United kingdom and cayman islands relationship review agenda

Cayman Islands 'let down' by UK - Telegraph

united kingdom and cayman islands relationship review agenda

The United Kingdom's 14 Overseas Territories are an integral part of . and each has its own relationship with the UK. .. Cayman Islands; Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri .. the Government remains committed to meeting. The relationship between the European Union and the Cayman Islands the Cayman Islands has latterly embraced the OECD's global agenda in this Even though the British electorate voted to leave the EU, the U.K. will. The results of a review of the relationship with the overseas territories were reported to Clause 6 and Schedule 2 of the Bill repeal provisions of the British Nationality Act and the British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act in Anguilla, the Cayman Islands, the Falklands Islands, Gibraltar and St Helena, and are in.

At a time when the playbook appears to have been tossed away and there is massive uncertainty as to what the U. So, if there is a lesson still to be learnt from the approach taken by the EU court, it is that the Cayman Islands can be impacted by the U. Even though the British electorate voted to leave the EU, the U. Negotiations between the U. At this juncture, it is difficult to predict how these negotiations will pan out, given that there are so many different variables to contend with at present.

The premier of the Cayman Islands is therefore right to make contact with the U. In response, the U. That may very well be the intention, but the Cayman Islands should be under no illusion that its interests are anywhere near the top of the U. The Cayman Islands cannot therefore afford to rest on its laurels. Events are unfolding rapidly since the Brexit referendum and with each successive turn there may well be ramifications for the Cayman Islands to consider.

But as Drower has argued. In theory individual Territory governments have control over all aspects of policy that are not overseen by the Crown, including the economy, education, health, social security and immigration. In addition, each Territory has a government set out in their respective constitutions, which allows the local populations to choose their legislative and executive representatives. However, the level of accountability is limited by the inclusion of non-elected members in the legislatures and executive councils, and the subordination of these authorities to the UK executive[vi].

The extent of the first of these two limitations is different amongst the five Territories. For example, in the British Virgin Islands the Legislative Council contains 13 elected members, a speaker and an ex-officio member, while the Turks and Caicos Islands legislature consists of 13 elected members, three appointed members and three ex-officio members, as well as the governor and the speaker.

The second limitation gives the Crown the right to introduce laws into the Territory or to override legislation that has been passed locally. In relation to the former aspect of legislative power, the primacy of Crown authority is laid down in the respective COT constitutions and framed by WIA and AA In regard to the disallowance of legislation, a key provision comes in Section 2 of the Colonial Laws Validity Actwhich privileges an Act of Parliament over local Territory legislation.

This has the effect of limiting the authority of overseas Territories in cases of legislative conflict between a Territory and the UK. As Davies argues, this is consistent with that logic that requires of a system of overseas-Territory government. These issues are considered in more depth later in the chapter. Although it seems that there is a clear privileging of UK executive and legislative authority with regard to the COTs the picture is not so clear-cut.

For example, in the Turks and Caicos Islands there is some concern locally over the number of illegal Haitians living in the Territory. Under normal circumstances the relevant minister deals with issues of immigration.

However, if the Governor believes that a particular case has implications for external affairs or internal security he can assume the responsibility for decision-making. Nevertheless, such decisions are controversial and can be contested. As Taylor argues in relation to Montserrat.

Brexit and the Cayman Islands

The requisite changes were made to the constitutions of Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands in the late s and early s. The ramifications of which are considered a little later in the chapter. The section has so far considered some of the more important aspects of the constitutional settlement between the UK and its Overseas Territories in the Caribbean.

Many commonalities have been highlighted, and one or two of the differences. However, the distinctive aspects of the constitutions need to be considered further, as they help to define the attitudes of the five Territories towards the UK and its moves towards consolidating extended statehood.

The constitutions of Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands overall afford greater executive and legislative autonomy than those of Anguilla, the Cayman Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. To a large extent this is due to the fact that the former two Territories were never dependencies of other colonies.

Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands have been administered either as colonies in their own right, or as a part of wider groupings such as the Federation of the Leeward Islands, or for Montserrat as a part of the Federation of the West Indies.

However, this of course never happened. Nevertheless, the constitution remained in place, and formed the basis of a new constitution in Firstly, the constitution, added oversight of international finance to the Governor. This was done in response to a series of banking scandals that were uncovered.

Despite these curbs Montserrat has, at least in principle, the most freedom of action when compared to the other COTs. This is true even for the British Virgin Islands, which was a separate colony like Montserrat, but did not join the West Indies Federation. To varying degrees this has limited their constitutional development. For much of the last years the Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands shared a constitutional link with Jamaica, as its dependencies.

The link was broken when Jamaica gained its independence inwhile the two dependencies preferred to maintain a strong relationship with the UK. After its separation from Jamaica, the Cayman Islands gained its own constitution under WIA and then followed a period of economic growth, with few constitutional problems, and little constitutional change.

Conversely, the Turks and Caicos Islands went through a period of great economic, political and constitutional upheaval in the mid to late s. These measures guaranteed a substantial level of Crown control over the Territory. Anguilla did not fully become a separate entity untiland as a consequence its constitutional development was restricted. What is most apparent, however, is that the UK government, through the reserved powers of the Governor has the upper hand when it comes to overseeing policy-making in the Territories.

Nevertheless, it is clear that the UK government does attempt to consult with the COTs on matters of importance, and is reluctant to openly overrule local governments and legislatures. Furthermore, the UK relationship with the Territories is made more difficult by the different degrees of autonomy for each of the COTs, which can cause problems both for the Crown and the local Territory administration.

Despite the difficulties, the constitutional link with the UK retains its popularity, in particular because it helps to preserve a degree of political stability for the Territories. A related area of advantage is the Territories sometimes-uncertain constitutional relationship with the UK.

As has been noted the constitutional arrangements that link the Territories with the metropolis are rather ill defined with the Territories having autonomy in some areas, but maintaining close ties with the UK in others. The quasi-independent status that exists provides room for manoeuvre in political and economic matters, and creates an ambiguity, which attracts international financial capital.

In short, the Territories recognise the advantages of retaining their present status. By the end of British colonial responsibilities in the Caribbean extended to only five very small Territories — in fact the five Territories that remain under UK authority today. Although the paper was given the correct figure, it took the FCO another two and half hours to discover the Territories names.

On an institutional level there were also problems. One particularly ill-conceived change was the disbursement of responsibility for the Territories after the closure of the DTD in Rather than a single bureaucracy overseeing all the Territories, FCO responsibility was dispersed between six geographical departments: Further, the fact that the majority of Governorships were awarded to FCO staff as preretirement postings meant that the necessary dynamic representation at the Territory level was not present.

Therefore at all levels of UK authority, the interest in, and concern for the Dependent Territories was not present. As a consequence a rather laissez-faire attitude existed, but this was not too last. The re-engagement on the part of the UK in the overseas dependencies, and indeed the Caribbean more generally was prompted by two particular considerations.

These arrests represented the tip of far broader problems of corruption and drug trafficking. The British Attorney-General was exposed over improper land sales, while British Governor John Strong regarded his post as a pre-retirement haven and avoided taking action to address the growing problems.

united kingdom and cayman islands relationship review agenda

The UK government realised that a halfhearted approach to the Territories was not sufficient to secure acceptable standards of political and economic conduct in the local administrations. The strong criticisms by the US also brought home to the UK that it had to make sure that its Dependent Territories in the Caribbean maintained acceptable international standards of governance.

Indeed, for the first time since the West Indies Act of became law, the UK recognised that it needed to use its power to enforce good practice when required.

Once the UK began to recognise its responsibilities, a broader review of policy towards the Dependent Territories was undertaken. The review examined factors for and against independence, the costs and benefits of the Dependent Territories, a range of future statuses, and the requirements underlying further moves towards independence. The first real test of the more pro-active British policy came in when a banking scandal was uncovered in Montserrat. However, the subsequent response of the British government was criticised by some on the island, and highlighted the contentious nature of extended statehood when British concerns override local interests.

The origins of the dispute came in February when having received reports of widespread failure in licensing and supervision of banks across the Caribbean Territories, the FCO appointed Rodney Gallagher, of the consultants Coopers and Lybrand Deloitte, to carry out a review of their offshore financial sectors.

Subsequently, over 90 percent of the banks on Montserrat had their licences revoked. They also questioned the professionalism of the Gallagher enquiry. The local opposition did have some effect on the British government in that it withdrew a number of controversial provisions, such as the one giving the Governor the power to legislate.

Having followed a policy of benign neglect for so many years it was always going to take some time for the UK authorities to readjust to the subtleties of extended statehood. Nevertheless, the UK was the sovereign power, and ultimate authority rested with the Crown.

After the serious disagreements over the constitutional reform process in Montserrat there was an expectation that the UK would become more receptive to local sensitivities, but in the government implemented the Caribbean Abolition of Death Penalty for Murder Order, again without consulting the Territories.

However, there had not been an execution in any of the Territories for many years. Nevertheless, in May the British government abolished the death penalty in the Dependent Territories, doing so without the involvement of the UK Parliament, other than to lay a Statutory Instrument before it — the Caribbean Abolition of Death Penalty for Murder Order. Statutory Instruments allow ministers or the Queen in Council to pass legislative measures without formal parliamentary oversight.

The UK government announced its intention to implement the change on 28 Marchleaving little opportunity for the Territories to debate the matter. The principles of extended statehood would suggest that the Dependent Territories should recognise and adopt international norms for human rights in order to play a full role in the international sphere. However, the fact that the death penalty was abolished via an Order in Council meant that the measure was effectively imposed without any input from the House of Commons or the Territories themselves.

Such conduct generated tremendous ill feeling among many in the Territories, because they felt that the Order encroached upon an area of responsibility formerly overseen at the local level.

The tensions inherent in the operation of extended statehood are well highlighted in the death penalty example, because there was a clear difference between British and Dependent Territory attitudes over the issue. From the preceding examples of offshore finance and the death penalty it is evident that the UK government was prepared to play a more hands on role in relation to its Dependent Territories. However, appearances were deceptive and question marks remained about how all-embracing UK policy was.

united kingdom and cayman islands relationship review agenda

It was true that the British authorities had acted to resolve a number of high profile issues, which had concerned them in relation to the Dependent Territories. But to a large extent British interventions were reactive and piecemeal in nature. There was no strong, identifiable set of priorities that defined and guided UK policy. A number of observations have been made, which illustrate the concern.

There were accusations that the FCO had not improved the quality of officials working with Dependent Territory governments. It is clear from this that the UK was in a very difficult position trying to balance particular Territory interests. However, the British realised that such conflicting demands could perhaps be mitigated by a more structured and coherent relationship with its Territories.

In addition, an interdepartmental ministerial group was created for the Dependent Territories, chaired by the FCO minister responsible for the Caribbean. In January ministers proposed the introduction of jointly agreed Country Policy Plans for each of the Caribbean Territories aimed at identifying policy priorities to which both governments would be committed.

For example, in all of the Caribbean Territories introduced legislation to facilitate international cooperation against drug trafficking and to comply with the requirements of the UN Drugs Convention. Other measures included improving the administration of justice and streamlining the methods of budgetary and financial accountability. It is true there was a clear re-engagement with the Caribbean on the part of the UK government from the mids, but there was no comprehensive plan of action.

To a large extent the UK was forced to respond to crises and scandals in the Territories, rather than putting forward a positive agenda. As a consequence, extended statehood was rather ill defined and uneven, with some of the Territories themselves wanting, or indeed needing, a stronger lead from London.

And even then, the situation remained problematic. Volcanic Eruptions and Contingent Liabilities There was an expectation, certainly on the part of the UK government, that the reforms instituted in the early s would lead to a more effective and responsive relationship with its Dependent Territories in the Caribbean. These two developments highlighted significant deficiencies in the operation of extended statehood, and would precipitate a wholesale review of the constitutional, political, economic and social settlement between the Dependent Territories and the UK.

As was reported by 26 December when the most extreme explosive event took place … approximately 90 percent of the resident population of over 10, had had to relocate at least once and over two-thirds had left the island. Virtually all the important infrastructure of the island was destroyed or put out of use for the short to medium term.

The private sector collapsed and the economy became largely dependent on British aid. In his memorandum of evidence to the International Development Committee, David Taylor, Governor of Montserrat from stated, The Constitutional and Administrative arrangements in normal times were unsatisfactory enough without having to cope with an open-ended emergency.

A number of areas of particular concern were highlighted. The DFID report criticised the triangular relationship between Montserrat, Barbados via the Dependent Territories Regional Secretariat and London for creating unnecessary confusion and prolonging the process of decision-making. Further the attempt by UK government departments to work within existing managerial arrangements was criticised for impeding an effective response.

Ad hoc arrangements had to be put in place, and this was done reactively as the eruption progressed. Further, there was no clear budgetary ceiling or jointly accepted standards on what level of spending was appropriate, which resulted in delaying the disbursement of funds.

Beyond the bureaucratic issues raised as a consequence of the Montserrat crisis, the volcano also focused attention on the issue of citizenship rights. With much of the island under ash, many Montserratians had to make the judgement about whether to leave or stay. The UK government reacted, albeit with some delay, to enable islanders to travel to the UK, be housed, settled and educated.

However, the Commonwealth Immigrants Acts of and introduced controls that greatly restricted the ability of Territory citizens to settle. While all rights to remain were ended by the Immigration Act of The Montserrat crisis highlighted the lack of legal status for Dependent Territory citizens, and reminded the British government of this anomaly. At about the same time as the Montserrat crisis was at its height and the first official reports on the situation were being published, the National Audit Office investigated the action taken by the FCO to minimise the risk of potential contingent liabilities falling on the UK resulting from the actions of the Territories.

More specifically, the investigation considered issues such as disaster preparedness, offshore financial services and budgetary control in the Territories.

The report found that despite the FCO having undertaken a number of initiatives since to identify and minimise the risk of contingent liabilities in the Dependent Territories, the UK remained exposed. It is clear that both the NAO and the Committee of Public Accounts felt that the attempts to re-engage with the Dependent Territories in the late s and early s had not been that successful. There was still the impression that the FCO and the British government more generally retained a rather detached relationship with the dependencies with resultant risks for both sides.

As early as August the new government established an interdepartmental Montserrat Action Group to co-ordinate relief activity, while in September the Crisis Investment Programme was created as part of a new coherent response to all aspects of the emergency. In short, the Labour government was aiming to strengthen and deepen the application of extended statehood to its dependencies in the Caribbean. The process of review was supported by an enquiry conducted by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons in late and an earlier debate in the House of Lords.

On the constitutional issue, the White Paper reported that there was a clear wish on the part of the Territories to retain their connection with Britain, and not move towards independence.

Other constitutional arrangements were considered, including integration into the UK and Crown Dependency status similar to the Channel Islands, but were rejected in favour of maintaining existing practice. However, it was agreed that a process of constitutional review would be carried out in an attempt to update existing provisions, and that if any Territory wanted independence in the future Britain would not stand in its way.

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These included effective regulation of their offshore financial sectors, observance of human rights such as, legalising homosexuality among consenting adultsand good governance. Further, the White Paper documented the changes that had been introduced to improve the administrative links between the UK and the Territories.

The Montserrat crisis and the associated parliamentary reports had highlighted the inadequacies of existing mechanisms, and precipitated action on the part of the British government to reconfigure its bureaucratic ties with the Dependent Territories.

For example, the UK for the first time appointed a dedicated minister for the Territories and established a new department within the FCO the Overseas Territories Department to replace the previously fragmented structure across six separate departments.

It was also decided that parallel departments for the Territories in both the FCO and DFID should be created, together with a ministerial joint liaison committee to coordinate their activities. This change was instituted to streamline and simplify the organisational arrangements between the UK and the Territories.

While a new political forum, the Overseas Territories Consultative Council was established to bring together British ministers and Territory representatives to discuss matters of concern. This was the first time that a formal body had been established to bring together politicians from both sides.

Previously, Ministers and officials in London used the Governors to convey information. The first meeting of the Council took place in Octoberand gatherings have since been held annually. Finally, a senior British civil servant was appointed in Brussels to liase with the Territories on matters related to the work of the European Union, in order to improve their knowledge of, and representation in, the organisation.