Cayman-vote deputy ‘following the debate’

A DEPUTY criticised for voting in Thursday’s States meeting from the Cayman Islands said he was following the debate online and felt he had to get involved to oppose ‘sub-optimal’ proposals.

 Deputy John Dyke. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30442892)
Deputy John Dyke. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30442892)

John Dyke has been criticised by several political colleagues after he joined the meeting from abroad just half an hour before the scheduled close and helped vote down a key proposition.

The meeting had hybrid status due to Covid, which meant that deputies were allowed to be in the Chamber or present virtually on Microsoft Teams.

Deputy Dyke confirmed yesterday that he was on a mostly holiday but part-business trip in the Caribbean, but that he had been listening to the debate.

‘I attended virtually in accordance with the current rules, or what I understood the rules to be,’ he said.

‘The debate was very long and I had been following what was going on. I felt the proposals were sub-optimal so I was very keen to vote on them.

‘I’ve been away for about two weeks and I’ve been attending committee meetings remotely from here as well.’

Deputy Dyke officially joined the States meeting on the final day just after 5pm when the Bailiff allowed him to dial in remotely. Initially he was reprimanded for not wearing a tie.

Less than 90 minutes later Deputy Dyke’s vote helped to swing the result on whether the whole States should be allowed to debate the island’s Covid exit blueprint.

It followed a plea from Deputy Peter Ferbrache that allowing everyone a say would be ‘unworkable’ and hinder the potential requirement for swift decision-making.

Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller called Deputy Dyke’s involvement ‘extraordinary’, and Deputy Heidi Soulsby, who voted in favour of debating the blueprint, said she had recommended that involvement in hybrid meetings should be restricted to politicians being at home.

Now hybrid meetings will again be raised at the next meeting of the States’ Assembly & Constitution Committee.

Sacc president Carl Meerveld is not a fan.

, which have been introduced recently during the pandemic to get involvement from isolating or vulnerable deputies.

‘Participation remotely does raise some issues,’ he said. ‘While the ability to participate isn’t any different if you’re in the Cayman Islands or Torteval, the whole issue of not being in the Assembly is something that Sacc members have been questioning.’

Deputy Meerveld said there were hybrid meeting rules and code of conduct rules.

‘There’s been no breach of rules in the procedures for hybrid meetings, but in the code of conduct for States members, rule five, it says that elected members must give due priority to attendance at States meetings and should be present in the Chamber when the States are meeting, except with reasonable excuse.

‘So at the end of the day it would be for Deputy Dyke to justify why he couldn’t be in the Chamber on that day.’

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