Conviction for dishonesty and running for office

| 10/01/2017

On your latest question of ex-convicts running for political office – can you provide additional information on the point of dishonesty? Is there a requirement for that person to have served 12 months? Is it connected to the other sections of the constitution on eligibility that precede it? Can a spent conviction for dishonesty mean the person can run for public office?

Auntie’s answer: The column you refer to (See The right of an ex-convict to stand for election), includes what qualifies and disqualifies people from running for the Legislative Assembly under the Cayman Islands Constitution. As mentioned, the Elections Office referred to disqualification if someone is convicted of dishonesty.

The quick answer to your question is no. If you are convicted of dishonesty you are not eligible to be a candidate. For more specifics, I asked an official from the Elections Office to weigh in. For this issue, the relevant legislation is the Criminal Records (Spent Convictions) Law, 2016, which, the representative explained, “has no effect for persons seeking office, so their convictions would still disqualify them from seeking or holding office”.

In other words, if you are convicted of dishonesty, you can’t get any relief under the spent convictions law and you cannot ever run for the Legislative Assembly.

This is set out in Section 30 of Part 4, “Effect of Expungement”, which says, “For the avoidance of doubt, the provisions of this Part shall not operate to prevent a person from being disqualified to be elected as a member of the Legislative Assembly pursuant to section 62(1)(e) of Schedule 2 of the Cayman Islands Constitution Order, 2009.”

That section means that expungement of a criminal record will not affect the disqualification of a potential candidate in the case of a conviction for dishonesty.

Now, we move on to Section 33 (1) under Part 5, “Disclosure of Expunged Records”, which says that a person shall, if asked, disclose particulars of an expunged criminal record when seeking to (d) “be elected as a member of the Legislative Assembly”.

In addition, Section 33 (2) specifies that disclosure of the particulars of the record under (1) shall be made to, among others listed, the Supervisor of Elections, who heads the Elections Office.

The law mentioned in this column can be found on the CNS Library

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