Former CS boss backs petition

| 02/04/2012

don ebanks 33_0.jpg(CNS): The former deputy governor and retired chief civil servant, Donovan Ebanks, has revealed his intention to sign the petition calling for a people’s referendum on the introduction of one man, one vote. Ebanks plans to put his name to the list publicly outside the town hall in George Town on Tuesday morning. He explained that this was in an effort to encourage all civil servants who support the national ballot on choosing how the electorate will vote for their political representatives to also sign the petition and take advantage of the new policy which allows public sector workers to play a more open part in the country’s democratic process.

“I want to encourage public servants in particular to seriously consider the issue which the petition seeks to address,” Ebanks said. “If they are supportive of it and feel they wish to participate in the petition, I would like to urge them to exercise their new privilege which the policy recently issued by the deputy governor affords them. I expect that after so many years of uncertainty, many will feel some reluctance to make use of it for the first time.”

Ebanks will also be joined by his former public service colleague, Kirkland Nixon, who was head of the country’s fire service, and he hopes that such a public signing will send a message to government employees that they can participate.

The petition is now very close to the necessary 3,800 names needed to trigger a people-initiated referendum but the greater goal for those spearheading the campaign is to persuade the government to call the referendum this year before the May general election in 2013. This would then enable that election to be conducted under one man, one vote, single member constituencies.

MLA Ezzard Miller, who launched the campaign with MLA Arden McLean a few weeks ago, said that everyone needed to sign the petition in order to make the change to the more democratic process for the next election when the country will be voting in an extra three MLAs.

At present the government has proposed adding one seat to Bodden Town and two in the capital, which would create the unprecedented and inequitable position of George Town voters having a significantly greater influence on the make-up of government than any other constituency.

The position will exacerbate an already unjust electoral system that allows the district in that people live to dictate how much say they have in the democratic process, which the two MLAs representing single member constituencies say is unjust and unacceptable.

The government’s back bench MLA Cline Glidden offered a glimmer of hope to the campaign at the Generation Now debate last week. He suggested that if the campaign were to get close to 50% of the register voters signing the petition, government would have to look at holding the referendum before the next election or rethinking its decision on how the next election will be held without one.

The petition itself asks for a national ballot on the decision in November of this year but the premier has rejected that possibility. McKeeva Bush has offered to hold a referendum on the issue at the same time as the next election to save money. This means Cayman voters will have to wait until 2018 before they are able to vote on a level playing field, despite the significant support for the principle in every poll that has been conducted.

Anyone wishing to witness the former governor sign the petition can join him at 11am Tuesday outside the Town hall by the Legislative Assembly in downtown George Town.

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Comments (26)

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  1. Anonymouses says:

    Well done Mr. Donovan

  2. Anonymous says:

    Not bad for a North Side boy that didnt wear shoes to school until he was in the second grade.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The former chief civil servant must admit that part of the problem of this country is the size of government and that cost of maintaining the people is breaking the country. To show some real leadership why not suggest ways to decrease the size of the civil service to help save us tax payers some money.

    Do that before thinking of running for political office.

  4. Signs of the Times says:

    I bet Donnie is running!!! if not, he be a good stand for PPM 'come back' Vs Norman Bodden's stand with UDP at the last election.

    Now lets wait and see if Mr. Orrett Connor aka 'OC' gonna make a move now. They live in the BT area my dear.     

  5. Anonymous says:

    Why didn't he do this while still in office? Do I see political office in the future here?

    • Anonymous says:

      Obviously as a top civil servant he could not do that. That is the whole point.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why not? He is now encouraging other civil servants to do the same..

        • Anonymous says:

          Don't you read the news? By designing the new policy (which is consistent with the Bill of Rights) he has paved the way for rank and file civil servants to sign the petition. He is now going one step further by publicly encouraging civil servants to sign, something he obviously could not do in his capacity as Deputy Governor.     

  6. Anonymous says:

    Very proud of you Donnie.  That's leadership!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    "…political office by Mr Ebanks" Jesus Christ, I hope so. I have been urging this on him for years.

  8. Simple Simon says:

    Thanks Donnie, you have helped to bring us  into line with other democratic countries!

  9. Dred says:

    I want to say a PERSONAL and DEEP THANK YOU!!! To Mr. Donovan Ebanks for this. This is a MAN. Someone who wants to set an EXAMPLE of how things should be done.

    I ask all Civil Servants to STAND UNITED for this. This is YOUR RIGHT. It's what you fought SO STRONG FOR. Do NOT allow this OPPORTUNITY to pass you by.

    Do it now. Sign the petition and let's take a brave step into our future.

    THANK YOU Mr. Ebanks from the bottom of my heart. THANKS!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Oh well, here is the first step towards seeking political office by Mr. Ebanks, however, it’s a good move to afford civil servants a voice regardless of the motive, the CS must be included without fear of retribution.

    • Anonymous says:

      What basis do you have for suggesting an ulterior motive?

      • Anonymous says:

        Where have you been living.

        And what exactly has this man done to advance Cayman or Caymanians in the many years he spent in Government?

        • Anonymous says:

          Right here.

          I don't know what he has or has not done to advance Caymanians as a civil servant but I don't see what this has to do with with supporting one man one vote and encouraging civil servants to sign the petition. 

  11. Anonymous says:

    A welcome announcement and a just decision.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Respect!  So glad that some people in leadership positions know how to show leadership.

  13. Peanuts says:

    Why won't the UDP wake up and smell the Coffee. If you are in a Hole why keep on digging. One deffination of insanity is to continue to do something and expect a different result. 

    XXXX Now with the endorsement of Mr. D. Ebanks and Mr. K. Nixon on the OMOV  Petition, even Ray Charles can see, why can't they.

    In 2013 you will hear "could have, should have" but too late, 2013 will record a record number of one timers, ES, MA, DS, MS, RIP.

    • Anonymous says:

      Peanuts, you forgot to mention that other one timer UDP person in the LA who needs to go – the Speaker

  14. Anonymous says:

    The OMOV petition is a Class 2 petition. According to the Dep. Gov Manderson, for a Class 2 petition, if you are in a higher up position, the only thing you may need to do is give your Minister 48 hours notice of your intention to "sign a Class 2 petition".


    There is no need to spell out exactly which petition or give details on your reasons for your intentions. 


    Something simple like:


    "I hereby give notice of my intention to sign a Class 2 petition."


    Then wait for 48 hours to pass BEFORE you sign the petition, that way you wont get in hot water with the Dep Gov office.

  15. Anonymous says:

    We need 4 political parties, not related to districts.

    None of the candidates should be entrepeneurs.

    Future mla's should be personal accountable for mistakes made.

    Every mla has a journalist following him/her to report to the public.



  16. Anonymous says:

    Great to see respected persons getting involved in national opinion!

    BUT – I must say that the most appealing version of OneManOneVote which I've see thus far was stated by Ms Webb at last week's forum — That is, "Multi-member constiuencies within each district."

    While this option has not really been presented or debated as an option by the organisers of the petition, I think this is the most palatable version. (next to national votign for Cabinet, at least).

    Can I have more info please? …..

    • Anonymous says:

      "Multi-member constiuencies within each district".

      What does that mean?

  17. Knot S Smart says:

    I am proud of you Donnie!!!