Editorial for 25 October: You told yourself so

People will sometimes accuse auditors and news organisations
of saying ‘I told you so’ after something bad has already happened.

However, in the case of Cayman’s inadequate police jails, we
might say that government told itself so.

It just didn’t listen.

As early as 2008, officials in the Portfolio of Internal and
External Affairs recognised the need for a general upgrade of police
facilities, including the lock ups in George Town and West Bay.

However, the $15 million Bodden Town Emergency Centre –
which included jails and a new police station – proved “too costly” and was
shelved.

Apparently an $85 million government office building was not
thought to be too expensive, but we digress.

Almost the first words Police Commissioner David Baines said
to the Cayman Islands public after his arrival in June 2009 was that the
country needed new jails and police facilities.

He’s still saying the same thing only three-and-a-half years
later. Unfortunately government still isn’t listening.

Now it’s too late.

We’ll just have to deal with human rights issues as they
come up and hope the situation is resolved soon; it’s likely to be the more
expensive option as lawyers get involved in what could be lengthy court cases.

 

1 COMMENT

  1. Put the blame for this one squarely where it belongs…
    on Premiere McKeeva Bush’s doorstep.

    When this 2009 Constitution was being debated and negotiated, he and his UDP party, along with this Cayman Islands Ministers Association campaigned against the introduction of the Human Rights Bill to be included in it.

    The stupidity of this position went beyond all comprehension because any modern upgrade of Cayman’s constitution was specifically meant to address Cayman’s refusal to ratify the existing human rights treaties that successive Caymanian governments had refused to do since the 1960s…along with other issues, of course.

    They used the historical homophobic culture of Caribbean societies, based on Christian values, to justify this position.

    I personally believe and hold fast to those Christian values myself but that does not give me or anyone else the right to deny others the same protection for their values and beliefs as the law guarantees me.

    But the real issue has still not been addressed, even though McKeeva Bush knew the inevitability of this Bill of Rights.

    Who can now blame the arrested suspects and their lawyers when they are locked up in what is now illegal detainment facilities for suing the socks off the CI Government ?

    After all, they are only taking advantage of the Cayman Islands government refusal to abide by its own laws.

    What is good for the goose, is good for the gander.

  2. @Firery – You said any modern upgrade of Cayman’s constitution was specifically meant to address Cayman’s refusal to ratify the existing human rights treaties that successive Caymanian governments had refused to do since the 1960s. Since Cayman is not a sovereign state it cannot ratify treaties but just so you are aware, the ECHR was extended to Cayman in 2006 – 3 years before the introduction of the new Constitution. The Bill of Rights makes those rights justiciable in our local courts whereas under the ECHR there was only a direct right of individual petition to the ECtHR.

  3. Speaker…

    Whatever the purpose for your comments is, you’re addressing them to the wrong person.

    Under my own name, for many years, I’ve been a thorn in the side of the CI Government ever since I was a teenager, on this human rights issue…through letters written to every newspaper in the Cayman Islands, with verifiable, educational information for the reading public.

    You’ve said nothing here that I am not already totally aware of…but…

    You’ve made one cardinal error.

    You’ve failed to inform the readers of this forum that the Cayman Islands has refused to sign-up to the treaties already ratified by the United Kingdom from the 1960s, until Minister Alden McLaughlin, in 2006, was FORCED to finally accept the extension of the ECHR BECAUSE of the impending new constitution that would have them enshrined in it anyway.

    And you are again wrong in claiming that Caymanian citizens had any right of individual appeal BEFORE Mr. McLaughlin made the decision to accept the ECHR.

    The only right of appeal that Caymanians had was to the Privy Council in London, a number of which had been succesfully made long before 2006.

    Now, after Nov. 13, human rights cases can and WILL be brought before the courts of the Cayman Islands, as this Bill of Rights allows.

    The use of the words ‘ratified’ or ‘signed-up’ is mere semantics in Cayman’s case.

    The fact is that successive Caymanian governments refused to accept the human rights treaties that the United Kingdom were already compliant with, for many years…

    And that the upgrade of Britain’s Overseas Territories constitutions, which started with the 1997 White Paper, was meant to correct this matter and bring ALL of Britain’s territories in line with the ECHR.

    Obviously, the Cayman Islands is still dragging its feet on compliance with these human rights statutes, if your detention centres still have not been upgraded to the required ECHR standards…

    And there are many other areas that will face lawsuits under those statutes as well, if Cayman does not fully comply.

    BTW, I left the Cayman Islands permanently to live in Britain so I could write these comments freely, without having to look over my shoulder in Cayman.

    If you know so much about the Cayman Islands, as you seem to do, you will know exactly what I’m talking about.

    I LOVE living where my rights are fully protected under the law, which I can use against ANY government attempt to abuse or deny me of them.

  4. @Firery – My comments were addressed to you to clear up an inaccuracy in your post. The new Constitution was not introduced because Cayman was not already bound by international human rights human obligations as you claim, but instead to fully implement already binding obligations domestically.

    I did not of course suggest that there was any right of individual petition to the ECtHR before the ECHR was extended to us. My point was that since 2006 – 3 years before the Constitution was introduced – we have had that right.

    However, I agree that there had been reluctance by successive govts. to introduce a Bill of Rights.

    I hope we understand each other.

    I am sorry to hear you felt you had to run and leave your homeland. The only way to change things is to stay and fight.

    I am a little curious though – since you no longer live here and feel that your rights are completely secure in the UK why are you not using your name?

  5. Speaker…

    I know who you are…by your name…

    Just as you know who I am…by my name.

    Let’s stop playing these games..eh.

    And we will both protect each other’s names on this forum…are we agreed ?

    I never ran and left my country…

    I’ve only come home to the country of my CITIZENSHIP…

    To continue to fight to protect my country of birth…

    And family…

    From the likes of you and your political masters.

    Trust me, Speaker…

    You and yours have not heard the last of me !

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