Alanna Warwick-Smith answers some commonly asked questions in the run up to the 2021 Cayman Islands General Election.
Who can vote in the General Election?
To qualify to be an elector in the Cayman Islands, you must show proof of Caymanian citizenship, be over the age of 18, be a resident in the Cayman Islands at the date of registration, and have been a continuous resident of the Cayman Islands for more than 2 years in the 4 years before the election. All voters who are confirmed in the 1st April Register of Electors are eligible to vote in the General Election.
Who can run in the General Election?
In order to qualify to run for election, candidates must meet specific criteria as outlined on official elections office website.
How many political parties are there in Cayman?
As of 2021, there are two political parties in the Cayman Islands. They are the Progressives and the Cayman Islands People’s Party. The leader of the Progressives is Alden McLaughlin. Their associated colours are red (The Progressives) and yellow (Cayman Island’s People’s Party).
The Cayman Democratic Party (formerly the United Democratic Party) is now defunct, and all previous members of that party are running as independents.
Unlike the United States, Canada or the United Kingdom, Cayman Islands political parties do not hold any real leaning – conservative or democratic – this is something that can often cause confusion!
What / who are people voting for?
There are 19 single member constituencies in the Cayman Islands. Voters head to the polls to vote for one person who will be responsible for their area. That person is who is held accountable for the issues/concerns of the constituents in that area.
Who is running in my constituency?
The official list of eligible candidates for the 2021 Cayman Islands General Election were announced on Nomination Day (Monday, March 1st). See full list of candidates and respective districts here.
How are the winners chosen?
The candidates win by a simple majority (if four people are running in a constituency of 1200 people, you would win with 401 votes).
How does the Premier get chosen?
Following the election, historically, the majority party would proceed to “form their government”. They would assign party members to a ministry and the leader of the party would become Premier.
Those who are not a part of the party, traditionally would become the “back bench” or “the opposition”.
In the event of another coalition government, which is expected in 2021, the elected members would gather to determine how the Government will be formed and who will lead the country. If the Progressives obtain a majority, they have already announced Roy McTaggart is the chosen successor to lead their party and subsequently, take over the seat of Premier. Alden McLaughlin cannot serve as Premier again as he has served his two term limit.
What are the big issues for this election?
There are many, however the hot topics appear to be –
- Opinion on the removal of the Speaker of the House/ Violence against Women
- Stance on Environment ( examples include Cruise Port, Smith Cove Redevelopment, Preservation of Barker’s Beach)
- Public Education system
- Gay Marriage
Will the day of the election be a public holiday?
When do we find out the result?
Results are usually out in the early hours (12am-2am) the day after an election. There is a window where results can be contested, but the initial results are usually counted within 12-24 hours.
Traditionally you could follow elections coverage through Cayman 27 – however it appears coverage will stem through Radio Cayman and the following digital channels: Cayman News Service, Cayman Compass, Cayman Marl Road and Cayman Current.