Low turnout blights historic referendum
Some 57 percent of the Cayman Islands electorate turned out to the polls on this past Wednesday in the historic single-issue referendum called to ascertain whether the country would change its electoral system to one of single member constituencies and one man, one vote.
The turnout proved difficult for the yes vote to achieve the 50 per cent plus one of registered voters, or the 7,562 votes that would be required for the referendum to carry. In the final tally, only 8,677 votes were cast, and a significant majority, well over two thirds representing 5,631, voted yes for a change to one man, one vote. Some 3,001 no votes were cast. This represents 37.14 per cent of registered voters who polled in favour and 19.79 per cent against.
North Side MLA Ezzard Miller, who presides over a single member constituency and who led the charge for one man, one vote was pleased with the 70 per cent turnout from his district, the highest in the islands. Of the 398 persons who voted in North Side, 335 polled in favour of one man, one vote. Only 56 persons voted against the proposal.
Speaking on Thursday morning to Rooster radio, Mr Miller expressed his gratitude to the people of his district for their support. He also lauded the Elections Office for the smooth and professional conduct of the referendum in the district and throughout the islands.
In East End, the only other single member constituency in the country, MLA Arden McLean, who was also at the forefront of the one man, one vote movement, could be similarly pleased with the result from his district. Of 337 votes cast in East End, 257 voted in favour, with only 79 against.
“I am so proud of all the young people who were part of the one man, one vote committee,” Mr McLean told Rooster radio on Thursday morning. “They are going to take this country forward and I will do all I can to ensure that they occupy that bit of real estate in the centre of George Town,” he said in reference to the Legislative Assembly.
Voters in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman gave a slight edge to the yes vote, with 256 polling in favour and 203 against, from the 463 who went to the polls.
In the largest district of George Town, those who went to the polls were clearly in favour of change, with 2,360 voting in favour and 993 voting against, out of 3,391 who participated.
In the premier’s district of West Bay, the result was a statistical dead heat. Of 2,102 who went to the polls, 1,027 voted for and 1,053 voted against. Both the premier and the UDP were opposed to one man, one vote and led a campaign for persons to vote no.
In an election exercise that was generally incident-free, only 45 ballots were rejected.