Most civil servants can sign PIR petition

| 01/07/2015 | 7 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands Government Administration Building

(CNS): The deputy governor has confirmed that most civil servants can sign petitions relating to people initiated referendums and has recirculated the public sector policy on petitions. With the launch of a new petition Monday seeking a people’s national poll on the issue of the cruise port, civil servants have questioned whether they can safely sign up to the online petition. But DG Franz Manderson said he had re-circulated the policy which paves the way for government staff unrelated to the project to sign on the dotted line.

With the exception of government heads and those directly involved in the port project, most public servants can join in the campaign to save the environment if they choose. Only senior managers, those in sensitive positions and government employees directly involved via their jobs, such as staff in the Department of Tourism, would be barred from committing their names to the campaign.

The majority of rank and file government employees are free to support the campaign and put their names down as supporting the call for a referendum.

Although the civil service code calls on public sector workers to remain neutral, the bar to trigger a PIR is set at 25% of registered voters, so if civil servants were prevented from signing petitions for a people initiated referendum, this fundamental right of the people, which is provided for in the Cayman Islands Constitution, would be almost impossible to achieve and would undermine the democratic rights of ordinary government workers not involved in policy decisions.

Government clarified the position regarding petitions Monday in light of the new campaign.

Manderson re-circulated a 2012 policy document, which makes it clear that government employees, with certain exceptions, can sign PIR petitions. Categorized as a class 2 petition in the policy document, even more senior officers serving in key roles can sign such a petition provided they notify their intention to do so with their chief officers.

With the latest petition launched by Save Cayman, campaigners hope to attract the necessary 25% of registered voters, which is around 4,600 people, to force a national poll on the issue of the port development and save the reef and marine life in what is one of the most pristine harbours in the Caribbean region.

Sign the petition or find out more about the campaign

Policy in respect of the Signing of Petitions by Public Servants

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Category: Laws, Marine Environment, Politics, Science & Nature

Comments (7)

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  1. Sunrise says:

    Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.

    Governments restrict speech with varying limitations. Common limitations on speech relate to libel, slander, obscenity, pornography, sedition, hate speech, incitement, fighting words, classified information, copyright violation, trade secrets, non-disclosure agreements, right to privacy, right to be forgotten, public security, public order, public nuisance, campaign finance reform and oppression. Whether these limitations can be justified under the harm principle depends upon whether influencing a third party’s opinions or actions adversely to the second party constitutes such harm or not.

    The term “offense principle” is also used[1] to expand the range of free speech limitations to prohibit forms of expression where they are considered offensive to society, special interest groups or individuals. For example, freedom of speech is limited in many jurisdictions to widely differing degrees by religious legal systems, religious offense or incitement to ethnic or racial hatred laws.

    The right to freedom of expression is recognized as a human right under article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 of the ICCPR states that “[e]veryone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference” and “everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice”. Article 19 additionally states that the exercise of these rights carries “special duties and responsibilities” and may “therefore be subject to certain restrictions” when necessary “[f]or respect of the rights or reputation of others” or “[f]or the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals”.

    Please see above explanation to freedom of speech. Signing a petition to stop the destruction of the natural environment, especially something as sensitive as our ecosystems, should not be considered trashing someone publicly. Everyone in the Cayman Islands should have the right to freedom of speech, be it in the form of a petition or otherwise, once it is done correctly, as outlined above. We should have a choice of protecting the environment for our future generations. Remember only communist countries do not allow such freedoms. What are we?

  2. perry says:

    Sharkey – come on please- is your employer going to give you permission to object to one of its policies- try it and see what happens!! no entity allowes its senior team to publicy disagree with its policies. Thank you DG Manderson for this policy!!

  3. A Guilty Pleasure says:

    “What a difference a day makes”! Or in this case, what a difference 2 years make, or what a difference a government makes! This would not be possible under a Bush-led administration, not only because it would be enforced that CS’s could not sign, but mostly because CS’s would not sign it out of fear of vindictiveness & vengeance!

  4. Satirony says:

    What would I be saying no to if I sign the petition? Any cruise piers as a matter of principle, or only those designs that create excessive reef destruction? One of the design options requires less than 10% of the dredging needed for the favored option. The port is Cayman’s umbilical cord, and it needs to be adapted to provide for the next 30 years of business evolution.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are no passenger guarantees or any form of bankable feasibility metric. CIG is hoping they can convince Dart to pay for bulk of this error via North Sound leasehold swap that nobody is talking about. They don’t seem to be interested in entertaining any other options.

  5. Sharkey says:

    I find this very disturbing to the Islands and the people constitutional rights, that D.G Mr Manderson has to give one and everyone in government permission to agree or disagree with issues that’s pertaining to the benefits of the Islands. Next would be that any one on the Island would need his permission to speak on the Island.

    • Anonymous says:

      8:26, you not so smart, you know. If you were a senior employer in CUC, Royal Bank, Walkers, Scotiabank, BritCay, to name just a few, do you really think they would continue to employ you if you trashed them publicly?? Stop dumping on Franz and the civil service…..the private sector has a lot of CRAP employees, customer service, rules of employment, labour relations, pathetic levels of competence etc etc but CNS has developed into a real civil service bashing outlet by posting comments like yours. Your last sentence reveals much about you.

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