Letters to the Editor: No to non-Caymanian jurors

Please register my objection to the proposal to broaden the pool of jurors to include persons other than Caymanian citizens.

This move will not only be precedent setting, but it will be dangerous, in that it will be depriving persons of one of their most sacrosanct human rights.

I have done a quick search and from 1700 BCE when Hammurabi published the modernizing Code of Hammurabi, down thru the era of the great Roman Empire, no such precedent existed. Even Pericles, the great Athenian and the Father of Democracy stopped short of such an unwarranted gift.

Fast forward through the centuries of European domination of the then-known world and no imperial power would dare think of empowering aliens to sit in judgement over their citizens.

Twenty-first century human rights notwithstanding, there is no compelling reason why any society would wish to surrender such a responsibility to persons who have yet to prove their allegiance and commitment to their proposed adopted society. First, the privilege to serve as jurors, next the right to vote. Where will it all end?

As I see it, citizenship in the Cayman Islands, cheapened already by multiple competing interests, will be devalued into worthlessness.

Roy Bodden

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Congratulations Mr Roy on your stance. Hopefully our politicians will heed your advice. What I want to know is why would they allow the attorney general to even contemplate such a move. Lets also remember that a few months ago he also proposed to limit the right to a jury trial. But i guess when we look at the makeup of the decision makers in our public law enforcement, prosecutory and judicial fraternity, we have the answer before us.

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  2. It is extremely difficult to select a panel of jurors in Cayman. Knowledge of the victim or the accused tops the list. Jury duty is not something persons welcome doing. Just look at the laws governing potential jurors, i.e. contempt of court, fines, jailtime, etc. You really think non-caymanians are lining up for jury duty?

    Nearly all of the Crown lawyers, virtually all defence lawyers and most of the judges are, guess what? NON-CAYMANIANS. There goes your most sacrosanct human right. Do not forget trial by judge alone, who most likely is NON-CAYMANIAN.

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  3. How dare JTB accuse us Caymanians of being viscerally racist against Jamaicans? I think that JTB is being very hypocritical by accusing us of such a thing, it reminds me of the pot calling the kettle black.
    BDJ

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  4. Say What? As a Caymanian I am very upset offended by the nasty remarks made by a JTB. Caymanians are known worldwide for our friendliness. We are known as the friendliest people in the world, but if you step on our toes we will step on yours. That is human nature, not visceral racism against any particular nationality. One love.
    CTB

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  5. In response to JTB I would like to make it abundantly clear that Caymanians are not racist against Jamaicans or any nationality, but we are one thousand percent pro Caymanians. Like any other Nationality we look out for our people first foremost. Don’t Jamaicans do the same thing? I would ask JTB to be more careful in their false remarks, because whereas like every country we may have one or two persons who are not as welcoming as most Caymanians, the vast majority of our people are not viscerally racist against anyone, but we are proudly pro-Cayman. We are a laid back people, but when attacked we will stand up defend, this must not be mistaken as being viscerally racist.
    Chris

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  6. If a person such as JTB can accuse my country Cayman of being viscerally racist against Jamaicans then as a Caymanian I can honestly accuse their country of being viscerally racist against Caymanians because I have felt it. It is ironic that in a country so viscerally racist against Caymanians that such a hypocritical comment can be made. Furthermore, the Caymanians who do speak out against Jamaicans do so in response to the way most Jamaicans treat Caymanians, because of the negative things that they say about Caymanians. The comments by JTB are shocking untrue, I pray that JTB does not live in Cayman because that would make it even more insulting.
    John J

    *Note to Caycompass: I sent a reply to JTB’s comment that claimed that my country is viscerally racist against Jamaicans but it is not posted. Since you saw fit to post JTB’s comments then I can’t see why you cannot my comments doing the same thing, thank you

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  7. Objections to outsiders being elected as jurors in the trial of possible Caymanian criminals can clearly be understood but the the fact that has to be considered is that of how does one obtain an impartial and fair judgement given the small size of Cayman’s indigenuous population which as everyone probably knows amounts to the equivalent of small village in the UK.

    The concept of trial by jury was proposed to enable an accused person to be judged by their peers using commonly held acceptance of the laws of the land. The idea was to avoid the accused being judged solely by a person of privilege, ie. the judge and allow the person’s peers to determine whether the person was guilty of the accused crime or not.

    The main problem that presently exists in Cayman is that the pool of potential jurors is extremely small. It is obvious that many people who are accused of crimes in the Islands will be related to may others who are otherwise law-abiding.

    It folows that no one wants to be seen to be part of a jury who convicts a relative of a crime for a variet of reasons.

    The idea of involving individuals who have no familial connection with the Islands and its people would therefore seem to offer a totally impartial way of asssessing whether an individual is guilty or otherwise of the crimes of which they have been accused in a way which is not subject to feelings of guilt or coercion.

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  8. Rockman – you logic assumes Caymanians want a totally impartial way of judging if someone is guilty of a crimes. Based on years and years of observation, I would argue they don’t, at least not for all people. The old boy’s network is alive and well here and certain people have always been allowed to get away with crimes, including politicians, financial industry professionals and those in prominent families. Having expats on juries would threaten the way things have been done here for 50 years.

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  9. JTB is rather rude to make such a comment. We are no different in OUR country than any other person is in theirs. Just take a close look at our southern neighbors if you want to see an example of a country that is viscerally racist against Caymanians, but somehow I doubt a Caymanian would dare live in that country and say such a thing. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you, while being rude and untruthful. Why is it that expats feel that we should be any different to how they are in their country? It is not that we are against anyone, we are Caymanians and we love Cayman. Take it or leave it. We love Cayman.
    Klove

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  10. Certainly everyone has a right to be tried by their peers.

    But this misses an important issue. About half the people living in Cayman are non-Caymanians. It therefore follows that about half the crimes are also committed by non-Caymanians. Is it fair that they should only be judged by people who may (or may not) be prejudiced against them?

    If non-Caymanians had the dubious honour of serving on juries they could be mostly used on trials of THEIR peers.

    Thus in a trial of a Jamaican 50% of the jury could be of Jamaican origin and so on.

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  11. For all the commentary on this topic, I would think that not too many expats would be interested in Jury Duty either. As was said, the old boy network is alive and well in Cayman and an expat even filing a police report can end his time on the island.

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