Governor calls for ‘fair fight’

| 28/03/2013

_DEW9187_1.jpg(CNS): After signing and reading the necessary election proclamations on Wednesday, the Cayman Islands governor called for a free and fair election in which candidates focused on policy and not mudslinging. Duncan Taylor said the record number of candidatesrepresented a positive engagement by the community in the democratic process but he warned all the candidates and their supporters about undue influence and inducement because favours of any kind in return for someone to vote in a particular way was illegal. He said he hoped to see robust discussion but a clean and fair campaign with no “dirty tricks” now that the official campaign had started.

“I am not surprised by the number. I think we saw plenty of indications before today that there was going to be a large number of candidates this time, including a large number of independent candidates,” the governor said on Wednesday afternoon as the Elections Office confirmed the largest number of candidate to ever contest an election in Cayman.  “The more engagement we have in an election the better for democracy.”

Taylor pointed to the rules of the election and the issues that candidates must watch out for, including treating or inducement in order to persuade people to vote for them.

“I very much hope we have a clean and fair campaign with no dirty tricks and people putting policies first rather than attacking competitors,” he added, as he wished all of the candidates good luck and a vigorous campaign.

58 candidates have put their names forward for election in the six districts. There were few surprises on Wednesday, however, as most of the 58 candidates nominated had already indicated their decision to run.

Joey Ebanks had announced his decision to go head-to-head against Ezzard Miller in North Side, despite his current legal difficulties. Ebanks had submitted his resignation to the Electricity Regulatory Authority, from which he had recently been suspended as the government regulator’s MD as a result of financial irregularities discovered during its annual audit and suspicion of drug related offences. Ebanks has denied any wrongdoing and in his Facebook posts has promised to unveil a myriad of corruption and wrongdoing at a public meeting next week.

Meanwhile, Vincent Frederick, a former member of the Coalition to Keep Bodden Town Dump Free who had told his former activist colleagues when he left the group that he hoped to run on the UDP ticket, was the last candidate of the day when turned up at the last minute in Bodden Town and was nominated as an independent. In West Bay, Andrea Christian, who had not previously declared her intention to join the fray, was nominated to run as an independent.

There were no surprises in any of the other districts, and while George Town reached a record number of 21 candidates, it still fell short of the existing record for any district which is held by West Bay, where 22 people put themselves forward in 2000.

Questions were asked about the qualifications of a number of candidates regarding their previous posts as civil servants and potential dual nationality and it is not clear if all of those were answered in time for officials to send the ballot paper to the printers.

Election officials confirmed that only the PPM and the UDP had registered as formal political parties and that neither the Coalition for Cayman or the People's National Alliance had registered. This means that the candidates running on those platforms will be able to spend a larger amount per head than theparties, while still pooling resources.

Questions over the elections supervisor’s post, as Kearney Gomez is retired from his post as chief officer in the district administration ministry, were also settled. Gomez  confirmed that when legislators made last minute administrative amendments to the elections law on Monday night, they had defined his position as a civil servant and removed the possibility of any challenges to the election at a later date.

However, Ezzard Miller has still warned that the wording of the constitution, which calls for voters to vote for “an elected member” (as in one man, one vote) still presents a serious opportunity for any elector to challenge the result of the May 2013 poll. He has said that the six votes given to George Town electors could also lead to a challenge to the election result under the bill of rights on the basis of discrimination by any voter in any other district, all of whom have fewer votes, including his own constituents, who have only one.

Category: Politics

Comments (21)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I am glad the Elections Officials are being more vigilant about the abnormalities during the elections. However I still cannot understand why there have never been anyone prosecuted for the wrong doings that has been done over the years. Last year there was clear evidence of wrong doing reported and investigated. Yet nothing happened.  In West Bay, during the 1988 elections 508 people, out of 2645 eligible voters or 19%, voted by postal ballot. More than 2 dozen people showed up at one polling station “to be told you have voted already”. Reports were made to the West Bay Police, reports were made to the Registering Officer in West Bay, and Reports were made to the Returning officer in West Bay.  People with signs reading “someone stole my vote” demonstrated in George Town on the day the MLA’s were sworn in, yet nothing happened. Even more alarming the same officials are in charge of the elections office and the same person is in charge of registering voters in West Bay.  Perhaps, the answer they will give you is, “there were no reports filed.”

     

  2. Anonymous says:

    Candidates awaiting trial for alleged corruption in office; candidates with a drug dealer record; candidates with convictions for drink driving; candidates unders suspicion of misuse of Government funds; candidates who have had altercations with the law: candidates who dish out free food and drinks at their meetings; candidates with a potential conflict of interets over their own private business dealings; the Governor having to publicly advise candidates of the importance of a clean and fair fight without the use of 'dirty tricks'; the election supervisor having to warn the candidates about 'treating'. With all of this I only have to add that the voters of Cayman deserve the government they get and get the government they deserve!

  3. Chris says:

    Just the thought of observers seems to have everyone focusing on a "fair fight" this election.

    This is a good thing.

    One request…please dont take away the light refreshments as they are not intended to corrupt the process. In fact many of these refreshments are consumed by non-voters.

    Focusing on the food served at a political meeting is a waste of time and is minute compared to the major favours granted to voters including cash, appliances, fill and paving driveways etc.

  4. Anonymous says:

    There is not one candidate that is innocent of this. I do not care who they are!! They all have their way of soliciting a vote. So don’t play the fool here now unna Poor People Mistake followers. Unna guilty too!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    C4C showing their true colors by cercumventing the elections law! they are a party but are getting to spend more money because they say they are independants!just plain wrong!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Indeed one has to feel some sympathy for Mr.Taylor. The photo says it all, poor fellow.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bet he's regretting extending his stay now. On the original three-year deal he'd have been safely away by now and some other poor schmuck would be clearing this mess up.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am so sorry for Mr Taylor. He seems to be a good man but just got caught up with the wrong people washing his feet etc etc. We just hope that one day he will find them out.

  8. SANDFLY says:

    Very good Governor. Please speak out if things get too hot. There are some crazy people out there that don't know where to draw the line. Please jump on them if they try vote buying as well. Some voters are so used to getting money for their vote that inmature candidates just might try playing that game. Just the time for a nice little sting operation.

    • Anonymous says:

      Start with the recent party at the low cost housing complex in West Bay, please. 

  9. Anonymous says:

    Boy see whade Guvnah talkin bout in de fust and tird paragraphs? Now dis ga really hurt the United Favours Party chances.  Ooops, seem Favours was supstituted for another word that begins with a "D"!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Kirkeh could run a better government than all these jokers for MLAs we got though.

  11. Anonymous says:

    And if you want to make it really fair, make sure those "observers" have observers.

  12. Just Commentin' says:

    Fair fight? No mudslinging?  What tha #%&@ is the Gov thinking? With almost three-score candidates the poor Gov-nah must be in Dreamland!

     

    Geeze!  Is Joey for real?  Be interesting to see how many morons vote for him.

     

    Sad thing is that a great many of these candidates have been hiding under their rocks until now. And they have the gall to claim they are running because of their concern for the country? If any candidate is just now slinking out from their rock to run and has not been heard from concerning vital issues until now, they are bloody liars about being concerned for their country. All theses sluggards want is a cushy job that carries a lavish pay cheque and an opulent pension.  These kind of slime deserve to be dashed with rotten tomatoes at their meetings rather than applauded.

    • Anonymous says:

      If they vote for the two in the brac they can vote for anyone..

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah. David Bodden knows this because he just crawled out from under his "rock" hoping to get Brackers to vote for him.  Where the hell has he been on vital issues all these years? I thought he moved to Miami or something. You never saw him on Cayman Brac outside of fishing tournaments and even then it was a rare sight. Now that hard times a'come David is seeking that cushy salary and big pension. What a pitiful situation.

    • Anonymous says:

      Goodness ….."dashed with rotten tomatoes"………. sounds like a session in the stocks is in order. Come to think of it, in some cases it's not such an outlandish idea!

  13. Anonymous says:

    You have to love the Governors optimism and for saying the right thing. But looking at the list, fair fight? Did you see that cow fly ?

     

    I really hope it is fair and I hope the good people of Cayman will actively report any attempts at bribing- if people can bribe you for a vote then what will they do in government? Plus if they have to bribe, they cleary have nothing to say worthwhile anyway!

  14. P A Rody says:

    If Mr Joey does reveal a "myriad of corruption and wrongdoing" at a public meeting next week, and he is brings up anything that is associated with proceeds of crime, like bribery, etc he could well be charged with "tipping off"

     

    just say'n

  15. Anonymous says:

    Mr.Taylor, these things have always been illegal, they have just never been investigated by those with this responsibility. Are you now committing to do? I certainly hope so.