Mac reveals ballot question

| 16/04/2012

Referendum.jpg(CNS): Voters in the Cayman Islands will be asked just one question in the 18 July referendum on changing the country’s voting system. “Do you support an electoral system of single member constituencies with each elector being entitled to cast only one vote?” The premier has also confirmed that he will be seeking 50% of the entire electorate ratherthan a simple majority of the turnout, despite the fact that this now appears to be a government and not people initiated vote. Fears that the premier may seek to offer a number of alternatives on the ballot were allayed following anational address by McKeeva Bush, which was broadcast on radio and television on Thursday evening.

The premier also launched into a full campaign against the change and focused heavily on what he said were the disadvantages of small single member constituencies. In the address he said very little about the actual principle of one man, one vote. He said that the current system was not broken, even though he had previously admitted that the possibility of George Towners having six votes when others have only one was problematic.

Bush had previously said that his government was going to add the extra three seats as provided for in the new constitution to George Town and Bodden Town, based on the recommendations of the Boundary Commissions 2010 report and the populations of those districts. However, following the groundswell of support for one man, one vote during the campaign for a people-initiated referendum on the subject, Bush made a surprise announcement in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday that he proposed to hold a referendum in July instead.

The premier has stated that government will begin an education campaign against single member constituencies and has outlined what he says is wrong with them. In his radio and TV broadcast on Thursday he said the current system works well and does not need fixing, whereas the new system proposed is open to abuse and manipulation and that change creates uncertainty and risk.

Bush maintained that those campaigning for the change, who have focused on the inequality of multiple votes, were misleading voters.

“They use a quite different term,” he said, but did not use the term one man, one vote which is at the root of the campaign. “(This) suggests the Cayman Islands do not currently have that most basic of democratic rights, equal votes. So please don’t be misled by their language, or their claims that they are righting some fundamental wrong in our democracy.”

The premier warned that because the single member constituencies would be smaller the system would allow for family “bosses” to get elected.

Bush suggested that single member constituencies would destabilize the political system and didn’t to be fixed unless people were planning to fix the election.

Although one man, one vote and single member constituencies are the most common form of democratic voting, the premier made it very clear that his government wishes to maintain the status quo and he pointed to some local council elections in the UK that have been multi-member, although the UK parliament, considered one of the most stable democracies in the world, uses a single member, one man, one vote, first past the post system.

The campaigners for one man, one vote and single member constituencies now have only three months to ensure they get more than 7500 people to vote ‘yes’ in the referendum in order to secure a victory. With such a high bar and up against a government machine campaigning for a ‘No’ vote, the opposition, independent member and local activists will be looking to recruit hundreds of volunteers to go door to door and persuade the electorate that one man, one vote is, despite the premier’s position, more democratic.

The next step in the process towards the referendum is for the government to bring a law to the Legislative Assembly which will spell out the question and the requirement of more than 50% of the electorate to carry the poll.

See the premier’s full statement below.

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  1. Jab Jab says:

    I look forward to voting for 1 Man 1 Vote and ushering in a modern democratic system for Cayman whereby we get one vote towards the party list and the 18 seats will be divided up between the parties (including the single-member, i.e., independent, parties). Just as is done in other advanced democracies with 1M1V; like New Zealand where we got the PSMFL from.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Undecided-but isn't the CNS image with this article a bit biased?

    Being the most popular web-media here, I would think they should  NOT  try to influence the vote either way.

    • AND??? says:

      Look, CNS is practically all the public voice of reason and dissent that Cayman has. 


      How come you didn't comment on Mac using the GOVERNMENT PURSE AND VENUES to influence the vote AGAINST THE ONE MAN ONE VOTE REFERENDUM???  Press release after press release, Mac is using OUR government offices and platform to sway the vote.  WHERE ARE HIS ETHICS?


      Seems to me that CNS is just following our leader's example, so when in Rome, do as the Romans do, I suppose!

    • Anonymous says:

      Reasonable comment…

    • Anonymous says:

      Let me let you in on asecret: all media have their own points of view on any issue and that comes across in any reporting whether it be a news article or an editorial. For example, the Compass is distinctly anti-PPM.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I don't support single member constituencies and I don't think that the measure will pass. No matter what happens, we (voters) are all Caymanians and I wish that we could all work together for the betterment of this country. If the energy that was put into theeffort to get rid of the Premier was directed to the many needs of this community, what a better place the Cayman Islands would be to live in. Imagine if the protesters split into groups and went around the various districts helping their neighbour by repairing their house, mowing their lawn, spending time with a lonely elderly person, mentoring a wayward child, or helping someone learn to read. The needs of the community are so many,  yet countless hours have been spent, and continue to be spent protesting, even as a section of the new road is well on its way to completion. I understand your frustration, but how I wish that you would direct that frustration toward something positive. There seems to be, by many, an unrelenting hatred of the Premier and of Mr. Dart, and unfortunately it has blinded many of you.

    • Anonymous says:

      You seem to miss the point that the principal need of Cayman IS to get rid of the Premier.

    • Anonymous says:

      "I wish that we could all work together".
      A very good point.  Someone needs to tell the Premier that he works for the people and he needs to work for and with us.  Not just tell us how it will be. OMOV will give us more accountability from our elected officials.

  4. Anonymous says:

    To:  on Mon, 04/16/2012 – 15:49.  You are thinking.  So many Caymanians have died over the past 2 years not to mention the ones who were taking out each other every other day last year.  One more point.  Are we allowed to vote if we are in prison?  I left a few of my friends up there last month who were not released with me. 

  5. Polly Tricks says:

    The timing of the vote is cowardly and an insult to democracy.

    The wording of the question is slimy and covwardly.

    The voters of Cayman are being treated with contempt by someone who is putting self-interest before the interests of the people.

    • Explanation says:

      Politricks could you explain your statement more clearly so that those of us who do not understand what you mean may know?  I  for one do not understand. Thank you

      • Polly Tricks says:

        Are you really that out of touch?

        1) Timing – July – like the developers that love to send out planning notices then – the fact that many are away at this time greatly reduces the prospect of a substantial number of voters voting, and voting in sufficient numbers to achieve a change in the law.\\

        2) Wording – the use of the word "only" is an obvious attempt to skew the wording to promote a "No" vote.

        3) All of this is simply because certain politicians in power fear a new system when the old system suits them, even if the new system is fairer and leads to a better more accountable way of electing members of the LA.

  6. FUZZY says:

    The question should read "Do you support an electoral system for the Cayman Is. of single member constituencies with each elector entitled to cast one vote?" Otherwise even if the question gains the required amount of votes we may be told that we did not specify Cayman Is.therefore it will not be implemented.This is obviously a Government initiated referendum since Mr Bush stated that he has not been presented with the petition.We should therefore insist that this require only 50% of the persons who vote and not 50% of total registered voters.I believe the Premier has made a mistake by not waiting for the petition to be presented and we should take advantage of this situation by asking the UK to give an undertaking that this will follow the precedent set by the referendum on constitutional modernisation (a Government initiated referendum) which required a majority of the people voting and not 50% of registered voters.                                                                                              There is one more change that I would like to see made to the Constitution that would really put power in the hands of the people ,and that is a provision for the recall of a MLA.This question would read "Do you support the addition of a section  to  the  Cayman Is. Constitution for the recall of a MLA if a petition for such recall obtains the signatures of 50% +1 of the registered voters in his /her constituency?" This matter could be dealt with after the current referendum or maybe after the next election by  the Premier and the leader of the opposition agreeing to the change.(I don't believe this would be challenged by the electorate.)                                                                                              

  7. phillip says:


    "Do you support an electoral system of single member constituencies?"


    "Do you support each elector being entitled to cast only one vote?"


    Because it is plain as day that many people have an issue with the type of member constituencies for an electoral district. It would be interesting to compare the votes for the one-person-one-vote with the votes of the first question on member constituencies.

    • FRANK N. STEIN says:

      Our thoughts exactly!  My family and I were just saying that and we totally agree!


      Also, include a question about moving the road while we're at it!   With the attention from England and the traction this issue is gainin, Mac should not have made this personal. 


      The days are numbered now!  The people to whom he has summarily ignored will speak loudly at the ballot box!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Is it true that the voter registry will not be updated prior to JUly 18 to ensure that voters who have died since the last revision remain on the list making it harder to get the 50% in favour, or will we find that most of those who died since the last update are recorded as voting against the proposal for OMOV?

  9. Anonymous says:

    I hate to be the one to give advice to McKeeva since he never takes in kindly, but instead of asking the McMorons to vote "against" the measure, wouldn't it be safer to ask them not to vote at all? Afterall, if they don't have a slip with instructions when the enter the booth they could well end up voting "for" the measure, albeit accidentally.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The question has been announced but its meaning remains in question. 

    Some may say that OMOV is going to bring instability in the corruption industry or even scare off investors who like to bribe despots.

    Others may say that OMOV will be responsible for a decline in the availability of free appliances around election time or free driveway paving whenever the mood strikes a politician.

    Still others may say that OMOV threatens a general decline in the worldwide airline industry as political frequent fliers may be removed from their place at the trough.

    There may be a decline in finder's fees for strange financing deals as a result of OMOV, and OMOV may even cause a decline in the turnover of certain condo arrangements.

    Developers may no longer have access to "you don't have to pay the duty as long as I get my cut" arrangements as a result of OMOV,

    Conservation might be taken seriously as a result of OMOV

    Whether these things happen or not it is important that everyone ignores the self interested "educators", learns what OMOV means, participates in the debate and votes in the referendum.   

  11. Anonymous says:

    The question that begs asking is will people really go out and vote regardless of their position on the matter?  I remember during the last elections, I was particularly anxious to see as many Caymanians turn out to vote due to the constitution (again regardless of where one stood on the matter) and I was dumbfounded and floored by the responses I received when I asked people whether they were going out to vote.  Even top business leaders and government officials gave me similar answers which was overwhelmingly to say if they could work it in to their public holiday time off they would go and stay and vote if the lines weren't too long or they had planned to go to the beach or fishing that day and they were serious!!!  Are you kidding me?????  Well if you don't vote then you shouldn't get to moan and complain if you don't like the results that's my two cents!  Of course now the excuse will be because no one gets yet another public holiday to vote (which does not take a full day of work absence to do) that they can't be bothered to vote or don't have time to vote.

  12. Anonymous says:

    With a weak governor who is timid and afraid of Big Mac, and disturbigly quiet?  We really are walking in a land mine most of the time.

    Whatever we do and wherever we go, is at our own risk, there is nowhere to turn.

    Imagine the governor handed over the petition witn 3,000 signatures against the West Bay road closure, that alone was an insult to Caymanians and he has extend himself for one more year I hope it is to render benevolence to the Caymanian people, and reward us something of good will.  Lets see if he lets the people down again if we need him to intervene based on the UDP and its leader's conduct thoroughout this entire process.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Does 50% of the electorate even live in Cayman right now? I am guessing this is an almost impossible vote to get passed with this rule in place.

  14. Anonymous says:

    How can he say 50% of the registered voters have to vote for the referendum for it to be passed? This is now a Government Referndum meaning 50% of the people who actually voted should be able to pass it. Another of McKeeva's tricks. Have the vote in July when people are on vacation and 50% of electoral roll have to vote

    I hope that absentee votes are made available


    • Anonymous says:

      Equally funny is mention of the "bosses" being elected and getting into power and destroying this beautiful country, we only have one of those and he is the one doing all of the talking right now. God, I hate that this could happen to our beautiful Cayman Isles.

  15. EYE ON THE ISLAND says:


    That's the only reason why our fearless leaders is holding the vote? What an insult. Talking down to us is bad Sir. Your investors are first and we are last that is what you are saying to us. That is a political blunder that you can't walk back. You put your investors before the people of this small nation. Your party second and us maybe in third place? I never thought I would hear and see that my leader puts his country in a third class situation but you have and many people can see the same thing I do. Investors first, Politcal party second and maybe Caymanians third? That's how I will vote July 18th on that very question. I care about the people first you don't.

  16. HOWDY U. LikeMeNow says:

    Okay, time to start digging in our spurs and getting on with the 50% +1!


    Here is a message that was sent to certain Patriots and subsequently passed along to other Patriots that have Cayman's best interest at heart on the 14th September, 2011.


    Just a few short months later, the formula is being carried out.  If they were used to plant the seed and the idea to help to shape this historical process, I am pleased to see that my ideas are well under way.


    Good afternoon,

    I am deeply troubled at the events that I am reading in the online newspapers, and feel that I need to step up and volunteer where ever help is needed for the people of the Cayman Islands.


    I wanted to see if any one of you can reply to me and let me know if a People-Initiated Referendum has the momentum to make it successfully to Cabinet right now and if you will support the people of the Cayman Islands in getting this underway.


    Please let me know if I am figuring this correctly, because to get the 25% minimum required signatures that the Constitution says we need, I estimate that only 152 people (or Team Leaders) would be needed to get 25 signatures each to start the Peoples' Referendum Process to get McKeeva's attention to stop this dangerous course he is taking Cayman's future! (152 x 25 = 3,800, and of the 15,187 registered voters in Cayman, this is calculated off of our current total electorate of 15,187 x 0.25 = 3,797).


    Our Constitution states that when that many signatures are collected, Cabinet MUST obey the PEOPLE, NOT the UDP members!


    Since I was reading an archived article concerning voting results and we only needed 152 to get this off the ground, I wanted to know if ALL OF YOU will support this referendum and start with getting the initial 152 Team Leaders.


    The Chamber of Commerce reported the following 2005 numbers of electors that voted for you, and I'm sure you know who your supporters are from your community involvement:

    Candidate                      Total Votes              Percentage of Votes
    Mr. Kurt Tibbetts             2,529                     18%
    Mr. Alden McLaughlin      2,328                     16%
    Ms. Lucille Seymour        2,125                     15%
    Mr. Alfonso Wright           1,646                     12%
    Mr. Anthony Eden           1,623                      25%
    Mr. Charles Clifford          1,186                      18%
    Mr. Osbourne Bodden      1,140                      18%
    Mrs. Edna Moyle               278                       56%
    Mr. Arden V. McLean         344                       66%


    If the 9 of you split up the 152 Team Leaders and could think of 17 VERY STRONG SUPPORTERS and delegate the task to each of them to get 25 people more to sign the referendum, IT'S A WRAP AND WE CAN SAVE THE CAYMAN ISLANDS! Will you help us?


    I am prepared to do whatever you instruct me to do. Once a People Initiated Referendum document can be drawn up, I will happily contact AT LEAST 25 of my Facebook friends, do a name search onthe Elections Office website to confirm that they indeed can be included as eligible signers of this Referendum, and then forward my signers to you so that you can present this to the Cabinet.


    I estimate that since today is already Wednesday, if we take a couple of days to at least get the wording right, it would only take me maybe 2 more days to ask 25 people to sign and get this back from them. I haven't even asked, but I already know who I can ask to sign this, and push come to shove, I can even commit to 25 MORE! So, I think that this could begin wrapping up by next week if we all get cracking on this RIGHT AWAY. Are you in? Your country NEEDS you to SAY YES so that WE CAN STOP THE MADNESS OF GIVING AWAY OUR ISLAND!




    Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce: Candidates' Forum 2005

    The Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce is the leading source for business, investing, financial services, employment, water sports, tourism, moving, weddings, diving, banking, pension, adventure, training, management, real estate, rum, cake and more.)


    • Anonymous says:

      Except for Edna Moyle and Arden McLean your percentages are far off. E.g. Kurt Tibbetts received 69.25% and Alden McLaughlin received 63.75% of the vote in 2005.


      • Anonymous says:

        For the 16 who gave the thumbs down I suggest you visit the elections office website and get the correct data:



        • HOWDY U. LikeMeNow says:
          Actually, I am right and you are right. Where else in the world is that possible…except where a post-elections analysis ends up calculating the percentages from some electors with only ONE VOTE and some electors with FOUR VOTES?
          However, you are wrong in saying that these percentages are mine…in fact, I just re-posted and relied on the information given to us (the general public) from the Chamber of Commerce's website, of which I am again including a link for your easy reference.

          Candidate                            Candidate Votes/Total District Votes     % of Votes
          GT-Mr. Kurt Tibbetts            2,529/14,175                                         18%
          GT-Mr. Alden McLaughlin    2,328/14,175                                         16%
          GT-Ms. Lucille Seymour      2,125/14,175                                          15%
          GT-Mr. Alfonso Wright        1,646/14,175                                           12%
          BT-Mr. Anthony Eden         1,623/6,487                                             25%
          BT-Mr. Charles Clifford       1,186/6,487                                            18%
          BT-Mr. Osbourne Bodden   1,140/6,487                                            18%
          NS-Mrs. Edna Moyle              278/   496                                             56%
          EE-Mr. Arden V. McLean       344/   532                                             66%
                                                                              (as a TOTAL of ALL ballots cast and counted)
          I see that your confusion stems from the Elections Office's website, which also posted an analysis on their website on the final ballot count of the 2005 elections, of which I am also including a link for your easy reference.

          Candidate                             Candidate Votes/People Who Voted       % of Votes
          GT-Mr. Kurt Tibbetts             2,529/3,652                                             69%
          GT-Mr. Alden McLaughlin     2,328/3,652                                             63%
          GT-Ms. Lucille Seymour       2,125/3,652                                             58%
          GT-Mr. Alfonso Wright         1,646/3,652                                              45%
          BT-Mr. Anthony Eden          1,623/2,218                                              73%
          BT-Mr. Charles Clifford        1,186/2,218                                              53%
          BT-Mr. Osbourne Bodden   1,140/2,218                                               51%
          NS-Mrs. Edna Moyle              278/   493                                               56%
          EE-Mr. Arden V. McLean       344/   532                                               64%
                                                                                        (as a TOTAL of ALL electors that voted)

          In the Chamber post-elections analysis, George Town had a total of 14,175 votes that were cast and counted, so it appears that they derived Kurt's 18% by dividing the 2,529 votes he received by the 14,175, thereby giving him 18% of the 100% votes that were counted for George Town. In my opinion, this is a more accurate way to view the winning percentages.
          Because George Towners could vote 4 times, what the Elections Office did is divided Kurt's 2,529 votes by the District total of the 3,652 PEOPLE that voted even if they voted more than one time, thereby posting that his winning percentage was 69%. However, when they did the same thing for the Northsider vote (which only was allowed ONE VOTE PER PERSON), then they correctly posted that Ms. Edna received 56% of the vote, when dividing her 278 votes received by the TOTAL 493 cast in Northside!
          The Elections Office did it right when calculating Ms. Edna's and Arden's votes, because you get a true percentage of the people's total vote. It gets confusing when they posted Kurt winning 69% of the vote and then Alden winning 63% of the vote, because that's more than 100%!
          Sometimes you just got to KEEP IT SIMPLE, SHERLOCK! KEEP IT ONE MAN, ONE VOTE to avoid voter confusion!


          • Anonymous says:

            We agree on one man, one vote. However, we disagree that the Chamber's way is a more accurate way to view the winning percentages. It is not meaningful at all since each voter can vote for any one candidate only once, and a candidate could only receive 100% of the votes cast in a multi-member constituency in the ridiculous scenario where every voter cast only one vote of their four and every voter voted for that candidate. That is an absurd standard to hold a candidate against.  It is also skews comparisons to the success of candidates in other districts with less seats.         


            • Anonymous says:

              So we agree to disagree on the points.  You say tomatoes and I say tomatoes…wait…it's the same thing!


              I agree with you that the comparisons calculated two different ways ultimately skews the end result.  But  you are wrong to think that Arden did better than Alden…Alden had to compete against 12 OTHER CANDIDATES to get his 63.75%, which is 18% of the total pie…Arden was up against just one other player to get his 64.66%…can't slice that any differently than it is!


              In the end, it is only fair for one man to have one vote.  PERIOD.

              • Anonymous says:

                Actually the point is that under the counting system you prefer it would have look as if Arden had done MUCH better than Alden when he had not in fact.

  17. Anonymous says:

    How about, "Do you prefer democracy or shiny new appliances?"

    • Uriel says:

      Perhaps those pushing so hard for the one man vote should really be honest. Firstly, there is nothing undemocratic about 'our voting system, this system is used in other developed countries. What I find hard to understand is why this has taken centre stage, when the country has much more pressing issues it should be dealing with. As for those crying for more power to the people and at the same time campaigning for one man vote, I wonder if the one man vote is'nt taking away some of your voting power? What happens when you can't even vote for the individual you would want to vote for, based on how the districts are split?

      • Anonymous says:

        Equality is the essence of democracy. It is absurd that a person may have 1, 2, 3 or votes simply depending on where they live. That is not a true democracy. Of course it is taking away some of your voting power if you have 4 votes. That is the whole point – you shouldn't have 4 votes to begin with. 

        Obviously as it is currently you can vote for those who are running in your district. I might well like Mr. X who is running in Cayman Brac but he is not running in my constituency. That is a non-issue.     

  18. Caymanian to the Protestors says:

    So the Opposition barks at the Premier to launch the Referendum as soon as possible or eeeeelse!  Little do they know that by launching it so early, it gives the Premier the upper hand!  SHORTER TIME PERIOD FOR MORE SIGNATURES 

  19. Anonymous says:

    I'll believe it when I see it

  20. anonymous says:

    The question should be " Do you want to change this government?"

    • Anonymous says:

      Make the office of Premier an elected one, not a position which by default automatically goes to the leader of the majority party. 

  21. anonymous says:

    I hope the OMOV compaigners request UN and UK Election observers to this carnival.

    This is the first of its type and with the government clearly against it anything can happen. I sadly do not trust them.


    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with you 1000% percent.  If we hve another election like the last one, a certain supporter of the UDP will be at the different polling stations handing out cards with instructions again.  The Premier seems to be very cocksure of himself.  He will be seeking 50% of the vote.  He should not be getting any, because it is because of his greed, why I have to feed my family of four (includng) a bed-ridden mother) with 500.00 per month.  Tell him to send his wife to the supermarket with 500.00 to buy food and household supplies for a month and then admit how much he really paid for it.  I only trust 2 people out of the UDP government and I cannot vote for both, but I will certainly vote for one again.

      • Anonymous says:

        A vote for anyone in the UDP (and some pretending to be independent) is a vote for McKeeva Bush to be Premier. Just be clear on that.

      • Anonymous says:

        That one person must be Ellio…….lol

    • Anonymous says:

      Who can trust this government?  I surely don't and I encourage everyone to vote for OMOV and get the UDP sliding down the mountainside.

  22. Polly Dactyl says:

    The use of the word “only” is an obvious attempt to reduce the “yes” vote.

    • Anonymous says:

      By the unnecessary use of the modifier "only" it has quantified and emphasized what follows it in the sentence i.e. "one" vote. Very tricky, and shouldn't be used.

    • Dr. Crab says:

      Please note what is being requird, 50% of the electorate during July?? Not possible. What is the size of the present electorate ??

    • Anonymous says:

      Absolutely right, the way in which the question is posed is fundamental. That word suggests that the proposed system gives the voter less than he had. Campaigners must concentrate on the understanding that the current system gives them less power because it allows a small number of voters the power to elect blocks of like minded MLA's whilst other voters do not have the same power. In a true democracy all people are equal.

      In your LA, a block of four members can control the voting in a totally unrepresantive way, and thats why Bush can treat the assembly with the contempt he does.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree, it suggests that you are losing something. It should not be in there.

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course it is.  The answer to the question, "do you support an electoral system of single member constituencies with each elector being entitled to cast one vote?" is instinctively yes. One goes with one.


      The answer to the question, "do you support an electoral system of single member constituencies with each elector being entitled to cast only one vote?" is probably for some people, "gee, why's it say 'only' one?  Do I have more than one right now?  I do?  Well, why would I want fewer?  I'll vote no".


      The answer, of course, is that you want only one vote (and everyone else to have one too) because we'll finally be rid of this moronic tyrant. But the way the question is phrased, it invites thinking and doubt.  It prays on selfishness.  The usual reptilian UDP way: nasty, loaded, self-interested.


      I have been very disappointed so far with the response to these moves from the OMOV promoters.  They need to be out front and centre explaining how these moves are attempts to engineer the result and how this referendum is not a fair hearing of electors' views on this subject.  They need to challenge the referendum law in court and explain how only people-initiated referenda have the 50% of the electorate requirement.  We need a fighting fund, we need volunteers, we need flyers and radio spots.  This is not hard people.  

    • Anonymous says:

      VOTE YES.