Few at constitution meeting

There were twice as many balloons as attendees at the final scheduled Constitutional Review Secretariat meeting at St. George’s Anglican Church Hall in George Town Thursday night.

Less than 20 people attended the meeting, including members of the media and Leader of the Opposition McKeeva Bush.

Constitutional Review Secretariat Deputy Director Christian Suckoo, who conducted the meeting with the help of PPM Government back-bencher Lucille Seymour, said he thought the small turn-out meant people were ready for the referendum on the matter.

‘People are ready to vote,’ he said. ‘They’ve gone through the education process and they’ve made their submissions. They understand the proposals. Now they want to go onto the next phase.’

Mr. Suckoo said the turnout was one of the smallest for any of the district meetings the Secretariat has held. He also said he believed it was the first meeting in which neither the Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts nor Cabinet Minister Alden McLaughlin was there.

‘They did explain prior that with the [Legislative Assembly sitting] and trying to finalise the budget for the year, it would be difficult for them to make it. But we were happy to have Miss Lucille here with us.’

Mr. Bush said he did not have the same reading on why there were so few people at the meeting.

‘I don’t think it’s because the people are ready for the referendum,’ he said. ‘I think the people are fed up with the way the PPM government has handled this. I think the people will vote no because they aren’t sure.’

Mr. Bush reiterated the country needed more time before a referendum.

‘[The government] has to give us time to go to every district with our discussion paper so we can get feedback. After that, we can sit down with the government and talk about what the people want, and then go to London to negotiate. They can’t go with just one side of the story, which is what they’re getting.’

Mr. Bush said the referendum shouldn’t take place in July and August as is rumoured.

There is no set schedule for the United Democratic Party’s district meetings at on the constitution, but Mr. Bush said it would be impossible to conduct them until after the budget session of the House ended in any case.

Mr. Suckoo said the Constitutional Review Secretariat would accept any submissions made by the UDP. He also said he expected the government to make an announcement on the referendum in the near future.

During Thursday’s meeting, Mr. Suckoo gave the attendees an overview of the PPM’s proposed changes to the constitution and then opened the floor for questions.

Denny Warren, one of the attendees, said the Constitutional Review Secretariat should not have stated the country had no desire for independence. Mr. Warren said he was not suggesting he was in favour of independence, but he could not speak for a generation 40 years from now that might want it.

Mr. Warren expressed the concern that by including any language in the constitution that stated Cayman did not desire independence, it could make it harder for a future generation that might want to go that route. He suggested instead the language say Cayman has no desire for independence at this time.

The questions and comments then quickly turned to the proposed bill of rights and the matter of the gay kissers.

Mr. Suckoo said other countries had been able to tailor their bills of rights to reflect local morals.

Ellio Solomon asked Ms Seymour what steps the PPM government would take to ensure ‘this type of behaviour’ was not accepted in the Cayman Islands.

Ms Seymour said she would not speak for the government or the PPM, but answered on a personal level.

‘Any aspect of immorality – homosexuality, defiling people’s children… I am against it,’ she said. ‘I abhor any indecency. I don’t tolerate it… whether it’s a tourist in a skimpy bathing suit… those are immoral things.’