Constitutional talks cover ground

Recent constitutional talks between the visiting Cayman Islands delegation and the UK team from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at Lancaster House in London reviewed ten outstanding points from the second round of talks in January.

Discussions on Cayman’s current stance on the points meant that some modified positions will be presented to the UK Minister for Overseas Territories Gillian Merron when talks continue tomorrow.

FCO Team Leader Ian Hendry outlined the UK Government’s present positions, reflecting the give-and-take of the negotiating table.

The outstanding points largely concern Cayman’s political relationship with the UK and civil society’s entitlements under a Bill of Rights.

The discussions also considered submissions by Cayman’s Chief Justice the Hon. Anthony Smellie, QC, and the Civil Service Association.

The day began with the teams reviewing the present draft, correcting about a dozen omissions and typographical errors.

Overall, the talks aim to produce the final draft constitution which will be voted on during a referendum in May. On Thursday, negotiations are to centre on human rights.

The Cayman team has Government, Opposition and non-governmental organisation members.

‘I am delighted we have covered considerable ground and look forward to robust discussions over the next two days,’ said Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts.

‘Since our arrival, we had discussions with team members to help narrow down remaining differences,’ said Education Minister Alden McLaughlin.

‘There now seems to be general agreement among the Cayman delegation on the content of the Bill of Rights. While there are still a couple of issues between the Government and the Opposition, I am confident that we will resolve these. Overall, I am pleased with the commitment of all parties to achieve the best possible constitution for the Cayman Islands,’ he said.

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