Government, as the word is typically used, refers to the people who have responsibility for formulating policies and directing how those policies should be implemented.
In fact, these policymakers form just one branch of Cayman’s government, the Executive. It consists of the governor, as the representative of Her Majesty the Queen; and Cabinet, which is comprised of the premier (sometimes referred to as the chief minister) and six other ministers plus the deputy governor and the attorney general.
There are two other branches of government – the Legislature, which makes the country’s laws; and the Judiciary, which interprets and applies the laws.
After the general election on May 24, the 19 individuals elected as Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) will have a role in the formation of a government – that is, in determining which of them will be the Cabinet ministers.
The process by which the Cabinet ministers assume their roles is set out in the Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009.
The Constitution states: Where a political party gains a majority of the seats of elected members of the Legislative Assembly, the governor shall appoint as premier the elected member of the Assembly “recommended by a majority of the elected members who are members of that party.”
In other words, the MLAs belonging to the winning party choose the premier from among themselves, usually the person already recognized as the party leader.
If no political party gains a majority, or if no recommendation is made, then the Speaker of the House will call for a vote among the newly elected MLAs to determine which elected member commands the support of the majority.
In the language of the Constitution, the Speaker “shall cause a ballot to be held” and shall record the vote of each member voting. The MLA who obtains a majority of the votes is the one whom the governor will appoint as premier.
After the premier is appointed, he or she shall advise the governor on the appointment of the other six ministers. These six will be from among the MLAs, and one of them will be deputy premier.
On advice from the premier, the governor will allocate responsibilities to the ministers.
The 2013 general election was the first held under the present Constitution, which came into effect on Nov. 6, 2009, almost six months after the general election and formation of government that year.