Boundary decisions will be left to politicians

| 30/04/2010

(CNS): The members of the Electoral Boundary Commission have revealed that their work is not binding and all they can do is offer a report to the Legislative Assembly based on their findings and the feedback from the public. It will be entirely up to the elected members of the country’s parliament to choose whether to take on board or reject the advice they will offer on boundaries and the method of representation. As a result the commissioners told the people of West Bay this week to make sure they familiarize themselves with the report when it is tabled in the LA and lobby their representatives if they support its findings. (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

(CNS): The members of the Electoral Boundary Commission have revealed that their work is not binding and all they can do is offer a report to the Legislative Assembly based on their findings and the feedback from the public. It will be entirely up to the elected members of the country’s parliament to choose whether to take on board or reject the advice they will offer on boundaries and the method of representation. As a result the commissioners told the people of West Bay this week to make sure they familiarize themselves with the report when it is tabled in the LA and lobby their representatives if they support its findings. (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

Speaking to the West Bay community on Tuesday evening, the three member commission, chair Carl Dundas, Norman Bodden and Adriannie Webb, said that their remit was to divide the country into 18 even and fair constituencies, but it would be up to the politicians to choose whether or not the Cayman Islands would move to one member one vote. Once their report was submitted they would have no further say in the future political landscape.
Basing their work on the previous boundary commission’s research which was conducted in 2003, the members said their predecessors had already created 17 potential seats. Given the passage of time, the members said they would now have to re-visit those constituencies to see if the numbers were balanced. Their main goal, they said, was to find an 18th constituency and to consider the future growth of the islands and potential or qualified voters as well as those already registered.
The commissioners all acknowledged that it would have been helpful to have the results of the 2010 census which is taking place this year, but with information from the Statistics and Elections offices as well as the Planning Department they would be assisted with up to date information. Webb explained how it would be useful. “They have said that the fastest growing area is between Prospect going towards Newlands, which has been opened by the new bypass and where land is still affordable,” she said. “If the commission can gather information like this we can be aware of the potential population shifts.”
During the evening the small crowd of West Bayers made it clear that they did not feel there was a need for the country to increase its parliamentary members from 15 and that if there were to be changes it was time for Cayman to move to one member one vote. It was also confirmed that a similar sentiment had been expressed in George Town
The commissioners explained that the increase was set out in the Constitution and therefore it was their role to find where the extra seats could go not whether the numbers should be increased or not. The committee said they would be fair and impartial regarding their work and there would be no gerrymandering with electoral boundaries, but they admitted that they could not compel the LA to adopt their recommended constituencies.
The commissioners said that the EBC will make a recommendation on the kind of constituencies the Cayman Islands will have whether it is single-member constituencies (SMCs), multi-member constituencies (MMCs), or a combination of both based on the sentiments expressed to them by the public.
Following the first two meetings in George Town and West Bay on Monday and Tuesday, the chair said the Commission would now look beyond what they had originally contemplated. “We look forward to very stimulating discussions and recommendations in other districts,” Dundas said adding that there were several principles relating to electoral boundary-making: the process should be fair to all stakeholders; it should be transparent and participatory; and it should take into account various concerns as well as the traditional community boundaries.
At the end of the public consultation process, the commission’s’ recommendations will be sent to the governor, who will forward them to the premier, and then they will be considered in the Legislative Assembly.
The next meetings will be on the Sister Islands this Friday, 30 April, meeting at the Little Cayman Beach Resort from 10:00am to 1:00pm, and then at Cayman Brac’s Aston Rutty Civic Centre from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.
Next week, the meetings will continue for residents of Grand Cayman, at the following days and places: 
Monday, 3 May at the Bodden Town Primary School Hall;
Tuesday, 4 May at the Savannah United Church’s Sanctuary;
Wednesday, 5 May at West Bay’s John Gray United Church Hall;
Thursday, 6 May at George Town’s South Sound Civic Centre;
Monday, 10 May at the North Side Civic Centre;
Tuesday, 11 May at the East End Civic Centre.
All meetings are being held from 7 – 9:00 pm.
For further information, contact the Elections Office at 949-8047.

Category: Politics

Comments (11)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    "Speaking to the West Bay community on Tuesday evening, the three member commission, chair Carl Dundas, Norman Bodden and Adriannie Webb, said that their remit was to divide the country into 18 even and fair constituencies, but it would be up to the politicians to choose whether or not the Cayman Islands would move to one member one vote".

    "The commissioners said that the EBC will make a recommendation on the kind of constituencies the Cayman Islandswill have whether it is single-member constituencies (SMCs), multi-member constituencies (MMCs), or a combination of both based on the sentiments expressed to them by the public".

    There is an inherent contradiction between the above two statements. If the remit of the Commission is to divide the country into 18 even and fair constituencies this is obviously consistent only with single member constituencies since there will be 18 MLAs.

    However, it is unfortunate that according to the Constitution Ithe govt. of the day, having the majority of seats in the L.A., may amend the report to suit its purpose.  

  2. Anonymous says:

    What a pointless exercise and a total waste of time and money when the politicans will shelve and ignore this report and proceed with whatever they decide to help them stay in power and control.

    So much for democracy ?

    Cayman wants to be on the International stage however they want to retain a system of village districts in their politics where by in theory as example, the member for Northside with 200 votes out of 15,000 national votes can be our premier and leader. This is NOT democracy ! This is stupidity !

    The entire country should be voting for every member of each district for a true democracy in the Cayman Islands. Cayman has surpassed just only dealing with little districts, you are on the world stage and should act as so in our political structure of Government.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What a total waste of time.  As if the members of the LA will decide anything other than the course of action that most assures them continued incumbency.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The impetus to add to the number of MLAs is that Cabinet can then be increased. It is a simple fact that each Cabinet Minister has an oversized portfolio and there may be greater efficiency and effectiveness if there are more ministers. There is little point in making irrelevant comparisons with  small towns. The size of Cayman’s population belies the complexity and vast array of issues, both domestic and international with which we are faced. For the most part, Cayman functions as a country.  The same cannot be said for smalltown, U.S.A. or U.K. A better comparison would be for our sister overseas territory which has a similar economy and only a slightly larger population. First, Bermuda has a bicameral legislature with a senate and a house of representatives. There are 36 representatives in the house and 11 members of the senate.  There are 13 members of Cabinet. I think we compare quite well in Cayman with only 15 MLAs and 5 members of Cabinet. We will compare well even if this increased to 18 MLAs and 7 Cabinet members. This puts the issue into proper perspective.  

    Of course people are rightly concerned that this will increase the cost of govt. Inevitably it will.       

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said, and also well thought out.

      This is the kind of posts I like to read, rather than the emotive stuff.

  5. Anonymous says:

    With so few voters why do we need so many MLAs and voting districts. It is a huge waste of money and completely pointless.

    We’ll have more districts than voters soon. I think there’s already more MLAs than voters. It’s just an excuse for the party leaders to bring more of their cronies in to make obscene money for doing next to nothing.

    The few people that can vote should look in the mirror and see who is ruining the island. You moan about everything and everybody else but if you were making better decisions in your lives, working harder at work, respecting yourself and others and using common sense we would not be in this position where the island is bankrupt and crime is the only sustainable business.

  6. Anonymous says:
    Now, here is a place where our cash strapped Government can save some money.

    How many voters are there in the Cayman Islands? As many as 15,000?

    This is fewer than many small towns in most countries. Can those towns
    afford an Electoral Boundary Commission and associated bureaucracy?

    For that matter, do the 15,000 voters in Cayman really need 18 MLA’s to represent them,
    costing an estimated $300,000 each including offices, staff, benefits, travel, and perks?

    Government has somehow grown itself out of all proportion, and should be looking at
    the many areas where it can lower its cost

    7xK

  7. peter milburn says:

    Where as I have the utmost respect for our recently appointed boundary commission I have to ask the question as to why in these bad economic times are we wasting more money to do this work?Surely we could wait til "tings"are better before moving forward with this.Another point I would like to raise is where do we get the extra $’s to pay for the 3 new MLA’s?Then to make things even worse I do believe that a new Cabinet member will be appointed as well.Again where do we get all  these $’s to pay for this.?I have said this before and will say it again that I hope that with any new cabinet member I hope that with a smaller work load being introduced for present members. I hope that the $’s will be reduced (salary wise)to fit the smaller work load (Ha Ha !!).I for one will find it very hard to support such a measure just so that one more "Fat Cat"can take advantage of the people of the Cayman Islands.Have our present Gov.members taken a cut in salary as was voiced by our Premier?If not why and if yes show us proof that this has been done(Ha Ha!!!)

  8. Beachboi says:

    If the members of the LA can accept or reject the views of the EBC then why waste our time giving our suggestions???

    • Anonymous says:

      They may think twice about rejecting the recommendations of the boundary commission if they are based on the views of the same people who will elect, or not elect, them.     

  9. Anonymous says:

    Dennie must be choking on bile as he snaps pictures of these worthless commissions.  I appreciate Dennie’s energy even if I don’t agree with all his positions.  Surely he must realize that, despite the proliferation of this committee and that commission, that the same stupid few rule the Cayman Islands and will decide what they think is best for us all.  And if the same "stupid" few should profit, well… gee whiz.