(CMR) The 2023 Electoral Boundary Commission has been formed and is set to begin work on recommendations on the Electoral Boundaries in the Cayman Islands this month, Governor Martyn Roper has announced.
The 2023 Electoral Boundary Commission is expected to tender its report to the Governor and Parliament by June 2023.
In accordance with sections 88 and 89 of the Cayman Islands Constitution Order of 2009, an Electoral Boundary Commission must be appointed within eight years of the submission of the last Commission’s report.
After consultation with the Honourable Premier and the Leader of the Opposition, Governor Roper appointed the following persons to the Commission: Chairman Lisa R. Handley, Ph.D., as well as local attorneys Dr. A. Steve McField and Adriannie Webb. All three members of the Commission previously served on the 2015 Electoral Boundaries Commission.
The report for the previous Electoral Boundary Commission was delivered to the then Governor and the then Legislative Assembly on the 20th of August 2015, some seven years and four months ago, requiring the appointment of a Commission by August 2023 to satisfy the timeline requirements.
“I would like to thank Commission members for doing this review. It is an important part of the Election process and meets our Constitutional requirements,” Governor Roper said.
Commission Chairman Dr. Handley has provided electoral assistance in over twenty countries as a consultant on issues related to electoral system design and electoral boundary delimitation. Her clients have included the United Nations (the Election Administration Division as well as various peacekeeping missions), United Nations Development Fund (UNDP), International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), and International IDEA.
Over the last twenty years, she has participated in election projects in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Georgia, Haiti, Kenya, Kosovo, Lebanon, Liberia, Nepal, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, and Yemen. Dr. Handley’s clients in the US have included the US Department of Justice, several civil rights organizations, state redistricting commissions, and scores of state and local jurisdictions. She has served as an expert witness in numerous redistricting and voting rights court cases.
Dr. Handley has been actively involved in research, writing, and teaching on the subjects of redistricting and voting rights. She co-authored Minority Representation and the Quest for Voting Equality (Cambridge University Press, 1992) and co-edited a volume (Redistricting in Comparative Perspective, Oxford University Press, 2008) on these subjects. Her research has also appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, American Politics Quarterly, Journal of Law and Politics, and Law and Policy, as well as law reviews and edited books.
She has taught political science undergraduate and graduate courses at several universities, including the University of Virginia and George Washington University. Dr. Handley is a Visiting Research Academic at Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom.
Retired Attorney Ms. Webb has served on past electoral boundaries commissions, including 2003, 2010, and 2015. 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.
Ms. Webb served on the Immigration Department’s Caymanian Protection 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 Women’s Club. She has also served as vice president of Cayman Against Substance Abuse and assisted the National Trust as a legal adviser.
Licensed to practice law in the United Kingdom and the Cayman Islands since 1977, Dr. McField has served as both a Crown Counsel and private legal practitioner. Over the past decade, he has also sat on multiple public sector boards, including the National Roads Authority and the Cayman Islands Airports Authority. As 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. Dr. McField is currently the Chairman of the Cayman Status and Permanent Residency Board and the Chair of the Permanent Residency Points review Committee.
Dr. McField has addressed the American Bar Association and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. In addition, he 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. Dr. McField was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University College of the Cayman Islands in 2016 for his contributions to law, history, politics, public education, and nation-building.
In preparing their report, the Constitution stipulates that Commission members must invite views from members of the public and take account of the Cayman Islands’ natural boundaries and existing electoral districts. They must also ensure: “so far as is reasonably practicable” 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.