MLAs seek costs from voters after failed challenge

| 10/12/2009

(CNS): The parties involved in the election challenge were back before Chief Justice Anthony Smellie on Wednesday, according to court listings. CNS understands that the closed door hearing related to an application by Mark Scotland and Dwayne Seymour, the UDP Members of the Legislative Assembly whose election to office was challenged by six Bodden Town voters, for costs incurred defending the challenge.  Sources close to the case said that Seymour and Scotland had said when they won the case they would not pursue costs against the voters who had challenged their election, but have now reversed that commitment.

The two MLAs who stood as UDP candidates in the May 2009 General Elections caused considerable controversy when they failed to publicly declare their respective interests in government companies before the deadline, as set down in the constitution. The two candidates gazetted their interests late and then continued to run for office.

After the election, the two candidates were then challenged by six voters from the district, led by Gordon Solomon and including Sandra Catron, an independent candidate in the election. Ironically, the challengers failed to make the legal submissions before the deadline imposed for an election petition.

As a result, they decided to continue with their legal suit as an originating summons in the Grand Court in order to uphold what many people saw as a valuable principle that the Cayman Islands Constitution was the highest law of the land and that politicians should not be allowed to flaunt it.

The UDP candidates, however, mounted a vigorous defence led by one of the UK’s leading QCs, Lord Pannick, who argued that any other remedy outside the Election Petition would be an abuse of process and succeeded in getting the challenge struck out by the chief justice.

It is understood that Seymour and Scotland are now wishing to claim costs for their expensive defence from the voters. With Pannick considered to be one of the ‘stars of the UK bar’ and listed in the top ten lawyers practising in the UK, he is reported to earn in excess of £1500 per hour.

Category: Local News

Comments (48)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    When we violate the law ourselves, whatever short-term advantage may be gained, we are obviously encouraging others to violate the law; we thus encourage disorder and instability and thereby do incalculable damage to our own long-term interests.J. William Fulbright

    • Who you fa says:

      Far more serious laws are violated everyday like the trafic laws, drug laws, criminal laws etc…our society is so hypocritical, wemake a big stink out of Mark and Dwayne missing a deadline which has no direct affect on our society as it were but when it comes to more serious crimes we are content to hide in the dark,  many of the posters to this blog have critical information on serious crimes commited in our society and would not come forward to cooperate with the police and as a result the criminals are free to pray on the innocent. Why aren’t we challenging crime? I know I’ll get the usual comeback about how its the constitution blah blah blah, the voters in bodden town didn’t give a hoots now did they? If we all of us felt this way about crime and cooperated with the authorities we would have a safer place to live.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I feel like we have all fallen down the rabbit holeand are now in Wonderland — except where the heck is the ‘wonder’??

    So let me get this straight…(I hafta talk or write things out sometimes to get the sense of situations that really don’t make sense to begin with!)

    Our 2 BT delegates broke the law by not declaring certain interests, were not challenged prior to elections, did not drop outta the race, won their seats, did not resign, were NOT challenged by the opposition, WERE challenged by concerned voters, who were late in getting the challenge in under the buzzer, yet in the end the accused won their case (with a promise not to pursue a case against the accusers) AND NOW are suing the accusers for costs incurred during a legitimate case against them?

    Have I got it right so far?

    OK – so I do not support either party – let’s get that straight right away so that what I am saying is not lost in the ensuing debate about who I support. I am in favour of the rights of the Cayman people. I support people – not politicians – who have the interests of our people at heart. If you are a politician who fits those criteria…then I support you – whoever you are and whatever party you’re with.

    Now back to the issue.

    The constitution allows for the challenge if there is any reason to question the legality of the process. It was quite obvious that these boys were not compliant – no matter what party you support…you cannot argue that fact. The BT voters thatbrought the motion did so within their rights. EVERYONE should act upon the prick of their conscience…otherwise what’s the point of having one?

    The ones that answered the call were doing so according to the cry of their fellow constituents – that is, other voters. The entire island was in upheaval over this! The challengers did what they had to do – what anyone should have done. More than the rest who opposed the issue – they put themselves out there in a public setting for their belief in justice.

    And now, the very two people at the centre of the entire debate – who had an "OJ-like" win, have the nerve to bring a case against honest Caymanians who were only acting according to their consciences…!?!?

    Are they for real?

    What message is this sending?

    What kind of MLA’s do we have up in there?

    Do they not have any guilt at all for such obvious flaunting of the law?

    It is pretty clear after these months since the election that the elected were full of air – like puff pastry – no substance. I doubt that the next 3+ yrs will prove any different. I would be surprised to see many of them get back in again – it was a fluke – great campaigning.

    I am tremendouslydisappointed in the people of Cayman who could not see where this would take us and who supported such an obvious disregard for the law, who were crucifying the ones who wanted justice – sound familiar?

    I am more so disappointed in those elected who felt that they had done nothing wrong when it is clearly stated in black and white. Those who continued to seek office and who, after the fact, have the audacity to punish those who were only trying to ensure that Cayman’s reputation remained somewhat clean in a time of questionable acts and blatant lawlessness.

    I support people who support truth, honesty and justice – be you UDP, PPM, Independent, rich, poor or unaffected. I have been around long enough to observe who is doing what and am saddened that our country is where it is. Not financially – but morally. Our judicial system oftentimes gets in its own way and just beacuse a verdict is issued DOES NOT mean that it is right.

    Nothing good will come of this.

    Nothing.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said Poster 11:37. John,John and Scotland it would be surprise if they both would ever get re-elected in 2013 and the bad part is for them two is to go against their own words, pure shame on them and yes my friend it’s gonna be a long 3+ years of this kind of Governance, we were there before PPM ran in 2005 and Poster 11:37 even though u don’t take sides u can still give a thumbs up to a Party that do good for the people of these Islands.

      I miss the PPM Goverment they would listen to the people of these Islands and take advice, i guess some people felt they was’nt good enough. All I see now is a replay of what was before them in 2001-2005 For those that don’t remember have to live it again. So Sad!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    It was very brave for those individuals who got up and challenge John, John and what’s the other guy name? Yeah. Scotland and there are some posters on here bashing up the opposition for not taking a stand and for their information PPM had nothing to do with the Group of people who challeng Scot-land and John, John.

    Even thought i’m a little disappointed with PPM ( Opposition ) for not taking a stand to challenge them, I kind of understand why they might not have been interested in challenging. This my View….

    (1) You all Voted them out for the UDP.

    (2) Now you all want them to fight for you all (Pure Hypocrisy)

    (3) They are hurt by you Caymanians voting them out and now crying for them to take a stand, in this i can’t blame them for not taking a stand even though I highly respect the highest law of the land and I’m sure PPM also do.

    (4) You all fail them and i don’t see what is wrong with the opposition failing to act in certain things because of you PPM bashers.

    Now tell me which other Goverment that run this Island to ever have a zero corruption and very transparent?

    My answer to this is none XXX.

    My question to my fellow Caymanians, yes I’m a Caymanian is this really the kind of Goverment we wanted again?

    Now back to the Article, John, John and Scot-land is the perfect example of a XXXXX Goverment they say one thing and do the other because they said there be no charge now they are charging those voters after some what, 5 Months for a fail challenge.I am so proud of those voters for standing for what is right and I was hoping they would have got the full challenge and won.Those two should be a shame for sitting as MLA’s with no respect for the highest Law.

    In all In PPM had they faults but was the best Goverment these Islands ever had and I am still upset with my fellow Caymanians for choice they made on Election day and stop the crying for this is the Goverment that was chosing over PPM.

    • Anonymous says:

      15:54 I AGREE WITH YOU 100%!!!! The Cayman (& not-so-Caymanian) voters elected the UDP in May, & then begged the PPM to protest the results! It didn’t make sense! If the Cayman (& not-so-Caymanian) people didn’t want Seymour & Scotland they shouldn’t have voted for them in the first place! It is said that "you get the government" you vote for" & Cayman sure got the government they voted for, & now the majority is crying & saying it was a mistake! TOO BAD! You get what you deserved! Now you have Scot & Sey & you have to put up with them even if you don’t want to! WE all know that the UDP won the elections with imported votes & buying votes (as reported by Cayman 27 but nothing was done!). It is indeed sad to think that the UDP had to use money & imported people (status) to win an election, & I admire the voters who protested Scot & Sey’s win in BT, but the BT get what they deserve!

      • Anonymous says:

        Well said and I don’t understand some of our Caymanians they don’t same to remember bad Governance and then rehire them. One thing Caymanians needs to learn! Is how a party was form would always be it’s nature!

        Lets say for instants there are 2 parties.The first is form on no respect for the Laws of the Land and never listens to people of the Islands and whatever  they says goes and Reigning with Corruption at the same time.

        And then you have the second party who listens to the people and adjust to whatever they request, because they serve the voters and not the voters serving them and respecting the Laws of the Land and Weeding Out Corruption.

        Remember a party never changes it style of politcs and we must learn to look beyond the their rhetoric especially from the first party who is more likely to use it more than the second party.

    • Dred says:

      WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG….

      You are so wrong.

      These guys were sought out by PPM and were HEAVILY ENCOURAGED to go ahead by PPM.

      Fact is PPM did not want to do it because it was going to look "politically motivated". That is the truth like it or not.

      This is as much a PPM challenge as it was any other challenge it’s just that their face is not being seen.

      This should have been challenged by Kurt IMMEDIATELY!!!! Without thought, without hesitation and without concern for his BT team.

      THIS IS NOT ABOUT 2012/3 KURT!!! This is about the fundamentals of law and order. Now you are forced to sit across the room from two people who don’t deserve to be there. Two people who dismantled the law ON YOUR WATCH!!!!

      You may try to sugar coat this anyway you wish but it’s simple, ooh so BRUTE simple. PPM BOTCHED IT!!!! UDP **cough** pull some strings.

      Fact is Big Mac would not have hesitated and PPM flinched. 2 friggin weeks, not 2 days but 2 whole weeks and with lawyers on the team and close at hand. HOW THE HELL DO YOU MESS UP SOMETHING SO BASIC AND SIMPLE AND BASIC AND SIMPLE????? HOW!!??

      Ahhhhhhh. And for those saying John John and Mark won’t be back…hee hee who’s going to take them out? PPM….they are done in BT. At least this crew is. I can not tell you how many PPM people I have spoken to since who said they will vote elsewhere or not at all because of this crap.

      So if no PPM then who? Same clowns people, same clowns. Two Big Mac YES MEN!! Because let’s be real. That is all they really are.No one wears a pants in Big Mac house but him or you get what the Rolli get plucked from his seat.

      Aaah why do I waste my time. Police aren’t going to look into anything. The GT/WB thing is already buried. They will still be looking into that well after my great grandchildren have met their maker.

      I am not for UDP (as anyone who read my post can tell) and I am not for PPM (as you can see also). I just call it like it is. When things are this blatantly stupid I have to call them out on it. This was the crem dela crem or however you spell that of STUPIDITY on PPM part. The icing on the CAKE.

  4. Bodden Town Tax says:

    I think a tax should be levied on each registered voter in Bodden Town to pay these costs.  It would serve them right for lumpnig the rest of us with these two jokers as MLAs.

  5. Anonymous says:

    look whos talking about the challenge being late they where late them selves ive never seen anything like this anywhere else in this world. only in mckeeva CAYJAM.

  6. durrrr says:

    As much as I dislike Scotland and Seymour, it’s hard to have much sympathy for the challengers. I am sure that they were advised that costs follow the event before the proceeedings were issued… they chose to do it regardless and now have to face the consequences. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to see Scotland’s and Seymour’s election challenged as much as the next man who couldn’t be bothered challenging it themselves… but if you are going to do it, do it on time or don’t do it at all – all the more so when the very thing you are complaining about is a failure to do something on time.

     

    I, for one, am very pleased that our legal system has the costs system that it does… it is a very good deterrent to frivoulous lawsuits. You can take a look at the sue-everyone-for-everything culture in the US for the flip-side of the coin…

     

    CNS – do you know what type of costs order was made against them (if one has already been made)? Unless it was an order for indemnity costs, Pannick’s hourly rate won’t make any difference – they’ll only have to repay at the prescribed rates, which were set in 2001 and are less than half of what most lawyers typically charge these days…

    • Afraid to Strap on a Pair Also says:

      Paving the way to hell is what your system allows.  As a U.S. citizen with Cayman interests, I take issue with your remark.  XXXX

  7. Anonymous says:

    I thought they said they would not be seeking costs?

  8. Anonymous says:

    This picture of Mark looks like he’s just seen the bill from his top notch UK Lawyer….haha…guess they did not think about the bill that would be coming at the end of the ride!  Some fine example of very recent regular Church going fellas!!

    • Anonymous says:

      This lawyer bill must be very large! Imagine if supporters house mortages can be paid off, new range rovers can be bought for colleagues, personal bills can be taken care of, etc etc etc, but a lawyers bill for 2 of the UDP elected members cannot be paid? That must be real BIG! Come on UDP & mac, after all the favors you do to get votes, support & whatever else, surely you can pay the bill for the 2 blind mice. Is that too much to ask? Personally, I think it is disgracful that the 2 blind mice are even contemplating suing, but I assume they learn from their leader.

  9. the Watcher says:

    Mark XXXXX and his side kick should have been disqualified but Kurt was to cowardly to pursue the case in court sighting costs. What rubbish. Their party chairman and deputy chairman all come from a law firm that makes millions so where is the cost? It really was about committment. That’s the real deal and he let his supporters and the country down. Another reason why Kurt should no longer be leader of anything. It takes back bone, intelligence and committment to be a true leader of anything. What we have here is the remnats of what Kurt’s mis leadership has brought upon us and the PPM will be looked at as a joke as long as pittyful Kurt is at the helm. This is harmful to us all regardless of what political persuasion you are. We can’t trust the people we elect because they have a different agenda then we do. A very sad state of affaires and this calls for a third party.

  10. UniqueCommonSense says:

     Simply greedy and lacking good moral character and values.

    We all know when someone LACKS INTEGRITY, we expect them to act in this manner but what we sometimes HOPE is that they rise to a level of CONSCIENCE where learning, understanding, self-respect, pride and wisdom abide.

    This is one of those cases where our expectations did not meet the actions of such individuals.

    What is so sad about this whole episode it that their actions are viewed on an INTERNATIONAL level, not only domestic, where we Caymanians are tinted by the same brush.

    Not surprised, but in disgust.

    • Who you fa says:

      Those of you who criticize Mark and John truly do not understand the legal process. These defendants incurred significant legal expenses and it is only good sense to claw back those expenses,;any right minded person would do this. This is why people should consider carefully the consequences of their actions no matter how noble they may be. I should hope that the many people who supported these voters in taking this action would now support them in paying what I think would be a helfty legal bill. To be honest  I am not so optimistic that they will.

      • Afraid to Strap on a Pair Also says:

        I think we understand pretty well.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hi, Hello, Sorry…

        WHAT!

        Your right when you say "any right minded person would do this" but you see I find a flaw in that statement.

        A right minded person doesn’t break the law!

        Simple end of story.

      • Anon says:

        the matter is that they said they would not and now they are and the country is already broke.

        maybe you’re so used to politicains breaking their word that you no longer care but most voters do.

        Lying to the public of Cayman? is that noble?

        • Who you fa says:

          Anon

          Is it really that you care or is it more because Mark and Dwayne are both UDP members? you see I think this is more about party bashing that lying…

  11. Dred says:

    You know what the sad part is?

    In 2012 they have like a 80%+ chance of returning to office.

    BT PPM voters are still collecting themselves after the elections debacle and many are turning away from PPM because the lack of follow thru on their part.

    In the past election PPM got 1 of my votes and UDP 1….Next election I will vote elsewhere or not at all. Both parties are utterly terrible. UDP always doing near illegal to totally illegal things and PPM too hesitant and frankly it scares the hell out of me should we put Kurt in and we have a major disaster like Ivan. His reluctance will end up in deaths.

    The day after the elections PPM leader Kurt Tibbetts should have filed to have them dismissed. PPM was too worried about image and damage control to see the bigger picture of LAW AND ORDER.

    PPM really needs to take a good close look at Honduras and what they just did to defend their constitution. They took on the WORLD!!! No one was standing behind them not even their allies. But they held their ground knowing full well that what they did was right by their constitution. That my friends is what DEMOCRACY is all about. They EARNED my respect.

    While here in Cayman Kurt has lost mine because his fear of loosing in 2012 was more important than the law in which we put him there to defend. That my friends is SAD and pathetic all wrapped into one. How can we put people into office who’s political will is more important than the responsibility we put them there for? How?

    John John and Mark you two are no better. You broke the laws you swear to uphold to take office. Now because PPM is inept it doesn’t mean you are any less culpable for what you did. You set a precidence for the future that someone will use. Now that you have actual power I see no reason to believe you will not continue your ways while in office. You are perfect for the team you are on. You also lost my respect.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry, I felt I should let you know  that it will be the 2013 election not the 2012 election.

       

      Carry on.

  12. Anonwho says:

    Mark and John John! What a joke and a crying shame all at the same time! What the hell happened to John John anyway.. I haven’t even seen him since the damn elections..  Majority of them are big jokes, both from the leading and the opposition.. They really need to start a party with younger much more educated caymanians.

  13. Recently Enlightened says:

    I like that picture of Mark. It look like he’s trying to read and understand the Constitution!

    • Lachlan MacTavish says:

      Why should the voters pay the bill. I guess if you are elected now you get a large salary and ALLLL your expenses paid by the voters and residents because you are an MLA. Miss Annie would be disgusted.

    • Anonymous says:

      For these two elected members, who rightfully should have been disqualified, to now turn around and sue good people who were only trying to follow the elections law, is a downright disgrace and proves what kind of people the two MLAs really are, and worse is to come as all the UDP are the same! Did you see those two along with the UDP cronies and lackies at the Jazz Fest – OMG, Cayman has really gone!

      • Anonymous says:

        I was at the Jazz Fest and I saw people who supported both sides, in fact I sat with someone who was actually on the PPM platform. It was certainly a night for ALL Caymanians, no matter their party affiliation. What a beautiful evening it was.

        I particularly enjoyed the fact that the Premier honored our locat artist. I spoke with one of the recipients afterwards and he was gushing about how proud he felt to have been acknowledged for his music contributions after almost thirty years in the industry.

        • Anonymous says:

          Ok so I know we’re talking about the whole challenge attorney bill but the posters above brought it up and it’s been on my mind about these awards so I need to ask…. So what’s Cayfest for?  If not to honor local artist? I’m pretty sure these great recepients deserved the recognition but isn’t Cayfest a much better occasion to honor culture and local artist verses the Jazzfest. And I feel bad to know that for years we been having CAYfest which is dedicated to local arts and culture preservation and this poor receipient hasn’t been recognized until 30 years later, hope I’m wrong with that understanding. I may get backlash but sorry this award ceremony would be better served for Cayfest which is aired locally. I’m pretty sure none of this gets aired by Centric (by the way which only dish users have), sorry Mac and Mark, however you did seem to put a few smiles on some faces and I’m sure confusion on others as to awards being presented at Jazzfest. Guess confusion is the name of the game… were the BT candidates elegible or not…bankrupt or not bankrupt… Mac on island or off…jazzfest or an award ceremony.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I guess they saw the bill. It must have been a real whacker!

    The politicians of today seem to have a serious lack of transparency and questionable morals. We are seeing this the whole world over. 

    It also appears that today’s legal system is not about right and wrong, but rather about ego, money and status.

  15. Dan Dan says:

    What in the hell is wrong with you guys, Mark and Dwayne? (Note that I will never address you people as Honourable anything).

    You have no morals, no conscience, no integrity, no decency and of course no regards for the law or constitution.

    You two should have been in hiding, hoping to God that your constituents never grow the back bone to question your obvious disregard to ‘doing the right thing’ or even having enough respect for the people that voted for you by being honourable and standing down!

    Is it any wonder the children of Cayman tend to act the way they do when you guys are the shining examples we have offered to them for role models?

    You two $#*)%^)_&$%!@ should be downright ashamed but no, instead your eyes have changed to the likes of McKeeva where the only thing you can see is the $$$$$$ sign.

    How can you possibly think any of this is ok?

    Collectively the UDP and it’s members are XXXXXX in the Cayman Islands as shown by them and their fearlessleader time and time again.

    I have no fear for the guys with guns as their purposes to loot are very clear and since I’m broke they will not likely target me…but you people of the UDP party, I fear you.

    I fear you because you stand for nothing and will fall for anything. I fear you because you think you are above reproach and I will pray for you that maybe one day you will wake as men and not mice.

    *One Love*

    Dan Dan

     

    • Anonymous says:

       Dan Dan you need to change your darn name to FOOL FOOL because you sound like one!  STOP!  The hateful bashingand learn to appreciate what these great men are doing for our Country.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Excellent!

    PPM used them. Now make them pay. They knew the election claim was baseless.

    Good –

    • Recently Enlightened says:

      The election claim was not baseless. It’s just that in "true Cayman fashion", the claim was also filed late! It simply amazes me. A group a people wanted to challenge the validity of 2 elected persons on the basis they made LATE declarations which contravened the Constitution. Then the claim to challenge this contravention was in turn filed late!

    • Anonymous says:

      You are a shining example of a UDP member or supporter…..absolutely no regard for law!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Disgusting…

    First they break the law then lash out at the victims.

  18. Anonymouse says:

    Shame, Shame, Shame

  19. Go Cayman says:

    "Demagogs of the Caribbean" is already in production.  Mark and Mac DO NOT win the Nobel Peace Prize.  And it’s not a sexy film starring Johnny Depp.  It’s about pirates of a different kind.

  20. Anonymous says:

    A country gets the government it deserves!!!!

  21. Anonymous says:

    i can’t believe after breaking the Constitution they are our law makers!!! i guess if BT didn’t vote they would’nt have gotten turkeys, marl for the yard, homes paid off etc…it is sad the state of mind that Cayman voters have! forget being a smart qualified man to sit in office, we so enjoyed them turkeys from last Christmas!! *rolling eyes*

     

  22. anonymous says:

    What a crying shame! Proves (once again) to you what they are about, their own self interest.

    I hope the BT voters have taken note of how much these two value them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Speak for yourself and not worry about us Bodden Town voters; that is what is wrong with Cayman today – others always sticking their noses in other people affair. Bodden Town has 3 representative – dont know if one of them is still serving – oops sorry; have not served for many years.

  23. what a mess says:

    This is another sad development.

    I respect Mark, for his take on promoting safe sex/use of condoms and efforts to lessen stigma and discrimination of those infected or affected by STIs (all of us).

    However when i recall his take on "the EIA on the new port development has not been ruduced but only changed"…and as for Dwayne with his part in Mac’s attempt to push through the change in Legal Aid Admistration (to Mac and his hand picked lawyers) or (cronies)…now for them to expect the people to pay them back for their breaking the highest law of the land (Contitution)…all at a time when CIG is so broke. This just wreaks of a completely selfish attitude…one that says let’s milk the people for all they’re worth…and then some.

    Some will of course say that they won the case and thus should be compensated. But we know many people win cases (often on technicalities) but it does not mean they didn’t break the law. It would be a Real Leaders attitude to let this go…set an example of "doing the right thing for country".

    Afterall they are being paid hansomely by the same country they now want to sue.

    It’s looking more and more that the majority of our politicians are far, far more concerned in personal gain than doing what’s right for country.

  24. Dred says:

    Seems that was the last piece to qualify him to stand beside Big Mac.

    OOh well. Here we go now. Sacrificial lambs.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Talk about rubbing salt in an open wound. Who is advising these two clowns anyway.

    They should still be hanging their heads in shame for disregarding our highest law of the land, our Constitution, and not resigning as a result.

    Instead what do these two monkeys do…….they try to get the poor voters who were seeking to uphold our Constitution "sanctioned" and taught a lesson by having them pay for Mark and John John’s lawyers.

    Come on Mark, pay the bill out of the $8M that the government has paid your paving company over the past couple of years.

    The PPM certainly financed your campaign nicely……musta been YOUR FRIEND Tony’s decree !!!!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Is anyone really surprised? Going back on promises! Are these two MLAs (can we really say this) not members of UDP – no more needs to be said!