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excerpt from the Preamble

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Constitutional Commission is one of the newly created bodies in the Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009.  The Commission aims to support Democracy by creating openness & transparency in modern governance.

The functions of the Commission are found in section 118(3) of the Constitution and are as follows:

a.     to advise the Government on questions concerning constitutional status and development in the Cayman Islands;

b.    to publish reports, discussion papers, information papers and other documents on constitutional matters affecting the Cayman Islands;

c.     to promote understanding and awareness of this Constitution and its values; and

d.    to exercise such other functions as may be prescribed by a law enacted by the Legislature.

No, the Constitutional Commission is an independent body which is deemed crucial for the effectiveness and legitimacy of the Commission.

No, this Commission is not mandated to report its activities to any person/body.

All members are appointed by the Governor, in consultation with the Premier and Leader of the Opposition.

This Commission must consist of a Chairman and two other members, at least one of whom shall be an experienced lawyer.  Currently the Commission is made up of the following persons:

Mr. David Ritch (Chairman)

Mr. Wil Pineau

Ms Sara Collins

The chairperson is expected to chair each meeting and oversee the participation of all of the members in the activities of the Commission.

Commission members are expected to attend each meeting and participate in the activities of the Commission.

Appointments to the Constitutional Commission will be for renewable terms of between two to four years, with members serving for different periods, so that new appointments or re-appointments can take place in a staggered fashion.

No, the Commission members are volunteers who receive a small stipend for their hard work and dedication.  Members receive $100 per meeting with a maximum stipend of $500 per month and the chairperson receive $200 per meeting with a maximum stipend of $1000 per month.

If you have a concern regarding the behaviour of a member as it pertains to their role on the Constitutional Commission, those concerns be directed in writing to His Excellency the Governor.

Analytical and administrative support for this Commission is provided by a joint Commissions Secretariat, consisting of a manager and up to five staff. The Secretariat has been established under the aegis of the Deputy Governor’s Office. A “joint services” approach to supporting the new commissions is considered prudent in the current fiscal climate.

A country's constitution is a document which establishes the government system, creates procedures and structure for the government and sets out the government’s powers. Therefore, it is also useful for a constitution to set out the rights of the people, which the government cannot breach.

Once a government system has been established, the government will pass laws and follow the procedures set out in the constitution, as it is the supreme source of all the country’s laws i.e. the local laws must comply with the constitution.

Our Constitution is a legal document and has a single legal interpretation. "Living document" tends to refer to the fact that it has an impact on every day life whether we are aware of it or not. In interpreting the Constitution, it is said to grow, expand, adapt. In this way, it can evolve like a living thing.

The constitutional negotiations between the United Kingdom Government and the Cayman Islands Delegation comprised three rounds of meetings held from 29 September 2008 to 5 February 2009. The last round was held in London.

A number of persons participated in the negotiation meetings including representatives from the Cayman Islands Government including some ministers and Cabinet members as well as other elected officials spanning all political parties; representatives of the United Kingdom Foreign Commonwealth Office; and non-governmental organizations such as the Human Rights Committee and the Cayman Minister’s Association.

No, the United Kingdom Government gave clear indication that the Cayman Islands Constitution required a Bill of Rights. This position was originally stated in the 1999 White Paper.

Yes, it is observed on the first Monday in July of each year and celebrates 4 July 1959 when the first Constitution for the Cayman Islands was enacted.

Standing Orders are the working rules of the Legislative Assembly (LA) which details procedure for its specific functions; including duties and responsibilities. They are also used to monitor the conduct of business within Government.

Checks and balances is the system (incoporating laws and or institutions) within Government where no individual or institution could acquire oppressive power without examining other associated areas.

According to our new Constitution, a referendum is permitted when 25 percent of voters present a signed petition to Cabinet. Cabinet will set the wording of the referendum question or questions and determining the date of the referendum.   Once Cabinet has completed these tasks the Legislature is required to enact a referendum law so that the referendum can be held. People-initiated referendums must be held on matters of national importance, but those matters cannot contravene any part of the Bill of Rights or any other part of the Constitution.

During the negotiations the Cayman Islands Delegation proposed that any future amendments should require the authorization of a referendum, unless the change was declared to be minor or uncontroversial by the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition.

As stated in the letter of entrustment, the United Kingdom Government agreed with the idea that major amendments should receive the consent of the people of the Cayman Islands and pledged to use its best endeavours to honour this referendum requirement.  However it was necessary for the United Kingdom to reserve its power to amend the Constitution in the event that any exceptional circumstances were to arise where it would not be possible or appropriate to hold a referendum.

So in some instances the Constitution can be amended without the consent of the people of the Cayman Islands.

The Constitutional Commission may be contacted through the Commissions Secretariat in the following ways:

Phone: 244-3685;

Fax: 945-8649;

Website: www.knowyourconstitution.ky

E-mail: info@constitutionalcommission.ky;

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 391 KY1-1106;

Physical Address: 2nd Floor Smith Road Professional Centre;

FOI requests: foi.cos@gov.ky.