Are single member constituencies and one person, one vote
the best thing for the Cayman Islands?
That is the question voters will decide in a referendum on
On first blush, one person, one vote seems like something
everyone should want, putting every citizen of the Cayman Islands on equal
footing when it comes to elected representation.
However, like pretty much everything else with a government
system, there are pros and cons with the Cayman Islands adopting single members
constituencies. It will most definitely change the way most people are
represented here in the Cayman Islands and although people may welcome some of
those changes it will bring, they may not like some of the other changes. Even
those who live in single member constituencies right now may see a difference.
Organisers of the petition to force the referendum welcome
this week’s announcement as a great victory in participatory democracy, and in
many ways, it is just that.
But participatory democracy also requires an informed
electorate to work effectively. Take Cayman’s constitution for example. There
is a lot of grumbling these days about various aspects of the constitution,
including some of the provisions for people-initiated referendums. Many of the
people doing the grumbling will admit that they voted for the passage of the
constitution in the referendum held simultaneously with the 2009 general
elections, but they’ll also tell you they didn’t really understand or know all
of its provisions. That’s probably because when the government conducted its
public education campaign on the constitution, only a smattering of people
attended most of the meetings.
Now the government will conduct an education campaign on
single member constituencies. We urge people to attend the public meetings and
learn about how single member constituencies will not only affect their lives,
but also how it will affect the Cayman Islands. Politicians will try to
convince people what is best, but everyone should remember that what is best
for a politician is not what’s necessarily best for them.