Change gonna come

| 16/02/2012

If the efforts by the single members to change the local voting system to one man, one vote are successful, this could be a major turning point in the country’s history. If Ezzard Miller and Arden McLean manage to get 25% of the electorate to sign their petition, the government will be forced to initiate the referendum, no matter how much the premier may be against single member constituencies. Not only will this represent the power the people have in this constitutional provision but it is likely to change local politics forever.

Assuming the two MLAs can achieve the crucial 3,800 or so signatures from registered voters to trigger the constitutionally provided people’s referendum, they are very likely to win what would be a secret ballot. If they win, then the government will be bound by its outcome and the May 2013 elections will be held under a system that was directly and democratically willed by the people. It will also provide an entirely unpredictable new political landscape for the election.

Under the current system there is inevitability about some district results, which don’t need to be spelt out as they are quite obvious.  However, the results of a national election conducted for the first time on the democratic principle of one man or member and one vote would not be so easy to predict.

It would also make for a very interesting campaign as each and every one of the politicians standing for a seat would need to prove their mettle. There would be no more coat tail wins on the back of the premier or the opposition leader. The voters would know exactly who would represent them in parliament and there would be no more distribution of representational responsibility.

The accountability that the new single members would face is likely to form a key part of the election campaign under the one man, one vote and the voters would be expecting every candidate, not just party or group leaders, to prove their political prowess on the hustings, which may prove too much for some. 

Skeptics who dismiss the MLAs' efforts and believe the public won’t support the principle may soon be very surprised because the tide has turned. The rather feeble arguments about fire stations and hurricane shelters in all 18 districts or the idea that having lots of MLAs to go to gives better representation have long since been lost. Where they had lingered, the government’s decision to dismiss the findings of its own Electoral Boundary Commission’s advice and increase the George Town MLA allocation to six has helped many undecided to decide.

The inequality of one person in East End having just on vote to cast to influence their government compared to the six the capital’s voters will have if the premier gets his way is obvious to even the most politically naïve.

A chamber poll on the subject returned an 80% result in favour of single member constituencies, a straw poll on CNS also resulted in more than 80 percent favouring one man one vote and other local polls and surveys have revealed widespread support for one man, one vote.

The boundary commission found in its work that at every public meeting it held the majority of attendees were in favour and they were quick to point out in their report that adding two seats to George Town and one to Bodden Town to accommodate the increase in the size of the Legislative Assembly in accordance with the constitution was certainly not without its problems.

This proposed extreme inequality may well be the key issue that rings the death knell for multi-member constituency and opens up an entirely new era in Caymanian politics.

It seems fitting that if the petition is successful, and the chances are very high, the people could achieve this democratic milestone via an already enshrined democratic principle in the constitution — the people’s referendum.

Category: Viewpoint

Comments (14)

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  1. Far Away Student says:

    Is there a way that young Caymanians studying abroad at university can sign this petition? I'd quite like to be part to this.

  2. To Sign the petition says:

    Please go to the Agriculture Show tomorrow, we will be there, or send and email to and we will arrange to come see you. You must be a registered voter and you must show us a valid ID.



  3. Anonymous says:

    Can someone please clarify this for me. "One Man, One Vote" would mean that the Cayman Islands would be divided in to 18 electoral districts vs the 6 residential districts used for election purposes, correct? A registered voter in "Electoral District 2" within West Bay can only vote for the ONE candidate he/she wants to represent him/her for "Electoral District 2", correct? "One Man, One Vote" would not mean that a registered voter in "Electoral District 7" within George Town cannot vote for a candidate who is contesting for a seat in "Electoral District 8" also within George Town, correct?

    How I see it, the Cayman Islands' 18 electoral districts should be divided as: West Bay – 5, George Town – 5, Bodden Town – 4, East End – 1, North Side – 1, Cayman Brac East – 1, Cayman Brac West/Little Cayman – 1.

    • Anonymous says:

      WB's population is not nearly the size of GT's, and BT's IS nearly the size of WB's and growing rapidly so 5- WB, 5- GT does not work.    

  4. Anonymous says:

    When Cayman really enters the 21st century citizens not born in Cayman will run for public office. Then the pool of politicians will expand and the cream will come to the top.

    • Anonymous says:

      Citizens not born in Cayman have already run for for office successfully. The late Sir Vassel Johnson was one such person. Apparently we entered the 21st century in 1984.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh, hush! You must be expat with status to say that. Cayman got plenty of its own home grown cream to drink.

      That's what's wrong in our society now; convenient status holders still look out for their own, and I don't mean Caymanians.   They hold the paper but they still have a loyalty and alegiance to where they were born. 



      • Anonymous says:

        I will always have an allegiance to the UK. As a non-sovereign entity it is impossible to owe allegiance to the Cayman Islands, which is for such purposes just a little part of the UK.

        • Anonymous says:

          Don't be silly. You can owe allegiance to your family let alone the land of your birth sovereign state or not. The Cayman Islands is not a part of the UK. It is a largely self-governing overseas territory of the UK with the right to self-determination.    

      • Kung Fu Iguana says:

        If Elio, John John, Captain "Mumbles" Eugene and JuJu are the cream, then forgive me but I'll pass on the local cream.

    • Anonymous says:

      And what exactly do you mean by "cream"?    U got a problem with dark coffee or wha?  If you think cream is the solution, let me warn you, judging on the business practices and ethics of many people not in active politics, there's a lot of curdled cream/spoiled milk that should simply stay put or better be yet be tossed out.

  5. Lachlan MacTavish says:

    This is wonderful news and I for one believe that Cayman has finally realized after decades of a broken system being manipulated by a few that this is the time for real change. There will be more than the 25% required and the people of Cayman will finally see a Government elected by the people for the people. The politicians elected in May 2013 will start a new era of "turn around" and prosperity for Cayman. 

    "Press on Arden and Ezzard"

    Lachlan MacTavish

  6. Islandman says:

    Well said! I support and will so be signing the Petition

    Time to stand and be counted people…including our Civil Servants.

    Do not allow Fear and/or unwillingness of the Deputy Governor to "give permission" to take away your Democratic Civil Rights! Obviously most CS approve of "One Person One Vote" or the polls done would not show over 80% in favour.