Now is not the time for One Man, One Vote

| 12/07/2012

Over the past several months there has been much discussion and debate in relation to the One Man, One Vote (OMOV). While writing this article, I had to first understand and figure out why so much emphasis was being focused on the matter now. I concluded that over the past several years, many people of the Cayman Islands have become disgruntled and unsatisfied with politics and the representation of our elected officials, and in some cases I have to agree with them.

Some of our elected officials have not lived up to the expectations that we would have expected. So it is understandable that persons would want a system or some form of change to get better representation.

However, simply looking at OMOV from the view that it promises more accountability, equality and better representation in my opinion is misleading. Personally I do not like guns or use drugs, but I’d like to use two simple illustrations on them. Guns do not kill people, its people that use guns that kill. Drugs don’t destroy people’s lives, its people that manufacture and sell drugs that ruin people lives. Similarly, a system (OMOV) alone cannot promise better accountability or representation; it is the responsibility of an individual, a representative to provide great leadership. Now I am not saying that OMOV could not help facilitate this in some way, what I am saying is, a system alone is not the answer to our desire for better government representation. It is more so an individual mindset and work ethic that will accomplish this.

After doing my own research, I found that some form of Multi-Member Constituent/Districts (MMD) still exist in many democratic countries today. Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man (according to Wikipedia), which all have a slightly larger population than Cayman still use both MMD and Single-Member Constituent (SMC). To me this signifies the system to use is unique to each country/district and we should not merely suggest that SMC works for us just because other countries use it.

After deep thought on the matter, some of the areas that concern me the most about OMOV are as follows:

1. Under SMC I feel we will get less representation. For example, if one constituent has 1,000 voters, let’s say Candidate #1 receives 300 votes, Candidate #2 receives 250 votes, Candidate #3 receives 225 votes and Candidate #4 receives 225 also. Candidate #1 would win by obtaining more votes individually. However, the 700 voters (70%) that did not vote for Candidate #1 are somewhat un-represented. The other concern is 100-200 of those voters that Candidate #1 got could potentially be family and close friends alone. Remember, a representative is supposed to represent the majority, however how can you truly represent the majority if only a handfull of people elected you? MMD promotes a more diverse roster of candidates, you will more than likely have someone within the bunch that can relate to your needs and concerns and therefore represent you. According to this link below, there is a good deal of evidence to suggest that women are less likely to be elected under a SMC regime. Why would we want a system that puts women at a disadvantage of being elected? Especially knowing that a group of women in Cayman stood for their right in the 40’s and 50’s and demanded that they be allowed to vote and stand for election in Cayman.

2. Under a SMC regime, boundaries would constantly have to change due to the change in population. We would find Bodden Town for example, the fastest growing district, constantly changing boundary lines each election or census, resulting in voters being moved from one constituent to another and causing confusion over polling locations. I have read several articles within the US where several states are having heated debates, even taking matters to court trying to decide how to divide boundary lines. In Hawaii last year, it was proposed to re-implement MMD and although it did not pass, it raised a concern that it has become problematic to constantly shuffle boundary lines. It should also be highlighted that SMC has proved in other parts of the world and potentially in Cayman, to become a political problem, as there will be politicians wanting to influence how the boundaries are divided.

3. According to the Electoral Boundary Commission Report 2010 (EBCR), it stated that “several” attendees to the meetings were concerned about the cost of the 3 additional MLA’s that would be implemented in 2013. On June 15th 2012, The Caymanian Compass also published a survey where persons were not in agreement of the 3 extra seats because of the additional cost. The EBCR and the Caymanian Compass survey showed that our people are concerned about the cost of public spending, which they should be. However, sadly to say the cost of the 3 extra members should not be the only concern. We need to also consider the cost for implementing SMC; will a board or committee overseeing the Electoral boundaries be compensated? What about the cost in having the boundaries redrawn ever so often? Last year, Hawaii spent US$664,000 in redrawing district boundaries. Just recently in Minnesota and Kansas, it cost the respective state governments $628,000 and $614,000 to settle a boundary redrawing dispute in the courts.

This could potentially, be an ongoing cost for the Cayman Islands as the population grows, a cost we simply cannot afford. Despite what others think, people WILL want certain amenities, such as parks, within their own constituents. I have seen signs of this first hand and residents WILL pressure their politicians to cater to them, which in turn will increase the cost of government.

As we can see, our government is currently indebted over $600m and finding it hard to balance our budget each year. Where there is an increase in services there are only two options you have, increase fees (taxes) or make cuts. The additional cost from SMC, whether it is from implementation, court disputes or constituent amenities will only make the cost of living more difficult and bring more pressure and hardship on the many families that are already struggling today. The other option would be to cut jobs or cut services, which would only be more detrimental. I know some persons will feel there is no cost for true democracy. But to say we currently do not have real democracy is again misleading; Thank God we have the freedom to vote and we have seen governments changed in the last 3 elections. To me that shows the people have spoken and will continue to speak under MMD.

I am at the realizationthat time changes and so do things, however, I can confidently say that I do not support OMOV coming into effect for 2013, as I feel it will be a financial strain on the country and will potentially bring a number of issues with it. I would be more open to supporting it when our public finances are in better shape and we are more educated on it. We have to take our time to figure out exactly how it is going to work, be implemented and affect us. I have spoken to quite a bit of young people about OMOV and the sense I get is many are not educated about it. We need to do a proper informative campaign on OMOV and not shove it down people’s throats.

I have said several times before, the party system is not the problem, nor is MMD the problem with our politics. The solution is we must elect better persons, individuals with strong characters, persons who really understand what it is to serve, representatives who understand what accountability is and have high moral and ethical standards, persons who are great role models both publicly and privately, giving our citizens role models to look up to and aspire to follow. Cayman does have such candidates, but many of those persons shy away from politics.

In closing, I truly feel there are genuine supporters of OMOV lobbying for its implementation, however what concerns me and should also concern the people of the Cayman Islands the most, are those out there that are trying to push it through purely for political gain and their dislike for the current government and its leader, not taking into account the effects OMOV will have on the Cayman Islands financially and socially for years to come. 

We have several issues in Cayman that we need to address, financially, socially, jobs and educating our people to name a few, but now is Not the Time for One Man, One Vote.

I leave you with a partial statement from a letter that Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney of Georgia wrote to Members of Congress in 1995:

“My bill would modify a 1967 statute that requires single-member districts in order to allow states to adopt multi-member districts for congressional elections using one of three modified at-large voting systems: limited voting, cumulative voting and preference voting. Modified at-large systems would promote fair representation for voters of all races, increase representation of women and increase voter participation and at the same time, avoid requiring states to face the high costs of drawing single-member district lines and handling legal challenges to plans.”

Richard Christian is President of the Young United Democratic Party

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  1. Darlin’ and Sweetheart says:

    Why we needed One Man, One Vote YESTERDAY

    Unsatisfied: unfulfilled

    Dissatisfied: unhappy, discontented, annoyed, bothered, disappointed

    The lack of representation which we currently suffer from some of our elected officials is not merely confined to feeling unfulfilled. It is a full-on irked, put out, vexed, kicked-in-the-gut feeling which will not so easily or quickly go away.

    Saying that some of our elected officials “have not lived up to the expectation that we would have expected” is not only a bad tautology that sheds no light on the issue, but also a huge understatement.

    Our electoral system, meaning the way which we vote, is not the end all and be all of accountability, equality and better representation.  No matter how many times it is said, it is important to reiterate that as citizens of a democratic society we have tremendous responsibility in ensuring that these things come to fruition and that voting is merely one (albeit arguably the most readily identifiable and tangible) of the ways to accomplish those goals.

    However, stating that it should be left up to those elected to ensure personal accountability and good representation is the height of naivety.  The reason why there are checks and balances in place that rely on external agencies/systems is due to the fact that one’s view of oneself is often skewed at best, though these days it may be more appropriate to describe it as full out delusional-bordering-on-God-complex.

    We do not like guns or use drugs, but would also like to use two simple illustrations that prominently feature these two things to make absolutely no contribution to this argument whatsoever.

    People use guns to kill other people.  The gun doesn’t know what it is pointing towards, but once it is fired it will pretty much shred whatever is in the bullet’s way to pieces until/unless it reaches something which it cannot penetrate.  While guns have not taken on a life of their own so as to determine, of its own accord, what the target is, we feel that because real bullets can do enough harm so as to kill someone, both people and guns which are aimed by people kill other people.  Water guns don’t kill people, unless you use them for water-boarding and at that point it is the person, the gun and the water who are all co-conspirators in that person’s death. But we digress.

    Is it the person who manufactures and sells the drugs who destroy people’s lives or the user who creates the demand in the first place that is responsible?  Let us not go into great detail and thought on this argument and take into consideration components like education, social economic background, employment and career opportunities, etc.  No, let us simply assign blame for the problem to the one category of persons and take no responsibility as individuals and as a society for the drug problem.  That, after all, is the MO of the day isn’t it: assigning blame and passing the buck.

    Wait a minute! Did we just stumble upon a link? Did we say passing the buck? So we did!

    Similarly, then, the Multi Member Constituencies (for the sake of clarity a constituent is a voter, a constituency is a group of voters, and a person elected by constituents in a constituency is an elected representative) perpetuates the passing of the proverbial buck as representatives in a multi member district can continuously refer constituents in their district to other representatives should they be faced with questions/requests/problems that they are uncomfortable dealing with directly.

    After doing research we discovered that Wikipedia is “a multilingual, web-based, free-content encyclopedia project based on an openly editable model.” Furthermore, “Wikipedia is written collaboratively by largely anonymous Internet volunteers who write without pay. Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles, except in limited cases where editing is restricted to prevent disruption or vandalism. Users can contribute anonymously, under a pseudonym, or, if they choose to, with their real identity.”

    Therefore, after no thought at all we decided that while a good springboard for ideas on an array of topics, real research would require just a tad more, well, research and thus we began finding information about our current system (Multi Member Constituencies) the new proposed system (Single Member Constituencies) and this “first past the post” component which is to be constant in both.

    Let us localize this discussion a bit. Prior to the infamous 2001 coup which removed Kurt Tibbetts from power, political parties did not exist as functioning andregistered nationwide organizations. What we had then were teams and alliances (made up with two to four candidates) that were mostly limited in scope to one district. As most candidates ran independently of a team, this led to what is popularly called “horse-trading” on the day after elections in order to form a cabinet i.e. the government. The successful team or alliance held the power in determining who would form the cabinet (then known as ExCo) and therefore who would make up the backbench. In order to pull off the 2001 coup and maintain the power balance afterwards, McKeeva Bush founded the United Democratic Party which, in turn, spurred the formation of the People’s Progressive Movement.

    This change of the democratic landscape initiated by Mr. Bush was surely meant to orchestrate the UDP’s maintenance of power. However, our First Past The Post system must not have been considered in those machinations; for if it had been, perhaps a second thought would have been given to the likelihood of the dramatic swing vote which would see a change in government at nearly every election cycle. A dramatic swing vote that may have, in part, been the cause of the removal of the UDP government in 2005.

    According to the Electoral Reform Society in the UK the Multi Member Constituency model supports dramatic swings in political power. This claim is supported  by our history in the Cayman Islands since the introduction of formalized political parties and it is also supported by an article posted by Stateline Staff Writer, Josh Goodman on Governing.com, (Stateline.org is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news service of the Pew Center on the States that reports and analyzes trends in USA state policy).

    Mr. Goodman describes what transpired in New Hampshire recently when they experimented with implementing multi member constituencies in a state that had already been cultured by a two-party system.

    One consequence of that experiment, people in New Hampshire say, is that the state has experienced dramatic swings in political power. In 2006, Democrats gained almost90 seats in the New Hampshire House. In 2010, Republicans netted around 125. Under a single-member system many small places would be so reliably Republican or Democratic that they wouldn’t switch hands even in a political wave. But under the multi-member system, if a 10-member district goes from voting 55 percent Democratic to 55 percent Republican, it might tip from electing 10 Democrats to 10 Republicans.

    The larger multi-member districts have made politics less personal and elections more expensive. Legislators who were used to reaching out to just over 3,000 people — the average size of a single-member seat in New Hampshire — suddenly were in districts with 10 times that many. Some actually had to seek campaign contributions for the first time.

    Clearly, First Past The Post in conjunction with Multi Member Constituencies do not provide a more seamless and fairer democracy. So the question of why “now is not the time for One Man One Vote”, notwithstanding that OMOV and SMC’s are not interchangeable, is actually one of why we would want to endure swings in political power seeing as some politicians feel it necessary to erase the progress made by past administrations to leave their own legacies.

    The ACE Electoral Knowledge Network compares Single Member Constituencies directly with Multi Member Constituencies (as did the Cayman Islands Electoral Boundaries Commission Report 2010). Both of these report that Single Member Constituencies are designed to nurture strong and stable governments. Stability which is seemly lacking in our islands presently. 

    So, no, we may not know with specificity the feel and texture of Single Member Constituencies, but we DO know that our representatives will be more accountable to us. We DO know that they cannot so easily pass the buck to their colleague who may simply pass it on to another. This means that if they wishto remain elected representatives, they will have to work harder to maintain personal connections to the voters in their constituency and not just rely upon their party colleagues’ hard work or gift of gab. 

    True democracies are dynamic. They grow and evolve just as the human beings of whom they are made.  It cannot be disrespectful to our founding fathers and mothers to allow for such growth to take place by re-evaluating that which we have and having the courage to do what is necessary to bring about a fairer, more equitable system.

    Similarly we should also check our own egos at the door and realise that our grandchildren, as citizens in their own right, will have just as much right as we do to make their own decisions, and while our efforts will serve as lessons they are not meant to stagnate the evolution of our little democracy by setting things in stone.

    As for the argument that the new system is being pushed through “purely for political gain and their dislike for the current government and its leader”, here is some food for thought: in it’s “Electoral System Design: The New International IDEA Handbook” the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) states:

    Even when there is huge popular distrust and dissatisfaction with the political system, change still needs to be agreed by the current holders of power. Political elites are only likely to act if they can see benefit to themselves from change or if they are frightened of the electoral consequences to themselves of failing to change. Even when convinced, they will, unsurprisingly and almost inevitably, seek to choose a system that maximizes the benefit to themselves.

    The voting public is seeking out accountability in the areas we can influence. Single Member Constituencies will give us more accountability than what we have currently had. And that is why we needed One Man One Vote YESTERDAY.
     

  2. Chris says:

    The title of your article "Now is Not the Time for One Man One Vote" leads me to ask when is the right time for voter equality in this country? When will it be the right time to do the right thing?

    Answer: Richard, there is no wrong time to do the right thing. Vote YES on July 18, 2012 for voter equality.

  3. Anonymous says:

    As with many of us – I have been trying to get a broader understanding of the whole concept but it worries me when I hear people asking you to vote a particular way at the ReferAndum – I can't for the life of me find out the meaning of the word ReferAndum – I googled it and I can only see ReferEndum, so I guess that is my starting point….. If I'm not mistaken Mr. Bush uses this word himself also……which doesn't instill too much confidence…. it's a bit like one of the other readers posted…. If the writer of an article is to be taken seriously then he should clearly demonstrate that he knows the difference between Constituent and Constituency….. (By the way, I stand to be corrected and would be happy to hold my hands up if I'm incorrect !!)

    That aside, I think my main consideration will be if  OMOV will really make any difference to my representation – As a qualified but Unemployed Caymanian who has approached several of my current District representatives with no more success or action than a conciliatory 'flapping of lips'  ….. will I really see more concern if the OMOV representative which I would like to get in… actually does ??? or if not him, the person who does ??

    I am asking this seriously, if I think that I will actually be heard under a new Political Arena, then I'll be first to stick my hand up and say 'Yes-please'…..  but if am just swapping an apple for an orange, then what's the point ?? and I honestly do not know the answer at this point and would be happy to be convinced either way.

    As one of the younger commentors said (in either this or another article)., people would be happy to be educated more on the viability of OMOV vs our current system in a succinct and clear way – and I would be happy and appreciate to hear more from commentors on both sides before making my mind up next week.

     

  4. Michel says:

    Dear Richard Christian you seem like a good young solid Caymanian who wants to do well. I am certain that this was far from what you had in mind when you first took this on. You even     have friends telling you that what's going on ain't right, I a certain. You have a good future ahead of you but I ask you to reconsider your position at this crucial time. You are now involved in what we call very questionable irregularities and the Mentor you think you have, many of us taught so as well is not doing what he's suppose to. The tables have turning very quickly   and only God  nows HOW we going to get out of this mess. Only one way Richard and that is to seriouly reflect your future. You at this time my friend are being used to further the Bigger Picture. And from what I gather we are going to hear a lot about it very soon. Don't let yourself be dragged down with this one, he ain't going back in and without him there is no more UDP. Vote yes to OMOV and tell your friends to do the same. Many will respect you for doing the right thing ! I for one. God bless, Michel Lemay

  5. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Christian is mired down in the details and fails to see the importance of this referendum. Its not so much about OMOV as it is about the people finally getting their chance to stand up to a government which is telling them to vote "no". Our constitution has given us this power and we should use it wisely for the first time to send a loud message to government that we the people have the power and will not be bullied into doing what government dictates. Regardless of your opinion on OMOV you cannot deny that a "YES" vote sends a loud and clear message to government about the new-found power of the people. This is what truly matters here.

     

    Vote "YES" or remain on the same course we are on where government retains control over our lives.

     

  6. Libertarian says:

    Wow… reviewing over and over again my stance, we learn as we go. OPOV (one person one vote) is for fairness, accountability, and yes it is for better representation for minorities. However, my gravest concern about the OPOV system, is when it is implemented and I don't want to see a candidate become an MLA in another district from mine, what choice do I have to prevent this from happening and suppose that MLA becomes the Premier, under the OPOV, what direct choice do I have to prevent this from happening?  Under the OPOV system, my hands will be tied to only dealing my elected MLA for mydistrict, but I find it worrisome that I would be unable to participate with the other districts in shaping my government. Hence, I am not satisfied with the OPOV if you can only cast 1 vote. At least you should have the option of casting 2 votes. One for your MLA and another for who you think should be Premier. Like I said one month ago. I would have preferred if it was one man two votes for everyone. That way the people will be able to directly recall or vote out the Premier if he is a bad apple, because they were directly involved in voting for him. Yes I believe in representing the minorities by having single-member constituencies, but with OPOV concept where you only have one vote and that vote should be for your district MLA, I now feel it sort of limits the voter from more direct participation in shaping his / her government. Of course not, I don't believe a National Vote is the answer, because I know for sure it would disenfranchise the Sister Islands, as the majority would rule in such a system. So learning more about this subject, I find that learning itself is an evolutionary process. Sorry, until someone here can convince me otherwise, I will have to PAUSE from making a decision as to how I am going to vote. I have put myself again in a valley of decision to look at the pros and cons, learn more, and investigate more closely. I recommend everyone do the same and don't make the mistake of pridefully hardening your judgment on the subject unless you know for certain that a decision is the right one. Seeing that it is next Wednesday, that is a short time. I see why I can agree with others, when they think, why the rush?  The study of electoral systems is a very vast subject. There is more than one electoral system, so don't expect me or anyone in a split second to know the best system for everybody. You have to know for yourself.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Alexander Hamilton once said: “The Masses are Asses.”

     

    Cayman has done a good job of creating a large uneducated, unemployed and dependent population, about 8,000 clients in social services at last count and who knows how many unemployed that have never registered with any government agency. OMOV won’t solve these problems but it will make everyone’s vote count and help get everyone involved: For the better of Cayman in the long run.

     

    “Those who would sacrifice liberty for a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin.

     

    Caymanians need to pull their head out of the sand and realize that our government encourages dependence. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime:” This should be our next grass roots campaign. It can be done and it must be done. Then we will have a country to be proud of.

     

    Richard you have shown your true colours with this viewpoint. It proves that even a well educated and caring person can be contaminated by the influence of a powerbroker. Unfortunately this viewpoint will haunt you thought-out your political life, even if you switch to the other side. Sorry but that how it works.

  8. Peter Simple says:

     

     

    WAKE UP! Use your brains! Certain individuals here depend on the present antiquated and undemocratic voting system or else their group would never get back. As  far as I am concerned it's ONE MAN ONE VOTE ALL THE WAY!  I also find it rather puzzzling when it appears that public funds are being spent on advertisements to encourage a vote to contiue the current system. I may be wrong but it seems that my tax dollars are being spent to encourage a vote for a retention of the current system If this is the belief of elected  persons in Goverment I would be interested to know if  they are paying for this advertisement  out of their pockets or taking advantage of the use of public funds which initially comes out of my pocket, andin fact is this even legal?

    • Chris Johnson says:

      Peter of course the tax payer is paying for the UDP anti vote campaign . The question is, legally can we the tax payer recover it? I am mindful to take a legal opinion.
      No doubt the Auditor General will have an opinion on this whilst the Attorney General takes a back seat. I just guess it is not really a legal decision. What could be more simple?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Mr Christian,

    Mr. Anglin and Mr. Solomon couldn't support your statement about SMCs disadvantaging women in the Generation Now debate last night. What you go to say about that?  

  10. Just Commentin' says:

    This Viewpoint represents the rhetoric typical of UDP minions who are snivelling against OMOV: full of words, devoid of substance, rich in misinformation and often confusing. Just like Mac!

    You say "Under SMC I feel we will get less representation". Why? What research statistics support this idea?

    On the issue of who an MLA "represents": An MLA is not supposed to represent solely the "majority" who voted for him; he is supposed to represent his entire constituency while doing what is best for the whole country!  (Unlike Mac)  Voters should cast their votes, not for who they think will personally benefit them the most, but keeping in mind who will act for the good of the entire country. Selfishness and greed on the part of voters is one reason why we end up with selfish greedy leaders. Under OMOV an MLA will do his best to woo all his constituents because a few votes might spell the difference between getting re-elected and getting the boot.

    You speak as if elections here are decided by a simple majority. This is a wide-spread misconception. Most elections here are decided by a mere plurality of the voters. Moreover, since only a percentage of qualified electors show up at the polls, a seat can be won by the votes of a quite small percentage of the total electors in a district.

    "MMD promotes a more diverse roster of candidates". Really? Suppose a hypothetical district with three MLAs sees an average of three candidates per seat. If that district is divided up into three districts with one MLA each there will still be nine candidates. The "diverse roster of candidates" you cite is not what it seems, either. Currently parties field a number of candidates at least equal to the number of seats. In the district with three seats and nine candidates it might seem that electors have a quite diverse choice of ideologies. Not so. Suppose that the two parties field three cookie-cutter candidates each, with three "independents" standing. You have a choice among only five ideological options – provided the independents have diverse political views. In a OMOV scenario there is the potential that you could actually have nine richly diverse political ideologies represented. Like Mac, your arguments fly in the face of reason. Nice try, though.

    You wrote dire things about the "problems" and costs created by voter apportionment under OMOV. Scare-mongering, nothing more. The issue of maintaining fair voter apportionment is quite poorly addressed by the present system. Under OMOV, the constant monitoring and electoral boundary shifting you rail against should help to ensure that voter apportionment would be more fair than the present system.  Your gloom about costs is pretty baseless, too. The costs to realign electoral boundaries are as yet undetermined. You cite costs from American states with millions of voters. Why? To scare people. Right? (Mac did train you well!) I hardly see how your figures correlate to what it would cost to ensure a fair and democratic electoral process in a jurisdiction of a mere 15,000 or so voters. Moreover, setting electoral boundaries is the responsibility of the Electoral Boundary Commission (EBC) established under the new Constitution. The EBC is in place and their work is ongoing and the cost of the EBC will have to be paid anyway.

    "Three Extra Seats"? Do not tell me that you are beating this tired old horse yet again? The three extra seats are a distraction UDP minions bring up to cloud the issue. The mandate to enlarge parliament is a provision of the new constitution and became a part of the OMOV argument through Mac's obfuscation. A hallmark of UDP anti-OMOV rhetoric is that it is meant to be confusing. Or, maybe it is confusing simply because it is a product of confused people. (More on this a bit later.)

    Where your argument gets embarrassing concerns your reference to a web page that (you seem to think) supports your opinion. Guess what? It does not. When all the information therein is assimilated in a rational manner, it actually refutes your argument! You wrote:  "According to this link below, there is a good deal of evidence to suggest that women are less likely to be elected under a SMC regime." This seems to be what the web page implies, provided that certain conditions exist. You failed to read and understand what those conditions are, or you attempted to mislead us by deliberately omitting them. (You are a UDP poster child!)

    This is the rest of the story – the part you left out, or did not read and understand. The page to whichyou referred concludes this about minority representation and MMDs:
    "The strength of multimember districts rests in their ability to generate more balanced representation, both for certain groups traditionally under-represented, such as women…" But it goes on to say:  "The degree to which multimember districts are able to do this, however, depends on both the magnitude of the districts and the voting rules employed. The larger the district magnitude, the more proportional the election outcome for political parties. But voting rules also matter. For example, block voting within multimember districts will actually produce more electoral distortion than plurality first-past-the-post voting in single-member districts." It concludes that "Only multimember districts with large magnitudes and some form of proportional voting will consistently produce proportional election outcomes." We do not have districts with large magnitudes or proportional voting, thus this part of your reference does not apply.

     

    The article you cited clearly asserts that the present system you are defending (block voting within multimember districts) tends to exacerbate unbalanced representation as compared to first-past-the-post voting in single-member districts (OMOV). Wow! Thanks. Supporters of OMOV have been saying this all along! It would seem that your very own reference just shot down your argument. (Were you so naive as to think someone here would not check on the reference?) Block voting in MMDs can produce more distortion and actually can work against women (and other minorities) being elected.

    Finally, here is where your reference get even more embarrassing for you and puts a decisive nail in the MMD coffin. In a concluding paragraph the web page says that "The primary disadvantages are that multimember districts dilute the relationship between representatives and voters" and they "dilute the accountability of individual representatives".  Which is exactly what supporters of OMOV have been saying all along! Gee, you really helped to make our point!  The horrific effects of dilution of accountability are painfully felt all through our land. Tell me: Why the hell would you want to keep such a system? (Oh, I forgot…Mac says so.)

    If you found your support for the virtues of the present system and you oppose OMOV on "facts" such as you have presented here, your anti-OMOV stance is baseless. Relative to your reference, you did not understand what you were reading anymore than you comprehend the ramifications of keeping our present system versus embracing OMOV.  You were…uh… ..hold on…here it comes! You were confused. Right? (Don't feel bad, Mac and his UDP minions have a way of doing that if you don't watch out.)

    OK. Lest I leave you feeling bad and thinking that I do not appreciate your efforts to "inform" us regarding the issue of OMOV, may I say a heartfelt "Thank you! Thank you so much for pointing us to a very informative reference that gives even more support to the fact that voting for OMOV is the way to go! We need to get rid of this current relic of a system, if for no other reason than (as your reference states) it dilutes the relationship between representatives and voters and it dilutes the accountability of individual representatives. I know you believe this to be true or you would not have cited the reference. Right? So…Case closed. (Thanks again, ok?)

    Oh, my…PS: You quoted Cynthia McKinney, didn't you? Did you check on her record? You could have quoted a more respectable person. Yeah, she's won some awards (but then didn't murderer and terrorist Yasser Arafat win a Nobel Peace Prize?) McKinny is not a shining example of sound judgement. Among the more "interesting" moments of her controversial career are: a physicalassault on a Capitol Hill Police officer just doing his job, appearing on the state television of terrorist-supporting Libya to criticise her own country, and her very close association with the quite racist "New Black Panther Party", to name a few.

    (Gee. Even young UDP'ers are scary!)

    PPS: Since you are the President of the Young United Democratic Party, I am sure Mac's other young minons were high-five-ing you for your Viewpoint. If they are reading this, I wonder what they are saying now? It is not too late to change Mr. Christian – you are following a loo-hoo-hoo-zer! And you are beginning to think like him. Scary thought, huh?

  11. Libertarian says:

    Richard, your 1-2-3 points hold no water. As to cost [your point 3], I think most Caymanians already know that they are paying dearly for not having enough "representation." McKeeva as we speak is campaigning against the one man one vote, using government funds!  Either you want to pay the cost of having more representation or you want to pay the cost of having less representation. The crux of the matter is- the minority must have a voice in the legislature just like the majority for there to be more representation, and that is why the country must be divided into more constituencies- it's the slogan, "unity in diversity." If the one person one vote is implemented, it would at least break the power of the majority into 18 times and this would allow the minority of each constituency to have more representation. So the 18 electoral constituencies consisting of the range of 900 to 1000 persons, is a system that serves as a check against sole majority rule (at least for now until the population increase where you will need more representation).

    It all boils down to what "cost" at this time in our history you are willing to pay for. I strongly affirm that we will pay dearly if we continue under this current system. Change is always a good thing. Most people don’t like change, but without change how are we going to improve on ourselves?  Ellio Solomon's idea of having a NATIONAL VOTE for all candidates would be a regression in our representation, it would entail a complete rule by the majority, cutting off the Sister Islands and people in the outer districts who would be in the minority. If we get a new change of the system, one person one vote, we have done well… if we get this change and adopt a bicameral legislature as well, we have done even better. Our democratic representation is more important than the cost you speak about, and besides, there are other ways government can reduce other cost. They should be focusing more on the economy.

  12. Poli Sci 101 says:

    As a young Caymanian I feel it necessary to point out the most glaring proof that Mr. Christian has no clue what he's talking about:

    CONSTIUENT is a VOTER

    CONSTIUENCY is a BODY OF VOTERS IN A SPECIFIED AREA

    Had the "mistake" occured once I would've been inclined to forgive; twice I would've cringed, but this many times is just an insult to our intelligence.

    Harsh? Sure.  But if you're going to put things out there for people to read then, if your argument is shaky at best (which is a best case scenario in this particular example), at least ensure you're using the correct words!

    Oh wait! I forgot! That would make you one of us "educated fools", which is clearly anti UDP!

     

    Never mind.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      OMOV will certainly give everybody the same number of votes.  Remember there will only be ONE winner in each area.  What goes along with this system, are parliaments that are made up of elected and nominated members.  This is either in the form of extra nominated members in a single House of parliament or a separet House or senate.

      In these cases the nominated members are put forward by both the winning Government and the Opposition.   We must understand that under the OMOV and only one candidate getting elected in each area, the losingcandidates often get nominated as me,mbers of the legislature.

      These nominated members also can serve as Ministers of cabinet.

      Not a whole lot different than we have at present. Only difference is that they were not all elected by the people.

       

  13. Anonymous says:

    Richard

     

    Wheel and come (better) again.   You are simply following UDP blindly.  Timing has nothing to do with whether voters should have equal power.   If you are trying to advance your 2013 campaign, this is not the way.  There is no way you can justify one voter having 4 times the power of others.  Also, it is dishonest to suggest that SMC is less representation, when each rep will have less constituents to deal with rather than the present situation, where he has more.  You all need to stop misleading people. 

  14. Da Bracster says:

    I am from George town therefore I vote “YES” to OMOV six times……….what? Not fair? Really?

  15. anonymous says:

    Item #3.  How can you compare the cost of a small jurisdiction like Cayman to Hawaii, Minnesota, and Kansas.  More smoke and mirrors to confuse the issue.  If you want to talk about wasting money lets go back to the Current UDP blunders: Cohen, GLF etc.  no need to detail all of them we all know about them.

    It is about more accountable assessable  representation.  Vote yes on July 18th.

  16. O'Really says:

     

    "I concluded that over the past several years, many people of the Cayman Islands have become disgruntled and unsatisfied with politics and the representation of our elected officials, and in some cases I have to agree with them."

     

    "Some of our elected officials have not lived up to the expectations … So it is understandable that persons would want a system or some form of change to get better representation."

     

    "The solution is we must elect better persons, individuals with strong characters, persons who really understand what it is to serve, representatives who understand what accountability is and have high moral and ethical standards, persons who are great role models both publicly and privately, giving our citizens role models to look up to and aspire to follow. Cayman does have such candidates, but many of those persons shy away from politics."

     

    Thank you Richard for nicely summarising why, regardless of the system in place, the UDP should be voted out in 2013.

  17. Dred says:

    You my friend is disfunctional at best.

    Let's all state the situation simply by saying you are UDP all the way so your job here is to CLOUD the issue with stupidity. But I will take on some of your crap.

    Point 1 – Winner winning by less than majority.

    Can you tell me if your little scenario could not play out in a MMC also? I tell you yes. It is easy to throw out hypothetical situations that stretch the borders but in reality your little scenario can play out in either system, but it just doesn't.

    Your fear is evident here. Let me tell you and for the rest of the readers what your real fear is. You are scared that your cronies pockets of power may not spread far enough across your districts where others may be ableto get in that until now could not because of your power base in other areas.

    Let me explain. There can be situations where say in West Bay the power base is consolidated to certain areas where in the past once you were alligned with the right group UDP in this case you were basically almost guaranteed in because of this powerbase and you did not need many votes from other areas of West Bay to succeed.

    However in this new situation you will have to fight for who gets the powerbase and who takes the areas of less strength. Could there be others from those areas who might now put themselves up for election who might be stronger in those areas than the UDP candidates? Could the situation where now the area is smaller that others who in the past may not have challenged the great UDP machinery might say I believe I have enough financial resources for a SMC to wage a decent campaign. Not every person who will be good for a country will be rich.

    You are not afraid of druglords you are afraid of the outcast now having true power.

    Let's look at BT for instance where the infamous garbage dump is to be moved to. In the old scenario the poor people of Midland Acres have no power because the candidates from UDP can get in without them. Now in a SMC these same people now have greater power and their vote now can make or break a candidate entrance.

    And of course UDP does not want this because they know it will be the NAIL IN THEIR BT candidates COFFIN.

    People this artical needs to be taken with a gallon of salt cause it's sole purpose to to cloud the picture.

    Simple put we are all equal in the eyes of the lord why should be not be equal at the polls. One man One Vote is the right way forward.

    On Election day vote YES to OMOV. 

  18. Anonymous says:

    You said "However, simply looking at OMOV from the view that it promises more accountability, equality and better representation in my opinion is misleading. Personally I do not like guns or use drugs, but I’d like to use two simple illustrations on them. Guns do not kill people, its people that use guns that kill. Drugs don’t destroy people’s lives, its people that manufacture and sell drugs that ruin people lives. Similarly, a system (OMOV) alone cannot promise better accountability or representation; it is the responsibility of an individual, a representative to provide great leadership. Now I am not saying that OMOV could not help facilitate this in some way…".

    Mr. Christian there is no analogy between these. Are you making an argument that we should legalise drugs and free use of guns? 

    If OMOV SMCs is a system which may faciliate better accountability and representation then obviously we ought to embrace it. There is little point in saying that if it is not panacea then it is not worth the effort.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Way to go Richard. !!!! Very good article.  keep your head up and stay strong.  There’s many people bashing on here who don’t know you or what the negative effects will be of omov.  Their hidden agendas prevent them from using any common sense they may have.

    Keep up the good work Bo Bo!!!!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Christian has conveniently ignored this statement from the article he linked:

    "For example, block voting within multimember districts will actually produce more electoral distortion than plurality first-past-the-post voting in single-member districts".

    That is exactly what we have in Cayman – block voting in multi member districts that produces distortions.  

     

  21. Anonymous says:

    I have a lot of time for this young man as I believe he is a young, smart, well mannered and ambitious Caymanian.  However, for these reasons I am always befuddled as to what he is doing with the UDP and leading their young movement.  When asked about this in the past he has said he does so in order to try to change from within.  Well Richard – this is a wonderful time to start doing just that and vote to change your UDP leadership and certain members.  Vote "YES" for OMOV and you will have done your bit to make the changes you so obviously desire in the current Reps we have.  if you love your country the way you say you do, please do the right thing next week.  Forget about the few thousand dollars you claim it will cost and save this country millions and billions in the future.

  22. Libertarian says:

    "Now is not the time for one man one vote" Richard you sound like PPM leader. Initially, Alden was saying the same thing after this movement began. After he gets in, he was promising the public that he would see to its passage. But the question is:-  How many times have we put faith and trust in government all to find they stab us in the back?  One person one vote is a people's iniative, no party takes credit for it. No party will ever take credit for the advances of democracy. The one person one vote is a step in the right direction. It has the people's signature. It is crucial that it becomes law, because it will reinforce to everyone; especially our MLAs that the people have the power of referendum and that it really works towards positive change. Richard, let us not fight against the people. Let us make this happen and move toward more democratic reforms.  

  23. Anonymous also says:

    Mr. Christian is your leader Mac now concerned about the "Darlin's and Sweethearts"?

    • John says:

      My my how bad off we have become. No political education in schools, therefore in genral there is very limited ability to be able to think critically on what is god overall versus some who try to ram things down your throat.

      People liIke Richard has taken it upn himself to do the research and formulate his opinion yet there are many others as exhibited on this news media simply have become enamoured with a concept which while tried and tested elsewhere has become a political football

      . The proverbial OMOV ball was being moved on the field by the new breed omovites moving down the right side of the field, in comes the not sk independent member from left field to take a shot at the OMOV goal, he passes tothe Eader of the Opposition who passes 1 man 2 men and shhots , but a masterful save by the Premier stops the ball in mid air and artfully and astutely throws it it out ofthe penalty box to be controlled by a concerted attack in the last minutes of the game. There is tension in the stands . Wil it go well with the Omovites or will the UDP score and make it 2 nil for the PPM.? Dadadahhh dadadadahhhhh

      • jsftbhaedrg says:

        John, it is an even more apparent occurnece on a daily basis reading people responses (who are pro-UDP) tat you all need to go and look up the word "contradict".

        Here's a prime example from your spiel;

        "therefore in genral there is very limited ability to be able to think critically on what is god overall versus some who try to ram things down your throat."

        Isn't  that the UDP and its supporters in a nutshell?

         

  24. Anonymous says:

    It is people like Mr. Christian that we do NOT need in Multi Member or Single Member constituencies.  We may some day choose another form of government but for right now we need OMOV to avoid the continuance of a DICTATORSHIP and return to some semblance of Democracy.  This is what this is all about.  Please help save Cayman. Vote YES on July 18th. 

    • Knot S Smart says:

      I thought you were going to say 'It is people like Mr Christian that gives logic a bad name'.

      Silly me…

  25. Len Layman says:

    Please note that the article he refers to in Item #1.  also states:

    "The primary disadvantages are that multimember districts

    • dilute the relationship between representatives and voters;
    • dilute the accountability of individual representatives."

    This is the reason we must vote yes on July 18th. We must have more accountable representatives.

    • Polly Tricks says:

      Two words : Captain Eugene.  End of argument.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. Layman, multi member districs is just that, "Districs" THe MLA's represents the district not the individual Voters. One of the things that is disturbing to me about your movement is that it seems to be hellbent on this selfish individualistic sociaty. The world is going to hell know, because its all about me, Me, ME. selfish attitude. The other thing no one seems to realize, is that the one indipendant MLA  does'nt seems to have any  Problem having his say in the LA. IF both party's was selfish all they had to do is not second any of his motions and he would be silenced. In my opinion the only enequality in our system is the fact that East End and Northside both need to rely on MLA's from another distric to bring a motion to the floor of the house. In OMOV we will essentialy be cementing parties because of that simple fact, every MLA will need another member of his party to second his motion in order speak for the people he represents and according to your movement thats more democrecy. 

      • Anonymous says:

        In a democracy you are representing people not land, trees etc. Your argument makes no sense.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Christian,

    Given your long attempt to justify a incorrect party position……here is OMOV Simply Put……

    It simply cannot be fair for one Caymanian on one side of the street to be able to vote 4 or 6 times but his neighbor literally across the road, 50 feet away, to only be able to vote 3 or four times, or even worst only 1 time. This happens now.

    It should not be the case that where you decide to live in these islands is the reason that decides how many votes you have. This is not fair and certainly not equality. Mr Christian can you counter that argument? The answer is no.

    Next week we only have ONE VOTE in the referendum….why not give all folks in George Town & West Bay 4 votes and those in BT 3 votes??  Why not?? Because It simply is not democracy!!

    Let put our main electoral system closer to democracy as well.

    Vote YES for equality….vote YES to make all Caymanians the same.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Richard,

    You should be using what Kee Kee may call "rewers si-colleggee".

    Everybody now knows that when Kee Kee says something is the best for the country, what he actually means what is best for Kee Kee and worst for the country.

    So you got to tell Kee Kee to change his direction and to go those rallies and tell everybody that gets bused in for free food and entertainment that they have to vote FOR OMOV.

    That is the only way people might start to think that it is bad for the country.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Why do the UDP constantly decry spending money on things that are needed, while squandering it elsewhere on frivalties and incompetetance.

    An example is the 100,000 wasted trying to defeat a referendum the government brought themselves

    • Anonymous says:

      $100,000 squandered away (with a government broke as @$$ from previous squandering away useful funds!) when it could have been used in scholarship funds to send five Caymanians to tertiary education so we don't end up with a leader like this.

    • Anon-but-not-for-long says:

      And why do they have to erect a special tent at Willie Farrington?  Aren't there enough empty school halls?

  29. Tara Hopwood says:

    There is something I agree with Mr. Christian on,

    "The solution is we must elect better persons, individuals with strong characters, persons who really understand what it is to serve, representatives who understand what accountability is and have high moral and ethical standards, persons who are great role models both publicly and privately, giving our citizens role models to look up to and aspire to follow."

    And I think right now – the best way forward to remove those we currently have in power who are badly letting us down and in order that we might give a shot to those 'better persons' out there is to vote YES to OMOV.  I hope many out there will agree and stand strong on Wednesday.

    In the hopes of a brighter tomorrow…..

  30. Anonymous says:

    Richard you admit that you don’t think OMOV is necessarily a bad idea just not now. Well, why not now? How long do we have to wait on the perfect scenario to implement it. There will be no perfect time. If you concerned with costs why should we waste money to have a referendum now and then another one when the time is right as you say? We already paying for this one so spend the next week educating yourself. I trust if you use the next week to take off your blinders you will support OMOv now not later.

    You may be right that some people require more education. Why don’t you speak to your party? You wrote this article because you see UDP is not trying to educate only push no down peoples throats. You see UDP is losing that argument and you are trying to pick up their slack by trying to set out a reasoned argument. The problem is you assume that the rest of us buy everything we are sold. We have been independently informing ourselves and your last minute ditch to counter that will not work, especially when your only point is “not now”. Some people you could give till eternity and they will never educate themselves. You will not change that so let’s not waste time waiting on them. Mckeeva is showing us every day we have money to burn so let’s burn it for this now wince you will eventually support it anyway.

    Just vote yes now Richard.

    • Anonymous says:

      By saying that OMOV is not a bad idea but not just now, he is setting the stage to accept that elections are a good idea but they can wait until McKeeva gets the economy turned around.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Dear Richard (and McKeeva Bush, for that matter):  not everyone in Cayman is motivated purely by what can be gained politically.  Some people (many people) make their choices based on what is right and best for the Cayman Islands.  To continue to claim that most people are motivated and act purely for political gain reveals a sad and unwelcome mind-set that seems typical of everything we have learned about the UDP and its leadership.  And now its' followers.  I wish you well, young man, but if you intend to live your life for political gain – your existence will be meaningless and you will never be able to make a positive difference for the Cayman Islands. 

  32. Anonymous says:

    I stopped reading after this oxymoron

    "Personally I do not like guns or use drugs, but I’d like to use two simple illustrations on them. Guns do not kill people, its people that use guns that kill. Drugs don’t destroy people’s lives, its people that manufacture and sell drugs that ruin people lives."

    what the drugs like perscription painkillers. Ok lets blame the drug companies and the pharasits that sell them.

    There is no argument against one man one vote

     

  33. Truthseeker says:

    There are several opinions being aired on the OMOV question. The PPM seemed to be in favor in principal, but in no hurry to enact. Then the Peoples Initiated Referendum came along, and after complete disdain by the ruling UDP Government, as the petition gained momentum, they (McKeeva) decided to hold a "snap" referendum. It has been carefully timed to prevent new voters from registering to participate, in the middle of summer holidays when many are away, with a loaded question, and success requirement of 50 + 1 of the electorate (not eligible voters) , all aimed at defeating the will of the people. The Government have now embarked on a naked PR excercise to defeat this referendum, using public funding.

    I challenge Mr Christian to look at the behavoir of his party, and see if he truly believes they are not trying to manipulate the public for their own means

    I also challenge Mr Christian to consider the likelyhood that his stated conclusion (no to OMOV) is actually the result of his serious intellectual analysis, rather than towing the party line, as has EVERY other vocal member of the UDP and their croonies, and in complete contrast to many (if not all ) other sectors of society, such as membership of the COC.

    Cayman will forgive you for naivety Mr Christian; we will hold you forever responsible for being a McKeeva Yesman! Consider carefully your response, as you may be looking for public support long after Mckeeva is a bad dream.

    Truthseeker

  34. Anonymous says:

    Richard this is just propaganda. Our experience within the Caribbean has not shown any disadvantage to women being elected to office in single member constituencies. To the contrary quite a number have not only been elected but also rose to the highest office within their respective countries, e.g. Portia Simpson Miller in Jamaica, Kamla Persad-Bissessar in Trinidad and Dame Eugenia Charles in Dominica. Right here at home Edna Moyle for was elected 4 times within a single member constituency. Parroting something that you have seen on a website without any research does not show that you have exercised "deep thought".

    Your comments about how expensive single member constituencies are and how many lawsuits will be brought about boundaries is also misleading. That has not been the experience within the countries and territories of the British Commonwealth which have single member constituencies. In particular Bermuda which introduced single member constituencies 10 years has had no such problems. No demand for parks in every constituency. You must have a low opinion of your own countrymen to think they would be so petty. When it comes to boundary disputes everyone knows that the U.S. has a different constitutional and legal framework and is a litigious country.

    Successful candidates receiving less than the majority of the votes in his constituency has nothing to do with single member constituencies. Cline Glidden received only 30% of the vote but was elected when he first ran for office in West Bay in 2000.   

    This sir is not a "proper informative campaign" on the issue. You ignore obvious examples that refute the point that you are trying to make. That sir is dishonest.

    I see that you are for "representatives who understand what accountability is and have high moral and ethical standards, persons who are great role models both publicly and privately, giving our citizens role models to look up to and aspire to follow". I am curious as to whether you consider that the current politicians in your party reflect that. If you do, it means you have a faulty definition of those terms, and if you don't why are you allying yourself with them? Is the lure of political power so great that you can call black white and white black?     

    • Anonymous says:

      Additionally, the last quote does not actually support Mr. Christian's position. The Congresswoman calls for multi-member districts with proportional or semi-proportional voting systems. We don't have limited voting, cumulative voting or preference voting right now; we have majoritarian voting where the "first-past-the-post" candidate wins. The candidate(s) with the most votes win but they do not have to get more than 50% of the votes, i.e. an absolute majority. There are multiple ways to do this, and it is this second part of the electoral system that may lead to more fair representation, particularly inclusion of minorities and women. Every electoral system has advantages and disadvantages.

  35. Anonymous says:

    There may not be many red herrings in the sea around Cayman but there are plenty in this Viewpoint.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Mr Christian has a right to express his opinion, irrespective of how wrong he is.

    Vote for OMOV on 18 July.