Archive for May 22nd, 2013

Turnout falls below 2009

| 22/05/2013 | 12 Comments

(CNS): In an unexpected turn of events, what was predicted to be a very high turnout at the 2013 General Election ended with a final number of voters below the percentage turnout of the 2009 national ballot. Although a record 14,760 people were polled, that represented only 79.94% of the voting population, falling below the 80.54% at the last election. While East End had the highest turnout with more than 87.3% of registered voters polled, in the neighbouring district of North Side the lowest percentage voted, with just over 78.3% of voters going to the polls. Meanwhile, in West Bay and the Sister Islands more than 80% of voters turned out and in Bodden Town just under 80%. In the capital of George Town 79.3% of registered voters were polled.

Despite the lower than anticipated turnout, the percentage figure is still high by international standards and demonstrates a healthy participation.

With the polls closed and the count due to start at 7pm, it will be just a few hours before the results start coming in. East End and North Side are expected to be the first results, while Cayman Brac and Little Cayman is expected shortly after the eastern districts. With lots of new voters, the result in Bodden Town may not be in before West Bay but both results should be confirmed before midnight. While there should be some indications of the George Town result the early morning hours, the final count is expected in the capital around dawn.

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Polls closing at 6pm

| 22/05/2013 | 5 Comments

(CNS): By 5pm this evening 14,183 registered voters had cast their vote in the 2013 General Election. With one hour to go, almost 77% of the electorate had already been polled in what turned out to be a calm and well organised Election Day. After ten hours of voting 14,183 people had taken part in the national ballot. Last minute voters were being warned that unless they were in line at a polling station by 6pm they would not be allowed in to vote. Election officials were hoping to copewith any last minute surge efficiently to avoid a delay in the poll closing and the start of the count. Voter turn out in East End was already at 82% by 5pm and West Bay and George Town polled more than 77% of their electorates.

Meanwhile, voters in North Side had the lowest turnout but had still polled over 72% of voters by 5pm. In Bodden Town over 76% had come out and 75.77% had voted in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. The final head count of voters is expected before 7pm and the count is expected to begin shortly after. The first results from East End and North Side can be expected around 9pm.

Check back to CNS through the evening for regular updates and results.

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Voter surge levels out

| 22/05/2013 | 1 Comment

(CNS): With more than 60% of voters polling before 1pm on Wednesday, is was no surprise to see the numbers begin to decline a little as the afternoon polling head counts came in. By 3pm 12,786 people or 69.25% of the electorate had already voted, with three hours of voting time still to go. 5,267 voters, or 70.9% of the electorate, have now voted in the capital and over 71% have already come out in East End to cast their vote in the head-to-head fight between the McLeans — Arden and John. Over in North Side, where incumbent Ezzard Miller is facing off against Joey Ebanks, one of several candidates in the race currently dealing with legal issues, only 66% had made the polls by 3pm.

In Bodden Town, where twelve candidates from the two political parties, the splinter PNA and four independents are battling for four seats, 67.45% have already voted, and in West Bay 68.79% had voted in the fight  between 13 candidates from all parties and groups as well as independents. 

Over on Cayman Brac, where voters from the Sister Islands are picking between the two incumbent members, Moses  Kirkconnell and the premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, and Maxine Moore and David Bodden, 702 of the 1,040 voters have been polled.

The polls close this evening at 6pm, and with the stats already showing a good turnout, the final percentage of the electorate to go to the polls is expected to easily surpass the election of 2009, where more than 80% of voters exercised their democratic rights.

At this point, the number of people polled has already passed the total number of voters in the 2009 election, when 12,287 registered voters took part in the poll.

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60% polled before lunch

| 22/05/2013 | 11 Comments

dt polls (225x300).jpg(CNS): As expected, the Cayman electorate is still coming out in significant numbers and combined with mobile votes and postal ballots 11, 084 registered voters had all exercised their democratic right before 1pm Wednesday. More than 60% of voters had already taken part by lunchtime, with the capital leading the turnout with over 62% of voters polled. Bodden Town had the lowest turnout at lunch time with over 57%, but with 5 hours to go election officials said the numbers were re-enforcing expectations of a very high turnout. Duncan Taylor, the Cayman Islands governor, urged everyone who was eligible to go to the polls beore they close.

“This is your opportunity to get your views heard, so go out an vote,” he told electors.

“My interest is in seeing how the process happens,” Taylor said Wednesday at the command centre, as he explained that, as the person who appoints the supervisor of elections, he was interested in the technicalities and the election operations.

“I have a responsibility to ensure we have a free and fair election and everyone knows their rights,” he added. Encouraged by the early turnout, he said, the fact that 60% of voters were already polled, and with five hours to go, indicated a healthy turnout, because in some jurisdictions such a rate would be an average turnout for the whole election.

“Its good to see people participating when they have this opportunity,” Taylor said, adding that he had been designated as a local observer so he could go around the stations.

He stated that the FCO would, as they do with all overseas territories' elections, be watching the election and the results closely and said the UK would work with whoever was elected.

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UCC: $1M was not solicited

| 22/05/2013 | 41 Comments

1-intro.jpg(CNS): The donation that was made on behalf of McKeeva Bush in relation to the honorary doctorate that he was scheduled to receive from the University College of the Caribbean was unsolicited, the board of directors said Wednesday. In a statement released to CNS in the wake of revelations about the anti-corruption investigation in Cayman surrounding the transfer to the college from a US-based bank in connection with the degree, the board said at no time was there “any requirement for a contribution”, which it said would have been contrary to its protocol. The board said that when the contribution was made to the UCC Foundation for a Scholarship Endowment Fund it was “accepted graciously” but after “subsequent developments”  the cash was returned.

Worried that the news of the donation, of which Bush has denied any knowledge, is tarnishing the reputation of the UCC, the board said it was “not unusual for well thinking members of society to make a contribution to a University or its Foundation”, and after careful consideration this donation was accepted and later returned.

“The University College of the Caribbean is therefore most concerned about the different suggestions and allegations in the press, which seek to tarnish its image and to make it appear less in the eyes of well thinking members of the society and its many local, regional and international partners, affiliates and stakeholders,” the college said in a statement to CNS.

“It has now come to the attention of the UCC that this matter may be of interest in an investigation which is being conducted by the Caymanian authorities and as such have takenthe decision not to make any further statement at this time,” the officials added in the latest development regarding the donation.

In a statement on Friday Bush said he knew nothing about the donation and that the allegations were all part of the conspiracy against him to prevent him from winning the election

See the statement and related articles on CNS:

Bush denies buying 1M Phd

‘Gift’ for Mac’s PhD probed

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Five prisoners taken to polls

| 22/05/2013 | 12 Comments

prisonersvote (241x300).jpg(CNS): Over 8,500 voters have now voted in Cayman's general election, including five prisoners from HMP Northward who are on remand or convicted of lesser offences and had registered to vote. More than 46% of the electorate has already voted in what is expected to be a record-breaking turn out. The polls opened this morning at 7am and by 11am almost half of those who are eligible to do so had exercised their right to vote. In addition to mobile and postal ballots already received, in East End 49.3% have now voted and in North Side 43.07%. In Bodden Town 45.08%  and in West Bay 45.15% in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman 47.79% have been to the polls, while in the capital of George Town 46.88% of registered voters have voted.

According to prison sources, the five prisoners who voted in the districts of Bodden Town, East End and West Bay are understood to be remand prisoners. Although most convicted prisoners cannot vote, some who have been convicted of minor offences can do so. However, most of Northward's inmates missed their democratic right as defined in the 2009 Constitution as they were not able to register.

So far, election officials say things are running smoothly and there has been no confirmation regarding allegations of harassment of voters in Savannah.

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Voters head to the polls

| 22/05/2013 | 13 Comments

(CNS): In the first two hours of polling 20% of the electorate cast their vote at local stations for the 2013 General Elections. Combined with mobile and postal ballots, by 9am almost 27% of all voters had aleady made their choice in the largest ever election in Cayman. In Bodden Town 1,141 voters were polled in the first two hours in addition to postal and mobile votes. 828 have voted in West Bay, while in George Town 2,044 voters have already cast their vote. In East End 196 and in North Side 157 people have voted. Over in the Sister Islands more than 300 people have already been polled.

The Elections Office will be updating the poll returns every two hours until the polls close.

For more on the elections and voting information visit the Elections Office website and keeping logging on to CNS for full election coverage.


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Massive turnout expected

| 22/05/2013 | 5 Comments

poling staiton sign (213x300)_0.jpg(CNS): The polling stations in Cayman opened on time this morning and election officials are expecting one of the largest turnouts of electors Cayman has ever seen. Historically, Cayman has usually voted in significant numbers, with a greater than 80% turnout for most elections, but this time the Elections Office is predicting a turnout that could approach 90%. With 56 candidates in the race, 21 in George Town alone, almost 18,500 eligible voters, more than 7,500 of which are in the capital, the final result is not expected until Thursday morning. The polls are open until 6pm this evening and officials are reminding people of the rules and how many votes they have.

In George Town voters can vote for up to six different candidates but do not have to use all six if they do not wish. They can vote across party lines, for independents or mix up their vote any way they chose but they cannot vote for more than six or vote for one candidate more than once.

With a long ballot sheet, officials are concerned that polling may be slower than usual and are urging voters to come out early with their voter's cards if they have them. If they do not have a voter's card, some other form of photo ID. Voters who need help can take a friend or family member along, who can be sworn-in and help the voter. In addition, polling station staff, but not political agents, can explain the ballot sheet to voters.

In Bodden Town and West Bay all voters have four votes, and they can vote for up to four candidates in any combination but no more than four. Voters in Cayman Brac have two votes and they will be choosing from just four candidates. Finally, voters in East End and North Side have one vote. In both constituencies they are choosing between the incumbents and challengers in a head-to-head fight.

The islands are divided into 18 polling divisions within the district constituencies and voters are directed to a specific polling station based on where they live, which is listed in the Official Register of Electors and on the Elections Office website.

Cameras, cell phones and children are not allowed inside polling stations and no liquor can be sold or given away by license holders until after 7pm this evening or an hour following the closure of the polls.

For more information on the election visit the elections website and be sure to check CNS throughout the day and night for updates on information, news on the voter turnout and the results as they come in.

Click here to get updates on the election by email.

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Mac’s 11th hour allegations

| 22/05/2013 | 69 Comments

mac poiting.jpg(CNS): The former premier of the Cayman Islands, who is still very much in the running to be the leader of the next government, was hurling last minute allegations on Facebook Tuesday night when he posted a statement accusing his former UDP colleagues, the PPM leader and the independent member for East End of also using government credit cards for personal use. McKeeva Bush accused the governor of carrying out a “vindictive attack” on his government. He claimed that the use of the credit card was for his personal security and that the governor ousted him from office with support from Rolston Anglin, Cline Glidden, Arden McLean, Alden McLaughlin, and the C4C candidates and their management.

In the statement, posted at around 11:30 on Tuesday night, Bush claimed that Anglin was on a re-payment plan, paying government back for the use of his government credit card for personal expenses, and that Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin, Mark  Scotland and Arden McLean had “extensively used their government credit cards for personal use” but said none of them had been charged.

Bush said he repaid his credit card in full when he was notified by his financial staff. The former premier said that the charges and attacks were “cheap, dirty and political opportunism” for his former PNA colleagues in West Bay, the C4C and McLaughlin to use against him to better their chances in the election as he urged West Bay voters to see through “their shenanigans”  and reject them for what he said was “political trickery”.

Bush is currently facing 11 counts of theft and abuse of office over the misuse of a government credit card, including cash advances taken from ATMs in casinos in the United States.

The former auditor general of the Cayman Islands, Dan Duguay, spoke out about the misuse of government credit cards by public servants as well as politicians in Cayman during a debate at the Miami-based watchdog conference, OffshoreAlert, earlier this month.

Bush had pointed to these comments in his own defence recently but Duguay told CNS this week that it was always inappropriate for public servants to use the cards for personal use and noted the irony that the former premier was now using Duguay's comments, of all people, to defend his acitons.

“It must have been very difficult for Mr Bush to use comments from me to support his position in this matter," Duguay told CNS. “As I recall, the last public comments from Mr Bush about me were calling me a cowboy and incompetent. I can only assume that Mr Bush's perception of me has gone up sufficiently to now quote me in his defence.”

Duguay explained that during the OffshoreAlert conference he had said the personal use of government credit cards by politicians and senior management in Cayman was something he had often encountered, as he pointed to the former ex UCCI President Hassan Syed and the Gasboy-gate scandal

“Using government credit cards for personal use is against the rules of government,” Duguay said. “When we encountered such use, we always noted the violation in the management letter that is sent out with any audit.”

The former auditor general said that his team would also ensure that there was no loss to the public purse and check if the individual paid the personal use part of the bill in a timely manner. If it was, the office took no further action, but when repayment was not made or not paid in a timely manner, the abuse was reported to the Financial Crimes Unit.

“This is what happened in the case of Mr Syed of UCCI. Such matters constitute fraud and become the responsibility of the police,” the former auditor general explained. Duguay added that the use of government credit cards for cash advances is always inappropriate.  “When a cash advance is made, interest is charged from the date of issuance,” he said as he pointed out that the advance from a credit card is equivalent to borrowing from government.

“I believe that leaders lead by example and that the true measure of a person is how they react when they believe that they are not being watched or when they won't be caught,” he said,” Duguay added.

See Bush's latest statement below.

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