Mac says no to 1 man-1 vote
(CNS): The premier has said that he does not support one man, one vote and never has. At a public meeting on Tuesday McKeeva Bush said that while he has always told the country he was not in favour of that type of vote, he did not believe the opposition supported it either as they did not enshrine it in the constitution when they had the chance. Bush accused the PPM of refusing to put it in the document despite being in government during the UK constitutional discussions. However, Alden McLaughlin says that it was the result of a "regretted compromise” because of the Bush’s vehement opposition that one man, one vote did not get enshrined. The PPM is and always has been in favour, he said. (Photo Dennie WarrenJr)
Speaking to an audience in front of the court house in a mid-term UDP rally Tuesday night, the premier stated that his opposition to one man, one vote had been constant, while this was not the case for the opposition.
He questioned whether the opposition leader, Alden McLaughlin, and the former leader of government business, Kurt Tibbetts, really wanted one man, one vote in George Town. He asked why, if they had supported it, did they not use their power as the government at the time and say in the constitution itself that such a voting method would come into effect on a certain day.
“If they have a gripe about one man one vote and want it for the next election then that’s what they should have done in London,” he said referring to the negotiations that took place between the Cayman delegation and the UK government in 2008. “The PPM refused to put it in the constitution.”
Bush described this as typical behaviour of the PPM who made promises which were never fulfilled.
However, the opposition leader pointed out that the vehement objection from the UDP delegation at the time, and in particular Bush and Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, led, much to McLaughlin’s regret, to a compromise to allow the legislators to select the method of voting instead of enshrining it. (See First round of Constitutional talks for UDP objections Pg 76)
“We were at the time trying to get a document everyone would support,” he noted, adding that it was Sir Ian Hendry, the UK representative that led the negotiations, who suggested the compromise of enshrining the size of the legislature but leaving the voting method to the local lawmakers in order to get passed the impasse. The opposition leader said the goal of the constitutional negotiations was to get a document that everyone, including the Chamber, the Human Rights Committee, the churches and the political parties, would support.
McLaughlin explained, “The premise was that the constitution should be a negotiated document with the agreement of all the Cayman delegation, not just the UK," and said it had to be supported by everyone in order to get the country to accept it. He said the PPM had wanted the entire delegation that went to London to come back and be in a position to support the ‘Yes’ campaign, but in the event that did not happen.
“I regret to this day that we made that compromise as the UDP reneged on the agreement,” McLaughlin said, pointing out that Bush had still come back and told the people to vote ‘No’ . “Maybe we were too idealistic,” he added.
However, McLaughlin said the PPM had always been in favour of one man, one vote and continued to support the concept, which is one of the points listed in the opposition leader’s motion of no confidence.
Following the publication by the boundary commission’s comments that at the public meetings they held there was widespread support for one man one vote, the decision by government to simply add more multiple members to existing constituencies has caused considerable criticism.
Ezzard Miller, the independent member for North Side who has been a vocal supporter of the concept said the premier is wrong when he thinks the people don’t support one man, one vote. “I do not agree with the premier that the people don’t want this, the people I represent certainly do and so do many, many others across the country,” he stated. Miller has frequently pointed out the inequality of the current voting system which is about to get worse with the introduction of two more members for George Town.
On Tuesday in an attempt to answer the criticism by Miller and Arden McLean who also represents a single member constituency Bush said it was not unfair that those districts only had one vote as he said it was because they were too small to have more. “If they were bigger they would have more,” he said, indicating that he misunderstood the fundamental issue of the objections.
Bush said that single member representatives could still be minister or even premier. However, the objections are more concerned about the ability of individual voters, not their members, to cast more than one vote and have a greater influence on the make-up of the entire government in multimember constituents compared to one man one vote which is believed by most to offer a more democratic and equitable way for a government to be elected.
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