Only half the candidates live in potential seats

| 24/04/2017 | 39 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS Elections): Almost half of the candidates standing for election in May are not registered to vote in the constituency where they are fighting for a seat, according to the electoral register. From the 61 candidates on the ballots, 27 are not registered as living in the constituencies where they are hoping to be elected to office, with several not even living in the district. While it is not mandatory for a prospective representative to live in the seat they are contesting, many voters believe their representatives should live among them.

Some voters have told CNS they believe there should be a legal mandate for their representatives to live in the constituencies or at least in the district, as accessibility and accountability are very important to many of them.

“With the arrival of single-member constituencies, it is going to be even more important that our MLAs live in our communities as we won’t have another one to find anymore,” one voter told CNS Monday. Others, however, have said that given the size of the country and the very similar concerns in most constituencies anyway, having a resident MLA is not as important as having the right MLA.

But from the top of the party hierarchy to first timers and incumbent veteran candidates, there is a mixed bag of constituency presence in this 2017 general election campaign.

Premier Alden McLaughlin lives in Prospect but he is contesting the Red Bay seat next door, while the opposition leader lives in his West Bay West constituency. Ezzard Miller lives in the heart of his North Side seat, while Arden McLean lives in Savannah, several miles from the people he represents in East End.

With the introduction of single-member constituencies, some candidates live outside the seat they have opted for but they are still in a neighbouring constituency or very close to the seat’s new boundary, but some live a considerable distance away.

If he was to be elected next month, the MLA with the longest commute to see his constituents would be Isaac Rankine, who, according to the electoral register, lives in the constituency of West Bay North but is standing as an independent candidate for East End. John McLean (Ind) is the only candidate who is a resident of that constituency. 

Rankine told CNS he did not think that living so far away from the constituency would be a significant disadvantage for him because if elected, he would establish a constituency office, where he would be going every day possible; when he was attending parliament it would be manned by someone else.

“I don’t see it as a real issue so long as the candidate is frequently in the constituency among the people,” said Rankine, who grew up in the district and still has family members there. “I plan to be there every day I can. The commute will also give me an opportunity for reflection and I still have plans to move to the district.”

Among the concerns raised by voters about candidates not living in their electoral districts is accessibility. Some say candidates living elsewhere are disconnected from the voters and less aware of the day-to-day issues impacting them, as well as being less accessible. Dennie Warren Jr, who is running as an independent candidate on a specific national campaign issue to promote a local medical cannabis industry, believes living in the constituency is very important.

A resident of George Town West, Warren is up against three other candidates, none of whom live in the constituency, though they all live in the George Town district. He told CNS that he believes the voters appreciate a representative that lives with them, as he questioned how a “stranger” could truly represent people. 

“A representative needs to be accessible and to have a stake in the community, as people believe then that you are going to have their interests at heart. They can have faith that you know what is happening and what needs to be addressed,” he added.

Meanwhile, in the next district Kenneth Bryan, who is running as an independent candidate against the PPM’s Marco Archer in George Town Central, lives in George Town East. Bryan grew up in the central area of the district, however, and said that since deciding to run in this election in the middle of the capital, he has been in ‘central’ every day that he could. 

“It’s like going to work every day; people don’t always live in the same district as their job,” he said. “While I believe it might be an advantage for a candidate to reside in their constituency, it isn’t necessarily a disadvantage not to live there so long as you are there and accessible to the people. Central is the first place I go every day after taking my children to school and it’s the last place I leave before I go home to bed at night.”

However, Bryan does believe that a candidate must at least live in the surrounding area or in the district in order to stay properly connected to constituents and to be able to represent the needs of the people. Bryan will be voting in George Town East and his opponent, Finance Minister Marco Archer, will be casting his vote in George Town North.

While many candidates and voters believe that their representatives should be residents in the constituency in order to serve them better, the 27 candidates who are not registered to vote in the constituencies where they are campaigning are also losing out on the one sure vote they can count on — their own — and possibly lose out on family votes as well. 

In some cases, party candidates won’t even have a colleague to vote for. For example, Archer can vote for Joey Hew in GTN, but Daphne Orrett, who is running in West Bay West against McKeeva Bush and Paul Rivers, both of whom live in the constituency, cannot vote for her party as there are no PPM candidates in West Bay North, where she is registered to vote.

In North Side, Bodden Town East and both constituencies in the Sister Islands, all the candidates are registered to vote where they are contesting the election. But in addition to GTC, there are constituencies where none of the candidates live in the district.

In George Town East both party candidates, Roy McTaggart (PPM) and Tessa Bodden (CDP) live in the neighbouring George Town North constituency, Sharon Roulstone (Ind) lives in George Town West, while Kenrick Webster (Ind), who lives in Newlands, is one of six candidates who live in completely different district.

See where candidates are registered to vote

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Category: Candidates

Comments (39)

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  1. So What says:

    Only a quarter of the candidates are remotely electable.

    • Anonymous says:

      One in four would be acceptable to me. Out of great respect for this territory, and of my right to vote, I am not casting in favor of any of the four running in my district. I simply can’t. I do intend to show up and vote “none of the above” if the Elections Office gives us the right to exercise that option.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I hear that a NEW Employment Authority is coming!
    I thought the Authorities were, as self-operating (& super costly) operations no longer encouraged.
    Why not have a properly staffed Employment Dept instead?

  3. Anonymous says:

    So you can vote for your moronic neighbor or a better candidate who lives a half mile over. No problem.

  4. Election Observer says:

    Requiring candidates to live in the constituency they are contesting is unrealistic. It would mean that a prospective candidate must either purchase a house or take out a lease on one before being registered to stand. Not everyone can afford to do that, particularly if, for example, someone living in a less affluent area plans to stand in a wealthier one.
    If you then say they shouldn’t do it, you are restricting the free and fair operation of the election.

  5. Anonymous says:

    with only one representative I think it is now even more important to vote for someone also living in your constituency

  6. Anon says:

    Arden lives in Savannah? What the hell!?

  7. Anonymous says:

    As someone who works in the financial industry, I am not interested in whether the candidate lives in my area but rather that he/she will be able to potentially hold a ministry (if not now, then in the future) and whether he/she has any idea of the obstacles/regulations/issues the offshore financing centers are dealing with these days.

    So no, I am not looking to elect someone who has no proven track records of being successful in their own lives and career just because they live in my neighborhood and have time to meet me for a drink at the bar!

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you. We need more educated thinking grown ups. A pity the Constitution wasn’t amended to allow Cayman to benefit now from the service of many willing (and retired) professionals. The pickings are slim.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The other half live in houses.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I can’t believe that so many people are still concerned with having someone elected who has time for idle chit/chat and can focus on their individual problems, rather than concerning themselves with electing some educated, successful and experienced people who can actually run and manage a country and represent the ENTIRE Cayman Islands overseas.

    No wonder Cayman is in such a mess…….

  10. Anonymous says:

    car·pet·bag·ger
    ˈkärpətˌbaɡər/
    noun derogatory

    a political candidate who seeks election in an area where they have no local connections.

    historical
    (in the US) a person from the northern states who went to the South after the Civil War to profit from the Reconstruction.
    a person perceived as an unscrupulous opportunist.
    “the organization is rife with carpetbaggers”

    • Fred says:

      No local connections! We are on an island 30 miles long, and some of these constituencies are tiny. Are you seriously trying to suggest that the issues confronting the voters of,say, GT Central are sooo different from GT East, and the distance between them so vast that they not only need separate representation but the MLa has to live amongst his constituents.

      • Anonymous says:

        His or her, yes I am suggesting that.
        The OMOV was done dishonestly to allow this exact thing to happen.
        No redistricting was necessary, just a little less ink on the ballot. How hard was that?
        Please stop it!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Forget old fashioned district thinking.
    Country wide elections.
    Always 80 years behind….

    • Anonymous says:

      So you would be happy with no representation from the less populated districts? That would very likely happen. Think those folks would be pleased? Think.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I would certainly give more consideration to a candidate who lives in my district and is aware of the specific issues facing the district.

    • Anonymous says:

      So you are more concerned with the condition of your road perhaps, rather than having some ministers in place who have actually a clue what they are doing as their action/non-action affects the entire country?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Same old government double standards. Rollover, pensions, medical etc. Do as I say not as I do.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Which Spanish speaking country will the George Town South voters find Alric when they need him?

  15. Anonymous says:

    “strangers”?? Don’t be so dramatic, Dennie. We’re all on Facebook for pete’s sake. Living with us is really not so much a value add.

  16. Anonymous says:

    This could be the end of Arden ….both of his opponents live in East end.

  17. Unison says:

    lol … now thats funny. Why couldn’t we keep our traditional electoral districts? Why did we had to divide Cayman up into 19 parts???

    We could have still implement the one-man-one vote without pushing for these 19 single-member districts :/

    • Anonymous says:

      There was this whole OMOV movement and a referendum, the fact you are asking this NOW is sad.

    • Anonymous says:

      6:33pm – It almost feels like they did it this way to prove the OMOV was a bad idea…
      LMAO And then I read the next comment having those sentiments. Blaming the country for the OMOV initiative

  18. Anonymous says:

    We the voter can only vote where we live. Those who run should have a residence where they are running for a seat. Simple. This law needs to be put in place before the next election now that we have the one man one vote. Politicians have turned this into a joke waiting till the last minute to announce who is running where. It’s all about getting a seat and not what is best and informing the voter.Run where you live!!! Vote for those that live in your area and not playing games for your vote.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yup. They r shameful. Or shameless.
      No more to say.

    • Anonymous says:

      be careful what you wish for. if you think you have poor quality candidates now, go ahead and restrict the potential candidate pool even further!!

  19. Anonymous says:

    With so many existing constraints on eligibility, and so few with the chin to take on the mantle of public office, we have to accept whoever we can get. The best thing we could do is amend the eligibility criteria for next time to open it up even further or, ideally, reduce the number of polling districts. Maybe then we’d have more home district representation – and perhaps more of the candidates that finished high school.

  20. Anti Donkey says:

    Red bay, none of them live or are from our area! So what are they really going to do for us, not a dammit thing! They just want their 130k page and pensions for life.

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