Order for new MLAs overdue

| 19/01/2011

(CNS): The Cayman Islands governor has said that he expects the order regarding the findings of the Electoral Boundary Commission to come to the Legislative Assembly soon but no date has been set. Although the commission completed its report and submitted its recommendations to the Legislative Assembly almost seven months ago, members have not yet debated the thorny issue of how the country’s parliament will be increased to 18 members, as laid out in the 2009 Constitution. The issue is beginning to raise concerns among members of the LA as there is an expectation that the country’s political landscape will undergo considerable change but as yet no one knows if the government will follow the recommendations of the commission.

Duncan Taylor told CNS on Friday that he was anticipating that the order regarding the way forward for the increase in the number of MLAs for the next election would come to the Legislative Assembly “in the very near future”.

There has, however, been no date set for the order based on the report to come to the Legislative Assembly and Deputy Governor Donovan Ebanks revealed last week that he did not know when the order would come as he answered questions about preparations for the full implementation of the country’s constitution and the bill of rights.

Ezzard Miller pointed out that the order based on the boundary commission’s report was overdue and the clock was ticking towards the next election. The commission, which completed its work in June of last year, recommended that the government introduce a seventh electoral district.

Falling short of directly recommending single member constituencies, the commission said it had found considerable support on Grand Cayman during its public consultation period for one member-one vote. Although there is some support from some MLAs, including Ezzard Miller and some members of the opposition, it is understood that government is opposed to one member-one vote.

Explaining the reasoning behind the seventh district, the commission said that with the growing population in the George Town area, voters would be given a powerful political advantage if the country maintained the six districts and merely added seats. It said the creation of a seventh electoral district for Grand Cayman on the edge of the capital, called Prospect-Spotts, could accommodate the three new members as required by the Cayman Islands Constitution 2009.

If the government chose not to introduce the new constituency, the commission said, the population numbers would dictate that two seats would have to go to George Town and the third to Bodden Town.

The commissioners found that all the evidence pointed to the Prospect and Savannah area as the fastest growing and the most logical place to create a new electoral district, which would create a better balance of power. The new district recommended by the commission would include voters from east of the current capital and west of the country’s historical capital, creating a fair distribution of voters.

The commission outlined how government could choose the more controversial option of one member-one vote constituencies, which would mean dividing all three islands into 18 new electoral districts.

George Town and West Bay would then be divided into four separate constituencies, the new Prospect-Spotts district and Bodden Town would both be broken into three, while North Side and East End would remain as individual single-member constituencies.

Meanwhile, the Sister Islands would be separated into two districts incorporating Cayman Brac West and Little Cayman and Cayman Brac East, a move to which voters in the Sister Islands have said they are fundamentally opposed.

Whatever the decision, the balance in voter numbers in the Sister Islands remains. As the commission pointed out, with two constituencies or two members on the Brac and Little Cayman, the voting numbers per constituency are far smaller there than in any district in Grand Cayman.

Go to report. 

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  1. Libertarian says:


    You would think that these political delegates would have taken the simplest route of just having ONE Electoral District; i.e., THE CAYMAN ISLANDS.

    We are so small!  Whatever effects the East, effects the West too! 



    • sandra says:

      It could be that they don’t want a national slate of candidates who should be voted on by one person, one vote in the country… where you would have the qualified 15 candidates with the most number of votes take the LA.

      Could it be that the ones who are in power now, are scared of Independents like Ezzard Miller becoming the next Premier???

    • Anonymous says:

      Think about it. Who do you then vote for… everyone votes for a slate (of eighteen?) or one voter one vote. Either way you are going to have a rotten result.  With the former you will result in a 100% vote for the majority paper with no opposition at all. With the latter you will either have the ‘parties’ manipulating the voters to vote for their ‘local’ candidate in preference to eg their party leader or pretty much everybody will vote for their party luminary, with 16th 17th and 18th places (ie last elected members) actually likely to get only a handful of votes.  Separate constituencies are absolutely necessayr for any chance of a representative multi party (plus independents) system

  2. Anonymous says:

    When the general population should have been kicking up a rumpus about how the new constitution was being negotiated, they didn’t; Cayman as usual, let others handle the problem.

    Those ‘others’ went and got their ‘pardies’ along with them and negotiated the best deal for themselves and their friends, both PPM and UDP.

    Now the local majority are caught between the ‘rock’ of the UDP and the ‘hard place’ of the PPM; no room for intelligent neutrals or independents to influence the proceedings now, at this late stage.

    McKeeva Bush will implement whichever bits of this 2009 Constitution that suits keeping him in power and strengthening that power and fight tooth and nail to not implement whatever does not.

    Some of the most vocal of supporters of this constitutional process had only their own interests in mind when bullying and convincing the rest of the population to support and vote for it.

    Now everyone will have to live with the consequences while the supporters of the UDP and PPM fight over the lion’s share of the spoils.

    Welcome to Caribbean gutter politics, Cayman !

  3. Lachlan MacTavish says:

     Single member constituencies = no more single man Government = Government for the people and by the people

  4. peter mitchell says:

    ‘the country’s political landscape’? Spare me… the place is, at best, the size of a small village council, and the behaviour of the ‘politicians’ is the same – benal, mind bendingly arrogant and self serving.

    I agree with Billy Connolly, ‘don’t vote, it just encourages them’….


  5. Island Wide says:

    As a voter, I should be able to pick one member from each district… being that I have lived in George Town, West Bay and now Savannah.

    When one candidate only needs 300 votes to get a seat and another 1500 votes; it’s hard for me to find the fairness in that.

    Someone please explain…

    • Pending says:

      And there lies the problem, picking the same people over and over and over again and again and again.

  6. First and Foremost says:

    This is not a feasible option, there is simply nowhere for them to park.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Given the state of the country and the refusal of the government to even talk about real problems like crime, replacing the current 15 MLAs is long overdue as well.

    • Anonymous says:

      For our size an election should be every two years – not 4 years having to be bogged down with a government that may ruin the economy.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The school children in China is aware that our current political system does not work or make sense. We need to have one district, the Cayman Islands district and qualified voters be given 15 votes to cast for the best 15 out of all the candidates running that they feel suitable to represent them. We don’t need more members in the Legislative Assembly. We have people in there now that has never spoken since elections. The Island is too small to divide it into tiny districts. Whoever is elected in West Bay effects me and everyone else in their actions and policies whether you live in West Bay , Cayman Brac or East End. If such a system was introduced we would end up with the 15 most intelligent and qualified people out of all candidates standing in an election in the Legislative Assembly. If this is introduced today we may have a chance to salvage what we have now and perhaps recover, if not ‘dog eat unna suppa’.

    • Anonymous says:

      Excellent idea. Unfortunately there are a number of influential politicians will never go for it as it would increase the cost of buying sufficient votes with appliances.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Big Mac scuttled electoral reform in 2003, and I am sure it is his intention to do so again. Single member constituencies is not in the best interest of a tyrant who drags his supporters along on his coattails.