‘United’ group: 25,000 should be voting

Elections office Cayman map main

Officials with the Cayman Islands Elections Office have estimated upward of 18,000 people could be voting by the May 
general elections.  

That would represent a significant increase from the more than 15,000 voters now registered 
in Cayman.  

However, a group formed on the social networking site Facebook called “Cayman United” said it believes that number should actually be closer to 25,000 people judging by government population figures.  

“Information contained within the 2010 Statistical Compendium suggests there are more than 25,000 members of our community who possess the right to vote,” the group noted in a statement issued last week. “Sadly, only 15,000 of us are registered to do so.” 

According to Cayman United, there are two main reasons for the low number of registered voters. First, the under-registration of younger voters and second, a potential misunderstanding of who can register to vote in the territory.  

Section 90 of the 2009 Constitution Order states that a person is entitled to be registered as an elector if he or she is a Caymanian, has attained 18 years of age, is resident in the Cayman Islands at the date of registration and has been resident for a period or periods amounting to not less than two years out of the previous four years.  

Anyone who was entitled to be registered before the new constitution came into effect is still entitled to register. Anyone who is not yet 18 on the day a writ is issued for an election, but who will turn 18 on or before the polling date may register if he or she is otherwise qualified.  

If the applicant possesses Caymanian status, he or she should submit a birth certificate and a copy of the letter of certificate of status. Caymanian status grantees, under the 2009 Constitution, need not possess British Overseas Territories citizenship to register to vote.  

“Only 15,000 of us are registered to [vote],” the Cayman United group stated. “This trend is exacerbated within the population of younger Caymanians as the Elections Office ascertains the number of registered voters below the age of thirty is 1,689, a mere 11 per cent of the total number of electors. This number can, and should, be nearing 5,000.”  

The group based its number of potential voters on government statistics; those were not confirmed independently by the Elections Office when the Caymanian Compass spoke to officials there last month.  

“Cayman United, along with another group of concerned citizens, shall be launching a drive for voter registration in the coming weeks,” the group stated.  

 

Immigration reform  

Coupled with the voter registration drive, the group also said it plans to present the sitting government with a proposal for the overhaul of the territory’s immigration practices.  

No specific proposals were made on this front in the Cayman United group’s statement.  

“This proposal will focus on further empowering the youth of Cayman through innovative policies which stress the importance of education and further skills development for those of us who have met the unfortunate circumstances of unemployment. Additionally, we will propose ways in which the financial burden of government levied on small businesses can be lessened so that our economy may once again flourish.”  

The current government is in receipt of a report that recommended major changes to the Immigration Law, including the abolishment of key employee status – which allows foreign workers to remain in the Islands long enough to apply for permanent residents. Rather, the Term Limit Review Committee’s proposals said the government should allow anyone who has stayed in Cayman between seven and eight years to apply for permanent resident status.  

It has also recommended that the current seven-year term limit on foreign workers’ residence should be expanded to 10 years.  

The ruling United Democratic Party government has not formally accepted or agreed to all the proposals contained in the review committee’s report. 

Elections office Cayman map

Elections Office officials look over a district voting map just before the ‘one man, one vote’ referendum in July. Fewer than 9,000 people voted in that special election. – Photo: Brent Fuller

1 COMMENT

  1. Even 25,000 seems low.

    The UK has a population of some 60 Million, and the number of registered voters is 45 Million = 75 percent

    On that model, 50,000 Caymanians would give approximately 37,500 voters, which is 50 percent more than the 25,000 mentioned.

    That would seem to imply there’s a lot of disenfranchised ‘Caymanians’ without a vote or a voice. Even if only the 25k is correct that still means those voters would have a massive impact on Caymans political power base.

  2. Let me tell you why I don’t vote, its very simple. They are all worthless self serving hypocrites.

    Secondly the bureacratic processes in this country are beyond ridiculous. Two examples;

    I go to pay a hospital bill that I received in the mail. The clerk tells me she cannot accept the money without the invoice! What? I mean they have no means to call it up? So, you think I am going to go home to find the invoice come back and stand in line all over again?

    Second reason, I go to renew my CAYMAN passport, but I have to produce my naturalisation certificate or status cert (I dont recall which one) and it must be the original or a notarised copy. Now all this crap was produced for the original, so why do they need me to produce notarised copies of something they issued to me. Its just pure laziness.

    I am not certain if I can vote even though I have status, am naturalised and have a Cayman passport because even the authorities will refer to me as a paper Caymanian or not a true born Caymanian. So, I don’t posses the will to vote because of the quality of candidates we have and secondly I just cant be bothered to go through layers of bureaucrasy to register. Another reason is that I could be called to Jury selection which is another backwards process of being called to courts, sent home, called again etc etc.

  3. Tricky Dicky…

    It’s not laziness.

    The local Caymanian political system and its government have been devising ways to bypass the written laws regarding the rights of non-Caymanian born residents for generations now; they’re experts at it.

    This also includes born-Caymanians that they don’t like because of our resistance and non-compliance to their way of thinking…I should know, I fall squarely into that category of Caymanian.

    You’ve proven every reason that I’ve stated why legal Caymanians such as yourself are still discrimminated against, in spite of your legal status so why would anyone in your position consider it worthwhile to participate in the political process ?

    I simply got tired of having to fight these same Caymanians for my legally-born rights as a Caymanian at every turn…a fight that I do not shy away from…but living like that is stressful and draining on one’s natural mental and physical energy…

    So…

    I simply choose to leave and never live permanently in Cayman again…

    Living in Britain is no bed of roses for non-British born citizens either but…

    The British-born civil servant cannot by-pass or undermine my rights as a British citizen without facing prosecution and loss of their job if they should let their prejudices overrule their senses and responsibilities.

  4. Note to election official.
    Prepare your receipt books. Note voting receipt, no public holiday pay. The local businesses are tired to pay for voters that spend that day on the beach instead of voting.

  5. What does it matter, how many vote?

    I am more than sure 100 people’s opinions basically represent the whole 25K. Or can there be 25 thousand different opinions?

    Its’ why opinion polls are taken all the time, and usually are very accurate.

  6. It is of course important that we all vote. As someone once said, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain. And while we should also have the right to abstain, it must be for the large part be correct that if we don’t participate in the process we can’t really complain about the outcome. In some countries, its a civic duty (mandatory) to vote.

    But one other point is whether the criteria for public office should be loosened. To be eligible, a candidate must have a parent or grandparent who is Caymanian and born in Cayman. While one can understand the genesis of that requirement, Cayman society has changed over the years to include (through grants of Caymanian status) many people with great visions, ideas, and a wealth of experience and knowledge. Those people cannot take up office, nor can their children even if born here. Just an idea, but shouldn’t we embrace to our best advantage all that experience and knowledge?