Veteran MLA Anthony Eden has called for Cayman’s next government to seriously look at beginning a gradual move towards independence.
“It is my belief this power grabbing in these little islands is getting out of hand,” the Savannah MLA said as he made his case for independence.
Eden at the time was making his contribution to the debate on the Defence Bill on Wednesday in the Legislative Assembly.
The bill, which was piloted on Monday by Premier Alden McLaughlin, seeks to create the regulatory framework for the Cayman Islands regiment.
McLaughlin said government has accepted the amendments to the bill from the Opposition and a new draft of the legislation had been made to address concerns that were raised. He said further revisions would be made if warranted.
Eden said he was pleased to hear the premier agreeing to some amendments, but he said he is not in support of provisions which will give the governor the power to deploy Caymanians to foreign lands.
The MLA pointed to Governor Martyn Roper’s actions with the Civil Partnership Law, which he enacted using his reserved powers, as a reason to be worried over the provisions of the Defence Bill.
“It terrifies me to give him more powers and I know, as the premier said, [it is powers] which he is entitled to under the Constitution,” Eden said.
Under the proposed law, the governor has authority over the regiment and its deployment.
Eden said the legislation does not give him comfort, judging from the UK’s interaction with Cayman on issues like same-sex marriage and beneficial ownership.
He lamented that he never thought he would see the day when, if Caymanians did not watch out, “there will be nothing left for us here in Cayman, dog is going to eat our supper”.
“I never thought I would get to the stage when I would advocate that whoever takes over these islands in the next elections seriously look at gradually getting away from this cumbersome noose that is tightening around our necks. In other words, as my little 4-year-old granddaughter talk about the bad word… independence,” he said.
Cayman, he said, has come far on its own and many are jealous of its accomplishments.
“Do not be afraid to cut the cord,” he urged, as he addressed fellow MLAs.
Deputy Opposition Leader Alva Suckoo, in his contribution to the debate in the morning session, said the proposed law took Cayman back to colonial days, a stage the country had matured past.
He argued that the law is going to create soldiers who can be armed, can kill or be killed, and he is not in support of that.
Suckoo also took issue with the governor’s ability to deploy troops as he deems.
“If anyone is going to order a Caymanian to go in harm’s way and risk their lives, I would personally be more confident if there was some consultation from the Cabinet and, more so, the premier,” he said.
He also argued that the law gave the governor powers to hire, fire and promote when another provision within the proposed legislation creates a body with that function.
The debate has been suspended for lunch till 2pm, though the attorney general asked MLAs to meet in the committee room during the break.