Three candidates face eligibility challenges

Three independent political candidates, all representing different Cayman Islands voting districts, have been summonsed to appear in Grand Court to answer challenges to their respective eligibilities in the upcoming general election.

Constitutional challenges were filed on Wednesday and Thursday against the three men by the Cayman Islands Elections Office, represented by Supervisor of Elections Wesley Howell.

The challenges are the first filed under the revamped Elections Law approved late last year. The new law allows the supervisor of elections to file the challenges with the Grand Court. The challenges are required to be heard within a short time frame and a judge’s decision as to a candidate’s eligibility is considered final and unappealable.

As far as the Cayman Compass is aware, no dates have been set for the courts to hear the eligibility challenges.

The three candidates, Alric Lindsay in George Town South, Nickolas DaCosta in Cayman Brac West/Little Cayman, and Mario Rankin in Newlands, were contacted this week for comment regarding the eligibility challenges. Mr. Rankin and Mr. DaCosta declined to comment. Mr. Lindsay said Friday that he could not comment if the matter was before the courts.

According to the originating summons for Mr. Lindsay, the elections office seeks a declaration as to his qualification for election under sections 61(1)(d) and 61(2))(b) of the constitution “on the basis that [Mr. Lindsay] is not a qualified citizen.”

Also, the summons seeks a declaration as to Mr. Lindsay’s qualification for election under section 61(1)(f) of the constitution. This involves the candidate’s “absence from the Cayman Islands in excess of 400 days in the seven years immediately preceding the date of his nomination for election.”

The summons against Mr. DaCosta also seeks a declaration of his eligibility under section 61(1)(c) of the constitution “on the basis that [Mr. DaCosta] was domiciled and/or resident of the United States of America at the date of his nomination for election.”

A second declaration regarding Mr. DaCosta’s qualification for election is sought under sections 61(1)(d) and 61(2)(a) of the constitution “on the basis that [he], at the date of his nomination for election, possessed U.S. citizenship.”

The third declaration sought for Mr. DaCosta under constitution section 62(1)(a) states that he is “by virtue of his own act, under an acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state, naming the U.S.”

The third claim relates to two issues: Mr. DaCosta’s appointment as a Notary Public in Florida and his registration as a U.S. voter in Florida since 2010, court records state.

The elections office is seeking a declaration of disqualification for election to the Legislative Assembly for Mr. Rankin under section 62(1)(e) of the constitution “on the basis of his convictions by the courts of the Cayman Islands for offenses involving dishonesty.”

The summons against Mr. Rankin does not specify the nature of those criminal convictions.

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