September 18, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Is this a record for a government referendum?


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Premier McKeeva Bush’s government must hold a new record. Where else in the world has a government held their own referendum – I will say this twice – their OWN referendum, and officially opposed it?

How can they possibly introduce a “one man, one vote (OMOV) and single member constituencies” and castigate it?  To warn that the idea of OMOV is divisive, and it will introduce “garrison politics into the Cayman Islands” is unpardonable. “Don’t let them take your votes,” he said at Thursday’s (10) Legislative Assembly (LA) where he introduced the motion of the referendum that is set for 18th July.

He even brought in “gang rivalry” as a reason for not introducing the OMOV in his own West Bay constituency without explaining how the present system was preferable against gang rivalry.

Where has OMOV brought gang rivalry and garrison politics into every leading and democratic country in the world where OMOV is the norm and been used for over a hundred years?

He claims the Caymanian people were not “foo foo”. He is right. No way are they “foo foo” and his accusation that the opposition members do not really support it and it was just a way of criticising and accusing him of being undemocratic, yes, that is FOO FOO!

Of course he knows he has a much better chance of getting four UDP seats under the present system and that is the ONLY reason he wants to keep the present system.

To show how nonsensical his argument is he persists in telling everyone that OMOV is “unknown” and that it will be a “steep learning curve” for the Caymanian people to comprehend. Is he saying his own people are uneducated?

The only reason government took on the referendum was to control and destroy it but he claims his government is being as fair as possible. So fair in fact, even though this is now a government-initiated vote and not a people-initiated referendum, it is still requiring a 50% plus 1 of the electorate and not a majority of the turnout.

Bush said it was no different from what would have happened had the campaigners triggered the referendum through the people’s constitutional provision.

Yes, there is a difference. If the campaigners had triggered it they would set the parameters and question and would be promoting it. Not campaigning against their own referendum like he is doing.

Finally, his last piece of “wisdom”- speaking about the threshold for the vote, Bush said it could not be lowered given the significance of the referendum as “everyone should be encouraged to come out and vote” because of its importance.

It should be noted and be on your guard. Clause nine of the bill states that the normal provisions for an election, which would include postal and mobile voting, would apply to the referendum.

Mobile voting? Now there is a very good chance there could be a lot of spoilt voting papers if this means using mobile phones and the Internet. This has happened in other countries that introduced it. Is government going to supply details of their mobile voting system?


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