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Constitution Celebration Messages

HE the Governor, Mr. Duncan Taylor, CBE

I encourage you to continue to learn about your Constitution and support the work of the new Commissions and other bodies...

— HE the Governor, Mr. Duncan Taylor, CBE

2010 Constitution Week Message by

His Excellency the Governor Mr. Duncan Taylor, CBE

It is my pleasure on this Constitution Day to express my support for the first Constitution Week observance in the Cayman Islands, and to encourage wide participation in its celebration.

The introduction of the new Cayman Islands Constitution on 9 November 2009 followed democratic, free and fair elections and Cayman's first national referendum. Fittingly that was to enable the electorate to decide on this very document.

And that exercise of freedom was only one of the possibilities which lie in the hands of the people. Which is why I also remind you that a key word - responsibility - balances the popular word - freedom - for indeed, the two concepts must go hand in hand!

But from all I have witnessed during my brief time here so far, I am confident that these Islands have a positive and prosperous future in store.

I am confident in saying this because, in spite of the economic constraints that continue to affect everyone, I have been impressed by the caliber and commitment of those nominated and appointed to the Constitutional Commissions and other agencies.

I have had the pleasure of working alongside your elected leaders as well as the Constitution Commissioners and other officials. And whether it is they or the Electoral Boundaries Commission, the National Security Council, the Constitution Secretariat, or civil servants in general, I can see that many talented and dedicated individuals are hard at work on your behalf.

And it is good that they are, for they are ensuring that the groundwork is being carried out to realise the provisions of the Constitution, from government accountability to human rights, all of which are designed to help ensure a positive future for these islands.

But even more significantly, I have come to know and appreciate the generosity, friendliness, resilience and resourcefulness of the people of Cayman. Characteristics which will, I know, help ensure that the future is bright.

I would therefore like to applaud the diligence and commitment of all involved, especially those citizens who actively demonstrate an interest in this most important governing document, the Constitution. The promotion and understanding of public ownership of the Constitution is vital, especially in terms of transparency and proper checks and balances.

So I encourage you to continue to learn about your Constitution and support the work of the new Commissions and other bodies; without your input, they cannot do their job effectively; and in supporting them you will bring the government closer to you, the people.

Congratulations to all involved in this special week of appreciation and celebration of the new Constitution. I look forward to an informative, interactive and stimulating Constitution Week 2010.

CONSTITUTION DAY Address

by the Premier, Hon. McKeeva Bush, OBE, JP

My fellow Caymanians, and all residents in these Islands...

It is my pleasure to bring you greetings on this Constitution Day holiday. I am sure you will all make good use of the holiday... but I urge you, to let's also remember the significance of why we have this holiday.

A constitution is the highest law of any country. It enshrines the rights of a people and sets the parameters of government. This is why countries seeking to ensure a democratic governance will show so much respect for their constitution, will hold a constitution in such high esteem, as to commemorate it with a holiday, as we are doing today. Constitutional development in any country is generally associated with a people's ability to determine their own destiny.

The Premier, Hon. McKeeva Bush, OBE, JP

Modern constitutional development in Cayman began on the 4th of July 1959, with a Royal Order-in-Council. This was the direct result of Caymanian Assemblymen petitioning the United Kingdom. Events of the day made it clear that we could, and should, take formal control of our own political destiny. That document was revised in 1972.

Just over a year ago, the people of the Cayman Islands voted in our first Referendum, to adopt a new constitution. This document will have a major impact on the shape of Government, and the nature of governance in the Cayman Islands for generations to come.

The Caymanian people had the opportunity to give input, examine and approve this new constitution; several changes in the structure of government - through a series of Ministerial Councils, Commissions, and District Councils, will greatly broaden public participation in our government.

But it does come with a monetary cost to the country.

Nevertheless, Caymanians have believed in democracy, in government of and by the people. It is central to our political heritage. It is not a perfect document, but it is what you voted for; it is what we have.

So, take time today to tell your children why we have a holiday. Pass on our love of democracy to the next generation. Our freedom that is guaranteed by the constitution and the United Kingdom should not be taken for granted.

Cherish it... and protect it.

May God bless you and your families.

And, may God bless these, our Cayman Islands.

2010 Constitution Message

from Opposition Leader, the Hon. Kurt Tibbetts, OBE, JP

Just a few months ago I was privileged to witness, together with you, the people, the introduction of the Cayman Islands Constitutional Order 2009.

During the preceding years, I was similarly blessed to have had the opportunity to lead and participate in, its evolutionary process.

Opposition Leader, the Hon. Kurt Tibbetts, OBE, JP

But this message is about today and concerns the here and now.

During both Constitution Day and Constitution Week 2010, I implore you to remember that regardless of how - or if - you voted in the constitutional referendum, this constitution is yours.

Whether you are a resident, an immigrant worker, visitor, a young person or child, it is about you.

The concepts which are enshrined have become the 'house rules' of the Cayman Islands. They have been exhaustively debated, negotiated, sanctioned and agreed-to by the majority.

Any democracy's Constitution is the cornerstone of its society, worthy of honour and preservation. It is a living, continuously evolving document, one which needs to keep pace with the times, for it sets the stage for civil society.

While there are many types of government, the concept of God, country and family is the mantra of so many across the globe. But like justice, a constitution is impartial for it does not acknowledge any specific voices; instead it applies equally to all.

But any new Constitution inevitably sets the framework for real and significant changes, some of which are as highly visible as they are novel. For example, the roles of both the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition are clearly defined, and we now have direct input into matters of national security and into the selection of senior officials.

These include the constitutional commissioners - and I congratulate them for stepping forward during this historic and innovative era.

Similarly, we all have the opportunity to examine and activate areas which are of concern to us individually - as well as those for the collective good.

So, looking forward, I implore you the people to not give way to our traditionally conservative approach, nor to only react to major issues. Instead, I ask you to regard the Constitution like a major muscle that must be worked and exercised to reach its full potential.

And this is important for while we have achieved - and endured - much over recent decades, now is the time to heed the call for unity, to convert the frustrations of today into solutions for tomorrow, to substitute positive action for dialogue.

For having now decided our collective course, taking action and implementing the agreed changes will demand even greater commitment in energy and effort.

Finally, I wish all involved a memorable Constitution Week and I pray for God's continued grace, blessings and guidance of our people, and of our country.