Alden hits back on OMOV

| 22/05/2015 | 16 Comments
Cayman News Service

Alden McLaughlin, Cayman Islands Premier, in the Legislative Assembly

(CNS): The country’s premier has accused the opposition leader of repeating myths in the hope people will start believing it but that he was committed to electoral reform. In a short statement in the Legislative Assembly on Friday morning Alden McLaughlin hit back at McKeeva Bush’s allegations on Wednesday that the PPM leader did not really support SMCs and OMOV and he should stand with him to oppose it.

However, McLaughlin said that his party had been committed to the voting change for many years but the opposition leader appeared gravely concerned about the prospect of an election in 2017 across single member constituencies.

“I feel sorry for him” the premier stated, adding however that he needed to “face up to it”.

McLaughlin said his and the PPM’s commitment to electoral change was illustrated by the fact that the PPM had ensured that the possibility for voting reform was included in the constitution, including other important political safeguards that people now took for granted but what had seen the previous administration fight “tooth and nail” for with the UDP leader.

McLaughlin said that he had helped to draft the petition in 2012, had been one of the first to sign it and had been involved in the strategy to drive it until it was hijacked by the then government.

But since that referendum, he said, people had raised concerns about smaller constituencies and the possibility of MLAs being elected to seats based on just a few hundred votes. He said that was why when Arden McLean brought a private members motion asking for the change in February 2014 it had been rejected, although government had remained committed to voting equality.

McLaughlin said that given those real concerns and the decision by the PPM to examine the possibility of a hybrid system with at-large national candidates, as well as the focus at the time for government on stabilizing government finances and boosting the local economy, electoral reform was not the priority.

But he said it transpired that there was not broad support from the community for the hybrid system and the C4C members made it clear in a statement to the press that they supported OMOV. As a result, once the economy and finances were stabilized, he brought the government motion to the Legislative Assembly last September and created the boundary commission, whose work he said was now “a long way down the track”.

McLaughlin spoke about the commitment his government had to a number of issues but said it was also committed to electoral reform and “no amount of myth making will change that”.

During his budget address, Bush had suggested the premier did not support OMOV and that together they could fight to stop it from happening.

Bush has now launched a petition to try and stop the implementation of single member constituencies. At a meeting in Prospect Wednesday night the opposition leader announced plans to circulate a petition against it. Bush claims that the introduction of SMCs would create more division in Cayman. If Bush can raise 25% of the electorate in the petition he could force government’s hand into yet another referendum.

In 2012, Bush took over a people-led referendum petition that was easily on track to get the necessary votes to trigger a national ballot in the November of that year as requested. But Bush pulled the rug when he announced he would hold a snap ballot in the July, just months away, closing down the opportunity for supporters to register to vote and setting it at a time in the summer when many people would be away from the island.

Despite taking over the referendum, Bush continued to treat it as a people-led vote requiring 50% plus 1 vote of the entire electorate to pass and not a government ballot requiring a simple majority.

In every constituency except West Bay those who voted did so in favour of the introduction of SMCs and OMOV but it did not reach the high bar but sent a clear message that the people wanted reform.

Tags: , , ,

Category: Elections, Politics

Comments (16)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Just Watchin says:

    Thanks for the correction 5:25pm.
    You keep judging him by what he says.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Politics and Big Government are simply not needed. They are a blight on society, lazy and basically irrelevant.

  3. Just Wacthin says:

    Thanks for admitting it All-done. You saw the numbers – Ezzard and Arden were for it, that was 2; Alva and Tony dissed your a__ and stood by their word to the people of Bodden Town, they were for it; that made 4; you tried to throw the C4C members under the truck but they slipped out and told the media they were for it, that made 7! Even if Mc and his two croonies stood with YOU, you realised that you couldn’t take the chance that one or two more of your PPM folks wouldn’t grow some cahoonies and your charming image as a leader would be soiled! So you did your best Gandhi – “I must go where my people want to go because I am their leader”.
    But your cahoonies still aren’t big enough to let you admit that you don’t want to go; you just don’t want to be left behind.
    Mark this down and remember it: “A man isn’t what he says he is. He is what he hides”.

  4. Sharkey says:

    I think that 4:20 pm has it right, if we don’t really look carefully at these changes to the voting system that is been proposed , we might all regret it in the future. Remember that when it is signed in to law, it would take about 4 years before you the VOTERS could really do anything about it. So like we say VOTE WISELY.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Alden and Mac. Along with Ezzard and Arden. Our strutting and preening political peacocks. It’s all about “me, me, me” as far as they are concerned. Country and constituents are way down on their list of considerations.

  6. Anonymous says:

    My goodness, Alden is becoming an electable person (for me personally) after that debacle as education minister.

  7. Anonymous says:

    alden flip-flop mclaughlin……..typical do nothing ppm…..

  8. Anonymous says:

    Got any more excuses for the referendum failing? A national vote is the way forward

  9. Cass says:

    OMOV is a bad idea, nothing democratic about it. No need to be upset that the public won’t buy into the farce. Please stop trying to further segregate our already tiny community. We need more unity and less segregation of classes, colour and creed. We are in this together, please wake-up for the next elections people. Vote WISELY.

    • Anonymous says:

      Could not possibly agree more. OMOV is pure emotional diatribe, no one bothers to actually think of the repercussions. This will become neighborhood politics, nationality politics, race politics, income politics, south sound versus swamp, drug infested crime neighborhoods and ghettos will get representation. and the national issues will take second place. And you think the coat tail effect is bad now? wait until a politician only needs a hand full of votes from his/her neighbors wanting something to win an election…. Gimme politics will rise…. OMOV is a freakin knee jerk reaction NOT a solution. It should become HARDER to get elected not easier based on a couple of you’re friends and family’s votes. the national issues should be a major factors of every politician’s election. This is why you can’t solve a dump problem on this freakin island, because you always offend someone’s cousin!

      OMOV gets your Ezzard’s and Ardens, and they are going to sell you the concept that this somehow promotes change in office? Are you really that gullible?????

      Come on people..

      • Stanley says:

        Stop your scaremongering! we the Cayman people want change, and this is the only way to bring it. Break up the dolly house, break up the monopoly hold on voters that the two repeating parties are brainwashing you with.
        Believe it or not they control the voters with the unlimited funds they receive from the large corporations on our shores.
        if a candidate has the integrity and can prove he can show accountability, and he only needs 300 votes, then vote for him! stop following these caravan of gypsies.
        This is so ironic the same candidates agreeing with you that change must come is the same perpetrator who implement the laws to drive you in the ground and he is pleading to with you to vote for him.

    • ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiNg says:

      If it’s unity you want then island wide elections are the answer. Just make it so everyone can vote for up to 18 people and the 18 people with the most votes get elected. All elected officials would then have to answer to all voters on the island and not just the ones in their district. This seems far more logical and simple than creating single member constituencies.

      • Pogo says:

        Would make it a lot harder for candidates to buy votes as well – which is presumably why its being ignored.

You can comment anonymously. See CNS Comment Policy at the top of this page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

See draft amendment to the Constitution in the CNS Library