George Town’s amazing race

Nothing quite like it has ever been seen in Cayman Islands politics.  

The Cayman Islands’ capital had its most competitive election ever last week, both in terms of number of candidates [21] and the actual vote count itself. The only race somewhat comparable was the 2000 election in West Bay when 22 candidates contested for four seats, but the results across the board weren’t as close.  

To put in perspective just how close Wednesday’s contest in George Town was; from the candidate who finished in second place – Roy McTaggart – to the candidate who finished in 17th – Rayal Bodden – fewer than 100 votes separated each candidate from the person who finished directly above them and from the person who finished directly below them.  

The largest single difference, 99 votes, separated fifth and sixth place finishers Winston Connolly and Joey Hew. A mere 15 votes separated second and third place finishers Mr. McTaggart and Alden McLaughlin. The fourth place winner, Marco Archer, trailed Mr. McLaughlin by 60 votes; Mr. Connolly came in just 46 votes behind Mr. Archer and Mr. Hew won his sixth-place legislative seat in George Town just 51 votes ahead of incumbent lawmaker Mike Adam, who ended in seventh place.  

Less than 10 per cent of the overall vote separated eighth place finisher Sharon Roulstone from Mr. Bodden in 17th place. Ms Roulstone finished 77 votes behind Mr. Adam and a spare 44 votes ahead of ninth place challenger Lucille Seymour while Ms Seymour’s closest challenger, Kenneth Bryan, ended just 33 votes behind her.  

Mr. Bryan came in just ahead of Jude Scott, a 54-vote difference there, while Mr. Scott ended what might be considered well ahead in this race of Derrington “Bo” Miller who finished 12th, 91 votes behind Mr. Scott.  

The close contest didn’t end there. Incumbent legislator Ellio Solomon finished behind Mr. Miller in 13th place, just 62 votes behind. Mr. Solomon was ahead of Jonathan Piercy by 89 votes, while Mr. Piercy finished ahead of Walling Whittaker by a miniscule 26-vote margin. Mr. Whittaker finished ahead of party compatriot Renard Moxam by 68 votes and Mr. Moxam ended ahead of Mr. Bodden by just 15 votes.  

The only exceptions to the 100-vote difference rule were the first place finisher and four last place candidates. First elected member for George Town Kurt Tibbetts finished well ahead of the field and 310 votes ahead of Mr. McTaggart, the second place winner. Candidates Stefan Baraud and Jacqueline Haynes finished just a bit behind the rest of the field in 18th and 19th place, although they both ended within 100 votes of one another and both still finished with more than 1,000 votes.  

There were really only two noncompetitive candidates in the entire race; Dr. Frank McField, who finished with a total 211 votes and Matthew Leslie, who ended with 91 votes. 

That means 19 candidates finished the George Town district election in 2013 with 1,000 or more votes. Granted, the district had a huge influx in registered voters between 2012 and 2013 and more than 4,500 people voted in George Town. However, that statistic is quite extraordinary when comparing George Town elections during the past decade.  

In the 2009 general election, only seven of the 13 George Town candidates finished with more than 1,000 votes and the difference between fourth place finisher Ellio Solomon and fifth place finisher Jonathan Piercy was nearly 200 votes.  

In 2005, only four candidates of the 13 – all the eventual winners – carried more than 1,000 votes. There was a 771-vote gap between fourth place finisher Alfonso Wright and fifth place candidate Dr. Frank McField.  

For the 2000 George Town elections, five of 14 candidates carried more than 1,000 votes. There was a more than 500-vote difference between the fifth place candidate, Lucille Seymour and sixth place finisher Truman Bodden. 

George Town PPM candidates, from left, Kurt Tibbetts, Joey Hew, Marco Archer and Alden McLaughlin won seats in the Legislative Assembly following the district’s most competitive election ever. – Photo: Brent Fuller

George Town PPM candidates, from left, Kurt Tibbetts, Joey Hew, Marco Archer and Alden McLaughlin won seats in the Legislative Assembly following the district’s most competitive election ever. – Photo: Brent Fuller
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