Barring a major legislative revolt against Premier Alden McLaughlin’s government in the next day or so, Cayman’s 2017 general election will go forward under the principle of “one man, one vote.”
Premier McLaughlin made public on Wednesday the legislative order for 19 single-member constituent districts, anticipating that debate on the motion to accept the 2015 Electoral Boundary Commission’s district maps would commence later Wednesday or on Thursday.
“There are no modifications proposed by me on behalf of the government in respect to the report of the Electoral Boundary Commission,” Mr. McLaughlin said.
Lawmakers still must formally approve the commission’s report and the attached voting maps. The Electoral Boundary Commission’s draft proposal for the new voting maps adds one more representative seat to the Legislative Assembly, for a total of 19 legislators.
The single-member constituencies proposal creates seven voting districts in George Town, four each in Bodden Town and West Bay, two on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman and one apiece for East End and North Side.
All of the new single-member constituencies in the larger districts of George Town, Bodden Town and West Bay will maintain approximately the same number of voters – roughly 1,000 to 1,100 each. The Sister Islands’ two voting districts, as well as East End and North Side, will maintain between 500 and 600 voters in each.
The change will take away the current ability of voters in larger multimember voting districts to elect more than one representative to the Legislative Assembly.
Government’s acceptance of the commission’s report marks the final step in a process that began as a grass-roots voter-initiated petition for one man, one vote in 2011, and which led to a failed referendum on the issue in July 2012.
The biggest change the 2015 boundary commission made, compared to the single-member constituencies proposal released in 2010, is in George Town, which will be divided into seven constituencies, from George Town North in the northwest to Prospect in the east. One new constituency, George Town East, has been added.
Bodden Town district will be divided into four constituencies, from Savannah in the farthest west to Bodden Town East at the district’s eastern end. West Bay district was redrawn from the 2010 proposal but still maintains four voting constituencies.
Cayman Brac will be divided between Cayman Brac West and Cayman Brac East. East End and North Side districts were left untouched by the redistricting proposal.