Independents call for electoral reform

Independents legislators can have an impact in the Cayman Islands, but only if they band together in teams, the results from the 2013 general election indicate. 

While three independent candidates, endorsed by the Coalition for Cayman, made it into the legislature, independents who ran alone fared badly by comparison to the established parties. 

Jude Scott missed out personally for the C4C in George Town. But he said the movement had been successful in getting independent candidates into government.  

He said the success of the group had shown there was an appetite in the country for independent candidates. But he acknowledged that banding together in a “team” in order to match the resources and organisation of the party structure had played a part in the success of the C4C candidates. 

“There has been a real positive reception for independent candidates who are well organised and developed an environment where they can team together, much like we had teams in years gone by,” Mr. Scott said. 

“The country has changed significantly. If you go back probably six months, with the exception of North Side and East End, people would say independents would have no chance.  

“So, I think the country has not only embraced independents but independents do have a place. The country has very loudly said that they do want independents in the government.” 

For independents running alone it was a different story. In West Bay, the two independents who weren’t backed by the C4C finished in the bottom two spots. 

In Bodden Town, four of the five non-C4C endorsed candidates took the bottom four spots. And in George Town, three non-C4C independents featured in the bottom four. 

The future of “genuine” independents in the political mix lies with electoral reform, according to those who lost out in George Town. 

Independent Stefan Baraud said he had run a strong campaign and was pleased with the number of votes he got. But he said the results showed the strength of the party system. 

“The voters have demonstrated that they do want change, but they have still voted on party lines,” Mr. Baraud said. “The only way for that to change is for ‘one man, one vote’ to be brought in. Until that happens independents won’t be relevant.” 

He said the party vote meant independents were fighting a losing battle against candidates who started with a cache of votes already in the bag. 

“I am pleased in a sense because as an individual, to get as many votes as I did, in the climate of party politics is satisfying.” 

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