Voters in the Cayman Islands are going to the polls today to elect a new government.
This caps an intense period of campaigning which culminated last night for the snap election called on February 10th.
The polls were constitutionally due by May 26th and with processes already in train for that date, they were being brought forward to April 14th.
There are 50 candidates this year - compared to 61 in 2017 - of which 42 are independents vying for the 19 seats at stake.
The People’s Progressive Movement(PPM) now led by Roy McTaggart is the only fully formed party in the polls and is directly fielding eight candidates.
It has been running a joint campaign with a group of independents some of whom are partners in the 2017-2021 PPM coalition-led government, under the heading of The Progressives and Independents Alliance
Teams of independents have also been formed since the polls were announced.
It’s the second time that Cayman is having a general election using the one-person-one-vote constituency system across 19 single-member electoral districts. The first time was in the last election in 2017.
In all 23,609 persons are registered to vote in today’s election.
Twelve of the 19 constituencies are being contested by two candidates, three districts have three contenders, three have four candidates competing, and one constituency has five candidates vying for that seat.
Recent constitutional changes also mean that out of this election, the next government will have six fully dedicated cabinet ministerial portfolios instead of the current four.
The polls are being monitored by teams of local electoral observers on the ground and a delegation of observers from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association(CPA) who are monitoring the process virtually.
Today is a public holiday in the Cayman Islands.
Turn out in the 2017 election was 75 per cent.