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Keeping Elections Clean

The Anti-Corruption Commission and the Elections Office have joined forces to remind the public, election candidates and political activists that any attempt to buy or sell votes in the 2013 election could lead to hefty fines and time in prison.

Social media images, PSAs, and print adverts, designed to hammer home to all involved in the election process the need to fully comply with both the Elections Law and Anti-Corruption legislation will start appearing from Monday, 8 April. The ads make it clear that people can either use their vote appropriately and opt for democracy, or they can sell their vote, sell out their country and end up in jail.

Any attempt to influence voting by supplying or accepting items such as food, drink, entertainment, electrical goods or cash is a crime. This can be committed by anyone in society - candidates, their representatives, sitting MLAs or members of the public.

The punishment for the crime will be determined by the status of the person either supplying or accepting the inducement.

Public Officials and sitting MLAs can expect a CI$2000 fine or up to 14 years in prison (under S.10 of the Anti-Corruption law) and others can expect a fine of CI$2000 or up to 12 months in prison (under S.95 of the Elections Law).

"The aim of this ad campaign is, quite simply, to ensure that these elections remain free and fair and that everyone involved keeps to the letter of the law," said Police Commissioner David Baines. "There have been many rumours circulating in Cayman in recent years about items such as fridges and cash being used to buy votes. Despite these rumours no complaints have been made to police and no-one has been charged. However, there has been much public and media speculation about this subject in recent days and, as such, we felt it important to ensure that all of those involved in the election process are made aware of the hefty penalties for this crime."

The Supervisor of Elections Kearney Gomez states that steps have already been taken to ensure that candidates, and their agents when appointed, are fully conversant with the relevant laws.

"All candidates have been supplied with a handbook as well as the Supervisor's letter which addressed certain topical information, including elections offences. Additionally, a Candidate's Kit is available for purchase from the Elections Office that provides an A -Z guide to the elections process. Therefore, they should be well aware of what is legal and what is not, when they engage in public and media discussions. These adverts are just another way to ensure that candidates and the electorate are kept fully informed," Mr Gomez states.