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Merron Congratulates UDP

Foreign Office Minister Gillian Merron

Foreign Office Minister, Gillian Merron, today congratulated the United Democratic Party on its election into Government, and welcomed the acceptance of the draft Cayman Islands Constitution Order at the referendum on 20 May.

The new Constitution is the result of three rounds of negotiations between the Government of the UK, the Cayman Islands Government and Opposition and, for the first time, local stakeholders, including the churches, the local business community and the Human Rights Committee.

The Minister said, "I warmly congratulate the United Democratic Party on its success in the Cayman Islands elections this week.

I am delighted too that the draft new Constitution has been accepted by the people of the Cayman Islands. As I said in February at the conclusion of the final round of talks, which I was honoured to chair, the new Constitution will be an important step forward for the people of the Cayman Islands. I know that the Bill of Rights has been a subject of some debate in the Territory. However, I am convinced that it is an important first step in the enhancement of human rights protection in the Cayman Islands, and that it will raise awareness of and strengthen respect for human rights in the Islands. The new Constitution will also help to ensure the increasingly high standards of good governance to which the UK Government attaches considerable importance.

We look forward to working with the new Government of the Cayman Islands towards timely implementation of the new Constitution Order. I know that it will entail a great deal of work, and I am grateful for the efforts that have already been made to help ensure a smooth transition."

Background Information

  1. The 1999 White Paper on the Overseas Territories (OTs) committed the UK to reviewing constitutional frameworks with the Territories to ensure consistency with the principles that underlie the modern partnerships between Britain and the OTs.
  2. The Cayman Islands Government published its proposals for a new Constitution in May 2008 and the process has been subject to wide public consultation in the Cayman Islands. Since September 2008 delegations from the Cayman Islands and the UK held three rounds of constitutional talks, resulting in a final draft text which was agreed in London in February 2009.
  3. The Cayman Islands Government put the draft constitution to a referendum on 20 May 2009, the date of the general election.