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Women Make Up 25.3% Of Election Field

GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman (CNS) -- Just over a quarter of the candidates nominated for the 2017 General Election are women, which is a promising advance on the road to political equality.

But given that women make up more than half of the population, they are still under-represented at the ballot box. Of the sixteen women from a field of 63 candidates half are independents, but the PPM has more women on its team than the CDP. Despite the increase of female candidates compared to previous years, there are still seven constituencies from the nineteen new seats where there are no women at all on the ballot.

Eight women have been nominated as independents and two are running on the Cayman Democratic Party ticket. Of the 16 women contesting the election, eight are doing so for the first time; and of the eleven that have contested elections before, five have served at least one term. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly is the only female candidate contesting this election to have served more than one term.

The PPM leader said the Progressives had made history, with more than a third of their candidates being female. He said he was “particularly proud of the fact that we have such a large percentage of strong women as part of our team”.

Running on the PPM ticket are: Lucille Seymour (PRO), who served as a George Town MLA in the 2005-2009 administration; Daphne Orrett (WBW), who served in the LA for West Bay between 1984 and 1988; Juliana O’Connor-Connolly (CBE), the most experienced of the female candidates; Heather Bodden (SAV), a former MLA for Bodden Town in the 1995-2000 parliament; first time candidate Maxine Bodden-Robinson (BTW), a lawyer with Maples and Calder; and longstanding PPM member Barbara Connolly (GTS).

The Cayman Democratic Party is fielding their party chair Tessa Bodden (GTE), who is running for the first time, while Pearlina McGaw Lumsden (GTN) will be making her second attempt for a George Town seat. She first entered the political arena in 2009 on the UDP ticket where she secured just under 31% of the vote.

The eight independents include Maxine Moore (CBWLC) from Little Cayman, who, despite losing her deposit a number of times, has fought for a Sister Islands seat in at least four elections. Tara Rivers, the education and gender affairs minister, is hoping to be returned to the LA in the constituency of West Bay South where she will be up against another independent female candidate and first time political hopeful, Laura Young.

Other independent women candidates in West Bay are newcomers Sarah Orrett-Ebanks (WBN) and Kathy Ebanks-Wilks (WBC).

In George Town, the independent female candidates are: local attorney Karin Thompson (GTN), best known for her family law work, who will be making her political debut as an independent up against McGaw-Lumsden; talk show host Catherine Tyson (GTS), facing off against Connolly on the PPM ticket; Sharon Roulstone (GTE), who contested the 2013 election on the Coalition for Cayman ticket, making her second appearance at the ballot box against Tessa Bodden from the CDP.