Your recent editorials criticising one man one vote and advocating a change to islandwide elections are in my view to be commended. To divide such a small electorate into historical districts is bound to throw up anomalies and result in some good candidates with island-wide support losing out by thin margins in some districts. Unless the current system is altered, this will happen again and the Cayman Islands will be the ultimate loser.

Small constituencies focussed on historical districts also serve to perpetuate regional competition and divisions in a small community which should be avoided. What passes for democracy in the U.K. or the U.S. is irrelevant to what is best for the Cayman Islands and we should seek to put in place a democratic system to reflect our circumstances which results in good and stable government for everyone at national and district level.

I would suggest two matters for consideration: Firstly national islandwide elections with one islandwide constituency be held every four years. Each registered voter can cast up to 10 votes for any candidate standing for election. But only one per candidate. You do not need to use all 10 votes, of course. But what this should ensure is that the 19 candidates with the widest appeal islandwide get elected. The persons elected are likely to get elected based on merit and experience rather than only on popularity in their home district, although this factor will still play an important role. This will mean 10 times as many votes could be cast by the electorate but the extra time counting these votes will be outweighed by the benefits.

If this is deemed too complicated, then give each elector one vote to cast for any candidate islandwide. This would have the same effect, but I suggest on balance the more votes cast, the more likely a trend will be seen through the votes cast in favor of the 19 candidates with the widest appeal. If the Sister Islands need two representatives separate from Grand Cayman, let them vote as they do currently and increase representation to 21 over all three islands.

Secondly, every two years, district elections should be held to appoint people resident in a district to district councils. These councils can elect a leader with a specific mandate to raise matters with central government and a central government portfolio can be created to make this an effective link between central government and local communities similar to a Minister for Local Government in the U.K. This will ensure district issues are taken into account by central government, but one district will not be able to have a de facto veto on an issue of islandwide importance as some elected representatives in the central government will not be entirely dependent for re-election on the voters in that district.

Democracy is not a one-size-fits-all concept. I would hope your editorials will encourage a thoughtful debate on this important issue so a better democratic system can be found to fit the needs of the Cayman Islands.

Allan Turner

 

9
6

2 COMMENTS

  1. One man one vote has just been implemented throughout the Cayman Islands for the first time so there is absolutely no reason to change it.Maybe you do not like it ,but tough luck.If the national vote is such a great thing then why don’t the USA or UK use it. Why does the US use then Electoral college system rather than the Popular or National vote system? because too many states would be dis-enfranchised.Using the national vote ( or popular vote as it is called in the US) during the 2016 US Presidential elections means Hillary Clinton would have won. However Hillary only won 13 States ,meaning that 37 States would have been dis-enfranchised.Here in the Cayman Is. a candidate winning the popular vote (National vote) in George Town and West Bay would nullify the votes of all the other districts combined. In other words candidates winning those two districts could be elected for the other 4 districts ,even if every registered voter in those 4. Now that is injustice. districts voted against them. I know McKeeva and Elio have supported this in the past so let me put it in terms Mac will understand;during the last 2 elections George Town has voted in favour of PPM. However Mac was still able to win West Bay. With a national vote Towners could have voted in large numbers against Mac and maybe he would not even win a seat in West Bay, even if every last West Bayer voted for Mac and his Team.

    2

    1

LEAVE A REPLY