OMOV, a layman’s point of view

| 17/07/2012

One Man One Vote (OMOV ), in my opinion, will not be the panacea that will solve all our problems.  What it will do is it will cause a slight, but very important, power shift in three areas ofpolitics in Cayman. This shift, in all cases, will be in favor of the people, the electorate. The first of these areas is the balance of power between the politicians and the people.

In recent administrations we have seen our elected officials, once they are elected, seem to forget the people and do as they please with little or no consultation from the people. As if the attitude is, you elected me now leave me alone, if you don’t like what I do talk to me in four years. 

They seem to forget that they were elected to do our will, not their will.  With the smaller one man constituencies it will be harder for the politician to hide behind the numbers, passing responsibility back and forth. They will know who elected them and there will be no question in the minds of the voters exactly who they elected and who they need to, and can, hold accountable.  This will not be a larger power shift towards the people but a significant one.  It will be a shift that a politician who truly wants to work for the people will welcome and that the ones who are in politics for their personal gain will fight with all their might.

The second area is that of allegiance or loyalty.   We are all aware of what many call the ‘coattail effect’,   when a candidate slides into office on the coat tails of the party or stronger party candidates.  These are the politicians that generally you hear little from but they are always there voting the “party line”.  Who do you think they owe their CI$ 100,000.00 paycheck to?  Who do you think they are going to be more loyal too, the people or the party/leader with the “coat tails”?

I think we have seen over the years it is the coattails in both cases.  OMOV will help to separate these individuals from the party a bit and pressure them into answering to their electorate, thereby forcing them to be stronger representatives.  Some fear this will weaken the party system;  although that might not be a bad thing, I do not believe that will be the case. In fact it may make them stronger and in a good way. It will do this by giving us stronger leaders across the board. Not weak ‘yes’ men.  

Once again, from this aspect a politician who truly wants to work for the people will welcome this change and the ones who are in politics for their personal gain will fight it with all their might.

The final shift will be a shift in importance, a shift in the balance between the importance of the party and the country. OMOV will, over time, cause a shift in the mindset of the elected officials. Since they will be more accountable to the people they will look to use the party to help the country.  Now it seems they have been using the country to strengthen the party.  The country is and always should be #1, not the party. Once again from this aspect also, a politician who truly wants to work for the people will welcome this change and the ones who are in politics for their personal gain will fight it with all their might.

Many are saying all is fine, “it’s not broke, we don’t need to fix it!” (Not so many years ago in history the ruling class said that about slavery).  But if we do not make the change now it will break, and if it does it will not be easily fixed. The time is now. It has been talked about and kicked around over the years and many respected individual s over that period have endorsed it.  Today individuals and organizations from all aspects of Cayman life are supporting it. I ask you to look at who it is opposing it; have they proven to you by their leadership that their main priority is the wellbeing of the people for the Cayman Islands?

One Man One Vote will not change things overnight.  What One Man One Vote will do is to cause these slight balance shifts in the favor of the people.  This will give us a stronger government, stronger more receptive political parties, it will give us stronger representation. It will empower our representative to work on our behalf and mandate them to do just that.  It is about a slight shift of power in favor of the people.  I can only surmise that those who oppose it do not want to give up any of their power, and that by itself speaks volumes.

Agree or disagree please vote July 18th.  Let’s make sure we have a true read of the wishes of the people.

To those who agree remember:  the only thing that can defeat us is apathy. Please take the personal responsibility to be the one to push it over the top.  Make sure you vote Yes on July 18th. 

Related point of view:

Why we needed One Man, One Vote YESTERDAY
A response to “Now is Not the Time for OMOV”
by Darlin’ and Sweetheart

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  1. Libertarian says:
    I apologise if I am being a bit extreme with the standard I expected from our politicians. From the beginning, a commission of inquiry into the best electoral system for these islands should have been launched. There are many electoral systems in the world with democratic principles embedded. The matter as well should have been brought before the LA House and debated upon by all MLAs. Both sides should have done more on educating the public on the advantages and disadvantages of this one particular system. But politics got in the way. A complete revamp of our Constitution towards a more direct democracy is theideal I hold close to my heart.
    To remain as we are means district minorities will not get the representation they deserve like what George Town and West Bay have. It will mean that MLAs will not be that accountable like they should to their constituency. However, on the other hand, to adopt the one person one vote electoral system of single-member constituency, means voters will be limited in having a say as to who will form the next government by being limited to one vote, sealed in a district. For instance, you could see someone in your district who is a corrupt apple becoming MLA, yet you have no control to stop that person from being elected, because he is not in your district. These are some advantages and disadvantages from both sides.
    My concern is will democratic reform stop on the 18th of July. I have suggested we need a bicameral legislature and we need everybody to have two votes instead of one:-  One for their district MLA, and the other, an all-island vote for the one they would like to see Premier. That way the people can have the DIRECT power to recall or remove a Premier from office before his term of 4 years end, if he is found with corruption or the people have lost confidence in him. Presently we do not have those rights and preveleges.
    No, there is too many questions to be answered and there was never any real commission to conduct a scientific study as to what is the best electoral system for us. Hence, accepting whatever outcome, I can't vote for anything that is not to the standard I see. Hence, I am not voting Nay or Yeah.
    • Anonymous says:

      By not voting you are voting not only against OMOV but against any electoral reform. If the referendum fails to get even a majorty of those voting government will say electoral reform is a dead issue since the people don't want it and you will have aided and abetted them.  Congratulations.

      • Libertarian says:

        No that's false. I hope you are not using such reasoning to manipulate people. If I choose not to vote yes or no, I am merely choosing to stay out of the equation. Likewise general elections, if you choose to stay home, does that mean you are a PPM or UDP supporter?  Come on now!  I have a right to suspend my judgement on an issue, just like you have a right to favor a political party. Don't try to classify me.

        • Anonymous says:

          You obviously DON'T understand the mechanics of this. The vote is being held out of all 15k + voters. So if only 5k show up to vote and 3k vote yes with 2k voting no the referendum would still fail. That's because unlike in a general election, the 3k yes votes will be counted againts the 15k + voters rather than the 5k voters who turned up to vote.

          • Libertarian says:

            Understood. Whether I vote no or refuse to vote, isn't the issue to get carried away. I have stated already the reason why I am not voting. But thank you for the explanation.

          • Joe Grinder says:

            Youre absoluty right. Lets break this down so you can see how this referendum is fixed. Lets say there are 15,000 registered voters to get this OMOV passed you need to have 50% +1 YES votes, or 7,501 votes for this to pass. Historically the voter tunout in Cayman has been 80% of the registered voters. Now 80% of 15,000 is 12,000 voters that actually show up to vote. They have automatically cast 3,000 NO votes before the polls even open up. Now 50% +1 of 12,000 votes is 6001 so to win the referendum you now need 62% of the 12,000 to reach 7501. So in truth there only have to be 4,501 or 38% No votes to win the referendum not 7.501 as the goverment wants you to believe

          • Anonymous says:

            Really, its not the math. Its how you look at it.

        • Anonymous says:

          No, it's not false. My comments reflect insight and understanding not manipulation. Unlike general elections where you are simply looking to get a plurality of the votes (i.e. more than anyone else but not necessarily the majority even of those who vote let alone of registered voters), the threshold here is the majority of REGISTERED voters, not simply of those who vote. A person who does not vote has automatically said "no" to the referendum. The official govt. position is that the current system is not broke and so we don't need to fix it so I believe they will use a large number of non-votes to say that people are not interested in electoral reform.  

          It is your choice to stay at home. Just be aware of the implications.   

          • Anonymous says:

            “Mr. Anglin said he said the low turnout was likely an indication that people were not interested in changing the existing voting system.” (caycompass)

            I trust you have now got my point Lib. As I said insight and understanding.

      • Anonymous says:

        it is to be taken as an "advisory" to government if the vote is more yes or more no votes and have not reached the 7600 range. not voting no is not a no vote

        • Anonymous says:

          Obviously the govt. will only take it as advisory (which means little to this govt. in any event) if sufficient people vote. If, God forbid, only 2,000 people turn up and vote and 12 vote in favour it will not be regarded as advisory at all.   

    • CHECHE says:

      Not voting = No

      There's no way of you not being counted if you are a registed voter.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I dont think the OMOV will solve all the problems we are having but I feel it is a step in the right direction. We have had all kind of explainations but my take is simply this

    What makes a west bay citizen more special than a North side one?

    Afterall he gets to currently have 4 representatives in the house while the NorthSide citizen only has 1

    That in a nutshell is why we must have OMOV.

    That being said the dream of having a major shift in Government will not happen. There will only be minor changes to the currentgroup of politicians that we currently have outside of what was going to happen already in the defeat of the UDP Government. But they would have been defeated under the old system as well.

    If part of the dream was to break up Macs hold on west bay that may be slipping as we speak anyway. I do expect Mac to be back in the house after the next election and possible 2 others. Bodden Town is a swing district where he will lose his power and possibly George Town.