Warren calls for MLA recall system

| 02/05/2017 | 11 Comments
Cayman News Service

Dennie Warren Jr

(CNS Election): Dennie Warren believes that Cayman needs to introduce a recall mechanism to allow voters to sack their political representatives before their four-year term is up if they fail them after being returned to office. Warren, who is running as an independent candidate in George Town West, told CNS that in order to give substance to the direct political accountability that single-member representation creates, voters need a tangible way to remove an MLA who breaks his social contract with his constituents.

Warren said the change has to be a constitutional one and not just a legislative change to the law to prevent future lawmakers tinkering it out of existence. But given that the idea is akin to turkeys voting for Christmas, if he is elected Warren may find it a challenge to get his parliamentary colleagues and ultimately government to support the plan, as he appears to be a lone voice on the issue. 

But speaking to CNS Tuesday, after he first raised the issue during a television debate, Warren said, “It doesn’t matter what the elected politicians think, it matters what the public thinks.”

He explained that it was something that should come from the people. Warren said a referendum was needed in order to make any constitutional change, and given the need for clear and precise language to make the provision effective, the introduction of such a mechanism to the local political rules would be better shaped through a people’s referendum rather than one initiated by any government.

The GT candidate said that it would lead to better representation because having such a sanction should ensure that elected officials were much less likely to renege on promises, switch allegiances or over-compromise on commitments, and it could even make them more honest in the first place.

Warren said once the provision was written into the constitution, the removal of an MLA could be triggered by a petition from the representative’s own constituents based on an agreed percentage of that electoral district’s votes. Once enough voters in the given constituency sign the petition, it would trigger a by-election.

“I see this as a mechanism that would only be triggered when that social contract has been broken or where an MLA clearly abandons the commitments made on the campaign trail to voters,” he said. “But constituents need a tangible way to really make their elected officials truly accountable. Without any route to recall, the concept of accountability is essentially meaningless.”

Many voters often complain that representatives find it easy to ignore them once in office until a few months before the next polling day, and four years can be a long time to wait to remove a failing MLA. While Warren may find his latest policy idea wins him few friends among his would-be political peers, the voters of George Town West may find it extremely appealing.

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Comments (11)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The recent two parties have listened to the people demurring the lead up to the election only. After that they listen to (often in private) the developers and money people they bow down to. They think that just because someone is rich they must be a god of some sort. Thinks are beginning to prove differently but they still take their advice and do not even consult the people in matter that will benefit the rich.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This would be the clearest, fastest path to garrison politics and the abandonment of overarching national interest.

  3. Gunshot Business says:

    Also, all MLA’s must be armed with assault rifles.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thankfully Dennie will not be elected so he won’t be recalled after about 5 days in office.

    He fell flat on his face coming out. Ganja Warren .complaining and making fun of the very people that could vote for you and whom you would have to work with Is never a smart idea.

    He will come last or maybe tied with Follio

  5. Anonymous says:

    How about a Speaker that is not also a serving party member or Cabinet vote?

  6. Unison says:

    Dennie, I don’t think its going to happen! You have noble intentions, but have you ever seen politicians make a law that is to their disadvantage???

    Remember how we saw years ago how the all the MLAs up their salaries and cut the salaries of civil servants?!

    • Anonymous says:

      You obviously didn’t read or understand what Mr. Warren said. A referendum is a constitutional change done by the people, not just government writing/amending a law.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Good thinking. We need more like him. Good luck!

  8. Gt Voter says:

    Warren is right; we need the right to remove MLAs… and we also need to implement term limits!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      And replace them with who? Short sightedness kicking the can down the road. Answer the obvious please.

  9. My heart is pure and my hands are clean says:

    I like everything Denny represents. Wish he had run in my district!

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