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Opposition: New Bills unconstitutional and against European Human Rights

Local News 04 Oct, 2021 Follow News

Opposition: New Bills unconstitutional and against European Human Rights

Opposition Leader Roy McTaggart has written to the Government on behalf of the Opposition pleading with them to withdraw the Customs & Border Control Amendment Bill and The Immigration Transition Amendment Bill being discussed in Parliament this Monday, calling the Bills unconstitutional and against European Human Rights.

Mr. McTaggart worried that the Bills, which called for mandatory vaccinations for all work permit holders and PR holders and their spouses and dependents (where permitted), would cause deep divisions within the community, and would ultimately do nothing to stem the onslaught of Covid-19 here. He said Bills that were this far reaching deserved far more than the ten days Government had allowed for public input and that they “impinge on the rights and freedoms of spouses, civil partners, children and dependents of Caymanians.”

The Opposition felt that the Bills appeared to be discriminatory.

“…indeed, they are also divisive and will, in the end, provide no absolute meaningful protection from the virus since the vaccinated can also contract it and pass it on,” they stated.

Mr. McTaggart detailed where the Opposition believed the Bills impinged on the Constitutional rights residents, stating that the proposed vaccination mandates threatened rights protected under the constitution: Including section 2 (right to life); section 3 (prohibition of inhumane treatment); section 9 (right to private life); section 10 (right to freedom of conscience and religion); and section 16 (freedom from discrimination).

“Our present law requires non-nationals who wish to apply to work and reside here to prove that they are not suffering from a communicable disease that would make "the persons entry into the Islands dangerous to the community". In the case of the SARS COVID 2 virus, being vaccinated is no indication that one does not suffer from the communicable disease. Only a suitable test for the presence of the virus before arriving and again after an appropriate quarantine period provides sufficient satisfaction that the person is not infected with the virus and able to transmit it,” the Opposition leader wrote.

The extent of the Bills, especially the application to non-nationals only, appeared to be unprecedented anywhere and breached a number of the fundamental rights protected by both the Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, set out in the Cayman Islands constitution, as well as the European Convention on Human Rights by which the Cayman Islands is also bound, the letter said.

“They have the potential to harm our Islands economically and reputationally and are divisive. As such, our view is that if the legislation is passed in its current form, it is likely to be declared incompatible with our constitution when, inevitably, it is challenged in the court,” they worried.

As a result, they called for the withdrawal of the Bills.

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