Roper: Strong relationship between UK and Cayman

Governor Martyn Roper said the relationship between the UK and Cayman Islands is strong, despite a tumultuous year of blows to the bonds that bind the two.

Roper made the comment as he delivered the Throne Speech Friday at the formal opening of the Legislative Assembly.

“The UK/Cayman relationship is strong based on partnership and mutual respect. A highly successful visit by [Their Royal Highnesses] the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall and two ministerial visits underlined our enduring bonds,” Roper said.

However, last year and well into this year, those bonds that bind these islands to the UK appeared strained, with a push by the British parliament for the imposition of public beneficial ownership registers and the release of the Foreign Affairs Committee report on the future of the UK/overseas territories relationship.

The report sparked protests across British Overseas Territories as it called for voting rights and the right to hold political office for UK and overseas territories citizens. It also called for legalising same-sex marriages in overseas territories.

The UK government, in its response to the report, outlined that it was working with the territories on dealing with some of the issues highlighted by the Foreign Affairs Committee. However, it left matters of political determinations like belongership to the elected governments of each territory.

Roper, in his speech, also touched on the issue of constitutional change which the Cayman Islands government has been pursuing since last year.

“We have had constructive discussions on a good and sensible package of constitutional changes to modernise and update our relationship. I hope these can soon be concluded,” the governor said.

As the UK heads to the polls for its general election, Roper pledged to keep the Cayman flag flying.

“I will continue to do my utmost to support the prosperity and security of the islands, not least at a time of change and uncertainty as the UK government holds an election on 12 December and navigates a complicated exit from the European Union,” he said.

Roper also said that the Cayman Islands Economics and Statistics Office is set to conduct the 2020 population and housing census late next year.

He said those findings will be used “to inform policy and decision making in the public sector and business”.