Apathy will be ‘No’ vote
(CNS): The members of the movement promoting a ‘yes’ vote in the upcoming referendum on one man, one vote (OMOV) are warning that anyone who stays home on polling day will be voting ‘no’. As a result of the government’s efforts to defeat his own referendum, the requirement of 50% plus one voter to carry a 'yes' result means anyone who supports one man, one vote and is already a registered voter but does not go to the polls on Wednesday 18 July will be voting ‘No’. Sharon Roulstone, one of the campaign co-ordinators, urged everyone to make sure they go out and vote.
“Not coming out to vote equates to a ‘no’ because of the threshold set by government,” Roulstone said. “If you are on the list and you are not aware or you are not here, if you don’t vote you will be voting against the proposition of one man, one vote and single member constituencies. We cannot stress enough to people who support OMOV that they need to come out and vote or ensure they are registered for an absentee vote.”
The government’s opposition to one man one vote and single member constituencies means that it will be throwing all of its weight and public sector resources behind the no campaign, which will also benefit from apathetic voters. The short notice for the referendum, which has seen access to the electoral roll already closed for new voters, the choice of a summer polling day when many people are away and the decision to treat the poll like a people initiated vote requiring a 50% plus one vote as opposed to a simple majority of voters that turn out are all points in favour of a 'no' result.
With an electoral roll of just over 15,000 people, the campaigners have set a goal of 8,000 'yes' votes to ensure a clear and emphatic result, but with a number of obstacles in the referendum’s path, all of the campaigners admit it is a challenge. However, Roulstone said that she does not believe the difficulties are insurmountable.
“I accept that it is going to be a challenge but I feel we can prevail,” she said, adding that in the privacy of the polling booth she believed the voters would carry the day and introduce a fair and equitable system.
Although in need of cash and all hands on deck, the OMOV campaign has launched into full swing with an advertising campaign, a bank account for sponsors, a dedicated website and a direct email address for voters to contact the campaigners for any information they may need.
A group of supporters for the OMOV campaign also appeared on Rooster’s morning show, Cayman CrossTalk, on Tuesday morning, where they spoke about the equity, of one man, one vote and single member constituencies.
Despite claims by the premier that the multi-member system is not broken so it doesn’t need fixing, Johann Moxam said he did not believe that many people really think that the current system works. He pointed out that for many years, although paid “handsomely to sit in the Assembly” several MLAs from the multi-member constituencies have been able to hide from their constituents and dodge their accountability, appearing once every four years.
Appealing for everyone to help, Moxam said that if people couldn’t give cash they could give time but the most important thing was to come out to the polls on referendum day and vote ‘yes’ in the national ballot.
“Anybody who believes in transparency, accountability and equity will support this,” he said. “We are trying to bring real change as the next generation is demanding more and we will make history in the Cayman Islands,” Moxam added.
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