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Premier Pulls Lawyers Law As Time Runs Out
GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman (CNS) -- With so much controversy still surrounding the Legal Practitioners Bill, despite efforts by government to seek agreement with the opposition benches, the premier pulled the proposed bill Monday, the last sitting of the Legislative Assembly before it is dissolved by the governor today, Tuesday 28 March, in preparation for the 2017 General Election campaign.
Alden McLaughlin told his colleagues yesterday that it was not a good idea to deal with the committee stage amendments with so little time for such an important piece of legislation.
The bill has caused enormous conflict in the LA, with the opposition also divided in their objections to it. McLaughlin said that because of the need to get the law right ahead of the Financial Action Task Force review later this year and the need to properly regulate the profession, it would be the first item on the agenda for his government if the PPM is returned after the 24 May election.
During the proceedings, Winston Connolly revealed that he had written a long letter to the governor about discrimination in the legal profession and the need to address it, noting allegations that law firms were breaking the existing law and the immigration law in their deliberate marginalizing and stifling of Caymanians in the profession.
The lawyers bill was not the only casualty of the tight timeline; the supplementary appropriations bills, which have been through two readings, were also pulled by Finance Minister Marco Archer because there was no time to deal with the financial committee stage, where members scrutinize the reasons for the changes in government spending. Archer said that those bills would also need to be dealt with immediately after the elections.
The governor is expected to formally prorogue this Legislative Assembly today ahead of Nomination Day on Wednesday, when all candidates for the May election will need to declare their intentions and the seats that they intend to contests in Cayman’s first ever election under the system of ‘one man, one vote’ in single-member constituencies.