In just a few months, voters in the Cayman Islands will go to the polls to exercise their democratic right to vote for elected members - now referred to as Members of Parliament - previously known as Members of the Legislative Assembly.
The Governor’s Office has confirmed that the Cayman Islands General Election will be held in 117 days on Wednesday, 26 May 2021.
This General Election will also be the second to be held under the one person one vote, Single Member Electoral District system.
Candidates will contest seats in 19 constituencies, as defined by 2015 Electoral Boundary Commission’s report.
However, as was the case in the Islands’ last election - held in 2017 - there has been very little activity in candidates announcing their intentions to run in the election; a strategy that many believe is the result of the introduction of the Single Member Electoral Districts and the desire for persons to know who their respective competitors may be.
“This strategy may back-fire, as the electors are the ones ultimately making the decisions with their vote and should be the priority for any strategy,” noted political pundit Racquel Johnson, who spoke exclusively with the Caymanian Times.
“Candidates will be in a better position if they start their campaigns no later than February and hit the ‘campaign trail’ running, publicising their intended electoral districts and also meeting with electors in their respective districts,” she added.
Many voters have echoed these sentiments and have been vocal about the need to hear more from candidates on their plans, as well as the Electoral Districts being contested.
Nomination Day is set for 7 April however, at which time the full slate of candidates will be revealed.
“Quite a few people believe that there will be a record number of candidates contesting this election, with numbers possibly surpassing the 57 candidates of the 2013 elections or the 61 who ran in 2017,” noted George Town Resident Nolan Harrison.
So far former “People’s Progressive Movement” Members, Minister Wayne Panton, Osbourne Bodden, as well as Mrs. Heather Bodden have declared their intentions to run in the 2021 campaign.
Osbourne “Ossie” Bodden will run for the Bodden Town East Electoral District and will campaign in affiliation with Wayne Panton, his former political party and Government colleague, as well as Heather Bodden, a former Bodden Town MLA.
Both Panton and Bodden have declared their candidacies for the Newlands and Savannah constituencies, respectively under the campaign theme of “Community Creates Country”.
It is expected that most members of the current House will run again except for Anthony Eden who appears to be handing over his Savannah mantle to his son Malcolm.
Mr. Eden has represented the district of Bodden Town since 1992 and, as Minister of Health & Human Services, has served in Cabinet. He is a founding member of the People's Progressive Movement, though he is no long affiliated with the Party.
Two candidates for the Cayman Islands 2021 General Election who are currently not in Government are Youth Development Champion Michael Myles and Lawyer/Community Organizer Alric Lyndsay, who remains (unofficially declared).
Mr. Myles will be vying for the Prospect Constituency.
With regard to the general atmosphere in the Cayman Islands surrounding this year’s elections, especially on the heels of a tumultuous political season in other countries recently, His Excellency the Governor Martyn Roper has noted:
“The Cayman Islands has a proud history of fair, well run democratic elections with high levels of voter participation.
“I am confident that the Elections Office will continue this practice in the 2021 General Election.”