Premier: GT has too much power

M Bush EE speech lg

Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush last week reopened an old debate about whether the district of George Town has too much representation within the Caribbean territory’s Legislative Assembly.  

However, the premier’s comments also created speculation among opposition party members and the local press that Mr. Bush was seeking to disregard recommendations of the Electoral Boundary Commission and put an additional elected representative post in West Bay – his home district in Grand Cayman.  

In statements made to the Caymanian Compass, Mr. Bush said no such thing. Rather, he noted his concern is not that West Bay may have too few seats, but that George Town may have too many.  

The new districts, created under the 2009 Constitution Order, add three more elected members to the Legislative Assembly for a total of 18. Under the current plan, the 2013 elections would be contested for six seats in George Town, four apiece in West Bay and Bodden Town, two in the Sister Islands and one apiece in East End and North Side. Right now, Cayman’s electoral districts send 15 members to the LA.  

“It was Ezzard Miller and Arden McLean who said that George Town should not get six seats, as have many, many other people who have said the same thing to me,” Mr. Bush said. “Giving six seats to one district does concern me, too. Six members is one-third of the house and one-third of the entire membership is far too much power vested in one district.  

“It must be considered beyond how many voters [are] in that particular district,” he said. 

Opposition members have said the premier intends to add a fifth seat in West Bay, taking one away from George Town. According to January estimates, West Bay has some 250 more voters than Bodden Town. Bodden Town is also Grand Cayman’s fastest-growing district. 

Opposition Leader Alden McLaughlin said Thursday that the premier may have made the “most compelling case for single member constituencies” in his recent statement to the Caymanian Compass. Single-member voting districts – more commonly referred to as the ‘one man, one vote’ concept – is supported by the opposition People’s Progressive Movement, as well as North Side MLA Ezzard Miller.  

“[The premier] should stop talking out of both sides of his mouth and amend the Elections Law immediately to convert to single member constituencies,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “If that is done now, there will be adequate time for all the preparations to be made in time for the next elections in May [2013].”  

Mr. McLaughlin has said, while he supports a petition circulating the Islands seeking to hold a referendum on the ‘one man, one vote’ concept, he doubts there would be enough time to affect that change if that public vote is held in November – as petitioners have proposed. However, if the government should agree to make the change now, that’s a different story, he said.  

In no case should any electoral seats be taken away from George Town, said Mr. McLaughlin, who represents the district in the assembly.  

“What cannot be justified is giving West Bay, which by the next elections will have [fewer] voters than Bodden Town, five seats and that West Bay should have the same number of seats as George Town,” he said.  

According to January estimates, George Town has around 5,900 registered voters while West Bay has about 3,700. 

M Bush EE speech

Mr. Bush
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6 COMMENTS

  1. Reduce GT LA seats by 2, WB by 2 and BT by two. Thus, reduce expenditure and avoid any possibility of one district having too much power – and make necessary REAL cooperation on things that really matter, between district representatives in the LA.
    9 elected members for an electorate of how many registered voters ? is it about 9000? That’s many more per capita than most if not all comparable countries /municipalities.
    Stop pretending to be some sort of regional power. Stop gaddding about to irrelevant (to Cayman) international shindigs.Concentrate on your strengths – tourism, decent financial institutions. Spend money on good education rather than expensive politically-aimed projects.
    But then, all you politicians know all this, don’t you. Just that it’s not going to win you votes. So go on pretending to do the best for your country while you look after No 1, and expect to end up a National Hero.

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  2. Old Hand, you have 55000 people on the island with 15 MLAs. Do the math – that is, 3660 persons per MLA to represent. The problem with your analysis, is that there are more people in George Town than West Bay and Bodden Town combined. George Town have 35600, West 11300, and Bodden Town 10400. Hence for fairer representation,George Towns consisting of 35600, should really have 9 MLAs representing them. Do the math: 9 times 3660 equals 32940 or lets say 33000, which is 2600 short of 35600, just 1060 more shy of them getting a 10th MLA. And West Bay should get in accordance in its population, only 3 MLAs being that it only has 11300 people. Bodden Town should get the number of MLAs like West Bay, because their population and West Bays are not that far apart.
    And there’s your 15 MLAs. The North Side and East End District should really be represented by the Bodden Town MLAs.

    But I am speaking in reference to 15 MLAs only. If there were more to the 55000 population, then we could include NS and EE with MLAs. I am just speaking about a fair representational system via using 15 MLAs.

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  3. Bodden,6 March 1135 pm:
    Dear friend,
    I deliberately wrote registered voters because the simple census population figures do not appear to tell us who is a registered voter, on work permit or other temporary residence, with temporary family members etc. The principal right must be given to those who are eligible to vote AND who have taken the trouble to register.
    I don’t entirely disagree with your view of proportional representation by population, but the old-age question of representation of the Sister Islands cannot be dealt with by simple population analysis.
    May I repeat that in my opinion, 9 representatives for our population is sufficient.

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  4. Face the facts, in the Cayman Islands, the law is unto its own. Anything goes, by a Small (incestuous) Group of people that constantly work in collusion to guard and defend their ‘world renown’ business on this small rock in the Caribbean Sea.

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