Governor Jack weighs in on BT election

The ultimate eligibility of Bodden Town election candidates Mark Seymour and Dwayne Seymour will be a matter for the courts to decide, Governor Stuart Jack has declared.

Mr. Jack issued a statement addressing the issue Monday, after pressure mounted last week for him to give Bodden Town voters some sort of clarification on the two candidates’ status.

‘[Mr.] Jack has said that he fully expects all candidates in the forthcoming general election to operate within the terms of the Constitution and the applicable laws of the Cayman Islands,’ the statement said.

‘Should there be any cases of possible non-compliance with the legal requirements that would be a matter for the courts to decide,’ he said.

The eligibility of the two United Democratic Party candidates was brought into questions after they missed the 20 April deadline for having details of interests in government contracts published by way of government notice.

The ‘oversight’, as the two have termed it, could leave them vulnerable to legal challenges if either candidate is successful at the 20 May poll.

The Elections Office also released a statement Friday insisting the ultimate eligibility of the two men will be a matter for the courts should a legal challenge be brought against either candidate if elected.

‘Contrary to anything reported in the media,’ the statement said, ‘we have not confirmed to anyone one way or the other that any of the candidates in the 2009 General Elections are qualified or not qualified to be elected as members of the Legislative Assembly.’

The statement, from Supervisor of Elections, Kearney Gomez added: ‘This issue is not one to be determined by the Elections Office, it is a matter for a court of law.’

The statement came in response to continuing UDP advertisements that state that Mr. Scotland and Mr. Seymour ‘are entitled to contest and be elected by the people of Bodden Town’ – a fact, the advertisements claim, which has been confirmed by the Elections Office and the Attorney General.

While the carefully worded UDP statement explicitly states that the two are entitled to continue running in the race, it ventures a less categoric legal position about the two if they are elected.

‘In relation to recent threats from their political opponents that they will seek to have Bodden Town’s lawfully elected representatives removed from office following the General Election, our candidates are satisfied that they have made full and frank disclosure and have been completely transparent with all information required from them in order to qualify them as candidates and to be elected to sit in the Legislative Assembly,’ the advertisement states.

Both Mr. Scotland and Mr. Seymour have admitted having interests in government contracts, or in Mr. Seymour’s case, in a contract with a government-owned company (Cayman Airways) that they did not have published by way of government notice by 20 April, as required under the Cayman Islands Constitution.

The men described missing the deadline to publish as an oversight, and have since had the interests published in a special extraordinary gazette on 24 April.

They have also said the contracts are in the public domain and that they listed their ownership of the companies that hold the relevant contracts in the Legislative Assembly’s Register of Interests, which is a separate requirement on candidates under a different law.