Parties make boundary commission appointments

The individuals who will lead the effort in redrawing Cayman’s voting districts ahead of the 2017 general election have been selected by both major political parties.

Premier Alden McLaughlin announced Monday that the Progressives had nominated local attorney Adrianne Webb to serve on what’s likely to be the 2015 Electoral Boundary Commission.

Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush said the Cayman Democratic Party would appoint attorney Steve McField. The governor’s nominee to the commission was not known at press time.

“I expect that the governor will shortly make an announcement regarding the establishment of the Electoral Boundary Commissioner and the appointment of the chairman,” Premier McLaughlin said.

In September, all 12 government members voted in favor of a motion, which requests that Governor Helen Kilpatrick call an Electoral Boundary Commission to redraw voting districts in all three islands with the aim of creating separate single-member constituencies. If lawmakers approve the redistricting effort once the voting map is redrawn, Caymanians will be restricted to casting just one vote in the May 2017 election.

Currently, Cayman voters cast between one and six votes, depending on the voting district in which they live. Four of Cayman’s voting districts select candidates under a multimember voting system; two select only one member of the Legislative Assembly.

Premier Alden McLaughlin has estimated that it will take at least three or four months for a boundary commission to do its work once it is appointed. After that, the Legislative Assembly must debate the plan and either approve or reject it. Mr. McLaughlin has said the entire process should be completed by mid-2015.

Two members of the Legislative Assembly, Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush and West Bay MLA Capt. Eugene Ebanks, voted against the motion to establish the boundary commission and create single-member voting districts. West Bay MLA Bernie Bush was not present for the vote.

“I do not support the move from our voting system that we’ve had since we’ve had representative government,” Mr. Bush said. “This is going to be something that will not help these islands.”

On Monday, Mr. Bush said he still made his appointment to the boundary commission as required even though he did not support a move toward single-member constituencies.

Mr. McLaughlin said earlier in the year that it is the government’s consensus that the current multimember voting districts in George Town, West Bay and Bodden Town are patently unfair and should be changed. However, the government lingered over whether it should change to a system of 18 or 19 single-member constituent districts or whether it should adopt a system of some at-large voting constituencies.

However, the plan for at-large districts evaporated later in the year and the Progressives-led administration agreed to support proposals for all single-member voting districts.

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