It is with a sense of collective achievement and optimism that I join the people of the Cayman Islands in welcoming the modernised Constitution.
The combined efforts of so many people have culminated in this day, and the end product marks a new milestone in the ongoing development of this vibrant country.
I applaud the diligence and commitment of all those involved: all the participants from both the Cayman Islands and the United Kingdom who took part in the negotiations that crafted the new Constitution, and all the citizens that took part in the referendum that approved the results of their hard work. I am confident that the new Constitution will serve well these Islands and provide a sound basis for the relationship with the United Kingdom.
I am delighted to be able to say that the commencement of the Constitution on the Appointed Day, Friday, 6 November, 2009, represents the highlight of my four years in the Cayman Islands. Facilitating this effort was certainly at the top of on my agenda and I am pleased to witness its fulfilment.
That said, I must also stress the importance of maintaining public ownership of the Constitution. This is critical because this reworked document heralds a new way forward for the people of these three Islands, especially in terms of transparency, good governance and proper checks and balances.
True democracy should encompass public participation and government accountability to the electorate. A constitutional document defines responsibilities and rules for government, while serving to unify the people’s shared values, rights and ideals.
This country is accordingly fortunate to have developed a Constitution that reflects the unique perspectives and culture of the people of the Cayman Islands.
So on this historic day, we will undoubtedly reflect on the intense debates of preceding months, but should also acknowledge that the real call-to-arms begins now, with the Constitution’s implementation.
The need to look forward is equally clear. For instance, while it is three years away, I already anticipate that the introduction of the Bill of Rights, a new and important part of the Constitution, will be accompanied by added responsibilities and opportunities.
Meanwhile there is much to be done to implement all the new features, including more responsibilities for the elected government and different ways of working and thinking with the introduction of a number of new Commissions and other bodies, all of which should bring government closer to the people.
I congratulate all Caymanians on this extraordinary constitutional achievement and I pray for the continued success of these beautiful islands.
Stuart Jack – Governor