Why should we adopt Single Member Constituencies prior to the 2013 elections?

| 27/02/2012

I would like to thank the residents of the Cayman Islands for their overwhelming support of the petition to trigger a referendum on the One Man One Vote question. Our group has been working very hard to not only gather signatures but also, more importantly, to educate those who require additional information prior to making a decision to sign, and to demonstrate that this movement was derived from a desire to see these islands adopt a system that guarantees equality, accountability and fairness.

There are those who will accuse us of being politically motivated, and in truth there are some aspiring and veteran politicians working side by side on this effort, but our underlying motivation is to introduce a modern approach to political organization and voting systems to the Cayman Islands. We are NOT motivated by self interest, and I would not personally align myself with a group or initiative which I did not believe had the best interests of the Cayman Islands at heart.

Now that the UDP and PPM have agreed that we need to either implement single member constituencies and or hold a referendum, leaving the choice to the voters, it is clear that the Cayman Islands are approaching the point when single member constituencies will become the political system of choice and the electorate will finally adopt a system which guarantees a much higher level of voter satisfaction and interaction with their representatives. One cannot dispute that we need more accountability from our elected officials and One Man One Vote, when implemented, will guarantee that representatives pay close attention to the needs of the public.

The ‘single member’ debate now centres on when would be the best time to hold a referendum and/or implement single member constituencies because a majority of Caymanians voted for a change to the political system when the new constitution was adopted a few years ago.

The individuals who are championing the push to hold a referendum on single member constituencies unanimously agree that the time has passed for the relevant question to be asked and for the country to move forward. We estimate that the cost to hold a referendum, will not be astronomical as is being suggested, and while this is an additional cost to the country, we feel it would be well worth the effort and cost to guarantee a political system based on the principles of equality and fairness. We have spent far more in order to gain much less and this will undoubtedly be a worthwhile investment.

If the UDP’s position is that we should hold the referendum at the next election, resulting in a delayed implementation of some 4 years, and the PPM suggest that they will by-pass the referendum and simply implement single member constituencies if and when they controlthe Government, both parties are effectively saying that the country must wait 4 years before the benefits of having single members will be available to the voting public.

The question we should now be asking is can we afford to wait that long?

I would therefore encourage both parties to support our efforts and move to hold the referendum prior to the next general elections. We cannot afford to wait a further 4 years to introduce a voting system that is modern, fair and democratic. Countries such as the USA and UK adopted the system many years ago, and we are doing our people a disservice by delaying its implementation.

The argument that there is not sufficient time to educate the voters and hold a referendum prior to May 2013 is flawed. One Man One vote is less complex than the current system, and it is a poor assessment of the intelligence level of our electorate to suggest that we need in excess of 12 months to fully comprehend what is a more simple and straightforward way to hold elections. I do believe the Caymanian public is more sophisticated and educated than some opponents are suggesting.

There are also those who suggest that implementing single member districts will result in the residents of those districts making unreasonable requests, such as wanting stadiums and post offices, but in reality those claims are unfounded. What would motivate a voter to demand a hospital in a district where there in a hospital in the neighboring district? We are not suggesting that we erect fences and cordon off each district’s public services so that other surrounding districts will not be able to make use of them, and I suggest to you that common sense will prevail and the sharing of public services will continue based on feasibility and justified needs. It would be disingenuous to suggest that single member districts will encourage unbridled and unrestrained spending on unnecessary services.

The One Man One Vote initiative is critical to the future of democracy in the Cayman Islands; each and every resident of this country should ensure that they conduct their own research and attend the planned meetings to discuss the pros and cons of the suggested system. I, unlike others, have great faith in the intelligence of our people to make the right decisions and I have no doubt that in the end this effort will be successful.

Thank you all for your continued support, and let’s do what is right for the sake of our beloved country and ALL of the people who reside here.

Please contact us via email oneman.cayman@gmail.com for more information or to arrange to sign the petition. We will be publishing the location and times for several planned district meetings for those who would like to attend and sign the petition. 

Vote in the CNS poll:

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

Category: Viewpoint

Comments (44)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Please continue to post where you will have the petitions for signature. I saw one at Hurleys today. Four Winds Esso in West Bay also has one there all the time.

    Thanks.

  2. Like It Is says:

    Mac is very scared of the single vote and single constituency policy for one big reason – he place in the LA will become vulnerable to an anti vote in the next election.  One single, non-aligned opponent standing against him might even win in West Bay.

    • Polly Tricks says:

      I think most of the electorate understand that Mac is likely to put "saving Mac" before "interests of the Cayman Islands" on his election list of priorities.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I support the principle of one person one vote. I believe also, that candidates running for a single member constituency (SMC) should also be required to live and reside in that constituency.

    As a resident of a particular SMC, i will only be able to vote in that SMC.  Likewise so should the candidates who intend to run for election in that SMC.

    If someone is going to represent me in the SMC in which i ilve, then i want him/her to also likewise be living and experiencing life on a daily basis in the same SMC.   It is only fair and reasonable.  As the old saying goes, if you want to know what my life is like, come live with me. 

    We do not want another Tivoli Gardens situation to develop here. 

    Include this provision and I will sign the Petition.

    • Anonymous says:

      We agree on your first statement but not your second. It should be a matter for each voter at each election to decide whether someone who does not live their constituency will effectively represent them and your suggestion would unnecessarily reduce the pool of candidates.  You have expressed your opinion and can vote accordingly. No one is stopping you. That should have nothing to do with signing this petition but I suspect you are using it as a red herring in an attempt to dissuade others from signing it because in reality you don't want one person, one vote.

      What on earth has Tivoli Gardens got to do with one man, one vote?  

      • Anonymous says:

        It has to DO with having your representative live and reside within the community he represents.  The TG example was an extreme case to make that point.  God help us.

         

         

         

        • Anonymous says:

          One man, one vote did not make TG what it became. That is a red herring. You can have one man, one vote without requiring the representative to live in that electoral district. I don't understand why you are trying to tie the two together. Under one man one vote if you do not look out for the community that elected you you will not be re-elected. Under multi-member constituencies you don't have to worry too much about Scranton and Windsor Park if you can get Prospect, South Sound and Crewe Road to elect you.  

    • Earth to Poster says:

      The USA and UK use the One Man One Vote system, why is it that you use Tivoli as an example? Dudus was not an elected representative, he was a drug lord, that argument does not even have relevance. Having a restriction in place that you can only run in the district where you reside is not realistic. We are too small to impose those kinds of restrictions, and you would be limiting the number fo eligible candidates and doing the people a disservice. If a particular voting district wants to elect one of their own then that will be easy to achieve, simply ask that person to run in his/her own district.

      I agree, you seem to be throwing up a red herring in order to confuse people and you are offering unsupported arguments.

      • Anonymous says:

        Do you think Seaga and Golding (former Prime Ministers of Jamaica) would have represented the Tivoli Gardens area if they had had to reside and live in the conditions there?   The unlawlessness of the area which was controlled by a drug lord (police could not even go in) was apparently allowed to continue for years in exchange for guaranteed votes. 

        I suspect that if those two gentlemen (representatives) had lived and resided in Tivoli and truly had had the interests of that community at heart, the area would not have become what it did. They would surely have tried to clean it up for themselves and their neighbours.

        Seems like they simply bought the votes of that community to get power and did not have to live the consequences. Hope this helps. 

      • Anonymous says:

        no red herring my friend, just good old fashioned common sense.

    • Demi O'Crassy says:

      Or perhaps you could just vote for local candidates and enough of the people in the constituency feel the same as you then only local candidates will win. That, you see, is how most of us see democracy, let the people select by voting.

  4. Natural Mystic says:

     

    • Hezekiah says:

      In 2003 during the Boundary commission review 70 odd persons attended their meetings. It was70 odd persons who assisted in the demarcation of boundaries for the One Man One Vote that the opposition and the wizard from north side is clamoring for. The question is can we truly say that there was adequate representation in establishing boundaries. It seems to me that 70 od persons then and now represents a huge minority of the voting policy to enter the decision then and now.

      How can our politicians spew out equal representation with the distortion that occurred then and still exists with the minority representatives driving a one man one vote proposition that suits them and the respective power struggle and greed trip that they re on. The society hungers for people who re unselfish leadership. People of the soil who understand and cherish our homeland and not the personal aggrandizement that these Rabelais rousers seek they keep fighting for power but they know not he hour any minute any day it shall be then away. People think carefully about one man one vote,think carefully,you may find that the rare a will be a lot of wolves in sheep clothing knocking at your door.

      • Wow says:

        Wow,

        How long did you plan that little speech! Take a look at what is happeneing to the people right now! Look how we have been mistreated, disrespected and treated like pawns in a chess game. Now that we have the opportunity to regain some control over these politicians, you attempt to derail the process by planting seeds and quoting Bob Marley. 

        When this process is completed you will see a new Cayman, and the people will have real power and control over their destiny.

         

  5. Sign the Petition this weekend! says:

    George Town Voters

    Come to the Seamens Hall in Prospect on Saturday between 2PM and 6PM, please remember to bring a valid ID with you.

     

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Drivers license

      Elector card

      Passport

          -all acceptable! Thank you, Cayman

  6. Libertarian says:

    Let us be careful here in thinking that we have found the solution for all of our problems. Yes, the "one person one vote," when implemented, will guarantee that MLAs pay close attention to the needs of the public. Yes, it will guarantee better representation for people of the Cayman Islands in their districts. However, we all shouldn't be content with what the UDP and PPM, both parties, appear to be content with the petition. Why?  Because the lawmakers know too well that they can still bet the system, and not represent their electoral districts so long they continue to get the streams of money from elite individuals on the island, paying for their own representation. Something has to be done to stop this disenfranchisement of the people. The political powers that be are more scare of us when we try to advance towards a "direct democracy" than when we try to improve on a "representative democracy." That is whythey seem not be so disturbed with bettering representation. But if we should ever start talking about the implementation of "direct democracy provisions", and amending certain aspects of our limited constitution, giving more powers to the people, then you are going to hear from these same ones that we are under UK and it is impossible because it is already made law, and we must live with it. Al Suckoo Jr., Ezzard Miller, Arden Mclean, do well… but greater good will be done when we nip corruption in the bud and move this country towards implementation of direct democracy. We can do this without getting Independence – YES WE CAN!  

    • Michael Mouse says:

      Direct democracy = mob rule.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are going to have to prove it.  Strenght of the people against the strenght of your elected "premeir"type leadership.  Good luck.  Your going to need it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I agree that the referedum should be held as soon as possible, i.e. November 2012.  I also believe in giving credit where credit is due.  There would not even be a provision for People Initiatied Referedum (PIR) in the constitution, not to mention probably not even a new constitution if it was not for people like Alden, Alfonso, Arden, Chuckie, Lucille, Moses, Kurt, Tony (in alphabetical order) and the many members of the PPM who worked very hard and sacrificed a lot so that we Caymanians could have access to tools of good governance and transparency such as the FOI and the PIR. 

    So before any one gets on their self-rightous soap box and hurl personal insults, remember you are benefiting from many things that the PPM acccomplished for our country. Many things that you are now accomplishing and contemplating would not even be possible othewise.  The People Spirit lives on and is getting stronger!

    • anonymous says:

      oh poor ting, so that means every ppm decisions is right?  i dont think so. they gave us a crappy constitution and should have advanced us all the way and not half way to democracy. the ppm did us little!

      • Anonymous says:

        Wed, 02/29/2012 – 11:06  Yes, Alden et al were the ones responsible for advancing this new Constitution but from the get go many of us could see that it was flawed and for this reason I was not one who voted for it. Lest others forget, wasn't Alden also the one advancing his ideas for changes to be made to allow first generation Caymanians to run for political office? If my memory serves me correctly he was. Thank God the sensible people of this country understood what this would mean and stood against it, forcing it to be removed from the draft constitution. That was good but a stance should also have been taken at that time for further work to be done to correct various other anomolies and concerns instead of rushing it through as was done. People should demand that these further badly needed amendments be made and the sooner the better to avoid further problems that we will be unable to resolve because of it.

        • Anonymous says:

          The new Constitution does have flaws but it is substantial improvement on the previous one. It had a relatively long gestation period with a great deal of public education on the issue. Constitutions are not writ in stone; they can be amended.  

          There is nothing in the present Constitution (and there was nothing in the previous Constitution) preventing first generation Caymanians from running for political office. The late Sir Vassel Johnson was a first generation Caymanian (of whom we may be justly proud) who successfully ran for public office under the old Constitution. The Constitution simply requires that you are Caymanian within the meaning of the Immigration Law, be naturalised as a BOTC by virtue of your connection to these Islands and have no other citizenship. Of course both generational Caymanians and first generation Caymanians may have other citizenships.  

  8. Anonymous says:

    There is no doubt that this is politically motivated and the time frame prior to the next election is designed to break up the UDP hold on certain areaswithin the country. It is a plan that may succeed but what baffles me is how just a few years ago the constitution was renegoticated with the Mother country and this wasn't sorted out,  yet now 18 or 24 months later it is a democratic crisis. There seems to be some mendacity here that I expect will never be admitted to but what else is new.

    I hope we don't get a group of anti expat xenophobics running the country.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you had been following the issue you would understand that one man one vote was not put in the Constitution by the PPM as a compromise with the UDP in order to gain their support for it. In the end Bush double crossed them and di not support the new Constitution anyway.

      If by politically motivated you mean it is an effort to get better representation in this country where MLAs are elected on their merit rather than one someone else's coat tails and are more accountable to their electorate then the answer is yes. You should want that too. Or is it more important to keep your political cronies in power no matter how they win?

    • Asuckoo says:

       

      Dear Reader,

       

      Please bear in mind that I was not involved in the constitutional modernization process that took place several years ago and my current involvement is motivated by what I perceive to be a very unfair and discriminatory system. 

      How can we feel comfortable going into another election with the current system in place?

      Is it fair for me as a George Towner to have 6 times more voting power than my relatives and friends in East End? 

      How can anyone justify the obvious difference in voting power to the residents of North Side, East End, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman? Are we saying that they are not our equals? I have more respect for Caymanians than that and although it may be easy to call this a political strategy to remove the UDP, I will argue that this movement has a more noble and ethical foundation.

      I am not out campaigning against any of the 2 political parties, and I have friends, including the Premier and the leader of the opposition, within both groups.

      It is my hope that the UDP will join the PPM and our group in supporting this initiative, we need to demonstrate to ALL Caymanians that we are equal under the new constitution and that we have the respect and concern of our elected representatives. One Man One Vote means we are all equal and I challenge anyone to dispute that simple fact. 

      Please do not be distracted by the rhetoric and counter arguments and hold on to one simple fact! The current system does not guarantee every voting Caymanian equality, and that is simply unacceptable. 

      As for your comment with regard to anti-expat xenophobes running the country, please be informed that my own father came here as a Jamaican expat teacher and it would be disingenuous, hypocritical and dishonest for me to take a position that was anti-expat on any level. However I am extremely proud to say I am very Pro -Caymanian and feel it is my right and my duty to push for a change that gives all of us an equal say.

      I hope that you will take my comments on board and that you will reconsider your position on this matter and join us in bringing a much needed and long awaited change to Cayman.

       

      Al Suckoo Jr

      • Anonymous says:

        Al, I believe that you are forthright in your belief and support but you must also be aware of those pushing this for purely political reasons. It is interesting that 1 man 1 vote wasn't mentioned during the constitutional modernization meetings and was largely ignored for the number of years this constitution was discussed. Where were these voices then?

        My concern is sincerely with the anti expat xenophobic segment within the political community and please lets don't pretend it does not exist.  The tension between the local and foreign is flamed by radio venom and it is a real concern. The recent Dart bashing rhetoric has been highly offensive and hurts Cayman. The politicians retching comments about throwing Dart off the island or burning down parks cannot be ignored and going to England to represent the people of the Cayman Islands is also offensive. Like it or not this is part of the 1 man 1 vote movement.

        At the end of the day 1 man 1 vote will be good for the country but please don't pretent this movement does not have political motivations to oust Bush and the UDP at its core.

         

        • Anonymous says:

          It is false to state that one man, one vote was not mentioned in the constitutional negotiations. It was right there in the earliest drafts of the document but the UDP wanted it removed and as a compromise the PPM obliged in order to gain their support for the Constitution.

          You are right that the UDP (as well as the PPM to a lesser degree) are beneficiaries of the present inequitable system but that should not be a reason not to change it as you seem to think.    

      • Cal Powery says:

        Great article Al. The one thing this will bring is more confidence to the elected members. Currently the "coat tail riders" have to tow the party line because not towing the line will result in them not gaining re-election the following term. Once more elected members have this confidence then I believe we will see more back-bone from them when it comes time for votes such as "no confidence" etc.

        I also think the next step (once the one man, one vote is in place) is for the electorate to choose the premiere AND the cabinet. This would ensure that any candidate that wants either role would not only have to campaign in their electoral boundary but to the country as a whole (which would then bring a sense of national unity and not the current/perceived current situation of "West Bay voted me in so I only have to be concerned with keeping them happy".).

        Cal

    • Lachlan MacTavish says:

      If you research the people involved in this referrendum you will see that this is not party motivated. One man one vote will certainly break up the UDP party which has single handedly almost destroyed a wonderful country. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Lach you are too far from Cayman to be up with the players here. Come back and catch up.

    • Anonymous says:

      It was UDP who wanted it left out of the new constitution and PPM had to compromise in order to get some semblance of the new constitution passed.  Get acquainted with actual facts rather than spouting nonsense, will you?

  9. Libertarian says:

    "Thank you all for your continued support, and let’s do what is right for the sake of our beloved country and ALL of the people who reside here."  My dear Suckoo, if the above clear-cut words are truly imbedded in your heart, please without hestitation, give us the time of day and place upon which you will be declaring your candidacy, and I guarantee you that I will be right behind you for the cause of advancing our "participatory democracy", because the more I see it, I see it everyday ~ it takes a servant to lead, and a leader to serve the people of these beautiful islands. There shall be no other "god" before the people. Regards

  10. Chris says:

    Al, your article does an excellent job at articulating exactly what so many people have been feeling.

    Keep on pushing. There is a palatable ground swell of support for "one man one vote" and the support continues to grow daily. I just heard the Leader of the Opposition Mr. Alden McLaughlin on Rooster publicly endorse the petition too.

    Any right thinking politician sould fully embrace one man one vote as the arguments for it are so powerful and the public support so widespread.

    Keep up the great work. The people are not behind you on this, we are WITH you, side by side, because One Man One Vote is truly what the people want. 

    • G.T. resident says:

      Chris if Alden has change word that now he publicly supports the petition on Rooster, he is a "johnny come late," and should never lead out!  He is no leader!  I for one am not apologetic when it comes to the advancing of democracy. The more democracy is the more less corruption, and that means a better economy. Alden as well as Bush has got to go! 

  11. Lachlan MacTavish says:

    Mr . Suckoo,

    Wonderful "viewpoint". I have become quite callous and blunt over the past 2 or 3 decades fighting corrupt, self motivated politicians using their fellow citizens and the country to further their personal financial gain. It has been a long arduous road but I have always believed that because of the wonderful Caymanians I grew up with that Cayman can do "better" than the Cayman Pindling Politicians (CCP's). The CCP's have morphed and used the system to make millions, while loosing millions of the peoples money and I have been frustrated that these individuals use their own. 

    The pathetic self serving arguments coming from elected members and supporters that the referendum group is politically motivated, that the cost for the referendum is to much and that there is not enough time to educate the voters about this issue is ridiculous and quite frankly sorry old tired politricks from these people.

    Literally foolish double speak smoke and mirrors from Bush, his supporters and any other MLA XXXX. High cost for the referendum, silly, the cost is petty cash compared to the excesses, first class travel, wasted monies for the deputies pet projects, nation building, church donations, lawsuits, walls, security not needed etc. what a pathetic argument. Not enough time to educate the voters. XXXX

    It is finally time for change. The country cannot survive another 4 years of non governing for the country and people leadership. The present leaders are leading for themselves, not the people. 

    If Bush, any of the UDP party or PPM or independents are good leaders and politicians then they should not fear the referendum and "one man one vote" because they will be ELECTED. 

    What they fear is that they have been elected over and over because they have fixed the system and they know, in their hearts, that they have been exposed finally through freedom of the press and free speech and they will not be re elected because the real majority will speak.

    Bottom line, any politician who fights this referrendum is not thinking about the country and the people, that person is thinking about themselves.

    Time for change, time for Bush and any blind elected supporters to leave as well.

    Lachlan MacTavish

    PS if you are a blind UDP supporter and you truly believe you have the country and people at heart you may want to re think about your affiliation and party.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Well said Mr Suckoo, I hope you are sucessful with your petition. It is the best thing for Cayman.

     

  13. nauticalone says:

    Agree. Lets get it done NOW people.

     

  14. Anonymous says:

    When will you all be in the Brac and Little Cayman?

    • Well says:

      Hello,

       

      Mr Moses in C. Brac has a copy of the petition and will gladly accept your signatures.

       

       

  15. Anony says:

    It is so funny that Alden and McKeeva, the party ducks, would quack so much about the "cost" of having a referendum now, when it was them that contributed so much to the country's debt. Especially Alden of all persons.