HE Governor Martyn Roper is being called on by the LGBTQ+ rights organisation Colours Cayman to investigate a series of conflicting statements from the Judicial Administration office about public access to information about an ongoing judicial review.
The issue revolves around last year’s decision by the Governor to use his Reserved Powers in the Constitution to override the then-Legislative Assembly (now Parliament) of the Cayman Islands to enact the controversial Civil Partnership law for same-sex couples.
The judicial review into the Governor’s decision was requested in October by attorney Kattina Anglin, public relations officer for the organisation Christian Association for Civics (CAC).
Ms Anglin and Colours Cayman are on opposite sides of the gay rights debate.
In its request for the investigation, Colours Caribbean refers to conflicting statements attributed to the Judicial Administration office on a media request for access to information about the review.
“I reached out the judge who was presiding over the Leave Application and based on indications received from the judge, the ex parte application was not made available to the public,” an extract of an email from the Clerk of the Court said.
Another quote stated that the Clerk “ha[d] not be[en] granted permission to place any documents in relation to this matter on the public register.”
Colours Cayman also referred to a subsequent statement issued via the Government Information Service(GIS) on the matter seeking to clarify the matter:
“The earlier communication from Judicial Administration sent to CNS stating that (i) Justice Williams had been consulted by the Clerk of Courts concerning the application being made public and (ii) Justice Williams had indicated that the ex parte application was not to be made available to the public was not accurate,” it stated.
That GIS release went on to say: “For the avoidance of doubt, Justice Williams was not consulted and he gave no such direction. That judgment was not uploaded to the Judicial Website, as it was inadvertently overlooked.”
According to the GIS release: “The application was not placed on the Public Register because it was ex parte in nature and in keeping with what is often done in such cases. This case being of genuine public interest ought not to have been embargoed in any way without an order from the judge, and no such order was made.”
It confirmed that “on 22 January 2021, upon being informed that the ex parte application had not been placed on the public register, Justice Williams ordered that to be done.”
“For the avoidance of doubt,” it concluded, “Justice Williams did not direct that the publication of the judgment be restricted in any way.”
According to Colours Cayman, “This corroboration of aspects of the email of the Clerk of Court must not in any way be taken as an attack to the integrity of Justice Williams or the judiciary, but rather a simple and unavoidable fact that flows from the written statements of different independent and reputable sources.”
It goes on to say: “It would be wholly wrong, of course, to favour the Clerk of Court assertions over those of Justice Williams or vice versa. Each assertion simply needs to be probed as a consequence of the Statement of the Court, which by its content dictates that one of the parties is being untruthful,” it further states.
According to Colours Cayman, “either the judge was consulted and directed to keep the written authorisation away from the public as the Clerk of Court asserts or Justice Williams was not consulted and gave no such direction as the judge asserts.”
In calling on the Governor to mount an investigation into the issue, the gay rights organisation states: “Colours Caribbean respectfully submits that Your Excellency will be failing Her Majesty if when faced, as you are, with the 50 per cent chance that a Judge has been untruthful, you were not to discharge your constitutional role and responsibility towards Her Majesty.”