Premier to battle one man, one vote in public forum

| 23/03/2012

bush LA.jpg(CNS): As a keen defender of the voting status quo, Premier McKeeva Bush will be going publicly head to head with Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin and independent member, Ezzard Miller, next week over the question of the introduction of one man, one vote in Cayman. Local think tank Generation NOW will be hosting the panel discussion on the topical issue next Thursday, which will also feature Adrianne Webb, who was one of the Electoral Boundaries Commission members, along with UDP supporter and election commentator, Dick Arch. The forum is open to the public and organisers say that, given the line-up, it promises to be a lively discussion.

"We believe that we have selected a panel of persons who have been outspoken on this issue from a variety of perspectives that reflects a cross-section of our community as a whole," said Olivaire Watler, one of the directors of the activist group which seeks to promote higher education and opportunities for young Caymanians.

The non-governmental organisation has hosted several round table discussions on a number of thorny subjects that have encouraged the local community to begin openly debating some of the country’s more controversial issues, from gambling to taxation.

With McKeeva Bush still opposed to the principle of one man, one vote and Miller spearheading a campaign that is just a few hundred signatures away from triggering the country’s first ever people initiated referendum on the subject, the discussion question "One Man, One Vote: Now, Later or Never?” is likely to generate an evening of interesting discourse.

“Along with Mr Ezzard Miller, who has initiated the petition to introduce one man, one vote, the premier and the leader of the opposition will weigh in on the issue,” Watler said. “We will also have a valuable resource in Ms Adriannie Webb, attorney and member of the Electoral Boundaries Commission, which considered the pros and cons of single-member and multi-member constituencies, and Mr Dick Arch as an informed member of the public who is well known for, amongst other things, his long experience as a general elections radio commentator and his considered contributions on the subject."

The round table, which is open to the public, will take place on Thursday, 29 March, at 7:00pm at the Harquail Theatre and will be moderated by Crosstalk’s Austin Harris.

Organiser's also stated that the discussion will be aired on Radio Cayman but people wishing to attend the live forum will be asked for a $5 contribution to the cost of the event.

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Category: Politics

Comments (60)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    McKeeva believes in One Man, One Vote, and practices it consistently in Cabinet meetings where he is the One Man and his One Vote rules every decision.

  2. Anonymous says:

    So thats how Mac does battle?  Not hard to see that comeing.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Mac Chickens Out – he trawwelling again!


  4. Anonymous says:

    Is OMOV for me?

    Following are the issues which I have been considering regarding OMOV, and the conclusions which I would like to share:

    THE APPLICABILITY QUESTION:  There is so much fervor about an issue which will affect only 3 of our 6 districts = CBrac/LCayman are exempt, and it does not apply to NSide & CBrac! Is it then fair that their petition/votes will decide for the other districts who will be affected?  While people can have their say, I think much of this is genuine fervor, but misdirected towards the wrong issue.

    OMOV WILL RESULT IN IMPROVED MLA ACCOUNTABILITY: That is a fallacy, I think.  Especially if the MLAs form alliances (which they surely will) or belong to a political party… for they will then use the excuse of 'Collective Responsibility'. BTW, that termis a cop-out, for MLA Collective Responsibility obligations only apply to Cabinet Members!

    Yes, underOMOV they may be living just down the street, but that doesn’t mean they will do what you and I want – plus we may have opposing wants/needs anyways. That simple fact is OMOV will set many up for failure, as they can’t be all things to everyone.

    Especially so if they are not a member of the ruling party, for as an independent or opposition member they will surely be ‘political outsiders’ as the NSide and EEnd MLAs have publicly declared often, and as such they will not get all the things their constituents really want done.

    USING OMOV THE PUBLIC CAN BE PART OF THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS: That’s not really true.  MLAs can now vote their own salaries & benefits, decide what issues are presented before the House, and when, and then vote the Cash needed to make these projects come to life! So, just where does John Public have a say in any of this under OMOV?  Yes, we can camp out at our MLA’s door and complain or petition him/her, but that is not any serious influence – esp if the issue at hand is in contention with big-business and it's big influence/lobbyists. The wider use of referenda may be a solution to this – and with our efficient voting registry system could be a breeze, as is done in larger countries like Switzerland.

    OMOV LEVELS THE PLAYING FIELD: Not really. What it will do is reduce us to a tribal level based on popularity and influence in our communities, not on actual potential/education.  Eg.  If ‘John A’ comes back home from Harvard with a doctorate in social issues, politics and politics, after being away from home for 8 to 10 years, do you think he stands a chance running in his little community pocket against opposing candidate ‘Susan B’ — who knows everyone, attended birthday parties, funerals, weddings, graduations, and serves with the church committees, PTAs etc?   She will surely win the ‘popular’ vote.  However, he may be voted into office if the vote was district-wide, as it is now (and hopefully with Susan B as his running mate!

    That brings up another issue: If two or three of any district’s most excellent candidates are from the same community, and run for office, only One can be elected under OMOV.

    (I contend that a national election for OMOV would be the best solution, and that would really level the playing field!)

    Also, within one community there could be a section of predominately lower-income voters, and another pocket of upper-class residents. Regardless of who is elected, the other will feel disenfranchised, and it will be difficult to balance needs when things such as roads, community centers and parks are needed. Where will they go/who will benefit?

    YOUR MLA WILL BE MORE ACCESSIBLE: Well, that Might be true if he/she were actually living in the same community, and not travelling, sick, attending Law School, etc.

    BUT, just as an MLA can live in Bodden Town and get elected in Cayman Brac, these MLAs will not have to live within the communities who elect them to office! That kills the purpose of the OMOV I think!  Maybe we can petition to change that…hmm?

    And as not all MLAs within a district are JPs or Marriage Officers etc, we will still have to approach and depend on the other district MLAs (who may then be seen as from our ‘Oppositions community’).

    EVEN NUMBER OF MLAS: The plan is for 3 more MLAs – to a total of 18. This is potentially dangerous, for it could result in a hung decision on key matters. eg a Vote of No Confidence. And in such a case, the Speaker automatically has to maintain the status quo!

    COST: Of course there is also the issue of the additional MLAs – which will naturally increase the demands on the public purse anyways.  AND, check out how muchthe public pays to have one MLA office, with support staff &utilities, in a district.  Then, multiply that by up to six offices (eg. If the 6 new GT MLAs are OMOV independents they will want their own offices once elected). Mega Bucks!

    Not to mention the cost of MLA Pensions – which are due to all MLAs after just one term in office!

    And that’s it for now. 

    I hope these personal thoughts are taken as food for thought, and I look forward to see if any convincing arguments arise…

    • Anonymous says:

      Let me take just two of your arguments:

      "THE APPLICABILITY QUESTION:  There is so much fervor about an issue which will affect only 3 of our 6 districts = CBrac/LCayman are exempt, and it does not apply to NSide & CBrac! Is it then fair that their petition/votes will decide for the other districts who will be affected?".

      North Side and East End already have one man, one vote. The issue here is twofold: (a) equal voting rights; and (b) equal representation. If the electoral system is left unchanged after the next election the GT voter will have 6 times the voting ability as the NS and EE voter, and will have six times the representation. Also, GT as one electoral district would represent 1/3 of the whole LA. It should go without saying that the EE, NS and CB/LC voters are the people who are most disadvantaged by this inequality and should have a say. Further, once elected, MLAs represent not only individual districts but these Islands as a whole. This is a national issue. It is ridiculous to suggest that any districts should be excluded from the determination of a national issue.

      "YOUR MLA WILL BE MORE ACCESSIBLE: Well, that Might be true if he/she were actually living in the same community, and not travelling, sick, attending Law School, etc.
      BUT, just as an MLA can live in Bodden Town and get elected in Cayman Brac, these MLAs will not have to live within the communities who elect them to office! That kills the purpose of the OMOV I think!  Maybe we can petition to change that…hmm?".

      It is obvious that an MLA who represents a district of 800 voters in a relatively small geographical area is likely to be more accessible than one of six who represents a district 6,000 voters whose electorate covers a large area and who may pass the buck on to his colleagues. An MLA in a single member constituency is likely to know his entire electoral district intimately. A requirement that the MLA live in the same community would only serve to reduce the pool of good potential candidates. It should be a matter for the voters to decide whether a candidate who lives in another electoral district can effectively represent them. It is silly to suggest that someone who lives in Savannah cannot represent people who live in BT proper because living in Savannah makes him inaccessible.  As far as travelling and going to law school are concerned, the voters should vote for candidates who will give them the necessary attention and should remove any MLA who fails to give them that attention. There is nothing in that argument to kill the purpose of OMOV. In fact you have killed your own argument by making the point that "if two or three of any district’s most excellent candidates are from the same community, and run for office, only One can be elected", not as you say under OMOV, but under your requirement that they only be able to run in the district in which they live. You say that you support "a national election for OMOV" as the best solution. Obviously this is completely incompatible with your professed desire for effective district representation by requiring MLAs to live in the same district. 

      There is no coherency in your thoughts. The only consistency are the fatuous objections to the petition.  This tells me that they do not represent a genuine position but instead an attempt to confuse the voter about signing the petition.

      • Anonymous says:

         Are u saying I wont be able to vote for a contestant in my distict who lives outside my neighbourhood/boundary; but I will be able to vote for another person from another district to represent me???

        • Anonymous says:

          It is not a beauty pageant. They are not "contestants" but candidates.

          I have no idea how you could have got that from my post. I suggest you read it again. 

          • Anonymous says:

            Drat – I was hoping to be a contestant. 

            But then its One MAN one vote!

            • Anonymous says:

              The "man" refer to the voter. Maybe that means all the women can run for office! 

        • Anonymous says:

          Your question doesn't make any sense.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wow – your comment from above says a lot against OMOV, as you advocate having representatives actually live Outside the commmunity that elects him/her!. Hypocritical I think:

        "A requirement that the MLA live in the same community would only serve to reduce the pool of good potential candidates. It should be a matter for the voters to decide whether a candidate who lives in another electoral district can effectively represent them."

        • Anonymous says:

          I did not "advocate having representatives actually live Outside the commmunity that elects him/her". I said that there should be no restrictions on where the candidate lives. Read the quote again, this time s-l-o-w-l-y.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hey – I may be fatuous but Im going to Curves…

        I smell some assanine (and asinine) – and arrogance – in your comment!

        • Anonymous says:

          The personal insults only mean that you have no intelligent response.

          • Anonymous says:

            ..that's what I thought about your 'fatuous' comment.

            And it's since been affirmed

            • Anonymous says:

              Before you get in a huff about "fatuous" it doesn't mean you need to go to Curves. It means the argument was silly and empty. It was not a personal insult. My post had a lot of substance, but yours didn't.

              • Anonymous says:

                Laugh much?

                A sense of humor help in this world mate!

                And -dictionaries are found most everywhere these days!

              • Anonymous says:

                Hey – stop thumbing your own comments…

              • Anonymous says:

                fat·u·ous: adjective 1. foolish or inane

                EZ now – did you really have to resort to name calling?


                • Anonymous says:

                  You are still missing the point. The adjective related to the arguments raised, not the person. It is perfectly fine to say an argument is silly if you can show that it is. I did. In any event the obssessive focus on one word at the end of a series of arguments means that you can't answer the arguments.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have a spare minute so let me take another one:

      "EVEN NUMBER OF MLAS: The plan is for 3 more MLAs – to a total of 18. This is potentially dangerous, for it could result in a hung decision on key matters. eg a Vote of No Confidence. And in such a case, the Speaker automatically has to maintain the status quo!".

      A vote of no confidence requires a 2/3 majority. It is not an issue on which there can be a hung decision. The problem is not that the total number of MLAs is odd or even but instead the ratio between Cabinet Minister and the total number of MLAs.  Where the total is 15 and there are 5 Cabinet Ministers it does not require a Cabinet Minister to agree. However, where there are 18 MLAs and 7 Cabinet members it does since 2/3 x 18 = 12, and 18-7=11.  

      Hung decisions are unlikely in any event given that in order to be the Government a party must command majority support in the LA. In order to form the Government after the next elections a party must have the support of at least 10 MLAs. If it does not then there must be a coalition Government. It would be interesting indeed if the UDP and the PPM each got 9 seats, or each got 8 seats with two seats being held by Independents!


      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah…I remember the late Capt Mabry was the 'swing vote' in the LA a similir situation in or recent history…

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks to you two people for your mini debate – hehehe

  5. Anonymous says:

    Should it be ONE PERSON , ONE VOTE since the implementation of laws for equal rights for females? 

    • Anonymous says:

      ONE VOTER, ONE VOTE. That clears up the issue of sex and whether one should be entitled to vote etc. BTW, when name on the voter's list is NOT a requirement to sign petitions I usually have my dog sign it. He will never make the voter's list, but I know that he is smarter than several thousand people in West Bay.

    • Anonymous says:

      But 'one man, one vote' has a much better ring to it!

    • Anonymous says:

      I thought the whole point was that women WOULDN’T get the vote?There’s no way I’m letting my wife vote. That would just be plain silly.

  6. I Care says:

    just get it done… One Man On Vote, make the Politians work for the salaries again. I suport it and it will happen, just you wait, whether Mac likes it or not. Then when its done let us get rid of them all and put new , young XXXX minds in their. I cant put too much time is spelling or grammer in my posting . No big Ting

  7. SKEPTICAL says:

    Suspect that if the going gets “HOT” you will see him walk off the stage claiming that the other participants are not showing respect for his status as premier.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, then it will be time for Mac to stamp his feet, throw another tantrum and refuse to play with everyone else!

  8. Marco Archer, for and on behalf of Generation NOW says:

    Thank you all for your interest in the discussion on one man, one vote, hosted by Generation NOW on Thursday, 29 March 2012 at the Harquail Theatre starting 7:00 p.m.

    Please note the following:

    1. Your attendance is greatly encouraged.

    2. A CI$5.00 donation will be requested at the door to defray expenses to assist our non-profit organisation to cover expenses.

    3. For those who are unable to attend, the discussion will be aired lived on Radio Cayman starting at 7:00 p.m.  However, your attendance is greatly encouraged.

    For and on behalf of Generation NOW

    Marco Archer

  9. Anonymous says:

    Stubborn & Obstinate.  Anyone can see from the amount of signatures already gathered that it is what the public wants and any politician that is so out of tune to deny that, is ready for the rocking chair.  UDP can rant and rave all they want.  Truman and John can say what they want.  But you know what, a new era has dawned and those who can't listen now will be forced to listen when that Referendum is held and also when the election is held.

    That's just the beginning.  It is time to clean up politics in Cayman.  Another area that has to be addressed is that none of us voters know who will be Ministers of the various portfolios before, or even after an election and we have to accept those that they decide amongst themselves to be Ministers of Government.  That is absolute nonsense.  No company operates in that manner, hiring staff and then allowing them to decide amongst themselves who will get what position in the company.  I think the population at large should know who wants to be a Minister and they should vote them as a package.  Look at what we have right now, a Minister of Finance with not even a high school education, a roads engineer as a Minister of Health, not Minister of Works; that's filled by a lawyer. And a qualified Accountant holds the position of as Minister of Education.  One would have thought he would be Minister of Finance.  The way this is done is an absolute joke. I am sure that the population at large would never have voted for the current block of Ministers for the portfolios they are currently assigned.  The government seems to have no long term vision and direction and because of that, each portfolio dances to its own tune. 

    It's time for a change Cayman.  One man and one vote is just the beginning.

    • Dreadlock Holmes says:

      I agree with you insofar as cabinet ministers don't often have the necessary real world skills for the portfolios they manage.  This is nothing new in politics anywhere.  Ie. Political appointments have nothing to do with experience or available skills. Surprinsingly they are what they are: political appointments. Which are often based on personal preference, having more to do with party loyalty,  being easily manipulated, silent or as a reward.  For example when a failed B-movie actor and television commercial personality or spoiled frat boy can become President Of The United States this tells you something about the level of politics as we know it.  It has nothing to do with smarts or skill.  That, in effect is politics. A world unto itself.

  10. Peanuts says:

    Any bets on the following 1) mac is a no show. 2) mac walks out before half time. 

    • Simon Says says:

      If he should walk out as you say, lets all give him a great send off!!


  11. Anonymous says:

    What good reason can be given for not giving equal voting rights to all voters? It is the core to democracy. Anyone against this is against democracy, plain and simple.

    We will hear nonsence about every area will want its own town hall and playing field and clinic and it will cost too much. The response to that is simple–why are they not asking for it now??

    We will hear nonsense that West Bay has the same "needs" as George Town so should have the same number of representatives and votes. The response is simple- East End voters have the same "needs" as the WB and GT votors so should they also have 6 votes each?

    You will hear a lot on nonsense next week. Please ignore it and lets get to 6000 signatures. That is what they are scared of. Get your friends to take back control of our voting system.


    • Anonymous says:

      The only reason our dear leader and his UDP puppets are against this is that they fear losing control of the nation's cash register, better known as their " travel and entertainment allowance."

  12. Anonymous says:

    I'm all for 'ONE MAN, ONE VOTE but I want to know how Ezzard is so scared of a national election. I shouldn't say that, I already know why he doesn't like it.

    • Truth & Fact says:

      My friend 18:28 how come you did not know that it was because of McKeeva who assisted Ezzard to get in , in North Side, then after he got in he switched to "All fe mi self" plan.

      Of course he is afraid of a National election, because Mckeeva is not going to help him this time. 

      One Man one Vote, no, for me because the only persons who will benefit from that now is Ezzard and Arden.  Open your eyes my friend.  Sorry I could not sign that paper.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don't think Ezzard is scared of it. He recognises that it does not make sense. Nice attempt to change the subject though.  

    • Anonymous says:

      As a born North Sider who has never voted for Ezzard Miller let me explain why a national vote will not work. Assuming that you subscribe to the national vote theory that says each elector should have 15 (or 18) votes and that the first 15 in vote count, wins the 15 seats.

      If we are hoodwinked into going for some hairbrained idea like this, any one of the political Parties that field 15 candidates in George Town and West Bay will win all the seats in the Legislature. If they campeign only in those two districts, or, have a stronghold in those two districts; It will not matter one iota HOW the citizens of East End, North Side Bodden Town or the Sister Islands vote, combined they cannot equal the votes in West Bay and George Town.

      While I have opened this post by declareing that I have not, to date, voted for Ezzard Miller; his actions in championing the difficulties Caymanians face in the workforce and for generally letting the people know what is going on in Government has softened my opinion of him as a representative of my native North Side.

      Mr. Miller I promise you that if you can correct this inequity in how the electorate are treated and bring, for the first time in our history, some semblence of democracy to our small Island, you will have my  (and my family) vote come the next election.  I should add, thank you for representing my interest even though I did not vote for you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ezzard doesn't like it because just like now he would be marginalized. Then again if he is as important as he says he is, why wouldn't he get elected in a national vote.


      i don't trust any of these politicians. 

  13. Anonymous says:

    Pick One:

    Mutt Vs. Jeff

    Hardy Vs. Laural

    Abbot Vs. Costello

    • Anonymous says:

      If you are going to suggest a lineup, do a realistic one.  Because UDP already have all the jokers in their own camp, which is why everything they say and propose, is so wildly funny to the rest of us, and I don't mean that in a complimentary way.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Keke the people have spoken! One man one vote!!!!!! The power of the pen is stronger than any sword!!! Can you shut your mouth do what your requested to do, we are the puppet master your just the puppet of the people lmao!!!!

  15. EYE ON THE ISLAND says:

    There are only a few people in this world that defend the indefensible –  lawyers and fools. The lawyer gets paid. I have no idea what the other does it for accept maybe megalomania? That is where we are in these Islands in the 21st century fighting a battle to free ourselves from one man rule.  Two quotes from Oscar Wild come into play here they are as follows: THERER IS NO SIN EXCEPT STUPIDITY.  The other = DISCONTENT IS THE FIRST STEP IN THE PROGRESS OF A MAN OR A NATION.

    We have people with courage leading this battle and we must stand with them because they are right.   

    • Lachlan MacTavish says:

      EYE ON THE ISLAND….excellent post. You are correct there are over 3000 people, with more to come, with courage who have signed a petition to take back their country from the power hungry wealthy elite. It is time to allow real political leaders to re build The Cayman Islands for the people. One man one vote, no tolerance for buying votes, no party politricks. I will enjoy reading about Bush's argument for not allowing the majority of the people the right to vote for the best leaders. 

      Get the signatures, get the petition to the Governor, have the vote in November, do not allow politricks to delay you the people taking back your country.

      Lachlan MacTavish

  16. Anonymous says:

    Once again we will get to hear Mac run down and denigrate those who oppose him.  Once again he will not debate the issue but will bluster instead. Once again we will have to hear that the devil is behind the one man one vote  drive. 

    This event should be good for a laugh.  As usual he does not care what the wishes of the people are.  It is all about what he and his handlers want.

  17. EYE ON THE ISLAND says:

    The cartoon show begins. Only the low information voters and stooges will attend. The Traveling Man isn't even smart enough to pick his battles.

  18. Polly Tricks says:

    UDP headquarters the night before the debate:

    Mac "We have to come up with arguments.  Quick"

    UDP Minions: "We can't think of anything sensible to say Dark Lord".

    Mac: "Since when has that stopped us saying something"

    Ellio : "We can tell them that like transparency, improved democracy might stop us doing what we want when we want it".

    Mac: "I like it"

    John John: "I have a plan"

    Mac : "You mean a lie?"

    John John: "Maybe it is a scheme"

    Mac : "Now John John we have spoke about this "lie" word before.  Does your "plan" involve saying something that is not true?"

    John John : "Yes"

    Mac : "That is a lie."

    John John: "This honesty thing is so hard"

    Mac: "Your "plan", what is it anyway?"

    John John : "We could send everyone in the room a text saying their relative has been involved in an accident and they will all go away."

    Mac: "Next"

    Captain Mumbles Eugene:  "What are we talking about"

    Mac : "One man one vote"

    Captain Mumbles: "What man?  What year is it?  What is my name?  Who are you?  Feck, drink, girls"

    JuJu: "We tell them that it is unChristian"

    Mac: "Why is it unChristian?"

    JuJu: "Because it is the system of voting that is used in hinduist and voodist countries"

    Mac: "Yes, yes, this is all coming together".

    Mike Adam: "We can blame the satanist bloggers and people who are spying on you."

    Mac: "Yes, the bloggers like it.  We will blame the devil.  I have my speech, Pearlina, Pearlina, come here"

    Pearlina: "Yes, Lord Voldemac, how can I serve thee?"

    Mac: "Get on the phone to my speech writer in Barbados, I have a job for him"

    All UDP Minions: "Hurrah Lord Voldemac, you are wise and we love you"


    • Anonymous says:

      Ha! You're giving Mac far too much credit with grammar, collaboration and the use of the word, "quick," though.  Also, when's the last time all of these superstars have been in a room at the same time?

    • Anonymous says:

      If only such talent could be used for profitable ends.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Only way he wins this discussion is if no one else shows up.

  20. Anonymous says:

    CNS can you please confirm if this will be aired and if so, by what media (TV/Radio)

    I would only be fair for full voting public due to the fact that the theatre can only whole "x" amount of people and I would bet at $100/head it would be sold out before the printer stop printing!

    CNS Note: Just in case its going out on Radio Cayman

    • Polly Tricks says:

      Mac's speech will be aired on live on Comedy Channel.  The channel has high hopes for an Emmy for Best Comedy.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I will be there live!!! Should be "fun"

  22. Anonymous says:

    This ought to be good! Can't wait to hear keke explain himself.

    • Anonymous says:

      How many times are you going to buy this? All he is going to do is blame Alden for overspending on the schools.