Lawmakers underscore need for more modern Elections Law

Local legislators say a revision of Cayman’s Elections Law is needed.

The issue was raised by Opposition Leader Arden McLean Wednesday in the Legislative Assembly.

MLAs at the time were reviewing the provisions of the referendum law to allow for a vote on holding Cayman’s first people-initiated referendum.

McLean queried the registration of voters once they become 18. “We need to decide whether it is mandatory or not,” the East End MLA said.

Premier Alden McLaughlin, in response, said a level of electoral reform is necessary for Cayman and it should happen soon.

- Advertisement -

“We really do need to look at the provisions to the Elections Law in advance of the next elections. I am more than amenable to doing that. I think we need a more modern piece of election machinery to be put in place,” the premier told fellow legislators.

Speaker of the House McKeeva Bush agreed, saying that Cayman has advanced but the provisions of the legislation remains as it was decades ago. He said at the time of the 1972 elections, he was unable to vote because he was 17 and would have turned 18 in January.

“I did not get to vote until I was 21, until I was married and everything else. I would like to add my voice to what the premier said. We need to advance that, like how we need to advance our port facilities,” Bush said.

McLean distanced himself from the reference to the port project, but he did say that reform of the law is needed.

“We need to have [an electoral] commission because as it is, the governor cannot be sued in his personal capacity and he is responsible for [elections], and so on. So, we need to deal with this, and soon,” McLean said.

McLaughlin said he has previously discussed this with the Opposition Leader.

“I have told him the only obstacle to getting an electoral commission is his objection to a constitutional change, because that is what it requires,” the premier said.

“You try to barter with that,” McLean quipped.

In the run-up to and during debate on the Referendum Bill for the port vote, which is expected on 19 Dec., issues of voter-registration deadlines, eligibility for voting and updating of the electors roll were raised.

- Advertisement -

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now