OMOV debate rolls on

| 23/07/2012

ezz omov (229x300).jpg(CNS): Despite the premier’s hopes that the referendum on one man, one vote would settled the issue of Cayman’s electoral system, the failure of the vote to bring a binding decision either ‘yes’ or ‘no ‘ when measured against the entire electorate has further fuelled the debate. The OMOV committee stated Friday that since government has dismissed the result as a ‘no’ even though 65% of those who voted said ‘yes’, the publicdebate will continue. Meanwhile, Ezzard Miller has said that he will be bringing a motion to the Legislative Assembly asking government to introduce one man, one vote and single member constituencies in George Town and Bodden Town.

The independent member for North Side told CNS that the voters in both these districts who came out to the polls voted more than two to one in favour of introducing OMOV, Since the people in these districts have made it quite clear that this is what they want, government should introduce the system there. He said he is preparing a motion which will be supported by the opposition member for East End, Arden McLean.

Miller dismissed Bush’s idea of two MLA constituencies, which he believes would see all voters having two votes in each one, because, using the current boundaries as confirmed in the 2010 boundary report, the amalgamation of North Side, East End and Bodden Town into one district would not have the support of the voters in those areas.

The OMOV committee said in a statement released on Friday that, given the result of the referendum, government should now be giving serious consideration to the implementation of one man, one vote.

The members also pointed out that for the premier to conclude that everyone that didn’t vote, voted ‘no’ was “misleading and irresponsible" and simply not supported by the factual result, as the voters who exercised their civic duty demonstrated by a wide margin their desire for single member constituencies featuring one man, one vote.

“It is disappointing to note therefore that the UDP government hastily dismissed Wednesday’s results,” the committee said. “Those results are the only reference tool by which the government should measure the wishes of the people. However, as we have witnessed with this government, when the results do not accord with their agenda, they resort to spin and confusion of the facts to continue to have their way. That is not democracy and therefore of necessity, the public debate will continue.”

The group said they were proud that just a handful of concerned people were able to galvanize the country and create history by being a part of Cayman's first ever "stand alone" referendum and hoped It had inspired others who want to participate in the main issues affecting Cayman and the lives of people here.  “We will continue to pay close attention to the affairs of our country and express our opinions as we feel necessary,” the committee stated.

Miller, who spearheaded the grassroots campaign and the original goal of a referendum in November, hit back at McKeeva Bush on Friday in a radio broadcast regarding the result and the premier’s immediate dismissal after 5,631 people, or 65% or those who went to the polls, voted in favour of OMOV.

The North Side member said Bush was using the same “green coloured glasses” on this issue that he had applied to government's finances, which resulted in the failure to produce a budget.

“There is no legal, ethical, moral or sensible method that allows those who did not vote to be added to the totals of either the 'yes' or the 'no' vote to determine the winner,” Miller pointed out. “Nor can the 43% percent of the registered voters who did not take part in the process be declared the winners. It is not normal or rational to declare non-participants winners in an election, even when your analytical process includes the pagan deduction that dead persons voted 'no'.”

The vote was not a rejection of single member constituencies, Miller stated in his Friday evening Radio Cayman broadcast. In that circumstance the vote would have needed to achieve 50 percent plus 1 of the registered voters actually voting 'no', while only 19% actually did.

“I concede the 'yes' vote did not get 50 percent plus 1 of the registered voters. What the results clearly show is that two to one in 5 out of 6 electoral districts, people voted for the introduction of SMC and one man one vote.”

He added that the best either group could claim was that no binding decision was achieved by either.

The premier dismissed any idea of the result being advisory, as had been highlighted by the elections office prior to the poll taking place. Colford Scott had stated that given government’s position that 50% of the entire electorate was required to have a binding ‘yes’, the same position applied to ‘no’ and anything else would be advisory.

However, the premier concluded immediately on Thursday evening that the referendum was a binding ‘no’, even though the ‘no’ vote was less than 20% of the electorate and a far cry from the binding 50% plus one high bar his government has said it required when setting the referendum law.

Despite campaigning on the basis that the current electoral system was not broken so it did not need fixing, on Thursday evening Bush suddenly proposed an altogether new idea of nine two MLA constituencies.

He did not say whether voters would have one or two votes in such a system, but unless the boundaries were to be completely redrawn following the existing SMC maps from the 2010 boundary commission report, this would see eight districts on Grand Cayman. This would mean two in West Bay, three in George Town, a new district of Prospect/Red Bay and another new district in the Savannah/Pedro area and then the combination of Bodden Town, North Side and East End into a single district. Cayman Brac and Little Cayman would remain the same.

Bush has said that a committee will be formed to examine this proposal and other possibilities for the May 2013 elections when government must add three more seats to the legislature to balance out a new ministerial position in Cabinet.

See OMOV and Miller’s statement below.

Category: Politics

Comments (41)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. sunnysideup says:

     

     

    Is an Abstention a vote?

    Answer:

    No. It signifies no vote.

    http://www.answers.com/topic/abstention

    Can Mr. Miller please explain to the people of the Cayman Islands why in the majority if not all motions before the house he chooses to abstain? And having done so- does this set a good example for the people of the Cayman Islands to follow and to stand up and be counted? (In this case to vote?)

    Why Mr. Miller! Why?? – should you not respect the good wishes of those persons who chooses to likewise abstain?  Would you like for your Nay to be counted as an Aye? Or an abstention?

    An abstention is  NO vote. I can only suspect that you will not support this post either by you "abstaining to say anything". I would be very surprise if you do likewise. And just to let you know! – I am not holding my breath- and so you would know, I am not aligned with either party.

     

     

     

        

     

  2. Anonymous says:

    Keke &UDP I hope your eyes are wide after seeing the results of YES Votes that your People are waking up & not being a sponge any more! Soaking up your rubbish you’ve been telling us and we were fools running with everything you told us and believing everything you said to us! These days are changing times especially when you hit someone in there pockets and there families will be effected!

  3. Truth says:

    The vote represents the will of the Bush.  Not the will of the people.  Cayman is and will be ruled by ignorance for a while yet.  The people that make a third world country third world are easily manipulated. Period.

  4. Anonymous says:

    FACT – is that UDP's feeble hijacking of this GOVERNMENT INITIATED referendum is illegal as ther is absolutely no clause in the Constitution under Government initiated referendums that determined the bar/majority MUST be 50% +1 of the electorial registry. Our despot of a leader has again circumvented process and broken the law.  Let's take this to the high court and nhave the entire UDP charged and sentenced for treason against their own people. Pirates of the Caribbean are alive and well living in West Bay.

  5. Smokescreen says:

    Thsi is nothing more than an attempt by the UDP to pacify the voters who voted "Yes". They know that the majority voted in favour and now they are worried they lost a lot of support. If the result is any indication of the mood fo the voters the UDP is clearly on their way out. They will not recall the boundaries commission and change the voting system prior to the elections, this is simply a smokescreen to calm down the people they pissed off. 

    Earth to Mac "The people are no longer fooled by you"

  6. sunnysideup says:

     

    Cayman- Lets consider this. What if the referendum question was on another subject and the results from the voters were the same? Let’s talk about Principal- and fairness.

     

    Here is the question- John Doe committed Murder and was found guilty as charged -all available avenues of appeal ( including the privy council) has been exhausted- and he failed to win. The sentence for murder is the death penalty which was handed down. Because of the public interest in the matter– the Government decided to hold a referendum on the matter- and the question has been set for the public to decide. (Cayman don’t have the death penalty- so this is a hypothetical question)

     

    The electorate goes to the poles to address the referendum question which is. Are you in support of the death penalty being handed down to Mr. John Doe? Yes or NO.

     

    Going back to the first part of my post- the people voted and the results are the same as we saw on the 18th of July 2012. Now- the government stated that in order for them to ensure that Mr. John Doe suffers the death penalty- 50% + 1 of the registered voters MUST decide as this amount would truly represent the electorate. ( family and friends of the victims- and members of the public has been pressuring the justice system and the Government to a have John Doe Executed- equally there are persons against the Death Penalty saying it is not a deterrent- that it is just revenge and it should not happen in the Cayman Islands.

     

    The referendum too place and based on the results of the vote- Mr. John Doe life was spared because the 50%+1 was not achieved- now tell me- family member or no family member- do you all think it is fair for the Government to now go against the 50%+1 and caused the execution of this man? And people please don’t tell me this is a different matter- because it’s not! What we are talking about here is the results of what happened. (I keep hearing Politicians talking about the reason why some Caymanians can’t get jobs- is because the Employers are always “Shifting the Goal Post” in this case- this number (50%+1) did not change- I think it would be dangerous to interfere with the results of what happened. What would the advocates of the ONE man One Vote say if they had won and the Government decided that they would challenge the results? What would the advocates say at that point? Would they be crying foul? Saying that the results were fair- and they should not be interfered with? Mind you- it’s obvious that the persons that voted wanted the OMOV- but it failed? If the advocates felt that they could not win- why did they participate? It was a gamble- when you go to participate in something of that sort- it is a win or lost- so the bottom line is- one should accept the results and move on. Election is in May 2013- making the choices then. There are several parts to this post- and I am not expecting everyone to agree with me- but there is one word scattered all of this- and that’s PRINCIPAL- and on that basis is what I hope we could all agree on.

     

     

     

     

     

  7. noname says:

    Ezzard move on, you lost

    NO IS NO!

  8. Anonymous says:

    The Reason Mac wants to have 9 districts is simple. He wants to put East End, Northside and Bodden Town together as one district because the only 2 thorns in his side are Ezzard and Arden so he feels if he put Bodden Town with them the numbers would be greater and they would vote both of them out. I would say to Mac its a wrong move to put them two in a district that gives them more voting power, it could easily backfire on you Mac 

  9. Anonymous says:

    I thought the whole point of OMOV was to dismantle the dictatorship coming from Big Mac and his 3 Fries from West Bay

    • Anonymous says:

      That is the precise reason it failed!

    • Anonymous says:

      I need a job more than OMOV, I need to pay my bills more that I need to vote OMOV.  How will OMOV put food on my table? My country is plagued with crime of robberies how will OMOV solve this? will OMOV balance the country budget? can OMOV save the financial industry from the impending financial scandals? will OMOV provide our young people with opportunities in their country?  Yes OMOV is a good idea but people lets move on to the real issues and take our heads out of the sand.  Where are we going to run when all this comes to head?   Take a look around the average Caymanian is 100% worst of than he/she was 10 years ago.  Many went to the UK and are returning in droves because they have realized that there is no where in the world better than Cayman to Caymanians.

  10. Anonymous says:

    OMOV debate rolls on whilst these baffoons cause the country to roll down with it. I going to retire in Costa Rica and build house there.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I was told that an expat with status (paper caymanian) said most of the people in his /her community (also paper caymanians), hesitated to go out and vote, because they did not want their faces marked as being possibly a Yes voter.  Voting is supposed to be confidential, no one is supposed to know which way you voted.  However, the Government structured the referendum question in such a way, that only those who wanted to vote yes and support the OMOVmovement, would really need to turn out and vote – because Govt. said only 50% +1 of the registered voters could sway Government's opinion and making the results binding on Government.  So some of those who did not care enough about the issue to go out and vote yes, took this to mean that they could stay home, go to the beach, sleep, meet up with friends, do their gardening, etc, (anything but actually make the effort to vote), as they were under the impression that if they simply stayed away, their vote would still count as no.   Those that would have liked to go and vote including paper caymanians, felt that if they were seen in line to vote, people would speculate / surmise that they voted yes (otherwise why bother to go out at all and vote), and it cannot be disputed that there is a subtle fear of intimidation / victimisation held by paper caymanians, whether real or imagined, that fear is  there.  Some caymanians have this fear also, but more so the paper ones, some of who never felt like they really were accepted here (hence the term given to them "paper caymanians.")  The question should have been worded differently, so as to compel BOTH yes and no voters to go out and vote in order for their vote to count and influence the Government's decision.  That way, no one would automatically assume one group standing in line were yes voters. That way, one's vote could remain completely unknown to anyone speculating that he/she is a yes voter, and without any fear of possible intimidation.

  12. Chris says:

    We can assume that the proposed system will be a "one man two vote" system where each elector will have two votes as is the case in Cayman Brac. The proposal is interesting as it is moving in the right direction but does not respect district lines and has no mandate from the people.

    What we can say for sure is that any change to our voting system is a national issue and should be decided by referendum, not a committee appointed by the government.

    We can also say that OMOV has 5,631 electors who are willing to come out and vote in favour of the One Man One Vote system.

    The government has now set a precedent of 50% plus 1 of the electorate in order for a government called referendum to be binding. It will be interesting to see if the government changes this percentage going forward for government initiated referenda. 

    Manipulation of this percentage is permitted in the constitution and can be lowered to pass referenda brought by the government or kept at 50%+1 for referenda instigated by the people.

    As a result, it is possible for the government  to hold a referendum with their "one man two vote" proposal on the ballot  and change the electoral system even if only their faithful 35% of the electorate show up to vote in favor of their proposal.

    Our constitution should be amended  to fix this deficiency as it opens our governance up to untold manipulation against the wishes of the majority.

     

     

  13. Anonymous says:

    If UDP had not hijacked the process, the grassroots movement would have had more time to get more signatures in time for November, and more people would have had the chance to register so that they too, could vote.  I had friends who tried to register and were told they could not because UDP called the vote months early (hijacking it), so the deadline for registering was gone, and this disenfranchized these other potential voters from being able to vote.  The UDP thought they were being smart – they must have had some lawyer advising them how best to put obstacles in the path of the growing OMOV movement which was started by the grassroots people.  They had a master plan, alright.  They even held it during summer holidays, when they know vacation plans have been made.  Way to go UDP.  I understand though, that there has been a mass rush to register at the electoral office, since Wednesday's vote.  So guess what, UDP. IT will all backfire on you, and your "arse" will be dark come May 2013.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Typical. Cayman has made a complete mess of this referendum (courtesy of the government "hijackers"). All we are left with are bills to pay and a whole lot of spin coming from both sides.

     

    Let's forget this issue for the time being and bring it up agian as an election issue in May, 2013.

     

    In the meantime, where is the budget? Where is the economy? Where are thejobs?

  15. N says:

    CNS: "Bush suddenly proposed an altogether new idea of nine two MLA constituencies."   He doesn't like the OMOV option for whatever reason he may have, he obviously knows that there are a lot of people who do not approve of the status quo which will affect his numbers. I sounds to me like he may be looking for is an equal balance between the people that support OMOV and those and who do not if can make enough people from both sides happy he will have a better chance at next year's election which I am sure is on his mind. He knows that if he doesn't do something he will lose a lot of potential supporters even in his own district. So he may be willing to compromise. Since they are for equal representation, the OMOV committee should be happy that there is a compromise and shouldn't knock out this option because they are not having their own way!

    • Anonymous says:

      @NJ2Cay what it tells me is that the premier does not believe in the truth of his own rhetoric and his supporters will repeat any line, not because they have considered it and agree, but out of partisan loyalty. If he really believed in the negative claims about social division, expense, we have had this system for 180 years and it's not broke so don't fix it etc. it would be unthinkable to make such a proposal. Instead they were conveniently adopted in order to confuse the voter.

      If the people have spoken resoundingly as he claims then that must be the end of the matter. Who would be so foolhardy as to defy them by going opposite to their wishes? One cannot achieve balance or compromise by doing so. Obviously he does not really believe that there was any resounding statement in favour of the current voting system, but understands that he has suffered political damage from the position he's taken and is trying to repair that damage by appeasing some. He figures he can divide OMOV campaigners with a proposal that superficially sounds attractive. He is counting on his supporters parroting whatever he says even if it involves serious contradictions and trying to spin it as McKeeva being magnanimous to the 'losers'.

      He also figures that if you put the matter in a committee's hands nothing will be achieved before the next general election but you will avoid it as an election issue because there is a bi-partisan committee.

      As to the problems with the proposal itself:

      1. It is not clear whether he is suggesting this would be on the basis of OMOV. If it isn't then this is a non-starter.

      2. It is not clear how the constituencies would be divided. It could be an open door to gerrymandering. At this point it seems like it may be a ploy to eliminate his two strongest critics in the LA – Ezzard and Arden – by combining Bodden Town with North Side and East End.

      3. The OMOV Committee was based on a number of principles. Equal representation was only one of them. This proposal still does not achieve the accountability of OMOV SMCs since there would be two MLAs responsible.

       

    • Anonymous says:

      Will we have vote on this 9 district thing?

    • Anonymous says:

      Whomever is copying my comments from other news papers I wish you would stop…Please write your own words instead of using mine. NJ2Cay

  16. Captain 1 says:

    But why should the Premier consider the result being "advisory"?  About 2/3 of the electorate either voted no or didn't show up to the polls. It is a far cry from the binding 50% plus one. The electorate spoke and said plainly, "continue with course"

    • Anonymous says:

      Let's be clear. So you are saying that the premier is now defying the "plain" wishes of the electorate to "continue with course" by making a novel proposal which involves fundamental changes.   

    • Anonymous says:

      Because hewould be stupid to ignore 65% of the voting public. He understands that which is why he is come up with this new proposal.

    • Anonymous says:

      or only 20% of the elctorate voted no……..

      not sure how you can count people who stayed at home or think how they would have voted………

  17. Anonymous says:

    A NO show should mean NO show not a yes towards either side! Time is longer than rope!
    That was what My grand mother always told me!

    • Anonymous says:

      A no show is a no show.

      UDP , when the general election is held and you have no show citizens is that how you always win in west bay. This is just ridiculous, a no show is just that and should not be accounted for. Give the people what they voted for. Just because west bay and george town campaigned to their people to vote no or stay home does'nt mean it is legal.

      I am tired of this banana  republic politician telling us what we need or whats best for us. Get it clear I am not UDP or PPM. I am just like the good people that voted yes on july 18th. West Bay you are holding the island back, I do not want to go down with you all, get your heads out of the sand and see what your darling politicians are doing to you. YOU dear folks are raping our island.

  18. Anonymous says:

    That was not fair to Caymanian people what the udp did! A NO vote should not have been counted! No voting system should have allowed that to never happened! N

  19. BODDEN TOWN? says:

    Why bring it to Bodden Town and Not to North Side too.?   Bodden Town is not Mr Ezzard district for him to suggest bringing the OMOV to Bodden Town without bringing it to NorthSide too.  That is not fair Trade don t care how many people they have.

  20. Anonymous says:

    As a YES voter, can we put this matter to rest. It is glaringly obvious that whoever wanted the OMOV came out to vote and that there may not be many more YES sayers in the country. The results of the vote cannot be binding to either side of the argument and it is therefore unrealistic that the status quo will change- at least not now. there are far more important issues to be debating about than this.

  21. Inevitable says:

    Mr. Bush may not play fair, but he is smart enough to realize that after upsetting 5631 voters(especially the 1000+ in West Bay), the UDP's chances are slim at best come May 2013. Thus, the 9 district proposal.

    However, this will not help him as there are too many individuals that wanted to vote in the referendum and couldn't, but who will be registered to vote come next may. These individuals were not able to vote either because of the April 1st cut-off date or because the UDP had conveniently not advised the public that since 2009 the constitution had removed the requirement of naturalization for those who wanted to become a registered voter.

    Either way, these people are not happy and will have the opportunity to express themselves next May. Remember, most if not all of these individuals are expats who believe in the system of one person one vote/single member constituencies.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Why was it decided that the stay at home voters that did not go to the poll have their vote counted as a NO? They could just have easily been counted as a Yes in this instance. Those that did not attend the poll should have been counted as a null & void vote, neither Yes or No. The failure to grasp this one point & pressure government prior to the referendum on the invalidity of non attendance is sadly the reason the OMOV campaign failed.The government knew a poor turn out would result & by manipulating their own rules succeeded in the outcome 

    • Anonymous says:

      Nobody "failed to grasp this one point prior to the referendum".  It was noticed IMMEDIATLEY, and there were many comments on this website on the unfairness that the UDP imposed long before referendum day.   

      • Anonymous says:

        OMOV is very important but so too are unemployment of our young people, increased crime, government budget that is not balanced, HSBC and the financial industry we are drowning here people in realissues that if we don't do something about right now will be the end of us as a society. OMOV is very important but this can wait until 2013 or 2017 but unfortunately we cannot wait until then to balance the budget and take care of the pressing needs of this country.  Our people are without jobs and some are turning to crimes to support themselves because they cannot find a job.  The financial industry is plagued with a host of problems rectify those and get on with the business of the country.