CPR set to deliver cruise petition

| 11/06/2019 | 30 Comments
Cayman News Service

People sign the petition for a referendum

(CNS): Making history in the Cayman Islands, campaigners behind the petition for a people-initiated referendum on the government’s proposed cruise berthing facility will be delivering the original petition with around 5,500 voters’ signatures to the Elections Office tomorrow. The grassroots activists, who have been working on collecting the signatures since last August, have now satisfied themselves about the process and sought reassurances from the governor’s office, paving the way for them to deliver the petition and trigger the verification process.

The handover is expected to take place at the Elections Office on Smith Road at 2pm Wednesday, when the petitioners will hand over the documents to Elections Supervisor Wesley Howell, who is now expected to take a leave of absence from his primary job as the chief officer in the premier’s human resources and immigration ministry.

As the verification process gets underway, petitioners are urging people to register to vote to ensure that they can participate in the Cayman Islands’ first-ever people-initiated referendum.

They are also urging everyone who has signed the petition to contact the Elections Office to assist in the verification of their own signature, which will help ensure that this part of the referendum process happens smoothly and quickly.

The Elections Office is tasked with checking that each signature belongs to a qualified elector and that that person was the one who actually signed.

Howell has said that, depending on how easy it will be to track voters down, given that it is the summer and people may have changed addresses since the electoral roll was last verified before the 2017 election, it could take several weeks to confirm the 5,289 names needed to trigger the referendum.

That is why people who have signed the petition are encouraged to go to the Elections Office with their voter ID and help the staff verify the petition names over the coming weeks.

So far, government has refused to take the petition seriously and is continuing with the bidding process for the cruise and cargo project. Just last week Premier Alden McLaughlin made a statement to the Legislative Assembly that the final bids were now under evaluation and it would not be long before a winning bidder was announced.

He refused to answer questions from the opposition benches about his position on the referendum, maintaining that until a petition was presented to Cabinet, there was no referendum on the issue.

McLaughlin refused to be drawn on whether he believed it was a matter of national importance, the benchmark which is stated in the Constitution for a people’s vote. He said that until the petition with the requisite number of voters was presented to the Cabinet, the government had no need to consider the issue. If that happened, he said, it would then take legal advice.

Denying that the cruise port project is of national importance will be very difficult for the government but it will be a way of delaying the vote and forcing the campaign into the courts once the petition makes it to Cabinet.

The next stumbling block for the national vote will be the question posed in the referendum, as government controls this and there are fears it could be worded to confuse the issue. It could be phrased broadly about the direction of cruise tourism rather than simply asking people if they support the idea of cruise berthing facilities in George Town harbour, which is what the petition is based on.

While the governor has said he will ensure that the question and the entire process leading up to a referendum is fair, government is one hundred percent committed to the cruise project, and despite the clear and growing public concerns and continued lack of real justification, it seems intent on pursuing the project at all costs.

Nevertheless, the campaigners intend to battle the issue all the way to the vote to ensure that the people of the Cayman Islands, and not just the seven members of the Unity government’s Cabinet, will decide in a free and fair ballot whether or not this project goes ahead.

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Category: development, Local News, Politics

Comments (30)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Why are people pushing 25% on a petition is a majority of the Islands voters? Because 25% of the people can stop a much needed Cargo and Cruise ship facility, what’s next? A referendum for schools, roads, churches?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Government is supposed to reflect the will of the people. The only reason I can think of as to why they are so adamant at pushing forward is because there are people who stand to gain something for themselves.

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  3. OneVoice says:

    All you can hear is that they are delivering ….. Deliver it already!!!! and let whatever be will be. Why so many delays . They either have the numbers or not. I am on neutral grounds to be honest. I can se the positives thou few…. but I see the negative as well. So ij this case the majority wins in either direction, we will have to live with it. The people have spoken.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    In this video young couple with a baby sailing the world you’ll see about the stench coming from a cruise ship. You will have several of them stinking right in your front yard if you built the dock.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jL1TWWIxiAw

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Cayman don’t have alot to offer except diving and an incredible beach yet we are trying to destroy what tourists have been coming here for years to enjoy. Backward greedy people.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Just build the port already, put in measures to keep pollution and damage to a minimum, help build artificial reefs, establish coral farming and move on to the next issue.

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    • Anonymous says:

      So invite the major polluters in and then little old Cayman is going to control them and ‘keep pollution and damage to a minimum”.? Yeh, right that gonna work…we cant even keep illegal bikes off the streets or stop people driving like crazy Ivan. This is one of the most blatant statements of greed I have seen…”just don’t look and patch it up”…

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  7. Anonymous says:

    when the govt has already commited to something…it has to happen…otherwise cat o nine whip…..yet at the future deyriment of the island and its natives….sad! all in name of greed…😢

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  8. Anonymous says:

    They either don’t have the numbers or they know a lot of signatures are bogus.

    This whole exercise was just a delay tactic.

    If they actually cared about a referendum they would have met with Wesley Howell in the beginning to know the process not a year after they started.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Spot on

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      • Anonymous says:

        Agreed.

        So much PR bluster and political hopeful posturing.

        Simply deliver the signatures please.

        We need you to stick to fighting to protecting our environment!

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        • Anonymous says:

          I would genuinely like to know the answer to just 5 simple questions:

          1. How certain are we that we will ever recover from the effects of a multi-year, ugly construction period, in which ships don’t come because nobody likes a building site?

          2. How many smaller operators are likely to go bankrupt during the construction period if ships bypass us during construction?

          3. Why is $300m on just one flavour of the moment tourism sector (mega-ships) so vital over spending the same $300m on enhancing the Cayman experience and increasing attractiveness for all tourism sectors by improving roads, town redevelopment, protecting and enhancing environment & attractions?

          4. If Cayman’s attractiveness to visitors is predominantly its environment, what will continue to attract them after we have destroyed it? (because a shiny new dock won’t)

          5. Why is this Government so hell bent on pursuing this when almost every destination that has already aggressively over-developed cruise tourism is now openly regretting it, facing problems from it or pulling back from it?

          A diversified economy would be one that doesn’t pitch the vast majority of its financial future on a sector reliant on public trends of the moment and in which the vast majority of jobs are minimum wage.

    • Anonymous says:

      A delays tactic on something that has been delayed for 30 odd years by successive governments? Whats your hurry? Civil service has been threatened with loss of jobs if they sign, so that is a loss of 6000 signatures there. Now if only their union or representatives had the guts to stand up in court and say so…government cannot function without the CS and the CS should know that. Who they gonna employ instead? You see, potentially, if it were not for the CS fiasco this petition would have over 11,000 signatures…

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    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry, but we have contacted Wesley Howell from the outset and asked the best way to deal with this. We also have sat down and verified all of the signatures ourselves. These signatures are not bogus and to suggest is to deride the process and the effort of tireless volunteers.

      This has never been a delay tactic, but one about transparency and democracy. We the people have the right to choose what we want and the government has not properly consulted and consider the opinion of the people.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Ignorance is bliss for some.

      Here are some facts for you to deal with

      https://caymannewsservice.com/2019/06/cruise-port-referendum-facts/

  9. Anonymous says:

    Why can’t they just deliver it? Why all the hoopla about delivering it and time is wasting.

    DELIVER IT!

    NIKE!!!

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Then collect 5,300 signatures from port Supporters and call a referendum to ignore the first petition

    Good luck finding 500 Caymanians to sign much less 5000

    The government’s own public commenting period was what? a 3:1 margin against if memory serves

    You people are clowns if you think the people actually want this port if the CIG thought they had a chance in hell of winning a potential port referendum they would have called it last year and been done with the process already

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    • Anonymous says:

      There was never a real genuine motive of giving people a vote, the only goal for this group is to stop the dock at all costs. They just want to try to out the project off as long as possible, if it took a year going door to door to get the names they will never get double that to show up to a vote and vote no.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Alden won’t make this happen. Mark my words! He will ensure that this people’s referendum won’t work because if the people get power, he will lose his power.

    The only how to get this done is to vote that bunch out in the next election..

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Why the Brac was not involved, can they vote on the referendum ?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yes absolutely they can vote in the referendum. We did go to the Brac, but please remember that the biggest supporter of the port is an elected official from the Brac and we had a hard time getting over there without trouble.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    As I recall, the petition summary expressly outlined its objective in no uncertain terms.

    Therefore, upon confirmation and verification of signatures, it is a reasonable expectation / demand for the question set by government to be based on the same points, as opposed to;

    “Do you prefer dogs over cats? Yes or no.”

    – Whodatis

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Deliver the damn petition, for Christ’s sake! What are you guys waiting on?

    Enough blah blah now.

    Nike!!!

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  15. Anonymous says:

    We must stop this utter waste of time and resources, Honorable Premier we need our port.

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    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      So, let me get this straight. You would hold your own desires over the majority of the people. What, really, does that say about you? I would never put myself first. I want what the majority of the People want, which is a true democracy. It’s why we vote. It’s why we elect members of the LA.

      I hope the MLAs are paying attention this time around. We are getting restless and weary of being jacked around. We want straight talk, not political diatribe.

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    • Anonymous says:

      What do you really need the port for? To destroy the reef? To destroy the very reason tourists visit the Cayman Islands? To destroy any chances of return visitors?

      There’s little to nothing left pristine on the island as it is. Cayman is a one trick pony. Why do you want to kill Cayman’s only trick?

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