Cayman could be next TCI

‘Lack of effective constitutional checks and balances in the system of governance to protect the public purse, the inefficient from scrutiny, the dishonest from discovery and the vulnerable from abuse’.– Summary of the Turks and Caicos final report dated 31 May, 2009, of the commission of enquiry (para 4).

The UK has partially suspended the defective TCI constitution and dissolved the legislature and the cabinet for a period not to exceed two years.

Ironically Cayman’s new constitution is mostly word for word the T&C 2006 constitution. The commission recommends ‘amendment of the 2006 [T&C] constitution, or with a view to a new constitution, reform of the franchise and removal or reduction of constitutional imbalances and weaknesses.’

We pointed out these imbalances and weaknesses and the commission’s serious findings in their interim report of 28 February, 2009, in many letters over the past two years and in12, 000 leaflets dated 14 May, 2009, distributed in newspapers. We asked for more time for the public to understand the complex constitution and not put the referendum with the confusion and politicking of the general election. Our warnings were not heeded by the PPM and the Cayman Ministers Association and their 29 participating churches, which were some of the main public supporters of the defective new constitution that Cayman now has.

The UDP and the Leader of Government Business cannot be blamed for the failures and defects of the new Cayman constitution as they did not support bringing the referendum so early. The PPM government is to blame for this.

We recommended in summary in our 12,000 fliers, that Cayman’s new constitution should have included the following checks and balances among others:

Cap borrowings of Government, the statutory authorities and companies at 10 per cent of recurrent revenue.

No NEW borrowings unless Government and statutory authorities publish audited accounts and that in the previous year’s audited accounts there is at least a genuine 5 per cent surplus.

No INCOME TAX or property tax and NO CONSTITUTIONAL HANGE before a referendum of at least one half of the registered voters (not one half of those voting, which PPM used in the May referendum and which we think is wrong and undemocratic as a minority of voters can force a new constitution or even independence on the majority).

The T&C Commission recommends ‘amendment of the 2006 (T&C) Constitution or with a view to a NEW constitution……’ Cayman is left with the equivalent of the 2006 constitution without proper checks and balances.

Cayman’s new constitution has the same defects and lacks the checks and balances pointed out by the Commission for the T&C constitution. If the PPM and Cayman Ministers Association had given the public more time and taken the referendum after the elections the T&C Commissions final report of 31May, 2009, would have been published and the public and UDP would have had time to put in the checks and balances to protect the public.

Instead we have a new constitution similar to T&C with a ‘lack of effective constitutional checks and balances in the system of governance to protect the public purse, the inefficient from scrutiny, the dishonest from discovery and the vulnerable from abuse.’

Truman Bodden John McLean

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