Referendum petition steadily growing

| 13/02/2019 | 45 Comments
Cayman News Service

Campaigners collect signatures for the referendum

(CNS): Volunteers from the campaign pursuing a people’s vote say they are steadily moving towards the target of 5,285 signatures of registered voters in order to trigger a referendum on government’s controversial plans for a cruise berthing facility in George Town. In recent weeks they have endured criticisms about not yet reaching the target and not disclosing the current numbers, but Katrina Jurn explained that while campaigners have verified well over 4,000 names that are on the current voter list, there are many more petition books still in circulation, making it hard to give an exact figure.

Speaking on Rooster’s morning radio show, Crosstalk, this week, Jurn, who has been at the forefront of the campaign, said that in addition to the more than 4,000 confirmed names, there are 30 petition books still being circulated by volunteers that are not yet full.

CNS understands that each of the books can hold 100 names, with another 50 sheets with room for ten signatures, which indicated that once those books and sheets come in, the campaign will easily have reached the target.

Jurn said campaigners are still going door to door and collecting more signatures, as they have found that people are more comfortable signing in the privacy of their own homes. This has proved an effective move during the final push to collect signatures, and volunteers are reporting a positive response from the majority of people they have visited.

There is no time restrictions in the Cayman Islands 2009 Constitution in relation to the provision for a people-initiated referendum. Jurn said that the campaign was “still charting new ground”, as there has not yet been a people-initiated ballot here.

The campaign that began for such a vote on the issue of ‘one man, one vote’ was taken over by the government once it became clear that the target was likely to be reached. But it took around six months to get to that point, whereas the current campaign began in late August and will likely require only a few more weeks to hit the target.

However, as the petition continues to gather signatures, campaigners are still facing the major problem that many government workers are wary of signing it. Regardless of reassurances from civil service management that most public sector employees are free to sign, many believe they could face repercussions.

Meanwhile, the government continues to press on with the tendering process for the cruise port project, despite the likelihood that the petition will soon reach the required number and the many questions surrounding the actual plans and how the project is progressing. There is growing concern that, contrary to the government’s claims, the project is not transparent.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that just two groups of bidders remain in the running, though the final bids are not due until the end of next month, leaving time for other bidders to emerge. But government has complicated the process by cutting a side deal with two cruise lines, creating a new area of confusion around the project, which appears full of conflicts that government has failed to explain.

This latest twist in the process comes against a vacuum of information about the costs, the financing model, the final design, who will own the facility in reality, how it will impact the local infrastructure and the kind of numbers it will need to make it viable.

Government has also not explained what contingency plans exist for the construction period, how it will affect the growing and much more lucrative overnight tourism business, the massive environmental implications and the why the justification for the project seems at odds with the actual facts and figures relating to the cruise business and future of the industry.

Straw polls and anecdotal evidence as well as government’s own survey during the original environmental impact assessment in 2015 indicate that public opinion is about three to one against the project.

Nevertheless, government is insisting on pressing ahead, having stated that the 2017 election gave it a mandate to do so — a position many people dispute because of the number of independents elected. In the horsetrading among politicians following the election, a government was formed that some believe does not reflect the results of the election.

Campaigners for the Cruise Port Referendum believe that public opinion is largely against the project and that a very vocal and influential minority is drowning out the majority and pressing government to forge ahead.

Therefore, as they have repeatedly said, the only way to confirm the true democratic position on this project is a national vote. Government has continually and incorrectly claimed that supporting the referendum is already a ‘no’ vote and that just holding the referendum will sink the project..

But government’s resistance to and criticism of the campaign only serves to underscore the belief that the public, if given the chance to have their say, will vote ‘no’.

Anyone wishing to sign the petition can call 327 5411 and have a volunteer bring it to your location.

People can also contact the volunteers by emailing cprcayman@gmail.com or visit the Cruise Port Referendum Cayman Facebook page for more details.

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Category: Business, Local News, Politics, Tourism

Comments (45)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The whole petition is a farse. Totally just a false front lobbying campaign to protect the tender business.

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    • Eye Roll says:

      Yes that’s what thousands are up in arms about, private tendering fees. Ignore those young Caymanians leading the effort like Katrina Jurn who has a Ph.D and was nominated for YCLA. We don’t even receive the tender fees ourselves, we’re just mad as hell that Adrian Briggs will stop getting them. Say no to taking money away from Adrian Briggs and YES to tenders!

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    • Anonymous says:

      There is still a tendering business in any case. Nice try.

    • Anonymous says:

      If the Dock is built, when finished, Caymanians will say, what a good dock we got now, it should have been built years ago.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Will there be absentee ballots available for this referendum? As a student overseas, I would like to have my say but I cannot afford to disrupt my studies by flying down for this.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Why are Permanent Residents not allowed to sign? The cruise pier is going to affect us as well!
    We are contributing to society and would prefer to have a say!

    CNS: I’m going to add a note on this comment because I already see a response that clouds the issue even further. The point of this petition is to initiate a referendum, which is a legally binding vote by the electorate. Therefore, for this purpose, all the signatures must be registered voters by law. The organisers also have a petition for non-voters, but that is an opinion poll only; it has no legal standing.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    It doesnt matter, they likely won’t ever get the total number regardless of whether valid or not. They likely need 8000 signatures just to make sure they are near the number n eded to be really valid. There are unmanned books sitting all over the island. I’m sure Mickey mouse and Peter pan signed too.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    The cruise petition is a waste of time and money. Real referendum should be same sex marriage.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Alden Moses Mac Bot trying to change the focus.

      You are seen.

    • Anonymous says:

      The wording in the marriage section of the Constitution is prejudicial and wrong and will get changed in the next few months without a Referendum. It has to, or it goes to Orders in Council. It doesn’t matter how you feel about that.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Even if they win they will lose
    The real referendum should be to remove this so call Government we have here.

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    • Anonymous says:

      5:39–thanks for sharing! Wow! And by the way folks it appears that happened on Tuesday, as far as I could tell. Hadn’t heard about it.

      But I had seen the footage from the MSC Amonia crash into the Roatan dock last year. By the way, a sister mega ship MSC Merivagilia (hope I have the spelling correct) arrives in Grand Cayman in December.

      Your link led me to the note about another dock crash incident — The Celebrity Infinity in Ketchikan, Alaska, in June 2016.

      Steering the mega ships alongside docks is a delicate and time consuming operation, using up valuable passenger shore time—and with a prayer that the dock remains intact.

      If we get the dock, these are the sort of scenarios that are possible. Hopefully without loss of life!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Just on the basis of this week’s Puerto Rico cruise ship dock crash, I would advise govt not to proceed with the port plan—three crashes in four years! Very worrying.

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    • Anonymous says:

      5:39 a lot of planes have drop out of the sky too!

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      • Anonymous says:

        1:43 pm: the accident rate of passenger planes today is extremely low, thank God and modern engineering. Most of the few aviation accidents are due to something unusual—being shot out of the sky or suspected deliberate action, high jacking, or possible inadequate instructions of pilots in
        The case of the recent Max planes crash.

        Today’s planes literally fly themselves and pilots and air traffic controllers manage to do their jobs very well u dear foutine circumstances.

        It is an entirely different scenario navigating these behemoths next to a relatively fragile peer. It is complicated and remember that the docking of these mega ships are exactly the justification for the port project.

        These are new ships and they require unusual navigational skill by captions not yet experienced with piloting them.

        They spell trouble at this stage.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The hypothetical blue water marine engineering marvel Unity are continuing to press on with, despite lack of credible business case, will be in 80 feet of water, anchored into sketchy “cavernous limestone” for which no geological survey has been conducted. Who is going to insure this monument to human avarice?

  7. Registered Voter says:

    How do I get my name removed from the petition? The arrant nonsense talked and printed by the opponents of the port expansion have changed my mind: I am now fully in favour of it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Glad gonna be you off the politics of hysterics.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Contact the campaign, and provide proof that you are who you say you are, and they will be happy to remove your name

      No one forced you to sign anything
      Notably you aren’t citing any of the nonsense “talked or printed” by the campaigners
      But carry on in your ignorance
      The PPM and CDP have track records of horribly mismanaged capital projects
      The port will be no different and idiots like you will be the first ones to try to shift blame when the shit hits the fan

      Enjoy sinking your future
      While the rich run out the backdoor with the money

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      • tim says:

        anon 614pm if this is such an easy decision why do you think it is taking so long to get this portion of signatures? The logical reasoning is that you are in the minority. you are now begging for the votes to get this past. If succesful it will call for a referendum and then you will be defeated. only to hold up the the cruise port.
        If a referendum should have been held it was at the last election, but when we cast our votes in the last election we knew who was supporting a cruise port. Once the government was elected it was a forgone conclusion now we go through all this.

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        • Anonymous says:

          This gov’t wasn’t elected. This gov’t has redacted all the facts. They skipped the necessary stages to pre-clear this idea with the public, haven’t enacted any accountability standards for themselves or relations in regards to conflicts and direct bribes, and are telling 20% of the voters that they will get fired if they sign the Petition. It is actually as bad as it sounds, and probably worse.

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    • Al Catraz says:

      Then simply vote in favor of it if the referendum goes forward. How hard is that?

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    • Anonymous says:

      You are entitled to change your mind.

      But the petition is for a referendum vote, so removing your name may mean that without a referendum you will not have an opportunity use your valuable vote for the port.

      But then even the government do not yet know the full port facts.

      Thanks for your involvement in this very important subject.

    • Anonymous says:

      Fake support retraction!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Rise up.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    I can’t help but asking, but is this referendum request simply a disguised vote of no-confidence in the government?

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  10. Anonymous says:

    I would still like to see what the petition organisers would suggest as the referendum question.

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    • Anonymous says:

      This regime will try to pre-load the question like last time…conflate the pier project as a vote “for” or “against” all future cruise tourism, stingray captains and taxi jobs (which it isn’t).

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    • Anonymous says:

      Thought they had the signatures 1 month ago? If they keep it up by the next election they will have 6000. Jokers

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    • Anonymous says:

      It doesn’t matter what they would suggest
      Cabinet writes the question, the petitioners have little to no say in the matter

      Playing a game of hypotheticals gets us nowhere but screwed while these ministers scheme behind closed doors

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      • Anonymous says:

        The PPM knew what a good referendum law should be – they did not do good referendum provisions becase they are afraid of democracy actually working.

        Mac and Alden are equally destructive to Caymanians.

    • Anonymous says:

      Read the petition
      .

  11. Anonymous says:

    Is this the one to save the road? Where do I sign?

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  12. Anonymous says:

    The Petition for a Referendum is more than a request for a vote on a self-affirming question designed to favour the current government’s current tactics. We’ve seen that show already. It is also seeking a transparent disclosure and education period, which compels this government to return to the idea of following some semblance of due process. ie. Logic dictates you can’t pick a “winning” apples-to-apples bidder before a credible business case exists, an agreed design, or EIA and engineering feasibility studies. The cheapest steel and the lowest labour cost bidder aren’t necessarily the best ideas either! Imagine going to a vehicle dealership not knowing if you need a moped or a grocery lorry. These aren’t minor details to paper-over in hindsight, and it’s all happening behind closed doors with a group that share a history of proving they are unqualified to negotiate sensibly, for good value, and whose morality is contaminated by the deferred enactment of the preliminary SIPL Law from 5 years ago.

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  13. Excellent – we the people are owed a referendum and we shall have it!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Save the chickens!

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      • Anonymous says:

        I did already. We have Droogie, Droogie’s sister with the babies, Brownie, Benji and that naughty rooster fellow. Then there is that pretty, speckled hen with a few chicks.
        One day I saw a hen run over on the road and I buried her. Next to her was one of her babies. I could not rest until I went back and buried the little one next to the Momma. Broke my heart.

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