Premier gets police, immigration, fire budgets

A major shake-up within the halls of power for the Cayman Islands government was announced Tuesday that will give the new premier direct control over the finances of local law enforcement agencies 
including, to some extent, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.  

Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin, as the new minister of Community and Home Affairs, will be taking over a new ministry that will essentially replace the old government Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs. That move will take a significant number of responsibilities away from the deputy governor and give them to an elected minister.  

Among the areas now being delegated to Premier McLaughlin are immigration, responsibility for budget and support of police, public safety communication, hazard management, prisons, fire services, the petroleum inspectorate, community rehabilitation, computer services and the Cayman Islands office in London.  

Also, Mr. McLaughlin’s remit covers various immigration-related boards and those that deal with hurricane response and hazard management.  

The new premier cautioned that the delegation of responsibilities with regard to the RCIPS would be “very limited in nature”, according to the terms of the Cayman Islands’ 2009 Constitution Order. He said ministerial responsibility for police matters will not involve operational issues or staffing issues.  

“It’s solely responsible for the budget,” the premier said.  

Deputy Governor Franz Manderson foreshadowed such a move earlier this year as part of the changes being brought on by adding two new ministers to the Cayman Islands Cabinet.  

“Police will still remain with the governor,” Mr. Manderson said. “But you could have a minister being [directly] responsible for the police budget.”  

The Legislative Assembly approves all expenses made by the government, police and other law enforcement budgets included. However, right now, elected ministers do not get directly involved in the internal workings of processing those expenditures, other than in the assembly’s Finance Committee where budget line-items are reviewed.  

Mr. Manderson and his chief officer at the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, Eric Bush, perform that role now. “In the LA, I am responsible for the Portfolio of Internal and External affairs and the civil service. You could very well have those duties taken away from me. I would keep the civil service, for example, and then everything under the portfolio … would be under a minister, to include the police budget,” Mr. Manderson said. In that scenario, Eric Bush, the chief officer, would report directly to an elected minister, rather than Mr. Manderson as the deputy governor.  

The ministerial change was one of several revisions made in the 2009 Constitution Order that sought to limit the UK-appointed governor’s power or delegated powers.  

One of the key changes already in effect, the appointment of a National Security Council, does dilute – to some extent – the governor’s decision-making powers with regard to policing strategies.  

The National Security Council consists of the governor, the premier, two other elected ministers appointed by the governor in consultation with the premier, the leader of the opposition or their designee, and two other members of civil society appointed by the governor after consultation with the premier. The deputy governor, police commissioner and the attorney general are on the body as non-voting members.  


Budget issues  

Right now, budget matters are at the top of mind for the newly elected government, which has to come up with a temporary budget prior to the end of this month. That’s a normal process for a newly elected government, which typically has little time upon taking office following a late-May election to come up with a full year spending plan. Usually, the full-year budget will take effect after October.  

“There are challenges, some significant challenges that we’ve had to address,” Mr. McLaughlin said.  

Finance Minister Marco Archer said Tuesday that a projected $51 million operating surplus for the Cayman Islands government budget had not changed from the last estimates.  


The new government members speak with the press on Tuesday. From left, Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell, Premier Alden McLaughlin and Planning and Infrastructure Minister Kurt Tibbetts. Photo: Brent Fuller


  1. The entire former portfolio of Internal and External affairs which was under the Deputy Governor is now under the Premier! In addition, the premier also has community affairs, including social services.
    The Premier had indicated he did not want such a large ministry so he could keep more oversight on government as a whole and this situation will now make that more difficult to realize.
    Seems to me that the Deputy Governor’s work load has now been greatly reduced.

  2. RCIPS definitely need to put some budget towards retraining their officers on the basic rules of the road. I was pulled over by an officer, because I did not let her go first on a four-way stop intersection (her siren light was off!). Apparently first one to stop should not be the first one to go at a four-way stop intersection in Cayman roads. The officer argued that she had the right of way because she was on my right. So I should have let her go first, even though I have finished my full stop before she even made her stop. She was determined that I should treat the four-way stop intersection as if I was entering a roundabout.

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