Election observers to monitor remotely

| 01/03/2021 | 5 Comments

(CNS): Governor Martyn Roper has told CNS that discussions are underway with the Elections Office about how Cayman can have its own independent observers on the ground for the April elections, since as the COVID-19 pandemic means that overseas observers will not be coming. The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK Branch (CPA UK) will conduct virtual observation and provide a report after the elections, but Roper said he recognised that this might not be enough.

“COVID presents challenges for any visit by overseas election observers because of the quarantine regulations,” he said in response to questions from CNS. “The elections supervisor and I recognise that having observers on the ground is also important for public confidence. Discussions are underway about what arrangements we are able to make.”

The governor said that a public statement would be released soon about how that can be accomplished.

In 2017 observers found the general elections here were free and fair. But they raised a number of concerns about the Elections Law itself, including the requirement that voters are resident for two years before they can vote, which they described as excessive.

They also said the narrow franchise, which excludes non-Caymanian residents, should be addressed, as well as the disparity between constituencies, which is even worse in this election. When the current register under revision is confirmed, Bodden Town East, the largest constituency, will have around 1,660 voters, compared to the smallest, Cayman Brac East, which has under 480 registered electors.

The observers’ detailed recommendations for amendments have never been implemented.

The election observers have in the past spoken about ‘treating’, and Cayman’s own election officials have warned about lavish campaign meetings. However, the less than conventional inducements to voters started early this year with multiple reports of many would-be candidates and incumbents handing out Christmas fare. In addition to the usual turkeys, hampers and hams, some voters received supermarket gift vouchers and in some cases cash was allegedly handed out too.

Concerns also remain about election spending. While spending is capped for individual candidates at CI$40,000, candidates are only obligated to reveal how much they raised and spent on their campaign between Nomination Day and Election Day.

In addition, only donors giving more than CI$10,000 must be identified.

See more details in the Elections Law, sections 95 and 96.

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Comments (5)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    International Elections Observers are often sent to dangerous remote ballot stations, in places like Afghanistan, where there are serious life and death personal risks, and yet, we can’t get a handful of these (often Canadian) observers to bask inbound at the Ritz, or Palm Heights…during winter? Meanwhile CIG are putting up despot gold-smuggling ex-cons in SMB hotels on our dime…something fishie here…

  2. Anonymous says:

    WTH?!? How do they remotely supervise, review and audit from somewhere else?

    eg. How would they access Registers of Interests (or non-existent registers in some cases) and audit those against known realities?

    “Treating” is expressly forbidden at any time, by anyone that has taken the Parliamentary oath. That includes in any of the months immediately preceding the declaration of candidacy. It is a criminal offense. How will they know about Dec 26th giveaways, other offenses if they are only starting now?

  3. Red bull & Doritos says:

    Wow This guy is something else a complete TOOL Makes the Burmese Military Junta look legitimate!

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Ha ha l o l

  5. Anonymous says:

    All seems legit. Carry on.

    LMAO

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