Speaking to the Jamaica Parliament via Zoom on Wednesday (November 18, 2020), Cayman’s MP Ezzard Miller highlighted the joint responsibility of the Government and the Opposition to work collaboratively to achieve the best outcomes for their constituents and for participatory democracy to be at the heart of parliamentary practice.
“Above all, it is essential to the proper functioning of Parliament that the Government/Majority and the Opposition/minority demonstrate respect, tolerance and prudence for each other’s roles in the Parliament and to strive to maintain a balance that allows both to function effectively,” Mr. Miller said, adding: “It is very difficult to have a successful Government without a successful Opposition—the roles of each are integral and interdependent.”
“This consciousness should strike the type of balance which would allow both the Government and the Opposition to function and provide high quality representation for their constituents,” Mr. Miller said.
Mr. Miller also highlighted “the duty…for consistent and strategic communication with… constituents”.
“For a democracy to succeed, the citizens must believe they have an opportunity to participate, and such participation depends on their access to information about issues that affect their lives,” Mr. Miller said, adding: “For this to be more than just lip service, it is essential for Members to maintain effective two-way open and transparent communication with their constituents.”
This would demand, Mr. Miller said, “participation, participation, participation,” of people in two-way dialogue with representatives on issues and concerns, adding that, for representatives, this would “require preparation, preparation and more preparation.”
Mr. Miller had been invited to speak on Constitutional and Legal Framework of Parliamentary Democracy, at the Jamaica Parliament’s post-election seminar for orientation for new parliamentarians and a refresher for returning parliamentarians. Miller’s presentation focused on the three “core parliamentary functions, which can be broadly classes as representation, legislation and oversight.”
In a formal response to Mr. Miller’s presentation on behalf of the Jamaica Houses of Parliament, Ms. Cheryl Gibson, Director of Corporate Services, wrote Wednesday night:
“The Houses of Parliament wish to express its appreciation to you for your presentation on Constitutional and Legal Framework of Parliamentary Democracy during our Post-Election Seminar held earlier today.
“Your presentation was well received by the participants who all benefitted from your knowledge and expertise.
“We do hope that we will be given the opportunity to benefit from your years of experience and wealth of knowledge at another point in the future.”
The invitation to Mr. Miller was extended by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) International Headquarters, on behalf of the Jamaica Parliament in collaboration with the Management Institute for National Development (MIND), an agency of the Cabinet of the Government of Jamaica.
More recently, in July 2020, Mr. Miller presented in a similar post-election seminar, this time in Anguilla, also at the invitation of the CPA, on the topic of Services and Resources for Members.
Mr. Miller brings to these assignments not only long experience as a Cayman parliamentarian, serving for a total of some twenty years, but also years of grounding in an array of formal CPA governance seminars.
More recently, in December 2019, Mr. Miller attended the third in a three-year series of financial governance forums organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK (CPA UK), in partnership with the UK National Audit Office (NAO) and the Government Internal Audit Agency (GIAA).
In other high-level representation, Mr. Miller served as part of the Cayman Government team that successfully negotiated the recent advancement of the Cayman Islands Constitution. This resulted, among other achievements, the progression from “Legislative Assembly” into a full-fledged Parliament, formally initiated last week.
Mr. Miller made his debut in Cayman’s national politics in 1984, serving as the Member of the Legislative Assembly for the district of North Side until 1992, and again from 2009 to the present.
Notably, the parliamentarian previously served from 1988 to 1992 as the Cayman Islands Government Cabinet Member with responsibility for Health and Social Services.
Mr. Miller has been serving as the chair of the PAC since 2009, an appointment that was renewed in 2017. The PAC is responsible for examining the public accounts of all government departments, authorities, and branches of the Cayman Islands Government.
Mr. Miller and a team of other interim officers of the Cayman Islands People’s Party (CIPP) formally launched the CIPP movement on Thursday (12 November 2020), at new headquarters on North Church Street. The CIPP was formally initiated in September 2018 in partnership with a group of some 60 other persons.