Submissions by Richard E. Arch MBE, JP
22nd January 2008
The accompanying papers include my personal communications with George Town Representatives, The Constitutional Review Commissioner (Mr. Smith) and now, as reviewed and revised to yourselves in regards to the pending Summary of Proposals by the Constitutional Review Secretariat.
Since first putting those thoughts on paper, much requirements and/or procedures have changed, hence the changes in my own thinking.
I consider that the presentation of the Peoples National Movement Draft Paper on Constitution on Saturday, 12th January 2008 as most inappropriate. It is not less than a “blanketed” proposal for Independence.
The United Kingdom has literally “drawn a line in the sand” and, that was recently communicated again.
I sincerely think that due to our apparent “Political Immaturity” that at this time, we should go back to, and adopt the very same thinking that occurred at that very first Meeting of Democracy at the very same venue - Pedro St James (Pedro Castle as I have always known it) on 5th December 1831. It should be designated as “The re-birth of democracy”.
Richard E. Arch MBE, JP.
22nd January 2008
The Good Book (Bible) teaches us that a “divided” house cannot stand. My interpretation of that is that Cayman will never prosper or progress as we should if there is so much division and apparent hard feelings for each other among our Politicians and ourselves as individuals. In other words, we should consider putting the words of the Bible into practice and get rid of our political differences; and really, seriously and with ultimate determination make the Cayman Islands the best place on earth! To do that, we need to choose the most eligible candidates for our next election and give them the opportunity to turn these Islands around politically and economically. We can do it. We need to do exactly as Caymanians did as far back as in 1831.
On 5th December 1831 DEMOCRACY IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS WAS INTRODUCED. Numerous attempts to have either England or Jamaica draft and/or submit draft of procedures for the Legislation of Laws and Regulations (Governance) in these Islands had failed. A meeting of leading Citizens of these Islands was held at Pedro St,. James (Pedro Castle) in order for such “Legislation“ to be prepared locally and adopted.
As a result of that meeting, an Election was held on Grand Cayman on 10th December 1831 - only five days later.
The first meeting of the Legislators was held on 31st December 1831.
Those Representatives were “doers”! (Not procrastinators). Their thinking was “All for one and one for all”.
MY PRESENT THOUGHTS:-
With all of the existing dissatisfaction and political disharmony a question arises. Is it time that we have another election of Representatives similar to those of 1831. I think so.
My opinion is that the existing fifteen Electoral Seats allowed by the present Constitution should continue; but Provincial Districting should be established by taking the Voters List of these Islands and dividing it by the number of Representatives allowed which is presently fifteen; and allow one Representative from each Province. That division is very easily accomplished.
Nominations of potential and “qualified” Candidates for election from among our list of registered voters for the various Provincial Districts should be held. (Naturally the persons nominated will have to agree to the nomination). Arrangements should then be made to allow that the existing Constitution should be continued until after the next election which should be during the current year of 2008. That the newly elected Members of the Legislative Assembly be required to draft, present and finally come up with a Constitution that is acceptable to all Caymanians. Such presentation should be ready for implementation coinciding with the 2012 General Election. Additionally, it should be required:-
- that an election be set for a certain date within one month after nominations are closed.
- that a ballot paper listing all nominations and indicating the Provincial District that each individual would represent.
- that, for this time only, every voter be allowed to vote for one (1) candidate from each district. (This would definitely be a one-time concession only).
- the Candidate with the highest number of votes from each Provincial District should be declared as the Representative of that Electoral Province.
- that an indication of the percentage of votes that each successful candidate received based on the total number of votes cast.
- that the Members of Cabinet should be comprised of the six successful candidates with the highest percentage of votes. (Note this will require that one more seat be allowed in Cabinet and it should be for the Sister Islands).
- that the term of this election should be for a maximum of six years and Members of Cabinet would be allowed a maximum of two consecutive terms as Cabinet Members. Members of the Legislative Assembly would be allowed a maximum of three terms. Each Member would be allowed to offer themselves for re-election after absence of one term.
- that prior to the election, each Member must declare the total number of hours duringthe hours of 0900 through 1700 hours on a Monday to Friday basis that will be allocated to the representation on the people.
- that funds in relation to all time/hours that are not utilized by the Representative in relation to his/her obligations to the people will be contributed on a monthly basis to the benefit of a Charitable Organization in the Cayman Islands that is approved by Government.
- that each Candidate for Election will declare his/her total existing (pre election)contract/s or commitments and the value/s between themselves (both directly and indirectly), and any and all Organizations and Government upon his/her Nomination for Election. That any revision of that/those contracts and/or commitments shall be made within thirty days of the change. Failure to do so will result in the immediate removal of the Representative.
- that the voters have the ability to recall their Representative at any time during the life of the Assembly by petition citing just reason of not less than fifty-one percent of the number of voters that were registered during the applicable election of that Member.
- that the Human Rights of Caymanians should be included in the New Constitution. Those Rights should clearly state that the freedom of religion does not tolerate anyform of religious discrimination, one against the other not any form of suppression of religion.
My thoughts are that the above procedures will allow time for proper drafting and full Caymanian participation, agreement on a Constitutional Modernization and improved Political Maturity.
Richard E. Arch MBE, JP.
12 June 2002.
NB: The attached papers include submissions and correspondence over the years to various addressees including a Constitutional Commissioner.
- Hon. Dr. Frank McField MLA
- Hon. Linford A. Pierson MLA
- Mr. Alden McLaughlin MLA
- Mr. Kurt Tibbetts MLA
Dear George Town Representatives,
RE: CONSTITUTION REVIEW
Your concern for input from the voters in your Electoral District in regards to the individual thoughts on the Draft Constitution prompts this communication.
I consider the format in which the Constitutional Review Commissioners presented their report makes the comprehension of the Draft Constitution easier for me as a layman. However, there are a few points that I consider should be better defined and/or included/retained or even changed. As such, I will appreciate if this submission is included as a part of your “package” that is submitted to the Official Writers of the other “Draft Constitution” that is to be prepared and returned to us for final approval.
- A New Constitution should only be introduced after, and based on the majority of replies by a referendum by registered voters to a minimum of questions, but including:-
- Should there be a change of Constitution?
- Should there be an election immediately before the introduction of the New Constitution?
- Should the Speaker of the House be elected by ballot from among the Elected Members of the Legislative Assembly?
- Should the procedure of “One-man-one-vote be adopted?
- A Caymanian should be defined as:-
- “A person born in the Cayman Islands and who has not lost or relinquished his Nationality on grounds as indicated in the British Nationality Act.
- “A person born overseas of at least one parent or grand parent having been born in the Cayman Islands and maintains a minimum residency of six months each year in the Cayman Islands.
- “A British Subject who has maintained a minimum of six month residency each year over the past ten years in the Cayman Islands and has been granted “Caymanian Status”.
- “A holder of “Caymanian Status” who has maintained residence in the Cayman Islands for a minimum of six months in each year over the past ten years. Instead of Caymanians having both a Caymanian and United Kingdom passport, consideration for the United Kingdom Passport to be endorsed as “ BRITISH SUBJECT, CITIZEN OF THE UNITED KINGDOM AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS” should be made.
- There should be a “one man, one vote” restriction. This would be by creating a “Provincial Electoral Districts”, where candidates for election for that District can be registered and the Candidate with the most votes would be elected. Alternatively, the present Electoral Districts and number of Representatives could be maintained but voters would be restricted to one vote per ballot and the candidates receiving the most votes (as applicable), would be elected. (This would be the most economical but not the best system).
- The electoral term should be for five years except, in the first instance, when the term would be until 2005 for obvious reasons.
- When the pros and cons of allegiance, cooperation and impartial requirements of a Speaker of the House in considered, I am convinced that the most logical way for the Speaker to be selected is from among those Elected to serve in the Legislative Assembly at the very first sitting of the Assembly after a General Election. However, it should be clearly understood by the Speaker that all Party and other Political Policies are to be put aside and that the Speaker is constantly aware that they are there to “Carry on the business and established procedures of the (Parliament) House. Upon the appointment of the Speaker by that procedure, the Speaker should resign immediately as a Representative of the Legislative Assembly and the candidate from the District from which the “Speaker” was elected, with the next highest number of votes should be “declared” and become the Representative for that District and sworn in as a Member of the Legislative Assembly as soon as possible afterwards.
The election of members for Executive Council should only be carried out after this procedure is completed, again for obvious reasons.
That, in my opinion is the most practical, logical, workable and economical way for our Legislative Assembly to be formulated.
Richard E. Arch MBE, JP.
WHAT OUR NEW CONSTITUTION SHOULD REALLY LOOK LIKE
Our Politicians have campaigned for the past umpteen elections on Constitutional Reform and every election in the recent past was won on that assurance. Once elected, it seems like no Politician feels confident enough to face the challenge of designing a good, workable and acceptable Constitution for presentation to us for approval and final submission to the United Kingdom. The Electorate have had enough of the procrastination. It is felt that our the present Elected Members of our Legislature owe the Caymanian People the “dignity” of a new Constitution on which the next election should be based.
This format for the representation of the People of the Cayman Islands guarantees a fairness of representation on the basis of “One man, one vote” and will ensure full cooperation of every Elected Representative. This format of Governance has been needed for many years.
The following is only my thinking. It provides three very important thoughts that have been passed on to us over the past generations, - “A House divided against itself cannot stand”, and “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesars …..” and “Of the People, by the People and for the People“.
It should be abundantly clear that it is and will be the decision of the Caymanian People with regards to the type of Constitution and the extent of the Advancement that we will have. The Right of “Free Association” with the United Kingdom must be a part of the Constitution. The Terms and Conditions must be decided by referendum.
The point of “Free Association” must be completely cleared with the Government of the United Kingdom as the entire process for the Caymanians depends on it. (Or else, a consideration of an association with another Country might become necessary).
General Elections should be held every six (6) years.
The Cayman Islands should be divided into fifteen (not more) Electoral Provincial Districts in such a way as to initially allow a fair division of Registered Voters in each Province.
For an Election, as many Candidates as desirous to be elected may offer themselves as Candidates for the Election in the various Provinces. The Candidate with the highest number of votes will be declared as the successful Candidate. A Candidate can only “run” for one specific Province during elections.
The fifteen (15) Candidates with the highest number of votes shall be declared as “successful” in the Election.
No Elected Member shall serve more than two (2) successive terms in the Cabinet and three (3) in the Legislative Assembly. Representatives become eligible for reelection after an absence of a minimum of one term (five years).
COUNCIL:- (9 Members)
- Council should be made up by the three (3) Official Members - The Chief Secretary, the Attorney General and the Financial Secretary plus,
- Should the individual successful Member agree, the six (6) Elected Members of the Legislative Assembly that received the highest (percentage) number of votes in the General Election based on the total number of Registered Voters. (This will cause a greater motivation of Registered Voters to get out there and vote).
- At no time should the Official Members representing Government form the majority in Cabinet.
The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly shall be by nomination and election and the term of Service shall be six years. The nomination and election of the Speaker shall be simultaneous with that of the Members of the Legislative Assembly and may be balloted at the same time. The Speaker is subject to re-election. The Speaker can be removed by a vote of confidence of not less than sixty percent of the Elected Members of the Legislative Assembly.
The Legislative Assembly shall consist of:-
- The Speaker who shall have a Casting Vote and shall maintain Status Quo in cases of a tie.
- The Government Bench made up of the nine (9) Members as indicated above.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR NOMINATION & ELECTION:-
No Candidate becomes eligible for nomination for election to the Legislative Assembly unless having been born in the Cayman Islands or is a holder of Caymanian Status by Rights and has maintained a minimum of two hundred days of continuous residence in the Islands each year for the previous ten years.
No Former Civil Servant shall be eligible for Nomination or Election to the Legislative Assembly unless they have ceased serving or officially employed to the Government of the Cayman Islands for a period of one year or more.
Elected Members of the Legislative Assembly should not be bound by collective voting.
All financial borrowings/assets of Government Departments and Corporations shall for a part of the Financial Statements of the Islands.
The accumulative total borrowing of funds by Government or Government owned Corporations shall not exceed ten percent (10%) of the estimated income for that year.
GENERAL PROVISIONS THAT SHOULD ALSO BE INCLUDED:-
- The present British Citizenship status should be maintained.
- The Civil Rights of Citizens and Legal Residents of the Cayman Islands should be enshrined in the Constitution. The wording of that section should clearly indicate that Civil Rights do not allow for one person to abuse the Rights of another person.
- The Freedoms of Movement, Speech and Information must be clearly detailed and included in the Constitution.
- It should be clearly enshrined in the Constitution that The Cayman Islands are God-fearing people and that there will be no tolerance of any anti-Christian challenges.
- All Chairpersons of Government Corporations or Boards shall be holders of Cayman Status by Birth or Rights and shall be other than Elected Members of the Legislative Assembly or Senior Government Officers.
- All Government owned Corporations or Authorities shall publish audited annual accounts on a regular basis and not later than one year, but preferably six months after the completion of the applicable financial period.
- Except in instances of National Security or Emergency, all Bills for Legislation of Laws must be presented to the full Membership of the Legislative Assembly a minimum of thirty days prior its first reading in the House.
- No bill for Legislation can be submitted to the Legislative Assembly for enactment without all proposed Regulations as they apply to the Bill.
OTHER IMPORTANT REQUIREMENTS THAT NEED TO BE INSTITUTED ELSEWHERE
- Civil Servants or other Contracted Government Officers shall not receive any benefit or allowance that is superior to those Legislated or Regulated or generally accepted by the Private Enterprises.
- All Government owned vehicles shall be parked at an approved location during all periods that the person to whom it is assigned is off duty. No use of the vehicle shall be allowed except in instances of Declared National Emergencies. Accurate “log” books must be maintained for all Government owned vehicles. Any breach of the vehicular regulations is subject to disciplinary action.
- All accounting for travel charges or overseas travel expenses for funds advanced by Government to Employees or other Officers shall be substantiated by receipts within sixty (60) days after the person has returned to regular duty. Failure to do so will result in the full amount of the advance being deducted from the forthcoming salary cheque.
- It needs to be stressed with the U. K. that like themselves, we have enjoyed a very long period of what, we too, consider as Human or Civil Rights and Traditions that should only be changed with our approval or instigation. Details of those Traditions should be listed.
A GREAT THOUGHT:-
James Madison said: "You must first enable the Government to control the governed, and in the next place, oblige it to control itself."
Richard E. Arch MBE, JP.
P. O. Box 165G.,
The following draft was submitted to the Constitutional Review Committee in June 2002.
THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION - as I see it.
From all articles read and reports heard, the suggestion of a New Constitution came from our previous Governor, Mr. Smith. To date, I have not seen or heard of any prompting or suggestion as having come from the United Kingdom Government. Based on our Constitution, the term Governor, in most instances, refers to the Governor in Executive Council. The question then comes to mind whether or not the Governor was merely passing on the wishes of the Executive Council to Caymanians rather than they, as our elected Representatives telling us for themselves.
In any case, the Governor clearly said that “TIME WAS NO ELEMENT”, so why the rush now?
The Constitutional Commissioners were not detailed to present a Draft Constitution. They were asked to “conduct the widest and most comprehensive consultative process in order to make recommendations designed to modernize the current Constitution and to ensure its compatibility with the present aspirations and expectations of the people of the Cayman Islands”. I consider that is exactly what they did. The fact that they chose to present their report and to compliment that report with a “Draft Constitution” of what they considered to be the “wants” and makes it much easier to appreciate the thoughts of those people and groups that made presentations.
The presentation as made, gives us something to consider as far as our needs and wants of a workable Constitution.
My opinion is that many of us have some disagreement in certain sections and rightly so. That is Democracy. Caymanians should peruse the document and make suggestions as considered necessary.
The Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Individual should rightly form a part of the New Constitution. It must however be clearly understood that the word Individual in this instance includes everyone and not just a person that wants to use that Freedom as a personal cloak without regard to others.
In all fairness and in the name of Democracy, our Elected Representatives are expected to accept the Draft Constitution and any additional suggestions that might be made during the review period as possible improvements of the “Draft”. They too, should have their say as concerned Caymanians. Yet, as Elected Representatives, they are there to represent us and as required, they must listen to the people. No more. No less.
As a final assurance that we get exactly what we want, the Draft Constitution should be sent to London where it will be rewritten to suit us but, SHOULD BE RETURNED TO US FOR FURTHER PERUSAL AND POSSIBLE AMENDMENTS BEFORE IT IS FINALLY LAID BEFORE PARLIAMENT AND SUBMITTED FOR THE QUEEN’S ABSTENTION. Any other procedure will cause expensive Litigation and Tort.
On the one man, one vote question.....
Over the past four of five elections, many candidates in districts that are permitted multiple Candidates for Election, as is Bodden Town, West Bay, George Town and Cayman Brac and Little Cayman have campaigned privately for voters to vote for one individual candidate only if the voter did not feel like voting for the entire group/team/party to which a candidate belonged.. In instances, the Scrutineers and Returning Officers can confirm, there were many ballots in multiple candidate districts where there was only one candidate balloted for. That practice can cause a candidate who is unpopular in certain sections to obtain single votes in other areas and win an election. There are were instances when Candidates received the most votes in a particular District after using that procedure. For that reason alone, there should be no “Multiple Candidate Districts”. One-man-one-vote” is our only solution.
The one-man-one-vote system has been criticized as divisive and that it will cause one district to feel superior over the other. How ridiculous. What is more divisive in a community our size than a Party system?.
It only goes to reason that multiple district Representatives will soon come up with the brilliant idea that as their district allows voting for multiple candidates that once elected, they should each have more than one vote in the Legislature. Imagine a Representative from George Town casting four votes for a motion when the North Side Representative is only to cast one vote. If the voter has multiple votes why shouldn’t the Representative? There would then be absolutely no question as to who would go to Executive Council or whose motions would be successful in the Legislature.
When the pros and cons of the allegiance, cooperation and impartial requirements of a Speaker of the House in considered, I am convinced that the most logical way for the Speaker to be selected is from among those Elected to serve in the Legislative Assembly at the very first sitting of the Assembly after a General Election. However, it should be clearly understood by the Speaker that all Party and other political policies are to be put aside and that the Speaker is constantly aware that they are there to “Carry on the business and established procedures of the (Parliament) House. Upon the appointment of the Speaker from within the elected Members of the Legislative Assembly, the (New) Speaker should resign immediately as a Representative of whatever District (- come Provencal District, once the one-man-one-vote procedure is established), that they represented and there should be an immediate bi-election for that seat. Better yet, in these days of economizing, the candidate from the (affected) area with the highest number of votes should be “declared” and become a Member for that District and sworn in without delay. That, in my opinion is the most practical and workable way for our Legislative Assembly to be formulated.
Prepared and submitted by Richard E. Arch MBE, JP.55 Hospital Road, P. O. Box 165, George Town, Grand Cayman KY1-1104 CAYMAN ISLANDS DickArch@aol.com