PPM backs one man, one vote

| 13/04/2011

(CNS): The opposition leader says that when the PPM is returned to office, one of the first things it will do is introduce one member, one vote and single member constituencies on Grand Cayman. In the face of the current government’s position that it will be retaining the same four multi-member districts and adding seats, despite public opinion, Alden McLaughlin said the PPM backs one man, one vote and any government he leads will introduce it. In retrospect, he said, he wishes that the previous government had insisted on one man, one vote being in the constitution. However, it had offered a compromise to the then opposition during the negotiations in order to maintain local political unity during the UK talks. (Photo Dennie WarrenJr)

Given the UDP’s failure to support the constitution in the end, however, McLaughlin said he regretted that decision, adding that he often regretted many of the concessions the PPM made in order to try and get the UDP’s support during the process and present a united front to the FCO.

“When we came back from London, they told people to vote against it anyway,” the opposition leader said, adding that the concession was made in vain. He explained that the compromise led to the constitution leaving the mode of election up to local legislators and merely called for the increase in size of the parliament from 15 members to 18.

The PPM leader said he believed that the premier’s decision not to introduce one man, one vote is because he perceives that the current system offers some political advantage.

But, McLaughlin stated, the more members in a constituency the more inequitable the system becomes. Echoing comments made by the independent member for North Side, Ezzard Miller, he pointed out that with six members of the parliament coming from George Town, the capital will have a powerful influence on the Legislative Assembly. The opposition leader said the voting system should not be about how members think it will impact their own political future. “What we need is a fair political system,” McLaughlin added.

Although MLAs were set to debate the issue on Monday, further concerns by government of the language of the draft order has seen the critical debate delayed again with no date now set for when the members will discuss how Cayman Islands voters will choose their next government.

Given its clear majority, the position taken by the opposition members and the independent member for North Side for single member constituencies is unlikely to sway the government, although the debate will allow the opposition to put the case, which is believed now to be widely supported across the islands.

Speaking at the North Side meeting on Monday evening, the premier said he supported the current system because Cayman was too small for one man one vote and single member constituencies. He argued that it would lead to greater expectations from the people on government. McKeeva Bush said every constituency would demand its own fire station, school, hospital and other public infrastructure, even though there would only be around 900 voters in each district. He said this is what people from other jurisdictions had told him happened when they introduced it.

“There is nothing wrong with how we elect members now. If it works well, if it’s not broken, why fix it?” he asked rhetorically. “They only want this because they thought they could defeat me.”

Bush said he did not think there was that much support for a move to one man, one vote. However, in its report published last year after a public consultation exercise the Electoral Boundary Commission said that public opinion was in favour of one man, one vote as that was what they were told at every public meeting they attended on Grand Cayman.

Comments during Monday night’s meeting by local attorney Steve McField that there were only nine people at the Boundary’s Bodden Town meeting which he attended, does not take account of the fact that other meetings had much higher attendance. The commissioners also received direct representations for the democratic principle of one member one vote.

A survey by the Chamber of Commerce among its members during the constitutional modernisation process also reflected significant majority support for single member constituencies. Since then commenters on CNS and other web sites andradio talk shows have all expressed support for the need to introduce one man, one vote.

Arguments that this is a vocal minority no longer seem to stand up as there has been very little public support for the current system and the move to give George Town’s constituents six votes while other electors have only one. The decision by government to have six seats in the capital will not only offer those voters far more representation than their fellow countrymen there is also much greater scope for manipulation of the election result as voters use their six votes tactically, an option not open to those in other constituencies. 

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Comments (24)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    PPM – PRO DEMOCRACY

    The PPM have always had a pro-democractic and transparent agenda and it was they who delivered to us the FOI act and the new constitution among many other things in the development of our nation. Irresponsble voters threw it all away for a dictatorial autocracy which has absolutely NO interest in true democracy or what the really people want.  Welcome to the world of McKeeva Bush.

    Thank you voters for putting us in this mess for you should be ashamed of yourselves for you all knew what he was like from hs previous term as leader which was similarly lawless, reckless and under his total control, pro big developers and with a total disregard for his own people.

    It is truely sad to see how far we have progressed under the PPM and how far we have fallen in such a short period of time. Wake up Cayman before it is too late and we fall too far over the cliff.

  2. People for HQ Fence Repair says:

    PPM can go on all they want about One man, One vote or anything else they choose. We, The People For HQ Fence Repair will pay them not the least bit of mind until such time as the fence has been repaired to our satisfaction.

    We shall not be moved.

    PFHQFR

  3. Libertarian says:

    ***** Please… Could not Alden Mclaughlin do this country a hugh favor and at least admit that the Constitution is severely flawed after it was amended and changed “behind closed doors” by religious ministers, interest groups, and the Governor himself? Could not the renown Ezzard Miller or some other influencial leader, pursue a change of document that does guarantee full represention for the people of the Cayman Islands??? Sorry, but our Constitution divides us instead of unites us! Something has to be done with the document! How can a tree grow when its root is thwarts it from growing? At least the PPM should muster and rally themselves together and protest for a more democratic government. I suggest we change the constitutional document altogether! I insist that the electorate was not well informed of what the Constitution entailed. “The opposition leader says that when the PPM is returned to office, one of the first things it will do is introduce one member, one vote and single member constituencies on Grand Cayman.” But do us a favor Alden! How about getting rid of all the districts of division and allow the entire Cayman Islands the right and opportunity to vote from one slate of candidates – one person, one vote! Wouldn’t this be more democratic since the PPM claim to stand for democracy??? That way the MLA’s will be answerable and accountable to the entire electorate, and you wouldn’t have a problem of one district getting more leverage over the other one! Are we not ONE UNIFIED Cayman Islands? Whatever effects us in the East, will effect us in the West. We are interconnected! How can we so small be so divided by districts? Is Alden Mclaughlin willing to united the people of the Cayman Islands under a more democratic system; or, that will be left to Ezzard Miller or another minister? Am I the only one speaking in an empty well? To the MLA’s: Is not the country’s interest at heart more important than your own interest? Why not pursue to change the document and stand up for your people? ***** Libertarian

    • lol says:

      Libertarian, this will never happen! Westbayers are always against Easteners, and Easteners are always against Georgetowners. And don’t even mention Northsiders, they are against Boddentowners, Georgetowners, and every one you can find outside there district. The Brackers are just rock heads and Little Caymanians want to be heard. And there ya have it! The easiest country to conquor is the Cayman Islands, because everybody looks out for themselves.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Mr Bush once said that “every woter has a woice that needs to be hear” but it dont seems like he’s listening to us when we say we want one man one vote!

    • Bush says:

      ah lawd have mercy, SWEETHEART, it’s nah woice, it’s me vioce! And DARLING, it’s nah woter, it’s voter!!! Read my lips: Do I have to tell you to fix your keyboard?!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    One man one vote is the only way to go forward. The bush and julie destructive crew is the worst thing to happen to us.

  6. Anonymous says:

    One man, one vote is the only way the people can cast a fair vote. The current voting standards will be the downfall of Cayman as the party politics grow stronger. The persons voted in must have to work with each other to stop the finger pointing.

    • Son of Thunder says:

      I heard one of the PPM’s prominent supporters on the radio this morning saying that the PPM have supported ‘one person, one vote’ from the outset, & that is very true. I went to most of the meetings of both the PPM & the UDP concerning constitutional advancement & at all the PPM meetings that I went to I heard Tibbetts, McLaughlin, McLean, Eden & others all say very passionately that they were fully in support of one person, one vote. However, at all the UDP meetings that I went to, they (or should I say Mac Bush, because he was the only one who had a say, literally) were very strongly opposed to one person one vote. There may have been some kind of agreements made between the two sides so as to get what each side wanted, but for anyone to try & say that the PPM is against one person one vote is totally wrong.

  7. Michel Lemay says:

    It is still to be seen if the administration in Power (UDP) will go for it. After their stunt to make believe the PPM was against one man one vote and now realizes his mistake let’s see what he’s cooking up now. I will assure you that the PPM will be making a come back and  as Sister Hope-Glidden used to tell us in Young Adult Class Sunday School that admitting and learning from your mistakes, you will come back twice as strong and wiser. She was very rarely wrong if at all. God Bless her Soul and thank you for the many lessons that we can now apply in our everyday challenges. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    This whole thing is going to make the printing of the voting reminder cards very difficult come election time. Make up your minds already, we need to get started printing to make sure we have enough little slips with names on them to hand out to the voters outside the polling stations.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Why didnt PPm implement it when redoing constitution?

  10. Anonymous says:

    The right to vote contained in the Constitution is confined to ‘one man, one vote’ in single member constituencies.

    Section 92 reads: “Any person who is registered as an elector in an electoral district shall, while so registered, be entitled to vote at any election in that district for ***AN*** elected member of the Legislative Assembly, unless he or she is prohibited from so voting by any law in force in the Cayman Islands…”

    Section 89 (Electoral District Boundaries), which merely provides for procedures and considerations for the Commission to take into account in its report, should be read subject to the right to vote which is a substantive right.

    It seems to me that there is a reasonable argument that any law which permits certain electors more than one vote is unconstitutional and discriminatory. Time for a challenge in court.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Alden, whether you realize it or not, Mackeevas action may be in your favour come the next election. This action may very well allow you to continue in the house because of the added numbers.

    I am sure you must realize that come the next election there could be a lot of changes to the people presently serving in the Legislative Assembly.

  12. CSI says:

    This may be nothing more than political posturing by the opposition, but even if it is, it’s the right thing to do. I find the Premier’s comments on this issue are just another indicator of his dictatorial style and mindset. He is quoted in the article as saying, “They only want this because they thought they could defeat me.” Notice he didn’t say, “…defeat the UDP..”, or, “…defeat the current government…”, or anything similar. He very clearly said, “…defeat ME.” The rest of his party members need to give their collective head a shake and their collective ass a kick. They are simply bowing down and kissing the feet of the master, and he is loving every minute of it.

  13. Lachlan MacTavish says:

    Post script to my previous comment.

    I believe passionately that my country is serious trouble. Crime, CIG departments need attention, education, health services,  professional services and tourism need stimulation, you all know the drill by now. It is really simple, areyou more secure and better off in your life than you were 20 years ago. No, so the present system of governing the country is failing the people and failed miserably for the last 2 years.

    I have no personal feelings one way or another about Mr. Bush or Ms. O’connor. The bottom line though is they cannot lead the country out of this mess. Under Mr. Bush’s leadership the country will not grow or prosper. The party system, district system and one man Government will push Cayman into third world status if there is no change. No matter what Mr. Bush says things are not changing. The facts are right in front of everyones eyes. The people and the country are in trouble with no answers. A smaller group is getting richer and the majority is falling behind.

    Cayman, the people, the children can no longer afford to take a chance on floundering leadership and the UDP.

    Change must occur, it is simple common sense, one man one vote will have all my support this election. 

  14. Anonymous says:

    Geesh,,here we go again..can he also say that he will not spend as much as well.

    Typical politician saying…"Sorry I won’t do it again and if you elect me I will do what I said I wouldn’t do last time."

     

    Where is the new blood. We need, young, educated and forward thinking individuals next time around. I’m just tired of these tired and recycled politicians.

    • Recently Elightened says:

      All the “young, educated and forward thinking individuals ” are in the private sector earning their pay, not trying to get elected to get a free ride.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I voted for the UPD in the last general election, whether I will vote for them in the next one, I really can’t say at this point in time. I tend to support the idea of a “one man one vote” in the next general election as it gives greater accountabilty for politicians to do their best in their respective area’s of their community.

    The “one man one vote” will take away politicians hiding from behind the notion, “well it not my portofolio and you’ll have to see this one or that one about the issue or problem that you are facing”

    With the one man one vote, this should also eliminate the “dress up politicians” who contribute nothing in the Legislative Assembly all day long, but yet they earn a hefty salary at the end of the month and with a guaranteed hefty pension as well.

  16. durrrr says:

    "Echoing comments made by the independent member for North Side Ezzard Miller, he pointed out that withsix members of the parliament coming from George Town the capital will have a powerful influence on the Legislative Assembly."

     

    I don’t understand why this is an issue? GT has the highest population, so of course it should have a powerful influence on the LA.

    • Anonymous says:

      07;59

       

      No matter how you cut it, slice it, dice it…GT will have the most seats and the most influence.. They have six seats.