Bush to represent small nations in Commonwealth council

Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly Speaker McKeeva Bush, third from left, has been elected the Deputy Chairman of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s Small Branches Executive Council at a conference in Kampala, Uganda. He is seen here with other members of the council. - Photo: Submitted

Cayman’s Speaker of the House McKeeva Bush has been elected to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s Small Branches Executive Council, on which he will represent all small countries in the world body.

Bush was elected as deputy chairman of the council while at the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Kampala, Uganda, this week, according to a Government Information Service press release.

Representatives of 53 Commonwealth countries have gathered in Kampala to discuss issues under the theme ‘Adaption, engagement, and evolution of parliaments in a rapidly changing Commonwealth’.

In an address to an international audience of Commonwealth parliamentarians, Bush tackled the issue of Brexit and the potential impacts it may bring for overseas territories such as Cayman.

“The degree of uncertainty lies with whether EU [European Union] regulatory framework will still have direct effect on the UK, and if so, will we be tied to such? There are no unimaginable consequences arising from Brexit. However, the uncertainties are concerning to us as overseas territories, Crown dependencies and the small independent countries who are former colonies,” Bush said as he addressed the conference.

Speaking at the 7th CPA Small Branches Conference, on 23‑24 Sept. as part of the main meeting, he told fellow legislators, “It is a fact that Brexit may have an effect [on] our legal, constitutional, operational and institutional framework.”

Bush contended that if the UK will be isolated and will need support to bolster its circumstances then “they will certainly enable OTs”.

“The UK will need to operate more cooperatively and provide more liberty, and authority, to local jurisdictions [such] as our LA [Legislative Assembly],” he said.

Reflecting on what may happen post-Brexit, Bush said there will be uncertainties and speculations as to whether the UK may want to “bridle or restrain and have greater influence on OTs so as not to worsen or aggravate any circumstances favourable to them”.

He pointed to contingent liabilities, which, he said, “potentially further weaken OTs’ position if the OTs are not demonstrating that they have the acumen and expertise/skill to govern their individual activities”.

He suggested to parliamentarians that they can “devise a specific plan of our intentions and arrangement for clarity with the UK in the event of either eventuality”, referring to a Brexit agreement or a no-deal Brexit. As an executive member, Bush will be engaged in highlighting the CPA Small Branches’ issues and challenges.

Among the objectives of the executive “is to boost the current network for the CPA Small Branches by sharing knowledge and creating greater opportunities for parliamentary strengthening and cooperation across the network”, the release stated.

At the conference, McKeeva Bush was elected to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s Small Branches Executive Council, on which he will represent all small countries in the world body.

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