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Electoral Boundaries Commission Named

Her Excellency the Governor, Helen Kilpatrick, has announced the appointment of the Electoral Boundaries Commission 2015.

The commission will make recommendations for the division of the Cayman Islands into single member electoral districts. Its members include: Chairman Lisa R. Handley, PhD, from the United States (US), as well as local lawyers Adriannie Webb and A. Steve McField. The appointments follow consultation with the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition.

In accordance with sections 88 and 89 of the Cayman Islands Constitution Order of 2009, the commissionís mandate requires it to submit a report to the Governor and the Legislative Assembly that contains recommendations for the boundaries of 18 electoral constituencies, as well as the method by which each constituency will return one member to the Legislative Assembly.

Commission Chairman, Dr Handley, has provided electoral assistance in over a dozen countries, where she has served as a consultant on issues related to electoral boundary delimitation and electoral system design.

Her clients have included the United Nations Election Administration Division as well as various peacekeeping missions, the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP), and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES).

In the past few years Dr Handley has participated in election projects in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Georgia, Haiti, Kenya, Kosovo, Lebanon, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Yemen.

Meanwhile in the US, her clients have included the Department of Justice, several civil rights organizations, redistricting commissions, and scores of state and local jurisdictions.

Commission member Adriannie Webb is the Premierís nominee. A barrister currently in private practice, Ms Webb is a veteran of past electoral boundaries commissions including 2003 and 2010.

A member of the Peopleís Progressive Movement, she has been active in politics and community affairs since returning to the Cayman Islands to work for Truman Bodden and Company after being called to the Bar in England in 1975.

This has included time spent on the Caymanian Protection Board (currently the Immigration Board) from 1977 to 1981.

In addition she is a founding member of both the Caymanian Bar Association and the Cayman Islands Business and Professional Womenís Club. She has also served as vice president of Cayman Against Substance Abuse and assisted the National Trust as legal adviser.

The Leader of the Opposition recommended barrister A. Steve McField as a commission member. Licensed to practice law in the United Kingdom and the Cayman Islands since 1977, Mr McField is a former Crown Counsel who quickly moved into private practice.

Over the past decade or so he has also served on a dozen public sector boards including the National Roads Authority and the Cayman Islands Airports Authority.

A founding member and former president of the Caymanian Bar Association he has delivered speeches during the opening ceremony of the Grand Court, on topics such as: legal aid, the independence of the judiciary, as well as gangs and juvenile delinquency.

He has also addressed both the American Bar Association and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association more than 30 years apart. In addition he has represented the Cayman Islands at the United Nations Decolonisation Forum in 2010 and the first High Level Meeting of the Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories Council in 2012.

In preparing their report, the Constitution stipulates that Commission members must invite views from members of the public, and take account of the Cayman Islandsí natural boundaries and existing electoral districts. They must also ensure, ďso far as is reasonably practicable,Ē that each constituency contains an equal number of persons qualified to be registered as electors.

The Constitution also requires that Cayman Brac and Little Cayman continue to return at least two members to the Assembly.

Officials say they expect the 2015 commission to submit its recommendations to the Governor within four months.

Government has already required that changes arising from the report will be implemented prior to the general elections presently scheduled for May 2017. The Commissionís appointment follows Governmentís motion on electoral reform which was tabled in the Legislative Assembly in September 2014.

Officials will update the public once the commission is ready to begin work, which is expected to be within the next month.

For further information contact: Suzette Ebanks