Constitution offers a promising future

It is with an exciting combination of jubilation and expectation that we prepare to inaugurate the revised Cayman Islands Constitution. We will certainly celebrate the moment!

But at this critical point in our national development, I am also reminded that we, the people, must be mindful of our obligation to the future, even as we remain mindful of the lessons of the past.

I say this for it is imperative that each person in our society be aware of the contents of the constitutional document-and of our corresponding rights and responsibilities.

History confirms that the Union Jack was once prominent in many countries across the globe. It is flown in fewer places today and in recent decades the UK has encouraged a process of delegating many of their responsibilities to its territories, thereby encouraging democracy to continue to flourish as the countries mature.

Here at home, it is the stated intent of the government and people of the Cayman Islands to maintain our close ties with the mother country. But real growth can only occur when the democratically-elected leadership controls the intended course of direction and when the people in turn continue to inform and thereby guide their representatives.

This should not be difficult to achieve, for the constitutional review process has been under way for several years now and a bounty of information resources and avenues of communication is available.

It’s often said that a constitution is a living document. However, in itself it is simply ink and paper. It is people who breathe life into its pages and who exercise its provisions and allowances.

It is therefore imperative that citizens continue to take advantage of opportunities to share their views, and to seek clarification regarding areas of interest. There are many resources including a new Constitutional Commission, websites and libraries, as well as your MLAs and civil leaders.

Activism is not a bad thing. In fact, constructive involvement is necessary, for in a free, democratic country there must be no sanctions against free speech and each voice must be heard.

I take this opportunity to thank the government officials and private citizens who have been involved in the process, and in particular, those who are consistently vocal on issues relating to governance and rights.

I encourage others to follow suit, for as we celebrate this grand occasion we also realise that there is still much to be done. Indeed, this perpetual process will continue with our children and theirs and they will undoubtedly uncover new and exciting reasons to develop and amend the Constitution in future years.

Today, I join the populace in welcoming the formal acceptance of the revised Constitution of the Cayman Islands. I remain confident that God’s continued grace, coupled with our faith, honest optimism and initiative, will translate into a brighter and more promising future for us all.

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