OMOV debate rolls on
(CNS): Despite the premier’s hopes that the referendum on one man, one vote would settled the issue of Cayman’s electoral system, the failure of the vote to bring a binding decision either ‘yes’ or ‘no ‘ when measured against the entire electorate has further fuelled the debate. The OMOV committee stated Friday that since government has dismissed the result as a ‘no’ even though 65% of those who voted said ‘yes’, the public debate will continue. Meanwhile, Ezzard Miller has said that he will be bringing a motion to the Legislative Assembly asking government to introduce one man, one vote and single member constituencies in George Town and Bodden Town.
The independent member for North Side told CNS that the voters in both these districts who came out to the polls voted more than two to one in favour of introducing OMOV, Since the people in these districts have made it quite clear that this is what they want, government should introduce the system there. He said he is preparing a motion which will be supported by the opposition member for East End, Arden McLean.
Miller dismissed Bush’s idea of two MLA constituencies, which he believes would see all voters having two votes in each one, because, using the current boundaries as confirmed in the 2010 boundary report, the amalgamation of North Side, East End and Bodden Town into one district would not have the support of the voters in those areas.
The OMOV committee said in a statement released on Friday that, given the result of the referendum, government should now be giving serious consideration to the implementation of one man, one vote.
The members also pointed out that for the premier to conclude that everyone that didn’t vote, voted ‘no’ was “misleading and irresponsible" and simply not supported by the factual result, as the voters who exercised their civic duty demonstrated by a wide margin their desire for single member constituencies featuring one man, one vote.
“It is disappointing to note therefore that the UDP government hastily dismissed Wednesday’s results,” the committee said. “Those results are the only reference tool by which the government should measure the wishes of the people. However, as we have witnessed with this government, when the results do not accord with their agenda, they resort to spin and confusion of the facts to continue to have their way. That is not democracy and therefore of necessity, the public debate will continue.”
The group said they were proud that just a handful of concerned people were able to galvanize the country and create history by being a part of Cayman's first ever "stand alone" referendum and hoped It had inspired others who want to participate in the main issues affecting Cayman and the lives of people here. “We will continue to pay close attention to the affairs of our country and express our opinions as we feel necessary,” the committee stated.
Miller, who spearheaded the grassroots campaign and the original goal of a referendum in November, hit back at McKeeva Bush on Friday in a radio broadcast regarding the result and the premier’s immediate dismissal after 5,631 people, or 65% or those who went to the polls, voted in favour of OMOV.
The North Side member said Bush was using the same “green coloured glasses” on this issue that he had applied to government's finances, which resulted in the failure to produce a budget.
“There is no legal, ethical, moral or sensible method that allows those who did not vote to be added to the totals of either the 'yes' or the 'no' vote to determine the winner,” Miller pointed out. “Nor can the 43% percent of the registered voters who did not take part in the process be declared the winners. It is not normal or rational to declare non-participants winners in an election, even when your analytical process includes the pagan deduction that dead persons voted 'no'.”
The vote was not a rejection of single member constituencies, Miller stated in his Friday evening Radio Cayman broadcast. In that circumstance the vote would have needed to achieve 50 percent plus 1 of the registered voters actually voting 'no', while only 19% actually did.
“I concede the 'yes' vote did not get 50 percent plus 1 of the registered voters. What the results clearly show is that two to one in 5 out of 6 electoral districts, people voted for the introduction of SMC and one man one vote.”
He added that the best either group could claim was that no binding decision was achieved by either.
The premier dismissed any idea of the result being advisory, as had been highlighted by the elections office prior to the poll taking place. Colford Scott had stated that given government’s position that 50% of the entire electorate was required to have a binding ‘yes’, the same position applied to ‘no’ and anything else would be advisory.
However, the premier concluded immediately on Thursday evening that the referendum was a binding ‘no’, even though the ‘no’ vote was less than 20% of the electorate and a far cry from the binding 50% plus one high bar his government has said it required when setting the referendum law.
Despite campaigning on the basis that the current electoral system was not broken so it did not need fixing, on Thursday evening Bush suddenly proposed an altogether new idea of nine two MLA constituencies.
He did not say whether voters would have one or two votes in such a system, but unless the boundaries were to be completely redrawn following the existing SMC maps from the 2010 boundary commission report, this would see eight districts on Grand Cayman. This would mean two in West Bay, three in George Town, a new district of Prospect/Red Bay and another new district in the Savannah/Pedro area and then the combination of Bodden Town, North Side and East End into a single district. Cayman Brac and Little Cayman would remain the same.
Bush has said that a committee will be formed to examine this proposal and other possibilities for the May 2013 elections when government must add three more seats to the legislature to balance out a new ministerial position in Cabinet.
See OMOV and Miller’s statement below.
|OMOV Group.doc||24.5 KB|
|Statement by Ezzard Miller.doc||53.71 KB|
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