50 years ago: MLAs hold meeting on proposed Constitutional changes

In the March 29, 1967 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, news from the Brac included:

“MLAs K.P. Tibbetts and Burns Rutty discussed the Constitutional proposals with an audience largely from the western districts on Wednesday last. The east was absent due to lack of transportation.

“Chairman was Capt. Mabrey Kirkconnell who enjoyed clarity of understanding of what is at stake in the proposed amendments.

“Capt. Tibbetts put forward the importance of a country being governed according to laws laid down by the people – we are governed by a Legislative Assembly controlled by an Executive Council.

“We do need advancement, but must not jump into it suddenly. Remaining with England our Government remains stable, [but] without foreign investment the islands will never progress. We have a long distance to go in education before we can take responsibility.

“Mr. Rutty shared his full agreement with Mr. Tibbetts, and said that he sees the proposed modifications as a major step towards internal self-government. In five or 10 years, the islands may be ready to go into this. Foreign investment symbolizes the confidence of the outer world in Caymanians. Citing the school which took about ten years to become a reality, he said that the British government is taking care of us even if it may appear to be slow, but we are developing and have come a long way since 1959, constitutionally.

“Mr. J.A. Ryan, the only nominated member ever for the Lesser Islands, was convincing in his reasons from practical experience in Government and real estate contact with foreign capital, the majority voice of the people in Executive Council will bring a reaction of no confidence from foreign capital.

“The majority of people are more than happy with the status quo abroad and at home.”

“From the floor Mrs. P. Jackson and Mr. Alford Scott supported the MLAs and Mr. Ryan’s conviction that we should remain as we are.

“A vote was taken, much was unanimous that we remain as we are and no change in the Constitution.

“In the course of discussion, Mr. Rutty said he disapproved of the action of His Honour the Administrator in even mentioning the proposed amendments at his public meeting, as to do so was unconstitutional.

“Mr. Ryan asked MLAs to follow up the Administrator’s suggestion that a meeting of the Legislative Assembly be held in Cayman Brac as this would be a means of enlightening our people and awakening interest in civic affairs and also bring the people closer together.

“The meeting was made further instructive by discussions on the road construction and constitutions of the other West Indian territories and facets of federation, the failure of the past and the possibilities of a future one.”

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