We are making history so must get it right

| 21/06/2019 | 38 Comments

Mario Rankin writes: It has been a long, hard fight collecting over 5,288 signatures of registered voters, which is 25% of the electorate, in order to trigger a people-initiated referendum so that we, the people, who elected the politicians can also have a place in politics without having to always depend on our government to do everything. I must first point out why I used the term “hard fight” and why I think it’s imperative for people to get involved with the politics that governs their country.

1. As a people, who were given the constitutional right to a referendum by the very same government that included the provision in the 2009 modernisation of the Cayman Islands Constitution, it is ironic that they are the same ones that are now spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of the people’s money to fight them on this very issue.

2. We cannot exercise the freedom of an educated thought process if we are unaware of the political system plus policies that governs us. Our politicians understand this all too well, hence the immense resistance we’ve seen since the petition began.

3. The verification process which the Elections Office has adopted has raised major concerns throughout the wider community; having to sign a completely separate form is technically re-doing the petition.

So, as a concerned Caymanian and a huge advocate for the right to participatory democracy, the purpose of a referendum is an opportunity for the people of the Cayman Islands to be more involved and get educated about the politics that governs them. However, we are faced with a direct fight from the institutions outside of government, with the blessing of the elected arm of the people who have done everything in their collective power to derail this process from being successful.

Governor Martyn Roper has assured the people that there will be a fair and robust process that will be done as quickly as possible. In his latest post on Facebook, he says he met with Elections Supervisor Wesley Howell for an update on the progress with the verification process, going on to say he would put out a more detailed summary in the days to come. 

Later that day, reports came out from the opposition saying they called a meeting with the governor. They, too, echoed the concerns of the people with the process the Elections Office decided to select for the verification of signatures. They were told by the governor that he didn’t have any objections with the decision of Mr Howell and that he had full faith in whatever decision had been made by him.

Let me end by saying, just because we have trust and faith in someone doesn’t mean they can’t get it wrong, especially when there is no law or guidelines to go by anywhere in the Commonwealth. And when taking that last point into consideration, as the first ever to do so, we must ensure that the process has the highest level of integrity, setting a precedent for all in the British territories to follow.

Let’s get this right and be on the right side of history.

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Category: Politics, Viewpoint

Comments (38)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Mario just remember this whole People Initiated Referendum thing is a learning experience for all of us; voters,Elections Office,Governor CPR and Cabinet.So please don’t assume that every action or inaction by the Government side, has an ulterior motive.Remember that everyone is also free to assume that CPR has ulterior motives and you certainly don’t want or appreciate that.

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    • Anonymous says:

      And if China Harbour are given the job, there are many, many of us who decided not to sign the petition, who will vote against the port.

  2. Anonymous says:

    There must be some that don’t realize that the elections office already has a database of names, elector IDs, and signature samples to verify the legitimacy of the petition. Maybe someone should query this reality with Roper?

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    • Anonymous says:

      @9.28am Not all voters have voters cards . I believe only voters who have obtained cards will have their signatures on record.

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      • Anonymous says:

        You can vote using your drivers licence or passport. When you registered to vote, your signature was kept on record.

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  3. Anon says:

    Just legislate regulations for future referenda so that organisers are aware of what they need from the signatories.

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    • Anonymous says:

      And that hits the nail on the head. It cannot be that everyone from the outset assumed that they could just turn up with the referendum signatures with no means of this being vetted. Sampling would be unacceptable.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Your entire island with its “iconic tower” and new port would be covered by water in not so distant future. Unless next Ivan, the terrible, comes sooner. Grand Cayman would be uninhabitable for decades because of Dumps contents strewn across the island.

    I’d be working on establishing residency someplace more stable than 2×4 rock mid sea.

    Your politicians seem to want to leave negative legacy and/or become “the richest corpses in a cemetery” (quote from Alfie (2004) movie).

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Mario Rankin writes: It has been a long, hard fight collecting over 5,288 signatures of registered voters, which is 25% of the electorate, in order to trigger a people-initiated referendum so that we, the people, who elected the politicians can also have a place in politics without having to always depend on our government to do everything.

    Have you given any thought as to how you can get twice that many people to show up on a single day and vote in order to make the referendum binding?

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    • Mario Rankin says:

      Yeah very easy….have the referendum…………otherwise who looks bad in this situation CPR or the Government??? If the gov and it’s stogies thought they had the confidence of the majority then why not take it to a vote?????? And prove people like wrong….

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      • Anonymous says:

        You missed the point, just because you are excited to vote that doesn’t mean that 10,000 people are going to change their holiday plans to go stand in line and vote.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Surely you mean ” how much contempt” and you are correct but I think the only thing will change them is an injunction. I don’t see that happening at this late stage, so let us just do the verificstion and prepare for the referendum. Everyone who signed the petition please make the next step. Do not let anger and frustration cause us to mess this up. If so we will be playing right into their plans.

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    • A Citizen says:

      We the people of the Cayman Islands do not want an unnecessary dock that may well destroy our way of life. The bigwigs that are saying it will be the greatest thing since earth was formed are wrong! Our leaders are doing everything in their power to prevent us from expressing ourselves by voting on the construction of the dock. This is not democracy!

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  6. Mario Rankin says:

    It’s strange that we see people giving a 👎when anyone express gratitude for people who stand for what they think is right…just because who is doing the standing…i wonder if Gene Thompson or Mr Norman Bodden had wrote this VP what would be the comments by the normal handful of hecklers on this forum….. Anonymous hypocrites….

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    • Anonymous says:

      Mario, do not worry about that. Unfortunately some of our people will never mature. So many still like to sit on the sidelines and frittter their lives away. Thanks for your effort.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe having someone that was disqualified from the last election for a dishonesty crime, as one of the main drivers, organizers and advocates makes people think it would be a good idea to make sure that the signatures are 100% correct?

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    • Jah Dread says:

      Hey Missa Mario if the fire too hot me bredren get outa de kitchen e or beta yet ignore de he le oevkle people dem, it na do you or ya cause no good Ian.

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    • Rolando's Guitar 🎸🎶🎶🎶 says:

      Mario, I’ve had a hard time trusting you ever since the UDP/McKeeva days when you were flying his flag like a mighty good soldier. Then several years later when the UDP and Mac reins of power have been neutered, your stance shifted a bit to, at least to me it seemed, more caring for the islands and its people and fairness in all parts in between. It was a welcome change (or what I thought was your changing ways for the better) compared to the ‘money by any means Mario’ from several years ago.

      Idk, maybe I’m wrong. It certainly doesn’t give me confidence when you simply can’t handle criticism and rejection and you comment about this negative push back with a reply as such on your own opinion piece because you think people are being hypocritical?! Kettle, meet black.

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  7. Da-wa-u-get says:

    The Elected Government is doing everything to avoid having to hold that referendum Are they that scared that it will go against their fied plans to build this port?
    I suppose they must be or they wouldn’t spend so much public money to campaign for the project!
    Don’t be Chicken, hold the referendum. The votes will be verified then! If the people think you’re doing the right thing, it will be a huge mandate to get on with your plan!

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    • Jah Dread says:

      Excuse I folks, it look like de hactivists dem are making a .last ditch effort to be on “ the right and mighty side awe history” while the CIG a blaze foot to the finish line and bidder dem say in 3 ratted weeks. Now all me haf fe say is me hope dat all a dis whichever way it wok will be beneficial to the “people” who on ya and who the CIG is supposed to be servants of. Selah! Who Jah Bless no man cuss.

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    • Anonymous says:

      To 12..36pm The elections office is following the rhles in trying to be sure that we have a legal peyition which will then automatically trigger a referendum’. A list of signatures no matter how many signed it will not trigger a referendum if there are not the verified signatures of at least 25% of registered voters.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Our God is the same god yesterday, today and forever more he is not asleep. Cayman Islands let us not forget Hurricane Ivan.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    For God sake give them the referendum so we can move forward with the building of the port.

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    • Cayman Mon says:

      Let me guess, 70% of the signatures will not be Caymanians that have a vested interest in their country.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Thanks a lot Mario for all of your hard work and standing up for us the people

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  11. Anonymous says:

    You’ll be on the wrong side of history, again.

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    • Anonymous says:

      CPR are doing the right thing and doing what the country needs as the government are fighting the people

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      • Anonymous says:

        They are not fighting the people. This was people initiated. The signatures MUST be verified.

        If I presented another UNOFFICIAL list of signatures, like a change.org petition, with 20,000 signatures against the port, should they just go on ahead and consider the project cancelled?? Should they say, let’s hold up the process in case these 20,000 signatures from change.org are actually valid?

        You armchair experts are quick to criticize every little thing but would s#!t yourselves if you were the one in command.

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        • Anonymous says:

          They’re following due process yet that’s somehow fighting the people..

          I signed but Idk who to believe anymore

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        • The people of Grand Cayman says:

          Look at all the bots jacking up the thumbs up!! Forget it, boys and girls. We ain’t buying it! Forget the dock! Fix the dump!!!

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Well said Mario

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  13. Anonymous says:

    I don’t trust the FCO’s Governors! And I don’t trust a verification process!

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    • Anonymous says:

      All of those who signed the petition and are able to get to the election office please do so. We probably won’t be able to change the way the verification is being done so let us not waste energy trying to do so. Get out there in hordes and sign the form again if that is what they require, whether your intention is for or against the port. Do not give them an excuse to drop your name from the petition. The question right now is whether or not we want the referendum. To our civil servants who signed the petition, remember you are exercising your democratic right too. Do not be intimidated, what can they do to you? They can’t fire you! Also remember you have the power! As Malala said, “there is nothing more powerful than the pen” my mother was one who signed the petition for women’s suffrage, her name is etched in marble in front of the courthouse. I would be remiss if I don’t do my part. SO HELP ME GOD!!

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      • Anonymous says:

        The issue is not the port but rather how little contempt the government we have elected have for us!

        The port was always going to be a decisive issue. The government should have therefore been mature enough to say let’s put it to the people to decide, especially as it will be the largest infrastructure project in our lifetime.

        Instead they have decided we must have it all cost – even if it means getting into to bed with an internationally recognised corrupt company.

        If this is not contempt I don’t know what is!

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    • Anonymous says:

      That’s great – so you don’t trust Wes Howell and the Elections Office to do their job – how insulting! You certainly DON’T know him!!!!

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