We the people…in order to form a more perfect union…
That’s the preamble to the United States Constitution.
While it does not grant or prohibit any particular authority to the federal government, it does establish the fact that the federal government has no authority outside of what follows the declaration.
The most important words in the preamble are ‘We the people.’
And that’s what any modernised constitution in the Cayman Islands should take into consideration – We the people.
Any revised constitutional document for us should be about us – We the people – not the politicians and not political parties.
On Monday the Cayman Islands celebrates Constitution Day.
It will carry more weight perhaps this year than any in the past as we contemplate what our modernised constitution should contain and say.
Constitution Day in the Cayman Islands marks our first written constitution, which came into being on 4 July, 1959.
The constitution that governs us today was revised in 1972.
That document has been amended several times in the past 36 years.
Two important amendments came in 1984 with the granting of a Court of Appeal and a provision that voters and candidates for election to the Legislative Assembly have closer ties with Cayman than had previously been required.
Another amendment in 1992 increased the number of Members to the Legislative Assembly from 12 to 15.
Other changes allowed the Executive Council to become Cabinet and increased the number of elected members from four to five and authorised the holding of a referendum.
Under changes to our existing constitution we got a Grand Court, a Complaints Commissioner and the positions of Auditor General and Attorney General were bolstered.
Our constitution, just as that in the United States, is a living document that is updated as needs arise.
We are now in the throes of constitutional modernisation.
Plans are that the presiding government and opposition members will meet with representatives from the UK to come up with a draft constitution that will be presented for us to vote on in a referendum next May.
As we contemplate constitutional modernisation Monday we should all make a vow to learn as much as we can about the document that could become our new constitution.
We must be educated and informed before we vote on the proposed referendum on 20 May.
We owe it to ourselves and future generations.