This week we celebrate the document that underpins the freedoms we all enjoy as the people of the Cayman Islands. The Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009 is the cornerstone of democracy, promoting strength in our people and ensuring Government and civil servants alike are held accountable, to the highest standards.
This Constitution tells us who can make decisions and how you can challenge those decisions. It serves to reduce the powers of the Government and to devolve more power to the people. It is in line with the United Kingdom’s wish that we in the Cayman Islands, as an Overseas Territory, have the freedom to run our own affairs to the greatest degree possible.
The institutions set up under the Constitution to support our democracy, the Commission for Standards in Public Life, the Human Rights Commission and the Constitutional Commission, have been working diligently over the past year to fulfil their roles and promote openness and accountability as important components of our lives.
Together with the already established complaints and information commissioners, the commissions are striving to ensure that we in the Cayman Islands understand and are aware of the issues which affect our daily lives.
They have made great strides in ensuring we live in a community in which the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom are respected and upheld.
The creation of advisory district councils will also play a vital role in this process. And the newly formed Judicial and Legal Services Commission is already helping ensure the independence of our judiciary.
The Bill of Rights enshrined in our constitution contains the most up-to-date rights, freedoms and responsibilities that fit well with the history, culture and Christian heritage of our Islands.
These rights should be cherished and respected.
We take them for granted at our peril. As we work towards the implementation of the Bill of Rights we can see ideals which only serve to the betterment of the people and the community as a whole.
We all have an obligation, as individuals whom this Constitution affects, to take stock of the contents and participate in the shaping of our future.
I urge you to familiarise yourself on the Constitution by visiting one of the commissions’ websites or contacting the Commissions Secretariat.
All the people of the Cayman Islands should be proud of what we have been able to accomplish with the introduction of the new Constitution, we should embrace the document for the advancement it brings to the country.
Governor Duncan Taylor