Former People’s Progressive Movement representative from Bodden Town, Osbourne Bodden, has vowed to contest the eligibility of election victors Mark Scotland and Dwayne ‘John John’ Seymour.
The two United Democratic Party candidates won the first-elected and third-elected Legislative Assembly seats respectively in Wednesday’s General Election.
‘They are in contravention of the constitution and they will be challenged,’ Mr. Bodden said. ‘They have gone against the constitution. We cannot have anyone in this country going against the constitution, otherwise, the whole thing falls apart.’
At issue is a constitutional provision that requires all candidates to have published by government notice any interests they have in government contracts at least 30 days prior to the date of the election. Mr. Scotland and Mr. Seymour, who both either had contracts with government or government entities, published the notice four days late.
Governor Stuart Jack and the Elections Office have said the matter is one for Cayman’s courts to decide.
Mr. Scotland said Bodden Town voters would be insulted if there were any challenge to his or Mr. Seymour’s election victory.
‘It’s a huge insult to the people of Bodden Town and the Cayman Islands,’ he said. ‘They have put their trust in us; they have elected us and any challenge would be a huge insult to them.’
Mr. Scotland said he was confident of winning any legal claims brought against him.
‘We are going to win it,’ he said. ‘Just like we won the race tonight, we will win that battle … it’s just a hurdle, that’s it.’
Even a successful challenge of Mr. Scotland’s and Mr. Seymour’s election will not prevent a United Democratic Party controlled-government because the UDP would still hold a majority of seats in the House. The UDP won seven other seats of the total 15 Legislative Assembly seats and have the avowed support of North Side independent winner Ezzard Miller.
Mr. Bodden said he didn’t know whether a successful challenge would result in a by-election or whether he and PPM colleague Charles Clifford would be elevated up to claim the positions.
Bodden Town elects three representatives. PPM candidate Anthony Eden received the second most number of votes. Mr. Bodden and Mr. Clifford finished fourth and fifth respectively in the number of votes received in the district.
‘I’m not sure what will be employed by the courts,’ Mr. Bodden said. ‘It’s unfortunate. It may end up costing the country some more money.’
Mr. Bodden said he was shattered with the way the night had gone.
‘It’s a setback for my district,’ he said. ‘We had a lot of work and plans and we have so many things … sites works and ground breakings, and it is quite disheartening to think people couldn’t see through all that.
‘I’m disappointed; not for myself but for my country.’
One Bodden Town voter, Andrew Wood, expressed his disappointment in Mr. Bodden’s vow to contest Mr. Scotland’s and Mr. Seymour’s election.
‘Mr Bodden has declared that their win will be contested,’ he wrote to the Caymanian Compass. ‘Why doesn’t he accept defeat and not look for ways to continue to squander the hard-working Cayman people’s money away by challenging the election.
‘This is what the Bodden Town district wants and Mr. Bodden needs to come to the conclusion that if legal action is taken and we the people of Bodden Town have a say, we will put our ‘X’ for Mr. Scotland and Mr. Seymour again.’
Mr. Scotland said voters in Bodden Town had voted for change.
‘They didn’t want the PPM anymore,’ he said. ‘The message is that the people wanted change.
‘We had a government that for the past four years built a lot of buildings and forgot about the people.
‘Look at the state of the economy, look at the crime; look at the number of people without houses,’ he continued. ‘Right here in Bodden Town we still have people living in trailer homes. We are spending the most money government ever spent and nothing is happening for the people.’
Mr. Seymour agreed that Bodden Town’s voters wanted change.
‘The people have spoken,’ he said. ‘I thank them for having confidence in me. I love them very much and I’m ready to work hard for them so they can achieve their goals.’
UDP celebrates, asks for unity
A crowd of hundreds of UDP supporters filled the party’s headquarters with rousing song into the small hours of Thursday morning.
Shortly after 3am, the final count from George Town officially confirmed what most already knew – that with the election of Mike Adam and Ellio Solomon, the UDP had effectively secured the government regardless of the result of the Bodden Town challenges.
UDP Leader McKeeva Bush asked in his victory speech for all representatives to work together to address the many challenges facing the country.
‘Now it is time to put the campaign aside and focus on the difficult work ahead,’ he said. ‘This is not a time to cannibalize ourselves when we are facing such important international pressure; when all of us are hurting. Now it is time to right the wrongs.
‘I ask the PPM to put aside their hard feelings and join hands and come and work for us,’ he said, appealing the opposition not to challenge Mr. Scotland’s and Mr. Seymour’s election.
‘This country has seen enough of lawsuits that we have lost,’ he said. ‘We have seen enough of it. Let us put it aside and sit down and work together for the good.
‘The people of the Cayman Islands have now spoken and they have chosen a direction of change and new solutions.’
Mr. Bush declared the long election campaign over.
‘But our work, I say, is just beginning.’
Mr. Bush called for unity among the citizens of Cayman as well.
‘Whether you supported UDP or PPM or the independents, we want everyone in this country to know that we will work every second of every minute of every day to accomplish the job that you, the people, have asked us to do.’
Mr. Bush said there was no time to look back because of all the pressing challenges.
He also called for unity within the country between Caymanians born in Cayman, status holders, or permanent residents. ‘We are all Caymanians now,’ he declared.
‘Together we can create a new government with accountability, responsibility and transparency. Together we can create a new day of opportunity, prosperity and tranquillity for all Caymanians and those who live and work here.’
He warned that there would be difficult decisions to make in the months ahead and called for patience from the people.
Compass journalist Alan Markoff also contributed to this story.