‘Starting gun’ fired for 2021 election

| 14/12/2020 | 6 Comments
Cayman News Service
Governor Martyn Roper (left) and Supervisor of Elections Wesley Howell (file photo)

(CNS): Governor Martyn Roper issued election writs to 19 returning officers across Grand Cayman last week, firing the metaphorical starting gun for the May 2021 General Election. There are still five months to go before Cayman goes to the polls but this administrative step on the road to voting for MPs for the firs time, rather than MLAs, formally sets things in motion.

Although the big day is five months away, the deadline for registering to be a voter in that election is only four weeks away. Because of the extraordinarily long time between a person registering to vote and their name appearing on the electoral roll, first time voters must register by 4 January to be included on the 1 April register, which is the one that will be used for the 2021 ballot.

There are additional concerns this time around over the legislative provision that allows people’s names to be removed from the list if they have not met certain residency requirements between each general election.

According to the Elections Law, to qualify to vote, a registered voter must have been “resident in the Cayman Islands for a period or periods amounting to not less than two years out of the four years immediately preceding the date of registration”. However, some people have struggled to meet this requirement because of the difficulties returning home over the last ten months because of the pandemic travel restrictions.

Because names can be removed even when these absent voters are students or have other legitimate reasons for not being able to meet the residency requirement, there are concerns that voters may be disenfranchised.

But as the governor presented the writs to the election officials last week, he said the Elections Office has a proud history of conducting well run elections that are free and fair, in line with international best practice. “These elections will build further on that record,” he said. “The role of the returning officers and deputy returning officers is crucial.”

Returning officers are responsible for the organisation and conduct of elections in their respective districts. Writs are the documents the governor issues to the returning officers, commanding them to conduct an election in accordance with the Elections Law.

With the writs issued, the next important moment on the election calendar is 4 January, the deadline for voters to register, which will be followed by Nomination Day on 31 March, two days after parliament is prorogued. On that day Cayman will see the final array of candidates for parliament in all 19 constituencies, followed by eight weeks of the formal campaign.

A significant number of new candidates have already declared and most incumbents plan to run again. One exception is Anthony Eden, who will be stepping down from his seat after almost thirty years representing the people of Bodden Town and latterly Savannah. His son, Malcolm Anthony Eden (45), is hoping to pick up the baton, though there are a number of others planning a run for the constituency.

While there are rumors that at least one other candidate may be stepping back from the political fray, most will be hoping tor regain their seats.

Alden McLaughlin will no longer be running as premier and leader of the PPM, having reached the two-term limit, but will still be running for his Red Bay seat. He recently passed the leadership mantel to Roy McTaggart, though this has yet to be formally confirmed by the party.

Despite being immersed in one of the worst scandals of his political life, of which there have been many, McKeeva Bush is also running for his West Bay West seat, which he is almost certain to keep, given the massive majority he commands in the district. However, he has said that he is not seeking to be premier or even a minister in the next government.

Following Election Day, the writs will be returned to the governor with the name of the candidate who has been elected to serve in each of the constituencies.

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Category: 2021 General Elections, Elections, Politics

Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    TERM LIMITS!!!!! It’s time to take out the garbage!

    • Anonymous says:

      Without question, term limits for politicians are one of the most essential controls for any country, especially for Cayman. Two terms max, serve your country and move on.

  2. Anonymous says:

    WE would be stupid to re-elect this sorry bunch for another term. If we, the people of these Islands, cant see by now that this government is managing their finances off of the backs of the people, then we are in trouble.

  3. Concerned says:

    I intend to cast my vote depending on how my elected MP views and deals with the appalling behaviour of Bush. The current silence is deafening.

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