Cayman’s advisory district councils will not be realised in this current term, Premier Alden McLaughlin has said.
Government on Thursday night, however, supported an amended private member’s motion brought by George Town Central MLA Kenneth Bryan to create a select committee of the Legislative Assembly to review the law and make a report with recommended changes.
Bryan, in presenting his motion, had expressed disappointment that the 2011 law was not made a priority. However, he said, a select committee would be an effective way to deal with the challenges expressed with the law and make recommendations to have it “tweaked”.
McLaughlin, speaking during a debate on the original private member’s motion, said his administration will not be able to get to amending the existing law, which creates the framework for the councils.
The legislation to create the councils was introduced by then-Premier McKeeva Bush back in 2011. Moving it forward, however, fell flat in the face of opposition claims that the groups would serve only as political support for Bush’s then-United Democratic Party.
“A lot of water has gone under the bridge since 2011 including the increase in membership of the House and the move to single member constituencies. When that law was devised there were only six electoral districts, in addition to there being perceived to be operational and indeed, policy concerns around the makeup of the councils, which the present provisions of that law allow the government to appoint members to all district councils,” he said.
McLaughlin said structurally, the law needs to be reconsidered because there are now 19 constituencies.
“The government agrees that the matter needs to be reviewed,” he said, adding the only challenge they had with Bryan’s original motion was the prospect of immediately completing the review process.
“This House has and members have five months left in office and now we believe is really not the time to be focusing on creating advisory district councils. I believe that this is properly the work for the next administration,” he said.
Bryan agreed to amend his motion and after a near hour-and-a half long break Thursday afternoon to flesh out the amendment the new motion resolved to create the select committee.
As he wrapped up his motion, Bryan thanked the government and members for their support of the motion as he said he believes it is an important feature for Cayman’s democracy.
The date for the first meeting of the committee and the election of its chairman is yet to be determined.