Connect with us

Caribbean News

Secrecy of the Vote; a statement by the Cayman Islands Elections Office



#CaymanIslands – October 24, 2019 – The integrity of our voting system is built on the secrecy of the vote.

The Cayman Islands Elections Law contains legal and procedural safeguards to avoid revealing the identity of voters when the ballot is being marked or counted.

The current Cayman Islands Elections Law (2017 Revision) has the following legal provisions:

1. Voters mark their ballots alone in a voting booth, except when assisted voting is requested and authorised by the voter.

2. Ballots are appropriately folded to conceal the voter’s choice before the ballots are deposited in the ballot box.

3. The ballots are designed to ensure that the voter cannot be identified at the time of the count.

4. If the voter marks the ballots with any identifiable marks the ballot is rejected. For example, if a voter writes his or her name on a ballot, that ballot is then rejected.

Additionally, The Referendum (People Initiated Referendum Regarding the Port) Bill 2019 calls for a national count.

This means all ballots cast in the 19 electoral districts will be collected at a central location for counting. The ballots, including mobile and postal ballots, will be mixed and divided into random segments for counting. The totals from each segment will be added together to give one national result. It is, therefore, impossible to determine how any individual or group voted.


According to the Administration and Cost of Elections (ACE) Project, an international body aimed at supporting credible and transparent electoral processes, voting secrecy is vital for fairness.

“A secret vote is an essential integrity safeguard because it allows voters to cast their ballot in full independence. If a vote is not secret or can be identified during vote counting, some people might be intimidated into not voting as they had intended. Secrecy makes intimidation or bribery less effective,” the international body explains.

The systems in the Cayman Islands that will be utilised for the referendum are in keeping with these internationally accepted principles. The Referendum Bill and the Elections Law (2017) provides for the appointment of observers, local and international, to ensure that the referendum is carried out accordingly.

Any voter who feels threatened or unduly pressured to vote, not vote, vote a certain way, or to reveal how they voted, should report their concerns to the Elections Office or the Royal Cayman Islands Police.

The Supervisor of Elections, Wesley Howell, assures voters in the Cayman Islands that the Elections Law and the Elections Office staff take every precaution to ensure that votes will remain secret at the time of the count, regardless if the vote is submitted by postal ballot, mobile ballot or is cast in person on Referendum Day.

Mr Howell also added that Elections Office polling teams have been training since September to ensure that the Cayman Islands Elections Office continues to plan and execute elections and referendums that meet or exceed international best practices. He is confident that this referendum will be executed with the same quality as previous ones.

For further information contact: Suzette Ebanks


Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

Continue Reading

Caribbean News

Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


#Cayman, January 20, 2022 – Former Premier of Cayman Alden McLaughlin was knighted at the start of 2022; named in the Queen’s New Year Honors List. He is only the second Caymanian to have ever received a knighthood from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Sir Vassel Johnson, received the honour in 1994; he was Cayman’s first Financial Secretary; he died in November 2008 at the age of 86.

Current Governor, Martyn Roper extended congratulations saying, “This is an outstanding personal achievement for former Premier McLaughlin, one of the most important and impactful political leaders in Cayman over the last 21 years. It is a significant moment for our islands. This historic award is only the second ever Knighthood to a Caymanian since the first in the 1990s. It is a strong signal of the respect in which Cayman is held and a visible demonstration of the progress Cayman has made as a vibrant democracy with strong good governance foundations.”

Sir McLaughlin, who is also now a QC attorney, served two terms as premier and had a career in politics that spanned 21 years. McLaughlin is known for his role in modernizing Cayman’s constitution.

Current premier G. Wayne Panton described the occasion as a unifying moment for the country saying, This is a day of celebration and great pride for all Caymanians as a son of our soil has been bestowed one of the highest honour.  Today marks a new and most unique storyline in the history of the Cayman Islands.  In considering the rarity and magnitude of this occasion, this is certainly a unifying moment for our community.”

Sir Alden McLaughlin, 60, was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on January 1, 2022.


Continue Reading

Caribbean News

Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources  



By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer


#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.

Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.

Environmental Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources for TCI, Amy Avenant, says the Turks and Caicos Islands has not seen the worst of the overgrowth.

“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.

“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”

Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.

Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.

She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.

There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.

Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.

Continue Reading