Bar Association appoints new council

A new council was appointed for the Caymanian Bar Association at its annual general meeting on 9 July.

James Bergstrom will serve as the CBA’s new president, while Orren Merren was appointed vice president.

Mr. Bergstrom sent an email to CBA members the day after the AGM saying the meeting had provided the new council with very useful views on the direction the organisation should take going forward.

‘There is a clear mandate to invigorate the CBA, which we intend to do,’ he wrote.

Responding to questions from the Caymanian Compass this week, Mr. Bergstrom said all the new council members were committed to invigorating the CBA.

‘The CBA has an important role to play with focus on more local issues than the Cayman Islands Law Society,’ he said. ‘The CBA will aim to serve the legal professional generally, and specifically Caymanian lawyers, but promoting professional excellence and courtesy; collegiality among lawyers; proper administration of justice; and respect for the law.’

Mr. Bergstrom also said the CBA would aim to encourage the constant review of the law and desired law reform.

Once a vigorous entity, the CBA has struggled in recent times. At the opening of Grand Court this year, no one from the CBA spoke, as has been customary.

Part of the CBA’s problems were a result of a rift in the organisation that occurred in 2004 over its decision to legally challenge in court the 2,850 grants of Caymanian Status made by the United Democratic Party Cabinet in 2003.

A number of the CBA’s members who were opposed to the legal challenge of the status grants subsequently resigned. After filing suit for judicial review, the case was eventually abandoned.

Mr. Merren, who was one of the founding members of the CBA when it was established in 1988, said he was glad to see the organisation reconstituted with a mandate for invigoration.

‘I think there was a real role for the Caymanian Bar Association in the first place,’ he said. ‘One of the things I asked at the [annual general] meeting was if there was still a need for it or if it was time to give it up. Everyone agreed it was still needed.’

Mr. Merren said he believes the CBA can thrive under the leadership of Mr. Bergstrom and with the new council.

Other council members appointed at the AGM include Secretary Winston Connolly, Treasurer Abraham Thoppil, and Council Members Wayne Panton, Dale Crowley, Nick Joseph and Nick Rogers.