Cabinet’s failure: no referendum law

| 17/06/2019 | 30 Comments
Cayman News Service

‘A. Caymanian’ writes: In the spirit of transparency and good governance as the Cayman Islands deals with the first people-initiated referendum, it is troubling that there is currently no referendum law or guidelines in existence in order to ensure a clear and objective set of rules to aid the Cabinet, Elections Office and the public as the verification process for the referendum has commenced. It would be useful for the Elections Office and its legal advisor, the attorney general, if they can demonstrate to the public what right they have to invalidate signatures because they knock on your front door once in the middle of the day in the middle of summer.

“Various methods will be used to confirm”. What are those methods exactly? And if they fail to confirm that you, yourself, signed, by what law are they capable of denying you your constitutional rights to democratic government, freedom of expression and the ability to petition for a referendum? There is no such law.

Section 70 of the Constitution providing for people-initiated referendums does not support this signature verification process. 25% of people registered as electors is all that is needed. If you’re registered, you’re an elector, entitled to petition for a referendum. Government doesn’t get to add language to that.

Section 90 of the Constitution (“Qualifications of electors”) doesn’t provide for this either. It says nothing about signatures or registered voters proving their identities, only who may register.

Nor does the Elections Law, which does not even include the word “referendum”. All the Elections Law allows is for the presiding officer to verify your identity at the polling station by requiring your voter ID or another ID that confirms your identity, and by asking you if you are the person whose name appears on the register.

The government is acting outside its lawful authority and is therefore in violation of Sections 19 and 24 of the Constitution, and can be taken to court under Section 26.

Why was the Cabinet, which had nine months to prepare for this historic moment knowing that volunteers were collecting signatures, not preparing the relevant bills and regulations that would give structure and a prescriptive method of how people-initiated referendums under Sec 70 of the Constitution work?

This is most troubling when we examine the precedent being set, as the government and its agencies seems prepared to make the process up as it goes along, which will undoubtedly lead to legal challenges from all sides. The public deserves better and it seems that obstacles are being placed in the way of people exercising their rights under the Constitution.

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Category: Politics, Viewpoint

Comments (30)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The writer appears to have obtained a little legal training; just enough to get them in trouble.You try to apply legal reasoning without apllying common sense and thus you fail. You say that “Section 70 of the Constitution providing for people-initiated referendums does not support this signature verification process.”
    You also state “Section 90 of the Constitution (“Qualifications of electors”) doesn’t provide for this either. It says nothing about signatures or registered voters proving their identities, only who may register.”
    However you argue against yourself when you say “25% of people registered as electors is all that is needed” and that ”. All the Elections Law allows is for the presiding officer to verify your identity at the polling station by requiring your voter ID or another ID that confirms your identity, and by asking you if you are the person whose name appears on the register.” There’s the answer : since you are presenting yourself to the elections officer in the form of your name and signature on a sheet of paper, and not in person the officer has to ensure that it is indeed your name and signature that appears on that paper. Othérwise anyone could simply write your name on a petition and sign it and that would be it, even if you actually did not support that particular cause.So the elections office does require verification of a voters ID, or in this case a petitioner’s ID.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m not sure why the people of Cayman are putting up with such bullying from their elected politicians?

    2million people marched in Hong Kong over the weekend against their government.

    The Yellow Vests have been protesting in France for months.

    There are uprisings in Honduras.

    What the government is doing in Cayman is criminal. I don’t care who you are, if you have a job in the civil, whatever.

    Unless you take a stand and start taking back your country from these maniacal dicktators, you will be to blame.

    Save the environment.

    Stop the bullying of civil servants.

    Stop all of this in the Cayman Islands, future generations are counting on you.

    Your children are counting on you!!!

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    • Jah Dread says:

      We really in a bombo pickle ya. Himajine we will have to have an indecent group to verify that the Elections Offfice/CIG did not do anything underhanded.

      Let’s call in observers to monitor the Elections Office process. It is the most traaaasparent ting to do. Sene.

    • Anonymous says:

      11.59am Why are you pushing for
      an uprising in Cayman? You nmust be an outsider because I really don’t believe any Caymanian wants to see the unrest here that they have in those countries.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Systemic corruption is obvious and constant in the Caymans. It is unbelievable persons must be charged for abuse of office

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    • Tell it Like It Is. says:

      I have always maintained that we have reached a level of unbridled ignorance and perhaps criminal intent in the lack of enactment of proper policies and institutions to protect the people of these Islands, the constitution by itself is obviously not enough.

      The lAck of fundamental protections do not point to inefficiency, but rather, a sense of an immoral attitude and lack of respect and knowledge of democratic principles and yes don’t know don’t care attitudes. What a mess we elect to govern us.

      There will come a time if we do not put in place the necessary protections For elements of the constitution and the rights of the people, that we will have people taking much more advantage of an elected office and lead us into the quagmire we have read about and seen in other loosely guarded states. People arise and take a stand not just by referendums, but by public enunciation of your disgust with the liberties being taken by the political Bourgeois of these Islands. Isn’t it time we really get leaders who fully
      understand how to run the country in a yes “TRANSPARENT” manner, unclouded and untarnished and for the benefit of “all” the people.

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      • Perry Foster says:

        Absolutely! Where are we going to find them?

        • Tell it says:

          @7:30 am, they are right here ,local people with integrity, experience, educated highly trained, competent and who will do the right thing for this and future generations. These people I refer to are young and older folks who are not corrupt, and have been silently watching for some time, they will emerge sooner than later.

          • Anonymous says:

            BULLSH!T!! Those that have integrity, experience, are educated highly trained and competent have not and will not enter the corrupt political ring we live in. Birds of a feather and all…

            A gang of them tried it in the last 2 elections didn’t they? The ‘others’ threw so much shade at them and dragged them through the mud so that their own ‘constituents’ would believe anything they said… Oh nevermind. You folks would not know someone with integrity if they hit you in your bunky with a wet sock full of you know what.

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            • Tell It Like It Is says:

              @9:58 you are entitled to your opinion but you know there other parts that have opinions too.

              Les opinions sont comme des connards tout le monde a un

      • Anonymous says:

        4:00 we are waiting on the leader!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Kirkbots on the attack! LOL

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  5. Anonymous says:

    This process and the games being played by the Premier the Cabinet the AG and Elections office out of the gate proves Cayman is in a dark place where political interference and victimization is the modus operandi.

    How are the people supposed to trust system when there is now laws to direct a process? It appears that the Elections office is compromised and misguided by those who do not wish to see the people’s referendum process succeed.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Can’t the elections office just cross-check the names and ID number on the CPR list against their list of registered voters? I find it hard to think that someone would sign someone else’s name instead of their own. When I signed they ask to see my ID. If someone did that which I doubt, if and when the vote happens, persons have the freedom to go and vote yes or no, or if they so desire they can not go. I think CPR should seriously consider filing an injunction to prevent this unnecessary red tape.

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  7. Something is rotten in the state of Cayman says:

    The constitution was purposely left vague, just as will the sections pertaining to the Standards in Public Life and the District Advisory Councils

    We are now left completely out in the cold as the Elections office arbitrarily and without oversight brings in 100 part time staff who could literally be anyone who will have virtually unfettered access to the list of signatories, along with the ability to unilaterally “verify” the signatures

    These persons will likely be connected to the government, connected to the pro port lobby and the waterfront merchants and will systematically “verify” signatures on the petition
    They have not spent thousands of dollars to simply sit back and let this referendum which they know they will lose occur

    Don’t be surprised in July when the elections office announces something ridiculous like 25% of the signatures were unable to be verified and thus not counted
    The government will then claim that the port should proceed and announce the final bidder and then attempt to stonewall any oversight of the verification process as they always do

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    • Anonymous says:

      EXACTLY! if “The government is acting outside its lawful authority and is therefore in violation of Sections 19 and 24 of the Constitution, and can be taken to court under Section 26.” IT IS TIME TO ACT!

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      • Anonymous says:

        Join forces. Bring a mass action.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Agree….but who will volunteer to help fund the legal fees?

        We be waiting for those contributionď

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        • Anonymous says:

          there are many many attorneys on island who have made a lot of money practicing there craft here. Surely some of them, who believe in what CPR is doing could perhaps offer their services pro bono. CPR could open up an account to receive the funds. I do not have much but yeah, I would definitely make a small donation. Time for everyone who believes in this cause to put their money where their mouths are. WIll you?

      • Anonymous says:

        Will you raise the necessary funds to pay the attorneys?

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    • Anonymous says:

      In the interests of democracy, the Governor needs to step in if the referendum does not go ahead. The CIG should not be allowed to block the will of the Caymanian people.

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      • Anonymous says:

        7.22pm If the eletons office verifies the appropriate number of signatures the Governor will give instructions for the referendum to proceed. On the other hand if there are not enough confirmed signatures the Govetnor cannot order the referendum to proceed, doing so would be contrary to the Constitution.I repeat, the Governor is not empowered to force a referendum if the CPR failed to collect the required number of signatures of regisrered voters.

    • Anonymous says:

      The elections office has done an excellent job over the years and during the last election was given a passing grade by visiting observers. So please drop your insinuations and allegations of wrongdoing. Maybe you are accustomed to that in some other jurisdiction but don’t try to paint Cayman with that same brush.

  8. Banana Republican says:

    This Cabinet and Elections Office have rigged the verification process against the people which shows the corrupt way they operate to deny the public their rights.

    Governor Roper and the FCO must intervene in the public interests as Cayman is being run like a banana republic.

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    • Anonymous says:

      One cant help but notice the irony of the much flogged pair words used here in Cayman : ” Good Governance ” by the various politicians & MLA members in all topics of discussion, when it is the # one abused doctrine in running the territories business & the societies structure , in an efficient & transparent manner . It really raises the bar on the use of the word ” corrupt “. Mr .Roper … can you hear mi now?

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    • Anonymous says:

      who thought the Governor can help!

    • Anonymous says:

      Banana Republican: You are absolutely wrong. There is no proof whatsoever of any rigging of the process. Such practice may be the norm in your Banana Republic but not here.Your false accusations are harmful to the good name of the Cayman Is.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Excellent comment.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    I’m actually glad that this pot is being stirred right now.

    When the USA federally legalizes cannabis in less than a decade, the ability for the people to initiate a legally sound referendum will be of great use.

    I’m drooling at the tourism and business opportunities to come.

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