2009 Constitution Message
The Premier, The Hon. W. McKeeva Bush, OBE, JP
Introducing a revised Cayman Islands Constitution is truly an auspicious moment in the history of our three islands, and I give thanks to Almighty God for His blessings.
The adoption of this expanded and revitalised governing document on Friday, 6 November will indeed be a momentous occasion for our people.
While we are familiar with the term ‘the balance of power,’ I prefer to view our Constitution as the beginning of a balance of ownership for it is the manifestation of a common vision and will of the people.
The importance of this cannot be overstated for the new Constitution scrutinizes and places greater responsibility on the government in terms of the people’s oversight.
These enhanced checks and balances are now enshrined in this, the supreme law of the land, and they can only bode well for our future.
And as with any major evolution requiring some degree of compromise, the best results invariably cater to the majority. I therefore take pleasure in focusing upon some of the unique elements addressed in our new Constitution, such as the enshrinement of our Christian heritage, our culture and language, markers so often omitted in the constitutions of other developed countries.
I say this while fully appreciating our phenomenal growth over the past four decades, development under our original Constitution that reclassified us from being ‘the islands time forgot’ to becoming a recognized member in the global arena—no small accomplishment.
Yet we must move on, and coincidentally, this year is also the 50th anniversary of our first Constitution. And it is otherwise notable, for we have been privileged to witness the first national referendum, coupled with a peaceful, free and fair general election. And now, in spite of widespread economic constraints, public ceremonies and even new postage stamps are at hand to celebrate this grand occasion.
However, such celebrations are but a welcome mat for this new foundation which we call the revised Cayman Islands Constitution, a document that provides an essential framework for strategic planning and for the implementation of national objectives.
A prime example of its relevance is that its provisions encompass every one of the outline goals contained in government’s 2009-2010 financial year. Ranging from the empowerment of youth and women and caring for our elderly, to protecting our key industries, enhancing our culture, and managing the public debt, these critical elements are all contained in the Constitution.
I must also say that I am humbled to assume the inaugural role of Premier. However, it should be clarified from the outset that this post is not one of absolute power. In contrast, it equates to being an engineer first, one selected from amongst equals and indeed, it is a position that carries significant additional responsibilities, rather than power.
Therefore, in keeping with the tenets of the revised Cayman Islands Constitution, I now remind my elected colleagues and official members that, as stated in Isaiah 54, we must hold fast to our mantra of good service to God and humanity. The Good Book states that if we so do, God’s covenant of blessing and mercy will never be broken; our prosperity will be great; and we will live peacefully under a government that is just and fair.
In upholding our obligations to our Lord, our people and to the global community, no Constitution could require more.