People want one man one vote

| 01/04/2011

(CNS):The Legislative Assembly’s independent member says he is disappointed that government appears set to not only to ignore recommendations made by the Boundary Commission over the Cayman Islands’ new political seats but the wishes of the people as well. Ezzard Miller said a decision has been made to add two seats to the district of George Town and one to Bodden Town to increase the size of the legislature, as provided for in the new constitution. Although the Boundary Commission’s report revealed that at every public meeting on Grand Cayman the people voiced their desire for single member constituencies, Miller told CNS that government has missed the chance to make the country more democratic.

“What I found astounding was that the Boundary Commission found at every meeting on Grand Cayman people expressed a preference for one member, one vote,” he said, adding that it is clear this is what should have been recommended. The only notable exception is the Sister Islands, where the voters are content with their two members and two votes, despite being home to less than only 6.5% of the electorate.

Acknowledging that there was no specific mandate for them to work toward single member constituencies, he said the Boundary Commissioners actual recommendations for a new district were still being ignored. Miller said it was the third time his lifetime that a government had the opportunity to correct the imbalance in local politics and introduce a more democratic system and missed it.

“Instead, the government has opted to continue with this smorgasbord of voting,” added the North Side representative, who is one of only two representatives from a single member constituency.

The 2010 Boundary Commission, established under the new constitution to increase the membership of the Legislative Assembly to 18 members, finished their work in June last year. The commissioners revealed in their report that the mandate during this review was to create 18 even constituencies across the districts and it was up to the politicians to decide what shape it would take.

As a result of their research, they said that if government did not want to move to one member one vote then the next best solution was to create a new district of Prospect/Savannah, an area between George Town and Bodden Town. This, the commissioners said, would prevent George Town from having too great a political advantage and provide balanced representation for the fastest growing area of the country.

However, Miller said government had already made a decision to ignore the commission as well as the wishes of the people and simply add seats to existing districts.

“I understand that the government is going to recommend that two seats are added in George Town and one in Bodden Town,” he added. This means voters in the Cayman Islands’ capital will have six votes each and a one third representation in the Legislative Assembly, the very imbalance that the commission had warned against. Miller said it was undemocratic, providing an unfair advantage to voters in the capital and at the same time allowing members to be less accountable.

CNS asked the premier a few weeks ago what decision had been made regarding the electoral boundaries. His response was that when he made the announcement we would know and that would be during the budget session.

The government is under no obligation to accept any of the recommendations by the commissioners, who admitted during their round of public meetings that their role was entirely advisory. As a result they recommended that everyone read their report so they could decide for themselves if the politicians had opted for the fairest solution when it came to adding the three new seats.

Miller said the main issue was that it was time for Cayman to have a fair voting system, as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is one member one vote. “Politicians should not be looking at what is the best way for them to get re-elected but for the best system for the people of this country which will offer 100% accountability,” Miller stated. He said that with six members in George Town, those MLAs will have even less accountability than they do at present.

Miller said a democratic society isbased on one member one vote and that is what should happen. He said there was more than enough time to establish single member constituencies before the 2013 General Election as the research has already been conducted as per the 2003 Boundary Commissions Report.

However, the North side MLA said that if there was not the political will, the addition of an extra district would at least reduced the size of George Town’s unfair representation. Miller said that if the government was going to persist with the idea of piling on more seats to existing districts, he  would bring a motion to the LA to amend the voting system so that each person still gets just one vote each.

This, he explained, would mean the top six candidates in George Town, for example, would still be elected but the voters would only be casting one vote.

He said that he knew of nowhere else in the world that had a voting system like the one in the Cayman Islands, with single member constituencies sitting alongside multi member constituencies and where some voters had just one vote while others were now looking at the likelihood of having six.

See the 2010 Boundary Commission’s report here.

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Category: Politics

Comments (40)

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  1. Libertarian says:

    ***** A slate of candidates who are voted on by one person, one vote, I believe, is the most democratic option this government can give to its people! It is this sort of democratic system that is practice in Israel and the Netherlands where they have their elections as a single nationwide entity. There is no constituency, but one! There are no divisions or more than one electoral area in the Netherlands! Israel represents its entire nation with one voice! So are the Cayman Islands: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman – are we not one united front? Why do we need electoral districts? We are not the vast and large country of Great Britain! We have less than 55 thousand people here, and a Constitution, sorry to say that makes it easier for one party to have political advantage over the other party through the establishment of constituencies. The smaller electoral boundaries are put at a disadvantage to the well populated boundaries of George Town and West Bay. People, this set-up is just not necessary and the reason I feel that the Boundary Commission has not addressed it or has been silent about it, is because that is just how the electoral system is set-up in the UK! Sorry to say, but a single member constituency is just not enough in securing these islands from political corruption! It is not the best option of options! There is no MLA right now that is speaking about a more wide and democratic electoral system where all will be held accountable and answerable to the 1 grand electorate. Why does West Bay alone have to be answerable to the Premier who is from West Bay? Why can’t the whole island be involved in this man’s election? Could someone please from the Boundary Commission or MLA stand up and suggest a NATIONAL REFERENDUM??? WE ARE TOO SMALL TO BE DISECTED INTO MANY PARTS! *****

    • Anonymous says:

      Why dont we simply NOW insist that the current district elections be conducted on a one man one vote basis. Therefore no matter what district you live in, you have only one vote. It will make vote counting much simpler as there would only be approximately 15,000 votes cast. In the districts that have more than one representative (based on number of voters) the top candidates would get seats in accordance with the number of votes they get as is the case now. Just because a district has 4 represenetaives does not mean the voters have to have 4 votes!!

  2. McCarron McLaughlin says:

    One man one vote is one of the tools we the people have to could change the dynamics of Caymanian politics forever, but the present establishment would never allow it.

    Perhaps the public should demand that this is posed in a national referendum, if the government can suggest Gambling then they can put a subject like one man one vote referendum.

    Let’s get a petition out that will force the governor’s hand to make this happen.

    • Michel Lemay says:

      Mr. McCarron, I would like to talk with you next time we meet or sooner. You seem to be informed on the subject and I am not. I know you were in the system until not so long ago. I believe you know who to get my tel.# from. I look forward to your call. God Bless you and your family

    • Subway Cookie says:

      Sorry maybe I dreamt this, but didnt we originally have the “One Man, One Vote” concept? Who changed it? Who wanted it changed? I’m confused here, we had the concept, we didnt fight to keep it, it changed, the wrong people benefited although we all knew it would never benefit the people as it would the politicians and now we need to fight to change it back?

      I am soooooo exhausted. I will say this: Men dominate politics in this country but yet you all complain that its us women who can’t make up our minds!

  3. Anonymous says:

    ARE WE SURPRIZED

    What do you expect from a despotic dictator who has absolutly NO interest in democracy or the wishes of the people. He has shown the country that he is above the law and his rule is absolute.

    Please stop just talking about the issues and make a difference ACT Cayman and end the darkest period of our political history.

    The PPM gave us the FOI law and the new constitution, now it is up to us to continue their good work because just think for one second what it would really be like under theUDP without these advances given to us by the previous Government.

    A Caymanian for a better Cayman

  4. Yo Mama says:

    I disagree with “one man one vote”. I think women should be able to vote too!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Cheeese Louise! 

    What a load of gum-flapping and futile blogging over spilt milk!!

    Dont you all know there was a lengthy public consultation during the Constitution review process over a year ago??  It’s a DONE DEAL!

    Nevertheless, I blame the politicians for throwing around term "One man one vote" without explaining what their version really meant.  What Cayman needed was national elections, instead of one man in the corner of one district… and MORE politicians!

    I also think the Single Member Constituencies cannot work for the same reason why the party system cannot:   Too much division, victimization and preferences. 

    A person voted into such a constituency, but who isnt part of the ruling party, will always be in the minority, and railroaded by the others in the parties and other constituencies within his district… leaving him with frustrated and unserved people to surely vote him out ASAP.

    Well, it’s too late – we have the New Constiutition!!

    BUT – it we ever grow enough marrow to call for real constitutional change, make sure we remove the MLAs’ ability to vote themselves raises/pensions/etc etc.. and ensure minimum attendance for their pay.

    Buoyyyy what a mess!!

     

     

     

  6. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the others who say that Cayman needs “National Elections”.

    Each voter should be voting across the entire islands for the slate of representatives each voter feels will best represent the entire Cayman Islands!

    That will drastically reduce the ability of some Politicians to buy enough appliances to pass out and pave anough driveways etc. to enough gullible voters at Election time. People in genuine need should be referred to Social Services for a proper assessment.

    The current system is corrupt!….and breeds cronyism!….which of course most Politicians want….so it’s going to take us the people to demonstrate loud and clear, including marching by the thousands into George Town! for the needed change, if we want true accountability!

    Remember how quickly even MadMac backed off about selling the new Govt. Bldg when there was a threat of people marching to protest? Mac and most of the others in the LA are seemingly only there to fatten themselves.

    And the Gubna, it appears, is only here to suntan and chill out for a few years.

    We the people have to change this corrupt system!!!

  7. Albert Jackson says:

    This should have taken place long time. In GT you can run a good campaign $4,500 US and have a good chance of winning. The way it is now you could spend $50,000 and still not have a chance. The way it is now it is for the parties to control the political process and is a clear violation of Human rights with the @ large system. This is an easy win in court.

    • anonymous says:

      Hey Ezzard,

      Ever thought about LEADING THE WAY in presenting to Governor Trevor  the wishes of the people and see it through?

      Has Big Mac frightened you also?!

      The people’s wishes must prevail and you must go over Big Mac’s head and present signatures go the governor. It’s in the constitution isn’t it?

       

  8. Edward De'ann says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with "one man one vote".  It has been downhill since those suffragettes got their way.  Personally I have always lamented the end of the property qualification.  Bleedin’ Chartists.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Cayman Governments of late have ALL lost the plot.  The only way we may end the corrupt dictatorship governing us today and try to get things back on track before its too late is for everyone to vote for the candidates in the three islands as a whole and for ALL of them to have term limits of 8 years PERIOD.  Cayman is way too small to be divided up into electoral districts.  This makes for what we have now….one MacDicktator and "his" representatives, from each district.  The rest of the representatives are simply in the LA to make up numbers except for Ezzard.  Thank God he has the balls to stand up (and he is an INDEPENDANT not a party person) who tries to stand up and to do the right thing and enlighten us even though he does not seem to have the support of any of the other LA members from wither party.  This is unacceptable government and this is why we need to be able to vote across the islands.  I should be able to vote for Ezzard in the next election no matter which district he or I live in.  He deserves and has earned my vote in 2013 because he is the only one addressing the real issues and trying to keep us abreast of whats happening behind closed doors in MacWorld.  When was the last time you heard a peep out of any of our LA members regarding crime or the state of the economy or unemployment, Immigration and other National issues much less TAKE A STAND AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT ANY OF IT ????  Exactly…NONE.  We need bold men and women representing ALL of us to take these issues as a priority, not talking BS about oil refineries and cruise ports and East End docks and new islands in the N.Sound and other insanity.  Get a grip Caymanians…MacDicktator has fooled you long enough now behind his church robe…don’t let him fool you into drinking anymore of his poison.  He is nothing more than another uneducated, self-righteous, money hungry,narcissistic fanatic whose only concern is himself.  He is NOT worthy of representing these islands and I perish to think he represents me.           

  10. Caymanians for logic says:

    West Bay East (1)

    West bay South (1)

    West Bay North (1)

    West Bay West (1)

    Seven Mile Beach North (1)

    Seven Mile Beach South(1)

    George Town East (1)

    George Town South (1)

    George Town North (1)

    George Town West (1) 

    George Town Central (1)

    Prospect (1)

    Savannah/Lower Valley/ Newlands (1)

    Bodden Town / Pease Bay/Frank Sound  (1)

    East End (1)

    North Side (1)

    Cayman Brac East (1)
    Cayman Brac West/ Little Cayman ( 1)

    • Anonymous says:

      I will let u in on pretty well kept political secret. the reason our politicians are now pushing for one man one vote is because they are reacting to the push for national elections. 

      the folks on this site seem to think that one man one vote will somehow be less of an advanatge to incumbants but it wont. for example in West Bay, Mckeeva will still run with his three running mates as the slate for West Bay the only difference is they will be each be standing for a different section of West Bay

      • Anonymous says:

        It is fairly obvious that one man one vote will disadvantage the incumbent parties, in particular the UDP. As the Article makes clear, our politicians are NOT pushing for one man one vote, the people are. The politicians are resisting it. Here’s why: because electors have multiple votes those who vote for lead candidate will often also vote for the persons who are running on their ticket whether or not they think they are good candidates in themselves. The vote for the lead candidate is therefore amplified through our absurd system. An examination of the ballots cast at the last election will prove this. At least two of the candidates in WB in particular, simply would not be elected if this were not possible and instead they were forced to compete in single member constituencies.

    • Anonymous says:

      You appear to be giving the present WB electoral district 5 seats, GT 6 and BT 2 (reducing it by 1). That’s ridiculous. BT and WB are now separated by only a couple hundred votes.

    • Lachlan MacTavish says:

       The majority of voters in Cayman do not want Mr. Bush or Ms. O’connor in power. So do not be surprised that Bush will fight this to the the end.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bodden Town is huge with a rapidly increasing population  – needs splitting similar to WB & GT.

  11. Libertarian says:

    ***** Again, get rid of all the constituencies of division, unite the Cayman Islands under one banner, and have a national slate of candidates for all three islands so that the ENTIRE electorate can have the right and opportunity for one man per vote. That way the MLA’s will have ALL the people to answer to and be held accountable. ***** Libertarian

    • Anonymous says:

      Politicians dont like national elections so it will neverhappen unless the PEOPLE make it happen. A political strongman in a small single member constituency is very hard to vote out, especially one that is corrupt and giving handouts. Think about it. Thanks.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please think through what you are proposing. It would mean that good candidates from least populous districts would likely fare worse than even the worst candidates from the most populous districts. It would be inherently biassed towards candidates from GTWB and BT. Further, electors already have difficulty sifting through the number of candidates for their individual districts now you would be asking them to sift through 50+ candidates.

      On the plus side, your proposal is less ridiculous than the call for everyone to have 15 or 18 votes.

    • karen says:

      Thanks Libertarian, makes sense, but I don’t think Ezzard would go so far for the cause of democracy. By a national election, he probably has the fear that the majority of Caymanians may vote him out too. Hence, he is playing along with dividing the Cayman into parts.

  12. Curious ExPat says:

    Why why why are politics not taught in your schools!!!!????

    Every person graduating and on the verge of being of voting age should be taught how your governement works and the history (unbiased…) of their politicians and how things came to be how they are today.
    This makes for a more informed opinion/choice instead of going along with something becuase they are your relatives or who your folks and friends choose becuase you don’t know any better.
    I have heard comments about keeping your people ‘stupid and uneducated’ but you must learn that there are times when you must band together and fight for what is right.
    There are no do-overs

  13. Anonymous says:

    Shut and Follow!!!

    The gullible people went to the polls in 2009 and voted for a man who has always demonstrated disdain for the democratic process. Even the most faithful UDP supporters agree that Big Mac will never change. Hopefully, the people will make a better choice if given an opportunity in 2013. In the meantime they have no say because the UDP unwritten motto is,” Shut and Follow”!

  14. Libertarian says:

    ***** Mr. Miller, of course, I am for a “one man one vote” system, but you are like the rest of the MLA’s in terms of not making us into a “more democratic” country. Why? Because it appears that neither of you are considering the option of having a national slate of candidates representing ALL three islands where the ENTIRE electorate would be able to have one vote per person. A national vote for each candidate would simply mean that all the MLAs including yourself would have no choice but to be held accountable by ALL of the electorate. Most naturally, the one who receives the most votes will become the Premier. Besides we are one “united” Cayman Islands! Whatever effects the east side of the Grand Cayman will more than likely effect the west side, whatever effects Cayman Brac, will effect Grand Cayman, and vice versa. Why complicate matters and make the election process so expensive? A national slate of candidates to vote from, would simply mean the “more democratic” system you claim to champion! Why are you so silent and drifting on other topics away from this most democratic system?! ***** Libertarian

  15. Anonymous says:

    In Cayman it is irrelevant what the people want.

    And THAT is their own fault.

  16. Michel Lemay says:

    I am in favor of a representation for the Districts of Savannah, Newlands and Prospest if necessary as it is areas that are growing rapidly in population and we would feel closer to the potential canditates. I reserve my comment at this time regarding the one man one vote as I am not well versed enough on the topic. I will however educate myself on the subject and will be in a better position to share my opinion at a later date after discussing it with my family. We must encourage those who can vote to do so because the feeling I get is that too many are confused and feel that nothing would change and have lost a lot of confidence in many politicians. Vote your concience and do your homework carefully on the candidates in your constituancy and try and form your own opinion first if you have to because we must participate before we can critisize after the fact. I urge everyone to give this some though. Accountability, crme and a right to be heard should be some of the priorities backed with how it could be accomplished. Promises have gotten us nowhere thus far.There is a need to move forward. This is my humble opinion.

    • Anonymous says:

      Michael, you want representation for the Districts of Savannah, Newlands and Prospect. Are you loosing it. When has these three places became districts, further more the representation we now have for the district Of Bodden Town is only concentrated in Savannah. What more are you looking for.XXXX

      • Michel Lemay says:

        Dear anonymous 15:19, I am sorry if I offended you by my comment. I am not looking for anything. I had a recent experience lately concerning someone in serious needs and I honestly did know who to turn to and had to go to Georgetown for help. I however did get your message loud and clear and thank you for your comment.We have relocated and purchased in Savannah a year ago and I am still thinking out of the box. I wish I could meet you one day so you can explain to me more. Again one thing is for certain,we can’t afford to continue the way things are going.

    • Lorrie Furniss says:

      Michel Lemay you should announce your candidacy in the next election. We need more level-headed people of your generation who are truly interested in the well-being of Cayman as you are. I think the best outcome for Cayman is to do away with the party system and all candidates should be independent. This party system is an absolute mistake and has turned this country’s own people from prosperity to poverty. The billionaires overruled the millionaires for the past ten years.

      • Michel Lemay says:

        Miss Lorrie even though I have been here a long time I wasn’t born here for one and my comments are because I care very much for the future of the Cayman Islands and it’s people. We have 7 votes in our family all of whom were born here except for myself. I am concern for the future has I have 8 grandchildren whom where all born here and are part of our future.Thank you for your comment. God Bless.

  17. Anonymous says:

    One man one vote is fundamental to proper democracy. The current system is fundamental to the current regimes ability to continue to keep power. Thats why it will not be changed. The current premier has a block of cronies who individually have little to commend themselves. The premier himself has such a history that in any normal democracy, he would have been kicked out. Yet your system allows to him to get a block of these people elected literally under his wing, and this allows him to control the assembly almost without reference to it. Examples are legion, take just the negotiation of your recent loans, no reference to the assembly, all normal controls and procedures bypassed, no questions answered about even fundamentals like interest rates, let alone bigger issues such as who if anyone benefitted from arrangement fees. He ignores those issues and many more, why? Because he can. Why can he? Go back to the top of this short comment and start again, thats why!

  18. Anonymous says:

    It is clear in this matter that Mac is once again concerned about himself and not the country.  The wishes of the people must take a back seat to the wishes of its Dictator.

    Tic Tock.  Tic Tock  time is running out an the Cayman Islands.

  19. Michel Lemay says:

    As I need to be more educated on the matter of one man one to make a sensible comment I will abstain at this time, I am however in favor of the ability to representation and vote for Savannah, Newlands and Prospect Districts as it is growing very fast in population and not be part of Bodden Town or GeorgeTown.I will educate myself on the subject of one man one vote and be in a better position to comment. This of course is my humble opinion without any interference from anyone.

  20. Anonymous says:

    McKeewa ignoring calls for greater democracy and greater accountability – what a surprise.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised in Macdinejad decided to allocate all three additional members to the district of West Bay.