BT election challenge filed

Attorneys for six Bodden Town voters have filed a document with the Grand Court Civil Registry asking the court to settle two questions regarding the election of Mark Scotland and Dwayne Seymour.

The men, returned in the 20 May General Election as the first and third elected Members of the Legislative Assembly respectively, are referred to in the filed document as defendants. Mr. Scotland as also assumed a Cabinet position as the Minister of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports and Culture.

mark scotland challenge

Mark Scotland. 

The first question asks whether either or both of the defendants were disqualified from being elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly in the election for the Bodden Town district by virtue of section 19(1)(g) of the Cayman Islands Constitution.

If so, the second question goes on, ‘was the election of either or both of the defendants at that election invalid?’

The question is based on section 19 (1) (g) of the Cayman Islands Constitution (1972) which is currently in effect. The section states: ‘No person shall be qualified to be elected as a member of the Assembly who … is a party to, or a partner in a firm or a director or manager of a company which is a party to, any contract with the government… and has not, in the case of a contested election, caused to be published, at least one month before the day of the poll, a government notice setting out the nature of such contract and his interest, or the interest of any such firm or company.’

The filed document is an originating summons and asks the defendants to acknowledge service of the summons within 14 days.

Samson and McGrath is the law firm filing the document on behalf of the six residents: Gordon Solomon, Sandra Catron, Ronald Ebanks, Jean Ebanks, Roxanne Basham-Ebanks and Michael McLaughlin.

All of those names appear on the Register of Electors for the Bodden Town District. In addition, Ms Catron was a candidate in the district.

The questions for which the Grand Court’s determination is sought are based on 12 specified grounds.

The grounds explain that Mr. Scotland and Mr. Seymour were candidates in Bodden Town and ‘each was purportedly elected’.

Mr. Scotland is described as, prior to and at the time of the election, a director and/or manager and/or having an interest in Advanced Road Construction and Paving Limited, which had four government contracts. He is further said to have a similar connection with MCM Consulting Limited, which also has a government contract.

Mr. Scotland did not publish a Government Notice of the contracts until 24 April, in the Extraordinary Gazette of that date, less than one month before the election. Accordingly, the document states, he was not qualified to be elected and therefore not validly elected: ‘His purported election was and is void.’

Mr. Seymour is described as having a similar connection with Airport Professional Services, which had a contract with Cayman Airways. Cayman Airways is owned by the Government, the document points out.

Mr. Seymour’s notice also appeared in the Extraordinary Gazette of 24 April. Accordingly, he is also said to be not qualified to be elected and therefore not validly elected: ‘His purported election was and is void.’

The six voters seek the Grand Court’s determination as to the validity of the purported elections under section (23)2 of the Constitution. It states: ‘Any question whether a person has been validly elected as a member of the Assembly, or whether an elected member of the Assembly has vacated his seat therein, shall be determined by the Grand Court, whose decision shall be final and not subject to any appeal.’

Stamps on the filed document show that a filing fee of $200 was paid on Friday, 12 June. The Clerk of Court’s stamp on 16 June indicated when it was received in the Civil Registry.