Cayman’s constitutional changes will take effect on 3 Dec., the day before the formal state opening of the Parliament and its first sitting, the Premier’s Office has announced.

The Cayman Islands Constitution (Amendment) Order 2020 was approved by the Privy Council on 11 Nov. and makes several amendments to the current Constitution as negotiated with the United Kingdom.

Those amendments were debated and unanimously approved in the Legislative Assembly in Dec. 2019.

When the changes come into effect, the Legislative Assembly will be renamed the Parliament of the Cayman Islands, which was part of the package of amendments to the constitution.

One of the key changes that was agreed to back in 2019 – the removal of Section 81, which gives the governor the power to enact legislation – was withdrawn by the UK. It followed the defeat of the Domestic Partnership Bill.

Governor Martyn Roper later used his special reserve powers under Section 81 to write and enact the Civil Partnerships Law, which was is essentially an amended version of the rejected bill.

Premier Alden McLaughlin had previously expressed disappointment that the section was retained by the UK.

But McLaughlin said he was pleased to secure an amendment unique to Cayman. This amendment provides an obligation for the UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to notify the Premier of proposed Acts of the UK Parliament that would extend directly to the Cayman Islands, or Orders in Council extending any provisions of an Act of the UK Parliament to the Cayman Islands, so that the Cabinet can provide its views on proposed changes.

This particular amendment followed from the UK decision to impose beneficial ownership registers on Overseas Territories through changes made when the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Law was debated in the British Parliament in 2018.

The new Constitution Order also makes several amendments including; abolishing the governor’s power of disallowance and introduces some pre-legislative controls.

It also makes clearer that the Cayman Islands Cabinet has autonomous capacity with respect to domestic affairs.

It also changes the circumstances in which the governor must consult the Cabinet, and provides for Parliamentary Secretaries and a Police Service Commission.

Read more on the changes here: Explanatory Memorandum to The Cayman Islands Constitution (Amendment) Or…

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