Vote count challenges claim for port mandate

| 10/10/2018 | 78 Comments
Cayman News Service

Election staff load ballot boxes onto vans on Election Day morning

(CNS): Premier Alden McLaughlin has said the government does not need to put the proposed controversial cruise berthing and cargo expansion project to a referendum because the last election result gave it a mandate to press on. But voter numbers don’t add up for government: an analysis of the results shows that almost 11,000 people (around 69% of the turnout) did not vote for the current tourism minister’s vision of the cruise project. In total, PPM candidates secured only one-third of the entire vote, including those that went to Tara Rivers, who ran as an independent, and the eight losing PPM candidates.

Two thirds of the electorate voted for independents, who were either opposed partially or entirely to the current option, or the CDP, which on the campaign trail was much more indifferent about this project.

The CDP manifesto stated that if they were elected to government they would “review the current cargo and cruise port operations and reports and studies on expansion or relocation and determine the best solution for stakeholders and Cayman” — a far cry from wholehearted support that the two CDP members now in government, Captain Eugene Ebanks and Speaker McKeeva Bush, have for the proposal being pursued by Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell.

Bernie Bush, the MLA for West Bay North who no longer caucuses with the CDP, has offered his support for a national referendum. This means he is the only person on the government back-benches (and therefore not bound by collective responsibility of Cabinet) who is willing to say he recognises the need for this to go to a public ballot.

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The PPM also has two independents in this administration. But when the public cast their vote for Austin Harris in Prospect, he had campaigned against the port, while Dwayne Seymour (BTE) rarely mentioned it.

In addition, 418 of the total 5,337 PPM votes went to Wayne Panton, who made it clear on the campaign trail that he was not fully committed to the current project. It is also impossible to know how many of the 4,919 remaining PPM voters actually supported the port, despite voting for one of the party candidates.

What is known is that of the 15,860 people who voted in the 2017 election, around 75% of registered voters (10,941) voted for a candidate who did not support the project that is currently being pursued by the government.

Another major problem for the government in its claim to have a mandate to press ahead with this project is that its overall mandate is shaky, given the mixed outcome of Cayman’s first ‘one man, one vote’ election under a ‘first past the post’ system.

With just 5,447 votes between all 13 government members, over 10,400 people did not vote for any member of the current administration, let alone offer any kind of endorsement via the ballot box for the cruise facility that it is currently pursuing.

Independent member for George Town Central, Kenneth Bryan, who has also been looking closely at the election numbers, told CNS he does not believe that the premier can find support in the last election ballot box for this project.

He said that a referendum, if it were to pass in favour of the cruise project, is the only way that the government could claim a true mandate for the issue, which is of immense national importance. The proposed facility will, if it goes ahead, be in the heart of Bryan’s constituency, and while he has mixed feelings about the potential project, he fully supports the call for a referendum.

“The government does not have a mandate to pursue this project,” he told CNS. “Based on my calculations, less than 28% of the electorate voted for the current administration, and that includes those who did not campaign for the port. It is impossible for the premier to claim that he has a mandate. A referendum is the only way we can get a clear answer.”

Bryan, who has invited the tourism minister and members of the opposition to attend his public meeting on Thursday night, is hoping to convince all of his constituents, whether or not they support the project, to support the referendum, as it is the only way to find out whether or not the majority of Caymanians back what would be the biggest capital investment the country has ever made.

Momentum for the people-initiated referendum continues to gather pace; around 4,000 registered voters have now signed the petition, so the target figure of 5,281 voters is now in sight.

For more information about signing the petition contact cprcayman@gmail.com visit the Facebook page or go to the Seafarer’s meeting in George Town Wednesday evening or the George Town Town Hall meeting on Thursday. All meetings start at 7:30pm.

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Category: Politics

Comments (78)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This cruise berthing will do more harm than good, I went on’ walk-about’ in the George Town freeport district with friends recently on cruise days and noticed the lack of interest that the ship tourists have in the freeport shops. People generally are not interested in the .
    material things any longer. Why should Cayman wreck-up our environment ? The tourists that we should encourage are the ones that stay over and spend money and want to come back time and time again,

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  2. Anonymous says:

    After the 2004 tsunami, CHEC loaned Sri Lanka $1.5Bln for a huge (100% Chinese labour built) port they knew they could never repay or service. Sri Lanka, like many many others before and since, predictably defaulted. Now it will serve as another sovereign “pearl” as a Chinese naval facility on a 99 year lease – dry-dock patching and refueling Chinese naval subs and ships as part of their one belt one road global resource initiative. Very little mention of similar port strings being developed either via CHEC or other Sovereign Chinese Agencies in Caribbean, South and even Canada. Be assured that these are discreet opening moves in a 100-200 year chess game. They are very willing to pay huge tempting bribes to government officials willing to sell out, or feign ignorance.

    https://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/03/asia/china-sri-lanka-string-of-pearls-intl/index.html

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    • Anonymous says:

      1:09 And we thought Dart was bad.
      Between the two of them, the Country is sinking. Fast!

    • Anonymous says:

      Honorable Bush & Honorable McLaughlin know how to get CHEC & Decco to work it together and build the port. It will help our economy if the Chinese decide to bring there ships here as well. No need for any more talk, lets get them going Great Unity Team!

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Referendum group was sticking the petition in tons of places without permission, most business owners did not know and threw the book out after they realized it was done. Nothing but tricks and trickery from that petition group.

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    • CPR Cayman says:

      Sorry to say that this is absolutely not true. We have never gone anywhere nor left a book anywhere without permission. We have been denied access to a lot of places, understandably in some cases, but we have never done anything without permission.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Anyone can make up statistics – 43% of all registered voters know that!!

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps they are expanding the scope of their generosity.

  6. Cayman#1 says:

    They are restricted from FOSTERS, KIRKS, DART, and establishments that support the facility. So they need help. I only see them at Hurleys and some areas. So they are missing alot of people.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Just shows a majority of Cayman is for the dock. Hurley’s seems to be running the petition between their radio shows to the supermarket to Cayman 27.

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    • Anonymous says:

      To 7:21 that’s what you think .you will soon get a shock of suprise .

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Why do you assume these reasons? Could it not be that some of us haven’t signed because we are okay with the port? You assume that everyone that doesn’t think like you has a problem.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    He’s not running next election he has served 2 terms as a premier!

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  9. Anonymous says:

    This is a strange way of looking at the democratic process. Every person who voted, cast their ballot and the person in each constituency with the most votes won a seat. Those elected members in Government have a responsibility to govern and to do the best they can for the people of this country, today and looking forward into the future. that is why they have a mandate. You can’t say after the fact that just because your guy dind’t get in that the government can’t do what is right for the country. if you counted ballots and who had how many on every issue that is faced, what kind of mess would that be?
    \
    this government and the one before it have done a great job at creating an environment where the economy is still growing, unemployment is dropping and things are good. They need to keep up the good work, which includes building the port, to make sure that this continues – longer than through this term.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Was with you up until the last sentence.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You should stop smoking that stuff, Mr. 4:38 pm! It’s frying your brain!!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      If they had won enough to have a clear victory then yes, they may have a mandate. but the fact is the PPM lost 2 seats. They had to shuffle to partner with CDP and CDP did not run on a clear campaign of build the CBF. So that is why they do not have a mandate.

  10. Anonymous says:

    It is fair to say that the PPM were against HOW it was being done, not that they were against the concept of the port

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  11. Anonymous says:

    One would have thought this simple People-initiated Referendum would have gathered 25% of electorate within the opening hours. Sadly, it would seem Caymanians have record-setting political apathy when it comes to truth, democracy, and transparency…too lazy to get off their butts and sign this…or too dumb or scared to rock the boat…weeks later this petition hasn’t yet inched past the bare minimum 25% threshold. Maybe we deserve what we get for doing nothing, ie. by letting two loosing parties regain the mantle of authority in the land even after loosing the election?!?

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  12. Anonymous says:

    something going on here that we don’t know… china harbor is still the china harbor of mckeeva days when the ppm fought him tooth and nail.. and yet, low and behold, here we go, the ppm got them short listed.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Yup…. we don’t need the new port at this time.. quite enough passengers milling around town as it is. can’t get out of each other’s way. wonder someone has gotten run over as yet… it does not benefit the island to increase the number of cruise passengers. Wonder why government really pushing this issue so hard… there’s always a silent reason for why things are done on this island.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    There are media articles all over the internet detailing China’s predatory infrastructure financing and the debt traps that result from their seemingly generous foreign policy. China’s diplomatic end game 25 years from now is fairly obvious to anyone that can read. Our corrupt officials can’t see that far and refuse to enact the Standards in Public Life Law, presumably, because they are already divvying-up their advance promise payments:

    https://edition.cnn.com/2018/10/11/africa/china-africa-sierra-leone-airport-intl/index.html

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  15. Anonymous says:

    “Momentum for the people-initiated referendum continues to gather pace; around 4,000 registered voters have now signed the petition, so the target figure of 5,281 voters is now in sight”

    If this is correct how com we do not have the 5,281 by now?

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  16. Anonymous says:

    I’m with you, 11:49 am. 9:54 pm is a troll.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Reminder for persons who might have forgotten here are some facts about the 2017 election in regards to the PPM

    -The PPM won 7/19 seats in 2017 (counting Tara Rivers with them makes it 8 but she ran Ind.)
    – The PPM contested 15 seats of the 19 meaning that they actually lost in more constituencies than they won, they also had the largest field of candidates with around 1/4th of the people running being PPM or PPM affiliated
    – The PPM spent the most money of any organised group in the election $509,315 to be exact
    – The PPM had a net loss of 2 from the 2013 election to the 2017 election
    – The PPM lost 3 sitting ministers in 2017

    There is not mandate for this prokect, there has never been a mandate for this project and the PPM will go down in flames in 2021 if the ignore the will of the people in this instance

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Not this Bodden town voter either!

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  19. Anonymous says:

    And when it was the UDP trying to build the port, the PPM (who were at that time the opposition) were just as opposed and even more political

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  20. E. Nygma says:

    Wrong!!!! Even in 2013 they had to rely on an outside member joining the PPM after the election in order to form a majority there was no outright PPM mandate

    The PPM won 9 seats in 2013 out of 18 meaning they needed outside votes like Tara and Juliana to form a government
    Juliana decided to join in full and Tara as we can see tends to favour wherever the current political winds are blowing

    Even if they did have a mandate in 2013, let me remind you, that mandate would have been from 2013 to 2017, after the 2017 election as you clearly admit the mandate no longer exists

    People forget but this is the second PPM led coalition in a row, they have never had an outright electoral majority, they always have to be propped up by outside candidates

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  21. Anonymous says:

    LOL

  22. Anonymous says:

    Wrong just plain wrong

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  23. Anonymous says:

    5,288 not 6000

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  24. Anonymous says:

    So true – you foreigners and doubters need to leave as our wonderful leaders will get it done!

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  25. Anonymous says:

    CNS Spinning numbers to suit their cause, nothing new here. PPM, UDP, CDP, Arden, Suckoo, Kenneth all campaigned for years to build the dock, so if half the opposition was always for it, and most still seem for it just have different opinions of where etc. it shows most of the elected ministers have the mandate to build cruise berthing and thereby the direction of the voting Caymanians to build the dock.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Not during the last election.

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    • CB4 says:

      There is no spinning. These are the numbers but its completely expected that you continue to stick your head in the sand and ignore the facts. So predictable.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed – has the referendum people meet the very low requirement of under 6000 votes. If the answer is still no then it is clear that there will be no referendum. Simple.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    If the right amount of voters sign the petition- the govt HAS to call a referendum- it’s written in the Constitution. Fact.

    IF the majority of the people then vote for the project then the Govt has their mandate, but not before. Simple fact – I voted for Aulden BUT I certainly didn’t vote for the Cruise Port.

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  27. Anonymous says:

    Just build to dock, you will be rewarded at the polls next election by the caymanian voters.

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  28. V says:

    Alden, you are walking a fine line here. I doubt you will every get reelected if you pursue this outright lie.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Please leave our wonderful leaders alone as they know what they are doing.
      CHEC will be a wonderful addition to our community!

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    • Josh says:

      The present Government has on many occasions put forward its record of transparency as one of the basic tenets and principles of its ruling philosophy. It is now evident that transparency for them is only a figure of speech to be used when it suits the party ala the government , which not only is disconcerting but “disingenuos”.

      A true representative Government which is what the Government claims it is, certainly should try to live up to its stated principles and not back down therefrom for purely selfish and vested interests. It is clear that the people of this country need to be involved in this decision making process of builduing piers mainly because it is the
      People who give an election mandateto those who govern, and as the article has clearly proven that has not been the case, further, this cruise ship piers issue has been a disastrous process for more years than can be counted on your fingers and in all cases there has never been a defined mandate to build but rather the whim of the politicos has persisted and still no piers. A last and crucial element is that of the fear of corruption being involved by certain elements which allegedly are now involved in the bidding process.

      That the Government has carried out the process to a level not done in previous instances there is no doubt, but at this 5 year stage it stands to reason that there should be a lot more answers to the questions that abound.

      I will close by saying that if the Government of Unity as they style themselves, truly hold this Homeland near and dear to their heart, then truly for the love of country, they should allow the people to have a say in this process and once and for all go forward as a United people with no regrets from the outcome of a people initiated referendum.

      This will truly be a hallmark of true democracy for these Islands and one which we can speak of with pride for generations to come.

      May God continue to Bless and Fortify these Beloved Cayman Islands

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      • Anonymous says:

        Well written Josh, but we both know when it comes to transparency and the current CIG it is do as I say and not as I do.

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  29. Anonymous says:

    Last ditch efforts by CIG to derail a referendum they know they will lose if brought to votes. How petty but then what more is expected from Aldart. Again I bring up the scenario, what will the people of Cayman do if and when the petition for the referendum passes the amount needed to force it and the CIG does not bring the referendum to vote. I hope the tourist in port that day get a very good show on democracy when the people turn the current CIG on it’s head and out on it’s ass.

    REVOLUTION!!!!!

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  30. Anonymous says:

    He’s full of Fake News. He is also lying. That’s a plain ol’ outright lie.
    Let me be clear; I AM CAYMANIAN and I DO NOT want a new cruise ship pier. This would be the biggest mistake ever made for this island. I am very frightened that he will do this with or without a referendum.
    Scary times folks

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  31. Cathy Church says:

    Very interesting article. We were told clearly at the Gov’t meeting that they had a mandate. I guess they forgot about the actual facts when they said that. Thank you for this article. We must continue to get honest facts so that everyone can make a choice that is based on truth from both sides.

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    • Eliza says:

      Well said, Cathy. And great article and research, CNS. It is clear from the voting figures you cite that this coalition gov’t does not have a mandate for anything.

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    • Arthur Rank says:

      Cathy and Candy! Both have made valid points about numbers, Cathy on the issue of mandate, Candy on the economic issues, and both suggest the development should not be done.
      As a long time watcher of such processes, I am sure that this government, like the last, will ignore the common sense and realistic arguments of Candy and Cathy, and as ever, I find myself looking for the reasons why common sense is ignored by politicians.
      I dont know the answer, but I found the leads on CHEC, the likely contractor, posted by another participant has pointed us at some very nasty possibilities. CHEC has a reputation built on past performance, and it appears to include both questionable payments and the saddling of the host community with huge ongoing debts. I cannot believe that our own politicians would be involved in questionable payments, so that leaves the possibility that they are just plain stupid, if so, they could be leading us down the path of huge debt for a project that will not repay the investment, and worse might blight the type of tourism that does pay!

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  32. Anonymous says:

    90% of the elected officials whether ppm cdp independent or “independent” all campaigned for cruise berthing.

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    • Anonymous says:

      90% of 19 elected members that’s 17 members campainging for cruise berthing for and 3 not. 3 sounds kind of small considering Austin was opposed and for most it was not an issue in their district.

      Do you really think that Mosses spent a lot of time stumping around Cayman Brac trying to convince them to vote for him because he would build a dock in George Town? And he was officially for it. Imagine the ones who were ‘neutral’ (CDP, etc., etc., etc.)

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      • Anonymous says:

        Anonymous 9:54am , b your math is really bad , 17+3 is not 19 elected members , good right Moses could fool you with his numbers and get you to vote for him . Sign the petition and forget about Moses , because he doesn’t care about you .

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    • Anonymous says:

      93% of statistics given in comment sections are made up

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  33. Anonymous says:

    Keep their a$$es on fire! Good job CNS

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  34. Anonymous says:

    Finally and thank you CNS for outlining the numbers and statistics of the last election. Unfortunately, the egotistical and self serving PPM and CDP members are just never going to understand that they weren’t “the chosen ones” which actually means NOTHING in their mandate was agreed to by the Cayman people.

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  35. Anonymous says:

    They started this project 5 years ago after the 2013 election. Not after the last election. They certainly had the mandate in 2013.

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  36. Anonymous says:

    Interesting. Does not sound good for the Pro-Port folks.

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  37. Anonymous says:

    Government lackeys told what to do by globalist bankers and money people (you know who you are), even if it means destroying their own country, its natural beauty and very decent culture.
    Almost mission accomplished folks. Now you can all prepare for the day of judgement.

    Do you honestly believe you can get away with this or has the love of money so warped and twisted your minds that you are impervious to anything that is good?

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  38. Caveat Emptor says:

    Premier Alden McLaughlin is a complete fraud and projecting on to the public. He has no credibility with persons outside of the party diehards. Everything he does is to guarantee his political survival like his political marriage to McKeeva Bush which weakened the ppm, his support for the port to satisfy investors of the duty free businesses that sponsored the ppm campaign. McLaughlin’s political track record is one of failure as minister of education and poor fiscal management on everything he touches. Just look at the school projects a high school cost over one hundred million dollars do to his monumental ego and arrogance. The port project is the latest disaster which will cement his legacy of failure and unfortunately doom Cayman environmentally and financially once he retires to his farm.

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  39. Anonymous says:

    More spin from Alden and Moses they lost three Cabinet Members in 2017 and the majority to form a government or did they forget those facts?

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  40. Anonymous says:

    Did Alden MClaughlin and the PPM have a mandate from his party members and voting public to join up with McKeeva Bush?

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  41. Anonymous says:

    The Unity Government should not be afraid of a referendum. Let us not forget that next year our Government is required to make a huge payment which will once again result in it not being in compliance with fiscal parameters that the Motherland looks at.

    The UK needs to take a closer look at just who and who the bidding companies are and who is involved with these companies. And we must not forget that our neighbors in the “promised land” to the north are closely monitoring companies from Central/South America and those associated with China.

    With the perception of secrecy, it only makes the people think that something fishy or crooked is going on. When you look back at the facts with the Speaker previously pushing for a Chinese company, when you have a Cabinet Member that has a relative who is a major player in the duty free world and when you have the Premier misleading the public about a so-called mandate for the cruise piers – well it does get you to thinking.

    If a referendum results in a higher risk of the bidders pulling out – then so be it, it was not meant to be. This alone will tell you that they are really not interested in what the Caymanian public thinks – period, end of comment.

    Signed,

    Government Go Ahead an Initiate a Referendum and Do The Will of Your People

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  42. Anonymous says:

    The problem with your article is that it was not only the PPM calling for a cruise port. The last time Mac’s team was in they were ready to sign the contract then essentially changed who was going to do the job. Amazing I dont recall such an outcry at that time and their plan was working with shorter piers. amazing how political this has been.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You don’t recall the outcry? Seriously? It was a differently modulated outcry but still loud enough to stop the project.Stop trying to rewrite history for political points.

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  43. Anonymous says:

    Similarly, the Opposition does not have a mandate to commission a redesign of something that hasn’t been proven to be essential, or the lack-of, a detriment to our record-setting cruise arrivals. The Oasis of the Seas, which carries slightly more than the smaller ships at 5000-6000 passengers, and “sails by” on day 5 of it’s regular route from Falmouth to Cozumel, might benefit that liner by adding an additional Cayman Islands stop…but that’s all I can see for the next 10 years. Whether an “extra” 5-6000 passengers, every other Thursday (during winter season) merits a wholesale redesign of our landing process, reef destruction and suffocation, or a bankrupting $200-400mln engineering marvel, should be focal points of the disclosure period in advance of the people-initiated referendum.

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  44. Anonymous says:

    John John and Austin should be ashamed

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  45. Ron Ebanks says:

    I think that Alden and Moses has angered the people so bad with how they has gone about with this pier project , is why more registered voters has decided and signed the petition for referendum . They better wise up , because the people see what they are up to .
    The Premier better be careful that the people don’t impeach him opening his mouth like how he is doing.

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  46. Power to the People says:

    What exactly is government afraid of? Everyone knows the answer of the referendum. They are trying to squeeze this deal through, against the wishes of all Caymanians. They hold you guys for fools. If they get the deal done, they are right. You people forget who holds the power. Walk out, and prove to government once and for all that you’re not just a bunch of sheeple.

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  47. Anonymous says:

    Please MR ALDEN build our dock. Me and my children and thier children will be happy. We are the ones stuck here so lets ignore the people that wont be here in 5yrs.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I’m “stuck here” too and my children and their children will be living in the real world while you and yours continue to live in Lala Land. By all means be happy in your own ignorance but don’t try to spread it to those who know better.

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  48. Anonymous says:

    There is no mandate currently and there has never been a mandate for this project, but that isn’t going to stop them from trying to ram it through

    The PPM has time and time again shown themselves to be nothing for than the elected arm of business interests in Cayman
    They don’t care about the people until it comes time for them to vote for them
    the other 3 1/2 years you’ll be lucky if they take your calls much less listen to you

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  49. ppm Distress Signal says:

    Alden Moses McKeeva are all the same type of politician. All are untrustworthy. That is the reason the port project is shrouded in mystery and political double speak.

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  50. Anonymous says:

    He doesn’t seem very confident

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