Alden is backing petition

| 27/02/2012

(CNS): The opposition leader has said that he fully supports the petition that is currently being circulated for a people-initiated referendum posing a reform of the country’s voting system. Alden McLaughlin added that not only does he back the petition’s goal to have a referendum on one man, one vote but he was one of the first people to sign. However, the PPM party leader said he had reservations because, having already experienced a referendum while in government, he did not think there was enough time to organise the national ballot properly. Ultimately, the constitution still leaves the date of the vote in the hands of Cabinet so he believed the efforts were likely to be for nought.

McLaughlin told CNS on Monday that comments he had made, which had been picked up by the premier to suggest he did not support the referendum, had been misunderstood. He said he was one hundred percent behind the principle of one man, one vote and that the PPM was the only party that had consistently supported single member constituencies.

He pointed out that even independent MLA Ezzard Miller, who is organising the petition, and radio talk show host Gilbert Mclean, who is also a strong supporter of holding the vote this November, did not support the principle when they were members of the UDP.

“I have always supported the idea of one man, one vote,” McLaughlin said. “But there is no one around who knows better than me the problems of organising a referendum and I have genuine reservations that there will not be enough time to educate the public about the change to the system and campaign for the vote and then be able to implement the system by the 2013 election.”  He said this raised the issue of not having a free and fair election if the voters were not sure about the new system.

As the leader of the opposition, he said, it was his duty to point out to his constituents what he thought were the potential pitfalls. The most obvious was that, although the constitution asks that the wording of the referendum law be drawn up in a “reasonable time period”, the actual date for setting the national poll still remains in the hands of Cabinet.

McLaughlin said the premier has already made it clear that he has no intentions of organising the referendum before the 2013 election and he believed it was not technically possible to implement the referendum and then change the country’s voting system in the time frame.

“If it can be achieved I support the goal but I cannot in all honesty see how it can happen in time,” he added. He said that if the petitioners were successful and managed to persuade government to have the referendum in November, he would be encouraging the electorate to support single member constituencies. He said he believed that the problem was it had been left too late. “I just have doubts that it can be achieved,” the opposition leader told CNS as he rebutted allegations that he did not really support the idea of one man, one vote

McLaughlin pointed to the not insignificant task of trying to organise and then campaign for the constitutional referendum, which had the backing of the government and did not require a petition to trigger that national vote.

He added that he has since regretted not pushing for the principle of one man, one vote in the constitution itself. He said the opposition from the UDP was so significant that the PPM government’s goal of reaching cross-party and cross-civil group support for the constitutional document led to the compromise of leaving the style of democracy down to the country’s legislators to decide. That compromise back-fired, as the premier campaigned against the document regardless.

McLaughlin said the goal to change the voting system had to be properly understood by the electorate. If they voted for the principle of single member constituencies, there then had to be time for both the electorate and those who will run in the 2013 election to understand what the changes would mean and prepare for an election under a brand new system, unfamiliar to the country’s registered voters, in order for the 2013.

Offering his full backing to the principle and his support for the petition's aims, McLaughlin said his only concern was that the electorate understood exactly what they were voting for in the referendum if it came before the 2013 election. If the majority voted for single member constituencies and the one man, one vote principle, then everyone involved needed to appreciate the significant change that would be to the general election and the need for an education campaign.

Vote in the CNS poll:

If the petition for one man, one vote triggers a referendum, how soon should this take place?

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Comments (47)

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  1. Anonymous says:


  2. Anonymous says:

    Too late Alden. Too late. The bus left the station two weeks ago and you were not on board.

  3. Anonymous says:


    Alden is clearly not a leader and as was seen on Rooster this morning he is now following Ezzard and Arden in an attempt to save face and correct his political ignorance.

    I remember listening to former Minister Charles Clifford on the Rooster back in 2010 when he said that it was clear to him as a member of the Government's Constitutional Negotiating Team that neither the PPM nor the UDP really supported establishing a system of voting based on one person one vote.

    All that Alden has done this week is to confirm what Mr. Clifford said from as far back as 2010. Shame on you Alden ! You need to lead not follow but I guess if your heart isn't in this particular fight we should not be surprised !

    • Anonymous says:

      There are some folks just not born to lead, and I reckon poor Alden's one of them. I'm not blaming him, it's just the way things are. But there's hope. Somebody forced a window open and we're beginning to breath the sweet promise of change in our political landscape. And I feel a Caymanian spring gathering momentum!

  4. Libertarian says:

    This petition should be backed by entire electorate who has a true and deep love for their homeland Cayman, and who sincerely believes in a fair and democratic representation for all. No one should be singled out or no one should receive credit for spearheading this particular petition. The credit goes to that flame that burns within us all, which speaks to us and tells our leaders that it is just the right thing to do!  That unseen hand that works in mysterious ways. Only with a spirit of humility, can we follow our hearts, swallow our pride, and run with that chosen  leader that has courageously decided to advance our democracy one step further!  It is good to know that we still have that precious light of liberty within us all. Beware:  Let us hold fast to the flame, still much more advancement to be done, lest we once again the people lose the way through political nonsense. Regards

  5. Anonymous says:

    Most of you may disagree with Alden, but he is actually right.  He already has the inside scoop, as to how this thing works, give the man credit.  Remember, according to the "new" Constitution the refrendum has to go before Cabinet and its a lopsided Cabinet in favour of the UDP.  What makes you think they will vote FOR this one?  Have they voted seperately in their 3 1/2 years yet?  No, they have not!!  Hence, the reason why Alden is saving everyone from the disappointments ahead. Remember the petition against the WB Road closure? 4,000 votes put in McKeeva's garbage bin.  Give Alden some credit for his foresight and his warnings.

  6. spectator LOL says:

    You people wanted to follow Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean with a two-party system, well… you got it, increased crime, increased corruption, and special interest $$$ more meddling in our politcal affairs.  You people wanted to vote straight and put in all party members when independents would have represented you much better… and look now, just a bunch of whiners on this site!  You wanted Alden, you wanted McKeeva… you the people wanted this and so this is what you got!  Shut up and take ride!  :))

  7. Former PPM, Now Independent says:


    "Why the Rush?" says Aldens, calling Ezzard and Arden to back down!  Sorry my party players, but that doesn't sound like Alden backing any petition to me!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Alden made a fool of himself yesterday. He is clearly not a leader.

    • Cornwallish says:

      Kurt Tibbetts probably has his head between his legs now, embarrassed that he has lift the lead of the party to Alden when it should have been left to someone with charisma, vision, and understanding of the people. Of shooks, Kurt never had any vision as well. I guess we are in big sh%t!

  9. Anonymous says:

    We need a new party with young fresh faces that are ready to serve the country before their wallets and egos.  Is that too much to ask?

    • Caymanian born and raised... says:

      We don't need anymore parties for God sake!  We need candidates who will represent their constituency – solo!!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I am betting my house at the Yatch Club value over US$4 Mil,  my condominiums on Seven Mile Beach and I own 12 condos. My yatch, jet and commercial properties (4), that McKeeva will be the next Premier even if it is one-man-one-vote.

    • Anonymous says:

      You better start selling some of that property then because Mackeeva will need all that money you have to run his campaign/

    • Anonymous says:

      If I were a betting man, and gambling was not illegal, I would take you on. It would be really cool to come into millions so easily.

    • Anonymous says:

      As soon as I saw the focus on money and the spelling and grammer failures I just knew that you were one of the 4 remaining Mac supporters. By the way, what odds are you giving if you are so sure?

      • Anonymous says:

        You really shouldn't chastise about spelling and then misspell grammar.  

    • Anonymous says:

      I'm thinking that your right!  Its not the stupidity and foolishness of Bush that has kept him in politics its the foolishness of the people and that has not changed at all.  Take away the expats, their money, their skill and experiance, and all thats left is all third world.  In a suit and tie.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are probably right, because he has the dollars behind him, and the status grants in 2003. Your statement just give us more drive to ensure he does not get back in and to educate the public. PPM can't help because PPM'rs are just like UDP'rs. We need more activists to stand up and ensure democracy in the Cayman Islands. Selfish folk seek the party because they know they are able to use the party for their ends. Let us start focusing on the issues and not the party!

    • Natural Mystic says:

      When and where can i collect!!! lmfao  but you know your proberly right… pure fools can't hear so they gotta feel.  And I am a West Baya at that, hand outs instead of hands up!!!

  11. Kung Fu Iguana says:

    This is pathetic politricking by Alden.  He wants to be seen to support one man one vote, but knows it will harm his chances of regaining power in the next election.  This is acting in self-interest over national interest.  He must think we are stupid thinking we can't work this out.

    While many of us are unhappy at the UDP regime, we also we unhappy and the "spend and achieve nothing" policies of the PPM which lead to them being humiliated in the last election.  One man one vote will rest some political power from BOTH them main parties.  Hopefully this will lead to a better pool of candidates.  After all the pool can't get any worse can it?

    • Anonymous says:

      One man one vote will be good for any smart political leader because he can field their candidates in the constituencies where they have the most support.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Alden can't be serious in suggesting that the public wouldn't be able to get a handle on something as straightforward as dividing GT, WB etc into voting areas (already done) within which voters will have the opportunity to choose their representative by casting a vote for him/her. It's done the world over, and it ain't rocket-science.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I am disappointed that Alden did not come out at the time the petition was announced with a simple statement that he was supporting the petition and the principle of one man/one vote. That is what a leader focussed on the best interests of the country would have done. The idea that somehow voters will need more that 9 months to understand the concept of one man/one vote is total nonsence. Those organising the petition are showing far more leadership than Alden has since he was made leader.

  14. Kent McTaggart says:

    I am honored to be among the group that is bringing this movement forward.  The patriots that I am so fortunate to sit with are what we truly need as leaders, as they are truly acting on the behalf of all Caymanians.  There is no pay or profit for this, there is however energy, time, money and many other resources that are being spent by this small group to give Cayman a chance at the freedom of equality.

    I will now speak as an individual separated from the group.

    I heard Alden this morning on Rooster, and I read this thread in full. I can say that I am disgusted by his comments! If it is too late to get it done, and he has always been a supporter of the "one man one vote" process, why did he not use his position and all that comes with it to start this process a long time ago!  But he has the arrogance to attempt to raise himself higher than those who actually are doing something?

    I personally will be deeply offendedif this "Johnny come lately" attemptsto take one bit of credit for the works of true heroes, and even greater offense to any comments that carry any resemblance to "I told you so…" if the movement fails.

    It is the fence riding politicians who allow the blatant abuses of power by the government of the day to go on unchecked, as the voting public although disgusted by the Premier and his cronies, would rather know where they sit, that face the complete lack of leadership that the other party offers.

    Please note that this movement has no party attachment, it has no alliances with a party!  If a member of a party wants to support, that is great!  But there is no preference given as every signature counts, and we really don't care where they come from as long as the fit the requirements to be legitimate.

    Once again, this is strictly my personal opinion


    Kent McTaggart


    • Stiff-Necked Fool says:

      Yow Star, listen to Rooster this morning?

      Alden was behind "One man one vote" from around 2002 and before any "Johnny come latelys" like yourself, so please leave this non-political as you claim!

    • U Hurd Wright says:

      XXX I'm very disappointed that the Leader of the Opposition has questioned the time frame of the referendum rather than immediately embrasing the petition (which caused a little misunderstanding, especially with the dirty politics of the premier & his silly insinuations) but XXX it was the PPM, & especially Alden Mclaughlin, that has been the real voice & fight for "one person, one vote" from the very beginning & this dates back to before 2002 XXXX I was very happy this morning to hear Alden Mclaughlin lend his voice & support to Ezzard Miller, ArdenMclean & the petition on Rooster, because we who have been involved for sometime know that that is how it really is, & always has been.  

    • Dee. Pressure says:

      Well done Sir. U have my Full support.

    • Anonymous says:

      Kent,great post, the time for politricks and posturing is long gone. I am for any political figure that will finally stand up, be counted and move forward. Anyone who will agree to the referrendum in November 2012 because that individual is someone interested in "the people" and the country.

      Lachlan MacTavish

  15. dartanian says:

    Alden is being Alden, but he is wrong that Ezzard did not support single member constitutiencies when he was a member of the UDP. Ezzard has been the most consistant supporter of single member constitutiencies and one man one vote. He was for one mAn one vote as far back as 1972. He supported it for the 1992 draft constitution, the 2003 draft constitution and 2009 constitution. He has been the only member of the Legislative Assembly supported by the  East End member Arden McLean trying to put it in place for the 2013. Now that he and Arden are supporting the effort of the group behind the petition and they are getting signatures Alden wants to climb on board but is still pouring water on the fire about it will not happen in. Alden take your foot out of your mouth, endorse the petition, put your PPM workers on the street to gather signatures go house to house and help get the 8,000 signatures to give Premier and his eight followers in the LA a political heart attack. DO THE RIGHT THING FOR CAYMANIANS. 

  16. Anonymously IRON CLAD says:

    Alden is nothing more than Weak-Back, Double-Crossing and whatever else you want to add to these precise descriptives.

  17. David R Legge says:

    Mr. McLaughlin has made an amateurish political miscalculation. He has joined the Premier in addressing the one-man, one-vote issue by indicating it should be delayed until the general election in May 2013. By so doing, he joins company with his political arch-rival, thereby almost ensuring that the referendum will not take place in November.

    Indeed, Premier Bush has made, and will continue to make (correctly), the case that the sitting Government AND the Leader of the Opposition stand together on this issue, in effect neutering contrary views, blogs, and, yes, signatures.

    Worse, Mr. McLaughlin's reasoning appears self-serving and is not persuasive. Even his ally Austin Harris this morning on the Rooster call-in show took him to task for putting what appears to be his own self-interest ahead of the interest of his country and his constituency.

    Mr. McLaughlin's main argument for delaying the issue, he says, is that there is not enough time between now and November (approximately nine months) to "educate" the public on the nuances of the issue. NINE MONTHS?

    I am fairly well-schooled on this issue, and I can assure Mr. McLaughlin that I could explain the concept of single-member constituencies (aka "one man, one vote) to the most obtuse voter in under NINE MINUTES. It's not complicated.

    Mr. McLaughlin, probably because of lack of probity, chose the wrong issue on which to base his baseless position. What he should have said was that the new Constitution (Section 69 and 70) mandates that a "law enacted by the Legislature shall make provision to hold a referendum."

    Unfortunately, for Mr. Miller, Mr. McLean, and the nearly 2,000 voters who signed the petition, no such law exists. Put more simply: No referendum law, no referendum.

    It is astonishing to this writer that the initiators of the referendum did not check the Constitution or the laws of the Cayman Islands before proceeding. It is still possible, but highly unlikely, that the current Government will fast-track such a law (something they've already publicly opposed) to enable a November referendum.

    Inadvertently, it appears, Mr. McLaughlin was right—but for the wrong reasons.

    A thought and then a prediction:

    First, the thought: How is it possible that Mr. McLaughlin (as he stated on the radio this morning) was not informed by MLA Ezzard Miller or fellow PPM party member Arden McLean that they were initiating this referendum?

    In ordinary circumstances, if you were Ezzard or Arden, who would be the first person you would call for support? I would call the Leader of the Opposition, Alden McLaughlin. And yet, the call never came. Any inquiring mind (or probing reporter) would ask, Why not?

    One explanation is the PPM is fractured and unraveling internally. What we are seeing may be the first public sign of a changing of the guard within the party or, even more consequential, if one man, one vote eventually becomes the guiding protocol, the end of the two-party experiment in the Cayman Islands.

    Now the prediction: Mr. McLaughlin, given his public posture to delay the one-man, one-vote issue, has committed the equivalent of political suicide. Despite his verbose "explanations," he appears to many (including talk show host Austin Harris and some of his callers) to be placing a higher value on political opportunism than on political principle.

    So here's what's likely to happen: Mr. McLaughlin will retreat from or modulate his stated public position. To be fair, he's always supported one man, one vote. Just not now. 2017 will be soon enough. That will change. By week's end, if not sooner, Mr. McLaughlin will embrace the November referendum date and publicly make all "lovey-dovey" with Ezzard and Arden.

    Why do I predict this? Because that's what politicians do.


    • Anonymous says:

      David Legge, I see you have cynically used this issue to try to score political points for the Premier and the UDP not only against the Leader of the Opposition but also against the movers of the petition.

      "What he should have said was that the new Constitution (Section 69 and 70) mandates that a "law enacted by the Legislature shall make provision to hold a referendum. Unfortunately, for Mr. Miller, Mr. McLean, and the nearly 2,000 voters who signed the petition, no such law exists. Put more simply: No referendum law, no referendum.

      It is astonishing to this writer that the initiators of the referendum did not check the Constitution or the laws of the Cayman Islands before proceeding. It is still possible, but highly unlikely, that the current Government will fast-track such a law (something they've already publicly opposed) to enable a November referendum".

      You are too clever by half, Mr. Legge. What you fail to understand is that it is the support by 25% of the electorate of the petition that will compel the government to pass a referendum law for this issue which it simply would not otherwise have passed at all. It does not represent an oversight by the movers of the petition but a thorough understanding of the process which you unfortunately lack. What you have also conveniently omitted is that Mr. Miller did try to introduce single member constituencies directly through the legislative process which failed for lack of government support.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, Mr. Legge, I think that you will find that every People Initiated Referendum will require a separate Law. At least that is how I recall it being explained during the talks held by the Constitutional Commission. That is, each law will have to be taylored to the specific calls in each petition and then would fall away once the referendum is held. So I would say that your reasoning of why this petition cannot succeed is flawed.

      p.s. I hope your 9 minute explanation is shorter than this discourse.

    • Anonymous says:

      I happen to agree with you but where does that leave the PPM? The 1 man – 1 vote timing is obviously designed to facilate a change in government but with the opposition in disarray even this electorial changes to not assure this goal. Would a change in PPM leadership help to bring it back from the brink of oblivion? There really aren't viable choices there, could Kurt be induced to return?

      MLAs going to England to plead their case to the FCO will likewise be an exercise in futility.

  18. Anonymous says:

    There's a really important note that seems to be overlooked here… THE UDP CAN JUST CHANGE THE LAW TO CREATE SINGLE MEMBER CONSTITUENCIES. By supporting a referendum he is not supporting the principle of it, he is delaying implementation. By saying he is trying to save money he is being completely disingenuous. You know what would save money? Just passing the law that the majority of the population clearly supports!

    • Pitta Patta says:

      ……. then maybe he should join with Arden Mclean & Ezzard Mclean & prove he means it. There is strength in unity!

    • Anonymous says:

      That's right. Just change the law and spend nothing!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Alden needs to sit down with Arden and remind him of his party responsiblities. Was Arden trying to make the Leader of the Opposition look foolish?  Arden has wanted the Leadership so I understand, was this intentional?

    Alden needs to step up into the leadershiprole of the PPM and make it clear to his party members who is in charge. Maybe Arden is going to turn Independent as he seems to work more closely with Ezzard than his fellow PPM?

    Making Alden look foolish is shooting the PPM in the foot unless this is a power play.

    • Empty Chair says:

      Alden McLaughlin needs to start doing something, & he needs to start acting like a leader. If he was stepping up to the plate & taking on Mckeeva Bush for all the stupidness that he is doing then Ezz & Arden would not have to be the ones taking on that responsibility. For GOD's sake, they should be working together to fight to save these Cayman Islands before it is too late, but Alden McLaughlin is doing NOTHING! For GOD's sake Mr. McLaughlin do something, stand up to Mr. Bush, & then Ezz & Arden would not have to do it all. Ezz-Ezz is the real opposition! WORK TOGETHER to bring down the UDP & Mr. Bush, we must get rid of them, NOW!

    • Anonymous says:

      Alden needs no help from Arden or anyone else to look foolish on this issue. He does it well on his own.

  20. Anonymous says:

    mclaughlin embarresed himself this morning….his flip-flopping and back peddling was comical……. not a good sign when a potential premier gets the run around by austin harris….

    this morning also showed the huge disconnect between alden and arden…..

    ps….i'm no udp…… they are the bottom of the barrell!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Then why didn't Alden cause the "Push" to begin earlier?

    Why is it taking Ezzard, Arden and Concerned Groups/Persons to do it?

    Is it because both Mac and Alden are more concerned with Political Campaining?…and then either making it happen….or not? How about promoting People Power?!

    All due respect Alden but you should have been Campaining this movement long ago! The least you can now do is lend it your "FULL" support.


  22. Lin says:

    Alden is backing the petition?  So is Mckeeva!  Now what?!  They're both for their own political benefit. They both share the false notion that there is insufficient time to educate the voters and hold a referendum prior to Election Day. If people will just open their eyes and see that both parties are all about using Cayman, have an agenda in mind where they appear to publicly attack each other, but behind closed doors shake hands, they will understand the system clearly and try to radically change every aspect of it towards a people-democracy. But that will never happen so long we take sides and fail to UNITE!

    • Dred says:

      Small difference now is one wants to do it at the general elections for the next elections where the other (PPM) is now supporting doing it so that THIS elections is carried out under one man one vote.

      UDP also is only saying it because they know they are about to get lambasted by the people and they will see what their popularity truly is if there is a clear divide between the two parties on the one man one vote.

      I believe UDP saying they will do it is to shade the fact that they are not longer the stronger party by saying WE TOO SUPPORT A REFERENDUM.

      I believe this referendum is more than just about the one man one vote but in part going to show the Cayman islands as a whole that the UDP party is no longer the party supported by the people. I believe UDP is very nervous at what the referendum will show especially going into the next elections.

      A win for the referendum is a strike against UDP.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Get behind it Alden not half way but whole way and stop the hemming and hawing.  That is the reason that the people won't vote for PPM because you hem and haw too much.