Bryan calls on gov’t to add Qs to port vote

| 29/05/2019 | 77 Comments
Cayman News Service

Kenneth Bryan in the LA

(CNS): MLA Kenneth Bryan (GTC) is calling on government to use the opportunity of the people-initiated referendum on the cruise port project to add more non-binding but indicative questions to help it resolve some of the issues being debated in the Cayman Islands. Bryan submitted a parliamentary question for the next sitting of the Legislative Assembly asking the premier if he would consider asking the people about their position on gambling, allowing skyscrapers and the introduction of same-sex civil unions.

Government has not yet set a date for the referendum and Premier Alden McLaughlin’s only comment on the matter so far was to question the success of the campaign in collecting more than 5,300 signatures asking for the national vote on the cruise port. However, the petition has reached the required number and will lead to an inevitable vote, most likely this year.

Therefore, Bryan told CNS that the referendum provided the perfect opportunity for government to get feedback from the public on other questions, which could help form government policy on subjects that have triggered significant debate and concern in the community but where a majority view has never been established.

“The data they receive from it would be a good indication as to what the public’s position is and provide a guiding light,” he said, adding that it would save money and would likely help the turnout.

However, he said that government may not necessarily see this as a benefit, given the rules of a people-initiated referendum, which is based on the entire electorate and not just the turnout of voters.

Bryan made it clear that the questions would not be binding, merely a way for government to get a clear indication of the position held by those registered to vote.

One of the oldest issues is gambling, and Caymanians have argued over the pros and cons of legalising it for decades. Bryan said a simple question could be added asking if it should continue to be illegal, and if the answer is no, government could consider a range of possibilities, including a national lottery and the introduction of a casino.

The issue of a skyscraper has sparked enormous controversy and government needs to understand where people are on that type of development before it makes such a significant decision, he said.

The issue of same-sex unions is the most controversial of them all, but there is no proof that the loud opposition coming from the churches is representative of the wider community, as the electorate is changing and may well support the idea of same-sex partnerships or even gay marriage.

The court has already decided this issue, but the government has stated its intention to appeal all the way to the Privy Council if necessary to overturn the chief justice’s ruling legalising marriage for same-sex couples, which has left the LGBT community facing continued discrimination, which could drag on for months.

“We have to prepare ourselves for the appeal regarding same-sex marriage and this could save time on that legal obligation to provide rights for that community,” Bryan said. If the court directs government to address concerns about the violation of rights, the question could help support the solution.

“I really hope government will consider adding these questions as it’s a perfect opportunity to gauge public opinion,” he said, adding that it could ask even more, given that these down ballot questions would not be binding in the historic national poll.

Bryan has submitted eight new questions for government to answer at the next meeting, including about government’s plans to address the sargassum problem on local beaches and what it will do to make Cayman free of single-use plastics, but these must be approved by the Speaker.

Meanwhile, Bryan is still waiting for answers to six other questions, including when it will be implementing the Standards in Public Life Law.

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Comments (77)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This question is simple to answer. Mr. Bryan, thank you for trying to save money, but this question is much too important to muddy the waters with peripheral questions.

    NO. Just. The. Primary. Referendum. Question. NO!

    Thank you for asking. 😀

  2. Slacker says:

    Here is a suggestion for the Government as to how to phrase the question to meet their goals.

    How much do you agree with the port construction proposal?

    1. Agree.
    2. Agree Quite a Bit
    3. Strongly Agree
    4. Absolutely Agree

    • Ron Ebanks says:

      Anonymous 4:00pm
      Are you implying that I sit down with my mouth shut like most Caymanians do, I am sorry for you not chance ,
      About the Minister stopping Ms Gina Ebanks from speaking at a publicense meeting , that is very undemocratic and bully like of him , I think that Ms Ebanks should have every right to speak and represent her Department once it is involved in any meeting . But this is the bully Government with an agenda keep everyone else quiet while I speak ..

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sadly these questions demonstrates Kenneth do not understand what his constituents position is on these topics and shows how ineffective his interaction is with his supporters. Any politician walking on the ground should be able to understand their supporters positions on these topics. I think there are 1,248 voters in GTC so how does he not know the majority of their positions on these topics. This would trend across all constituencies.

  4. Sand Whitey says:

    Ya’ll need to build the port for sure but instead of destroying Hog Sty Bay build the port up at the Spotts dock area… That’s already too bad of a zone to swim because of the current in the water up there so why not utilize it instead of it being pretty much a complete dead zone, until Hog Sty Bay is too rough that is.. If Spotts can be used when Hog Sty Bay is rough why cant it be used to build the port and then transport tourist to town like they usually do when they do use Spotts dock?? DO NOT DESTROY HOG STY BAY!!!!!!!! BUILD THE PORT UP SPOTTS!!!!!!

    Signed: JAM

    • Anonymous says:

      You realize that the port isn’t bad for only swimmers. Look below the waves and see what is underneath and you’ll find out why we should never do this stupid port.

      • Sand Whitey says:

        I know what’s beneath the waves as I have been raised in the sea.. Real Life Aquaman Over Here!!! So yes Spotts dock is a better place to build the port rather than destroying Hog Sty Bay… We need it and not for tourism only but mainly for imports to the country… Bigger ships could come straight here then rather than stopping in Jamaica first where most things go missing on the way here…

        Signed: JAM

  5. BoiLookYa says:

    I think Bryan is the only one that actually cares to know what people actually want; the others just want the salary we pay them. McLean just uses radio time to shout against England. Saunders is all about statistics hoping for Minister of Finance, Connolly just wants to be ordained, Harris is busy with lip service, Eden and Mac need to just retire. People, please!!! Call your neighbors who are qualified professionals and encourage them to run in 2021. We need new people to represent us! People with strong ethics with vision and compassion.

  6. Anonymous says:

    👀 Some MLAs DO NOT WANT our say because, guess what, it might show their platform is archaic. I can understand that MLA Bryan is trying to minimize cost, but frankly, it would be best not to mix issues. Personally, I say NO to the piers and YES to Civil Unions. The ships will keep visiting because Hog Sty Bay is unique.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes to gay cruise piers!

    • Piers says:

      Im not so sure, my employer used to call regularily, i.e. once a month in the season. I saw the schedule for next year and they dont call at all, with any ship. Cuba has been sucking a lot of ships away, when the eastern caribbean comes back up to full power as it is indeed starting to, i reckon that there will be fewer ships around. Its just a feeling but i dont think so many ships will be calling as there used to be.

  7. Annymous says:

    2:38 pm: What about the process that leads up to the balloting? I doubt very much that they simply add the questions without a consultative process. The questions probably come out of the consultative process.

    Remember that the US has a highly developed system of sounding boards up and down and across, and that the society is constantly being fed information and opinions through all various means, direct and through many media.

    It is not a comparative situation, so we can’t simply lift procedures and apply them here. May not work in the same way!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Add more questions to the referendum central question? Dumb idea.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Kenneth shows his naivete by suggesting more questions to the voting public. What he doesn’t yet understand is that government doesn’t care what the public want. I thought that was obvious.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not strictly true. Not just that they don’t care, but rather they don’t want public evidence that what the public wants is different from what they propose to provide them.

  10. Anonymous says:

    We must have a referendum to decide the referendum questions!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Not enough emphasis on exactly whats going to happen because the Govt WILL “hinder” civil servants from going to vote on this and thus reduce the numbers – the same way they were “hindered” from signing the petition. But glad its been mentioned:

    “However, he said that government may not necessarily see this as a benefit, given the rules of a people-initiated referendum, which is based on the entire electorate and not just the turnout of voters.”

  12. Truth says:

    CNS you need to be transparent and state, the Chief Justice ruling is unconditional and unlawful, hence the Govt Appeal . Only the Legislature can make or change laws.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Of how about this question : Should a term limit be introduced for MLA ?

    A term limit on MLA’s is needed !!

    • Anonymous says:

      This particular one already has a term limit. One.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, let’s back it up even further…how healthy is it that we have school-leavers in career positions requiring reading, editing, and approving Bills that become our Laws? We need to expand the pool of eligibility to ALL Caymanians, and increase the educational and governance expectations for all MLA seats. Until we do that, we will suffer successive cycles of the same tired group of fakers.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not only term limits be applicable to MLA’s but the candidates should have to pass common sense test!

  14. Anonymous says:

    We should build the port in the Central Mangrove and the bunker fuel storage.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cruise port needs to be in a freshly dredged North Sound!

    • Anonymous says:

      7.53pm Right we could put them all in the North Sound along with Mario’s oil refinery. Yes the same Mario that is leading the Port Referendum .

  15. Anonymous says:

    Chips or crisps?

  16. Anonymous says:

    plus the most important question….
    should we call footpaths…pavements or sidewalks?

    • Anonymous says:

      Pavements. BOT after all. And while we’re at it, lets stop this nonsensical Americanised spelling for things. It’s behaviour and not behavior. It’s centre and not center….etc…etc…get with the programme old chap.

      • Anonymous says:

        People is trying to get their opinions across, what difference if they use English or American spellings. Post something that will help to make things better, ok, thanks

    • Anonymous says:

      I smell referendi!

      CNS: Repeating a note I put elsewhere: ‘Referendum’ is not a Latin noun; it is an English noun derived from the gerund of the Latin verb ‘referre’. The plural is therefore ‘referendums’, following the usual English plural. It is sometimes (wrongly in most considered opinion) treated as a Latin noun ending in -um (2nd declension neuter), which means the plural would be -a. ‘Referendi’ is not a word.

  17. Ron Ebanks says:

    I believe that Keneth idea is very good , but I think it would be rejected for the reason they want to derail the petition for the Referendum .
    You people better wake up and stop thinking that these politicians are your friends .
    See what they just did with Ms Gina Ebanks from the DOE , that’s
    a small example of what is coming in the near future .

    • Anonymous says:

      Ron you really need to somehow get yourself into the real world.That group of people have many agendas that are not in the best interest of the Cayman people, but are relying on people’s concerns about the environment to further their selfish ideals. Ms. Ebanks is a civil servant who holds an important position and is an advisor to the Government (Cabinet). She should not be in a public meeting used as a scapegoat for those with all sorts of agendas. The public and the Government must continue to have confidence in her.advice and expertise. Her presence at that public meeting is totally unacceptable if the Government is to rely on her advice and expertise.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Smartest thing I’ve heard from a politician in a while, sounds like a great way to get data and get more value out of the referendum, hope they consider it.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Can we legalize abortion same time?

    • ddd says:

      I was shocked to hear that it wasn’t legalized here already.

    • Anonymous says:

      3:10pm: I believe that termination of pregnancy is allowed at a certain stage of gestation if the life of the mother is threatened by the continued pregnancy or in the case of rape.

      I can be corrected if I am wrong, but I believe that is the status.

      • Anonymous says:

        I hope so if in the case of rape that the woman should have the power to decide what she wants to do with her body.

        Lemme ask you pro-life foofools that think abortion should be banned PERIOD something – if (a rape victim) survived her attackers but got inseminated/pregnant in the process, you’d want her to carry their seed against her will?

        CNS: Specifics might be too upsetting.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I so appreciate Kenneth Bryan. Small steps making big waves. Don’t give up, keep pushing forward for your constituents, that’s the whole point of your job. Forget the naysayers, focus on your people. You will always come out on top because they are the voters. The investors/developers can’t get you back in, not anymore!

    • Anonymous says:

      have to agree here, was skeptical of Ken given his past antics, but he does bring up good debates and does more than just talk the talk

      – Maximus

    • anonymous says:

      I am not in favor of adding any other issue to the referendum on the port.

      Issues need to be properly explored and debated, for which purpose we have a legislative assembly. Citizens and legislators should be communicating on these issues and attending to debates so that they can arrive at an informed decision.

      Having people voting willy nilly on issues is just not the way to go. We need informed decision-making.

      I do agree, however, that there is by far not enough consultation with the people on issues. Government is operating largely in its own silo and that is not the way that the democratic process was intended to work.

      But neither will it work well to throw all these questions at people without enough public information and debate to facilitate wise decision-making.

      • anonymous says:

        6:07 PM: Other than the need for a public consultation exercise relative to each issue, another concern is that the two issues identified by Mr. Bryan are rather hot-button emotive issues.

        The three issues might therefore play into each other and impact reactions to each.

        So that while it may seem a good suggestion to kill three birds with one stone, the combination might impact the outcome.

        So while in principle it is always a good idea to seek public input, we may get a skewed outcome which may not be very reliable.

        I vote with 6:07 that we do not combine these three very emotive issues into one voting exercise.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I doubt Alden or his cronies have the balls to ask the people what their views are on any meaningful subjects. But, just in case they have grown a pair… here are some suggested questions i’d like to see on a referendum:

    (1) Do you agree that Cayman legislation/regulations should restrict marriage to being between a man and a woman?”

    (2) Do you agree that the Cayman Islands should establish an energy policy that undertakes to move away from diesel fueled generators to more sustainable sources?

    (3) Do you agree that the Ministry of Education and individual public schools should segregate students based on their Caymanian Status?

    (4) Do you agree that Mount Trashmore aka “The Dump” should be the Governments top priority?

    (5) Do you agree that Permanent Residents in the Cayman Islands should be allowed to vote in parliamentary elections?

    (6) Do you agree that Boards appointed by Government should not be comprised of any individual(s)/legal entities that have any conflicts of interest with decisions that they make?

    (7) Do you agree with current legislation preventing dancing and live music on Sundays?

    (8) Do you think that the Cayman Islands should introduce legislation to prevent land monopolies?

    (9) (9) Do you agree that the Cayman Islands should restrict the importation of Cannabidiol?

    (10) Do you think that the Cayman Islands should legalize marijuana for recreational / personal use?

    (11) Do you think that residents with criminal records for the use of marijuana in the Cayman Islands should be allowed to have their criminal records expunged?

    (12) Do you agree that the Cayman Islands should ban single use plastics?

    (13) Do you think that bank fees in the Cayman Islands should be regulated?

    (14) Do you believe that gambling should be legalized in the Cayman Islands?

    Perhaps some of the questions could be worded better, but you get my drift.

    – Maximus

    • Anonymous says:

      Amazing! Well thought out questions. If you can’t get them into the referendum, perhaps you can find another place to get some answers from your compatriots?

      Maybe you should think about running in the next election…. I would be interested in hearing more from you.

    • Anonymous says:

      You lost me on number 3. Please elucidate.

      • Anonymous says:

        Give me an hour or two, just got done with my most recent elucidation.

      • Anonymous says:

        Expat children are, in most cases, barred from attending public schools. It has resulted in segregating the children(expat children must all attend private schools)…not good for anyone..

        • Anonymous says:

          There are lots of expatriate children in government schools. Understandably, they are in a minority, and they may have to pay school fees (if their parents are not civil servants), but they’re there.

    • Anonymous says:

      (15) Do you think the Cayman Islands need to break the decades old monopolies on utility companies to bring in competition for lower prices and better services?

  22. Anonymous says:

    MLAs should already be asking their constituents for regular soundings on a variety of topics (that aren’t already civil rights). Too hard to ask only a few hundred people for direction, even when they have the list!

  23. Anonymous says:


  24. Johnny Rotten says:

    Maybe Minister Bryan might instead ask the question, how many of registered voters have totally lost faith in CIG, the electoral process, and or simply don’t give a damn?

    And please don’t complicate the core issue Mr. Bryan, one thing at a time, remain focused and steadfast if you can.

  25. Anonymous says:

    The referendum does not have to be this year. It just has to be before Government make a decision about the Port. Given the angst which Government expressed over the potential cost of a referendum when it was first mooted they may sensibly postpone the referendum until the next general election. This would also give time for the Government to settle on exactly what port is being proposed. (Remember, this started life as a Cruise-No-Cargo Port and now its being advertised as a cargo port enlargement with some cruise berths; though with no actual details on what that looks like, means for costs, etc., nor numbers justifying the (quite rational I am sure) addition of a cargo port expansion that the Government categorically felt was unnecessary when the project started).

    • Anonymous says:

      OMOV ref was not during an election year
      The precedence has already been set on holding Referendums, any attempt to delay the poll past this year would be a direct subversion of the will of the people and highly unconstitutional

    • Anonymous says:

      A Government that boasts such a large surplus cannot feel angst at the cost of a referendum exercise for approx 20k people to vote all on 1 day. It is also foolhardy to postpone the vote till election because generally speaking people will vote based on how they feel about the government of the day. Government needs to properly educate the people, which means they explain the port properly this time, legitimately answer the people’s questions this time, give the organisers of the petition and any other group that wants to take part the opportunity to also education the people, then hold the referendum in November at the latest.

    • anonymous says:

      1:17 pm: smart proposal —put off the referendum on whether the port project should proceed or not to give govt time to firm up and advance the port plans. What a muddled circle. Sounds just like us.

  26. J|) says:

    If we’re considering allowing casinos, can we please use this opportunity to legalize Cannabis as Canada, most of the USA and soon Mexico has? Thanks. To my knowledge, all of these places have net-benefitted from regulating it.

    .. or we could keep up this futile war against growing a plant while hundreds of Caymanians consume it daily for recreational or medical purposes, and allow the drug lords to profit off of the demand.

  27. Anonymous says:

    This is potentially the first sensible thing Bryan has said. Well done sir. If this referendum goes ahead, then it would be a perfect opportunity to get some valid data from the voting population.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Add legal pot to the questions too.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I applaud Mr Bryan for actually trying to work on behalf of his constituents. I hope these questions do make it on the ballot as I am sick of everyone fighting over what they think the majority want. Here is the chance to find out. You know Mac will continue to ignore him because Mac only does what benefits Mac.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Why not just add “where should we go for dinner tonight” as well?

    Not how it works genius

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually this is how it works. The Government could chose to make such topics referendum questions, or it could chose to seek non-binding indications from the people on such topics. It’s done all the time. Besides, at the end of the day… can’t we really do whatever we want?! As long as the intention is made clear to the voters we can do this quite easily.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is actually exactly how it works known as ballot initiatives in places like the states
      (multiple questions asked at the same time, they dont all have to be on the same topic or even remotely related)

      If we are going to have a public vote (which we are)
      Why not kill as many birds as possible with that convenient stone

      • Anonymous says:

        2:38 pm: People have to be specially prepared through information exercises. The port issue has been well debated.

        We would need a similar period of public discussion on the other topics prior to adding them to the ballot. Don’t have time.

        I am not even sure if the combination would not impact the reliability of the outcome.

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