Generation Now defends panel line-up

| 02/04/2012

vote here 2_0.jpg(CNS): One of the organisers of the recent round table debate hosted by local NGO Generation on one man, one vote has defended the make-up of Thursday night’s panel noting that the views of each member differed on the topic in a number of ways.  In an open letter to the media Olivaire Watler faced critics and said that the panel was balanced as each member “approached the discussion from a different perspective, had their own position independent from the other panellists and gave their own reasons for advocating for or against OMOV SMCs” reflecting the current cross-section of views in the Cayman community.

Explaining the selection Watler said Ezzard Miller and McKeeva Bush were the first two panellists to be invited. On the night however the premier was replaced by Cline Glidden as Bush was overseas in Cuba on a Cayman Airways retreat.

The Generation now director went on to explain that the opposition leader was invited because although a declared supporter of one man, one vote, he had previously queried the rush to a referendum this year.

Watler said organisers didn’t solicit the views of Adrianne Webb as she was invited as a member of the boundary commission that had done the most recent objective analysis and research on the country’s current political landscape.

Dick Arch, who is a prominent UDP supporter, was invited Watler said, as he had expressed a differing view on the topic from even if he was a supporter of the principle of one man, one vote. “We considered that Mr. Dick Arch’s perspective would be invaluable,” he wrote.

If the goal was merely to have equal numbers of proponents and opponents for one man one vote, single member constituencies, Watler said the organisers could have just asked the premier and Miller to supply two other persons to support their positions.

“The likelihood is that we would have had six panellists but only two perspectives in that scenario and this would have detracted from the richness of the debate,” Watler stated. “We do not consider that artificially selecting an equal number of proponents for OMOV SMCs on the one hand and multi-vote, multi-member constituencies on the other would necessarily have provided a balance of the perspectives in our community or a thorough discussion of the relevant issues which was our objective.”

Facing the critics of the round table discussion in which most members of the audience who spoke also supported the principle, Watler said the event played a significant role in educating the public about the topic but organisers had received feedback from a few persons that they felt the panel was imbalanced.

See letter in full below

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  1. nauticalone says:

    I listened to the debate and found it very well presented and very eduational!

    Job well done Generation Now and all involved.


  2. Anon says:

    People need to see the bigger picture and stop beign narrow-minded and looking at this as simply "for" or "against" discussion.

    Many of us do not understand the full implication of a decision such as this and I am not going to sign a petition (or not sign one) based on who did and who didn't.

    I want to hear the views, the pros, the cons and hopefully be educated and enlightened in the process.

    I think GN did a good job. This negative feedback of the panel being imbalanced are from people who feel that the panel should have simply consisted of an equal amount of people who were either for or against the topic at hand.

    So I ask the question, if GN had say 4 people, 2 on each side and by the end of the night one of them were so swayed by the arguments of the other side that they were agreeing with them by the end of the discussion would it still be considered imbalanced?

    What I find happening here a lot are a lot of people do not think for themselves, do they do not educate themselves on the issues instead they vote one way or the other because someone they look up to and respect have voted that way and they trust that person so they decide to follow suit.

    Wake up Cayman! Start reading, questioning, this is your future, your children and grandchildren’s future. Get the knowledge to make educated decisions and not decisions simply based on “because my mama, my daddy, my politician or whomever told me to support it”.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Well organized and presented. Congratulations on a job well done.

    And thank you too all who chose to accept and show up.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Although CG was seriously outnumbered on the stage and even with the politician who asked a question from the floor he clearly held his own and made a good showing.

    I was disappointed when Ezzard was asked about the rush that he dodged the question. Perhaps he didn't want to admit getting the UDP out of office was the rush, in this case honesty eluded even independent politicians.

    • Anonymous says:

      You make "getting the UDP out of office was the rush" sound like a bad thing, and thereby keeping the UDP in office a good thing.


      If so, I think you are in the minority with that view.

      • Anonymus says:

        I think the point the OP was trying to make is that it is disingenious to hide a political goal behind a philosophical one. Some people are concerned that while they may support OMOV SMC they don't want (for a variety of reasons) to get involved in a politically motivated petition. Hence the desire for clarity on 'is the "rush" political or not?'

        I won't comment on whether Mr. Miller dodged the question in his answer(s). Part of the problem, however, may be that for some people the petition is political and for others its philosophical and for some its practical and for many it may be a mixture so there is no single straightforward answer.

        • Anonymous says:

          It really does not matter what the motive is. The only issue should be whether it is the right thing to do. The UDP are only suggesting ulterior motives in the hope of stopping their supporters from signing the petition.  

          • Anonymous says:

            The motive is important because transparency is important and manipulation of voters is wrong so your suggestion that right is being done here is misguided.

            I believe in the petition but believe the politicians behind it have been dishonest with the public.

            I also believe the districts need to be relined not based upon traditional district lines. Having a member for 1400 people in North Side and in East End is wrong. An elected representitive for 1400 would give George Town 15 members. You don't hear anything from Ezzard or Arden about this.

            • Anonymous says:

              The number of voters (not population) is certainly an important aspect of determining electoral boundaries but by no means the only relevant considation. With 18 MLAs the average number of voters per MLAS will be 834. If we used the number voters alone this would give GT 7 MLAs. At almost 600 voters each both EE and NS would haveits own MLA.

              The suggestion that GT have 15 of 18 MLAs is so patently ridiculous it must have been intended as a joke.

            • Anonymous says:

              anon 2158 I guess you gave the plan of how to put the dump in Bodden Town while shutting the people up. Afterall if you do it strcikly by numbers GT will get by far the most politicians and would be able to take seriousadvantage of the lesser populated districts.

      • Anonymous says:

        If I am in the minority then what's the rush.  Majority is majority in a democracy be it single member or multiple member constitucies. I have no vote I just like to see honesty in the discussion.

        • Anonymous says:

          I think the point is that what we have now is not truly a democracy. The will of the majority is distorted by the present system.

  5. Anon says:

    Good panel.

    Great discussion.

    Thanks Generation Now.