administering thing territory?
The type of constitution we have is a colonial one, meaning the Cayman Islands are directly ruled by another country – the UK. UK Cabinet Ministers rule over us through the “Foreign and Commonwealth Office” via their Governor. We have no voice in electing them to office but they claim a full and final say on everything we can to do.
In chapter 9 of the 1999 White Paper, the UK is seeking, “A new partnership”, and one that is, “… modern, forward-looking, fair and effective…”. What does modern mean? What is fair? What is effective? What are your answers to these questions?
What is fair?
That depends on who you ask.
The physics influencing my moral compass is the Word of God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Therefore, it is from this perspective that I will define what “fair” means. Keeping in mind things that are legal does not always mean that they are also moral!
Someone recently asked me, “How should we change our constitution?” I said, “If you believe that your right to freedom of expression should be protected from the State, then that should be in your constitution. If you believe that your right to self-defense should be protected from the State, then that should be in your constitution”. We should protect our human and civil rights from the State by entrenching them in “our” constitution.
By protect, I mean, that the State cannot deny us of those rights without due process or change our fundamental rights without out prior approval in a referendum of a Super Majority.
“Our” current constitution does not properly protect us from the abuses of the State.
We should not be deceived into thinking that the State only means our local government; it does not, it also means the UK government and the European Union as well.
Since the PPM signed the Cayman Islands up to the right to petition the European Court of Human Rights, the Government should answer the Associated Press article that says that the ECHR has a case backlog of 46-years. How will the ECHR really protect our rights?
The constitutional pot-hole to be avoided at this junction is to not accept what the British desires for us; we should instead attend the meetings, study, learn the facts and make our own aspirations known to the Constitutional Review Secretariat.
Contrary to what others have said, I do not believe the UK will force the Cayman Islands into independence; they have made it clear that they will not refuse our request for it. At this time, all we have to say is no thank you.
The UK is looking for our full agreement to the changes they want; my advice is that we ask for everything we want, including requiring that the dialogue between the UK and our MLAs be held locally in a public forum. Finally, we must preserve our right to future acts of self-determination.
“Our” new constitution must protect us from a forty-year court case like the Chagos Islanders; justice delayed is justice de-nied.