Cruise Port Referendum facts

| 12/06/2019 | 47 Comments

Johann Moxam writes: It’s always interesting to read the anonymous comments of people who will say all types of nonsense to deflect from the reality regarding the people-initiated referendum. I accept this is all part of the freedoms we enjoy in Cayman regardless of how one views the proposed cruise berthing facility project. For clarity here are a few facts:

1. The voice of the people must be heard as it is a constitutional right for a people-initiated referendum (PIR) under S.70 of the Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009.

2. Over 25% of registered voters have played their part by signing the petition on the proposed CBF project, making history.

3. If the government ignores the will of the people (25% of registered voters) and put obstacles in the way to fight against participatory democracy, they are not working in the best interests of the electorate, our country and do not believe in the democratic process. Cayman deserves better representation and leadership than those who seek to fight their own people.

4. The governor of the Cayman Islands will play a crucial role overseeing this referendum process as the PIR falls under his responsibility relating to matters of good governance.

5. This is clearly a matter of national importance, given the stated position by the Government of National Unity and their expensive campaign against the PIR, paid for by the public purse, and using senior civil servants and public officers to state their case in the PR campaign. To spend nearly $10 million on the CBF process, reports and professional services over two administrations is evidence of it being a clearly stated matter of national importance.

6. All MLAs will now be forced to state their position on the proposed CBF project and whether they support a project that will become Cayman’s largest, most complex, expensive capital works project to date. Given the track record of the leadership, all MLAs will have explain to their constituents why the are confident in the project or if they have concerns about the project.

7. All MLAs will be forced to share all relevant and updated information with public.

8. There has been a lack of credible information in the public domain and misrepresentations by our government, highlighted by their actions at the public meeting held at the Family Life Centre on 26 September 2018.

9. In the state-sponsored PR media campaign the narrative from the Ministry of Tourism, premier and deputy premier seemed to change from the claim that tender fees ($5.25 per person) will pay for the CBF project to the claim that the Cayman government will not contribute any funds towards the project on a 25-year term.

10. The removal of Department of Environment director from the Steering Committee was a major faux pas, given the legitimate environmental concerns and questions held by a large cross-section of the public.

In closing, ordinary concerned citizens started a grassroots initiative called CPR Cayman made up by a diverse collection of Caymanians who are exercising their democratic rights.

Regardless of your position on the CBF, having your say in the democratic process and getting your concerns addressed by the CIG on a project that will have significant environmental, financial and socio-economic impact is a right that we are all afforded under our Constitution.

If the leadership of our country were interested in openness, honesty, respect for the views of the majority, accountability, transparency and good governance, I do not think the government would be facing a historic people-initiated referendum under S.70 of the Constitution heading into the 2021 election.


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Comments (47)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    GO EL FUEGO!!!! We need more Caymanians like yourself! Willing to stand up and do the right thing. Some of these people don’t give a shit what the consequences are, they just listen to their MLAs without a conscious thought in their heads. Why are the government fighting against the very people who voted them in?! That’s what they need to ask themselves. If government is willing to spend so much money campaigning against the people who would DARE to be sensible, who would dare to question the effects and costs of such a major project, what else will they fight against us for? I’ll tell you what else, they’ve been fighting against us the people with:

    1. to build a national healthcare system,
    2. facilities to care for the indigent and mentally incapable,
    3. a vocational school,
    4. finishing the other schools,
    5. making education a priority and getting our schools up to any kind of standard to be proud of

    They’re fighting against us in so many ways and most of you choose to bury your heads deeper in the sand. They say hindsight is 20/20 but use your common sense people.

    Combine the effects of global warming with the effects of them building a new dock. Even if we use the lowest end of the spectrum in terms of damage how do you think we would fare with another Hurricane Ivan?!

    Come on people, ask questions and inform yourselves. Don’t just take what your politician say and parrot it. Find out how they going benefit cause believe you me, they pushing this like they getting a free cruise liner to live.

    • Anonymous says:


    • CAYMANIANS!! WAKE UP!! says:

      @ 12:12 pm PREACH!! Why can’t we ALL see the truth the way YOU DO??

    • Jay Oswell says:

      Go el fuego my asquaresuss. Johans points are academic and now superfluous. How many times do we have to hear/ read the same spiel. He is a coward afraid to tun for political office where he probably could do some good if he learns not to be so damn repetitive.

      Stop playing the activist role yow and be a man. If ya think these repeats are your ticket to fame then you really don’t understand this country you call home. Get off ya soap box and declare as a candidate for the 2020 election yow!

  2. Anonymous says:

    when this is all said and done,you all will still only hear what the CIG want you to hear!
    I don’t understand the force part.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone taken a look at the Seven Mile Beach from Tamarind Bay Condos to Regal Beach, including the Marriott…They have very little or no beach left and this has remained the same for almost a year now…We have to be careful folks..Without Seven Mile Cayman has nothing to offer..

  4. Anonymous says:

    Deport the Port!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Why can’t people just accept the fact that the dock is needed for the country?

    • Anonymous says:

      Surely they will. IF and only if it is voted to that effect during the referendum. Just don’t see why pro-port are soooo worried about the referendum if they are confident of their case. Surely, they should be embracing an opportunity to get a clear mandate.

      • geesome says:

        Under the current constitution is the referendum vote binding. It does not appear to be. It only appears to be advisory as to what the people are thinking. Therefore it looks like it is a waste of time. The government will not be required to follow the vote if it is not supporting their position.

        • Anonymous says:

          This is an outright lie. Read the above section of the Constitution. PIR outcomes ARE Constitutionally binding. That is why the section exists.

    • Carl Jennings says:

      Because it isn’t needed!

      • Roger Delaney says:

        No, it isn’t needed, plus it will be the end of tourism after the diving is gone and there is nothing worth seeing here.

  6. Anonymous says:

    11. Nobody will be forced to share anything with anyone. The information you believe you need so desperately will remain privileged.

    12. This is a waste of time.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Far too often we get emotionally charged when we hear about the potential for environmental damage and possible government mismanagement.

    However the port will definitely benefit Cayman’s economy and create a more diverse economic opportunity for small business operators. No other sector of our economy and certainly, not stay over tourism offers the opportunity to small local operators like cruise tourism. the employment opportunities are limitless. Unfortunately only big operators and vendors will benefit from not building the port.

    • 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:

        4:04 what happened to the multi-year, ugly reconstruction period of the air-port.
        we have two options, build the dock.
        Or leave it for our children to build one day! (hoping it will cost less)

        • Anonymous says:

          Didn’t destroy millions of years of evolution. Benefits everyone. Done with cash. Fifth of the cost. No 25 year entanglements with massive, selfish corporations. Opened new business opportunities. Didn’t close any businesses. Provided endless marketing opportunities for the jurisdiction. Gives a better service to a higher quality, more valuable tourist. Should I go on?

          The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall opened the airport. You think they would open this port? You would need Trump or Sarah Palin (‘dredge baby dredge’), or maybe Rex Tillerson can be brought out of retirement.

      • Anonymous says:

        BRAVO! If only this common sense existed more often in these pages. Please write again and thank you for your practical comments.

      • Tony Ward says:

        We know the $300,000,000 will blow out to double that figure, we just don’t know for sure who the lucky people in power who will divy up the extra $300 million are. Or do we?

    • Nada Troll says:

      I think you are a troll,1:58.

    • B.N. Honest says:

      1:58 pm is a compensated troll.

  8. Anita Motard says:

    Well said. I pray for the democratic process.

  9. Opinionated says:

    Well said Johann. I support the referendum 100% and I honestly wish I could sign my name to this comment. Unfortunately we live in a society that although is “democratic” will still impose negative consequences on it’s Civil Servants for voicing their opinions.

    We the people elected our representatives to their seats and they are bound to listen and adhere to the wishes of their constituents, not the other way round. Our elected officials fail to comprehend that they work for WE THE PEOPLE.

    It is time that our voices are heard, but before that can be done we need to open our mouths and insist that we are heard. No longer can we sit and complain and murmur to ourselves. Our Island is changing rapidly and in many ways not for the better.

    This referendum must take place to give the citizens of the Cayman Islands an opportunity to make our wishes on the Port known, wether we are or are not in favor of it being built. I am proud of the young Caymanians who have stood up and fought for this referendum.

    God bless the Cayman Islands.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hell Yeah! Well said.

  11. Anonymous says:

    11) Johann is positioning for the next election

    12) so is Mario Rankin

    13) CPR and especially Save Cayman should open their books to show exactly where their funding has come from and give ann example of the transparency that they claim lacks from CIG.

    • Anonymous says:

      Johann is showing real leadership qualities even before he is elected. I can support someone like that. He is candid and consistent a smart man with qualities current leaders are lacking.

    • Anonymous says:

      WTF? so you demand transparency from a this group but condemn them for asking for transparency from the government. So what if they run next election? They would be better than criminals we have in office now. are you saying something is wring with running for office?

    • Anonymous says:

      A little thing called a dishonesty offense that sunk one of those 2 the last time, I don’t think it is something that goes away very easy under the elections law so I am fairly sure one of those 2 will not be running in the next general.

  12. Anonymous says:

    #5 & #6 Should be in bold and ALL CAPS!

  13. J|) says:

    For analogy, as a civilian with no knowledge of airplanes, you should just sit down in your chair, shut up, make the pilot do his job, and trust that he isn’t taking shots behind a closed door before take off. You don’t need to be up in his face smelling his breath if you get pre-flight anxiety.

    100 – 25, Mr. Moxam.

    Good luck, and I am happy for you having equal democratic rights as the other 75%. I trust that the governor will assure it.

    #HAVEYOURChanceToSAYNO should be your hashtag.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The truth is that referendums are too often, as Clement Attlee and Margaret Thatcher put it, “a device of dictators and demagogues”, this campaign being a good example of the latter.

    The question is not whether the port development is good for the environment (it is not) nor whether the port development is good for George Town merchants (it is). The question is whether the port development is a good thing for Cayman, all things considered.

    The government believes it is, although it has not shared publicly (for defensible reasons) the full case for believing so.

    Mr Moxam and CPR Cayman believe it is not, and have also not shared their case for believing so publicly, instead focusing on casting doubt on the government’s supposed case.

    If the outcome of the referendum campaign is that government shares its case and proves beyond reasonable doubt that the upsides outweigh the downsides, and the referendum is in favour of the CBF, that will be a good thing.

    If the government does so, but nobody believes it because the naysayers aligned against the project have succeeded in whipping public opinion against it, and the referendum kills the project, that will be a very bad outcome indeed.

    Democratic decisions are not necessarily good decisions. Anyone following Brexit or US politics ought to need no convincing of that. They are useful for gauging opinion on moral issues (e.g. abortion, gambling etc) but not complex economic ones, or decisions where the conflicting needs and interests of one group need to be balanced with the needs of others.

    To quote yet another British Prime Minister, “the best argument against democracy is five minutes with the average voter”.

    Assuming you get the chance, vote wisely my friends.

    • Anonymous says:

      “The truth is that referendums are too often, as Clement Attlee and Margaret Thatcher put it, “a device of dictators and demagogues”, this campaign being a good example of the latter.”

      What? As opposed to MLAs flatly refusing to listen to those that elect them, operating in almost complete secrecy and spending public funds not on information but on advertising for their pet projects? Yes, that’s so much more democratic!

      • Anonymous says:

        The typical MLA has to represent a thousand voters or more and, moreover, has to make decisions based not just on what one or two, or even one or two hundred constituents want, but what is in the best interests of the country.

        Anything done by government is democratic because they were voted in and, normally, given the authority to act.

        Just because you disagree with something done by government doesn’t mean it was not democratic.

        The reason everything has been done “in secret” is, as the government has repeatedly said, so as not to tip off the companies in the bidding.

        Having said that, as soon as that is no longer a concern, the government ought to open the process and decision to public scrutiny.

        And ultimately, as the government knows well, the decision and the process will be judged by the electorate in the next election.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is rather telling how out of touch this writer is in bringing up references to Clement Attlee and Margaret Thatcher! Probably also someone who thought that Trump wouldn’t be able to champion the American people.

      One needs to open ones eyes to the world and see really what is going on rather than clinging on to ideology that is gathering dust in the cupboard.

      I do agree with them on one point though. It is indeed the conflicting needs and interests of one group that has driven the alignment of the many groups and individuals that now put their support behind the CPR efforts.

      Can you really take seriously anyone who tells you that you shouldn’t #StayWoke and #HaveYourSay?

  15. I ❤️ Kirkbots says:

    LOL PPM bloggers and Kirkbots going to lose they mind to win the 👍🏻👎🏻 battle and throw proper shade at the people’s champ but cannot stop the facts.

  16. Anonymous says:

    BOOM simple and to the point. Thanks Mr. Moxam

  17. Anonymous says:

    John you hit the nail on the head!
    Government are fighting the people but why?

  18. Anonymous says:

    11. The signatures are yet to be verified.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Thank CPR and Johann for your courage and commitment.

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