The failure of Cayman Islands’ lawmakers to enact a parliamentary code of conduct leaves the jurisdiction “behind compared to other Caribbean and Commonwealth nations”, according to the chairman of the Human Rights Commission.
“It is to this end that the Human Rights Commission will continue to advocate for the implementation of a Parliamentary Code of Conduct in the Cayman Islands,” HRC chairman Dale Crowley added in a press release issued today.
The HRC’s reiteration of the need for a formalised code of conduct follows last week’s announcement of early elections.
The commission said the dissolution of Parliament “underpins [the] need for [a] Parliamentary Code of Conduct”, referencing the “contentious subject” of Speaker McKeeva Bush’s conviction for assault, “which has been the accelerant for an early election”.
The release adds this is not the only instance in which the behaviour of an elected representative has been questioned.
“Following receipt and consideration of a human rights complaint detailing concerns of threatening and discriminatory rhetoric used during a discussion in official sessions of Parliament, the Commission conducted in-depth research and ultimately wrote to the Members of Parliament recommending that Members work together in a unified manner to draft and implement a Parliamentary Code of Conduct which will serve to remind Members and the public alike of the importance the Cayman Islands places on treating each person with dignity and respect,” the release states.
The commission asserts that the implementation of policy documents, including formalised codes of conduct, can “help ensure that persons holding positions of power in our Islands are subject to transparent checks and balances and that they remain accountable for their behaviour”.
The HRC says it has shared its recommendation with the Commission for Standards in Public Life whose chair, Rosie Whittaker-Myles, said the CSPL “fully endorses the Commission’s recommendation… and Members are happy to assist in any way necessary to progress this matter”.
Whittaker-Myles said that the CSPL had provided feedback on a draft Ministerial Code of Conduct and has been, “for several years, following up with the Cabinet Office on the finalisation of that Code which, unfortunately, remains in draft form”.
“The development of, and adherence to, such a Code of Conduct would only serve to enhance the reputation of our Parliament and respect for its Members,” she stated in the release.
The HRC added it encouraged all prospective MPs to support their recommendation, imploring voters to “stand firm in holding our elected representatives accountable”.