Our front page article Wednesday about the current plan for
“one man, one vote” via single member constituent districts has raised
important practical questions about the implementation of such a voting system
in the Cayman Islands.
These questions have never really been debated. Most
notably, the issue of whether Cayman is simply changing out one unequal voting
system for another one.
Again and again, we at this newspaper have cried out for a
sensible, non-politicised debate [realising that is difficult] on this issue of
how the country should elect its Legislative Assembly members. Up to this
point, the proponents of the “one man, one vote”, single member districts model
have tried to pretend there is only one option – the one presented by the 2010
Electoral Boundary Commission – that can save us all from the unfairness of the
existing multimember district system.
According to Commonwealth Parliamentary Association experts
who reviewed our voting system during the week of the general election, the
2010 proposal is unfair and well outside the international norms for equal or
relatively equal single district representation. However, to change what the
boundary commission has done would result in “doing violence to the current
electoral district boundaries”; so said Premier Alden McLaughlin, who supports
the “one man, one vote” plan.
Here we have another important question that we believe has
not been considered: How does the plan proposed by the 2010 boundary commission
not “do violence” to the existing districts already? George Town will be
chopped up into six pieces, Bodden Town and West Bay into four.
Yet somehow, with all this “violence” going on, we receive
the view that North Side, East End and the Sister Islands districts should be
untouched – in fact that the saviour of voting rights, “one man, one vote”,
should not be implemented in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman at all, even though
it’s the “best thing for the country”. More debate on this important issue is
sorely needed. We hope to hear what our new leaders have to say on the topic