About Us

Q:What is the Commission for Standards in Public Life?

Created by s.117 the Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009 (“the Constitution”), the Commission for Standards in Public Life (“the Commission”) is an independent body enshrined in the Constitution to enhance democracy in the country and ensure that there is sufficient oversight of the public sector.  

The functions of the Commission are found in section 117(9) of the Constitution and are as follows –

  • to assist in the setting of the highest standards of integrity and competence in public life in order to ensure the prevention of corruption or conflicts of interest;
  • to monitor standards of ethical conduct in the Legislative Assembly, the Cabinet, and on the part of public authorities and public officers;
  • to supervise the operation of registers of interest and to investigate breaches of established standards;
  • to review and establish procedures for awarding public contracts;
  • to review and establish procedures for appointing members to public authorities, and the terms of their appointments;
  • to recommend codes of conduct to prevent any Minister, public authority or public officer employing their power for any personal benefit or advantage, and to recommend legislation to provide appropriate sanctions;
  • to report to the Legislative Assembly at regular intervals, and at least every six months; and
  • to exercise such other function as may be prescribed by a law enacted by the Legislature.

 

No. The Commission is an independent body, which is deemed crucial for the effectiveness and legitimacy of the Commission. Section 117(8) of the Constitution reinforces this by the following mandate: “the Commission and its members shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority” in the exercise of their functions.

Yes. The Commission must make a report to the Legislative Assembly at regular intervals, and at least every six months.

 

Administrative, research, policy and other support for this Commission is provided by a joint Commissions Secretariat, consisting of a Manager and several Administrator/Analysts.

 

The primary purpose of the Commission for Standards in Public Life is to establish standards of honesty, consistency and competence for persons in public life, in order to ensure the prevention of corruption or conflicts of interest through maintaining the register of interests. 

The primary purpose of the Anti-Corruption Commission is to receive, consider and investigate (where appropriate) reports of corruption offences under the Anti-Corruption Law.

Furthermore, the Commission for Standards in Public Life is established by the 2009 Constitution, and the Anti-Corruption Commission is established in statute by the Anti-Corruption Law.

 

In exercising its functions related to maintaining the register of interests; reviewing and establishing procurement policies, procedures and legislation; and establishing codes of conduct for behaviour and decision-making, the Commission oversees best practices regarding the management of public finances. 

The role of the Office of the Auditor General is to scrutinize public spending on behalf of the Legislative Assembly and the general public.

Commission Members

Q:How are Commission Chairs/Members chosen?

All members are appointed by the Governor acting after consultation with the Premier and Leader of the Opposition.

This Commission must consist of a Chairman and no less than two or more than four other members.  The members of this Commission must be people of the highest integrity with knowledge of practice in the private or public sector.  At least one member must be a chartered or certified accountant of at least ten years’ experience and one member must be a legal practitioner who has practiced in the Commonwealth for a minimum of ten years. 

Yes, persons who:

  • are members of the Legislative Assembly;
  • hold, or have at any time during the preceding three years held, a public office;
  • have at any time during the preceding five years held office in a political party;
  • are not Caymanian

are not eligible to serve on this Commission.

The office of a member of the Commission shall become vacant–

  • if the member is at the expiration of their four year term limit;
  • if the member is absent from three consecutive meetings of the Commission, unless the absence is approved by the Governor;
  • if the member resigns by writing under his or her hand addressed to the Governor;
  • if the Governor removes the person for the inability to discharge the functions of his or her office (whether arising from infirmity of body or mind or any other cause) or for misbehaviour;
  • if the member, with his or her consent, is nominated for election to the Legislative Assembly or is appointed to any public office.

 

The Chairperson is expected to chair each meeting and oversee the participation of all of the members in the activities of the Commission.  Additionally in the event that a vote is tied during a decision making process the Chairman shall have a casting vote in addition to his or her original vote.

Commission members are expected to attend each meeting and participate in the activities of the Commission.

Appointments to the Commission for Standards in Public Life are for a renewable term of four years.

 

No, the appointed Commission Members are volunteers who receive a small stipend for their hard work and dedication. 

Standards/Ethics

Q:What is the Commission’s remit in this area?

A function of the Commission, amongst others, includes “to assist in the setting of the highest standards of integrity…” and “...to monitor standards of ethical conduct” of persons in public life.

In its modern use, the term ethics typically refers to a system of principles that provide a way of evaluating and selecting a course of action from amongst competing options.

 

Adhering to a strong ethical framework helps build integrity into our work and decision-making, which creates an environment of trust, integrity, transparency and reliability. Further, it assists in the prevention of corruption or conflicts of interest.

The 7 principles of public life were first set out by Lord Nolan in 1995 and apply to anyone who works as a public office-holder. This includes people who are elected or appointed to public office. In accordance with the Law, persons in public life shall observe the following principles:

Selflessness

Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the public interest.  They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family or their friends.

Integrity

Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.

Objectivity

In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.

Accountability

Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.

Openness

Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take.  They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.

Honesty

Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.

Leadership

Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

There are values to which the public service aspires and they exist to govern the management and operation of the public service. The Commission has adopted the principles and public service values currently enshrined in the Public Service Management Law (2007 Revision) which are as follows –

  • to serve diligently the government of the day, the Legislative Assembly and the public in an apolitical, impartial and courteous manner and to deliver high-quality policy advice and services;
  • to uphold the proper administration of justice and the principles of natural justice, and to support public participation in the democratic process;
  • to strive continually for efficiency, effectiveness and value for money in all government activities;
  • to adhere to the highest ethical, moral and professional standards at all times;
  • to encourage creativity and innovation, and recognize the achievement of results;
  • to be an employer that cares, is non-discriminatory, makes employment decisions on the basis of merit and recognizes the aims and aspirations of its employees, regardless of gender or physical disabilities;
  • to be an employer that encourages workplace relations that value communication, consultation, co-operation and input from employees (either individually or collectively) on matters that affect their workplace and conditions of service; and
  • to provide a safe and healthy working environment.

Each public servant, in the course of his or her employment, is required to comply with the Public Servant’s Code of Conduct and failure to do so in a significant way will be grounds for discipline or dismissal.

The Public Servant’s Code of Conduct reads as follows –

  • a public servant must behave honestly and conscientiously, and fulfil his duties with professionalism, integrity and care;
  • a public servant must be courteous and respectful to the Governor, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, Official Members, Ministers, Members of the Legislative Assembly, other public servants and members of the public, and treat everyone with impartiality and without harassment of any kind;
  • a public servant must be politically neutral in his work and serve the government of the day in a way that ensures that he maintains the confidence of the government, while also ensuring that he is able to establish the same professional and impartial relationship with future governments;
  • a public servant, as a member of the public, has the right to be politically informed but must ensure that his participation in political matters or public debate or discussions, does not conflict with his obligation as a public servant to be politically neutral;
  • a public servant must not, at any time, engage in any activity that brings his ministry, portfolio, statutory authority, government company, the public service or the government into disrepute;
  • a public servant must obey the law and comply with all lawful and reasonable directions, including work place rules established by his chief officer or a person with delegated authority from the chief officer;
  • a public servant must disclose, and take reasonable steps to avoid, any conflict of interest (real or apparent) with his duties as a public servant, and must not use his official position for personal or familial gain;
  • a public servant must treat all official information and any dealings with the Governor, an Official Member or Minister as confidential, and, unless authorized to do so, must not give or disclose, directly or indirectly, any information about official business or anything of which he has official knowledge; and
  • a public servant must not use official resources, including electronic or technological resources, offensively or for other than very limited private purposes.
Register and Declarations of Interest

Q:What is the Commission’s remit in this area?

In accordance with s.121 of the Constitution “there shall be for the Cayman Islands a Register of Interests, which shall be maintained by the Commission for Standards in Public Life.”

A Register of Interests, under the Law, are declarations made by persons in public life in which they declare to the Commission such interests, assets, income and liabilities of that person, or of any other person connected with his or her, as prescribed by [the] Law.”

Every “Person in Public Life” must make a declaration. In accordance with Schedule 1 of the Law these persons include:

  • Members of the Legislative Assembly, including the Speaker.
  • Chief Officers and Deputy Chief Officers.
  • Chief Financial Officers and Deputy Chief Financial Officers.
  • Heads of departments, sections or units and their deputies, as well as any other organised entity within a ministry or portfolio, statutory authority, statutory body, government company, department, section or unit and their deputies.
  • Chief executives of statutory authorities, government companies and their deputies.
  • Members of governing bodies of statutory authorities.
  • Members of governing bodies of government companies.
  • Members of all Commissions created by or under the Constitution.
  • A person holding a full-time or part-time position in a public authority who engages in an activity that is in conflict, is likely to conflict, or may be perceived to conflict with, his position in a public authority.
  • Any other person specified by regulations made by Cabinet.

 

Declarations must be hand delivered, with proof of identification, to the Commission on the prescribed form. Declaration forms and guidance notes are available on our website or can be collected from our offices.

  • For existing post-holders — on or before 30 July each year after assuming office.
  • For new post-holders — within 90 days of assuming the functions of his office.
  • For candidates for  election to the Legislative Assembly — before filing his nomination papers.
  • For any person whose contents have changed — within 30 days of any change.

A person in public life who is:

  • a board member of a statutory authority, public authority, commission or government company; or
  • a member of a governing body of a statutory authority or of a government company; or
  • a member of a Commission created by or under the Constitution,

will be required to complete a declaration annually. However, such declarations may be NIL filings except where there is a possible or perceived conflict with the Board Member’s functions on the entity for which they were appointed in relation to themselves and any member of their immediate family.

Members of the public can inspect the Register during normal working hours at our offices.

S.12(1) of the Standards in Public Life Law requires that the following categories of information must be  declared:

  • shareholdings and directorships held in any company or other corporate body;
  • any contract made with any public entity;
  • any company, partnership or association in which money is invested;
  • any trust;
  • any land, whether beneficial or otherwise;
  • any investment fund in which an interest is held;
  • sources of income other than a salary or money from other perquisites of office;
  • other substantial interest whether of a pecuniary nature or not, which raise or may appear to raise a material conflict of interest;
  • any loan, secured or non-secured, other than from any institution regulated under “regulatory laws” as defined by section 2 of the Monetary Authority Law (2013); and
  • such other details as Cabinet may prescribe in regulations.

N.B.: Disclosure of actual amounts or extent of financial benefits, contributions or interests is not required (s.12(4)).

Failures to submit a required declaration or knowingly submitting a false declaration are two examples of offences that are punishable on summary conviction to fines, imprisonment, or both.

“Immediate family” means a spouse, a dependent or such other person as may be prescribed by Cabinet by regulations.

“Connected person” means a member of the immediate family of, or a person who acts on behalf of, or for the benefit of, the declarant, with the declarant’s actual or implied authority, and includes

  • a person who is a nominee of that person;
  • a person who manages the affairs of that person;
  • a firm of which that person, or a nominee of his, is a partner or a person in charge or in control of its business or affairs;
  • a company within the meaning of section 2 of the Companies Law (2013 Revision) of which that person, or a nominee of his, is a director or is in charge or in control of its business or affairs, or in which that person, alone or together with a nominee of his, has or have a controlling interest, or shares to the total value of not less than thirty per cent of the total issued capital of the corporation; or
  • the trustee of any trust, where –
    • the trust has been created by that person; or
    • the total value of the assets contributed by that person to the trust at any time, whether before or after the creation of the trust, at any time, amounts to not less than twenty per cent of the total value of the assets of the trust.

“Conflict of interest” means a situation where a person has a private interest which may improperly influence or be seen to improperly influence his public duties and responsibilities, or that of a connected person, in circumstances suggesting that the person concerned knew or ought reasonably to have known of the connection or possible connection, direct or indirect, between his duties and responsibilities and his private interest.

Conflicts of Interest

Q:What is the Commission’s remit in this area?

A function of the Commission, amongst others, is “to assist in the setting of the highest standards of integrity and competence in public life in order to ensure the prevention of corruption or conflicts of interest…”

In accordance with the Law “conflict of interest” means a situation where a person has a private interest which may improperly influence or be seen to improperly influence his public duties and responsibilities, or that of a connected person, in circumstances suggesting that the person concerned knew or ought reasonably to have known of the connection or possible connection, direct or indirect, between his duties and responsibilities and his private interest.

An expanded definition of “conflict of interest” has been included in the Regulations and therefore also means where the person in public life and his immediate family, and/or any connected person(s), or an organisation the person in public life has an employment, advisory or governance relationship, has a financial or other interest that could impact, or be seen to impact, the declarant's ability to make fair decisions with regards to his position as a person in public life.

  • An apparent conflict of interest exists when an interest would not necessarily influence the person but could result in the person's objectivity being questioned by others.
  • A potential conflict of interest exists with an interest that any reasonable person could be uncertain about whether or not it should be reported.

  • Ensure compliance with the Law as it relates to:
    • filing annual declarations for the Register of Interests (s.11 and s.12);
    • declarations of conflicts of interest and subsequent requirements for dealing with them (s.29); and
    • compliance with the Nolan Principles (Schedule 2).
  • Ensure compliance with the Regulations as it relates to including declaring any gifts received which are valued at CI$500 or more;
  • Introduce policies and procedures for mitigating and managing conflicts of interest;
  • Implement sanctions for any breach of the Board’s established policies and procedures;
  • Ensure board members are trained in all relevant policies, procedures, and legislation to ensure they are aware of their accountabilities;
  • Include ‘conflicts of interest’ as a risk to be assessed in the Board’s internal audit and on-going overall risk management processes;
  • Include information on processes for managing conflicts of interest in documents aimed at external stakeholders (such as a statement of business ethics or client service charter);
  • Ensure members refrain from placing themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organizations that might influence the performance of their official duties; and
  • Ensure members, in the discharge of their duties are at all times:
    • Compliant with Laws;
    • Objective/Impartial;
    • Fair/Courtesy;
    • Accessible;
    • Timely and Consistent in their Decision-Making;
    • Cognizant of costs to all parties;
    • Collegiate; and
    • Confidential.
Procurement

Q:What is the Commission’s remit in this area?

A function of the Commission, amongst others, is “to review and establish procedures for awarding public contracts”.

Currently the Public Management and Finance Law (2005 Revision) and the Financial Regulations (2008 Revision) govern the procurement procedures in the public service.  Dedicated procurement legislation is in development, and the Procurement Bill (2016) was gazetted in September 2016 and approved by the House in October 2016.

The former Chairman of the Commission chaired the Working Group on Procurement and the current Commission has given considerable input into the Procurement Bill (2016). See our Procurement page to read our reports and correspondence.