Miller begins work on bill

| 12/03/2014

(CNS): The independent member for North Side has begun his preparations on a private member's bill that he says he will bring to the Legislative Assembly before the end of the year if government continues on its U-turn over introducing 'one man, one vote' (OMOV) in single member constituencies (SMCs). Ezzard Miller said he has had preliminary discussions with the attorney general, and although he and East End member Arden McLean, who brought the private member's motion, which was narrowly rejected, appreciate the numbers, they remained hopeful that some members of the government benches will remember their campaign promises and help its passage.

As is allowed under the LA’s standing orders, although they are not part of government, Miller and McLean intend to draw up the full necessary legislation with the help of government legal drafters, which they will need to pay for themselves, to change the elections law and introduce SMCs with OMOV, as per the parameters of the July 2012 referendum, and then put it to the vote.

Miller told CNS this week that he was bitterly disappointed with the government’s reaction to McLean’s motion, which was debated in the Legislative Assembly last month and saw the premier reveal that government would be pursuing a hybrid system of 'at large' candidates and single member constituencies, giving voters not one vote in SMCs but four or possibly five votes in combination of SMCs and a national slate. Miller said that many people had told them that they were shocked by the premier’s decision to defend his post and keep his government in office rather that fulfill his campaign promise.

He said there could be no question that one of the issues on which the current government was elected was OMOV in SMCs. The turnaround was damaging, he said, and had led to mistrust in the community and the government had lost considerable political capital, especially coming in the wake of government’s regression on the matter of a minimum wage as well. He said that integrity in government was not “merely the absence of stealing money” but also keeping one's word.

“We must see this newfangled idea of 'at large' candidates for what it really is – to increase representation in government from George Town and another way for politiciansto use each other’s coattails to get elected,” the North Side representative said.

Committed to drawing up the bill, despite the prospect of defeat, Miller said the public could help by contacting their representatives and demanding that they fulfill their election promises on the issue. He said this might persuade enough of the government benches that this is the right thing to do, regardless of their party or government loyalties.

Miller, who said he has been campaigning for OMOV, has raised considerable concerns about the governments U-turn being merely a ploy to delay the implementation of a new voting system by coming up with distraction that will drag the process out for so long that the 2017 election will be fought on the same grounds as that of 2013.

During his contribution to the debate he had pointed out that he had supported SMCs since the 1970s, when he began the fight as a high school student. He said the only reason Cayman still does not have OMOV in SMCs is because of politicians. For fifty years, Miller stated, they had continued to do what was best for politicians and not what is best for the people.

“SMCs are better for the people but not politicians and that is the stumbling block,” he said. “Politicians continue to be afraid of the accountability that comes with SMCs”

Puzzled by Alden McLaughlin’s declarations that the C4C members in his government, who werein a minority, had threatened to being down the Progressives administration, he pointed out that even if they had crossed the floor the government would win a no confidence motion as it was still a majority.

Miller promised to do everything he could to campaign against 'at large' candidates as he said they were unfair and just another way to tip the balance in favour of the capital influencing government. He said multiple voting distorted equality, especially when people could manipulate their vote. One vote cannot be manipulated; it can be cast for one candidate or it can be withheld, he pointed out.

He also questioned the suggestions of the premier that small constituencies throw up “bizarre results” and lead to corruption, vote buying or simply buying the whole election with a slick campaign. He said that each of the four elections he had won in North Side he had spent less than his opponents and had not bought any votes

Although Miller does not subscribe to any of the ills that government is now rolling out about SMCs, he said that even if they existed, reducing the constituencies from 18 to 15 would hardly make much difference. He also criticised government for not admitting which demographic group of Caymanians it was concerned about when McLaughlin had raised the issue of weird results in certain communities in George Town. Miller said the only people who can vote are Caymanian and status holders can’t run for office. If people picked second generation Caymanians from their own ethnic group to represent them, then that was their democratic right, he said.

If a candidate was a Caymanian, even if his parents were born in the Philippines, Jamaica or Canada, he had a right to run for office and the people in his constituencies had a right to vote or not vote for him regardless of their own ethnicity. Such comments from government as a reason to try and manipulate the electoral system were very dangerous, Miller warned, as he pointed to the Bill of Rights.

Attacking the government’s complaints of parties or candidates dominating small constituencies, he pointed to Arden McLean, who ran in a party twice and won and then as an independent and won. People simply don’t get elected if they do not represent the interests of the people of their constituencies, he said.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I wish Mr. Miller would begin to work on his own district.  How many trees do you need to cut down to keep exposing and moving on the druggies in your district that welcome everyone?

  2. Anonymous says:

    So sickening and embarrassing that Mr Miller can never put forward, or identify any solutions. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I'm sure if Hazzard consults Harden a solution can be found.

    • BORN FREE says:

      I really wish Hazzard would go sit down. His negativity & constant opposing of everything is getting reall annoying & destructive. He fully well knows that the government will be bringing OMOV but he does this stupidness so he can falsly claim that it was because of him. He is a HAZZARD to our country.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Really 18:38? Which PPM Member has put forward a bill forhim to co-sponsor?  Which PPM Member has even invited him to co-sponsor a bill?  Get real!  Keep going Ezzard, at least you are doing what your are being paid to do regardless of who likes it.  It is always the hog that is hit who hollers the loudest.

    • Anonymou says:

      Ezzard used to work with Arden when he was PPM, that is how Ezzard got his motions seconded. Ezzard can talk with one of the PPM from Boddentown that voted for OMOV.

      Why don't people really try to work together here in Cayman. Do people prefer the crab in the bucket mentality?


  4. Anonymous says:

    I wonder what Ezzard thinks about all eighteen voting districts having equal numbers of voters.  

    • Anonymou says:

      That will never happen as Ezzard will whine on the radio about the history of his district and the special culture of the North Side blah blah blah.

      The population of the districts should be about on par with each other that is part of single member constituency.

  5. Anonymous says:

    you think party politics is bad?  Wait until OMOV instills itsself in neighbourhood politics…

    you thinkk its impossible to get rid of certain MLA's?  wait until OMOV puts its claws into neighbourhood politics, right Ezzrad and Arden?

    The only difference now with OMOV it will be based on the demographics of certain neighbourhoods and the country will be forced to accept those issues as national considerations.. so now slums and drug neighbourhood will have representaqtion on the ballot.  Income level, race and nationalities will now be issues on the ballot.

    People like Ezzard push popular policies not intelligent nor wise policies.



    • Anonymous says:

      Oh for cryng out loud – the worst leaders we have had have come from the largest districts!

  6. Anonymous says:

    At least he has the courage to stand by his word, although I regularly disagree with his comments. This time he is right in parts, and unlike the current ruling set, he is consistent.

    The recent vote on SMC was a sad affair, there was barely even an attempt to explain U turns or no shows on a vote to become democratic and those that reneged or ran away should be remembered for what they are. Well done ezzard, keep standing by your principles, maybe some will be brave enough to admit their shame for last time!

    having said that, I think he is going to have to expand on what democracy is, fundamentally it means that no person has greater rights than his neighbour. A voter in West Bay has one vote, one MLA, so does an East ender. If Constituencies are fixed in roughly equal numbers to ensure that all have equal representation, then the system is fundamentally fair, and anyone that opposes that fairness needs to explain himself!



  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Ezzard and Arden for proving the ppm untrustworthy. I did not want to believe it until I saw with my own eyes they lied to us.

  8. OM18V says:

    One vote sucks. Why must I be limited to one vote for a candidate who might not even reside in my district?

    I want 18 votes. After all, the other 17 will be making decisions that directly impact me. I deserve a say in who they are.

  9. Anonymou says:

    Once again the tail is trying to wag the dog. Perhaps the independent minded MLA would get farther if he worked with other members of the LA instead of trying to be a hero. Co-sponsor a bill with a member of the PPM for instance.

    But would Ezzard be willing to share the spot light?