Upsets, close contests and foregone conclusions

In every election, the numbers tell the story.

The Cayman Islands saw the highest-ever number of eligible voters (23,594) and votes cast (17,247) last night, but, at the same time, the turnout of 73.1% was a record low and down by one percentage point compared to the last general election in 2017.

Despite the lower turnout overall, six districts attracted a larger share of voters in 2021. In East End, North Side and West Bay Central this was pivotal for upset victories over incumbent candidates.

Katherine Ebanks-Wilks’ win followed a 5.8 percentage point increase in voter participation over the last election in which she also faced Capt. Eugene Ebanks.

Both Johany Ebanks in North Side and Isaac Rankine in East End, who were narrowly defeated in 2017, benefited from a higher voter turnout this time to beat incumbents Ezzard Miller and Arden McLean by 177 and 44 votes, respectively.

In Red Bay, a higher voter turnout meant a much-narrower victory than many observers had expected for Premier Alden McLaughlin (55.7%) over independent candidate Sammy Jackson.

By the same token, significantly lower voter participation in the Sister Islands, George Town Central and both Bodden Town districts benefited incumbent candidates, who coincidently achieved the most comprehensive victories of the night.

Kenneth Bryan was returned as MP for George Town Central after he received a massive 87.1% of the votes, closely followed by Moses Kirkconnell, who took 85.8% of the votes in Cayman Brac West and Little Cayman; Chris Saunders (79.6%) in Bodden Town West; Juliana O’Connor-Connolly (71.3%) in Cayman Brac East; and Dwayne Seymour (60.9%) in Bodden Town West.

André  Ebanks in West Bay South was another big winner, as he attracted 72% of the votes in his victory over Raul Nicholson-Coe.

Meanwhile, the new Progressives leader Roy McTaggart distanced four other candidates in George Town East with a convincing 64.1% share of the vote.

In fact, all seven former government members that ran under the Progressives banner were successful in their election bids, even if it took narrower victories by Barbara Conolly (52.7%) over Alric Lindsay in George Town South, and Joey Hew (56.5%) against Johann Moxam in George Town North.

McKeeva Bush emerged from the most-closely-fought contest of the night with a mere 27-vote margin over Mario Ebanks, to represent the district of West Bay West once again.

Sabrina Turner (37.2%) finished first in an equally close three-way race in Prospect in which each candidate received more than 30% of the votes.

At the other end of the spectrum, several political hopefuls received barely more than a handful of votes.

Roydell Carter with 29 votes in Newlands, Jeanna Williams (28) in Savannah, Debra Broderick (23) in North Side, McCleary Frederick (15) in East End, and Richard Bernard (seven) in George Town East were the least successful candidates of the 2021 election.

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