Our Constitutional History - Part 2
 

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Part Two - Bucking the Trend and Who to Join? 1944 to 1955

As a result of Jamaica’s move to independence, Jamaica obtained a new constitution in 1944. This constitution provided for universal adult suffrage, a limited form of ministerial government and the recognition of political parties. In contrast, the Cayman Islands had no written constitution and no universal adult suffrage.

In 1947, Cayman Assembly representatives, Messrs. Earnest Panton and William Farrington attended the first Federation meeting held in Montego Bay, Jamaica as observers. With the consent of their legislature, they proposed that the Cayman Islands would agree to join the Federation, only if Cayman had direct representation.

This position was rejected by members of the Standing Closer Committee of the Federation in 1949 and instead it was recommended that the Cayman Islands should continue as a dependency under the administration of the Governor – General of the Federation.

As the route to Jamaica’s independence would not be completed until the 1960’s, the Cayman Islands found itself in a peculiar position, because, Jamaica was still able to pass laws that directly affected the Cayman Islands without having to consult Caymanians.

Meanwhile, taking matters into their own hands, on April 7, 1955, six Assemblymen sent a petition to the Colonial Secretary through the Governor of Jamaica. They stated that “while…we look forward to strengthening ties both with Jamaica and with the other territories of the British Caribbean…we wish to restate, as clearly and as strongly as we can, three main aims. First, we wish to retain the right to control entry to our islands. Secondly, we wish to retain our rights to decide what taxes should be imposed upon us. Thirdly, we wish to retain our right to maintain our established channels of trade and employment overseas.”

Premier Michael Manley was content to let the Jamaican Governor resolve the Cayman Islands’ question. Locally, however, there was support on both sides, some wished for obtaining and retaining increased local control over Caymanian interests whilst some factions favoured a break with the United Kingdom and a closer relationship with Jamaica within the framework of the Federation.

See Constitutional Supplement of July newsletter

Last Updated: 2007-07-03




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