The ‘Cayman United’ group – formed out of a Facebook page
that sought to prevent a 10 per cent payroll tax from being levied on work
permit holders – has raised an interesting issue with regard to eligible voters
within the country.
Simply put, the group has asked the question: How many
people should actually be voting now in the Cayman Islands? Even by the most
restrictive standards, slightly more than 15,000 people casting ballots in a
country of more than 55,000 seems small – particularly when the number of
Caymanians is estimated at somewhere between 30,000 and 32,000.
There have been two major issues affecting voting rights in
the country in recent years. First, the implementation of the 2009 Constitution
Order requires only Caymanian status – not the grant of British Overseas
Territories citizenship or naturalisation – in order to vote. Everyone that now
has Caymanian Status and is of majority age is eligible to vote, according to
the law of the land.
Second, there appears to be – as the Cayman United group has
stated – a large number of people between the ages of 18 and 25 who are
eligible to vote but are simply not doing so for whatever reason.
There is no good explanation for this apathy. The young
people need to get on the ball and sign up; perhaps their families can help
In any case, once one looks at these two rather large groups
of non-voters who are now officially eligible to cast ballots, Elections Office
projections of some 18,000 people voting in the May 2013 general elections
might seem somewhat low, even though that would represent a 20 per cent
one-year increase in the country’s overall voting population.
We look forward to a lot more people participating in Cayman
Islands democracy next year.
Maybe it won’t be the 25,000 ‘Cayman United’ suggests, but
it should honestly be a lot more voters than are registered now.