500 names to go on cruise vote petition

| 01/05/2019 | 54 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cruise Port Referendum campaign volunteers

(CNS): Volunteers campaigning for a people’s referendum on the cruise port project have just 500 names to verify on their petition in order to trigger the national vote, as provided for in the Cayman Islands Constitution. The local activists, who have been attending supermarkets, gas stations, going door to door and visiting people’s work places for the last eight months, are now on the home straight after collecting and verifying the signatures of 90% of the 5,289 registered voters needed. The grassroots campaign, which has been run on a shoestring budget, is now almost certain to succeed.

Campaigners said they are optimistic because people have been registering to vote for the first time just to be able to participate in the initiative.

While the referendum can only be triggered by a petition of names from 25% of the electoral register, the campaign has also received significant support from permanent residents, work permit holders and regular visitors to Cayman who are not eligible to vote but are still concerned about the threat posed by this project to the environment, Cayman’s infrastructure, its overnight tourism product and public finances.

Campaigners are now planning a final major push with their door to door efforts to collect the last signatures and are appealing to registered voters who have not yet signed to add their name to the petition and help put the decision about the largest infrastructure project in the Cayman Islands’ history in the people’s hands.

Speaking on the local radio show, Crosstalk, this week campaigners reminded the public that government has still not shown its final design, costs or details of the jobs it claims will be created, despite now being in negotiations with the cruise lines and the final two bidders said to be left in the tender race.

The process has also caused significant concern, as has the government’s reluctance to be transparent and what many see as a lack of genuine need or justification for the project, given the massive threat it poses to the marine environment in and around George Town Harbour.

“The community deserves to decide on this project as it will have long-lasting repercussions on everyone,” the activists said.

The battle to get this far has not been easy for the volunteers, who have faced the machinery of government in opposition to their efforts. While the campaigners have had to rely on private donations for their petition books and promoting their campaign, which has been done largely through social media and the local press, the government has been able to campaign against the petition using all of the power of the state and the public purse.

The government has also misleadingly framed the petition itself as a ‘no’ to the project, when it is not. But it has had the desired effect. Many of the near 20% of registered electors who work in government have been reluctant to sign the petition for fear of reprisals and they will only be able to have their say in the sanctity of the secret ballot box.

The current administration has been clear about its opposition to a referendum, even suggesting that the vote would not just stall the progress of the project but put an end to it altogether, regardless of the outcome.

Nevertheless, the volunteers have persevered and will be pressing on to collect more signatures while simultaneously verifying ones already collected to ensure that when the petition goes to the Elections Office, every name on it is a qualified registered voter, ensuring it cannot be rejected.

Once election officials confirm that the petition has met the constitutional requirements, it will then go to Cabinet, which holds all the cards in determining the question and the date of the vote. While government will be seeking to hold the referendum when it is least likely to succeed and word the question to make it as likely as possible to fail, if the true will of the people is to be heard, campaigners will then face the real battle.

But in the meantime, anyone wishing to sign the petition can visit Hurley’s supermarket today or on Saturday and volunteers will be going door to door with Kenneth Bryan MLA on Sunday in George Town Central.

Petition booklets are also permanently available at Rubis Savannah, Four Winds Esso and Hell Gas Station in West Bay, Foster’s Food Fair at the Strand, Silhouette in Camana Bay, Pure Art in South Sound 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.

Anyone wanting to volunteer to help can text message 328-8187 or email cprcayman@gmail.com for a Petition Sheet and FAQ Summary.

For information visit the CPR Facebook page or email cprcayman@gmail.com.

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Comments (54)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The cruise dock is not a matter of national importance. Education, the dump and same sex marriage are but not the cruise dock.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe thats why it’s took so long getting the numbers. Most of the voting public agree with you.

    • Anonymous says:

      According to Kenneth Bryan we can add questions on casinos, dart’s tower, same sex marriage and anything we like to the referendum. How about letting the public decide what minimum wage should be.

    • Anonymous says:

      PPMUDPBOT how can you really bring yourself to make this statement?

      First to yourself be true.

      In the minds of over 4,700 voters, the cruise port is an important national issue.

      PPM / UDP, Mac and Alden ignore that at your own peril.and your parties’ peril.

    • Anonymous says:

      The possibility of destroying Cayman’s ocean environment by installing a cruise dock in GT is NOT a matter of national importance?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I would love to see the port being struck down by the people and then to see during the next elections how many “closet anti-port” port supporters suddenly appear because if that does happen and they think that is going to fly next election they are sadly mistaken.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are only so many “Duty Free” Wristwatch, Perfume points of sale, Rum Cake makers, and Dolphin Prison owners. We know who own all of these. Some aren’t even Caymanian. Then there’s the shorter handful of bus companies and water tour operators with liner contracts. Very short lists of benefactors.

      • Anonymous says:

        It only seems like a short list to you because you’re obviously shortsighted when it comes to the benefits the port will bring.
        None so blind as those who refuse to see.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Many of us wouldn’t mind if they were not allowed anywhere near our island but we know that our taxes are highly supported by these visitors. There is no way we cannot have them come. Our government is already too dependent on the head tax they pay (whether the tourist get off the boat or not).
    But check this out from another post;
    https://www.cruiselawnews.com/2019/05/articles/pollution/reports-suggest-carnival-ships-systematically-discharged-plastic-waste/

    • Anonymous says:

      The irony is that agreeing any Port construction deal will necessitate the forfeiture of all arrival/departure head taxes to the construction consortium for a period of 50-100 years (because we don’t have the money). Not that this regime cares enough to miss it.

      Current Port Authority head tax is just KYD$2.46 per passenger (supposed to be charged both ways, but only charged once). See third last line on sheet: https://www.caymanport.com/fee-structure/

      Leaving the pier out for a second, do the math: it would take >2mln annual cruise ship arrivals per year to equal what this regime farts away annually in pre-Christmas vote-buying and temp work cleanup initiatives. It’s actually worse because from that gross number, we subsidize the tendering process.

      We shouldn’t pretend that cruise tourism is a meaningful revenue line for CIG at the pace they spend our money. The sooner we all understand the loosing math, the better.

    • Anonymous says:

      Except that our taxes are only supported to the extent of the head tax and the duty on whatever they buy. As we will be giving up the head tax to the developers and they only spend $100 a skull on island, a chunk of which will be on duty free goods, the tax argument doesn’t really work. You are really limited to the economic impact on local spend on local vendors, and even that is going to seriously impacted by the cruise lines getting into providing tours and transport themselves.

    • Anonymous says:

      When that money isn’t there anymore for government to depend on who do you think will have to make up the difference? Duties will increase for the average Joe and cost of living will go up.
      I’d rather have the head tax and keep duties and taxes at the rate they are.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What a complete waste of time. It has been such an effort to get 25% of voters on board with this petition, including resorting to going door to door to twist people’s arms and intimidation tactics, there is very little chance of clearing 50% of voters to achieve stopping the port.

    All the effort would have been better spent working with the Government to get the best port possible

    • Anonymous says:

      Sure, there are professionals here that have offered to help, and some for free. We’ve been having these same conversations for 20 years. But, this regime, and others that preceded it, do not want anyone looking behind the curtain they’ve drawn. GLF, CHEC, DECCO…we’ve been at this a long time with the same BAD negotiators using false arguments, avoiding questions, and somehow concurrently acquiring wealth to jet around for recurring $250k/weekend casino bacchanals. Try reconciling that.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The mixed messages coming from tge Premier and the Deputy Premier (the 2 highest elected positions in our govt) about the tourism numbers should be cause enough for this referendum to happen – they cant even get there stories str8 SMH.

    For a clearer future, please sign the petition, have the referendum and lets see how Cayman really feels about our tourism

    • Anonymous says:

      Tourism has never weighed in the balance, this is about transparency, honesty and good governance.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have asked this question before with no response: Has there been any effort to present the petition to the folk of the Sister Islands?

    • Anonymous says:

      Why don’t you ask the people in charge of the petition instead of asking on CNS and hoping they see and respond to you? Registered Voters who wish to have the Petition brought to them, at home or at work, can call 327-5411.

    • Anonymous says:

      Answer:

      “Registered Voters who wish to have the Petition brought to them, at home or at work, can call 327-5411. Anyone wanting to volunteer to help can text message 328-8187, visit the CPR Facebook page, or email cprcayman@gmail.com for a Petition Sheet and FAQ Summary.”

    • Anonymous says:

      Why? It doesnt concern them.

  7. Anonymous says:

    good luck to them….you got to wonder why the port supporters are afraid of a public vote??

    • Anonymous says:

      I am concerned that if the referendum causes a vote, people may not even get out and vote on something as important as this.
      But they WILL get out to picket same sex marriage…

  8. Void says:

    Please my Caymanians – Stop making people control you. Open your minds. Speak your voice! Don’t be afraid of the unknown.

  9. Anonymous says:

    My confidence in this government’s rational examination of the port issue is fleeting. Would the Premier and Minister of Tourism push through the dock purely for ego purposes? There is no real indication that the dock is necessary for cruise visitors.
    Are they unwilling to change their minds given new information? Are there other factors of which we are unaware?

    • Anonymous says:

      It should be very clear to everyone that there is more than ego behind the sustained misinformation campaign – which seems to involve paid media influencers. They are either abysmally outclassed intellectually, or have agreed to undisclosed consultation/facilitation fees, and probably both!

  10. Cayman Mon says:

    Cayman Mon thinks this is obstructionist and a waste of time. Time to build the PORT!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I still would like to see the potential referendum question that would be put to us voters, if the petition organisers were allowed to frame that themselves. Otherwise it does appear that this is indeed a straight up NO vote.

    • Anonymous says:

      First there has to be a disclosure period, with facts, and education. Then, sadly, the question is engineered by the sitting crooks who gave us the OMOV Ref.

      Nothing changes unless we shift the conduct of our untrustworthy officials, enacting SIPL Law retroactively to the Constitution Order 2009 would be a start, or at least back to its drafting date 2012.

      Voters can petition the Governor to dissolve the LA and call early elections at any time.

      • Anonymous says:

        I like the idea of dissolving the current govt. I will sign that petition immediately!

        • Anonymous says:

          3:42 then you will have the opposition of the opposition to run your country
          that should make ya happy!

          • Anonymous says:

            Not necessarily. My college’s undergraduate student government, which consisted of under 10 elected kids under 20, managed sums and capital decisions with more competency and transparency than any of the CI regimes of the last 20 years. It shouldn’t be so hard to be honest and forthcoming.

    • Anonymous says:

      All referendums have two simple choices: Yes, or No. So you either vote yes or no to the port. To say otherwise is to take people for idiots… Something the government (regardless of party) do to the people all the time.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually, you vote “yes” or “no” to the question the Cabinet later devise. Just as in the OMOV Referendum, we don’t get to pick it, it doesn’t even need to make sense, and voter turnout is historically low for these soundings. They’ll count on apathy. There will likely be a continued erroneous campaign equating the pier construction as a “yes” or “no” vote to all future cruise tourism, which of course, it’s not. They’ll also suggest that bus divers, boat operators, and school leavers will all loose their jobs (including opportunities that don’t even exist).

  12. Anonymous says:

    That’s a lot.

  13. Please, no dock says:

    I want to sign the petition, but I don’t know my voter registration number. Where can I find that?

    CNS: Go to the Elections Office website here and plug in your name in the “Elector’s Name” box. Click search.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you need to ask that question, you should not be allowed to vote.

    • Anonymous says:

      They will look it up for you when you sign – as they did for me when I signed at Hurleys

    • Anonymous says:

      I support the referendum. Stay-over tourism is 8X more accretive than the hordes of cruisers. When Cayman is overrun with cruisers the stay-over numbers at one point will go down. I would like to make a financial contribution to the volunteers. How can I do this?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Did’nt the so-called Premier say it is going to be built regardless?

    • SMH says:

      He also built the $110m Clifton Hunter High School as Education Minister which is graduating kids that are below standard without basic skills.

      That is Alden McLaughlin’s political legacy along with selling out the PPM and the country to McKeeva Bush and DART. SMH

      • Anonymous says:

        That statement is like blaming traffic accidents on the roads.
        His job as Education Minister was to provide the infrastructure and put systems in place for kids to be taught. He got the school underway and had the entire curriculum rewritten by teachers. How is it his fault a decade later that kids don’t have basic skills?

      • Anonymous says:

        And, that CHHSchool is costing us over $100,000.00 a month for electricity alone.

    • Anonymous says:

      Alden has likely had too many scotches at Country & Western if he really believes the nonsense he talks

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes and it will be built! Dart along with there partner CHEC are already in the works and it will be going soon. Forget this silly referendum, lets get the show on the road!

  15. Anonymous says:

    This petition is a waste of our governments time. We desperately need the port project and CHEC in here ASAP so they can get us better priced labor & materials so we can get rid of all the high prices we are currently paying. Honorable Premier, please discard this petition. Get our port going!

    CNS: If the petition reaches the required number of signatures, the premier cannot legally discard it. Government is constitutionally mandated to hold a referendum. See the relevant section here.

    • Anonymous says:

      We desperately need improved cargo facility, but we don’t need CHEC.

      • Anonymous says:

        I absolutely agree with this statement, yes we need to upgrade or build a new cargo dock but not so cruise ships can moor. We have record numbers of tourists without a cruise pier. We need to concentrate on the over stayers not the day players.

    • Anonymous says:

      Some nice rose colored glasses you are wearing there. Once the port is built, “cheaper” wont be a word you will be using to describe pricing on labor and materials.

      • Anonymous says:

        No that is incorrect because CHEC will start doing all Dart projects plus bring in all the materials from China. Then we can get rid of all the other nationalities who are here on work permit because CHEC will handle everything.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes and look at Jamaica and the highways CHEC built and look how many Chinese were granted permission to stay in Jamaica and open businesses with slave labor merchandise that are pushing out local business owners. Same thing will happen here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Another hero worshipper of Alden, blindly drinking his kool ade. We do not need the cruise port. Simple.

  16. THANK YOU CPR says:

    A HUGE shout out to everyone involved in CPR CAYMAN and all related environmental groups! Thank you to all the thousands of persons that are smart enough to have signed this petition to challenge this sham of a government and their lack of transparency and accountability! The same campaign promises that especially the PPM government promised to do for the people…. they have clearly proven that they can ignore and mislead the people like we are puppets. Well… from Alden right down…. you are sadly mistaken and the people have a powerful voice… one that many choose to ignore or selectively listen to when its campaign/election time! #wethepeople #welovecayman #2021sooncome

    • Anonymous says:

      We need to send the crooks in LA packing. Some of them would be in jail serving long sentences, if we had Standards in Public Life Law enacted. There’s a lot more work to be done, and fresh, uncompromised leaders need to stand up and present an alternative to corruption.

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