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Officials To Receive Nominations In All 19 Seats

GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman (CNS) -- Nominations for potential candidates wanting to stand for office in the 24 May General Election must be registered in their single-member constituencies on Nomination Day, 29 March.

The Elections Office will receive the candidates with their two nominators between 8am and 3pm in the nineteen locations across all three islands. So far, neither of Cayman’s leading political parties, the PPM and the CDP, have unveiled their full line-up of candidates and many independents also seem to be waiting to reveal the constituency they want to represent.

While 21 independent candidates have publicly declared their intentions to run and where, there are many more that have made it clear that they want to run for office but are less sure where they will run and on what ticket. The issue of where they are running may not be as significant as who they are running against under the new system of ‘one man, one vote’ in single-member constituencies in a first past the post-race. This may explain why so many independent candidates are waiting to see who else is running where before revealing which seat they think they can win.

But all undecided candidates have just 16 days to make those decisions and find two people who are registered voters in the constituency they select to run in to nominate them.

Election officials said the candidates must consent to the nomination by signing the nomination paper in the presence of a witness, who must also sign the nomination paper. They also need to supply one 2” x 2” (passport sized) colour photo because the candidates’ pictures will be published alongside their names on the 2017 Ballot Papers, which will be in colour.

Candidates will also be required to indicate if they are running as an independent or with a party to the returning officers. Logos for registered party candidates will be placed by their name on the ballot, while independent candidates will have “IND” placed beside their photo.

The issue of qualification could prove to be an interesting question this year following the legal ruling in the wake of the unsuccessful challenge to the election of Tara Rivers in 2013. Despite having an American passport and not being continually resident in the Cayman Islands for the seven years before that election, the court found these did not disqualify her.

The Elections Office urged would-be candidates to carefully review the Cayman Island Constitution, the Elections Law (2013) and the Elections (Amendment) Law, 2016, warning that it is an offence to knowingly consent to be nominated if they are not qualified, and if convicted they could face a fine of up to $5,000. Nominators also need to be aware that they too could fall foul of the law if the candidate they nominated turns out to be disqualified or they themselves are not on the electoral role in the constituency, and could face a $2,000 fine.

Finally, the candidates must leave a deposit of $1,000 in legal tender to the returning officer or they will not be nominated.

After the election, any candidate who receives less than one-tenth of the total votes polled, which ranges from 51 in Cayman Brac East to 153 in Bodden Town East, the deposit will be forfeited. Candidates who fail to win but who get more than 10% of the votes will get the cash back after the results of the election are declared.