East End and North Side MLAs will today launch a âcitizenâs petitionâ demanding one person, one vote and single legislators for each constituency, hoping to spark a referendum to influence May â¨2013 elections.
The petition, announced Monday night by East End MLA Arden McLean, is an effort to force changes in electoral districts and voting patterns, creating a more equitable system of representation in the Legislative Assembly.
The petition will be formally launched this afternoon by the PPMâs Mr McLean and North Side independent Ezzard Miller, who hope to gain upward of 3,500 signatures from registered electors, triggering a people-initiated referendum as required byâ¨the constitution.
âThe constitution requires that we get 25% of registered voters, which is somewhere around 3,500,â Mr Miller told iNews Cayman yesterday, âalthough we are hoping for a lot moreâ, up to 5,000.
One-quarter of Caymanâs 15,175 registered voters is 3,794. Once achieved, however, the constitution obligates government to stage a public referendum on the issue, which Messers McLean and Miller hope will change the face of nextâ¨yearâs elections.
âI support one man, one vote,â Mr McLean told an East End gathering last night in the parking lot of Dâs Grocery Store in the centre of the district. In addition to Mr Miller, the audience included PPM chief Alden McLaughlin, Bodden Town âs PPM representative Anthony Eden and West Bay activists Alice Mae Coe and Capt Bryan Ebanks, both of whom sought support for a George Town rally tomorrow evening on theâ¨courthouse steps.
âIn East End and North Side,â Mr McLean said, âwe have long practiced real democracy,â sending a single district representative to the LA.
Pointing to proposals to boost the number of George Town MLAs from four to six, and Bodden Town representatives from three to four, reflecting a burgeoning population, Mr McLean denounced the damage the move would do to East End.
âAre you kidding — six people in George Town and four in Bodden Town? Is that fair? That means six chances for George Town to influence government. There are already four in West Bay.â
Two representatives from the Sister Islands meant that Cayman Brac and Little Cayman also outweighed both his and Mr Millerâs district, he said, demanding âan active roleâ¨in democracyâ.
The constitution requires the addition of three legislators in the LA to accommodate a growing population. Instead of redrawing electoral districts, however, boosting the current six, government has proposed placing the new lawmakers into two existing areas.
Mr Miller has been rebuffed twice already in efforts to introduce one man, one vote legislation to the LA., and said yesterday he hoped to achieve it through the petition.
âIt will be interesting to see who attendsâ the 1pm-2pm gathering this afternoon, he said. âI think weâll see quite a few young Caymanians in the roomâ, supporting the effort.
Mr McLean also last night called on Premier McKeeva Bush to step down, saying he was under investigation for a 2004 real estate deal with Atlanta-based developer Stan Thomas.
âYour premier,â he said, âis under criminal investigation. Thatâs what is stopping investors coming here. I call on you: If you love your country, step down. Your premier is circumventing every law in this country to get what he wants. He is breaking the laws of this country and no one is doing anything about it.â
That is why, he continued, âMr Miller and I have to go to England to give the peopleâs side of the story, how he [Mr Bush] is selling this country out to one individual. Everything Mr Dart wants, he gets and it is aâ¨dangerous precedent.â
Mr Miller and Mr McLean announced last week they would travel to London, accompanied by Ms Coe, to meet Foreign and Commonwealth officials, Parliamentary groups and opposition leaders, seeking to counter Mr Bushâs influence and the looming finalisation of the Dart-government ForCayman Investment Alliance.
Mr Miller will meet Governor Duncan Taylor this morning to confirm details of the trip, scheduled for 3 March or 10 March, he said, depending on availability ofâ¨UK officials.
âWe have to give the governor some notification of our dates,â Mr Miller said.