Miller to keep elected council

| 29/11/2011

_DEW0080.jpg(CNS): Independent MLA Ezzard Miller has said he is very happy with his own district advisory council elected by the people of North Side and has no intentions of disbanding it in order to fit the premier’s view of an appointed local body. Miller stated that if the premier wants to come to the district and create another council, that’s up to him. But the independent member said the people he works with are democratic representatives of his constituents with a proper constitution who have served the district extremely well since the body was created long before government passed the law creating the concept of Cabinet appointed bodies. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

During a meeting in George Town last week, which was hosted by Mike Adam and the premier’s advisor Steve McField, for the people of the capital to submit nominations to the government appointed district council, McField described Miller’s council as not properly appointed.

He listed North Side among the remaining districts that have not yet begun the process to establish a council, along with East End, Bodden Town and the Sister Islands.

Speaking about what he described as a lot of ‘flak’ regarding the district councils, the premier’s legal and policy advisor  stated that Miller’s council was not a “constitutionally adopted council” and that to comply with the law it needed to be appointed by Cabinet.
Miller told CNS that his council was indeed constitutional as the Cayman Islands Constitution 2009 does not stipulate how the councils should be formed. He admitted it did not fit with the vision  the premier had for such bodies, which he along with other members of the opposition had opposed because they believe the government’s decision to appoint councils by Cabinet is undemocratic .

“The North Side district council has been constitutionally elected by the people of the district that I represent and I shall be continuing to work with them,” he said. “It might not fit the premier’s view of a democratic body but that’s up to him.”

The opposition has boycotted the process completely as they have stated that they envisioned a local body that would be elected in a town hall-style open vote similar to the one created by Miller. Alden McLaughlin said that the system adopted by the premier would make the councils nothing more than rubber stamps for government policy in the districts, completely undermining the spirit of the concept of local democracy.

McField told the people of George Town that two seats would still be left open on the capital’s council for the opposition to nominate people to the ten member body and said they should participate as it was the law. Seats were left open on the West Bay district council but McKeeva Bush announced recently that he had decided to appoint two people whom he believed could fill the opposition members’ two seats in his district.

Alice Mae Coe, described by Bush as someone who did not support him, and Loxley Ebanks, who the premier said was “independently minded”,  were both nominated at the first West Bay meeting by the people of the district, but they were not selected by the Cabinet. However, Bush said he would appoint them, having ‘labelled’ them as being in opposition to government and because the actual opposition member had persisted with the boycott.

Although the first meeting for the George Town council attracted over a hundred people, the second follow up meeting saw no more than a dozen people attend to collect forms and actually submit nominations. For the second time the government’s backbench representative for George Town, Ellio Solomon was not present as Adam offered apologies on his behalf.

Nominations for the capital’s government-appointed district council will close on 6 December. Although anyone with relevant skills or experience who lives in the district can be nominated to the council, the Cabinet will make the decision on all ten of the appointments. However, according to the law two of the non-office seats should be given to people nominated by the opposition in constituencies with mixed representation. In cases where there are no government members, the opposition is allowed to nominate three of the non-office holding appointments.

So far the only district that has been appointed is the premier’s own constituency of West Bay but the council has not yet met. The meetings are supposed to be public and the members are charged with assessing the needs of their districts and reporting back to advise their political representatives of possible policy positions.

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Category: Politics

Comments (15)

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  1. ThatCaymanian says:

    Why even have another council? I like Ezzard cause he's not afraid to tell things as he sees them but does the island really need more BS positions created?

  2. Anonymous says:

    And do the members of the district councils get paid for what will only be an extension of UDP viewpoint?
    If so, a legal way to pay off UDP supporters instead of buying votes in exchange for new appliances!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Very interesting why Ezzard will not change HIS council but is complaining about the GOVERNMENT'S council. This is nonsense that HIS council was duly elected by the people of North Side–there was NO DEMOCRATIC & INDEPENDENT POLL taken. He knows that. 

    This is just an ADVISORY council Ezzard. No need to get excited about it. You take their advice or you don't take their advice- doesnt really matter until national elections.  This is not another level of expensive elected positions that PPM seem to be pushing for. Our true democratic leadership comes every four years. Lets keep it that way.

    If the council speaks for the people and you follow them you get reelcted. If they dont and you do not follow them you still get reelected. If they speak for the people and you dont follow them then you lose the next election. Simple. Simple. These councils are not binding democratic councils no matter how they are made up.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Why does "elected" mean "expensive"? It seems to me that a town hall meeting could be called asking for all persons in the community to submit nominations and the turn up and vote for them on a given date. The 10 persons with the most votes comprise the Council. Why is that expensive? Enlighten me.

      The point of these Councils is not to give binding decisions to the MLAs. It is to provide advice from a cross section of the community so that voice of the community can be heard on a consistent basis and not just once every four years.  

      Don't try to confuse the issue with your party rhetoric.    

      • Anonymous says:

        How do you figure a single town hall would work for large election districts? It would not work that is why Ezzards world does not translate to larger districts and it is common sense. If there are 4000 or 5000 people in a district you have different issues to deal with and Ezzard ignores this fact.

        • Anonymous says:

          That is true but those are not insurmountable issues. I don't see how this is an argument against the council being elected. I don't see that it serves any proper purpose if it isn't.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Keep up the great work Ezzard

    Never give up nor give in & continue to preserve / protect ALL things CAYMANIAN!!!

     

  5. Anonymous says:

    Since both parties have imput on council then there are various opinions. What works for Ezzard in the smallest election district in the country would not necessarily work in the larger districts but Ezzard lives in his own world. Cayman does not need the cost of a 2nd tier of government in a country of 50,000 for God's sake.

  6. Peter Milburn says:

    I agree 100% with Ezzard.The district councils should be made up of a TRUE cross section of voters.True Democracy at work.

  7. Dred says:

    Dictatorship of UDP.

    They should be renamed United under the Dictatorship of the Premier.

    • Anonymous says:

      You mean United under the Dictatorship of a "Party," because it could be any party.

      • Anonymous says:

        It could be any party….but it's just the UDP. You didn't see the PPM going around like tyrants and causing the people to call their government a dictatorship.

  8. Knot S Smart says:

    Ezzard is on the right track with this one, and the Council that North Siders elected more represents democracy than any Council that will be appointed by Cabinet.

    Even a donkey could understand that any council that is appointed by Cabinet will represent the views of those that appointed them!