The first meeting of the Boundaries
Commission to be held in West Bay took place on Monday, 27 April.
The evening was an opportunity for
residents of the district to give input as it relates to issues concerning
electoral districts and how they are divided.
There are already 17 Electoral
Districts and another may be added, as well as up to three more members of the
Members of the Boundaries
Commission, who will complete a report to be used as a guide for choosing
electorates and distributing seats in the House, said they were taking all
factors into account when looking at the demographics of the Cayman Islands to
make their recommendations.
They added that they would be guided
by the newly implemented constitution and assured those on hand that decisions
would not be made on the basis of race, ethnicity or financial status.
Those on the panel said many
concerns had been raised in previous meetings in other districts. One of which
was the idea of single member constituencies and one man one vote.
They explained that this style of
governing was a feature of the Westminster system of politics and a way of
ensuring certain fairness within the electorate.
They said it might be seen by some
as unfair to only have one vote in districts such as North Side and East End,
while other constituencies have four.
Whether this was something that
would change dramatically in the Cayman Islands with the recommendations of
this Boundaries Commission will depend on the input received from the public.
However the turnout in West Bay on
Monday night was commented on by one panel member, who said many times
Caymanians don’t take part in these kinds of exercises but when the time comes
to criticise, they don’t leave themselves in a good position.
The issue of the census and whether
it would have been advantageous for the Commission to conduct their research
afterward was also raised.
Members of the Commission agreed with this,
saying it would have been very practical to have done the exercise in this way
but the decision to have the Commission convened right after the implementation
of the constitution was made by the new Governor Duncan Taylor.
They added however that there were
other ways they could access important data such as through the records of
planning and the voter’s registration.
“We can get information about the
demographics of the Islands, where people are moving to and other indicators
that will instruct us.”
According to data cited by one
member, the fastest growing residential area in the Cayman Islands is between
Prospect Park and Newlands.
Other meetings will be scheduled in
West Bay and other districts with a tentative goal of completion of the process
by the end of May.