Moxam calls for gov’t to justify port ahead of vote

| 30/05/2019 | 48 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cruise ship in George Town Harbour

(CNS): The success of the petition to trigger a people-initiated referendum on the question of the government’s cruise port project was down to grassroots activists behind the campaign “doing things the right way”, according to Johann Moxam, one of the organisers. By contrast, the government has gone about the process the wrong way, despite its claims, Moxam said. With 25% of voters making it clear that they believe government has not been transparent or even truthful about why it is determined, apparently at all costs, to press on with the proposed cruise dock, it is now time for it to come clean.

Speaking to CNS, Moxam said he is urging Cabinet to tell all about the project. He said the people need to know how much it has been involved in the process and government should now answer the outstanding questions and justify the project on facts, not misleading and often incorrect information, especially now the issue will be put to a public vote.

Moxam has been accused by government and its pro-port supporters of merely seeking to further his own potential political career, but he maintains that he is involved because he believes the port project is unwanted, unnecessary and untenable. From the financial implications to the serous threats to the environment, he believes that pressing ahead with the development will have serious implications for the future economy.

Cayman News Service


Moxam has also recently refuted allegations that he once supported the project based on emails he circulated as president of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce, which he said reflected the majority view of the Chamber council at the time that backed the project while Moxam had remained opposed.

He is now focused on the referendum which, if free and fair, will reveal what the majority of Caymanians want, Moxam said, adding that what has been achieved already was “unprecedented”. He is very confident that not only has the petition reached the 5,289 signatures of qualified voters needed to trigger a referendum under the Constitution but there was a buffer of several hundred more.

Moxam believes that Supervisor of Elections Wesley Howell is “going to suffer political pressure over the verification process” but he said he trusted Howell not to bow to that pressure and that the referendum would go ahead. However, the campaigners will nevertheless have a legal team to ensure the process is transparent and Moxam warned that the public would be watching.

But the real issue, he said, was the need for government to start answering questions and explain why this project “has to go ahead, no matter the cost, no matter the objections”. Moxam said the repeated claim by government that the Cayman Islands would lose the cruise sector without piers was a bluff that had been perpetuated for decades and had no grounding in fact.

“My question for our political leaders is, why would they subject the people to the long-term debt that this will impose on the public purse? And the idea that we will not pay for this is a lie,” he added.

Pointing to several conflicts arising around the project, he said government must explain why China Harbour Engineering Company, given its reputation, managed to get into the bidding and why government sat on a panel with bidders at a public meeting.

The Cruise Port Referendum campaign will be holding a public meeting in George Town this evening (Thursday) at 6pm at the George Town Town Hall, where the next steps in the process will be addressed. Speakers include Wesley Howell and Roy Bodden.

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Category: development, Local News, Politics

Comments (48)

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  1. Woke says:

    This cruise port fiasco is nothing more than a bad idea. All of my Caymanians listen to me. The dump is priority. It is a health hazard waiting to become a catostrophe. If our government is unable to store garbage appropiatley, what makes anyone believe it can handle the trash generated by even more people?

    Hurricane season is here. The dump is still here. What do you think will happen if and when a hurricane approaches us from the north west? The contents of the dump will be washed inland and we’ll have a disease crisis on our hands.

    The dump is a testament to the ignorance of Caymanian politicians. Don’t be fooled by our government my Caymanian people.

  2. Anonymous says:

    We’re all starting to see this petition for what is it, a try to stop the port and not for peoples right to choose. 25% did not say stop the port, they said let me vote. A lot of those that signed actually want the port

    • Ron Ebanks says:

      Mr Anonymous 1:13 pm
      What you said is a load of Government propaganda and don’t worth the time you spent writing it , if the people stand up to you and the Government .

  3. Peter Schmid says:

    Da-wa-u-get says:
    If the port gets built as we have been told, there is one up-side: we won’t have to worry about needing a new Airport anytime soon because this one will run out of capacity! Given the masses of Cruise ship visitors that are expected to flood the Island after the new Piers are in action. blocking traffic wearing out our natural attractions and clogging up our beaches, the stay-over tourist (who supply the bulk of the tourism earnings) will find another place to take their vacation!

    • Anonymous says:

      So sad – but OH, SO TRUE. Still can’t understand why this government wants to chase the stay-over visitors away!

    • Ron Ebanks says:

      I think that this Government and their supporters will try and say anything to discredit CPR and all efforts to not make the petition stand up .
      Like I said before unah sit down and make them get away with condemning this petition and worst for you would be around the corner .

  4. Anonymous says:

    The signatures on the petition will likely have a lot foreign non-Caymanian signatures on it. That would not be right in my opinion.

    CNS: The signatures that have been checked by the campaign are of registered Cayman Islands voters. It must be 25% of voters to trigger a referendum.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The first paragraph of this CNS article implies that Mr. Johann Moxam said that “With 25% of voters making it clear that they believe government has not been transparent or even truthful about why it is determined, apparently at all costs, to press on with the proposed cruise dock, it is now time for it to come clean.”

    Whether those words actually came from Mr. Moxam, or CPR Cayman, or CNS, that is a very misleading misrepresentation of what “25% of voters” have signed up for in the petition. So, is it that activists misleading the public is what they consider to be “doing things the right way”?

    Here is the actual wording of the Petition. This wording is repeated at the top of each page that the people of the CPR Cayman activist group were asking people to sign:


    WHEREAS the Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009, in section 70, provides for a people-initiated referendum to Cabinet signed by no less than 25% of the persons registered as electors;
    AND WHEREAS we the undersigned electors in the prayer below, do hereby humbly request the Cabinet to hold a people-initiated referendum, in accordance with the Constitution, and give the electors of the Cayman Islands the final say on the proposed cruise berthing facility.
    The concerned electors of the Cayman Islands pray that:
    The proposed cruise berthing facility, a matter of national importance, be decided solely by referendum pursuant to the Constitution.

    What this petition wording DOES make clear therefore, is that nowhere on those pages people signed did it say the voters were signing up to “make it clear that they believe government has not been transparent or even truthful”. In these zealous attempts to tear down the character of our government leaders, the zealots are now trying to convince the public that all the signatories to the petition were “making clear” serious allegations against government leaders, even allegations of untruthfulness, that were not expressed in what the voters actually signed up for. It is therefore deceitful and disrespectful to the people who signed the petition, to claim that each of them subscribed to such serious allegations.

    Worse yet, the statement your article attributed to Mr. Moxam is contrary to CPR Cayman’s own statements and advertisements. CPR Cayman advertisements encouraged people to sign up to trigger the referendum “Whatever your position on the cruise port” – they explicitly stated verbally and otherwise that they wanted people who support the government’s initiative to develop the port, to also sign the same petition so that there would be a referendum so that they “would have a direct vote”. CPR Cayman repeatedly kept trying to convince people verbally and otherwise that signing up for the referendum was not saying you are against the government developing the port. Even as far back as your June 11, 2018 article, CPR Cayman proponent Mr. Mario Rankin said “A lot of those who support the port, including government, have said signing the people-initiated referendum petition [is] a ‘no’ to the port project, but it is not.”

    So, who is it that really has not been transparent or even truthful?

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow how enlightening! Just goes to show.

    • Mario says:

      CPR was formed in late August so therefore It would have been impossible for me to make the remarks you claim I made in June of 2018 unless of course you have a time machine I used….

      • Anonymous says:

        Mario the question is quite simple: Did you or didn’t you make the statement attributed to you in a CNS 12th June 2018 article . Please note the commenter did not say that you were a part of CPR at the time; he referred to you as a proponent or supporter of CPR. Again the question is :Did you make that statement at anytime in any capacity or are you saying CNS made it up.?

    • Anonymous says:

      To 1.13pm This sort of switching was something I feared and encouragrd me to not sign. Some of the persons involved in CPR leadership were/are opposed to the piers and personally I felt they were using the petition to try to stop or delay the construction of the piers and not as a way to decide how voters felt.When you make statements like “the piers will destroy seven mile beach” or “Govt should concentrate on stay over tourism” and then turn up leading a petition asking voters if they want piers, weĺl lets just say it raises suspicions as to your true motives .

  6. Ron Ebanks says:

    @ MAT the attendance looked like one of Trump’s rallies where the GT Town Hall was full and some people couldn’t handle what they were told and had to leave . So I would say CPR meeting was a success. .

  7. Anonymous says:

    At this point, can CPR file an injunction against the Unity Cabinet which legally bars them from announcing a winning bidder, or entering into any binding arrangements? We paid $2mln to GLF in 2011 as a consequence of these same negotiating numb-skills’ ignorance.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am not entirely sure that this is the right move to make. The minister has maintained (per the news reporting) that government could not provide the public with the details until the bidding process is over and the successful bidder announced. Presumably announcing the successful bidder is separate and distinct from the contract negotiations, then we should allow the government to provide us with details so that an appropriate referendum question can be posed.

    • Anonymous says:

      The 2m payment to GLF was to keep them quiet about what went on behind closed doors with CHEC . That’s why FCO stepped in to stop it.

  8. Anonymous says:

    “Pointing to several conflicts arising around the project, he said government must explain why China Harbour Engineering Company, given its reputation, managed to get into the bidding and why government sat on a panel with bidders at a public meeting.”

    Umm because they have been accused and found guilty of bribing public officials to get awarded the jobs.

  9. Anonymous says:

    If Cayman builds this port it will be the final nail in the coffin in Cayman identity. Cayman will become just another cruise ship destination like Mexico, the Bay Islands and the rest. Future generations will wonder what it ever meant to be Caymanian and if they are any different from someone from Roatan.

    • Anonymous says:

      Aren’t most people from Roatan and the other Bay Islands of Caymanian descent? There isn’t much difference already.

  10. Anonymous says:

    My dear Caymanians, We have finally been given the right Gov’t combination. For years we have been held back for 40 years by not having proper infrastructure for Cruise lines. We all agree it got much better for Hotels when guests arrived on land. Airline passengers who were visiting increased when an airplane landed on a runway . Remember? Benny Ross had to go and tender them off from a seaplane. Gee that must of been fun? What about the hot sun and rain? The oppostion’s meeting last night actually potrayed people who are in the industry as stupid and greedy? Do you run a business? Have you been running it for over 3 decades? Why would we want a dock if we didn’t need it? Does anyone here deny that the hotels are all owned by foreigners? That car rentals increased business and have a tremendous amount of cars on the road. Is that helping a lot of Caymanians? Do we think that will ever attract a lot of Caymanians? The days of Holiday Inn are gone and Jim Bodden has passed. Taxis can sit there for hours and not even get one trip. You do well if you’re connected with the staff of the hotel.
    The Cruise ship Captains can tell you Mr. Ezzard that they don’t need 35 miles to slow down their ships and have more maneuverability then a ocean going tanker. Just look at where they come from in Florida.
    On my 100,000 ton aircraft carrier we could do an emergency all back bell and stop the shaft in ~30 seconds or so, and a couple minutes to stop the ship(strangely, I don’t really know all that well how the ship itself performs, since we never had an indication of ships heading or speed down in the engine room). If I recall the torque limit was something like 2 billion foot pounds on the shaft. A cruise ship is not the same as a TANKER.
    Watching the CPR meeting last night I noticed how Mario didn’t want Sean to disagree or answer questions, as he declared that it was their meeting and that Sean should have his own meeting, very sad. That is why this whole referendum is so wrong. We should be able to present our argument. Its our industry and business but we are being blocked by emotion.

    • Anonymous says:

      To the writer of my dear caymanians, would be nice to sign your name when addressing caymanians on the whole .

      • Anonymous says:

        Bots never sign their names.

      • Anonymous says:

        Superbots don’t sign their names.

      • Anonymous says:

        Did you sign yours? But forget that. I want you to explain to our Caymanian people, why are George Town properties selling out? Is it the influx of all those stayover visitors? Could it be there isn’t enough customers to keep shops open? Maybe the cruise ship facility will be what we need? If not, Can you suggest a better altenative for the loss of business?
        I was looking at California with its large Tech business that real estate is going through the ceiling. But unfortunately has been unforgiving to elderly and blue collar workers as they have nowhere to rent reasonably. What was $1000 per month rent has jumped to $3500 per month. It could happen here. The cost of living here is stranguling the middle class. Having high end tourists is not really helping the staff of bars, restaurants, car rental, grocery stores, dive shops, etc. $4000 per month is not enough money for a family of 3-4 members of family. Especially when you have to pay such high cost of groceries, clothes, shoes, utilities, phone,TV, etc. Let us not forget med. and house Insurance. Caymanians need higher salaries 5 day work week, vacation time, education. Especially when we think that a referendum is the new way to get our desires. Shouldn’t we have one for a vocational school, Cheaper medical insurance, proper public busses. Should we have a Better, Business, Bureau so we can fight against construction people who take advantage of people? I await your answer.

    • Anonymous says:

      Who owned the land that was sold for the hotels? Who owns the construction companies who work to build them (hint must be at least 60%), who services all the cars on the road, who collects revenue from the registration of the cars on the road? And sorry but nobody here is going to feel sorry for a taxi driver while they still have a laminated piece of paper as a “rate meter”! This is not even a matter of who is right or wrong but because it is such a huge decision which will impact Cayman for generations, the people of the Cayman Islands must be allowed to decide on their future as it is outside of the realm and tenure of those few elected officials! This the future of the islands we are talking about. People have a right to decide yay or nay on the inheritance of their children and children’s’ children!

  11. Anonymous says:

    you voted for them?????

  12. Anonymous says:

    If the new port is built you can kiss George Town goodbye. It will be an industrial, dirty, and inhospitable place burdened with traffic. Poorly maintained busses full of tourists coming and going. Cargo trucks racing to move containers between a cement wasteland to the industrial park through George Town proper. Sounds like a great place for tourists to be around. It will be an area to avoid and anyone hoping that there will be a revitalization will be sadly disappointed.

    What do we get for this? 25 years of increased landing costs for our food and anything else that arrives by water. More lookie loo tourists that increasingly cost more to entertain for an ever shrinking amount of income. Any volume business is a race to the bottom for cost. What Cayman has on the waterfront is unique in that it is beautiful, accessible, and relatively people friendly. By chasing a volume business we become like every other port in the Caribbean shuffling and hustling for a few dollars and paying for that privilege by destroying what is inherently Caymanian.

    If you wish to bring on CHEC so they can spoil another bit of Cayman, and maybe even end up owning what has been built because all the CHEC projects go so well. You should clearly understand what you are signing you and your children up for.

    • Anonymous says:

      Smoke and mirrors by CPR

      The French were against the Eiffel Tower

      Caymanians were against the Port we have today

      Caymanians were against the Ritz

      Caymanians were against the west bay by pass road.

      Caymanians were against the tunnels

      Build the Port The Government knows best.

    • Anonymous says:

      Scare tactics……

  13. Anonymous says:

    DBFM means that all goods that will arrive in Cayman will need to pay a fee to a new private master, and gov’t will run that through the most irresponsible ministry there is. To build a port we don’t need, and provide berthing for ships that don’t exist.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Time for a new party, to protect this and the sister islands

    • Anonymous says:

      To 6.24pm Green party of new Caymanians is what you mean. These people are taking over everything including CPR.

    • Anonymous says:

      unna look at what Abyss said below and read this comment again.

      then they say kirkbot. ok.

  15. Abyss says:

    The dock will still be built, Moxam will run for candidacy next election, possibly with Ezzards new party, under the fuel of “this gov made the dock, this gov bad, we need new gov”. Unfortunately if they are as corrupted as you suspect, we’re all doomed.

    When Caymanians choose to build and own that much needed and enhanced cargo port, we will look back and think, “shoulda just ripped the bandaid off and went with it instead of resisting change like a conservative”.

    If that expiring dock fails and Cayman cannot receive cargo because ships can’t come with food and medicine for months, we will riot and some will die. Very low probability of course, but are you ready for a purge? 🙂

    Again, good luck. I’m happy that you have the right to vote and speak your voice. But what is 100 – 25, Mr Moxam?

    • Anonymous says:

      You can bring up royal navy and etc but it’s simply a fact. If for some reason no ships showed up to Cayman for a year, what a mess.

    • Anonymous says:

      Baird did a report on the cargo dock in 2015, and other than needing some minor patching, was good to go at well under max utilization.

      We don’t need a bigger port in town, or berthing for ships that don’t exist. The urgency is being driven 100% by greed, and the absence of SIPL.

      • J|) says:

        “I’m perfectly fine without a backup generator because CUC is enough, forget the future needs”

        Said a naive man in 2004. Just because you don’t require it now doesn’t mean you should ignore the reality of the future. You’re daft if you think the growth of our islands will stop.

        • Anonymous says:

          Agreed J|), anyone who tries to tell an engineer not to include redundancy is an idiot.

          “all that bridge needs is a lil patching”

        • Anonymous says:

          Didn’t have a backup generator in 2004, don’t have one now. Still fine.

        • Anonymous says:

          CI Port isn’t even operating at 80% of future utilization and we urgently need to expand it…for what reason? Vanity.

        • Anonymous says:

          you’re even more daft if your run out to get a backup that you can’t afford.

          • J|) says:

            “As the Premier and I have both previously stated a number of times, this project will be financed from funding which cruise lines have committed to provide and from the remaining balance provided by the winning bidder.
            “These will be repaid from passenger fees, which would otherwise have been used for ferrying passengers to and from the cruise ships, and not from the public purse,” the minister said.

            Moxam and the TenderBots have bewildered you into signing something you think you understand.

    • Anonymous says:

      205 thumbs up in a couple of hours. Unusual to say the very least.

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