Alden wavers on SMCs

| 26/02/2014

(CNS): The premier has told the Legislative Assembly that while government still supports the idea of ‘equality of franchise’ for voters, it appears it will not be following the Electoral Boundary Commission's recommendations for 18 single member constituencies (SMCs) but is considering 'at large' candidates, changing the number of seats, and by implication the constituencies. Alden McLaughlin said there were concerns among the Progressive and independent members of government over alleged anomalies thrown up by constituencies with very small numbers of voters. But he said whatever the final outcome, government was sticking to the election promise as it would still be SMCs but “with modifications”.

However, what the premier was advocating in his brief contribution to the debate in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday was considerably more than modification. It will require that entirely new electoral boundaries to be drawn up. In addition, the justifications for the decision seemed entirely at odds with what has happened historically in the smaller districts to which he was referring.

The announcement that government is now thinking of a number of alternative options rather than the one recommended by two different boundary commissions came in response to a private member’s motion brought by East End MLA Arden McLean asking government to implement 'one man, one vote' in single member constituencies in a first past the post system, as per the referendum result in July 2012.

Recalling the long and controversial history regarding the voting system, the member for East End made the point that by the time of the last election, it was only the UDP that was still against OMOV in SMCs. All other candidates and the PPM campaigned on a platform of SMCs, the Progressives as well as the independents who were elected.

He pointed out that several members on the government benches had launched their political careers during the OMOV campaign and that in the past they had all favoured the simple, straight forward, fair system. However, he said, he was aware that since then the government was toying with the idea of different possibilities after a retreat with the independent candidates. And despite the premier’s on the record support for that simple system, he was going to be promoting idea of 'at large' candidates.

McLaughlin admitted that there had been a retreat, and because his government included others (non PPM members), he had to listen to their opinions, and OMOV and SMCs had been the subject of discussions at the retreat.  Returning to old arguments about the domination of parties or individuals in smaller constituencies, when in reality in Cayman it has been the reverse, the premier appeared to imply that the discussions were still ongoing and he was hoping to reach a compromise among the entire legislature.

What the premier avoided noting, however, was that his ideas of increasing the seats to 19 or creating 14 or 15 constituencies and then having four or five 'at large' candidates would require an entirely new boundary commission, which would take the process back to square one and ensure a long delay in the implementation of any new system, no matter how that comes about.

Adjourning the LA until 10am Thursday morning, McLaughlin said the government would soon be formally revealing the proposals in writing and in more detail to trigger the debate.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Politics

About the Author ()

Comments (62)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think we should have a national election everyone has 18 votes then these so called politicians will have to work for the entire island not just there district- just the way i see it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Man, some of these voters can't even count to 18, much less learn about 18 candidates they might want to choose from.

      But having six three-member districts of roughly the same size might work.

    • Anonymous says:

      They have taken this long to realize the folly of their recommendation for an even number of  MLAs and their only solution is to increase it!  Don't they know that 15 or 17 would also be uneven numbers? 

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have defended Alden McLaughlin as a mla for years but no more.

    He lied to us all his pompous and deceitful ways have come to light for all to see. Disgraceful behavior by the current premier who demonstrates all the traits of the first premier. 

    • Anonymous says:

      People should have known what Alden was about after the 2005 – 2009 administration. Look at the debacle with the schools, which are boondoggle monuments to Alden's ego. The John Gray High Schools is sitting there deteriorating in the open air and will like cost $150 – $175  million alone whenever they government gets around finishing it.

      Then there's Alden's lipstick on a pig solution to the rollover policy that makes it virtually impossible for anyone but the young and wealthy to get PR and, as a result, there's been some serious brain drain happening here. And I'm sorry to say that the replacements, who don't give two hoots about the Cayman Islands or its people, aren't of the same calibre. Has anyone noticed how service levels are dropping across several sectors on Grand Cayman? Believe me, there's a correlation to the new rollover policy there.

      Should we be surprised that Flip Flop Alden has changed his mind about SMCs? Should we be surprised that after blasting the Shetty Hospital when it was McKeeva's project, that it's now a "transforming moment" in the history of the Cayman Islands simply because it opened on his watch? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. There should be a lot of people feelng ashamed for voting for this power hungry egomaniac.

      • Anonymous says:

        "…after blasting the Shetty Hospital when it was McKeeva's project".

        Typical UDP liar. Alden supported the projected from the start.

    • Anonymous says:

      I've supported Alden for many years now too, but this week was so dissapointing as he and the current Govt. spoke to both OMOV / SMC and Minimum Wage debates.

      And whenever I hear Alden with "Politicks is the art of the possible" it usually follows with this sort of self serving drivel.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I don't like this "at large seat" thing.  It is too easily manipulated by people with power and influence.  It could actually lead to the "Don" of politics system if you understand what I am saying.

    Why not have Cabinet run as a block (team) and each resident of Cayman can only cast one vote for one block/team.  The block that gathers the larges number of votes gets elected.   Then residents of each District (SMC) could vote to elect one representative only.  That's true democracy; the people get to choose who they think best to run the country and they get to elect who they wish to represent their District and serve as a check and balance over those in Cabinet.

    • ONE MAN, TWO VOTES! says:

      That sounds like 1 man 2 votes:  one vote for who is Premier and another for who is to be your district MLA to represent the district. Then there should be separation of powers between the district MLAs and the Premier and his executive members. Just like the U.S. system, once the leader is elected, he appoints the executive cabinet. The district MLAs will deal with making the laws only. We can get rid of the name Premier and call him President. Simple and I think more a people-democracy.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Dear PPM

    Each of you campaigned to introduce OMOV when elected as it is represents the will of the people. If you change your minds that makes you appear untrustworthy to those of us who voted for you. If you implement a new a system with "at large" candidates and other new components then Cayman deserves a national referendum on this important issue. Failure to do so means you deserve to be removed for lying to us next time.


  5. Anonymous says:

    I like this idea better than SMC's alone. This will keep constituencies from being so small in Cayman that an MLA could get elected on as little as 250 votes.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I don't see what the big deal is.We'll still be getting sincle member contituencies and to boot we will have gotten rid of the negative side effect of only-my-consituency-matters by having at large seats who will look out for the country as a whole.

  7. squid says:

    I believe in a national slate of candidates who should be voted on by one person, one vote, eighteen seats available so every voter in the Cayman Islands despite their district have a say on who gets power. Moreover, all the candidate will be accountable to everyone not just one district – "United We Stand, Divided We Fall."  I don't see anything wrong with this sort of system except PPM'rs oppose it and C4C is silent about it, as well as Ezzard and Arden. Again, one clean slate means one clean vote and the majority takes the seats – what is so wrong with that!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Looking out for their own asses once again – thats wll it boils down to. We'll draw the dotted line around our own supporters and call that a district.

  9. Anon says:

    One man one vote. All "at large" constituencies. The island is so small it's a joke to say were going to "cut it up". 

  10. Anonymous says:

    This is outrageous! If we don't get OMOV soon no member of any government in the past 12 years will every get an other vote from me. Promises, promises, promises — disappointment, disappointment,  disappointment!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Recall PPM and ask for byelection. Voters can recall these liars in Cayman – can't they? Even Mac must be smiling watching these bufoons put their foot in mouth everyday.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I am asahmed that I voted for PPM … bobo you guys fooled me once again! I'll remember this lick though.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Politicians are the same the world over – do or promise anything for votes and to stay in power.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is why the world over had to form unions to fight their government's BS

  14. Anonymous says:

    Alden this is not Elio you are dealing with but the wishes of the people of Cayman.PPM you are slowly but surely killing yourself.  UDP crashed and you will too when the smoke clears ans people see you for who you truly are.

    • Anonymous says:

      Elio? Where is he these days – still on island?

    • Anonymous says:

      The Progressives  have committed to SMCs so I don't understand what all the fuss is about..  it is just that they will include a number of at large constituencies which will have the beniecifial effect of having a larger number of persons in each constituency as well as mitigating the danger of parochialism by having a number of representatives elected on a national basis.  Both Ezzard and Arden were eleced by less than 300 voters.  Hence the parocial nature of ther representation.

      • Anonymous says:
        • Diogenes says:

          That's exactly what he means – but the problem is that they only had 300 odd people voting for them. 

          Now some of the other MLA's are not much better, but if you say that one man one vote is morally fair to ensure that everyone has even representation, then why do 300 people in Northside get a representative and it takes a 1000 people to get the same representation in George Town? 

          One of the ironies of Ezzard and Ardens burning commitment to the fairness of the voting system (passing lightly over the fact that only a minority of tax payers even get to vote) is that if you wanted fairness you would consolidate their voting districts into 1, and give the Sister Islands a single MLA.  Not so sure they would think that was a good idea, even whilst at the sametime they huff and puff about breaking George Towen into 1000 voter chunks.

          • Anonymous says:

            Being a "taxpayer" has never been the basis on which one is given the right to vote. Not in the U.S., Canada, the UK or anywhere else that I am aware.

            And you exaggerate. The electorate is c. 600 voters in EE and NS. Notiwthstanding the principle of one man one vote single member constituencies there are constituencies in the UK and the U.S. which are 1/2 the size of other constituencies because they form natural communities.   


  15. Anonymous says:

    Typical PPM/Alden move. Agree with the populist sentiment until it can affect you, then come up with reasons not to do it. And his bigidea now? Increase the size of the elected government so that he and his party have a better chance to win the government again after four years of failure.

    This guy is a jolly joker. He's always spoken out of both sides of his mouth and that obviously isn't going to change.

  16. Anonymous says:

    This lot are proving themselves as bad as the last one always in self destruct mode.

  17. Anonymou says:

    Ezzard and Arden are big supporters of SMC but as a part of the redistricting based upon population the North side and East end would need to drastically change. Their small populations would require expansion and it would almost be necessary to make North and East End into one district.

    Then you would hear some squealing about history and the like as you threaten a politican's power base and you will hear about it.

  18. Anonymous says:

    11, 13 or 15 MLAs are enough.  Or keep the current number and half the salaries and benefits.

    The advantage of a lower number of MLAs is that it reduces corruption risks.  When individuals can get elected with 260 or so votes then the risks are very high.

    Once the number of MLAs are agreed then the constituencies can be defined to give each seat as close to an equal population as possible.  Yes, East End and North Side will end up merging, but that reflects the population of modern Grand Cayman.  Yes, the Sister Islands might only have one MLA.

    • Anonymous says:

      In practice it has proven otherwise. Our most corrupt politicians have come from the more populous districts. True story.  

    • Anonymous says:

      To: Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 27/02/2014 – 02:43.                              Since the risk of corruption is so high in smaller districts, please give examples of actual corruption in North Side and East End over the last twenty,thirty,or forty years .If you are unable to back up your claim with proof ,then perhaps you will be so kind as to print a retraction.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Alden needs to stop talking from one corner of his mouth and whispering from the other.   Spend money to bring in consultants on defining new boundaries and then it will be shelved as usual.  When are we going to stop wringing hands and twisting brains? A man's word is his honour, I was taught.  Where is yours?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Has he ever not waivered on anything? 

  21. Anonymous says:

    Feeling betrayed by PPM. 

  22. Anonymous says:

    Dishonest politicians….. What's new?

    • Anonymous says:

      yep, so the flip flopping every 4 years will continue………….

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes it will!

        They have not the testiclar fortitude to do anything for their people.

        They have sold out their people.

        I can point to one industry where they totally ignored the Caymanians and sold us out.

        The construction industry was all owned by local Caymanians, now look where they stand today? they can't get a job in their own country. The new comers have taken over.

        Governments were told over and over to stop selling trades license to these foreign builders, did they stop? no! they sold over 700 licenses alone in that industry.

        This goes with their attitude, keep Caymanians down!


  23. Anonymous says:

    PPM a one term government at this rate. No surprises just wasted opportunities.

    • Anonymous says:

      yep…. can't wait till the udp are back…not!….or the ppm in 2021…not!….

      direct rule please………..

  24. Anonymous says:

    Marco Alva Wayne Osbourn Kurt Anthony Moses Joey please tell us you disagree with this decision by your leader

    • Anonymous says:

      But they don't disagree, that's the problem. The main thing for all of them is to stay elected and stay in power and saying no to SMCs is the best way to achieve that. Cayman's people were suckered by PPM smooth talk and politricks. But time longer than rope and the PPM is going to come to the end of their rope.  Hopefully in three years Cayman's voters will realise that neither the PPM or UDP can't be trusted to lead the country with honesty and will sweep them all away.

    • Anonymous says:

      Marco, Wayne, Osbourne, Kurt and Moses cannot tell you if they disagree. They are bound by collective responsibility.

  25. Caymanian (hope Alden take note!)) says:


    We should have a national slate of candidates who should be voted on by one person, one vote.This is i feel is the best option!  Anyone that doesn't choose this option, is looking forward to a complicated electoral system where not everyone's vote will count!  I have said it before here on CNS, the only fair and equitable way to ensure that no single district and/or party is able to maintain a stranglehold on our country is to eliminate voting districts entirely and give every voter as many votes as there are seats available (i.e. if there are eighteen seats available then every voter should get eighteen votes unconstrained by district, so if I live in East End but I want to vote for a candidate from West Bay I can do so, and vice versa)  This would level the playing field, so to speak, and make all candidates accountable to all voters instead of giving them the luxury of only having to please voters from their own district in order to retain their seat.  The only possible exception to this rule should be in the case of the sister islands who, to be fair, would always be at a disadvantage under this hypothetical regime due to their smaller population.  So maybe Grand Cayman is one district with fifteen seats, the Brac should get two and maybe Little Cayman should even get one (or some variation on this that better represents the population distribution).  All I know for sure is that the current two party, multi-district regime is dividing our country in a way that I have never known it to be prior to it's introduction and is only serving to benefit supporters of the ruling party as opposed to the country as a whole, but maybe that's the point?  After all, the oldest rule in the colonial playbook is divide and conquer.  Imagine, my fellow Caymanians, all of our political leaders collectively acting in the best interest of our country and our people as a whole, what a beautiful concept!

    • Anonymous says:

      The problem with a national slate of candidates, the majority will rule and the minorities in smaller districts will be forgotten. You will see elections where the only candidates that will get in will those from the strongholds of George Town and West Bay. No …. electoral districts are for a reason.

  26. Anonymous says:

    ppm = political procrastination movement

  27. Anonymous says:

    4 more years gone out of people lives….

    Aye bobo

  28. Anonymous says:


    Can’t Change there spots. Alden should be ashamed of himself by being lead down this path by C4C destructive members in the likes of TARA, WINSTON and ROY.

    Just remember Alden you fooled us one time too many. I am a diehard PPM voter but never again my friend you all campaigned on many things and this was the primary one. What do you takes us for, your word should be your bond and after being thought to be cautious you certainly haven’t learnt anything or you did take it in.

    As for the C4C guys you can figure them to do anything for the pay check. Thought they were straight but they will certainly waiver.


  29. Anonymous says:

    Everybody knows Aldin Mclaughlin never intend to support omov but promised to do it for election time. How can Cayman trust him again?

  30. Anonymous says:

    This looks like it’s going right back (compromise) to Ellio’s suggestion of OMOV but multi member constituency.
    The problem – for the politicians – is that their support may be from all over the district so the fear not getting re-elected. Self interest before the country ‘s long term best interest.
    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would not mind multi member constituency to begin with, as long as we get OMOV

    • Anonymous says:

      I would not mind multi member constituency to begin with, as long as we get OMOV

  31. Anonymous says:

    What we need is more seats and therefore more hugely paid jobs/medical/pension for "born Caymanians" to meet a few days every year in a blaze of publicity and pomposity and do  nothing as the country crumbles. Ah so it go.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Same old wutless ppm playing games vote all out in 2017

  33. Just Sayin' says:

    Good. We don't need any more North Sides, thinking their warped opinions mean anything with 326 votes. 

  34. Anonymous says:

    No way Alden.  We don't want no manipulation in this election system at all.  We want SMCs, nothing more and nothing less.  Let the constituencies decide who their leader will be.  We all know by now how our current system can be manipulated by having the strong influence their supporters to pull in their colleagues.  That's manipulation that we want ended, as it isn't true democracy.

    • Anonymous says:

      No, thats the description of a party system. Why do you think, in the USA, the president, etc., go around to campaign for their fellow party members who maybe aren't so popular? Or to show that 'hey, if you vote party, you get the power'? – Want to do away with coat-tailing? Do away with aprties. However, the voting system (single- or multi- member, single- or multi- vote) won't do that.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Political suicide in the making.

    PPM you promised OMOV deliver. 

    I know that now that you are in power realize the way to keep it is to kill true OMOV.  You are proving yourself as bad a the UDP (or what ever they call themselves now.)

    The self survival syndrome of politicians has been the down fall of our country and the PPM who promised to change it are proving to be cut from the same cloth.

    This is why we need OMOV passed now.  SMC pure and simple not finagled so the current party can stay in control.  It is about the power of the people.

    C4C elected officials step up .  PPM elected officials who have the people at heart . Step up.

    This is not the time to change your election promises tune for your own ears.


  36. Anonymous says:

    More lies and bull$hit excuses from Alden and his Progressive sheeps who forget they promised OMOV when elected. None of the PPM can be trusted to keep their word after less than a year in office they are showing us their true colors. 

  37. Peanuts says:

    2017 I am voting for ONE IN GT