Referendum bill passed

| 11/05/2012

vote here 2.jpg(CNS): The referendum law was passed on Thursday night, despite the fact that the deputy premier, a Cabinet member, voted against it. The government bill passed without any of the changes proposed by the opposition members. In order for the vote to carry some 7,550 people will need to go to the polls and vote ‘yes ‘on 18 July. Although this is a government and not a people-initiated poll, the UDP administration has opted for the higher threshold for the question to carry. This means 50 per cent of the electorate plus one vote and not a majority of voters who turn out will be required in order to change the country’s voting system, presenting an uphill, if not impossible, battle for the supporters of one man, one vote.

Although a people-initiated referendum would have also required fifty percent of the electorate plus one vote for it to pass, the opposition leader pointed out that under those circumstances government would have been obligated to take a neutral position. At the very least, it would not have been able to use the full weight of the government machinery and resources to campaign full on against the proposal, he observed.

Alden McLaughlin also raised concerns that many civil servants are now  fearful about going to vote since, given the circumstances set by government, the only people who need to go to the polls are those voting ‘Yes’, which could leave them exposed to intimidation. McLaughlin said that despite reassurances from Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, many civil servants are not convinced that they are free to vote their conscience and still fear reprisals, no matter what Manderson has said.

Following a full day’s proceedings in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday to debate the law to facilitate the referendum on one member, one vote and single member constituencies, government refused to accept any changes requested by the opposition or the independent member.

“The government has now completely hi-jacked this process and will be placing its full weight and resources against the question to make sure it fails,” McLaughlin said in the wake of the debate. By emphatically stating its position against one man, one vote and having “polarized the environment”, McLaughlin said things have turned out very differently from what should have been a people’s poll.

He said that Bush had made it virtually impossible for the 'yes' vote to carry. However, the opposition leader said that, regardless of the odds now being well and truly stacked against it, the campaign would go on and no one was giving up. The major battle, he said, would be to try and persuade civil servants to go out and vote, despite what he said was a very real fear that they would suffer the consequences of doing so.

McLaughlin warned that some 1,900 more people would need to come out and vote in this national poll than in Cayman’s very first referendum for the constitution.

“It is important to recognise exactly what Mckeeva Bush has done with this process,” McLaughlin said. “He has done all he can to ensure its failure.”

During the debate in the House, Ezzard Miller also raised his concerns but was optimistic that at least the day had been declared a holiday. He said that by setting the threshold so high, Bush was punishing the people that cared about the political process and who cared about democracy.

By having a majority of electors needed to past the vote and not a majority of turn out, ‘no’ voters could stay home as their vote was now irrelevant, he said. The only thing that would count now was the 8,000 yes voters that were needed, he said as he urged the people to make history by carrying the vote regardless of government’s efforts to prevent the introduction of one man, one vote.

“Be proud to brag to your children and grandchildren that you were one of the 8,000,” Miller said as he called on every registered voter to come out and vote yes.

During the presentation of the bill, Bush denied the accusations about the vote be rigged against a ‘yes’ vote and said government had made it "as fair as possible,” as he launched into a tirade against the principle of single member constituencies.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Do we know whyt the D P voted against….?

    • Anonymous says:

      Okay now I am truly baffled? All I did was ask a question and it gets a thumbs down? Presumably that measn it was a stupid question but I don't get it. In a country where the premier seems to rule his 'party' with an iron fist and had made very clear his view on this issue and presented this as – effectively – his bill, his Deputy votes against it?

      Everybody has hbeen hollering for his party to 'stand up' to Mac. The firts time someone votes against him and nobody is interested why?

      Ah well….

  2. Anonymous says:

    are absentee ballots allowed?

    will the elector list be uodated beforehand?

  3. Anonymous says:

    So are you suggesting that democracy would be changing the way the country votes now for less than a simple majority. Is that simply because you feel your vote so be worth more than everyone else's. How can you suggest that we should change if less than 51% of the electorate supports the change.

    • Anonymous says:

       A majority of those voting is the normal standard for referendums. 

      Why should the apathetic get to decidethe issue simply by failing to vote which does not mean that they oppose one man one vote?  

  4. Anonymous says:

    The 50% of all registeres voters rule (as opposed to 50% of all who vote in the referendum) is a disgrace.  How did he get away with that one?  There is no point in going to vote "No" of course, because everyone who doesn't attend will be counted as having voted "no".  Whoever heard of an election or referendum where your vote counted even if you dont show? 

  5. Anonymous says:

    Let’s make a change for a better cayman! Let’s vote yes for the omov!!!

  6. Caymanian/Expat family- all one says:

    Wow, Big Mac found a way to stop the one man one vote….it will be impossible to get 51% of ALL registered voters to the polls.

    • ProactiveCitizen says:

      The Caymanian people are sick of party politics and realize that this is the only hope we have for the future. This is moe importatnt than the 2013 elections in that it will encourage candidates of character and integrity to put themselves forward for the next election. Do you know how people always say "boy i wish so and so would run for office"? Well, Single Member Constituencies will encourage those types of candidates.

    • Anonymous says:

      NOTHING is impossible with the help of God Almighty, Cayman. Can there really be any doubt left whatsoever as to where McKeeva's interests are? In Cayman and It's people or in his own lunatic agenda?

    • Anonymous says:

      If you think it’s impossible it will be!! All we need is the 4000 persons who signed petition to take ONE PERSON with them who did not and it will pass. Alden’s comment is proof he does not really want it either.

      Cayman voters, LET’S TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY ON JULY 18th

  7. Slowpoke says:



    I get to criticize everything, because no one I voted for got elected and I voted “no” on this crappy constitution.

  8. Anonymous2 says:

    Why didnt they pass the OMOV into law just as easily then- save the country the cost of the referendum? Arent we $19m in the hole as at 3 May 2012 (31 May 2012 zzzzz)?

    The fact that they are rigging it this high means they know the OMOV is what the majority want

    (why else would you need to cheat?)

    and we have already spent the money for the Electoral Boundary Commission Report confirming this

    (lets check Hansard to ensure it has been tabled and not give Ms Mary the chance to refuse to have it included in proceedings zzzzz)

    Oh — I WILL BE VOTING IN FAVOUR OF OMOV : because I have a brain and your tricks and spin do not fool me baaaaaaah

    • Anonymous says:

      Seems strange to me. How can requiring a minimum of 50% plus one person to change be rigging the results? anything less than that would not be a majority, do you think that it should be changed if less than a bare majority supports it?

      Who is the dictator again, Mac has given the peole a chance to vote on something that him and his Government does not support, he has made it binding and has made the day of the referendum a holiday. Does not appear as dictator mentality.


      Alden admits that they put the referendum on the constitution because they supported it, and then he says that it passed with only 43% of the electorate supporting it and we call that democracy?

      • Anonymous says:

        Well if that is not democracy then you would have to void the election of most MLAs since few of them got a majority of the registered voters in their districts. Referendums normally require a majority of votes actually cast.  

  9. noname says:

    "…50 per cent of the electorate plus one vote…"


    It seems that the day will be decided by the no shows … AKA people who don't give a tinker's damn about their country.


    Very sad and very politically savvy by the McKeeva and his UDP colleagues.

  10. Caymaniantothebone says:

    So What EVERY voter needs to do next year May is to vote for the one person you want to represent you in your Division.  DO NOT VOTE STRAIGHT!

  11. noname says:

    bananna republic…….

  12. noname says:

    The Cayman Islands Constitution is definitely NOT based on the USA model, it is very definitely based on the Westminster type of Constitution.

  13. noname says:

    Is it true that both Ezzard and Alden were not present for the vote? If so I am thoroughly pissed and this is politics as usual on their part so that they can say didn't vote for it if something goes awry.

    What could have been so important that they couldn't be there?

    • jsftbhaedrg says:

      It doesnt matter if they were present, as majority (UDP) rules all decisions made in the LA.

      I find it amazing that these morons were all voted into power by the people yet they conitnue to put themselves first as usual instead of the country.

      • noname says:

        It was actually Ezzard and Arden..That speaks volumes…They were the main instigators and the torch carriers, What happened? They should have been there to make history thatthey voted for it.  They can't even show up to vote to pass the bill and then tell us that we have to show up to vote for it on Referendum Day.

        These guys are ridiculous. PPM or UDP or Ezzard…Can anybody tell me the difference?

      • Anonymous says:

        It DOES matter if they were there or not, they were elected and are paid to attend sessions of the assembly and even if their vote would have been ineffective they still should have been their doing what they were elected to do and paid to do which is voice on behalf of those who elected them.

      • Anonymous says:

        if it doesn't matter why don't we send the opposition hom and save some are full of it!!

    • Anonymousr says:

      Alden was present. Austin Harris was just talking out of his nose.

    • dartanian says:

      I don't usually bother with persons who questions other peoples motives and can't sign their names but I happen to know that my friend Ezzard asked the speaker to excuse him as he had to pick up his sick daughter from the preschool. I congradulate him for placing her before a vote in the LA that would not achieve anything. Did you not listen to the debate last night.

    • Stiffed-Necked Fool says:

      Stop your mischief – you know full well they were there!

  14. Anonymou says:

    In the United States most often used as a democratic model for the Cayman Islands amending the constitution requires more than a simple majority. If the Opposition were as clear regarding this issue it should have been included in 2009. To amend the constitution with a simple majority does not make sense.

    • Anonym says:

      1. We do not use the U.S. as a democratic model for Cayman and in any event the U.S. Constitution does not permit referendums at the federal level.

      2. One man, one vote does not require an amendment to the Constitution. It could be introduced by a few amendments to the Elections Law.

      3. Referendums typically require only a majority of those voting rather than a majority of all registered electors.

      4. I am sure everyone knows the reason it was not mandated by the Constitution was because the UDP objected and the PPM wanted the UDP's support for the Constitution. 

    • Anonymous1 says:

      The 2009 Constitutional amendment was only 50%+1 of those VOTING. It is the only referendum in the Cayman Isands in recent history.

      So we change our ENTIRE constitution with a simple majority of those voting but to go to single man constituencies we need a HIGHER standard???

      Total nonsense and vote rigging by the UDP.  Its that simple.

    • Very sorry says:

      The US constitution is irrelevent in this discussion, but you are completely right about the PPM being responsible for this awful Constitution we have.  Mr. Truman warned us loud and clear, and we let the ministers tell us what to do.  I did, at least, and so did a lot of people I know. I'm very sorry I voted the way I did and my two children may never let me forget it.  

    • noname says:



      I have to agree with you, and we all should ask the same question. Why didnt Alden make this law clear in the amended Constitution? they had all the rights to do it. Now they put the whole country in an uproar, and use us as monkeys. I want nothing to do with it.

  15. Anon says:

    Can we start a people's referendum campaigning for 50% of votes case instead of the UDPs deliberate attempt to stop OMOV by insisting on 50% of the voting population I wonder?

    If not, I suggest for once, everybody uses their votes, and votes in favour of OMOV.

    And no – I'm not a PPM supporter before y'all start with your crap!

    • noname says:

      Just think about what you are asking for a second.  Do you realize that by going forward with your 50% of who turn up, you are asking a small section of the population to vote for the rights of all- whether we agree to it or not?  That should never be the case for something as significant as this.  I don't have a vote, but I don't see how it can make any sense for anything less than the 50% + 1 do decided on a national referendum. 

      If the total electorate wants a change, then one voice should be heard! Now that it is a holiday, no one should have any excuse for not turning up to vote. However, I wouldn't be suprised that many decided to party the night before and sleep-in all day.

    • richard Anonymous says:

       So was the opposition push for OMOV a bluff that was called by the Government? After months of campaigning now it’s approved with a holiday and they didn’t show up to vote for it????? They have conceded? Sad. Disruption and destabilization of the country for no good reason other than to prevent economic recovery. We need a referendum to remove the two proponents of this referendum and the leader of the opposition.

  16. noname says:



    No civil servant is afraid.. This was cleared some time ago. Civil servants are now

    free to vote without fear and you know it!

    This is another one of your deceptive scare tactics. But it won't work.


    Stop telling lies!.


    • Anonymousie says:

      You’re an idiot if you believe that there is no reason for civil servants to fear the UDP government.

    • noname says:

      No one ever said civil servants couldn't go out to vote. The civil servants I know say they are scared to be seen to oppose the current government. The way this has been set up, everyone "votes" in that if they don't go to the polls, they are a "no" vote. If they are seen to go out and vote, it is assumed they are voting yes. Ask the 3 senior civil servants who have been sidelined for over 3 years now what happens if the premier thinks you won't agree with his view of things.

    • Anonymous1 says:

      10.43 I am curious why have you done as I have and signed in an posted your comments as Anonymous….doesn't it imply some kind of fear even by you and I? How you are so sure the Civil Servants are still not fearful? Just asking!!

    • Anonymous says:

      And how do you feel private sector Caymamian after all we support the public sector and all the politicos cater to the civil service electorate while kindly ignoring us in the private sector, that is until they need the economy supported then we are a necessary evil!

    • Anonymous says:

      You are definitely off base here.  Obvously you are not in support ot the referendum and is still trying to blackball the PPM.  You and all others lke you need to think the right way.  The PPM did not cause the entire world recession which has affected us just the same of the whole free world was seriously affected by the recession,  not only Cayman and I am sure Alden did not cause that nor did Kurt.  Stop finding fault and think of what is going to happen if we continue with a party system here in our tiny islands.  GROW UP.!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        But the PPM had all the opportunity to put it in the amended constituation?..why didnt they?.answer my question!