Independent MLAs call for deferral of new seats

| 16/08/2012

_DSC7998-web.jpg(CNS): A motion to defer the introduction of three new members to the Legislative Assembly at the next election will be filed by the Independent member for North Side when the country’s parliament resumes for the next sitting. Given the current financial difficulties facing the Cayman Islands government, Ezzard Miller believes that there is no need to increase the size of the legislature in May 2013 and that the additional seats can wait until the 2017 election, when hopefully the public purse will be in better shape. The motion is being supported by Arden McLean, the member for East End who recently resigned from the opposition People’s Progressive Movement.

Miller, in partnership with the newly independent McLean, said he hopes to garner support for his motion, which he believes could save government a considerable amount of money over the next four budget years, not just on the three salaries and benefits but by avoiding the creation of a new ministry.

“The constitution says ‘may’ and not ‘shall’, so there is no legal requirement that forces government’s hand,” Miller said. “We simply cannot afford the extra politicians at the moment and it seems sensible to both myself and Mr McLean that the government could reconsider installing the three extra seats and save some money.”

The proposal is certainly likely to gather support from those in the wider community who believe that Cayman’s parliament is already too big for the size of the country. However, both the premier and the deputy premier have ministries which have been described by officials as "super ministries" because of the number of departments falling under their care.

The plan to grow the country’s parliament by three new MLAs, one of which would also be a Cabinet member, is set out in the constitution and is driven mostly by the change in the constitutional position of the financial secretary, who is no longer a Cabinet minister. The 2009 constitution took the responsibility for financial matters from the administrative arm of government and placed it in the hands of elected members, creating a minister of finance, a post taken up during this administration by McKeeva Bush.

The added ministry, coupled with the belief that the workload in the country’s public sector was too small for five elected officials to handle, resulted in the need for a sixth ministerial Cabinet post. As a result, the parliament needs to be increased by three members in order to retain the important democratic balance between Cabinet and backbench MLAs on both government and the opposition sides of the Legislative Assembly.

The purpose of that is to ensure that the people’s representatives on the backbenches could, if they were so inclined, work together to oust an unpopular government. However, in practice, where the government has a majority its own backbench MLAs have proved very reluctant to utilize that parliamentary power.

Although the proposal was written into the constitution to add the three MLAS at the general election in 2013, Miller believes that it is not a compulsory requirement and government can seize the opportunity to defer the growth of the Cayman Legislative Assembly for another four years

The move to add the three seats and increase the size of Cabinet will add to government expenditures from 2013. It has also already caused considerable controversy over how the seats can be absorbed into Cayman’s electoral system, more so since the premier rejected the results of the referendum on one man, one vote, leaving the continued likelihood that two of the seats will be added in George Town and a third in Bodden Town.

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Category: Politics

Comments (53)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The larger the LA is the more people there is to represent you. Unfortunately, when they band as a party, your representative become mute.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hold on: And doesnt EACH MLA get ca$$h for an MLA office; and a Pension for life after just 1 term in office; and travel benefits; and double-dipping by taking salary and pensions cash payments?

    Couldn't those be cut as well?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Allen, PPM aka the ahem, Opposition….? Comment? Support? Or you waiting for Mac before u make up your mind as usual…zzzzz

  4. Anonymous says:

    Agree with Ezzard here 100% once again!

    Now is the worst time to increase Govt. Expenditures….didn't the UK just ask for further reductions?

  5. noname says:

    CNS! Get it right! Cayman is NOT a country. Its a territory. Good reporting and accuracy wins respect.

    • Anonymous says:

      WRONG! Cayman is indeed a country. It is not a natiion. There is a difference.

    • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

      "The Cayman Islands became a full dependency of Jamaica and thus a Colony of a Colony from 1865 until Jamaica’s independence in 1962. The two Cayman political parties differed on whether to stay with Jamaica or remain a Crown Colony. However the overriding view of the people was to remain with the UK and the unanimous vote in the Legislature was to remain a Crown Colony."  Source: Truman M. Bodden OBE. LL.B(Lond.) ACIB.FFA.MCMI.FICM.Attorney/Barrister at the Caribbean Conference 50-50 and Overseasreview.blogspot.com

  6. Anonymous says:

    I fell sorry for anyone who wants to take over this Island next election.  All those Power hungry money grubbers, you are going to wish that you never caused all of this problem

    I would not want a seat in the LA if itwas given to me with a golden Nuggets for every step I made.  Guys and gals you are going to get exactly what you are bargain for.  The only man who know how to run this business is McKeeva Bush.    I will sit back and fold my arms and watch how your supporters are going to tear your carcas all over grand Cayman.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well done Ezzard.  Everybody that is against govt increasing fees adding taxes etc, now is your chance to make your voices heard.

    The introduction of 3 more MLA'S and 2 more ministries is going to send govt costs thru the roof. How you think the costs will be recovered.

    Lets galvanize and get behind Ezzard on this one. We have to stop rowing after the fact. We MUST stop this nonsense before it happens.

  8. Anonymous says:

    A good idea at last from the North and East.

    I can understand Ministers making $100k+ , but why do part-time MLAs who warm the benches have to earn so much.

    We used to attract business people who had independent means and did not need a salary. that was a large part of our success. Let us go back to that and reduce the ordinary MLA's salaries. They are paid too much and are a burden on government. Hard working Civil Servants should not have to pay for the brunt of these excesses.

  9. Pure Politics says:

    The only reason for saying this now is because with 15 persons there is a higher chance that the independents will have a greater chance of having the balance of power in forming a coalition government in 2013. Thats why all of a sudden this is "very expensive".  if there were 18 persons it would be a bit more difficult for a small group of say 3 independents to hold the balance of power. Plain and simple poltics. Unfortunately many of us will simply be played perfectly by Ezzard instead of seeing this for what it is.

    • Anonymous says:

      This sounds like John Evans' garbage on Caycompass. You must be him or plagiarising his nonsense.

      Forget for a moment who suggested it. Is it a good idea or not? While you are accusing them of playing politics you are rejecting it on the basis of politics, not commonsense. 

  10. Anonymous says:

    Unless we move to OMOV, I think we already have way too many seats, so not only forget the extra 3, cut down on the 15 we already have.  If we ever progress to OMOV, then I agree with 18 MLA's for each single member constituency.

    • Why Why says:

      I would like to know why Mr Ezzard did not make this request before we spent all that money on the OMOV.  He should have suggested it then, and saved the government spending all that money, Time off from employees from work andemployers having to pay them.  WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON IN THIS ISLAND ANYWAY?   Who can we really trust   SHhhhh !!

      • Anonymous says:

        The decision to make it  public holiday was purely the premier's, not Ezzard's.  

      • Anonymous says:

        Please bear in mind that  it was Mckeeva's decision to hold the referendom.  The OMOV promoters were busy collecting  signatures and the UDP government hijacked it. McKeeva could have merely implement the  provision in the Constitution and changed to OMOV with just a stroke of the pen.  We did not have to have a referendom, It was the Premier's doing!!  Blame him for the unneccesary expense!!

        • 11:42 NO I will not says:

          11:42 NO I will not.  Because if You all did not begun such a rucus over the OMOV The Premier would not have had to call it.   You all asked for it.   So the Premier said if they want it, then give it to them.  You would have  complained if persons were not given time off to work.  So you got the Holiday.  PPM and want to be supporters, I believe it is time you people come up with a plan to help instead of complaining nad objecting and tearing down every fence the UDP try to mend.  Of course Cayman know by now this is all a WITCH HUNT FOR McKEEVA BUSH.

      • Anonymous says:
         
         
  11. Anonymous says:

    Can't afford extra Politicias? We can't afford the ones we have now

  12. peter milburn says:

    I totally agree with Ezzard on this point but would like to take it a bit further.I have long said that we need to keep our MLA,s at the number they are now or even cut back to say 11 or 13 no more.As for the addition of any more Ministers this has to be a joke right?Even though I saw it in the new constitution how can we justify the creation of other cabinet members given the way we are now finacially?They are not doing enough work now to be worth the salaries that WE the people are paying for and then to add two more to decrease their work loads.What the hell are we thinking?Leave well enough alone BUT insist that the present cabinet DO their job to the fullest and stop wasting so much time on overseas trips to conferences that could well be done by video conferencing.Maybe and that is a big maybe we can think about this in the year 2017,s election but we need to also bring the election back to its proper calender position of November every four years as it was before.Someone has to bite the bullet and stop this "they had 6 extra months so we want 6 extra months"foolishness and get on with your job.Ivan has gone so let that hopefully be a onetime change of calender dates for an extraordinary election year(which we all never forget)

  13. Anonymous says:

    I agree with not adding any more seats, and will go further by saying WE NEED TO REDUCE TO say 11 MLAs. That is an approx 25 precent reduction in parliament's cost right there. PLUS, those like Dwayne, Tony, Eugene, Moses, who we never hear from could be "downsized" as it seems they are getting paid for no good reason.

     

    Might sound harsh, but it is the truth.

    • Knot S Smart says:

      But then what would we do with Elio?

      • Anonymous says:

        We hear from Ellio more often than i care, but I have to say that he is trying to do something for some people, proposing ideas, etc.

         

        I never hear from Tony, Dwayne, Eugene or Moses or what their constant ideas are, or what their stance is on certain topics. They, with the exception of Moses once in a while, are never on the radio or on the news.

         

        In 2013 Bench-warmers need to GO!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Moses should not be included in that line up.  

  14. Anonymous says:

    We should be cutting salaries (esp the bonuses they gave themselves), eliminating double dip pensioners, and reducing the overall number of seats in the house – seeing as so few actually produce any tangible evidence of work.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Cut the LA down to 7 or 9 MLAs.

     

    Why? The MLAs need to concentrate on strategy and policies for the good of the entire country. They do not need to get involved in the details and micro management of the implementation of their strategy and policies; the senior civil service is in charge of implementation. The MLAs need only to give high level direction and oversight of the civil service. It is really a part-time job.

     

    Scrap the geographic electoral boundaries.

     

    Why? The MLAs need to concentrate on strategy and policies for the good of the entire country, not just their little individual fiefdoms.

     

    MLAs who are independently wealthy should serve for $1.00 per year.

     

    Why? It is time for them to give back to the community. This community gave them the environment to become wealthy.

    • Anonymous says:

      I see at least 3 MLA;s read the above opinion…!!

    • Anonymous says:

      No, cut the LA down to one Mayor, one Deputy Mayor and one city council whose members represent each district. No more parties, no more majorities and minorities, no more opposition and ruling party. Just fair representation for all. A level playing field comprised of a small governing body with less expense and better representation. Don't say it can't be done. Cities around the world hundreds of times the size of Cayam are run exactly like this and very efficiently.

       

  16. Anonymous says:

    The MLAs are of course completely right. Note however tthat with 18 seats there would be 7 Ministers and so there would be two additional ministries, rather than one as the article reports.

    @Just Sayin – saying that Ezzard (and presumably Arden) "has it all wrong" when he is calling for no increase in the seats when no other MLAs are even thinking in the direction of saving costs in that way is just plain silly. To remove three seats would require a constitutional amendment and the reduction of the number of ministers from 5 to 4, i.e. back to pre-1992 levels. Your comments are obviously just an attempt to get at Ezzard rather than any concern about costs. Give credit where credit is due.

    WB electoral boundary was never at Merren's store. To expand the power of WB voters on this country should be unthinkable to any fair-minded person.

    • Fair Minded Caymanian says:

      You are wrong.  The Boundary was at the Merren's store.  Stop spouting off without checking your facts.  In fact the WB Boundary was move 4 or 5 times.

      • Anonymous says:

        Regardless. The point is WB voters should not be given any more power as they are clearly out of sync with the rest of the country and are to blame for our present woes. The only point of that suggestion is to attempt to shore up McKeeva's power base. Nothing fair-minded about that. I have a better suggestion, how about we cut WB from GCM at the cemetery and have a secure border. That way you can elect whoever you want and the rest of us won't care.     

  17. Anonymous says:

    The last thing Cayman needs is a larger government.

    Its huge, inefficient, wastefull, and expensive government is already strangling and sucking the life blood out of its private economy.

    Its private economy is already being destroyed.  

  18. The lone haranguer rides again! says:

    Makes sense to me.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Who was the genius who made it mandatory in the Constition to remove financial responsibility from the administrative branch and place our money in the hands of politicians to do as they please without built-in safeguards? This one act, more than any other is soley responsible for the blatant mis-management of public funds and the financial mess we are now in. Is there a way to revert back to the old system or invent a safer new one that keeps the politicians away from our money? Without doing this we will continue down this same road again and again until it ruins Cayman totally. By now, those who were responsible for this change can see the havoc they have created.

     

    Take the money out of the hands of elected members and you have solved 99% of the problems we are now facing.

     

    I am serious in asking for an answer as to what he, she or they were thinking when this was done. Did they not expect massive give aways of money to Churches, or paving on the Brac or secret deals with developers? If this takes a referendum to change then it should be included in the ballot of next year's election.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      How clever of you. You can't have it both ways: you can't blame the PPM govt. for our financial woes under the old Constitution which you say vested responsibility for finances in the administrative branch, and then blame the PPM for introducing a new Constitution that makes a politician responsible.  The point of making a politician directly responsible is so he must be accountable to the people and can hide behind no one. That is a very good thing.  No one should control the purse strings who is not accountable to the people. 

      • Anonymous says:

        I've been here under both systems. The earlier administrative version did not allow politicians direct access to funds for nation building and solar panels for the poor. Now politicians can use our treasury to buy votes. Before, they had to use their own money.

         

  20. Dred says:

    You know if I did not know better I would say Just Sayin' and Fair Minded Caymanian are both UDP loyalist.

    Let's see. Join East End and North Side…yup Big Mac wants that cause its gets rid of either Arden or Ezzard.

    And uuum move boundary for West Bay closer to town would mean more people in West Bay which equals maybe they should get more seats. Yup that's Big Mac also.

    NO and NO and Yes you guessed it NO.

    What we need and will get come 2013 is your party being removed in what will be an imbarrising fashion. Don't believe me just look at OMOV it's kind of a precursor of what's to come.

    I am no PPM fan but I must say UDP messed this up royally.

    Bring in the Casinos you smucks. You need more money to spend cause you won't do your damn job and start bringing down the CS numbers to a more reasonable amount and not to speak about your slush funds. All the money in the world wouldn't help you come 2013.

    No. Pandering to Churchs. Hypocrits and that goes for the churchs that took the money also because you KNEW full well what the money is about. You scratch my back and I scratch your back. HYPOCRITS. Hope you all burn in hell for making the house of the lord a supermarket item.

    For Cayman to make it out of this there needs to be several things happening all at once:

    1) Cut Expenses – This means CS must shrink. No one is thrown out but moved to private sector in a private sector public sector agreement. This means get rid of all the pork that's on the table.

    2) Introduce new revenue measures – This means Casinos, Lottery, exchange rates things of this nature. No new fees. We have enough fees. NEW REVENUES.

    3) Repeal Increases of duties – Fuel and otherwise. This will lower the cost of living in Cayman and start the process of making Cayman more attractive to outside investors. Right now with high cost of living employees are placing more pressure on businesses for increased salaries.

    4) Repeal hikes in business fees – Make it easier for local businesses so they can pass on some savings to their customers who in turn will probably spend more. This will leads to businesses selling more items which leads to increased duties and the government makes the money back.

    In a nutshell our beliefs has been in HIGH amount low item sales but okay revenue. We need to switch to a MEDIUM amount which leads to increased item sales and okay revenue. The reason is many fold but look at CAL for instance. Their belief over teh years of HIGH price has lead to extremely low load factors which is BAD for both CAL and CIG because with each ticket sold is TAX. Less tickets equal less TAX. It may even out for CAL but it would never for CIG.

    So in short lower the bloody fees in Cayman and lets start looking at VOLUME over HIGHER PRICE TAGS. We will all end up making teh same money we will just get it from more people. WE ARE PRICING CAYMAN OUT OF THE MARKET!!!!

    UDP full adopts the PRICE CAYMAN OUT OF THE MARKET philosophy and people there are far more people out there who are in the medium income range to those in the higher class range.

    What we need is to scale back Cayman and it can be done but there needs to be a concerted effort by all stakeholders in this. When I say that I mean CAL lowers fees, Hotels offers more promotions, watersports follows suit. Tourism Department Teams up with CITA to promote Cayman as an affordable destination. It's high time we all start working together for Cayman's better good or we will all be up sh!t creek without a paddle.. 

  21. Just shut up says:

    I live in North Side and dread the thought of combing our district with East End.  I am happy with Ezzard… and I'm an expat!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Cayman, a very small town, should only need 7 (9 of you are generous) elected members.

     

    Scrap the geographic boundaries and let all 7 (or 9) compete in a free for all election.

     

    Let the best persons rise to the top. (this form of government would eliminate a lot of the vote buying in small districts).

  23. Fair Minded Caymanian says:

    I agreed and support this motion 100% and would further suggest that the West Bay Electoral Boundary be moved back to the original point of Merren's Store (Now HSBC & Kentucky Chicken) which would give West Bay and George Town around the same number of voters.  No need to add extra burden at this time.  If another Minister is needed then select from the 15 MLA's.

  24. Just Sayin' says:

    Once again Ezzard has it all wrong. What should of course happen is that three seats be removed. By taking one each from West Bay and Cayman Brac/Little Cayman and by combining East End and North Side in to one electoral district, this can easily be achieved, reducing the burden placed on society by these highly paid fishermen.

    • Anonymous says:

      Totally agreed East End and Nort Side have had historical ties from yester year and these two independents have forgotten this. Merge the Two districts and provide proper representation for the East. The bigger hope in so doing is that there may be more suitable candidates that will run the mutt and Jeff team outa town.

      • Anonymous says:

        EE and NS are the only two districts that currently have proper representation. Your real desire is to get rid of either Ezzard or Arden. Just a UDP ploy.

    • Just Shut Up says:

      Again,  no way!  EE and NS should remain separate constituences.  Nobody affected by your suggestion (the residents of those two consituencies) would support this.  I can't speak for EE but we in NS are lucky enough to live in a lovely district and have the added benefit of having a most excellent MLA representing our interests and looking after our community.  I don't think any other district gets quite the representation and value for money as we do (and that's putting it politely).  

      Only UDPers would support this insane idea to merge the two districts, because it would help muffle the only voice that questions MadMac and speaks for the people, not only from his own district, but from the entire island.  We are happy with, and would like to keep Ezzard thank you very much.

      • Just Sayin' says:

        Learn to read

        • Just Shut Up says:

          Learn to do what my name says.

          I can read but it seems you can't read or understand your own post:

          "Once again Ezzard has it all wrong. What should of course happen is that three seats be removed. By taking one each from West Bay and Cayman Brac/Little Cayman and by combining East End and North Side in to one electoral district, this can easily be achieved, reducing theburden placed on society by these highly paid fishermen."

          No way!

          • Just Bite Me says:

            So you accept the cuts in the Sister Islands and West Bay. Good start.
            Ps. Ezzard Miller is the only person more dangerous to the continued prosperity of these Islands than our current Premier.

            • Anonymous says:

              No one is more dangerous than McKeeva. He must go. Anyone – including Ezzard- would be an improvement.