Over one third of petition verified

| 15/07/2019 | 28 Comments
Cayman News Service
Michelle Lockwood hands the petition to Matthew Forbes, of the governor’s office

(CNS): Just two weeks after the Elections Office began the verification process for the Cruise Port Referendum petition, more than 35% of the signatures have been verified. The latest statistics show that the campaigners have also submitted several hundred more signatures to the Elections Office, which now has more that 5,600 names to verify.

Despite significant concern about what has essentially become a complete redo of the petition rather than a random sampling, it appears that the office is finding the signators and confirming their signatures relatively quickly. So far 1,869 voters have been verified.

However, campaigners are still worried that tracking down the near 5,300 signators required to trigger the vote during the summer months may present problems, and there are also fears that people will recant because of the very formal nature of this process. However, so far the office appears to be systematically locating the people.

Despite government’s failure to pass the necessary laws to support the people’s constitutional right to call for a referendum, it is looking increasingly likely that the petition will be fully verified.

The activists are nevertheless preparing for legal challenges from the government, which is pressing ahead with the current bidding process for the Cruise Berthing Facility (CBF) project. Campaigners are concerned that the government may argue that the project, and therefore the subject of the proposed national ballot, is not of ‘national importance’, which is required under the Constitution for a people-initiated referendum (PIR).

Johann Moxam, one of the people who spearheaded the campaign, said that recent statements by Premier Alden McLaughlin and Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell made it clear “that they will make every effort to fight the people and the PIR process, including spending government funds, in order to challenge in the courts whether the proposed CBF project and the PIR are matters of ‘national importance’ under section 69 of the Constitution”. 

Despite government’s public position on the importance of the project and claims that without it the tourism sector would collapse, campaigners are convinced that government will not allow a vote to happen without a fight or, if it does go ahead, the question will be skewed in such a way as to make it harder for those opposing the project to prevail.

“The recent ramblings by the deputy premier at the Chamber Economic Forum that the ‘country cannot be run by referendum’ illustrates his government’s disconnect from the mood of the people and his complete lack of respect for the Constitution that was campaigned on and voted on by the public in 2009,” Moxam told CNS, pointing out that the PPM had been in government at the time it was crafted and they had been the architects of the idea of a people’s vote.

Kirkconnell, who is the minister for tourism, said during the Chamber Economic Forum on 19 June that he expected that his ministry would be announcing the winning bidder within three weeks. However, more than three weeks have passed and there has been no announcement.

Although there has been no official confirmation about the finalists in the process, CNS understands from various sources that just two bidders remain. One is a consortium led by local developer McAlpine and the second is understood to be led by China Harbour Engineering Company, the controversial Beijing-based company believed to have direct connections to the Chinese government.

However, the petition verification continues, even as government continues to select a bidder for the project, which is now expected to cost well over $250 million, making it the most costly and most ambitious capital project in Cayman Islands history.

The Elections Office is going door to door in the districts, hosting booths at various supermarkets at weekends and has extended its hours at the office on Smith Road, where people can visit to verify their signatures. People who signed but are now overseas are being asked to call or email the office so that they can verify their signatures.

Eligible Caymanians who have not yet registered to vote are urged to sign up as soon as possible to ensure that they make the next register so they can take part in the vote.

For more information visit the Elections Office website

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Category: Politics

Comments (28)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    You know something, Mac Daddy’s West Bay pier not sounding so bad these days.

  2. You scratch my back says:

    What’s the deadline on this verification process?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Though I disagreed with having to go through this verification process… I think the elections office under the leadership of Mr. Howell is doing a great job and I am impressed by the progress they are making…. so based on timelines they are likely to have most (if not all) signature verified by mid-august!…. keep up the good work Election Office team!!! and Thank you CPR… because you have started a movement exemplifying the real power of the people!

    • Hmm says:

      I want to agree with you…but what if this is like the iguana cull? What if the early numbers just look good because people are going in to the office to verify or they frequent the right supermarkets? The Elections Office has been working from east to west in their visits; people out east have the least at stake in this, and, there aren’t many out there anyway. I’d like to see them release figures on how many signatures they went out and verified; how many signatories happened to (or deliberately went to) the right supermarkets with their identification; how many have phoned or e-mailed in their verification because they’re off island; and how many have physically visited the office. The Elections Office does not get all of the credit for the speed at which signatures are being verified. They may not even deserve most of it if you discount the fact that they only did what pressure forced them to do and extended their hours, explained their procedures, and physically set up camps away from their office to make it easier to verify. For all we know, the UK has halted the procurement process for the port, and ordered the Elections Office to do what they’re doing, and if they hadn’t they’d be up to dirty tricks at the direction of Alden. I am happy to see rapid verification…but wary. It ain’t over till it’s over.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Election Office you represent the very best of Cayman and our civil service.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Moses won’t fight you, Mr. Moxam; he wants the port, but he is also willing to accept the will of the people, if that is their choice.

    Keep on the track, CPR! This is vitally important. Upi are all breaking trail and setting precedent for a process of the future.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Any individual who signed the first petition, but then recant during the “verification” process is nothing more than a gutless and spineless person. End of story. All mouth and no backbone. I signed and verified, and glad I played my part.

    • Anonymous says:

      Recanting is not possible. The only question is “did you sign?”

      “Have you changed your mind” is not an option.

      • Anonymous says:

        The form you have to sign repeats the petition question. It does not ask you to confirm that you signed the original petition. I assume CPR are looking at the ramifications of that as grounds for appeal.

      • Anonymous says:

        I told the priest “till death do us part”. Turns out I lied. Changed my mind. It happens.

  7. Does our Government not perform KYC checks on bidders?? says:

    The fact that the Cayman Islands Government is willing to accept a bid from China Harbour, knowing full well China Harbour’s history of alleged corrupt business practices around the world is incredibly frightening. Does our government not vet bidders prior to accepting bids? In Cayman’s financial industry, financial services providers have to adhere to CIMA’s guidance on Knowing Your Client. One such method to pass the KYC test is to run the client’s name through World Check, an online database of high risk individuals and organizations, such as those accused or convicted of crimes. Most financials services firms decline business from clients, based on negative information found during a World Check search. China Harbour’s World Check search results turns up allegation upon allegation of bribery and corrupt business practices around the world. No reputable financial services firm in Cayman would accept China Harbour as a client. So if financial services providers in Cayman wouldn’t touch China Harbour, then how does the Cayman Islands Government (CIMA are you listening??) accept bids that could result in a huge business relationship for decades to come?? This country will be married to China Harbour and indebted to the Chinese government for decades to come! Why do we want the Chinese government to have a huge amount of influence and control over the Cayman Islands???

    • Anonymous says:

      They only need to google China Harbour to see that they should keep far far away from them. However, as I understand from my research, they do indeed ‘pay back’ more than anyone…

    • Anonymous says:

      We need CHEC here and we should swing in with China as they will help us to be a world leader. Praise to Unity Team for your forward thinking!

      • Anonymous says:

        I choose to believe your comments are tongue-in-cheek, looking for outraged responses (for amusement purposes only). If you truly believe what you have written, you are extremely challenged intellectually.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe China Harbours business practices are exactly why they are still in the running.

    • Jotnar says:

      That’s an interesting point on KYC. Wonder what CFATF thinks about applying their standards to governments own contracting. Seems a bit shortsighted to say the jurisdiction is inherently briskly if the private sector doesn’t stick to their standards but then let government do 3 figures million dollar deals without any regard to them.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Dart should build the dock.

  9. ppm Distress Signal says:

    Alden will now do all in his power to screw cpr and the referendum.

    What a pompous ass. He is the ppm McKeeva Bush

  10. Anonymous says:

    Thank you CPR you are national heroes

    • Anonymous says:

      The rational voters who put their foot down, made their own way to a petition location, and signed (twice) are the real heroes.

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