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Letters of Entrustment

What, Why:

Accordingly, the purpose of these Letters of Entrustment is to outline the political promise of the United Kingdom to the Cayman Islands Government as it relates to very specific issues of concern raised by the Cayman Islands Constitution Delegation. The primary reason for not setting out these political assurances in the body of the Constitution itself is because the UK 1965 West Indies Act does not limit the powers of Her Majesty, and does not allow for Orders-in-Council (orders of the Privy Council that become laws in the territories) to limit the powers of Her Majesty. Negotiations, therefore, to revise the Cayman Islands Constitution through an Order-in-Council cannot legally limit the powers of Her Majesty the Queen.  Combined, the letters highlight the following areas:

  1. External Affairs

  2. This letter deals with delegating the responsibility for Cayman’s external affairs, which is the sole responsibility of Her Majesty, exercised through the Governor.  The letter relates to section 55 of the Constitution, which allows the Governor to delegate external affairs matters to an elected Minister, on very specific terms and with general oversight by the UK Secretary of State.

  3. Orders-in-Council

  4. This letter addresses the UK’s absolute right to make Orders-in-Council for the Cayman Islands. Unless it is impracticable or prejudicial to the UK’s interests, the UK, through its Secretary of State, will undertake to consult the Premier or Cabinet before Her Majesty exercises her power to legislate directly for the Islands.

  5. Future Constitutional Change

  6. This letter outlines Her Majesty’s absolute right to amend the Constitution, as well as the Cayman Islands Government’s desire that the Constitution only be amended following a people initiated referendum as per the remit of section 69 and 71.

    Whilst this position cannot be reflected constitutionally, the United Kingdom has given political approval to the idea that future amendments to the Cayman Islands Constitution should be supported by the people through a referendum.

    However in giving this political undertaking to use its best endeavors to honour this referendum requirement the United Kingdom continues to reserve the right to amend the Cayman Islands Constitution if there are exceptional circumstances, where it is not possible or appropriate to do so otherwise.

Last Updated: 2010-08-17