UK may foot election observers bill

| 11/04/2013

observers.jpg(CNS): The interim government has given its official agreement to the idea of having election observers at the general election next month and it may be that the UK will foot the bill as a result of the Cayman government’s tight budget. Some confusion over who is responsible for issuing the invitation to observers was cleared up by the governor’s office Thursday when a spokesperson confirmed that the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association had been approached to put together a proposal for the make-up of the mission and it would be the Cayman Islands governor who would issue the formal invitation.

It is not clear exactly when the observers will arrive but they are expected to be in Cayman at least one week before Election Day, when they will take time to discuss the election process with voters, candidates, election officials and staff, police, political agents, returning officers and all stakeholders before Cayman goes to the polls.

Speaking at Thursday’s press briefing, the premier confirmed that the Cabinet had agreed as there were no objections to issuing the invitation. In addition, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly said, there was every indication that the UK government via the FCO would be willing to provide the funding for the observers, given the CIG’s tight budget parameters. The governor’s office confirmed later Thursday that the process was underway to identify a team and now that Cabinet had agreed on having observers and there were no legislative barriers, an invitation would be issued by the governor.

Firstly, however, the team of observers whowill come from around the Commonwealth will need to be proposed and when Governor Duncan Taylor receives that proposal, if the mission is agreeable, then the invitation will be issued to the group. All of this is expected to happen shortly.

The idea of having observers for this election has been welcomed by most of the candidates in the election race, with the exception of the UDP’s leader and several of that party’s candidates, who have implied that observers only go to third world countries where ballot boxes go missing. Former premier McKeeva Bush has said that having observers in Cayman could send a message that this country has a problem with its election record when there have never been any questions about free and fair elections.

While there have been few controversies regarding the actual count, questions of treating, undue influence and vote buying have surrounded elections in Cayman for many years and still do, even though no charges have ever being brought. This year election officials have warned that they will be clamping down on any hint of impropriety when it comes to undue influence, coercion regarding votes and out right vote buying and bribery. The police will also have officers taking a special interest in the campaign and ensuring that political meetings are above board.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I thought Cayman had people to oversee the elections. What are we paying Gomez for?

  2. Anonymous says:

    What an embarressment it is that one of the largest offshore financial centres can't even afford to pay its own way because the UDP has squandered OUR money for the last four years. Catch 22 for the UK.. if they don't send observers then the UDP will be up to it's old tricks of vote buying and intimidation. Maybe we should consider not paying the senior election staff absorbanent wages for a days work.  Returning officers get around $2500 for doing almost nothing. More votes bought for those special few that get the job. It just never ends….

    • Anonymous says:

      They asked to observe so they pay,what the hell you think this is ?  Cayman is no Santa Clause paradise!

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Caymans can easily afford to pay for this.

  4. Anonymous says:

    According to a report by Transparency International UK (TI-UK) the British public perceive political parties to be the most corrupt sector in the UK.

    The report states that politics in the UK has been plagued by corruption scandals and that public trust in politicians is plunging.
    Two important facts that you should take away from the report are…
    1. Whatever the causes, it is not possible to ignore the fact that the steady stream of political corruption scandals in recent years has eroded public confidence not just in individual politicians, but also in political institutions and that there is a danger that the public will cease to regard decisions made by government and parliament as legitimate and fair.  
    2. Corruption represents a serious threat to British democracy and, ultimately, to the rule of law.
    As decisions made by politicians in the UK can have a significant impact on the Cayman Islands it is important that the Cayman Islands be allowed to send election observers to the UK (I do support the UK sending election observers to the Cayman Islands).
  5. Anonymous says:

    Was it the CIG or the UK that recommended the observers?

    • Anonymous says:

      CIG recommended it by descending into a spiral of corruption allegations. 

    • Anonymous says:

      UK and expect a few unofficial observers to be coming out as well.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Sounds good but it would be better if they could come earlier. Lots of treating goes on well before the election date. 

  7. Anonymous says:

    If the UK foots the observers' bill, I hope they observe the foot-washer's bill.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The doubts over Cayman's political system and concerns over corruption are Cayman's own problem.  Cayman should foot the bill. Any place that does not yet need to charge income tax has plenty of money.

    • Anonymous says:

      Time to go home!

    • Anonymous says:

      Clearly you have no knowledge or understanding of Cayman's taxation system. The absence of income tax has therefore puzzled you greatly. Do some research, then drop us another comment based on your newfound knowledge. But here's a clue, compared with a country that has income tax (and I once lived in one) everything here costs a small fortune!

      • Anonymous says:

        As the original poster, I can assure you I am very aware of the Cayman revenue raising system, which is largely based on getting someone else to pay for as much as possible plus an import duty regime which is no more onerous than many countries sales or consumption taxes.  But that you for your presumptive and patronising comment.  Islands are expensive.  That is because they are islands.  My point still stands.