By Charles Duncan
A month and a half before Nominations Day, dozens of candidates have announced they are running for seats in May 24 Legislative Assembly elections.
The May election will be the first under the new one-man one-vote system, a significant departure from when voters could elect a slate of candidates for each district. The new system means voters in 19 polling districts will pick one candidate to represent them in the Legislative Assembly.
Nomination Day, the day to officially declare candidacy, is set for Mar. 29, when the islands will know for sure who is running for which seat.
The race for the Newlands seat already has three candidates. Incumbent Progressives member and Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton will go up against independent MLA Alva Suckoo and Raul Gonzalez, who is also running as an independent.
Under the new system, voters in Newlands will only be able to vote for one candidate. Voters can only cast a vote for people running for the seat in their polling district, but candidates still do not have to live in the area where they are running.
The North Side polling district also has three candidates vying for the seat. Incumbent independent Ezzard Miller will take on Progressives candidate Edward Chisholm and independent Jay Ebanks.
The Progressives do not plan to release their full slate of candidates until Mar. 18. The Saturday event, the Progressives say, will launch the party’s push to the polls to vote for candidates supporting the current government.
The Progressives have said they plan to run candidates in at least 15 polling districts.
Candidates are already staking out issues. The economy and unemployment are lining up to top the list of issues.
Speaking recently to the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit, Premier Alden McLaughlin, head of the Progressives, said: “We will also increase our support to the micro and small business sector and will work with the Small Business Association on how best to do this. We have other plans for the small business sector as well, but as we draw closer to the date of elections all I will say on this is – stay tuned.”
Kent McTaggart, running as an independent for Savannah, said when he declared his candidacy: “I am ready to fight for Cayman, where we, the people are prospering once again and have the quality of life that is second to none.”
Mr. McTaggart added: “Caymanian inclusion in the success of our island can’t be left as a memory of the 1970s and 80s, it must be part of our enduring story. The past decade of political leadership that has focused on the next election rather than the next generation.”
Based on conversations with Elections Office staff and others, many people still sound confused about how the new one-man one-vote system works. The new elections system is similar to how elections work in most democratic countries like the United States and United Kingdom, where each polling district will vote for only one candidate to represent them.
The islands are divided into 19 polling districts, based on population and existing boundaries. Each district will vote for its own representative for the 19 seats in the Legislative Assembly.
The districts vary in size from 506 in Cayman Brac East to 1,531 in Bodden Town East.
West Bay and George Town so far have eight candidates each vying for seats, according to various election sources and candidate announcements. West Bay has four districts and central George Town has five.
Electors changes and objections due
Any address changes or objections need to be filed with the Elections Office by deadline day. Addresses must be accurate in order for people to vote on Election Day. The Elections Office has a list on its website with more than 100 voters who need to change their addresses. See electionsoffice.ky. Candidates
This list of candidates is compiled from a variety of sources. Candidates should contact [email protected] for additions, corrections and clarifications.
Bernie Bush, Cayman Democratic Party
McKeeva Bush, Cayman Democratic Party
Eugene Ebanks, Cayman Democratic Party
John Jefferson Jr., Cayman Democratic Party (South)
Sarah Orrett-Ebanks, independent
Paul Rivers, independent
Tara Rivers, independent (South)
Laura Young, independent (South)
Marco Archer, People’s Progressive Movement
Kenneth Bryan, independent
Joey Hew, People’s Progressive Movement
Frank McField, independent
Alden McLaughlin, People’s Progressive Movement
Jonathan Piercy, Cayman Democratic Party (West)
Ellio Solomon, independent
Kenrick Webster, independent (East)
Raul Gonzalez, independent
Wayne Panton, People’s Progressive Movement
Alva Suckoo, independent
Kent McTaggart, independent
Osbourne Bodden, People’s Progressive Movement
Robert Bodden, independent (East)
Gilbert McLean, independent (West)
Dwayne Seymour (East)
Edward Chisholm, People’s Progressive Movement
Jay Ebanks, independent
Ezzard Miller, independent
Rudolph Dixon, independent (Brac East)
Moses Kirkconnell (Brac West and Little Cayman)