Debate on new seats delayed

| 08/04/2011

(CNS): The people of the Cayman Islands will not be getting single member constituencies at the next election, despite that being the preference of the majority. Government has now confirmed that it does not plan to change the current six electoral districts but will be adding one seat to Bodden Town and two to George Town, giving electors in the capital a whopping six votes. Although the draft order was placed upon the table of the Legislative Assembly on Friday morning, the debate was halted before it even started when one member pointed out that the language of the schedule gave the impression that government was, in fact, introducing single member constituencies on Grand Cayman. 

The government was forced to suspend the debate until Monday in order to re-write the schedule, which spoke about 17 constituencies and did not clarify that this referred to polling station areas as oppose to actual electoral seats.

The draft order, which comes nine months after the Electoral Boundary Commissions report was published, was laid on the table prior to the premier presenting a government motion on the subject that would have triggered what is expected to be a heated debate. However, Ezzard Miller, the member for North Side who is a staunch advocate of introducing single member constituencies across the islands, pointed out that the document, if passed in the form it was presented, would do just that.

The error sent the legislators into backroom discussions but not before the premier and the opposition leader had engaged in a heated exchange over the process and government's failure to supply the opposition benches with the details of the motion. As McKeeva Bush announced his government's intention to table the draft and to follow it with a motion for debate, Alden McLaughlin pointed out that nine months after the report had been given to the LA, on the morning that government wanted to debate the proposals on what was a matter of critical importance the opposition had still not been given a copy of that motion.

Bush, however, noted that government did not intend to make any changes to the existing electoral boundaries in order to meet the constitutional requirement to increase the country's parliament by three members before the next election, which is expected to take place in 2013.

As a result, the political landscape will remain the same but Bodden Town, the fastest growing district, and the capital will get the extra seats. This was one of the possible scenarios reflected in the Boundary Commission's report. However, the commissioners had indicated that combining the neighbourhoods of Prospect and Savannah to create a seventh electoral district would be preferable to prevent the obvious political imbalance that the addition of seats to George Town would create.

The commissioners also outlined the alternative of one man one vote over sixteen single member constituencies on Grand Cayman, with Cayman Brac retaining its multi-member-two-man constituency. Although the commissioners did not directly recommend this option, it noted that during its public consultation period, at every meeting it held the people of Grand Cayman and made it clear that they wanted one man, one vote.

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Category: Politics

Comments (36)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Sooo what u sayin is, that the 3 MLAs we have now are SOO effective and doing such a great job, and are so overworked and underpaid — that we need 3 more!!??

  2. anonymous says:

    I hope unnah West Bayers do something to change this cancer that is killing the Cayman Islands. This is ridiculus!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Caymanian Voters should be very ashamed this week:

    They are gonna flap their gums (and keyboards) and let a Grave Travesty happen n the LA on Monday – that is, the MLAs will vote to add 3 new MLA positions, when there are at Least 3 good reasons why they should go Protest downtown Monday Morning To STOP the debate!

    Those reasons are :

    !) We  cannot afford it $$$ – even  by next election we will still be BROKE!!

    (2) It will cause an EVEN Number of MLAs – and the possibility of hung votes in proceedings;

    (3) As I recall the new Constitution called for 2 more MLAs (not 3)..but I stand to be corrected on this point.

    So then – at least call or visit your MLA ASAP to express your stand – or come downtown IN THE MORNING to make a stand!!

    I still can’t believe that the approved Constitution STILL allows "Joe Bloke" to live in Bodden Town but can run for a West Bay or George Town constituency (etc)..Yet voters can only vote in their OWN constituency;

    A Constitution that gives the Elected People the right to give THEMSELVES raises, pensions or other benefits; etc etc

    (Where is the public accountability??)

    But, after all this document was drafted and ratified by the 2 political parties, and the grassroots "consultation" was very limiting in attitude.

    Cheeeze Louise

  4. Loren says:

    2011 the government will have its way, 2013 the people will have their say.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah – right!  Dont wait on it!
      Caymanian Voters should be very ashamed this week:
      They are gonna flap their gums (and keyboards) and let a Grave Travesty happen n the LA on Monday – that is, the MLAs will vote to add 3 new MLA positions, when there are at Least 3 good reasons why they should go Protest downtown Monday Morning To STOP the debate!

      Those reasons are :
      !) We  cannot afford it $$$ – even  by next election we will still be BROKE!!
      (2) 3 more MLAs  will cause an EVEN Number of MLAs (18) – and the possibility of hung votes in proceedings;

      So then – at least call or visit your MLA ASAP to express your stand – or come downtown IN THE MORNING to make a stand!!
      Also – I still can’t believe that the approved Constitution STILL allows "Joe Bloke" to live in Bodden Town but can run for a West Bay or George Town constituency (etc)..Yet voters can only vote in their OWN constituency;
      A Constitution that gives the Elected People the right to give THEMSELVES raises, pensions or other benefits; etc etc
      (Where is the public accountability??)
      But, after all this document was drafted and ratified by the 2 political parties, and the grassroots "consultation" was very limiting in reception/attitude.

      Cheeeze Louise

    • Anonymous says:

      Yea right….the people had a chance last elections..the samething will happen again

  5. Anonymous says:

    Not listening to the majority of the people is called christian democracy in the cayman islands.

  6. Canadian Patriot says:

    The PPM should be a shamed of themselves for not inserting single member constituencies in the constitution, especially since the overwhelming majority of the people supported it.
    NO TESTICULAR FORTITUDE

    • Michel Lemay says:

      Actually the PPM is in favour of One man ,one vote. I am certain that a comment from one of it elected members will be forthcoming in the near future. God Bless. As far as why it was not put in the constitution will also be adressed I am certain. God Bless

  7. Lachlan MacTavish says:

     The Bush generation of politicians is holding Cayman back from advancing and recovering from this world recession. The country has out grown the controlled party system we presently have. Cayman is not a third world country but we the voters are allowing the elected leaders to treat us in a third world manner. Gifting and vote influence at election time, intimidation, retaliation, retribution, attempts to control the media, freedom of speech and transparency, conflicts of interest, taking advantage of benefits and pensions from the public purse and mis use of public funds has to stop. Cayman is a third world country if we allow this behavior to continue. We have two leaders who control all members in the assembly. We have no effective cabinet. Democracy in Cayman is gone. If Cayman does not change the leadership come election time we will allow Bush and Oconnor to push us into true third world status.

  8. McCarron McLaughlin says:

    Here is a good example of a topic that can be brought into affect by way of referendum and it would only require 25% of the electorate to make it happen. Let’s get an elector’s only petition on the road for this one man one vote issue.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ru loco??  It will neva happen!!

      The reason why the (HIGH) 25% of voters figure to activate a referendum was selected is:

      With the Largest workforce and VOTING BLOCK, the government knows will never be challenged by it’s own passive workers to that extent!

      • McCarron McLaughlin says:

        Don’t be so ignorant – civil servants make up approx 25% of voters, there is another 75% worth of voters that can change everything as I see it, but there seems to be no will and direction to get rid of this cancer that is slowly killing our country. XXXXX Next time you speak or write think before you do so.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard takes the lead again and wakes up the rather sleepy opposition bench….what a mess we’re in !!!

    Nothing has changed with the PPM……sad but true.

    • Anonymous says:

      Read the news article again. Ezzard didn’t wake up the PPM, he woke up the UDP. If he had not pointed out to the UDP that their document recommended single member constituencies, we would have them now. You could say, Ezzard stopped our chance for single member constituencies.

  10. Libertarian says:

    ***** The Constitution needs to be changed. It was discussed “behind closed doors” with the Governor, leaders of government, and religious ministers, and he document does not ensure and supports the people’s democratic representation. It has INTEREST before the PEOPLE! That is not a Constitution! *****

    • Anonymous says:

      Have you read the constitution?  Did you know that it empowers us to do something about this situation and oust the present government?  But no, everyone just sits and complains and does absolutely nothing about it.  People get wise, realize YOUR rights, and do something about it – you have more say with the constitution enacted than you ever had before it.  

      REPRESENT!

      • Libertarian says:

        ***** Agreed, but what I meant was clauses like this one found in our Constitution 2009 – “the Governor may act AGAINST the advice given to him or her by the Cabinet [elected leaders]— if he or she is instructed to do so by Her Majesty through a Secretary of State,” and clauses like – “There is reserved to Her Majesty full power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Cayman Islands.” Hence, we can always oust a local government, but all must remember that our democracy here is conditional, and the Constitution is not truly a democratic Constitution for the people and by the people of the Cayman Islands. On reference on the debate of having new seats, in 2009, our leaders, and sadly the ministers as well, failed to ENSURE Cayman’s Democracy. Instead the “fear of Independence” outweighed the “value of ensuring our representation and basic human rights.” I am not for Independence, but this is just typical of our leaders – in morality and courage they appear to be bankrupt and easily sold out to the Crown! There were alot of things that should have been added on and amended to our Constitution, but they were too timid and intimidated by the UK; especially when they took over TCI, dissolved their Constitution, seized their financial records, and terminated their democracy! In the end, we are left with a document that upholds the UK’s interest over the people of the Cayman Islands. To deny this, is to choose to be ignorant and live in an illusion that they, the FCO, mean more well than Her Majesty’s Interest. Peace ***** Libertarian

  11. Anonymous says:

    Well until we get a government that really want single member constituences we won’t get them. Thats not the PPM and it certainly isn’t the UDP so it must be another group.

    So until then as a Bodden Towner I would like to see a ticket with 2 men and 2 women…..I say Charles Clifford, Harwell McCoy and lets hear some recommendations about which two women ?……..maybe Winsome Hill and Deidre Seymour ? If Theresa wasn’t so Pro UDP she could get my vote but no sah……a vote for her is a vote for McKeeva and we ain’t going down that road ever again !!!!!!!!!!

    So lets hear some recommendations for which 2 BT women should be on the ticket.

  12. nauticalone says:

    I agree also that Cayman should move to single member constituencies.

    As Ezzard pointed out before (at a NS Mt.) the more representatives each district has actually reduces individual resonsibility / representation, as each member then says it the other member that’s not doing their job. Similar to other areas of Govt. Whereas Single member constituencies and one man one vote will make each and everyone (Politician and voter) accountable/responsible.

    No doubt Mac and many others don’t want this!

    But what also is troubling me more and more is; what is the Governor (with his ast knowledge of "Good Governance") doing?

    Thank goodness we have Ezzard in the L A or there would be no "effective" opposition at all.

     

  13. tim ridley says:

     This is very disturbing and disappointing. It continues to ignore that most basic democratic principle of one person, one vote. It also overrides the sensible recommendations of the EBC Report and the clear expression of support for the move to single member constituencies. Cayman’s system of government needs to advance, not remain stuck in the dark ages. The electorate and the country as a whole deserve a lot better.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Our mother country has pushed us, under threat of imposing if we did not pass, specific financial legislation.

    Yet when it comes to fundamental democratic rights, our mother country is silent.

  15. Anonymous says:

    SURPRIZE SURPRIZE

    Did you really expect anything different under the oppressive rule and dictatorship of McDaffi and the UDP fries. Autocracy at its finest, who cares what the people want because the UDP does not represent the people they only selfishly represent themselves.

    Cayman has become a country of talkers and not doers.
    It is time to unite in revolution to depose of this tyrant and take back the ownership of our country.

    Wake up Cayman and be counted as being an activist of change.

    • Not Surprize says:

      Listen… it won’t work! Because we are all under a UK system of government. You get rid of Mac another one is likely to take his place. You attack the local government, you need to reach and go beyond to attack the foreign one too. Apparently we have two governments over the people. The one with the most power is the one that needs to be changed and practice what they preach, “good governance”

  16. Anonymous says:

    who cares and who is going to do something about it??????….zzzzz

  17. Anonymous says:

    CNS could you clarify whether the Constitution states that the changes recommended by the electoral commission were to be instated before the next election?

    CNS: In the next general election, which will take place in 2013, the electorate will return 18 members, as stipulated in the Cayman Islands Constitution 2009, instead of the current 15. The commission’s mandate was to seek out public opinion and to make recommendations as to how the three additional seats should be added but the government is under no legal obligation to adhere to these recommendations.

  18. 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! Israel and Netherlands have one voice; they are not divided into districts – everyone votes from a national slate of candidates! It is just wrong when our MLA’s disregard the people and continue on the path of not changing the current six electoral districts into one! Why do we need so many electoral districts for less than 60 thousand inhabitants??? What effects the east side of this island, effects the west too! The problem with 6 electoral districts for our size, is that the smaller districts are put at a disadvantage to the well populated districts of George Town and West Bay. People this set-up is just not democratic and will cause us more money! And strangely, the Boundary Commission has not addressed this matter or has been silent about voting from one slate of candidates. It seems they are attempting to miror the Cayman Islands like the vast and big country of Great Britiain. And maybe they are scared for votes, but I can tell you that there is no MLA right now that is speaking about a more wide and democratic electoral system where all MLA’s will be held accountable and answerable to the one-island electorate. Can anyone please tell me, 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 as one district? We are so small and yet it appears that these power-heads want to divide and conquor us just for more power! This is sad and just wrong! But remember the saying – UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL.***** Libertarian

    • bradley says:

      "And strangely, the Boundary Commission has not addressed this matter or has been silent about voting from one slate of candidates. It seems they are attempting to miror the Cayman Islands like the vast and big country of Great Britiain." I am thinking you mean that we should change the already approved Constitution? That is why we got a Boundary Commission in the first place. You say, "And maybe they are scared for votes, but I can tell you that there is no MLA right now that is speaking about a more wide and democratic electoral system where all MLA’s will be held accountable and answerable to the one-island electorate." May I add that this had nothing really to do with the votes, when they had made their proposals and drafted a Constitution, sending it to the UK for review, I recall that the UK refused what was in the draft and our politicians had no other choice but to draft it according to their liking. At that time, the fear of independence was amplified if he document did not give the Governor certain powers.

  19. The spin Cycle says:

    "It is disgraceful and a mockery of democracy that the government has not been held accountable to the people and this government does not listen to the people that elected it! We need open government! No, that isn’t the PPM now, it’s the cry of the UDP before the last election.

  20. Albert Jackson says:

    Single member constituencies are necessary to comply with equal protection as well as one person one vote. This is the only way this country will comply with full human rights. If this doesn’t happen, then our government fails us in basic human rights. There is no way to get around it.

    • BORN FREE says:

      The dictator told us from the time the talks about constitutional modernization began that he was against one man one vote (single member constituencies).Despite the wishes of the majority of the people, the dictator now tells us that we will not be getting single member constituencies before the next election. And he does not want to be referred to as a dictator? Really? Then stop acting like one!

  21. Anonymous says:

    This recommendation for george towners to have 6 votes is undemocratic! The 2010 census results confirm that we have over 50% of the population in george town. politicians represent people, not districts. It follows then that we should have half of the total seats in george town. 9 votes for george town!

    • Libertarian says:

      ***** How about us getting rid of all of the districts and the entire Cayman Islands have the right and opportunity to vote from one slate of candidates – one person, one vote! That way the MLA’s will be answerable and accountable to the entire electorate, and you wouldn’t have a problem of one district getting more leverage over the other one! Besides we are one united Cayman Islands. Whatever effects us in the west, effects us in the east side as well. We are interconnected and too small to be divided when we should be UNITED. More evidence that the electorate were not well informed of the kind of Constitution they ratified in 2009 – a Constitution that does not fully represent the people, but gives the Governor powers to at any timeterminate the document – see Section 33,125. *****

  22. Anonymous says:

    Well it truly does seem more and more like some kinda dictatorship.  No democracy here at all, at all.  Trouble is, as BOT, I don’t understand how they are able to get away with it.

    • Libertarian says:

      ***** The Local Government and United Kingdom Government can gets away with murder whilst the UN complains about their injustices – Yes our Local Government and the UK’ FCO see the inhabitants of the OT’s second-class citizens! Their INTEREST comes first, we come last! *****

    • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

      It’s simple –
      Firstly, the local government is an extension of the UK Government.  The UK retains full legal power for good governance and final say on enacting laws in the Cayman Islands.  No Governor, MLA, or agency of government can legally do anything unless it has the legal power to do so, which is why they need to past a law for this matter.

      Secondly, see the very beginning of The Cayman Islands Constitutional Order, and it reads:

      “Her Majesty, in exercise of the powers conferred upon Her by sections 5 and 7 of the West Indies Act 1962(a) and of all other powers enabling Her to do so, is pleased, by and with the advice of Her Privy Council, to order, and it is ordered, as follows”

      In Section 31(3) of the said Order, Caymanians agreed to allow H.E. The Governor (UK) to act AGAINST the best interest of the Cayman Islands and it’s people.

      In Section 125 of the said Order, it reads: “There is reserved to Her Majesty full power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Cayman Islands.”

      Thirdly, the responsibility for carrying out certain tasks (listening to the peoples grievances, building roads…) became the responsibilities of the local MLAs…  In other words, it is too much work for the Governor to do himself, so some of the natives were hired as MLAs to assist the UK colonize.  By hiring MLAs in this way it’s hard for some voters to tell who should be held accountable.  The truth is that both MLAs and the UK should be held accountable, because it is the UK with the authority and the local MLAs with the responsibilities.

      So your questions should really be why Caymanians would agree to be mistreated in this way and what will Caymanians do to prevent themselves from being mistreated in this way.  In other words, are you just going to sit down and be mistreated in this way, or will you help start a petition to collect the 3816 plus signatures necessary to legally force the Government to have a referendum on the matter?