Light agenda for Cayman Brac Legislative Assembly session

Aston Rutty Civic Centre on Cayman Brac

A relatively light legislative agenda is expected when Cayman Islands lawmakers head to the Brac next week.

Only two new government bills have been tabled ahead of the three-day legislative session, which starts on Wednesday, Sept. 5, at the Aston Rutty Civic Centre.

One of those, an amendment to the Penal Code, seeks to introduce new criminal offenses to deal with sex offenders who use cellphones and social media to groom potential victims.

The other is a proposed amendment to the Anti-Corruption Law seeking to allow the unit’s officers to carry body armor, batons, Tasers, pepper spray, handcuffs and other restraints in specific situations.

It had been anticipated that legislation to form the new Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman (WORC) agency – which will combine aspects of the existing labor and immigration departments in one unit – would go to the Legislative Assembly this session. But it appears that the underpinning legislation for that agency has not been finalized.

The Brac meeting is officially the first of the 2018/19 legislative session. A spokeswoman for the premier said it was expected to last three days but would continue in Grand Cayman the following week if necessary.

The deadline for members to submit parliamentary questions in advance of the meeting was Thursday and the deadline for private members’ motions is Tuesday.

Opposition leader Ezzard Miller has submitted two motions.

One calls for the government to hold a referendum to decide the future of the controversial cruise berthing project. The other calls for funds to be freed up to immediately implement the recommendations of the Education Council on reform of the system. Deputy Opposition leader Alva Suckoo said the group would persist with the motion despite government’s announcement that it would be allocating additional funds for salary increases for teachers.

“We put the motion out and I think they reacted to it,” he said.

“We are still going to debate it because there are still issues in the schools that aren’t being dealt with. The money was primarily for salaries but there are still serious resourcing issues that need attention. We appreciate the efforts but more needs to be done.”

Independent member Kenneth Bryan, who is not a member of the official opposition, said he had submitted six parliamentary questions which he hopes will be dealt with.

Those include a question over the validity of contracts of Port Authority staff. Mr. Bryan said he was concerned about the impact of the port project on employment and wants to probe concerns highlighted to him about the contract situation of staff.

He also wants answers over whether the proposed merger of labor and immigration functions in the new WORC agency will impact job security and salaries of any employees.

Mr. Bryan, the representative for George Town central, also plans to quiz the government over labor laws, amid concerns that charities – including the Pines Rest Home – that employ large numbers of staff, are not being held to the same standard as the private sector.

He also wants to know why the Advisory District Councils Law has not yet been implemented.

As well as the assembly session, a Tuesday Cabinet meeting and a ceremony to recognize the anniversary of the Cayman Islands coat of arms will be held on the Brac.