Human rights, Constitution commissions named

Pastors appointed to all new bodies

Three key commissions created under the Cayman Islands new Constitution have been appointed, including the Human Rights Commission, and the Commission for Standards in Public Life.

The nomination of the Human Rights Commission in particular fills what had been a void since the appointments of the former Human Rights Committee were allowed to lapse in late June 2009. The committee had been operating since October on an ad hoc basis with no staff support.

The commission will be chaired by former attorney general Richard Coles. Members include former Human Rights Committee chairperson Sara Collins, the Reverend Nicholas Sykes, Campbell’s managing partner Alistair Walters, and Cathy Frazier.

The commission has the ability to investigate public complaints of human rights abuses, and to mediate those disputes.

However, the majority of measures outlined in Cayman’s newly established Bill of Rights won’t come into effect until November 2012 – which is three years after the Constitution’s implementation.

The appointments announced by Deputy Governor Donovan Ebanks also included the newly created Constitutional Commission.

That commission was established as a sounding board and advisory panel on future changes in Cayman’s governing document.

Heading up that three-person commission is Pastor Al Ebanks. Panel members also include Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Wil Pineau and Julene Banks, the chair of Cayman’s National Drug Council.

Under the new Constitution, any major changes to the Cayman Islands governing agreement with Britain would have to be approved via a public referendum. Minor changes can go through with the agreement of the premier and the opposition party leader, as well as the UK.

The third commission announced Wednesday was the five-member Commission on Standards in Public Life.

The commission is required to monitor compliance with government transparency and anti-corruption regulations and can investigate instances when those standards are alleged to have been breached. Some areas the commission focuses on are the award of public contracts, and appointments to public bodies.

Karin Thompson has been named as commission chairperson, and other members of the board include Roy McTaggart, Pastor Winston Rose, Nyda-Mae Flatley and Hedley Robinson.

Appointments for a fourth constitutionally established commission, the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, are expected to be made within the next two to three months.