Referendum campaign goes door to door in GTC

| 29/04/2019 | 35 Comments
Cayman News Service

Volunteers gather signatures for the petition in GTN

(CNS): Volunteers with the Cruise Port Referendum campaign went door to door in George Town Central at the weekend accompanied by Kenneth Bryan, the constituency MLA, who helped them collect more names for the petition, which is now very close to verifying the 5,288 names of registered voters required to trigger a people’s vote on the controversial proposal to build cruise berthing facilities in George Town Harbour. Bryan has raised concerns about the project, which will be in his constituency, and supports the idea of a national vote, as only 20% of the people in GTC who took part in a straw poll he conducted backed the development.

With 40% of his voters appearing to be against the proposed cruise dock and another 20% unsure. Bryan now feels that more information should be available and that the people need to decide this, not government. As a result, he said, he will be continuing to support the campaign until the target is reached.

“It went really well and we collected a lot of voters’ names,” Bryan told CNS, noting that Sunday is one of the few days when you are likely to catch people at home. Since some of the volunteers on the campaign were going door to door on their only day off, Bryan said he wanted to help.

Johann Moxam, one of the organisers of the campaign, was part of the group that went into George Town North, where the MLA for that constituency, Joey Hew, is fully behind the government’s planned berthing facility.

“Reaching out and engaging with the people of GTC and GTN to discuss this issue of national importance, it was clear that there are many who are eager to participate in this people-initiated referendum,” he said.

Moxam noted that the government is not seeking out the views of the people they represent on this proposed project.

“We can confirm that many people are not being represented by their MLAs, nor are their views being sought on this issue, yet this is the largest, most complex and expensive capital works project in the history of our country,” Moxam told CNS Monday.

“The proposed cruise berthing project has been a sensitive topic, with people voicing their concerns and opposition to the project for number of years based on the significant environmental, financial and social-economic considerations.

“Unfortunately, to date, the government have proven themselves to be either unable or unwilling to answer basic questions that citizens of this country have about the cruise berthing facility.”

The activist and political pundit, who is rumored to be considering a future in politics, said government appeared to be determined to move forward at all costs.

“Yet this is not a decision or project the country can afford to get wrong. The associated costs of the project are too great at all levels and the voice of the people must be heard. That is how the democracy works and no current politician should fear listening to the will of the people unless they have something to hide,” he warned.

Meanwhile, opposition to the proposed project gained international recognition at the weekend when two leading marine scientists wrote an opinion piece for CNN which urged government not to press on with the project given the damage it will do to the marine environment.

Dr Ellen Prager and Dr Steven Miller urged the Cayman Islands Government not to create “just another concrete-dominated Caribbean destination” and permanently destroy the near shore coral reefs of George Town Harbor. The pair talk at length about the impossibility of coral relocation and how proponents of the project who suggest otherwise are wrong.

Campaigners are now urging people who are eligible to register to vote to do so as soon as possible, as the numbers edge towards the total of voter names needed to trigger a vote.

Anyone wishing to sign the petition can ask volunteers come to them by calling 327 5411 or visit the Facebook page or email for details of where they will be this week.

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (35)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    People around the world are watching. This article is 4 years old. But if we really do this, the Cayman Islands will destroy the reason for the tourists. Why destroy our one trick pony?

  2. Anonymous says:

    What about getting more people as registered voters. Do they do campaigns around the local colleges to encourage newly 18 year olds to vote?

    • Anonymous says:

      Sadly, those that aren’t smart enough to complete their R21 Continuance at 18, or realize they are already eligible to vote, probably won’t add much mental horsepower to this debate.

      • Anonymous says:

        They may have passion for the sea and I don’t see why those newly eligible voters shouldn’t be educated on voting and the process to be eligible or is the key to keep the voting pool small?

        At the very least, I thought the courts needed more people to act as jurors.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think you’re wrong about that. I hope you are. I think our youth are as eager as we were to make intelligent decisions about our collective futures.

  3. Anonymous says:

    How do overseas students that are registered voters participate and vote or sign?

    • Anonymous says:

      Auntie – do you have an answer to this question? As an overseas student, how can I vote?

      CNS: Auntie is looking into this.

  4. Anonymous says:

    If it takes this long to get 5,000 signatures by going to supermarkets, door-to-door, and every other public event imaginable, then what is the likelihood of having more than 500 people show up to vote in the referendum?

    • Anonymous says:

      The island is so corrupt that people do not want to sign in public, as they fear retaliation. If the referendum is initiated, people will feel safer voting in a private booth.

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t think so. With your signature, you simply affirm to the Governor, along with 25% of your fellow patriots, that you want some forward movement towards the good governance and transparency required by §31(3) of the Constitution Order 2009.

      • Anonymous says:

        That was certainly the case in Makeeva’s UDP time, not so much now.

        • ppm Distress Signal says:

          They are all the same.
          You have no idea how ruthless this ppm party has become.
          If you forget the ppm have become the udp and formed the coalition unity government with two leaders Alden and McKeeva.

  5. Anonymous says:

    At this point, it’s increasingly clear to many of us, that we have much more than potential issues with Port justification, bidding process, and opacity. We don’t need to hypothecate when it’s already confirmed that they are deliberately deferring enactment of required Constitutional governance which govern disclosure of these conflicts. Cabinet are suspending laws, holding the Chief Justice’s Verdict in contempt, calling for HRC head to be deported (for agreeing with conclusions of Chief Justice and both sets of QC’s), a Premier that feels he can “warn” the homeland about devolved authority, while appointing conflicting developers to the NCL Appeals Committee. We don’t need to imagine it could get this bad, because it’s absolutely confirmed. Why don’t we petition the Governor to dissolve the LA, the authority of this Cabinet, and call elections for sometime in the fall? When will enough be enough?

  6. Anonymous says:

    The opinion piece you linked to is over three years old! It relates the decision by government to build the piers in deeper water to reduce the dredge area. It also completely ignores the conclusion of Baird that coral CAN be successfully relocated and has been in the past.

    • Anonymous says:

      Baird reached no such conclusion. Coral relocation was one of 15 possible mitigation techniques with no assurance of success. If coral wanted to grow somewhere else, it would already be there. As any diver can confirm, many of our native corals and sea fans are biologically and geographically linked to their natural occurrence on the island.

      The ESIA’s two main conclusions were:

      1. Damage to the marine environment, in particular water quality and coral reefs;
      2. Impacts on waves and sediment transport, in particular the risk of flooding in George Town and erosion of Seven Mile Beach.

      If you can’t read, there is a simulation video for you to watch on the expected sediment plumes triggered by normal movements of ships that displace >225GT:

  7. Anonymous says:

    Cayman does not need a cruise port focus on stay over tourism

  8. Anonymous says:

    We will have cruise submarines by the time they reach 5288 signatories. They were 100 away last year.

  9. Caveat Emptor says:

    CHEC (China Harbour) will win the bid.
    How does Alden McLaughlin explain this given his position when McKeeva Bush awarded the contract to CHEC in 2012 and allegations of corruption with CHEC required the direct involvement of FCO to stop the project?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Thanks CPR we must stop the dock.
    The referendum is the the voice of the people.
    Vote out all mla’s that support this white elephant which will destroy the Caymans as we know it

  11. Anonymous says:

    Stop this nonsense as we desperately need the new port and expanded tourism. Also get Decco and CHEC going so we van finally get some reasonably priced materials and quality labor.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Say No to the cruise dock and this government that support it. Cayman does not need it we have other priorities

  13. Anonymous says:

    I support (and have signed) the petition, I support stopping that god forsaken plan to prop up Waterfront merchants failing business models via public projects and shoveling people into GT

    But the petition organizers have been saying “Soon come” since November its now about to be May
    that is almost 6 months since they first started saying “we are almost done”
    They have constantly repeated that there are “30 books out that have signatures that need to be collected” and everything else
    but 6 months… to get 5,000 odd signatures?

    Every day this campaign continues to say soon come while not actually reaching the goal further legitimizes the government’s talking points that people want the Cruise berthing facilities

    Either actually present the petition soon or stop saying “we’re almost there and just admit you’re still working toward the goal”

    and just as an aside, this campaign needs to be completed in time to Organize the referendum during the summer before Hundreds of Caymanian students return overseas for tertiary education for 8 months

    The referendum will lose out on hundreds of votes against the project if this Campaign is not during the summer months when they are home

  14. Anonymous says:

    This joke still going on? They had my signature until they showed up with Kenneth. No thanks.

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