Online poll: People offer little support for two-member constituencies

More than 61 per cent of the respondents to last week’s cayCompass.com online poll, excluding those who said they couldn’t vote, said they do not support the government’s recent suggestion of changing Cayman’s electoral system to nine, two-member constituencies.  

Although 467 people took the poll, 97 people – 20.8 of the total – said they could not vote in the Cayman Islands. Of the remaining 370 people, 171 people – 46.21 per cent – said they didn’t support the suggestion because they wanted single-member constituencies, something that failed to get the necessary number of votes for passage in the 18 July referendum. 

“This proposal is simply a ploy by [Premier McKeeva Bush] to retain as much of the current system as he can,” said one person. 

“No, because the Cayman Islands districts are small, therefore one constituency is enough for each district,” said someone else. “The Cayman Islands does not need a big government.”  

“UDP … we are not blind any longer,” said another person. “It is one man, one vote and single-member constituencies sooner or later.” 

Another 57 people – 15.4 per cent of the total excluding those who said they couldn’t vote – said they didn’t support the suggestion because they like the election system the way it is now. 

“We definitely need to get rid of the party system as it is causing too much hatred and unrest between the other party and the people,” said one person. “Teams or independents are much better than parties, because they are more free to express their own personal feelings and can vote their conscience. We need better statesmen who are honest.  

We need dedicated men and women who will listen and take sensible sound advice and have the country and the people at heart.” 

“Government does have any funds now,” noted someone else. “This would only mean more funds are to be paid out to members of the Legislative Assembly and their salaries are already to high.” 

Ninety-three people – 25.1 per cent of potential voters taking the poll – said they might support the suggestion, but they needed more information.  

“Typical government ‘let’s have two where one will do’,” said one person. “If it achieves equality, I’ll accept the silliness of the proposal just to placate our puerile, fragile premier.” 

Only 36 people – 9.7 per cent of potential voters participating in the poll – said they supported the idea. 

“It’s not perfect, but it’s a step forward,” said one person. 

“I think it solves the problem of people having different amounts of votes and also makes each voting district large enough to avoid the ‘garrison’ politics that some people are worried about,” said someone else. 

Thirteen people – 2.8 per cent of the total number of respondents – responded ‘other’ to the question. 

One person suggested keeping the districts with the same number of representatives there is now, but not with single member constituencies.  

“We can not afford this and it does nothing to enhance democracy except to ensure that the prospects of getting elected will be more better for some,” said one person.  

“I live in Bodden Town and do not want to see my district divided up. [Now] I can go to any member to discuss my concerns, but under the proposed arrangements, I am limited to one member.” 

“Whichever way reduces the number of MLAs and their bloated wages,” said someone else. 

Of the 97 people who said they couldn’t vote, several left comments. 

“If I could vote, I would vote for single-member constituencies,” 
said one person. 

“I can’t vote here, but if I could, it certainly wouldn’t be for any idea of McKeeva Bush,” said someone else. 

“Who cares? This place is so messed up,” said another person. 

“It doesn’t matter,” commented one person. “It won’t change the quality of the candidates.” 

 

Next week’s poll question 

What is your opinion of the effect of party politics in the Cayman Islands? 

They are great for the country 

They are good for the country 

They are bad for the country 

They are terrible for the country 

I don’t know 

online poll

2 COMMENTS

  1. There is an old joke about how to tell if a politician is lying – watch to see if their lips are moving…

    Leading up to the referendum on the 18th July – I listened to the radio and it was clear that there was still much confusion as to what was being proposed but even though the overall turnout was poor, it was clear that the electorate are unhappy with the current system. Mr Bush rather arrogantly suggested that the abstainers were passive NO votes but given how close it was, that thinking has no merit – if you believed the current system was the best, you’d have to actively vote NO.

    Even on a General Election you will find a mention of SPOILED BALLOTS – people who make the effort to complete the voting process and then protest by writing on the voting slip in such a way as to nullify their vote (e.g. None of the above). How many of the non voters could have gone that route instead.

    It is important that people understand the political process and get a little more savvy when it comes to voting, Simply voting against the current guy wont fix the problem.

    My political studies teacher summarised it so well when he said that the election is a job interview!

    Your (prospective) politician is applying to work for YOU, and if he or she succeeds they will get a salary and a chance to make good on their interview promises. Its a two way process too, just like an interview you can highlight what is important to you and what is expected of them, if they get the job. Remember too that the winning MLA takes the job on to work for all voters, not just the ones he believes voted for him.

    Scrutinise their claims carefully and remember that if it seems too good to be true, well, it probably is.

    The objectives should be reasonable and achievable, but there is also the question of stewardship – they need to be able to pass forward a sustainable economy. Remember it’s YOUR money they spend and it is good manners to do so responsibly and in a way to benefit everyone.

    They talk big numbers, think about what they mean in real terms – 600 Million spending for 50,000 individuals means about 1000 per person per month, so would you like half as much government and 500 more bucks a month?

    A usefull technique is to look at what happens if you reverse their ideas

    There was talk about an additional 3 percent duty would allow them to keep the civil service at the current level… BUT that also means if they had made the cuts 2 years ago they could have LOWERED duty. Everyone on Cayman could have been paying less for everything (including government employees).

    One last thought – 9 constituancies with two members?
    So, there could be a UDP and PPM member returned on each, Oooops.

Comments are closed.