Martin, Christian not eligible to run
Lyndon Leathan Martin, one of two election candidates disqualified in the 22 May general elections last week, intends to pursue the matter, but not as it pertains to him for this election.
“The postal ballots are already being sent out and my name is not on them,” he said. Mr. Martin told the Caymanian Compass that he received notice at 2.45pm on Friday when Dave Tatum, returning officer for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, hand delivered a letter to him, advising of the decision. Mr. Tatum was accompanied by District Commissioner Ernie Scott, who also serves as deputy supervisor of elections.
Mr. Martin said he was getting dressed to go to the first issue of postal ballots when he was told he would not be on the ballot paper. The former candidate and former member of the Legislative Assembly said he will not appeal this decision for himself, but he will pursue it because of the far-reaching consequences of the precedent it creates. Mr. Martin expressed some puzzlement about the disqualification.
“Prior to my nomination I had what I considered to be a pre-clearance meeting with the returning officer and we came to a sort of agreement that there was nothing to prohibit me from accepting my nomination,” he said. “I have a perfectly clean police record. There are no convictions on record for me,” he emphasised.
Nomination day was Wednesday, 27 March.
A release from the Elections Office late Friday afternoon stated simply that the returning officer had concluded that Mr. Martin, who was nominated and consented to such nomination as a candidate for that district, was not qualified to be elected as a member of the Legislative Assembly pursuant to section 62(1)(e) of the Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009.
This section refers to anyone who is serving or has served a sentence of imprisonment exceeding 12 months. Since the new Constitution came into effect, the section also includes anyone who “has been convicted in any court in any country of an offence involving dishonesty”.
Mr. Martin was convicted in April 2008 of obtaining property by deception. A Grand Court jury found him guilty of dishonestly obtaining $250 and $475 by telling a man it was needed for a permanent residence application with which Mr. Martin was helping the man. The Court of Appeal later quashed his conviction on a third similar charge relating to $350 obtained from another person. Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Law, a person who was sentenced to a community service order as Mr. Martin was, would typically have his or her conviction considered spent after five years.
His disqualification would appear to indicate that the Constitution has priority over that law. The Constitution does not specify any time limit, so conviction for a crime of dishonesty would remain a disqualification.
If the 1972 Constitution were still in effect, Mr. Martin would be eligible to stand for election.
He did serve as the second elected member for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman from November 2000 until May 2005. He came in third out of seven candidates in that election and third again in May 2009. The new Constitution did not come into effect until November 2009.
For 2013, voters in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman now have four candidates, from which to elect two members: David Bodden, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, Moses Kirkconnell and Maxine Moore.
Christian bows out
Bodden Town political hopeful Richard Christian called it a day officially on Thursday after having already been disqualified by the Elections Office because of his possession and renewal of his US passport.
“I feel I have a case and can make some reasonable arguments,” Mr. Christian said in a written statement. “I have been advised that the challenge would be both lengthy and costly. Being that I am not in a financial position to pursue with this challenge, I have no other option but to temporarily halt my political ambitions and withdraw my candidacy.”
Mr. Christian said he believed the Cayman Islands needed clarification on what the intent of the Constitution Order, 2009, actually is when it comes to candidacy for elected office.
“I appeal to our legislators and legal community to help resolve this question, as it affects many Caymanians who had to travel to the US in the 60s and 70s for work or medical reasons and had children there,” he said. “I feel the intent of section 61 (2) (b) was to allow those born overseas to Caymanian parents the opportunity to run for election if they so desired.”
“Giving up my American citizenship is not the question,” he said. “I would have done it months ago if I had to and will do it if I need to. However, the question is, was that the intent of the Constitution? I don’t think so. In regards to [seeking office in] 2017, I wouldn’t rule it out. However I would first have to see where the country is at during that time and whether it is God’s will.
Mr. Christian apologised to his colleagues in the newly-formed People’s National Alliance for his absence in the upcoming campaign.
Since the new Constitution came into effect, disqualification also includes anyone who “has been convicted in any court in any country of an offence involving dishonesty”.