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Bush says not to election observers

Former premier McKeeva Bush has rejected the notion of election observers for the general polls in May.

Former premier McKeeva Bush has rejected the notion of election observers for the general polls in May.

Former premier McKeeva Bush has filed a motion to reject the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) latest effort to have a say in the affairs of the Cayman Islands.

The motion, dated 25 February and seconded by Mike Adam, second elected member for George Town, seeks to block the UK’s efforts to send observers for the upcoming elections in May.

The former Premier said that Britain is doing this with the sole reason of intimidating voters and this latest move is in keeping with its efforts to “besmirch and smear the name of the Cayman Islands through the election process this time.”

The former Premier took exception with the UK sending election observers, noting that for 182 years, the Cayman Islands has run flawless elections with a good voter turnout in the absence of a compulsory law to oblige citizens to vote.

“We have had clean, clear and free elections and I do not see the need of election observers,” he said.

This followed revelations by Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly that the FCO Minister Mark Simmonds had made a formal request when the new government delegation went to London at the beginning of this year for a team of observers to be present in May.

Previous press reports had indicated that the current premier had resisted this, although she was not opposed to the principle.

In his private members motion, Mr Bush stated in part: “Whereas our electoral system has evolved to an excellent system with no electoral fraud and no major flaws or mishaps; and whereas our election officials have always operated at the highest levels of integrity, honest and knowledge of the system and whereas the government of Bermuda rejected a similar request in 2012, be it resolved that this honourable house rejects the FCO’s request and forwards to the Governor and Cabinet our strong objection and rejection of election observers.”

Mr Bush challenged the governor to come out clean and state why there was a need and why now.

He noted in his motion that the request gave a negative impression that all was not well in these islands.

“This request gives the impression that our electoral system, its administration and democratic participants are unsatisfactory for democratic changes,” he said.

Mr Simmonds had gone on record that his office had taken part in elections in British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Mr Bush said that the mandate of inviting international observers should be the preserve of those who were voting and therefore should not be forced down the throats of Caymanians.

“We have had representative government since 1831,” he said in his motion to reject election observers.

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