A decision on how Cayman’s next election will be run has been put off after Premier McKeeva Bush announced that a debate to amend the electoral boundaries would be deferred.
The Electoral District Boundaries Order 2011 was tabled in the Legislative Assembly on Friday, 8 April, but a debate on it was rescheduled for Monday because an attached document outlining polling divisions in the six districts had to be changed.
The issue was to be debated on Monday afternoon, but after legislators waited an hour and a half for the debate to begin after lunch, the House resumed and Mr. Bush announced that further amendments needed to be made to the wording of the attached schedule to the Order.
In response to a question from the Leader of the Opposition Alden McLaughlin on why the matter would not be dealt with on Monday, Mr. Bush said: “There are still concerns to the schedule… in the current draft order and so, we don’t propose to take the motion today.”
The House was adjourned sine dei, which means it will resume at a later, unspecified date. Mr. Bush said he proposed to bring the motion for the Order at that time.
The Order proposes to introduce three new electoral seats – two extra in George Town, which currently returns four Members of the Legislative Assembly and one extra in Bodden Town, which now has three seats.
Under the new constitution, the Legislative Assembly should have 18 elected members, rather than the current 15.
The proposed Order takes on board one of the recommendations of the Electoral Boundary Commission, which expanded the number of seats in George Town and Bodden Town, but retained the existing boundaries. In its report to the Legislative Assembly and the governor last year, the Commission pointed out that the majority of the public who attended its meetings in all the districts supported single member constituencies with a one man, one vote system.
The Commission also outlined other possible voting systems, including single member constituencies and adding a new district in the Prospect and Savannah region.
Under the existing electoral system, voters in multi-member constituencies get as many votes as correspond to the number of MLAs that can be elected in that district so, for example, voters in George Town currently have four votes, while voters in East End or North Side – each of which returns one MLA – have one vote.