According to a preliminary report released by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association group Friday: “In our view, the 2013 General Elections in the Cayman Islands met the international standards for democratic genuine and transparent elections and the results truly reflect the will of the people.”
The four observers from the Commonwealth and two elections analysts also noted Friday that Caymanians across the board were very friendly and receptive to them being in the country for the vote, the first time such an international election observation mission has been conducted here.
Observers, led by Mario Galea, MP, of Malta, noted few problems on Election Day itself and noted that overall conduct of voting operations was rated as either “good” or “very good” at all district polling stations.
Despite the smooth flow on E-Day, the observers noted a number of systemic issues left to be addressed by the Cayman Islands in terms of the legal framework for future elections.
For instance, the current multi-member voting system used by Cayman was called contradictory to “the equal suffrage principle of one person, one vote”. The equality of vote, observers said, was further undermined by the fact that some MLAs were chosen by vastly greater numbers of voters than others.
“Generally, the difference per district should be no more than 15 per cent,” said election analyst Marian Gabriel, who traveled with the observer team.
Also, observers pointed out certain residency requirements for both eligible voters and for eligible election candidates “appear to be overly restrictive”. In addition, they also pointed out that some 5,000 Caymanians of voting age remain unregistered for unknown reasons.
Campaign finance limits set in the last six weeks prior to the election date were thought to be “unrealistically low” by the Commonwealth observers, who also noted that campaign finance reports turned in by candidates did not have to be verified by any state agency.
Finally, the group noted there were accusations of bias by one political party against certain “private media” outlets, but did not specify whether these allegations were true and noted the team simply didn’t have enough time to do qualitative media monitoring.