Demo planned against election switch

| 11/02/2021 | 14 Comments

(CNS): A number of local activists were expressing outrage across social media platforms Wednesday evening, in the wake of the strategic move by Premier Alden McLaughlin to bring the election forward. Angered by what is clearly a way for government to avoid dealing with the ‘Bush question’ and throwing undeclared candidates off guard, at least one demonstration has been set and the target is not just McLaughlin but the governor, too, for supporting the switch.

McLaughlin’s move yesterday has cut the time left for election campaigning from fifteen weeks to just nine. And with Nomination Day being moved to 1 March, the official campaign period is now reduced to just six weeks from what would have been around eight.

Voters were crying foul, as they believe that they are being robbed of the time they need to get to know potential candidates. And while the move is constitutional, one activists told CNS, “Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right.”

Taura Ebanks, who is the first to organise a protest, which will take place at Governor’s Beach on Saturday morning, said this was clearly a political move by the premier, who is still the leader of the PPM, to help himself, his party and the coalition. She argued that it is not, as he claims, to prevent the collapse of the government.

And yet Governor Martyn Roper has given the political move his seal of approval, Ebanks said.

“The governor had a choice and was not constitutionally bound to approve the premier’s request,” she said, adding that he had “made the wrong decision to support the premier’s request to dissolve the House and hold an early election”. She said that with his approval, Roper is “actively allowing the premier to abuse the Constitution and pursue his political motivations and avoid MP accountability as it relates to the Special Meeting for the Vote of no confidence in the speaker of the House.”

The Constitution allows the governor to support the premier’s request but he was not obligated to do so. The request was not based on a public interest issue, and while the premier has said that the ‘Bush issue’ is undermining the stability of government, there is no evidence to support that claim.

Bush controls his own vote and that of Captain Eugene, his only remaining CDP member. This means that McLaughlin would still have ten members in his coalition if Bush and Ebanks were to cross the aisle. Only three of those ten members remain ‘officially’ on the outside of the PPM.

There is no evidence at all that Tara Rivers, Dwayne Seymour or Austin Harris, who is McLaughlin’s own councillor, have any intentions of crossing the floor to protest for the removal of Bush.

Moreover, even if they did, the official opposition has expressed no interest in bringing down the government and Ezzard Miller has also agreed to support the principle of the government majority and vote on a case by case basis.

Given the limited work left to do in this parliament, which is now not going to be done in any event, McLaughlin could easily have steered the current coalition through without the slightest problem after forcing Bush’s removal, until the previously set Nomination Day at the end of March.

This means that the governor is backing a purely political decision, enabling McLaughlin and his government to dodge public demands that they go on the public record with their positions on Bush’s role as speaker and whether or not he should have been ousted as a consequence of his conviction for a violent assault against a woman.

Ebanks said that there is no advantage or benefit to voters in having an early election. While she accepts that this demonstration will do little to prevent the curtailing of the campaign, she said it was still important that this move does not go unopposed by the people.

“I invite everyone who sees the manipulation in this move to join me on Saturday expressing their objections and to stand up, stand together,” she said.

The demo is set for 11am.

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Comments (14)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Didn’t Bermuda and Jamaica call electionsearly- 2 years and 6 months respectively? Is the calling of an early election an abnormality? Protests, schmotests. Whatever. Dear Premier thanks for protecting me and allowing me to enjoy freedoms which most of my family do not have at this time. May God continue to bless you. The Unity Government will get back in.Let them go along and protest.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    What are you protesting for? If you are a legit candidate, you would have been on the ground working from months ago.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Who says its the candidates protesting? I am a young voter who just by the request of the Premier and swift signature of the Governor without consulting the people has lost my first opportunity to vote in these elections.

      There are many more like me and we will remember this..

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      • Anonymous says:

        If you were actually one, there would be 15 more of you, not “many”.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The disenfranchised young voters should mount and lead a weekly one hour protest at the government offices until election day.

        To remind people we have a poor set of MPs, a poor governor and poor governance.

  3. Orrie Merren says:

    “The Legislature and the Cabinet shall uphold the rule of law and judicial independence”: Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Did I not ready an article recently where Governor Martyn Roper said that he is no longer going to get entangled in domestic affairs?

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  5. Ban his *** says:

    The MPs are all lily-livered cowards. They all thanked Alden for relieving them from collective responsibility just a few months ago, now they are hiding behind it. I do not care what MacBeater is holding against these bunch of cowards, I expect them to put their constituents’ wishes first! Shameless WBW may want that delinquent to remain, but the rest of the country wants him OUT and BANNED from ever running again.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    I don’t have a problem with the “snap” elections. Unless activists are claiming something illegal was done then what is the issue?

    To the undeclared candidates that are crying fowl – why have you not yet declared? We are three months out from the original election date – are you trying to game the system – i.e. see which district is best to contest?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly

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    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe there just isn’t anyone else. At Nomination deadline in two weeks, many of the current Unity and backbench MPs are thinking they’ll be filing Form 19s, under section 29(7), “Return of Uncontested Election”, as sole nominated candidates for their districts. That’s probably going to happen in more than one district, maybe several.

    • Timmy says:

      Well it looked like 15 persons should up.

      This is the level of interest. Caymanians are not fools. We will elect every PPM candidate that runs.

      It can’t get any better than this.

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