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Watler says public consultations key to Constitution changes

Discussions continue on proposed changes to Cayman’s Constitution and Constitutional Commission member Olivaire Watler calls for greater public involvement to get a constitution in line with the modern society Cayman has become.
Mr. Watler said Cayman’s existing Constitution Order needs an update.

“There are certain aspects of our Constitution which might be fairly regarded as antiquated and reflecting more of the colonial past than what we understand is intended to be a modern partnership between the UK and its overseas territories,” Mr. Walter said.

He said the Commission is on the same page with Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin proposed changes to the Constitution limiting the UK’s powers.

“The UK Parliament is not a body in which we are represented, so effectively we are being dictated to by a body which we have no representation,” he said.

The Commission added some proposed changes of its own like the formal recognition of councilors, clearly defined eligibility requirements for voters and for those contesting elections.

“This would be an opportune time if we are considering broader issues, to bring them in and have a significantly revised document,” he explained.

In reviewing the Premier’s changes Mr. Watler said the Commission looked at associate territory status for Cayman which could be used to take us to Independence at a later date.

“In this exercise, there might be some preliminary steps you need to take in terms of the Constitution to have something in there might take the step in that direction, but its fair enough to say we could certainly not proceed down that road without a high level of public consultation and probably a referendum,” Mr. Watler said.
It is a status that gives full autonomy to Cayman and would allow for a Caymanian Governor or Governor-General as the UK representative.
The Premier is currently in Jamaica attending the 39th Caricom Heads of Government meeting. He is expected to discuss the UK’s parliamentary overreach when it comes to imposing public beneficial ownership registries on overseas territories, an act that triggered Cayman’s push for Constitutional changes.

About the author

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath is a Trinidadian journalist with 18 years media experience with a strong background in print with her most recent stint at The Cayman Reporter. She has a BA in Mass Communications, as well as, an Associate degree in Journalism and Public Relations.

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