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Constitution Matters

Minister of State Gillian Merron, Leader of Government Business the Hon Kurt Tibbetts, and FCO Team Leader Ian Hendry at Wednesday’s talks in London.

The Cayman Islands team held talks for a second day in London today (Wednesday, 4 February) to clear differences in the way of the final draft of a modernised constitution.

The snowy weather that hit the UK hard over the past four days could not dampen the enthusiasm and determination of the Cayman Government, Opposition and NGOs as well as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office delegation to press on.

Tomorrow morning UK Minister of State Gillian Merron will chair discussions centred on outstanding human rights issues and a proposed Bill of Rights, an area she will closely scrutinise, she said.

The team has until 3.30 pm London time to complete the discussions, facilitated by FCO team leader Ian Hendry.

Praising the delegation's "inclusive" approach to the discussions, Minister Merron underscored the importance of Overseas Territories (OTs) and the UK striking a balance between mutual obligations and expectations.

The UK's need to retain sufficient reserve powers, including for governors, is aimed at protecting itself against contingent liabilities, implementing its international obligations and ensuring good governance, she said. Necessary safeguards to protect UK interests still provide OTs sufficient room for agreement, she added.

Education Minister the Hon. Alden McLaughlin noted the talks are going well, with all sides bearing in mind the ultimate goal -- which is the well-being of the Cayman Islands. "This process has been underway for more than eight years and now the end of this crucial stage is in sight. With every passing day I grow increasingly confident that, together, we will deliver to the Cayman Islands a modern constitution that will provide the framework for our continued progress and prosperity well into the 21st Century. Tomorrow is a critically important day for Cayman, as we seek to resolve the few remaining issues and have the terms of this final draft of the Constitution agreed to by the Cayman delegation and the United Kingdom."

Leader of the Opposition the Hon. McKeeva Bush said, "I am pleased that issues are being ventilated. I look forward to discussions tomorrow on the remaining outstanding issues. The Bill of Rights is the most important matter to be discussed because if we don't get it right, it will change the way Cayman is forever. I will not support any issue that changes our moral values."

For further information contact: Susan Watler