Mac turning to courts to stop SMCs

| 19/10/2015 | 31 Comments
Cayman News Service

Polling station sign, Cayman Islands

(CNS): The opposition leader has said he wants a judicial review of the government’s decision to adopt the recommendations by the Electoral Boundary Commission (EBC) for electoral reform. In an impassioned speech on Friday during the debate on the government motion to accept the EBC’s report, which paves the way for ‘one man, one vote’ at the next election, McKeeva Bush, who remains vehemently opposed to electoral reform, accused the commission chair of gerrymandering in his West Bay district and government of introducing a system that will send Cayman’s democracy into “eternal hell-fire”.

The premier presented the historic, long-awaited motion on Friday to pave the way for equity in voting in 2017 and beyond. He said it had been a long winding and journey, which was far from smooth, to get to this point but he was still hopeful that the leader of the opposition would join government and the independent members to unanimously support the motion.

But following Alden McLaughlin’s presentation, Bush made it clear that was not going to happen. Making the most of his two hour allotted debate time to berate the concept of single member constituencies (SMC), he attacked the EBC for not returning to West Bay to explain the changes made to the previous polling districts within his constituency and of manipulating the shape of his district’s constituencies.

Bush read correspondence to his colleagues in the Legislative Assembly that he had exchanged with the governor demanding that the EBC chair, Dr Lisa Handley, return to West Bay and explain what she had done, and even though Bush had nominated one of the three commissioners, he described the process as biased. Deriding the governor’s response to his concerns, the opposition leader said her office had been instigating for the change, which he did not believe the people wanted and would threaten Cayman’s democracy with the introduction of garrison politics.

Implying that the only reason people supported the change to single member constituencies and ‘one man, one vote’ was to get rid of him, he said he may not have the votes to the stop the change but he would seek a judicial review and would press on with the referendum petition. The petition, which began in June, is understood to have less than 2,000 signatures, far short of the 4,300 plus that would be needed to trigger a people’s referendum.

Criticising the concept of SMC, Bush said that Cayman was too small and that the existing system, which has been in place for 185 years, worked. He further claimed that the inequity in the number of votes people had did not matter and that having more people vote a member into the LA rather than less was more accountable.

As he presented the government motion to the Legislative Assembly, which is assured safe passage, the premier said that the EBC had done a very good job at creating diverse, representative and balanced districts. Concerns about garrison politics had been considered and had been addressed by the commission, he said.

“Many of us campaigned and were elected on this platform and we have not forgotten the referendum where a majority voted for SMC and OMOV,” McLaughlin said, adding that any government worth its salt keeps its promises.

“This is a government that gets things done,” he said. “It is time to get this done.”

The debate on the motion is scheduled to continue in the LA Monday.

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Category: Elections, Laws, Politics

Comments (31)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Did anyone explain to Big Mac that under a judicial review he does not get to select a jury of 12 that he can appeal to?

  2. Anonymous says:

    If judge is tou know who there wont be any fairness and PPM will get what their way. Omov is less accountability if ppl cant see that they must be stupid or blind. Smh

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh dear – your poor thing. You just demonstrated how little you know and understand about politics and OMOV if you think that you have more accountability without it! Perhaps Cayman should start teaching government and economics in schools. Its clear not only politicians but the general population might benefit from this.

  3. Anonymous says:

    For once I agree with Mac. It need judicial review. Not for Macs reasons but for the
    A) The failure to amalgamate EE & NS
    B) Residents of the Lesser Caymans will have more voting power than anyone else.

  4. TG says:

    Cass, fair is indeed fair, but what is fair about one man getting four chances to elect a candidate, while another man gets one? It really is that simple!

  5. Just Watchin says:

    Yeah, two things we aren’t short of in Cayman are dunces and lawyers who take they money while making them believe that they’re not.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Mac is the only one that got sense. I don’t normally support him but on this occassion I do OMOV will only bring more divide only stupid ppl that hate him can’t see this.

    • Anonymous says:

      God help the entire world if Mac is the only ione with sense we are surely doomed to eternity! Lmao – The word Mac and sense simply do not belong together.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Never understood what this is about but if Mac’s against it that’s all I need to know. I’m all for it.

  8. SSM345 says:

    I couldn’t give a flying F what Mac thinks. Its about us the voters, not you Mac, get that through your thick head. Last time I checked you work for us.

  9. Anonymous says:

    We already have garrison politics – in West Bay. That is what we are trying to get rid of. I would rather have a few single districts with long-serving representatives than a few large ones where the leaders can do no wrong and can choose who else gets elected with them. The LA would work better as well because you wouldn’t have every seat in a district changing each election, you would have a greater number of experienced legislators and that would in turn make the new guys work harder and give them someone to learn from. Besides, the party system is not going anywhere, candidates are still going to campaign as a cohesive group. Voters are not going to choose which candidate to support in their district based on whether or not they agree to fix a fence or some other very specific matter. They’re going to use their one vote to do whatever they think they should to support the election outcome they want. As happens in most other democratic countries.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Why do we need to pay 19 people to run this country?? Ridiculous waste of money…

  11. Anonymous says:

    Can we get a judicial review on the 3000 status grants? How that might have impacted on a previous election? Fair is fair…

  12. S. Stirrer says:

    Certainly an opportunity missed to actually achieve equal representation. An additional seat simply to pander to the Brac and the Eastern Districts of Grand Cayman is despicable at best.

  13. Cass says:

    Say what you all want; but fair is fair and right is right.

    McKeeva is RIGHT on this one. If you all get your heads out of your arse for one moment you might see this! Once this electoral system of “One man, One vote” is passed and then implemented we will have 100 little GHETTOS to vote in. OK?

    Think about it, by further dividing the Country into smaller sections, thereby tailoring votes essentially, you create more ghettos.

    I am NOT for this initiative as it is NOT democratic, please can we have a referendum on a National Voting System! The voting populous should be able to vote for at least one person in each district and then decide who gets to be Minister of each portfolio as well as who gets to be Premier. The people should have the choice not the politicians. Peace.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cass, your comments are generally way better than this. Get some sleep dude!! The only way you will get Ghettos, is if you allow them to become Ghettos, or think they will become Ghettos, in which case they will.

    • Anonymous says:

      How can one large ghetto be better (or worse) than two, three, four, five, or six smaller ghettos? With the current system you have one Don Man telling everyone who to vote for and two, three, four, or five talking heads who dance to his tune.

      I would like to decide who heads up my ghetto rather than having the members of the other five ghettos decide that for me.

    • Anonymous says:

      @11:50 am If you think the proposed system is terrible, let’s take a look at your plan. What would happen is that voters in the largest districts would elect the MLA,s for all the other districts. For example ,if there are 7000 voters in George Town and 5000 of them vote for a candidate in each of the other districts,then those candidates would be elected even if every single voter in those districts voted for someone else.In other words Representatives for all the other districts ,could be chosen by voters from George Town,how would you like that.If Towners voted in bulk against McKeeva he would not be elected even if every Bayer voted for him.’How ’bout dem apples’.

  14. TG says:

    No Mr Bush, this is not being done to get rid of you, and sadly it won’t achieve that! It will get rid of the hangers on that get elected on your coat tails! Unless, that is, they are capable of getting elected on their own merits, which is as it should be.

    • Rp says:

      Like Bernie Bush and Capt Ebanks. What contributions have these two individuals made since the last election? I have not seen one quote from them since election.

      Many others from PPM and C4C have also been underperforming considering the hefty remuneration we pay them! They are not providing us with value for our money.

      I think we need to amend the single member constituency borders and reduce the number of members to 13 or 15 max while we are at it.

    • Anonymous says:

      TG please do not call him “Mr.”, he will take it as a sign of respect.

  15. Unison says:

    In a way I agree with Bush on one thing- by adopting this electoral system, we will be mimicking the Jamaican system with its divided districts and the other Caribbean systems, and a two-party system with be more crystalized than ever before.

    As far as history is concern, some of these Carribean countries are rift with corruption in their political processes. The electoral systems and two-party system has not done well for the people of these countries. Cayman would lose forever its unique electoral system.

    My 2-cent 🙂

  16. Anonymous says:

    Of course he remains vehemently opposed. We actually might get a fair election, one where he is not elected, if these long overdue reforms are brought in.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Why aren’t the UDP fighting for West Bayers and Caymanians to get jobs, reduction in CUC bills, inefficient police and education services??

    Oh yeah, they brought in dem expats and turned dem into status holders to vote for them next election and that’s all that matters, that they retain power in their districts!

    • Anonymous. says:

      Why would a fair system of voting not be good for the country, any country? Why is Mr. Bush so afraid of One person one vote? He should not really show his fears so vehemently.Progressives cudos on trying to drag Cayman into the 21st century on this one.

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