More MLAs for smaller districts, commission told
(CNS): At a meeting with the Electoral Boundary Commission on Little Cayman a former candidate for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman says the three new MLAs called for in the new Constitution should be allocated to the three smaller districts. On Cayman Brac a current MLA, a former MLA and a past candidate all said that the vast majority of voters on the island wanted the voting system, whereby each voter gets two votes for two candidates, to remain the same. They were also adamant that Brackers did not want to see the district divided into two.
On Little Cayman, Maxine McCoy Moore (above), one of three people who showed up to meet with the commission and its entourage last Friday (30 March), said she believes that the population of Little Cayman would surpass that of Cayman Brac in another 5 to 10 years. “That island is definitely growing and growing fast,” she said. She further believes that the Bluff on Cayman Brac will be the most populated area in the whole Cayman Islands in another 10 to 15 years.
She proposed that the new MLAs be allocated to East End, North Side and the Sister Islands, bringing the total of two each for East end and North Side and a total of three for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. “The additional MLA for the Sister Islands should make Little Cayman his or her priority with the other two MLA’s concentrating mainly on Cayman Brac, but still as a team,” she said.
At the meeting on the Brac with commissioners – chair Carl Dundas, Norman Bodden and Adriannie Webb – Sister Islands representative Moses Kirkconnell, former MLA Lyndon Martin and former candidate Percy Whorms were in agreement that the status quo of the voting system on the two islands should remain. While only District Commissioner Ernie Scott and CNS were also at the poorly attended meeting, Kirkconnell pointed out that at the constitutional meetings before the elections the message from the people on Cayman Brac was clear. He also said it was important for the two MLAs from the district to work together. His job, he said, was to gather the views of his constituents and to take them to the Legislative Assembly for the debate on the matter.
Martin said that dividing constituencies into equal voting blocks created equity in the system. Noting that the current constitution stipulates that the district of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman must have at at least two representatives, he said this already deviated from that principle and the question was whether there should be a further “bastardisation” of the system if single member constituencies were created on Grand Cayman but not on the Sister Islands.
The one-time MLA, who stood and lost in the last election, said the current system was increasingly abused as candidates manipulated it by urging their supporters to only use one of their two votes. He said that in the last election particularly it became a campaign ploy and was stated directly from the platform. However, despite this and his thoughts on equity, Martin believed in retaining the status quo for the district and better educating voters to use both their votes.
Kirkconnell said that challenges the islands faced were unique to the district, not unique to either the east or the west of Cayman Brac and that if it were divided and only one district on the Sister Islands was held by the party in power it would create problems on the island and be very divisive.
Commissioner Webb pointed out that all elected members have to work together for the good of the islands as a whole. It should not make a difference how they get elected, she said.
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