Christian alleges official bias

| 12/08/2013

(CNS): PNA candidate Richard Christian, who was prevented from running in the May General Election by election officials because he had an American passport, based on advice from the attorney general, has accused them all of bias. The would-be Bodden Town candidate said he believed he was qualified and the decision to eliminate him but not others from the political race showed favouritism, injustice, a violation of the law and double standards in government. Releasing into the public domain the letter he received, which clearly relates the AG’s Chambers' statement that obtaining and using any foreign passport as an adult constituted a voluntary act of acknowledging allegiance, Christian said he is now considering his options and filing a complaint with the Office of the Complaints Commissioner (OCC).

“The actions taken by both the AG’s office and the Election Office was clearly poor judgement and their decisions to be mute on the subject over the past couple of weeks shows the lack of accountability we still have within government,” he said in a formal statement issued Monday. “Despite the outpouring of support for Ms Rivers, the verdict has also left a large number of citizens concerned about the favouritism, injustices, violation of the law and double standards that is happening within government,” added the former Young United Democratic Party (YUDP) leader, who split from the UDP last year.

“As a result, I will be seeking legal advice on what course of action to take. I will be filing a complaint with the Complaints Commissioner to investigate the controversial and discriminating actions taken by the Election and AG office. I will also be writing to the Supervisor of Elections to encourage a new policy or process on how a returning officer can determine a candidate’s eligibility,” he said.

Christian was once a youth leader with the United Democratic Party but after charges against the UDP leader and former premier, McKeeva Bush, were filed, Christian, who was also the chair of the UDP’s Bodden Town Committee, left the party along with the district representatives at the time, Mark Scotland and Dwayne Seymour. He then put himself forward as a candidate with his colleagues under the new People’s National Alliance. However, as shown by the attached letter, the returning officer in Bodden Town disqualified Christian based on Section 62 of the constitution regarding his US passport, based on advice from the Attorney General.

Attorney General Samuel Bulgin has remained silent on this issue, with the exception of a short contribution during the Rivers legal case when he described the exception in the constitution for birthright to other citizenship as a “carve out”. This phrase was picked up by the chief justice in his ruling on Friday declaring that Rivers, despite having and using an American passport, was qualified as the document was not, in fact, an act demonstrating an acknowledgement of allegiance to a foreign power.

Christian aired his frustrations in his statement, noting that he was “confused and disappointed that the AG took no position on Ms Rivers’ case, despite the advice from his chambers on my case." He added, "Obviously he did not stand behind the advice that was given from his office to the election office, which ultimately assisted in the returning officer's decision to disqualify me.” 

While Christian offered his congratulations to Rivers on her historic victory on Friday, he said that the chief justice’s ruling in  terms of the US passport confirmed his position that he was a qualified candidate for the district of Bodden Town.

He said he was grateful the issue was resolved but “disappointed that the Election’s Office, with advice from the Attorney General’s (AG) Chambers, deprived me of the opportunity to also represent the only place I have known as my home despite my place of birth.”

In the wake of the ruling, the Elections Office issued a short statement that it was glad to see that the petition was resolved and the judgment had settled some of the previously uncertain issues concerning eligibility requirements.

“The Elections Office will be guided by this historic decision in the discharge of its duties in future elections,” the officials said.

See the disqualification letter from the returning officer and statements from both Christian and the Elections Office below.

Category: Politics

Comments (63)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    What has now happened, thanks to the CJ's Ruling, is that Christian is now clear to run in the next election. Simple.  He was advised that he could have himself sought a Ruling which he chose not to do – and I disagree that there was not sufficient time. He could have and he Courts would have accommodated him to meet the deadline, but he chose not to do so. All of the blustering and threatening now is useless and distasteful.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Looking at all of these comments are embarassing.  What did Richard do to you all to make fun of him?  Is that your example of CaymanKind?  Or does that only pertain to tourists and not your own people?

    It doesn't matter whether he had won or not?  The opoint is he was advised wrong and should sue but if I was him I would sue the AG directly or whoever did the advising.  I have children in school but wrong is wrong and right is right.  If you have to sue CIG, do it. "If we can't stand for something, we'll fall for everything."  it's time to stand for something.

    • Truthseeker says:

      "If you don't stand for something, you will fall for everything" I think that is the classic phrase. It sounds good, and perhaps even profound, but it is claptrap. Standing for things that don't make sense, that are immoral or just plain illogical or stupid, will never make them right.  Use your brain and don't be influenced by "feel good" utterances. They are the currency of manipulators, such as so many church leaders.  The talk show hosts accept this phrase as Gospel but It has no such legitimacy. It is a phrase taken from the hymnbook of a professional con man.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is not about whether he would have won a seat or not. This is about the fact that he was NOT allowed the opportunity to test it.  And that was clearly WRONG.  The AG should be held accountable for this travesty.

    • Anonymous says:

      Christian was advised by the Elections Office in writing that he could seek a ruling against the Elections Office's decision! He chose not to exercise his rights at that time but is now squeeling about it since the outcome of Tara's case. Well too bad! He needs to go and find something else to do.

    • Anonymous says:

      To be honest, he had ample time to challenge the ruling. He didnt. This could have started and finish with Richard, instead he folded and lost what he never had. Now someone else didnt decide to just take it like that, rode the horse to the bitter end and won. 

      Now Richard wants to get back in a race he never even started?? really? Where was his legal team for advice then? My vote wont be going to him anyway. Id rather send it to west bay so Tara can have it. She fought, Richard put his tail between his legs and went in a corner. Not the type of person I want in government right now. Things rough and we need people who will stand up and go blow for blow.

       

      Damn feather weights.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Here's a citizen who's rights were apparently less than that of Rivers.  Therefore, although it pains me to say it, a law suit is in order!  

    Since were are all about rights, RC should have been able to run.  If the people would have decided against him, then the records/votes would have shown!  Regardless if he stood a chance or not, the opportunity was not afforded to him.

    I wonder, if the AG was trying to save face and $1M on a by-election.  Looks, like $3M on a case here now…Sorry to say but I hope so!

    • Anonymous says:

      Richard allowed this to happen and he needs to understand that. He could have gone to the courts to object but HE CHOSE NOT TO so why make a fuss now, after the fact? In my opinion he does not have a leg to stand on. 

  5. Anonymous9 says:

    I read this through twice. Please correct me if I am wrong but I do not see anywhere that states what country Richard Christian was actually BORN in.

    I think the reason that Caymanians are so wound up about this is because here in Cayman, if your parents are from anywhere but here and you are born here, you have NO birthright to have a Cayman passport. This is not so in many other countries.

    Let's clarify this a bit. BORN!!!! Born means born when you come out of the womb. Tara physically popped out of the womb in the USA. This is what is meant by having a passport by BIRTH, a birthright. Just because your daddy was born in Tampa Florida, does not mean the same thing!!!! If you were born in CAYMAN, if one of your parents was born in Cayman, a Caymanian passport is your birthright. You then CHOOSE to get a US passport because your one of your parents was born in Tampa. (referring to Sharon coz I don't know where Richard Christian was born)

    Get it it??? No, didn't think so.  *facepalm*  GET OVER IT and move it along on Richard and Sharon. Nothing to see here folks.

     

  6. Anonymous says:

    Go Richard. Be a good christian and show us how interested you really were in "serving" your country. That should earn you a first class seat on the UDP's ticket come next elections. 

  7. Anonymous says:

    I hope he sues the AG.

    • Anonymous says:

      Use your brain for a second. Do you understand that sueing the AG means it comes out of the public purse?? How does that benifit the people? There is a problem with the process. help to fix the process not try and milk the country you are supposingly trying to help.  What the hell is wrong woth you people, is money the top of the prioroty list for you people? 

  8. Disgusted! says:

    I agree 100% with RC, I would say that a if action in court is to be taken against the AG, Elections office or CIG it shall be done in an effort to establish change and not have a financial component.  This is a test of who RC really is, is he a typical wannabe politician who is in it for the money, or is he here to make Cayman a better place.  I pray he make the right decision as to what the takeaway will be.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Oh please!  You would not have been successful anyway, just look at the results for those who were to be your running mates. Try to find something constructive to do and better yourself mi son. Suing over this is not the way to do that.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Based on what has been presented here it appears that The Elections Office quite properly sought legal advice from the Attorney General and, based on the advice received made its decision. I believe that the circumstances surrounding the decision may also have been influenced by the disclosures made as it is understood that Mr. Christian disclosed his American citizenship and the fact that he held an American passport but I am not certain that Ms. Rivers did the same. If not, then that would explain the decision of the Returning Officer in WB  as opposed to the BT Returning Officer's decision. If Christian were wise he might decide to use the next four years to prepare himself to contest the next election, rather than wasting his resources to sue the government for funds it does not have. Furthermore it is questionable whether or not Mr. Christian would have been successful in his bid for office.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Although I did not support PNA as I am no fan of ju ju however I do believe that Mr Christian was going to be a winner as he is very much liked by all. He has worked very hard in the Community for many years and is a very decent young man. What is good gor the geese is good for the gander.

    • Anonymous says:

      you must be talking about another Mr. Christian and not the one in the headline.

  12. Anonymous says:

    How much money is this so called Attorney General going to cost us?!!! WTF?!! It is MY opinion that he is just not capable of carrying out these duties, especially to the benifit of this country. He MUST GO! Time to replace him with someone who has the ability to function in this role.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Stop trying to be relevant….move on already. Concentrate on your day job, your chances of winning were slim to none at best. 

    • Anonymous says:

      His slim chances of winning was the reason he backed out in the first place. I pity the idiots on here encouraging him to have a shot at walking away with his pockets full of their own money that could be providing an education for their own children.

  14. Anonymous says:

    So if your real motive was to obtain a seat to try and improve Cayman, you have an opportunity now to show your love for your country.

    If you really love and want to improve the your country think carefully about the situation before taking the next step.

    Some people might say to you, it is a good opportunity to sue elections office, and maybe, you might be the next millionaire. But is that the way you want to serve your country?

  15. WHAT !!!!!!! says:

    He wasnt going too win any how !!!!!!! Take a chill pill all lets all work together for the good of the country…

  16. Anonymous says:

    I do agree with Richard about this being unfair to him, whether or not he would have been elected isnt the highest priority. Only a clear and level playing field should be there for all runners and for the voters.

    Now that I've said my my politically correct statement, let me add some more bits to this meal.

    Richard, this article has made it clear to me and alot of my family members of bodden town, that you will not get any of our votes atleast for a good decade.

    Let me explain why; While I feel your pain, to me and MANY others, if you were more humble about this you unfairness, you would have went further as a person. Many people had signed up to run for politics and the hardest thing to do, during election was the seperate the people who were really there for the country vs personal gains. You my friend have made it clear that, you lost out and someone is going to PAY some way or another.

    You could have easily said to the current adminstration that, " Hey, something is wrong here and it needs to be fixed, what can we as educated leaders in our community do about it"  be proactive, and show the people, who were either not on your side, or on the fence about you, that you are for cayman and not just in for blood and justice of your own sake. Go and do some community work, I have NEVER seen you in Bodden Town(me personally) until the election. I would have used this free publicity to show people that while the decisionto kick me out was incorrect, I can take it and deal with it as a man and try to  fix the system with or without anyones help. All this lawyering up and talking about your options, just sounds like you are another dollar and cents guy. 

    Hear me again, You are right to be upset, you were wronged. I completely agree, BUT as somebody who is looking at the political stage, you have come off as a media hot head at this time. Your maturity to handle being treated unfairly is apparent, and as you can see, from the election  the media circus and loud mouth attitude wasnt wanted anymore.  Sometime silence is the strongest assets and you have shown that your egerness to strike back quickly only shows your weakness.

     

    Hope it works out for you Young fella

  17. Anonymous says:

    This saved him 30K.

  18. Anonymous says:

    damn right.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Here we go again! Elections still na done apparently…and now someone who claimed to be offering himself as a candidate to help his country (as an electoral candidate) will probably end up bleeding the public purse and fattening his wallet because we still can't get it right.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Wonder if things would have been different if he had a Jamaican passport?

    • Anonymous says:

      If Mac had his way our government would be all Jamaicans.

      • Cayman stew says:

        fo-fool, pretty much half of Cayman is Jamaican related, so put your biasness somewhere else!

        • Anonymous says:

          That is indeed an unfortunate fact, yet it will never warrant us a jamaican government.

  21. Just Commentin' says:

    I beg to differ. This is not indicative of "official bias"; it is an indication of official stupidity and incompetence.

    I have maintained all along that Mr. Christian was not disqualified merely on the grounds of possession and use of the U.S. passport.  The U.S. passport is a travel document and has nothing to do with allegiance. I love to laugh at morons, especially morons in Government because they need to be exposed and then booted out to make this land a better place to live. To the Election's Office I give not my last laugh, but  hopefully merely an "intermediate" laugh: Haaaaa!  Told ya so!

    The reason I am hoping this is an "intermediate" laugh is because I would urge Mr. Christian to forget the petty issue of filing a complaint.Get a good attorney, Mr. Christian, and file a lawsuit. If you win I will post the last laugh to the Elections Office and the AG's office here. It seems that maybe, just maybe, if the Cayman Islands Government looses enough money by way of court judgements maybe, just maybe they will get the message that you cannot play fast and loose with the rules and the laws any more.

    Government has already lost millions by way of compensation due to poor judgement and incompetence. How much more of our money needs to be squandered before someone gets out the broom and starts sweeping?  (Alden? You there? We need to hear from you on this!)
     

    This is not the 1970's . Government officials and the legal department can no longer make things up as they go along. Incompetency and poor judgement will get rooted out and exposed.

  22. Anonymous says:

    He should sue and the govt. should be ashamed of themselves. What sort of Attorney General do we have anyway? Giving legal opinions that cannot be relied upon??? Sue sue sue … I can't blame Mr. Christian one bit.

  23. Blessed says:

    Ricahrd go for it!!   These ppl for far too long have been abusing us and treating us on different palying fields!!  So the country and and those individuals that instructed you that you were not qualified. 

  24. Anonymous101 says:

    Well if the Chief Justice exonerates Tara Rivers for using a U.S. passport, why wasn't Mr. Christian allowed to run in the 2013 elections?  Something is not right about that

  25. Anonymous says:

    Isn't it amazing that the AG once again may cost us expense? It has been common pratice, and for good reason to not state a person is not qualified to run because of this very reason?

    The AG would have s.63 of the Constitution (as far as I recall at the moment) to bring an action against any ELECTED MLA, after being in office as soon as a complaint/reason for investigation into a person has been received.

    At this point it is really my opinion and strong belief, that the AG's office, including his assistant/deputy, must be held accountable for this continual display of poor practices that keep creating expense for us all.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Dear Sir, you have some very valid concerns.  Please join the line now!  It shouldn't take more than a decade to see you.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Never trust a man who thinks he looks good showing that much cuff.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I don't know which concerns me the most, Richards spelling moot as mute or the obviously incorrect usage.

    • Anonymous says:

      You should be very concerned, but about yourself.  You are pointing out a mistake in someone's speech, that isn't even a mistake.

      Mr. Christian used the word "mute" to indicate the silence of the mentioned persons/parties (since I have to spell it out for you) and did not intend to use "moot" as you so indicated.

      You should stick to the point and offer relevant comment.

  29. Useless OCC says:

    The OCC is useless…

     

    Don't bother filing a complaint to the OCC: after giving you a long run around, you'll get absolutely nowhere…

     

    It's a department created to give the illusion that there is some inexpensive recourse against government abuses, when there is none other than filing an expensive lawsuit…

     

  30. Anonymous says:

    I agree that Election Officials did show Mr. Christian biase however lets all be real here and admit that it is VERY unlikely that he would have attained a seat in the disrict of Bodden Town anyway, just look at how "well" Mark and Joke Joke… I mean John John did in the May 2013 elections. 

    Bobo my best advice to you is to look at it like this, theysaved you $1,000 and many copusous about of dollars you would have spent on campaining….  well actually you may have gotten back the $1,000 considering the low polling numbers your PNA canidates recieved.

    Anyway best of luck to you bobo and don't forget the next election is just 3 years and 9 months away so start campaining from now… look at Thersa she didn't stop even after her loss in the 2009 elections and this year she was on the heels of taking that 4th seat from Al Suckoo and he only beat her by about 30 or so votes. Go for it! 

     

     

  31. Anonymous says:

    We should have a BYE-PPM-ELECTION  in bodden town.Good Luck Richard 🙂

    A Court case won for Ms Tara Rivers a win for westbayers price tag CI 45,000.00;A Court case won by Sandra Catron a win for the police Budget  price tag CI 3,000.00;A Court case win by Richard Christian a win for Discrimination and Political fearness price tag CI 210,000.00;A Court case lost by Keke(Best Goalkeeper) a win for  Northward prison football  team price tag CI PRICELESS!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. Anonymous says:

    How can Tara be eligible but Richard not? It's contradictory. And as for that "feel good" statement from the elections office, well that's just plain weird. What a mess!

    • Anonymous says:

      Richard volunteered information about his U.S. citizenship and passport which Tara did not. Obviously any legal advice given must be on the basis of the facts presented. There is no reason to believe the advice would have been any different if the same information had been presented for both candidates. All that has happened is that the CJ has interpreted the constitution differently.    

  33. Anonymous says:

    I prdict this will be a non-starter, advice is given on the Law and precedents avaliable AT THE TIME, CJ by his ruling has completely moved the goal posts….

  34. Anonymous says:

    Getting conflicting information from Cayman Government civil servants is nothing new.

  35. Young_Caymanian87 says:

    Why is there such a fuss, Richard knows why he is disqualified and needs to stop playing the 'victim'.  And sorry to say but he was not going to get any substanital numbers at the polls in any case……   Keep it real folks!

  36. Anonymous says:

    He wasnt gonna win anyway so whats his problem

  37. Anonymous says:

    It certainly was unfair what happened. However, sorry to say, Richard wouldn’t have had a chance given the high caliber of candidates in the last election. I think he should let this go and put himself forth if he so desires in 2017.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Mr Christian is absolutely correct in my opinion and shame on all those self serving people who refuse to keep the playing field level and equal for all candidates.

    Oh, and I don't care how you vote on this comment.

    • Anonymous says:

      The correct process is through the courts and that is what should happen. None of us are really fit to judge his claims, and I am not sure the election result would have changed much, given that UDP and its former associates were pretty much decimated at the election.

    • Peanuts says:

      He better thank the good lord that the Ellections Officw save him the $1,000.00 Deposit.

    • And another Ting says:

      Looks like the  AG is  "Haunted".  Every few days there is talk about this man's bad decisions he has made god knows what awaits.  It is troubling really troubling, because, the AG gave advice that made Christian ineligibe yet the Highest Law of the Land granted eligibility to another; these two High positioned servants are in conflict in more ways than one.  Clearly we have a serious problem and the UK needs to step in because Justice aint Justice no more in Cayman and the judicial system is beginning to stink worse than a rotten egg.  And another ting.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nothing new there mac, you never DID care.

    • Cayman Mama says:

      The CJ's precedent setting ruling is not retroactive, so Mr. Christian was not poorly advised.  It was suggested he seek a ruling from the Courts which he did not do.  

       

      • Just Commentin' says:

        Riddle me this Oh Wise One: Was there time to obtain a ruling form the court?  Just checking your grasp of things. 
         

        Gleaning from the testimony of a very well-experienced expert witness whose illustrious legal career is based on dealing with and teaching U.S. law, we can say without a doubt that Mr. Christian was indeed quite poorly advised.  I am no expert in U.S. law but I can read; when the plight of Mr. Christian came to my attention I was certain beyond any doubt that the Elections Office did not do their homework, played fast and loose with their responsibility, and rendered a faulty opinion in dismissing his candidacy. Now their folly has been exposed.

        Where you and I agree is that the Elections Office was not showing bias. They were just being stupid.

        • Anonymous says:

          The Elections Office was not being stupid. Their decision reflected the advice given by the AG which in turn reflected the decisions in the case authorities then available from other jurisdictions. I would wager that many attorneys would have had a similar view. Obviously, there were two U.S. legal experts in this case and they disagreed as to whether holding, renewing and travelling on a U.S. passport meant that one had acknowledged allegiance to the U.S.  It is plain nonsense to say, in the absence of this decision by the Chief Justice, that it was "certain beyond doubt" on nomination day that he was qualified.

          Clearly, there WAS time to obtain a court ruling. That was a matter that could and would have been expedited. Christian chose not to do so and so there is no use whining now.

          I am not sure who you say Christian was "poorly advised" by. Pleasebear in mind that it is not the Elections Office's or the AG's responsibility to "advise" him.  It is a matter for each candidate to obtain his or her own legal advice.   

    • Anony-noying says:

      Proving once again how little people understand the system they are actually operating under. Richard said “yes I have a US passport”. Tara said “<silence>”. Based on the information at hand Richard was told he couldn’t run – but that he could appeal that decision. (He didn’t bother to appeal.) Based on Tara’s non-information there was nothing to say. So, for Richard to prove bias he would have to prove that they wouldn’t have treated Tara the same as him if she had told them she had a US passport. Good luck with that.

       

      As for expecting the AG to argue in court, again not understanding the process. The attorneys give an informed opinion. The court decides. The AG and the government had no dog in that court room. Whatever the court decided that’s what will inform the attorneys opinion at the next election. But it would be too much to expect political animals to understand apolitical opinion.

    • Anonymous says:

      It was two opinions and interpretations given by two different persons.   One by the attorney general, and the other by the chief justice.   The attorney general would have know way of knowing how a judge would view this 6 months down the line. 

      The arguments aboutbias and unlevel playing fields are baseless.   This would be different if the same person gave different opinions to two people.   It is unfortunate that you and others cant comprehend this. 

       

  39. Anonymous says:

    Big Money Big money dat! there goes Marco's Budget freeze Christian is Cayman's next millionaire

    • Anonymous says:

      He will lose, and he will be left standing in line with the UDP's kind of christian. Our beloved country is finally moving FORWARD and nothing on the face of this earth is going to hinder it any longer.

    • Anonymous says:

      LOL. No quantifiable damages in this case.