At this stage in the public debate over single-member
constituencies and the “one man, one vote” concept, it seems a significant
number of voters believe the current multi-member constituency elector system
is unfair and not optimal for the promotion and continuance of democracy in the
Without commenting on the “democratic-ness” of the current
system, we would simply say that something is indeed inherently wrong with
allowing one person who lives in George Town to vote six times while another
person who lives in East End may vote but once. In short, the proponents of the
“one man, one vote” system have won this side of the argument, in our humble
What they haven’t done, and what should be determined
(hopefully) prior to the 18 July referendum, is whether the new proposed system
of 18 (or 17?) constituencies will be an improvement over the current
multi-member system. Of this, we are not convinced.
In his 2002 letter to the Compass, which we re-ran yesterday
at his request, Mr. James Bergstrom raised many interesting questions. The most
interesting of all is whether Cayman should consider “at large” or
territory-wide elected seats. Mr. Bergstrom, for instance, suggests seven
single-member district seats and another eight MLAs elected as the result of a
territory-wide vote. Even if Mr. Bergstrom’s number of territory-wide candidates
is thought to be too many, why has no provision of “at large” constituencies
been considered? Are we to accept a system where the unelected British governor
is the only individual with overall responsibility for the whole of the
Islands? Under the single-member constituencies now proposed, the territory’s
premier would only need to be accountable to the 500-1,000 people in his or her
voting district and the, perhaps, 10-15 members of the government that then
appoint them to the leadership position. In fact, how is that any different
from what occurs right now, except that under smaller single-member
constituencies the premier would be accountable to even fewer actual voters?
Everyone else can officially file a complaint, we guess.
More thought needs to go into how “one man, one vote” will be implemented.