The election in the Cayman Islands comes just two weeks before the General Election in the United Kingdom. Both parliaments of course boast long histories. The first meeting to discuss our islands’ legislative future took place at Pedro’s Castle on Dec. 5, 1831 and the origins of the U.K. parliament date back over a thousand years to the Anglo-Saxon Witan. Of course, much progress has been made since these days, resulting in the modern democracies we see today.
This year we will see a historic change to the Cayman Islands voting system with legislators being selected from 19 single-member electoral districts. I hope that this system simplifies the selection of elected representatives and provides a wide choice of candidates for the electorate to choose from.
The Cayman Islands has historically achieved a high voter turnout and I urge all registered voters to exercise your democratic rights. This is fundamental to the legitimacy of the government and hence the prosperity of these islands.
Each elected MLA will take on a big responsibility to represent you and to ensure the safety, security and prosperity of all who live in the Cayman Islands.
I know the decision to stand for election is not entered into lightly and that for some, politics will represent a new experience. As Winston Churchill said, “No part of the education of a politician is more indispensable than the fighting of elections.”
I would like to pay tribute to the Supervisor of Elections and his team. They have done a tremendous job to organise the elections across all three islands in such an efficient manner. Our thanks are also due to all those in the Civil Service, the RCIPS and many other individuals and volunteers that will be working hard to make the elections a success.
This year we will have a team of election observers from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to witness the elections. This is especially important given our move to a new electoral system. I am sure we will all welcome them to the Cayman Islands and assist them in any way we can.
I am confident that the candidates and their agents will continue to conduct themselves in a professional manner, doing their part to ensure that the Cayman Islands 2017 General Elections meet and exceed international general election best practice.
Finally, I would like to say that I and the staff of my office are very much looking forward to working with the new Government that you choose.