Election cycle needs to change

| 12/06/2013

(CNS): As the new PPM government faces a race against the clock to bring an emergency appropriations bill to the Legislative Assembly before the end of June just a few weeks after being elected to office, the premier acknowledged last week that government needs to change the election month back to November. Alden McLaughlin said that having the fiscal year start on 1 July with a May election cycle presented difficulties for a new government and a decision would have to be made about changing the election time because that was far cheaper than trying to change the financial year. However, while cheaper, it will not be without controversy since the choice is between the current administration adding six months to their term or cutting it short by six months.

Cayman’s elections were previously held in November, which is why government has a July to June fiscal year rather than following the calendar. However, because of the devastating and unexpected arrival of Hurricane Ivan in 2004, just two months ahead of the General Election, the UDP administration at the time postponed the national poll until May 2005 under an agreement that it would be changed at a later date.

However, after the PPM won that election the UDP, then in opposition, objected to an addition to that government’s term of six months to November 2009. The PPM government was also reluctant to cut short its term in office. However, given economic fallout of the international fiscal crisis, had it gone to the polls in November 2008, there may have been a very different outcome.

Despite being the political party to benefit from the extended period in office to May 2005, the last UDP administration also refused to cut its time in office short and, as a result, Cayman went through its thirdMay election, continuing the conflict with the fiscal year.

Speaking on Radio Cayman’s TalkToday show last week, the premier said changing the election date was a discussion the new government needed to explore. He noted the controversy that would surround the decision but said that the logistics pointed to moving that date rather than the fiscal calendar.

“That is a discussion I want us to have,” he said. “The fiscal year was moved to match election cycle, which used to be November, and then Ivan changed that and put election back,” he said. He pointed out that the UDP had got the extra six months but it would still be controversial as the question would be should this administration get three and a half years or four and a half years.

“It is controversial but I want to explore that early,” he added.

Ezzard Miller, the independent member for North Side who had brought a motion to the Legislative Assembly during the last administration, also called on government to act as soon as possible and re-synchronize the election calendar with the fiscal one. He pointed out that it would be stupid to go through the process of changing the financial year, so it had to be the election and it was petty for each of the administrations to continue arguing over six months.

Miller said he did not care whether the new government got more or less and he would support a vote either way, as the important thing is that it is changed. He said he would be raising the issue again in the country’s parliament as soon as possible. He added that if the current government does a good job then it should not be worried about losing six months.

The North Side independent MLA pointed to a number of problems created by the conflict in the calendar that would be resolved by the election’s return to November. He said this would give any new administration time to put together a strategic policy statement and properly prepare a full budget.

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  1. noname says:

    6 months more is the best solution as others have said.

    1) Add the additional 6 months back that the UDP received in 2005.

    Extra time is needed to fix the mess the UDP started at the beginning of the new millennium.

    2) Have the election in a different year than the USA. 

    Knowing what direction the USA is going helps immensely with Cayman to implement policy and procedures as Cayman is so dependant on the USA in so many sectors.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I would prefer an additional 6 months of Ppm over UDP or PNA any day

  3. Alan Roffey says:

    Wouldn’t it be better to add six months and have the additional benefit of our election being in a different year to the US presidential elections?

  4. Anonymous says:

    I agree. Make it once every year!

  5. SKEPTICAL says:

    I believe that it was ” Beloved Leader ” bush who changed the Financial Year end to June 30, as an extension of the usual period, so that he could take in the first six months corporate licence fees revenue to boost Government’s coffers that year, when they had a Cash Flow problem. Don’t think the change was anything to do with the forced deferral of the General Election caused by” Ivan “.

  6. Anonymous says:

    "…and it was petty for each of the administrations to continue arguing over six months."


    Petty is an understatement. Ezzard is absolutely correct in this matter.


    Alden, just flip a coin and get on with it.

  7. GR says:

    If 6 months is too much to loose, then move the next 2 elections foward by 3 months.  We 'lost' 3 months in the past cycle due to the minority government.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Do a good job and they will get another 4 years , so no need to worry about losing 6 months.

    • Anonymous says:

      The new govt. has many things it needs to accomplish. That gives them 6 months less to complete their program. Obviously that is a solid objection against it.

  9. Anonymous says:

    alden you have nothing to lose. show you are the bigger man and agree to have the elections in november 2016. you stil have a lot of time to get things right and fuilfil your promises to the people.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Six months were added when we changed in 2005 (albeit it came about as a result of a natural disaster) . I se nothing wrong with adding six months to the incumbent government’s term to revert to November.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The only fair and acceptible answer for voters is to cut it short by 6 mos and introduce OMOV at the same time.

    • Anonymous says:

      Huh? Why is that the ONLY fair and acceptable answer?

      • Anonymous says:

        Conflict of interest. Politicians should never be in a position to allocate themselves more time than voters gave them.

        • Anonymous says:

          Is that so? That would be a matter for the Governor to decide, not the politicians. Don't you recall that the term was extended from Nov. 2004 to May 2005 when Bush was LOGB? Fair is fair. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

    • Peanuts says:

      Would be great to add a Recal Option along with OMOV.      

  12. Anonymous says:

    The only classy option is to reduce this term by six months.