Privy Council OKs Cayman constitution

Another milestone has been reached in enacting Cayman’s voter-approved constitution, this time in London.

Following the successful outcome of the country’s constitutional referendum on 20 May, Cayman Islands Governor Stuart Jack confirmed that the 2009 draft constitution was considered and approved by Her Majesty, the Queen of England in Privy Council Wednesday.

The council’s approval means the draft constitution now becomes the Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009. That order, however, does not mean the document comes into force immediately.

The Order still must be laid before the United Kingdom Parliament. This is scheduled to happen on 17 June, according to Governor Jack.

“As Governor of the Cayman Islands I will then be required to decide and proclaim the “Appointed Day,” the legal term for the start date (for the constitution),” Mr. Jack said in a prepared statement released late Thursday. “On that day the new constitution will come into effect and the present constitution will be repealed in its entirety.”

The governor did not set a date for when the new constitution will take effect.

“I can say that it will not be for several months,” he said. “I must ensure that all essential tasks that are necessary for the smooth introduction of the new constitution have been completed. Failure to ensure this may leave us with damaging constitutional voids, which could become messy, complex or legally deficient.”

The constitution will create a number of new government posts and offices and will require the reorganisation of others. A number of existing Cayman Islands laws will also have to be amended to ensure they fall into line with the new governing document.

“None of us should underestimate the magnitude of the task before us, particularly in the lead-up to the start date,” Governor Jack said.

A small group of civil servants under the direction of Chief Secretary-designate Donovan Ebanks has been appointed to draft a constitutional implementation plan that will direct what Cayman does to prepare for constitutional change both before and after the day the document takes effect.

“That work is already well advanced,” the Governor said, adding that he would seek the views of local elected officials and representatives of the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office before moving forward with the implementation plan.