Editorial for March 11: Commissions get second-class

There seems, at least to us, to be a recurring theme with some of the constitutionally created commissions operating in Cayman since the adoption of the 2009 Constitution. These appointed boards appear to be somewhat irrelevant in their role and are merely being tolerated when necessary and ignored when convenient.

It is just an impression that we have, but it seems there is at least some evidence to back it up.

For instance, members of the Constitutional Commission said Tuesday the government did not wait for their input about the District Councils Law before passing it.

In addition, the Human Rights Commission, which has also been bypassed for advice on certain legal changes, has yet to receive a response on concerns it sent to government about the public CCTV system in August 2010.

In another example, the Commission on Standards in Public Life has repeatedly stated it needs appropriate legislative changes to give it the “teeth” required to prevent the possibility of public corruption. To date, this has not happened.

The commissions appointed under the Constitution are not the elected members of government. However, they are legally mandated bodies that receive their powers under the auspices of the country’s main governing document. They are there to – in many cases – be an auxiliary resource and think-tank of sorts for Cabinet and the governor, as well as serving an educational role for members of the general public.

At the very least, their advice should be considered by government, or else why even have these commissions?

In addition, we’d like to see the reports and recommendations of these appointed bodies always made public so they can become part of the national debate.  It seems rather senseless to have the calibre of people who sit on these bodies spend valuable time considering issues, making recommendations and writing reports, only to have their work end up on a shelf somewhere with few people knowing, or seemingly caring, what they say.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. It might be a smarter move to wait until it is decided what the districts are going to be and how the MLAs are elected before getting all worked up over the advisory councils. It would also be a smart move to be ready with your research and not expect people who are actually elected to wait for you.

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  2. This entire Constitution 2009 thing was a cooked-up deal between the politicians of the now powerless Labour Government of the UK and the now powerless PPM party of the Cayman Islands.

    The difference between the United Kingdom and the Cayman Islands is that the population of the United Kingdom are no sheep to the slaughter for our government.

    We can bring them to heel when we need to.

    The Cayman Islands is still a very special place; maybe being sheeps to your politicians keeps it that way.

    We will see how long that will remain the case.

    There is a robust, thriving democracy in the United Kingdom and the most important of these commissions is the Equality and Human Rights Commission; really the only one that counts.

    It will be a cold day in hades when the Cayman Islands ever sees any of the constitutional commissions have any influence on any actions of the Cayman Islands government.

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