Leader to take over finance

Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush will be a busy man indeed next month.

Mr. Bush said Thursday that he would be taking over the duties of Cayman’s new finance minister position when the country’s new constitution comes into effect on 6 November.

Current Financial Secretary Ken Jefferson will no longer be a member of the Legislative Assembly or Cabinet following the introduction of the new constitution. Precisely what will be done with Mr. Jefferson’s position is still a bit unclear.

Mr. Bush had earlier suggested the financial secretary would occupy a position somewhere in between the chief officer of the new finance ministry and the minister of finance.

The elimination of the financial secretary’s position in the LA leaves the lawmaking body with a gap that cannot be filled by a new LA member until Cayman’s Electoral Boundary Commission draws up the voting districts and decides where three additional representatives will come from.

Voters would then have to elect three new members in the next general election, boosting the total number of elected lawmakers to 18. One of the new members would be the minister of finance.

Other governing changes to take place as part of the new constitution include the elimination of the chief secretary’s position. Chief Secretary Donovan Ebanks will become Cayman’s first Deputy Governor and his Legislative Assembly seat will eventually be filled by another elected minister.

Attorney General Samuel Bulgin will remain in the LA, but only as a non-voting member and advisor to government on legal matters. Mr. Bulgin will also relinquish responsibility for criminal prosecutions to an as yet unnamed director of public prosecutions.

Other preparations are being made for the implementation of Cayman’s new Constitution.

The government passed changes Thursday to a number of bills to facilitate the new constitution at a meeting of the Legislative Assembly.

Amendments to the Customs Bill, the Stamp Duty Bill and the Public Management and Finance Bill were made to reflect that the new Minister of Finance would take on the duties of Financial Secretary in those bills.

The legislators also amended the Public Service Management Bill, which the Chief Secretary Donovan Ebanks said mostly dealt with the renaming of various offices and departments, and the Parliamentary Pensions Bill.