Draft Constitution referendum

For many years attempts to modernise the 1972 constitution have been unsuccessful. It is now within reach and hopefully the voters will approve the draft on Election Day — if we have leaders who will support it.

Benjamin Franklin’s first rule of leadership was: it’s easier to accomplish things if you don’t worry about credit. On the first page of the draft circulated to the voting public it says ‘the spirit of cooperation between the UK Government and the CI Delegation resulted in an AGREEMENT to a new Draft C. I. Constitution on Feb. 5, 2009 at Lancaster House, London.’

It can be taken from that statement that the PPM and the UDP agreed on it in London and I hope that agreement has not ended! It would shock the taxpayers to know what an exercise such as this cost and it should not have to be repeated. For what purpose? Is it so another administration will get the credit, or that they want to go to London again and live like royalty? Fly first class, stay in the most expensive rooms in one of the most expensive cities in Europe, eat at the most expensive restaurants, see shows, etc. Taxpayers are tired of seeing their funds wasted!

At least one member of the opposition says she will vote against it, another says his vote is secret, some say not enough time to read it. The draft can be read in less than an hour. The voters have a right to know how a candidate for election will vote and it is an insult if one is asked by a voter to give their stand on the draft and then say I won’t tell you my position on it! Every candidate for office should declare on it. I have talked to members of both parties who said it has their support. I urge the voters to vote YES on the draft for these reasons:

1. If you are waiting for a draft that is 100 per cent to your liking, forget it! You’d have to write your own and someone will find something in that to disagree with and use as an excuse not to support it.

2. The present Government, the Opposition, and the public have put a lot of time and effort in getting it to this stage and a YES vote will show appreciation.

3. The cost to the taxpayer of such an exercise would surprise you—-it is probably in the millions-and to start over again is a big waste of money, time, and effort.

5. The Constitution can be amended if a provision proves unsatisfactory.

6. As stated in paragraph one above our representatives agreed on it in London.

6. Failure to approve this document may well result in the UK Government, which has obligations under international agreements, to impose one on the Cayman Islands or even push us out of the nest!

The voters should give their approval and in effect say we are grateful for the long hours and hard work put in to get the draft before us. Get this exercise behind us so we can deal with the serious problems facing the Cayman Islands. We ask those seeking election to stop grandstanding to get the credit; we will give both sides the credit.

Mark Panton

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