Can an ex-convict run for political office in the Cayman Islands?
Auntie’s answer: The elections questions continue in the run-up to May. Once more, I approached the Elections Office, an Ask Auntie Award winner, for help. The Cayman Islands Constitution sets out the qualifications and disqualifications for running for office but as the Elections Office official explained, the relevant point for your question is the length of time that the ex-convict served in prison.
“In summary, a person sentenced to more than 12 months or who has been convicted of an offence involving dishonesty is disqualified from being elected,” he said.
Under Part IV of the Constitution, “The Legislature”, Section 61 sets out “Qualifications for elected membership of the Legislative Assembly” and Section 62 specifies “Disqualifications for elected membership”.
Particularly, Section 62 (1) says, “No person shall be qualified to be elected as a member of the Legislative Assembly who (e) subject to subsection (2), is serving or has served a sentence of imprisonment (by whatever name called) exceeding twelve months imposed on him or her by a court in any country or substituted by competent authority for some other sentence imposed on him or her by such a court, or is under such a sentence of imprisonment the execution of which has been suspended, or has been convicted by any court in any country of an offence involving dishonesty”.
The referenced subsection (2) says (a) “where a person is serving two or more sentences of imprisonment that are required to be served consecutively he or she shall, throughout the whole time during which he or she so serves, be regarded as serving a sentence exceeding twelve months if (but not unless) any one of those sentences exceeds that term; and
(b) no account shall be taken of a sentence of imprisonment imposed as an alternative to or in default of the payment of a fine”.
To clarify the final point, it means that if a sentence is served for non-payment of a fine then the person would not be disqualified from running as a candidate.
The Elections Office representative also wanted to stress that to be clear, both Sections 61 and 62 “have to be read together to ensure that the qualifications sections are satisfied and none of the disqualification provisions apply”.
The document mentioned in this column can be found on the CNS Library
Category: Ask Auntie