New election landscape has 19 seats

| 30/06/2015 | 33 Comments
Proposed new George Town election districts

Proposed new George Town election districts

(CNS): Draft maps drawn up by the Electoral Boundary Commission to introduce single member constituencies and one man, one vote in time for the 2017 general election have nineteen seats. The proposed changes to the Cayman Islands political landscape have been published on the Elections Office website and are understood to be displayed in district libraries, but there has been no comment from the commission or any government officials about their publication.

The new maps not only divide Cayman into 19 new single constituencies but they also recommend an increase to the membership of the Legislative Assembly by one more member. During the public consultation the idea of increasing the number of politicians was broadly rejected by voters who voiced their opinions at meetings, but the commissioners have so far been silent about their findings and the new draft election maps that have introduced a nineteenth seat.

While the historical boundaries of the current six constituencies have been largely retained, the districts have been divided up into new smaller constituencies, many of which are different from the previous boundary commission’s recommendations and the polling districts currently in use.

The commissioners have recommended seven seats inside the current George Town boundaries, which ends with a constituency in Prospect to the east and along Britannia Drive in the West, four each in Bodden Town and West Bay, two for the Sister Islands, with the new boundary line along Ashton Reid Drive, while both East End and North Side remain the same.

In George Town the commissioners have deviated the most from previous proposed single member constituency boundaries with the creation of a new constituency of George Town East. Bordering the constituencies of George Town South, GT West, GT Central and Red Bay, the new seat will cover an area south of the airport and the Linford Pierson Highway, parts of South Sound and Grand Harbour.

The four constituencies in both Bodden Town and West Bay are also different from the 2010 boundary commission’s findings and the current polling station areas. In West Bay the commissioners have changed West Bay North to encompass all of the northern coastline of the district from North West Point Road to Conch Point, and a new constituency of West Bay Central has been created in the middle of the district.

Although the new political Bodden Town has remained similar to previous pictures of single member constituencies, there are changes to the borders set out by the 2010 commission.

There are no details at this stage of the number of registered voters in each of the new constituencies. On Tuesday afternoon following the publication of this article officials released details of two public meetings to be held in at the George Town Town Hall on Tuesday 7 July at 5:30pm and on Wednesday 8 July at the Savannah United Church Hall also at 5.30pm.  The officials also revealed that the public has only until 8 July to make final written submissions on the proposed boundaries to the Commission, via the Elections Office.

Although the proposed boundaries are not yet set in stone, they are likely to  create some concerns. However, it is the additional MLA that will likely raise the most questions, with each backbench politician costing the country around $130,000 a year once benefits and constituency office expenses are factored in to the annual pay.

MLA Ezzard Miller, a stalwart supporter of single member constituencies and the equitable system of ‘one man, one vote’, said he was not surprised by the appearance of an additional seat. But the North Side representative, who campaigned alongside East End member Arden McLean for the introduction of OMOV, said he wanted to hear the motivation and justification for it as he still believed the people did not support increasing the size of the LA. Nevertheless, Miller confirmed that he would not block the introduction of OMOV and SMCs by the government over the 19th seat.

“The need to introduce ‘one man, one vote’ is far too important to me so I will not let the emergence of an extra seat stand in the way of my support for the introduction of single member constituencies,” Miller told CNS Tuesday. “But I want to know what the justification for this extra seat is and why the commissioners have made the recommendation. My concern has always been that the question of the extra and unnecessary seat will be used as a way to block the introduction of OMOV.”

But Miller said he would support that extra seat if it guaranteed the change in Cayman’s electoral system in time for the 2017 general election.

Check back to CNS later this week for more on the proposed changes to the local election landscape.

See all of the proposed boundaries and draft maps

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Category: Elections, Politics

Comments (33)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I believe since I own a rental home in east end but I live in Canada I am still qualified to run in that district after all home is where the heart is

  2. Sandlot says:

    19 reps. What an expensive joke. When it’s all so simple. Three districts, West, Middle and East (East encompassing the two outer islands). And no more than 9 representatives in total, 3 for each district. District councils can look after pressing stuff like boat ramps and sub-post offices etc.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is good news another job was just created and one more office to build out and another set of free airline tickets and another job created with the security and the car and the driver and the party and the awards
    I have an idea lets have 100 mla’s that would create 100’s of new jobs and all the fluff and waste that goes with it

  4. cimboco says:

    Most if not all democratic islands/ countries have One Person One Vote. That is the equitable way to go. It should not matter whether there are a dozen people in a comstituency or not. It is all about equality which I believe has taken far to long to come.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Wow. They have done it. Taken a totally screwed up electoral system and made it worse. What will someone need to get elected now. 100 votes! 19 MLAs. This is absurd.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I disagree with more MLAs and disagree with not joining the North Side and East End districts. The numbers of voters per district need to be closely even. We will again have the tail wagging the dog.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Having one legislator in my district concerns me very much! What if he/she is about as useless as they come? What if he doesn’t like me or my family and won’t hear our concerns? Why add so many more expensive people to the payroll many of whom do nothing? This is a bad idea and we shouldn’t change what has worked for a long time. Why not have a national vote instead?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Why an extra seat? Can’t find anyone any good now!

  9. Anonymous says:

    It is all going in the wrong direction.
    Now we go from a few districts to a bunch of smaller districts, where the people are still limited with their choice.
    Nationwide elections, A westbayer should be able to vote for somebody from georgetown, if he/she thinks that person would better represent the people of these islands.
    Districts are old and dates from the time people were born, live and die in the same street.

  10. Anonymous says:

    A cowardly proposal pandering to NS, EE and the Lesser Caymans.

    • Anonymous says:

      So that’s what you think about cayman brac and little cayman. “The lesser caymans”

      • Old Timer says:

        Have you ever looked at the old maps? It is a size reference.

        Know your history!

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually, that is their correct historical and geographical name.

      • Anonymous says:

        Correct terminology in terms of geography, history and economic contribution. The pathetic term “Sister Islands” was just politicians sucking up to the Lessers.

  11. young blood! says:

    Who the hell am I going to vote for in prospect?
    Let’s make it very simple, get rid of all districts, let’s all have 19 votes and the MLAs represent the entire island not just the area they are from.

    Mind you we have 19 people on a starting salary of $140k pa now… WT… Let’s be honest best job in Cayman. For part time work!

    2 more things, get rid of pension for these guys after 1term and let’s go back to 2 or 3 terms full pension and health. Also these guys need a term limit (like driftwood), maybe 2terms consecutive and then can’t run for a term but then can run later.
    We young Caymanians are sick and tired of these old men lying to us…

  12. Herman Whelk says:

    We need as many MLAs as possible. The odds of getting a sensible one are slightly improved that way.

    Don’t stop the carnival!

  13. Anonymous says:

    I knew they wouldn’t do the obvious thing and amalgamate East End and North Side. And by increasing the number of seats, yet again, we only increase the village politics mentality. Perhaps our MLAs should be paid commensurate with the number of voters in their district. The average UK MP represents 70,000 constituents and is paid 77,000 pounds a year. Some of ours represent a few hundred and are being paid $10,000 a month.

  14. Anonymous says:

    19 members make the districts smaller and east end and north side not look quite as bad. Just a band aid because they are still far too little,

    • Anonymous says:

      So what if I get a useless legislator in my district? That means I would be stuck with him or her! What if he/she doesn’t like me and ignores my concerns? Why should we pay for more legislators when it is already costing us plenty to pay some pretty useless ones? And we have a few!!! I am very concerned. Why should we undo something that has worked for almost 200 years? People you need to think twice about this!

  15. Anonymous says:

    So 19 potential candidates (with pension, health care) like Ezzard, Arden, Julianna, Eugene and Bernie?? Oh dear Jesus.

  16. Burnard Tibbetts. Cotton Tree Bay, Cayman Brac says:

    I hereby suggest that dividing Cayman Brac into two electoral districts does not make good sense, Allowing each person to vote for one person only, has some merit, but dividing the island with less than 2000 population into two electoral districts does not make good sense. I therefore protest the dividing of Cayman Brac into two electoral districts.
    Burnard Tiibbetts MBE

    • Anonymous says:

      You are correct. Having two seats for the Brac makes no sense. There should be a single Brac constituency.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree totally Burnard. There is no way the Brac should have two representatives.
      Eliminate one and make all the districts around 2000.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is not population but registered voters that count. In case you need help here are the April 22nd figures

      North Side 582
      East End 629
      Cayman Brac & Little Cayman 1017
      Bodden Town 4525
      West Bay 4160
      George Town 7383

      Now under the current system each MLA should be representing 1016 (18,296/18)registered voters. Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are a prime example of needing only one MLA.
      And don’t get me started on East End & North Side.

  17. Wix says:

    Um this is really a stupid idea. I hope we didn’t pay someone to scribble a bunch of lines on a map. Reduce mla positions to 12, combine north side and east end. With 19 mla s I feel there is going to be a dilution of good candidates and ideas. The bulkinzation of the districts does not help these islands. Only a ^ WHOLE COUNTRY ^ plan will progress these islands forward. Rest of this is a waste of time and effort. Just continued bureaucracy and a waste of public funds. Shame.

  18. Bluff Patrol says:

    No more executive government expansion. Say NO to the 19 member suggestion!

    • Anonymous says:

      A questioni have with this boundary carving; as the voting populace of ages 18 up to 40 in George Town grows and rents or builds houses in the outer districts ( note residential occupancy in George 5town is on a large decline- children now living with patents moving out on their own, more development in out of town areas) what happens to the equality of votes that this new system purports to bring. Is George Town, then to be merged out with the Savannah or other areas outside of town.?. In most countries people migrate from the outer areas to a town centre, the opposite is true in Grand Cayman. Does this mean that there will be a need for more legislative members to represent the increased numbers ? If development moves and it will over the years to East End and the population increases what then?. Does this whole concept of one man one vote really suit us. Experts if any amongst us exist please explain .

      • Anonymous says:

        Except if you look at the numbers (electoral) GT remains the largest district and increasing. Yes BT is increasing faster, but that doesn’t mean that GT is shrinking. Even relative to other districts. SO, no, don’t expect to see GT ‘hollowing out’ and its votes getting moved East. Especially as people have shown a disinclination to live far from the centre of commerce.

  19. Just Sayin' says:

    It is treasonous that North Side and East End are not amalgamated in to Bodden Town. This is garbage and defeats the intent.

    • Ha foo says:

      You must be a real idiot,to propose almagamating East End and North Side into Bodden Town,

      • Just Sayin' says:

        Oh, so its not about equality? My apologies, I must have misunderstood.

      • Anonymous says:

        Many places do this. You have geographically small urban districts and large rural districts. It about the number of registered voters not size.

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