“It was the decision by the Cayman Islands to forge our own way as a British crown colony that allowed our own people to begin to make what were clearly in retrospect fundamental policy decisions and to pass the early laws on which we have built our tourism and financial services industries.”
Premier Alden McLaughlin
(CMR) The Cayman Islands marked a historical moment Monday as Premier Alden McLaughlin announced that the new constitutional changes mark the end of the Legislative Assembly. The assembly will be re-named Parliament and the LA members will be Members of Parliament (MPs).
Nothing that this is “another most significant milestone” … when next we meet in these hallowed halls this place shall be known as the house of parliament” McLaughlin confirmed the change will be implemented with the house reconvenes next year after the general election.
Then he recapped the 60-year history of the legislative assembly and beyond. Sharing that our history of elected officials dates to the first assembly meeting on December 10, 1831 at Pedo St. James at the assembly of justices and vestry; which eventually became the legislative assembly. Cayman's 150 years of constitutional democracy he shared began with some important moves towards self-government and can be found in the public records office in London.
His speech also encompassed the history of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands and noted that the first act of the Cayman Islands legislature which was passed in 1832 was not assented to by the governor of Jamaica until some 33-years later in 1865. He explained that the Cayman Islands Act passed on June 22, 1863 by the UK parliament declared the Cayman Islands would be administered as a dependency of Jamaica.
He discussed the changes between the first written constitution of 1959 exempting it from the control of the Jamaican legislature and the significant changes eventually brought about in the next version. The 1959 constitution allowed Jamaica's governor to retain significant powers over Cayman and was not required to act on any advice given by the nominated members.
In 1972 constitutional changes did away with the system of nominated members and moved to 12 elected members and several ex-officio members with the presiding officer being the UK appointed governor. That changed in 1990 when additional changes ushered in introduced a separate position of Speaker of the House. Current Speaker the Honourable McKeeva Bush brought that motion to the legislative assembly. The Honourable Sybil McLaughlin held the coveted position of first-ever Speaker of the House and the first female clerk of the entire Commonwealth.
The Premier shared that the Foreign and Affairs Committee has sent the draft order to the Privy Council who will then convene on November 11 to ratify constitutional changes which will rename the Legislative Assembly to Parliament of the Cayman Islands.
The Legislative Assembly Management Bill 2020 was also passed on Friday which provides for the administrative independence of the legislature.