Public servants barred from observing elections

| 30/03/2021
(L-R front) Margott Lares-Alfonzo; Deputy Supervisor of Elections Sheena Glasgow, Governor Martyn Roper, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, Supervisor of Elections Wesley Howell, Andrea Ruth Williams. (L-R back) Colford Scott, Mark W. Hilton, Hadleigh Roberts, Olivaire Watler, Trecate Yong, Dr Sidney Ebanks, Ian Whan Tong, Head of Governor’s Office Christine Rowlands, Strategic Operations Officer for the Office of the Deputy Governor, Jennifer Ahearn

(CNS): Nine people from the private sector have been appointed as independent election observers, selected from the 47 people applied to join the domestic team that will act as a watchdog on the 14 April poll. Although some public servants applied, the selection committee decided they should be excluded to protect their political neutrality.

The selection committee, chaired by Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, was formed by Governor Martyn Roper to find local observers since an international team is unable to come due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The other members were: James Ryan, a former chief secretary; Sophia-Ann Harris, chair of the Anti-Corruption Commission; Rosie Whittaker-Myles, chair of the Standards in Public Life Commission; and Jennifer Ahearn, strategic operations officer in the Office of the Deputy Governor.

The observers selected on the basis of expertise, relevant experience and as well as political neutrality. Based on the committee’s recommendations and nominations by the premier and the opposition leader, the governor has appointed three women and six men.

They are Dr Sidney Ebanks, Mark Hilton, Margott Lares-Alfonzo, Hadleigh Roberts, Colford Scott, Ian Whan Tong, Olivaire Watler, Andrea Ruth Williams and Trecate Yong. According to a GIS release, they will be conducting their work with full independence from the Cayman Islands Government.

A Terms of Reference outlining the relative roles and responsibilities of the CIG and the observers was signed at a meeting last week, which includes a commitment by the governor, on behalf of the government, to respect the team’s independence as non-partisan observers and not to direct or interfere with their work.

“It is extremely encouraging to receive such a great response from members of the public wanting to actively support the democratic process in the Cayman Islands,” Roper said in the release. “I am confident that the appointed observers will provide the independent oversight that is so vital to ensuring our elections remain free and fair.

“The mix of related experience and expertise amongst the team gives me every confidence that they will be able to perform their roles successfully and make a valuable contribution to our democracy.”

Manderson thanked the applicants and those who served on the selection committee who gave up their time to offer their insights and recommendations. “The selection committee took their role very seriously and exercised due care and diligence in arriving at their recommendations by placing the integrity of our elections as of the utmost importance,” he said.

Although the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK (CPA-UK) International Election Observer Mission is unable to send a team, it will be conducting a virtual mission by remotely engaging with stakeholders in the Cayman Islands. This puts greater significance on these domestic observers, who will be on the ground to provide the public with additional reassurance that the polls will be free and fair.

See the Terms of Reference in the CNS Library.

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Category: Election News

Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    They put in a lot of work to make a big show for nothing. Yawn. Who cares?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Ppm strikes again more secret ppm members in their inner sanctum but the final straw was ACC chairman who sits at the domino table with Kurt Bobby and Da Boyz you for real Franz??

    • Anonymous says:

      Unfortunately he is. He must go.

      • Angus says:

        9:20 Are you okay?

        Typical Caymanian tearing down capable Caymanians at ever opportunity but claim that “I look out for my people”. Totally BS!

        That you Governor DG and the Observers who were selected.

        Thank you to the selection committee. All outstanding Caymanians.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Do we really need any more inert insiders or virtual outsiders “observing” and doing nothing? Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK has no interest in fielding corruption and/or vote-buying complaints. It’s not what they do. It’s unclear what they do, to be honest, other than lending misleading credibility to the farce.

    • Anonymous says:

      RCIPS officer Beersingh, who has purportedly been put in charge of fielding and adjudicating corruption complaints claims “none have been received”, despite McKeeva’s orchestrated treating event on Dec 26, and Alden’s podium promises of increased tourism worker stipends – if you vote for him. He says there is no evidence? How is this supposed to be reconciled with reality?