Constitution – a set of fundamental
principles or established precedents according to which a state or other
organisation is governed. These rules together make up, or rather constitute,
what the entity is. When these principles are written down into a single
collection or set of legal documents, those documents may be said to comprise a
Today we are celebrating the Cayman Islands
Constitution, which first came into play in 1959,
Since then it has gone through many
revisions, with the latest coming in 2009.
In the past 53 years, Cayman has gone from
a dependency of Jamaica, to a British crown colony, to an overseas yerritory of
the United Kingdom.
Constitution Day provides an opportunity to
look at that process and better understand where we are today as a society and
where we may be heading.
Our first constitution was extremely
important; under it Cayman ceased to be a dependency of Jamaica.
In 1962 we amended our constitution because
Jamaica decided to become independent of the Mother Country.
As Sir Vassel Johnson noted, the governor
of Jamaica was still the governor of the Cayman Islands and Jamaica provided
certain essential services for Cayman, such as medical and prison facilities.
The question arose as to what Cayman’s constitutional position should be.
We decided to make a clean break with
Jamaica and move to crown colony status directly with the UK government.
And that’s where we are today; still a
territory of the United Kingdom and, according to the wishes of the majority,
that’s where we want to remain.
For now, independence isn’t on our radar.
Jamaica, on the other hand, will celebrate
50 years of independence on 6 August. We wish them well, but as a country we’re
not ready to cut our ties with Mother’s apron strings. That’s not to say that
we don’t have our own government and say-so in the running of our country. Our
constitution is a dynamic document that has been updated throughout its
history. Today, celebrate our history and the document that makes us who and
what we are.