OMOV passes through LA

| 11/09/2014

(CNS): A government motion to introduce 'one man, one vote' in single member constituencies before the 2017 election has been passed by the Legislative Assembly. In an ironic twist it was backed only by the government members, all of whom were present in the chamber, to affirm the premier’s motion. The two independent members, who have campaigned so hard to ensure the introduction of the electoral reform, abstained from the vote when the premier refused to amend his motion to either include a time line or specify the number of seats to shore up the government commitment to the long awaited voting change.

During the day long debate in the parliament on Wednesday, Premier Alden McLaughlin said that Electoral Boundary Commission would complete their report and the government would amend the legislation all in “good time” for the 2017 ballot but he refused to give the EBC any directions as he said that their remit was constitutionally mandated and that it was up to legislators to decide what recommendations would be accepted.

He pointed out that the constitution already provided for the 18 seats which currently make up the LA and said there was no need to specify since government had not directed anything different and had no plans to increase the number of constituencies. During the debate McLaughlin accused the independent members of being paranoid as he committed to the electoral reform and wondered what was going on in the member for East End’s head.

Arden McLean, who brought an amendment to the government motion, told the premier that what was in his head was the fact that he did not trust his former party colleague, as he pressed the point that there was precedent for setting the terms of reference for the EBC.

McLaughlin said the politicians should not attempt to circumscribe the committee's work and the amendments sought by McLean and seconded by Ezzard Miller were founded on a misunderstanding of the constitution. He said there was nothing in government’s motion about increasing the membership of the House and government was fully committed to the election law amendment well before the 2017 national poll.

Without the changes the two members abstained from the vote, which was carried by the 12 members of government with just Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush and his West Bay colleague, Captain Eugene Ebanks, who had previously voted with the independent members for their OMOV motion earlier this year, voting no. Bernie Bush, who is understood to support OMOV, was absent from the chamber at the time.

During the debate McLaughlin had indicated that while the issue was very important to a few very vocal people, it was not necessarily a priority but he was glad to have dealt with the issue and reach a consensus across his government. However, the motion is just a first step towards the electoral reform, which, despite some detractors, had the backing of a majority of voters in a 2012 referendum.

Members made brief contributions to the motion, in particular back-bench Al Suckoo, who had pushed the boundaries with the PPM party when he voted against the government line earlier this year and backed a private member's bill for the reform brought by McLean and Miller. He pointed out that he had been elected by the people of Bodden Town on a mandate to bring OMOV in SMCs and he had made a decision to do it no matter what the impact on his political career.

The three Coalition for Cayman members also all stood tooffer their backing for the reform. Roy McTaggart and Winston Connolly emphasized their long standing and unequivocal support for the reform, making it clear they were not the stumbling blocks that the premier had previously implied were in his government. McTaggart congratulated the two independent members for keeping up the pressure to ensure the introduction of OMOV.

Tara Rivers, who represents the district of West Bay and the only area of the country that had a slight majority against OMOV in the referendum, indicated she believed in equality of voting but said little about whether or not she backed SMCs and said it may not be the most perfect voting system but it was right for government to make the change as equality was fundamentally important.

Marco Archer, who had missed the last vote, made it clear he was delighted with the move to begin work on the reform and that the government could get back to addressing the critical issues facing the country.

Meanwhile, Bush accepted that the government had the numbers to make the change but warned that the country would “chew off more than it could swallow” with the vote as he raised his long standing objection to the change, which he said would herald in garrison politics in some areas of the country. He said that the existing system had served Cayman well and that the government should think very hard before it started chopping up the districts.

McLaughlin said that equal suffrage had been on the political agenda for a long time and it was an “honour and a privilege” but government had battled through “political storms” to reach this point.

McLaughlin has not yet given a date for the start of the EBC but the governor is expected to appoint a chair shortly and then the premier and the opposition leader will appoint a member each to the commission.

Category: Politics

Comments (58)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It is obvious most of you have no clue what one man one vote means!   Just like you have a slew of candidates now so you will with OMOV.  The difference is that in each electoral district instead of several persons from one party you will have one person per party plus independents of course and ultimately what you are creating is the party system we never wanted in the past.  Because whether you like the candidate or not if he or she is with the party you like that "forces" you to vote for him so the other party won't win.   Yes yes you can refuse to vote like we do now but my point is it's more about party than person from that moment on!    Lots more but there should be better public education on this because most don't get it!

  2. Anonyanmous says:

    Thank you Mr. Premier, now this should shut up the hosts of Cross Talk, especially Mr. Harris who always want to talk while everyone else listens, he must have the last word.  He is always blah, blah, blah, caller you have 60 seconds, caller are you there? blah, blah, blah (20 mins) next caller.  The Jordanian, well you see the OMOV is not a good thing, caller you have 2 seconds, alrite the government don't need… well caller leave us there, blah, blah, blah (30 minutes) lets go to the phone, next caller (phone is silent) I guess the caller has left. Blah,  blah, blah, blah, yap, yap (5 minutes) next caller, hellow, I agree with OMOV and the Premier did a good thing…. caller leave us there.  Blah, blah, blah (45 minutes) next caller, phone line is silent. Phone does not ring, closing comments well today was a good show as people did not call in too much they are more interested in listening.  Really, now really? Tell you what people are turned off by you constant yap, yap, yap and not allowing them to talk, they have turned to the best talk on radio on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday, when there is an excellent host who knows how to communicate and let people participate.  So you go right ahead and yap, yap, yap the Premier did what you thought he would never do.  People are going to do what you think they will never do, they will leave you with your blah, blah, yap, yap and find somewhere they are valued and are given the time to express themselves without being reminded caller you have 60 seconds left.  Yes there are long winded people but do you know how the professional host on the other radio show on M, W and F operates he gently nuges them along and where there are calls he will say well caller there is another caller on line please wrap up now so that I can take that call but do call us back if you have to talk some more.  Hosts of Cross Talk that is how you deal with people not "caller you have 60 seconds left and please leave us there and there is a 2 calls policy per day limit.  Pretty soon you will have all the time from 7 – 10 to blah, blah, yap, yap and critize the government, people are listening and many are turned off tuning out and flocking to the next show even if it is now only for three days.  

    • Anonymous says:

      What is the point in your post? Ihave never read more CRAP in all my life. Did you read the article?

      Tell you what, CHANGE THE STATON. I stopped listening to that a long time ago, bad for your health!

    • Anonymous says:

      i agree with you,  that guy Austin just talks WAY WAY to much !!!!!!  he makes the show BAD !!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard and Arden talk about equality in voting and people's rights but when the East End and North Side districts are so much smaller than other districts then they are supporting inequity.

    Do they talk about this inequity?  Of couse not, instead they point fingers at the Sister Islands which begs the question or in other words, politician double talk. 

  4. Anonymous says:

    I believe the best way to satisfy both sides on this issue is to go to both a national vote and SMC. The larger districts of West Bay, George Town and Bodden Town each have two representatives, East End, North Side, Cayman Brac and little Cayman each one, for a total of nine. These nine representatives would be primarily responsible for and accountable to their individual districts needs. The other nine representatives could be elected in national elections from an 'at large' slate of candidates. I believe if this method was used we would get a much better calibre set of representatives. If the current proposed method is implemented I believe this would be a step backwards. What happens under SMC if I feel none of the candidates running in my area are worthy of my vote and representating me? Who do I vote for? 

  5. Anonymous says:

    You poor sad people.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I wouldn't complain if Big Mac had said OMOV will become law unless more than 50% of the electorate go out and vote against it? Do you think we would have OMOV if the referendum had been put in that manner?

  7. Anon says:

    Why can't we have OMOV without single member constituencies?  No one has ever explained that. I have a feeling that we will see a downturn in voter turnout, which has always been very high in the C Is. If no one is running in my constituency that I do not feel should be an MLA or a Cabinet Minsister, I just won't vote. 

    • Anonymous says:

      What? You check that last sentence and correct it.Right now it does not make sense.

    • Anonymous says:

      Accountability is what single member election boundaries will ensure, well to a certain degree.

    • Anonyanmous says:

      Who care anyway if you don't vote? your non vote won't count anyway.  Some politician will win whether you vote or not.

  8. Sam Putt Putt says:

    Finally. Someone did the right thing.

  9. Anonymous says:

    "McLaughlin had indicated that while the issue was very important to a few very vocal people."  He keeps making this claim.  If it is true there was no need for him to move the bill.  He knows very well that many people voted PPM because of their promise of OMOV  not just a "few"; enough to give them a win in the election..  They have to make this happen or find a new line of work!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard was one of the biggest pushers for OMOV, but I guess when it put his position at risk, he about faces..

  11. Anonymous says:

    Alden is messing around with people but in 2017 your actions will rewarded lol! changing time now bobo, NO MORE MESSING AROUND! gt voter

  12. Anonymous says:

    The only real issue with this voting system is that we are opening the doors for the likes of Ellio and Frank to be reelected in some strategically targeted sections of their districts. There is added incentive for McKeevas "dumbing down the vote" strategy to become much more mainstream. Look how long it has worked for him.

    Vote Frank, Scranton 2017!

    • Anonyanmous says:

      As much as I would not want to vote for Frank or Ellio, I would much rather vote for either of the two than some stuffy banker, lawyer or accountant that will attempt to run for office just to further his elite society cause and in turn only cater to their demands.  I don't want garrison neighbourhood neither do I want to live in a society that seeks to destroy the middle class and only seek to have only two classes of people the rich and the poor and none in between.  

  13. Anonymous says:

    The East End & North Side members seem to be against everything and no doubt will have their reasons but they really appear obstructionist.

  14. Anonymoush says:

    Well done PPM – Special thanks to Alva and Tony – now we will have equality – When your political careers are over we will ensure that you are remembered for this fight.

  15. Anonymous says:

    THIS IS A TRICK

    ALDEN dont want OMOV any more than I dont want a hole in my head. Why wont he commit to a time, why wont he say how many seats. I am willing to wager this will go no where. It is only but a promise and as we all know a promise is a comfort to a fools heart

  16. Anonymous says:

    To Arden and Ezzard,

     

    Have you heard of the saying "Half a loaf is better than none"?

     

    Who is playing childish politics now with OMOV? If you cant get it EXACTLY how you want it YOU not voting???? Man, time for unna to go home!!!I

     

    It's a good thing Alden has a majority with him to pass OMOV, if WE THE PEOPLE had to rely on you two to get OMOV passed I guess we would still be where McKeeva wanted us to be since you abstained. Now I understand that you two will oppose anything that Alden himself is involved with, REGARDLESS if it is the right thing.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Why do we need 18 members? Join East End and Northside together and have 1 rep.. lol would live to see Lizard and McLean fight for 800 votes… still less than any other district for the 140k per yr salary…

    • Anonymous says:

      I would laugh, and laugh, and then laugh some more if North Side and East End were merged into one constituency.

      • Anonymous says:

        You will have to forgo that laugh. Not happening since it would mean that CB-LC would also only need one MLA to represent them. They have less voters that EE and NS combined.

      • Anonyanmous says:

        Laugh as much as you want it won't happen just as much as you won't see the entire Spotts/Newlands considered as the voting district of Savannah/Bodden Town.

      • Anonymous says:

        Unless we double the number of MLAs, they will have to be merged. There are what, 18,000 registered voters? So 18 SMCs with 1,000 voters in each.

        Otherwise, votes cast in EE and NS will be worth double a vote in GT – which would defeat the whole purpose of OMOV (ie equality of voting)

        • Anonymous says:

          You are so focussed on EE and NS because you hate Arden and Ezzard you are missing the fact that CB-LC has less voters than EE and NS combined and so would need only one MLA as well.  

          • Anonymous says:

            I don't hate either of them. I don't think they are good politicians, but I actually like them both.

             

            But to answer your point, yes, the Brac and Little should only have one MLA. Equality of voting is the whole point of OMOV, so each SMC has to have roughly the same number of voters in it.

    • Anonymous says:

      I totally agree with you.  If this commission doesn't come back with a suggestion to join east end and north side then we will be going from one unfair system to another.  CB/LC are the only only districts protected by the constitution from being altered.  If EE and NS stays the same they will only have about 550 voters in their constituency but GT,BT and WB will all have over 1,100 (double) in their constituency.  That surely can't be fair.  If I remember correctly this whole equality debate started by the EE and NS reps saying how unfair it was for GT voters to have more votes than them (which I agree is unfair).  But now they think its ok to be elected by half of the numbers of voters than every other MLA.  

  18. Anonymous says:

    Zzzzzzzzz nothing will happen this is just for show

  19. Anonymous says:

    Bring in the change by 2017 or a lot of you all would be looking jobs on rooster fm like foolio! gt voter

  20. Anonymous says:

    Leave the stupid district system for what it is and go for country wide candidates, so everybody can vote for anybody.

    Districts come from a time when people were born and died in the same district, never left the island or visited another district.

    Have four political parties with clear policies and reduce the amount of mla's to 9.

    Grow up . . . . .

  21. Anonymous says:

    It won't change a thing.

    You are still voting for the same type of people: Narcistic businessmen that only care about themselves.

    And still it won't be possible as a westbayer to vote for a candidate of North Side.

    Therefor we will never get the best people to do the job.

    Just stay home with the next elections, because nothing will change.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I am plashed that they are taking the first step.  But not convinced that the PPM is going to follow through on this.  I believe they do not want it and are just trying to go find a way to put it off until it is too late or hoping the commission will come up with something they can use to kill it.   I believe June 2015 is when the Premier said it would be a done deal.  He did not have the balls to put that date in the bill, makes me wonder.  But I will give him the benefit of the doubt.  If it is not done by then I will be one of the many PPM supporters totally jumping ship. So I ask the PPM " what is in your political future?"

  23. Senses says:

    Talk about senses with OMOV: C4C was blinded by power and now silent? We did not vote for you to abstain from voting. You were elected to represent us for the matter that came to a vote. By delaying your voice waiting for amendments you showed you have no compass. A vote is a yes or a no and leaders are supposed to take sides. Your people told you how to vote, but you ignored us.

  24. Hear hear says:

    The independent numbers that we voted in have been a huge disappointment.. I am sorry as a businessman I voted for them. I thought highly educated corporate community members would be better than career politicians, but they have proven to be a complete disgrace to their constituents who voted them in.

    Tara and Winston have failed us with education. By giving us charter schools as a magic potion instead of better testing and increased accountability for results.  The National workforce development agency is a complete farce and has no teeth. There's statistics are manipulated and the internal petty politics are a shambles. We still watch as qualified locals lose out to work permit applications every single time.

    Roy has been locked away in an ivory tower only poking his accountant head out occasionally to support Marco. Is ministries are a battleground for Crohn's and again we had such high hopes are for such well respected members of our community..

    by abstaining from the vote they have proven once again they have no thought process of their own and have joined the ranks of politicians instead of perceptive people that we can rely on.

    I think there were many of us that feel we would get better with a better class of representatives, so what do we do you know when independence don't even tell us which way they vote? OMOV – C4C perhaps you should go back and look at your election speeches?

    CNS note: The statement that the C4C members abstained is incorrect. The article clearly states:

    "The three Coalition for Cayman members also all stood to offer their backing for the reform. Roy McTaggart and Winston Connolly emphasized their long standing and unequivocal support for the reform, making it clear they were not the stumbling blocks that the premier had previously implied were in his government. McTaggart congratulated the two independent members for keeping up the pressure to ensure the introduction of OMOV."

  25. Anonymous says:

    Facing a CI 50 million hole in next year’s budget,The PPM Government  have said preserving public safety services is a priority. Emergency Medical Services, alone, projects a CI 1 million shortfall, while the fire department has a $1.2 deficit to fill in order to keep 12 firefighters whose positions are funded by an expiring grant.Amid these challenges, one cost-saving idea that has been floated around PPM government is receiving a chilly response from the Health Services Authority: consolidating the fire and EMS services as so many other counties in Florida have done.

    PPM projects that merging fire and EMS services could save CI 1 million just in administrative positions.It has been proven, tried and true, not only in Florida but in the United States.PPM said 71 percent of Florida counties operate combined fire and EMS systems,It is a natural evolution of fire service and EMS. People are getting more bang for their buck for having a fire-based EMS system. People have to put aside pride and politics and look at what is best for the overall community.Our focus is EMS,every firefighter is dual trained to provide medical services as well as fire.HSA isn’t the only one who sees merit in the idea. An internal audit of EMS in May 2013 resulted in a recommendation for EMS and the fire department to consider hiring an external consultant to recommend positioning of staff and equipment of EMS and the fire department.EMS and the fire services should work together to achieve system efficiencies.Even if there was, officials acknowledge that consolidation is a controversial topic, and a number of EMS and fire administrators, as well as PPM government, were reluctant to even talk about it.

    The ambulance service is funded through two sources of revenue, patient billing and taxpayers.Through the consolidation, we have reduced the amount of tax dollars to fund the ambulance service,the savings in consolidation came from eliminating redundant administrative positions and increasing revenue. He estimated the merger will eliminate 5 managerial positions from the Emergency Medical Services.That is where the bulk of savings came in reducing the duplicate management positions,we did not reduce the boots on the ground. We reduced the management staff significantly.

    I would never suggest that fire-based EMS is the only solution,but are few dinosaurs out there who continue to insist that EMS can only be effectively provided by non-fire department providers.I hope they are watching carefully as the rest of us,the people that who desire to have a community-based EMS delivered by competent and caring providers,regardless of agency affiliation,kick them to the curb.

    Your agency can only be as good as the personal you retain;if you continue to recruit people who can't do the job,the community shouldn't be surprised if the situation won't work.Volunter or career,you get what you pay for,and if the community doesn't  invest in good training,good equipment,good leadership,and good methods of keeping personnel,they shouldn't be surprised if all they get is a crappy EMS system.

    I would never suggest that fire-based EMS is the ONLY solution, but there are a few dinosaurs out there who continue to insist that EMS can only be effectively provided by non-fire department providers. – See more at: http://www.firehousezen.com/2010/03/20/mixing-ems-and-the-fire-service/#sthash.fSm0mjuZ.dpuf
  26. Anonymous says:

    Can anyone explain why we bothered with the referendum? If the public wanted OMOV the referendum would have passed – it didn't, and yet these idiots are going to bring it in anyway.

    • Anonymous says:

      The referendum was passed by a substantial majority of those who voted. It didn't pass the artificial majority of the entire electorate selected by McKeeva. That was also a key reason wy many voted for the PPM last year. Obviously, the country is behind this. 

      • Anonymous says:

        The referendum failed. That is a fact.

         

        To claim that 'obviously, the country is behind this' is complete nonsense. If that was true, the referendum would have passed.

         

        You might have grounds for complaintif the 'artificial' majority requirement was imposed after the vote, but it wasn't and many of those who are not in favour of OMOV did not bother casting a 'no' vote as a result (as not voting at all had the same result).

        • Anonymous says:

          Fact:  About 2/3 of those who voted were for it!

        • Anonymous says:

          Rubbish. You cannot read into a failure to cast a ballot that you objected to OMOV. That's more like an abstention.

          57.23% of those who voted supported the Referendum, as compared to just 37% who voted no. That would normally pass even the most major Referendums in other countries. For example, the upcoming Referendum on Independence for Scotland will need the support of only 50%+1 of those who cast ballots. So, according to you, what is good enough for Scottish Independence, a much more serious matter, is not good enough for OMOV in Cayman. How ridiculous.        

          "Might have grounds for complaint"? Obviously if that had happened that would have been unlawful, but I guess that is par for the course for you and your kind.    

          • Anonymous says:

            Not voting would normally be an abstention, but as soon as the referendum was set up like it was (and I'm not saying I agree with it at all), not voting equals no. It's quite simple. Yes there are those who wouldn't have bothered however it was set up, but there would certainly have been a lot more no votes if a majority of those voting was all that was needed for it to pass.

             

            I personally can't see why we need voting districts at all… we should reduce the number of MLAs to 15 and have a national election. Give everyone 3 votes and the 15 with the most votes get in. Simple, and means that everyone can vote for anyone they like, even if they live a whole 5 minutes away

            • Anonymous says:

              Why invent something which will only mean people smaller districts have no representation?  

  27. Anonymous says:

    In other words they have voted on an 'idea' with no real commitment to anything.  Pulling the wool over the electorate eyes, which clearly indicated it wants reform based on the campaign promises.  This government made a u turn and saw that it will hurt their chances of re-election, so this is a clever ploy where nothing has been achieved except to insult the intelligence of the public

    • Anonymous says:

      Or they were sufficiently open minded to listen. Why do some people want the elected Government to be mindful of majority opinion, but quick to criticize when they do actually listen? In any case, while the Honourable Alden McLaughlin is certainly a capable leader, the Progressives are made up of many more, inside and outside of the LA. We supported OMOV long before and it’s good see that it will be implemented during only the second Progressive led Government in history.

      Those of us who have a romantic yearning for “shoot from the hip” Leaders and autocratic Governments should consider where we would be with OMOV today if there was not a Government led by the Progressives.

      • Anonymous says:

        He is 'listening' only because of pressure which is a very different thing to leadership.  I'm sorry I do not share your view that he is a capable leader and I believe the people will remember this fiasco at the next election.

        • Anonymous says:

          I hope so, they certainly didn't remember the previous fiascos of this government, hence why they are in power again!