Wooden spoons bring in $6K

| 30/05/2013

6a0120a8cc9b27970b014e88d19cba970d-800wi_0.jpg(CNS): With some 52 candidates in the 2013 May election race and only 18 seats, 34 candidates were always going to be disappointed. Some candidates came very close and missed a seat by a just a few votes, while others were way off the mark. All candidates have to put up a deposit of $1,000 when they enter the political race in order to encourage only serious contenders because those who do not poll 10% of their vote lose that cash, which is retained by government. Matthew Leslie won the overall wooden spoon after polling the lowest number of votes as well as the lowest percentage of the vote, but another five candidates missed the mark. And with the Elections Office strapped for cash, the $6,000 will be very useful.

The office is facing a budget overrun for this year’s national poll and will be grateful for the money it collected from the six candidates who fell short. Winning the George Town and national wooden spoon, Leslie polled just 1.56% of the vote in the capital with just 91 people voting for the independent candidate, who used mostly social media to promote his campaign. 

Meanwhile, Dr Frank McField, who also ran in the capital, lost his deposit after polling just 3.6% or 211 votes, fulfilling his own prophecy that the parties and C4C candidates were financially crowding out underfunded independents. McField polled less in 2013, however, than he did in 2009, when he still lost his deposit but had 4.72% of the vote. Despite the increase of around 3,000 voters since then in the capital, the former minister’s votes fell by five.

In Bodden Town Vincent Frederick, Gregg Anderson and Arnold Berry, all of whom ran low profile campaigns, also lost their deposits. Frederick came in last in the race for the district, with just 3.79% of the vote and 136 votes. Although this was two votes more than at the last election in 2009, his percentage of the vote fell from over 4% because of the increase in the electorate. Anderson pulled in just 5.34%, while Arnold Berry polled just a few more votes toget 5.73%.

Andrea Christian was the only candidate in West Bay to lose her deposit but she polled the most out of the ‘wooden spooners’ as she got 262 votes or 7.82% of the vote. Another independent candidate in West Bay, Dwene Ebanks, saved his deposit with 370 votes and just over 11% of the poll.

In Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, despite polling a small amount of votes, Maxine Moore, who has lost her deposit several times before in her failed attempts for office, managed to hold on to her $1,000 this time when her 91 votes equated to 11.14% of the vote.

Despite polling just 139 votes in his head-to-head run against Ezzard Miller, Joey Ebanks not only retained his deposit but managed to get almost 30% of the vote because of the small number of candidates in the district. Not surprisingly, given the popularity of the incumbent member and the legal difficulties Ebanks currently faces, the result was not as good for him this time around compared to his attempt in 2009. Although scandal still dogged the candidate at the last election, when he ran on the PPM ticket, regarding an unexplained loan from the Turtle Farm, among others issues, he was still able to attract over 37% or 185 votes.  

All of the other candidates managed to stay well out of the danger zone but for some the disappointment was more about how close they got to the prize. In George Town, the UDP’s Mike Adam missed out on a seat by just 51 votes, a mere 0.8%. His party colleague Theresa Pitcairn also came very close in Bodden Town with 37.63% of the vote, just 41 votes behind PPM candidate Al Suckoo, who pipped her at the post with a lead of just 1.1% of the vote.

With the vote split every which way this year, the independent candidates had a hard time of it but Bo Miller put up a great fight in George Town and increased his share of the vote compared to his 2009 run. Miller got 1,590 or 27.28% of the vote, a significant improvement on the last national poll when he drew in just over 17% with just 808 votes, and turned out to be the best performing truly independent candidate in George Town and second in the entire race. 

Charles Clifford, who was fighting as an independent this time around to win back the Bodden Town seat he lost in 2009 as a PPM candidate, did the best of the independents. Clifford got 1,220 votes, which equalled almost 34% of the vote, compared to his first losing run in 2009 when he got a lot less votes with 932, which at the time equated to 33.11% of the voters.

The record breaker for this election, however, was Moses Kirkconnell, who drew in 75% of the vote in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, surpassing even McKeeva Bush’s 2009 result when he managed to get around 71.6% of the vote in West Bay. This time around Bush’s share of the vote plummeted to 47.27%. Although more than enough to return him as first elected member in the district of West Bay, he lost some  569 votes on his 2009 result.

Ezzard Miller increased his share of the North Side vote by around 20% when he got more than 70% of the vote in his constituency, while Arden McLean’s share of the vote in East End was cut by around 2%.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    if it was 'mute' why could I hear it?

  2. WHAT !!!!!!! says:

    I think we should all be able to vote for the entire 3 islands who we think the best 18 would be and for the speaker too

  3. Anonymous says:

    There should be no such thing as a “deposit”! The fee/charge to get nominated is $5000 and win or lose the money goes to the Elections Office, so no refund for anyone! This will prove who is running for country or self!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Get rid of the district system.

    One vote per person for country wide candidates.

    Four or five parties (or independents) with policies.

    It is pethatic that a person from east end can not vote for a candidate from west bay.

    So, leave the idea of district representatives and move to country wide voting.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I want my money back. Vote Kirky!

  6. Slowpoke says:

    Just to be difficult ( as usual), I do not think there sould be an increase in the deposit. 

    It will just be raised repeatedly and we will end up like the in the US, where only the rich need apply – all Senators, for example, are millionaires in their own right. 

    I also think spending limits on campaigns need to be maintained for the same reason.

    • Anonymous says:

      While all US Senators are well off, only 47% are actual millionaires.

      • Slowpoke says:

        Yes, and GE paid no tax last year, because they did not make a taxable profit (what is $14B between friends?).

      • Anonymous says:

        Subtle use of terminology? So what percentage of the 47% are (in addition) billionaires? I guess there's a difference. I'm a millionaire on paper but could I fund an election campaign in the U.S.? Probably not. Cash taliks, let's be honest.

      • Anonymous says:

        47% when they get elected…think they all become millionaires shortly thereafter!!

      • Anonymous says:

        your point is mute. they still live better than most americans. so the original poster does have a valid point about only the rich being able to run.


        • Anonymous says:

          "mute"? (I have not used capitals out of respectfor the poster's radical free-form approach to English). 

        • Anon says:

          I think you mean "moot" – open to debate.

        • Anonymous says:

          Actually, in this context the correct term would be “moot” as in a “moot point”. Check it out!

  7. Castor Canadiensis says:

    No one ever claimed that Democracy was cheap or efficient. There is a price to be paid in order to live in a Democracy.

  8. chris says:

    Considering the amount of work the elections office has to do, training volunteers, mobile voting, voter id's running their office, updating the elections lists, this deposit of $1000 has been kept artificially low for too long. There should be at least a $2500 non refundable fee paid by candidates to contest an election. this increase in fees will not prohibit serious candidates from running but it may serve to limit the intentional entry of several candidates whose sole intention is to split the vote.this is an easy revenue measure govt can implement that wont burden the deneral public….the question is, will they do it?

    • Anonymous says:

      Especially those candidates who are encouraged/sponsored to run so that they help to split certain votes. 

    • Just Commentin' says:

      That is a baseless and silly idea.  How did you determine that the present filing fee is, as you put it, "artificially low"? What was your criteria? Or did you simply pull the idea out of thin air?

      Our candidate "deposit" system follows that of the UK, and like our system, in the UK the deposit is refundable if the candidate gets at least 5% of the votes. The deposit in the UK for Parliamentary candidates is £500 or about CI$623.

      In the U.S. the average "filing fee" for congressional candidates is about USD$1,000. Each state election office determines the fee. It is a non-refundable fee akin to an application fee. In many states the filing fee may be waived entirely by getting a required number of signatures on a candidacy petition.

      In light of the foregoing, your opinion that our deposit for candidates is "artificially low" is utterly absurd.

      Increasing the deposit would tend to discourage the non-wealthy and a portion of the independents from running. Contrary to your faulty reasoning, this is not a good thing – especially for the Cayman Islands.  According to the election figures and stats, Itcan be argued that if not for the "spoilers" helping to dilute the UDP votes, we could have ended up with another four years of The Macaroon. (A really, really BAD thing!) The "spoilers" helped to save the Cayman Islands and should be lavishly thanked for risking their $1,000!

      If it is the potential for frivolous candidates that is your beef then a far more practical solution would be to require that a potential candidate be required to obtain a petition with the signatures of a certain minimum percentage of qualified electors before they can stand for election, as is done in several U.S. states.

      If the economics of the issue concerns you, I would suggest that a viable solution would be for us to adopt a system comparable to the jurisdictions in the USA that charge a filing fee: all candidates would pay a non-refundable filing fee to run. Certainly the successful candidates with their lavish salaries and unprecedentedly extravagant pensions can afford the $1,000. If we had a non-refundable filing fee in place for the last election, instead of a measly $6,000, the election office would have taken in over $50,000.

  9. WHAT !!!!!!! says:

    I personally think they should RAISE the price to 2500 or more and you will not have some of those dudes that enter and know full well they not getting in ….I could had told them 3 in BT they were going to loose there dollars….

  10. Anonymous says:

    LOL. Love the wooden spoon.. Maybe raise the fees to $2k and no refund at all…. Elections office would have raise 52k if none refundable at current rate..

  11. Anonymous says:

    All these deposits should be non-refundable. Put them all towards the cost of the holding the election.


  12. Anonymous says:

    The law should be changed. No candidates should get their deposit back. It costs money to run an election.

  13. Diogenes says:

    Bo Miller gets 1590 and does not get in, whilst his namesake gets less than 400 and does get in.  Something radically wrong with that equation for democracy – OMOV is the least of it.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Quite a few of the loosers are brilliant and so sorry that some of them did not make it such as Bo Miller and Dr Frank. Just wish that the Government would use them on Boards or good Govt positions.

    • Anonymous says:

      It might interest you to know that when Bo ran in North Side (twice) he got less votes than Ezzard and Edna respectively. 

  14. Anonymous says:

    I think the International observers were the reason Mac lost so many wotes in West Bay.

  15. Peanuts says:

    Had the election been run as OMOV, half of those who ran would have stayed home and saved the country a lot of money and time.

    I am waiting for the change in the ellection Law Mr.Premier. over to you.

    • Anonymous says:

      OMOV is already in action, if not in policy.  In order for Tara to have acheived her result, legions of people in West Bay only cast one of their 4 available votes.  

      • Anonkymous says:

        uhhhh….wrong. I was a Counting Agent in WB and can tell you how my station saw things (which was corroborated by Counting Agents from every other station):

        3 UDP + Tara

        3 PPM + Tara

        4 Independents (incl Tara)

        There was not a single ballot paper that ONLY had a vote for Tara. There were a few with just Tara and Mervin only but for the most part, Tara's rise in the polls came as a result of people choosing her over one of the party members from UDP, PNA or PPM. Consistently. 

        In fact, the only ballot I saw with a single name on it was for Bernie Bush…twice.

        Sorry – I am a OMOV supporter but that is not how she got in.


  16. Stiffed-Necked Fool says:

    Yea, I told Matthew not to waste his money!

    • Anonymous says:

      Good for you, Matthew, and do please have another go next time round. You are a breath of fresh air.