Cruise port petition passes 82% mark

| 15/04/2019 | 45 Comments
Cayman News Service

Volunteers will be collecting signatures this Saturday for the Cruise Port Referendum campaign

(CNS): Organisers and volunteers coordinating a petition to trigger a people-initiated referendum on the government’s controversial proposed cruise berthing project have now verified the names and voting status of almost 4,300 signatures on the petition and are confident that the remaining 1,000 will soon be confirmed, paving the way for a national vote. Cruise Port Referendum activists said that over 82% of the required signatures under section 70 of the Constitution to mandate a referendum have been checked. But with more signatures still to verify and a steady stream of people still signing, campaigners are now very confident the vote will happen.

“We fully expect the petition to exceed the number required, 5,288 verified signatures, in a matter of weeks. Volunteers remain dedicated to the collection of signatures on the class two petition and giving the opportunity for the public to make an informed decision,” campaigners said in a release confirming the verification of the names now collected.

In order to trigger a referendum the campaigners must secure a full quarter of the electorate to demonstrate that the national poll would not be for spurious reasons of interest to only a small section of the community.

“Verified signature numbers, along with polling conducted by some politicians to survey their constituencies, should be sufficient to cause the government to question their continued course of action,” the campaigners stated.

“Government, too, should be cautious in signing any binding contracts or contracts with penalty until after the referendum result so as to prevent misrepresentation to international corporations as well as avoiding paying contract breach penalties with public funds.”

The petition began more than six months ago and following an initial early surge the campaign has continued to gather signatures at a slower but steady pace.

There have been challenges for the campaigners, including the reluctance of many public sector workers to sign for fear of reprisals. However, they will be able to vote in the referendum, which, like election voting, remains secret.

Although civil service management said government workers who are not involved in the project as part of their job can sign the petition, the campaigners have not been permitted to bring the petition to the Government Administration Building.

Despite barely mentioning the project in his Strategic Policy Statement on Friday, Premier Alden McLaughlin was emphatic that the project would go ahead.

“The new cruise and enhanced cargo port when built – and it will be built – will secure our vital cruise industry for decades and create jobs and business opportunities for Caymanians. It will also enable the country to develop needed cargo handling capacity that means we can import the goods we need to serve an increasing population; potentially at lower prices,” he said.

He also told the LA that the decision to press ahead with the enhancement of Cayman’s marine parks was a counter measure to the damage that he admitted would be done to the reefs in George Town harbour by the dredging and the subsequent construction and ongoing operations.

“We stated long ago that as part of the inevitable need to mitigate any environmental damage caused by the port development we will enhance environmental protections elsewhere,” the premier stated, as he pointed to the work underway to prepare the regulations.

While the procurement process is going on behind closed doors, the most recent revelations show that in addition to seeking financing from the actual bidders, government is also involved in side deals with several cruise lines for them to also invest in the project.

Numerous questions remain unanswered about the costly and extremely damaging project and the justification for it remains elusive, with many people now believing that the project could actually make things worse for the local business in the tourism sector, which government claims the project is for.

With a thousand signatures still to be verified, campaigners are urging people who have not yet signed the petition but want to take part in a vote to come out this week to the Four Winds Esso in West Bay on Wednesday from 4pm to 7pm, and on Saturday from 10am to 12pm at Hurley’s supermarket.

Petition booklets are also available at the following businesses around Cayman: Rubis Savannah, Four Winds Esso and Hell Gas Station in West Bay, Foster’s Food Fair at the Strand, Silhouette in Camana Bay, and Pure Art and Cathy Church Photo Centre in George Town. Registered voters who wish to have the petition brought to them, at home or at work, can call 327-5411.

Those wishing to assist petition efforts as ‘Ambassadors’ are asked to call 328-8187 or email cprcayman@gmail.com for a petition sheet and FAQ Summary.

Organisers continue to encourage people not registered to vote but eligible to do so and interested in participating to register at the Elections Office.

More information can be found on the campaign Facebook page. People can also contact cprcayman@gmail.com.

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (45)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The referendum petitioners aren’t really interested in a vote, just delaying and interrupting the process enough to push this in to another election cycle. Pure specialist interests masked as environmental divers.

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  2. Miss-Led says:

    Can anyone tell me how to get my signature removed from the petition? The utter nonsense coming from the anti-dock brigade is enough to and should discourage anyone from signing.

    CNS: This has been asked before. I cannot find the answer but I think it was ‘ask them’. Did you try that?

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    • Anonymous says:

      The referendum people have tricked so many people in to signing. I’ve been lied to myself and often hear very dishonest explanations given, not by all but definitely by some of the leading individuals. I don’t trust some of those personalities and would never give my signature to them, and I know many people who signed that feel they wish they could take it back now.

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  3. NonYa says:

    The OECD reports that procurement for big money projects is where foreign conglomerates spend the most money. Those companies spend BILLIONS to bribe government officials in order to “win” bids. Is that happening here? If no one can say or do anything to investigate MLAs because they have full immunity (as one of them arrogantly reminded us last week) how are we, the People, supposed to discover corruption? How can we fight it? I oppose the piers, BTW.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Standards in Public Life Law. The one they’re so reluctant to enact without amendments to effectively let them continue to protect (hide) their true interests.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Have some of these people not read about the behaviour of the likes of Carnival? Blindly follow like a sheep because their MLA tells them to despite the fact that they, and this country, will end up suffering. The Carnival exec’s must have been delighted when they met our ‘top’ civil servants.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    The real question is not how Caymanian tourism operators will profit form this. The real question is how much the political powers at be are personally benefiting? Stay over tourism is the way forward for Cayman to be a leader of the industry within the region. However, this is ignored. How much money is the Chinese firm represented by a local legal firm putting in the pockets of the powers at be?

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    • Anonymous says:

      This is the principal driver for the port. It is without question that certain politicians have positioned themselves so that either they, or those within their circle, will receive substantial financial reward for this going ahead.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Knowing the ethically challenged political wannabes that are driving this bandwagon, all signatures will need to be carefully checked.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    This is just a stalling tactic. They said they had 4000 signatures in October. If they only got 300 more real voters in the last 4 months they might as well stop wasting people time and money.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Lols…what money? #irony

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    • Anonymous says:

      There is a huge untapped pool of voters who remain too scared to sign. Knowing that they could push the effort over the edge will encourage them to sign because there’s strength in numbers. I am sure one of the purposes of this announcement is to convince people on the fence that they will ultimately be on the winning side if they sign. So we will see if this brings more voters on board.

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  8. who's profiting? says:

    The refusal by McLaughlin and Assembly to reveal the financial details of the propsed port makes me VERY suspicious about exactly who’s profiting from this deal. Enough with the secrecy already. This is a public matter. Put the information out there for the people to see and evaluate for themselves.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The ongoing failure to enact SIPL law is the biggest impediment to supervising individual PEPs in the Cayman Islands. It is deliberate. The misdirection about having to declare interests of distant relations is also false and deliberate. But even existing procurement laws require more transparency on CIG side than what we’re seeing. This is a heist in progress. Where are the petitions for good governance?!?

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  9. let the people decide says:

    Hooray for the organizers of the Cruise Port Referendum Campaign. Absolutely, it should be the people of Cayman who directly make the decision on whether or not to go forward with such a big budget project. The fact that McLaughlin tries to thwart this is so typical of the utter ARROGANCE of government.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    How can overseas students sign the petition or vote in the referendum? Is there an absentee ballot allowed? My friends and I would like to sign/vote but we are taking summer classes and won’t be back until next year when we graduate.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    If the IMO speed limit proposals pass, which is a matter of when, not if, then cruise ships will be making fewer stops on Caribbean cruises. I haven’t heard the government point that out to the people.

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    • IMO says:

      Had to look that up…very interesting point!

      Cruise ship passengers face having to spend more days at sea and fewer stops at ports under proposals for the first speed limits for shipping on the high seas.

      The International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the UN’s London-based shipping regulator, will debate a proposal from France next month for speed limits to help the industry to meet an international target of halving its greenhouse emissions by 2050.

  12. Anonymous says:

    So as there seems to be a high percentage of anti-gay people in the voting public, are the Camanians aware the Gay cruises will be closer to town and maybe they could catch the gayness. Sign the petition or you will become gay.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Stop wasting your time. The Port will built.

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  14. SPS is really SOS! says:

    Keep up the good work CPR and don’t make the government’s antics discourage or distract you all! It took a while to reach where you are but the goal is in sight! Alden and his statements in the SPS are nothing more that him saying what [people] have told him to say! If Alden and his government are so confident that this sea port will be built why not have another public meeting and he sit up on stage with the minister… so they can both together show the public how they are the sinking ship following greed!

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    • Anon! says:

      You mean what the UK Government has told him to say! Unfortunately it’s the UK Government pushing our Government to build this dock! They are pushing us to conform or go our own way! What what will start happening to our financial industry! They have already started dividing us with all this hate recently. They’ve already concurred us. Now they are watching us slowly implode!

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      • Anonymous says:

        You are dilerious. UK Gov couldn’t give a shit about your stupid dock. Leave that to your own politicians and their ulterior motives.

  15. Election Coming! says:

    No fridge for you if your name is on there!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Nah, your vote is still worth a fridge in the next election. Getting reelected is more important than the cruise port any day.

  16. Who cares. says:

    Sooo, let’s see here, if it takes another 6 months to a year to get the number required for this “referendum”, the decision to build or not to build will have to wait on getting to that magic number? You have got to be kidding, wey unnu com fram?

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Having actually read the now-obsolete Baird study, I felt duty-bound to be one of the first to sign. “Surely, there must be more than 25% of electorate that can read”, I thought. Yet, recent headlines leave me wondering how many smart voters there are…but the good news is you don’t need to read, just watch the simulated sediment plume in the first video:

    https://www.baird.com/case-studies/cayman-islands-cruise-berthing-facility/

    Then, sign the Petition!

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