Small number not verifying petition

| 12/07/2019 | 61 Comments
Cayman News Service
Elections Supervisor Wesley Howell is flanked by his deputies, Sheena Glasgow (right) and Suzanne Bothwell, and campaigner Katrina Jurn (far left) with the petition documents (click to enlarge)

(CNS): The Elections Office has confirmed that only a small number of people who signed the petition for a referendum on the government’s proposed cruise berthing facility have declined to sign the verification form. So far, more than 1,500 people have verified their names and less than two dozen have refused, officials said, noting that the office is keeping track of these refusals. CNS contacted the Elections Office earlier this week about these numbers and how the office is recording those who will not verify.

In a short statement, Supervisor of Elections Wesley Howell said that, as of Monday 8 July, over 27% of the petition signatures had been verified and just a small number had declined to sign verification forms.

“Elections Office verifiers are documenting each of these encounters, and our field supervisors and senior team are reviewing each of the instances,” he said. “As such, while the reviews are underway, we are not able to publicly share the exact reasons why persons are declining to be verified at this time. However, we expect to be able to share those numbers in the coming weeks.”

The process by which the Elections Office is verifying the petition has raised many concerns, as the failure of government to enact any legislation to support the constitutional provision for a people-initiated referendum has left the office in a difficult position, with no clear statutory process to follow.

It appears that the decision not to use a random sampling system has come from Cabinet, which means that the team at the office is now having to track down everyone who signed the petition in the last eight months and ask them to sign again.

North Side MLA Ezzard Miller told CNS this week that he had new concerns after he was visited by a staff member from the Elections Office to confirm his name. He said he had no issue with the staffer, who carried out his role in a clear way, but the fact that he did not have a copy of the page of the petition that Miller signed raised the question of who is verifying his original signature.

“So who is the handwriting expert that will be cross-checking my signature on the petition that I originally signed,” he asked, as he called on the Elections Office to explain exactly how this process was being conducted.

Johann Moxam, who has been involved in the campaign to trigger the referendum since the start, is one of many people who have concerns about how cumbersome the process has been made because of government’s failure to enact the necessary law. He said these issues are linked to the deliberate political games being played by the premier and the other elected officials on the government benches.

Moxam said it was “clear by their actions and omissions” that none of them understand or support “the principles of participatory democracy, accountability, transparency and good governance”.

He added, “Despite their political rhetoric about supporting democracy and the Constitution, they have directed that the verification process be as cumbersome as possible in order to buy themselves time and potentially commit the country to the largest, most complex and most expensive capital works work to date. The evidence is their decision and collective failure to draft the appropriate Referendum bill, regulations and guidelines which could then be passed in law. Cabinet has put the elections supervisor, Elections Office and the country in a difficult situation in order to push through their agenda.”

Moxam told CNS that instead of preparing the country for the referendum, they are using public funds to oppose it and “consistently misrepresent the facts” to discourage voters from exercising their constitutional rights.

Statements made by the premier and deputy premier indicate that they will make every effort to fight the people, Moxam said, who believes that the government intends to fight the petition even when the numbers are confirmed in the courts.

“Government has spent over CI$10 million in public funds to date on professional services, reports and their own costly PR campaign to tell the country that this project will be a panacea and provide an economic boom, with as many as 3.5 million cruise passengers a year by 2024,” he said.

Moxam said that the deputy premier’s recent comments that the “country cannot be run by referendum” shows government’s “disconnect from the people” as well as the constitutional provision for a referendum which was orchestrated by the premier and his then PPM administration.

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Comments (61)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Leaving aside opinions on this petition & verification for a moment, do you believe that people who sign a petition, any petition, should have the right to remove their signature at a later date? Why or why not?

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Unpopular Opinion: I want the Dock built.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    You people do not think that “Infrastructure” is a serious thing to be concerned with on a growing island?? They certainly did in the 70’-80’s until this new wave of politicians thought they knew better and began removing moratoriums and not taking their ‘forefathers’ plans seriously.
    Several major factors that may lead to being a less popular place to live and visit.
    In the early 90’s when I lived at the top of SMB, you could NOT smell the trash heap no matter which direction the wind blew. Now, you can smell it with and w/o the wind. As well as along the bypass.

    In the mid-90’s I lived in South Sound and you couldn’t have your windows open for the burning trash. The foul smell would stick in your nostrils. Luckily this was outlawed and stopped for the most part. Why? Carcinogens (believe it or not they were burning plastic and rubber).

    Besides that trash heap that is only getting bigger, the sewage is already starting to permeate the air on SMB. Walking down near Coconut Plaza over the weekend, the sewage odor is very concerning and right across form the multi-million dollar properties but I doubt they open their windows…

    Let me see, Comfort Suites is now being bought by Dart. Wonder how big a tower he’s going to build once that gets torn down. Another one bites the dust; one less affordable hotel on SMB..

    But, yeah, let’s build more condos along this corridor and a big TOWER!! Brilliant idea.

    Ya’ll better pull your head out and have a look at what’s going on and what’s being allowed to happen. It’s already too late for a lot of what has already been approved. You just can’t see it yet. Keep in mind, his plan is a 30 year plan. He is NOT joking around. Neither is his estranged wife when she said it was her husband’s island. Because it IS his island.

    If you don’t believe me, just wait for the Beneficial Ownership (fingers crossed) and get an overview map of the island with the Dart properties shaded in. But that will never happen because you will not be allowed to know this information. You would sh!t your pants. (actually it would be so convoluted and under so many different shell companies that you could never collate this information nor would it be allowed)

    Signed,
    A Conspiracy Theorist that is Genuinely Concerned

  4. Anonymous says:

    Please stop trying to play with god’s beautiful ocean. It do not have any grip. Kindly sign the petition and also fill out and sign the petition verification form. Then it could be a possibility of a smooth sailing referendum.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    People, this dock is going to be built make no mistake about that! Just 1500 signatures out of over 65,000 residents is a drop in the ocean. That goes to show the amount of people that really do want the dock – sorry to say.

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    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      It’s not 1500, it’s more than 5,000, and at that, only those who weren’t too intimidated by their employers or government to sign. People like you are scared of the time when we ALL vote in the Referendum, because then, girls and boys, school is out and nobody’s vote will be known.

      You think your dock will be built? The time for that to have happened has passed, and you can that Bush for that. Now, the Cayman Islands need to not be indebted to any institution and we need to take care of our own, and spend the money that was going to be wasted on the piers in an intelligent way — a way that benefits Caymanians, ALL Caymanians.

      It’s a matter of simple math and geography; we don’t have the room or resources for the additional people who might be brought in with the finger piers, and lately — globally — deals made with cruise ship companies quite often lead to states, countries and cities being burned and left with debt which cannot be serviced.

      So, you cast your vote, and I will cast mine, but don’t cast aspersions upon the first People’s Initiated Referendum; this is history being made, and a turning point for Cayman. Right or wrong, the Referendum MUST go before the voters. Not Theocracy, not kleptocracy, not Autocracy, not Ogliarchy but true and direct Democracy.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I agree fully with you 12.34pm, but reading posts every single day of you all criticising your Government of corruption and underhandedness, what do you expect the conclusion most people are going to come to. It’s the same with every single thing on this island. Why should this be any different.
        This island, in my, and i’m Sure many people’s opinion, is way ahead of itself and growing too fast. However, you can’t have it all ways. If you want a tranquil “old days” Caribbean island like it used to be years ago, and I loved those days, you are not going to have the income you are having now. It’s a hard thing to accept but a fact. I dreaded the Tuesday and Fridays then of the cruise ships coming in. You couldn’t move in Georgetown but it was money coming into the island and we had to suffer it for a few hours. I agree with you all that money for this project could be better spent in areas like education, sorting out “the dump” and helping the elderly etc., but is it going to happen ask yourself. Like it or loath it, this island depends on tourism for its economical growth. These tourists are putting jobs on the table for you all, hence the huge amount of hotels being built. As lovely and safe as it was years ago you wouldn’t want to go back to that poverty again.

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        • BeaumontZodecloun says:

          I agree with everything you said.

          We must find a sustainable way to stabilise the economy; we’ve been through a building boom, and still riding that, while many of our roads are already jam-packed.

          I don’t recall a level of “poverty”. I can remember when their was not as much money coming into Cayman, but the living standard of the families around me seem much the same, except now there seems to be more unemployed and unemployable.

          Expats are not to blame, and I don’t feel that all our government administrations have been corrupt, just a few individuals.

          What seems monumentally important to me is that the Referendum go through. I will live with the outcome of that vote, regardless of which way it goes, because it will be the true will of the voters.

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    • Anonymous says:

      If “residents” were allowed to sign in addition to registered voters, you would be dealing with much more than 1500 signatures. Try to understand before you post nonsense.

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      • Anonymous says:

        If “residents” were allowed to vote, you would end up with a whole lot of other things that you don’t want.

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        • Anonymous says:

          I specifically said ” sign the petition”, not vote. You should read first as theres a reason I made a clear distinction.

    • Jotnar says:

      Except only registered voters are allowed – so your 65K number is pants. And over 25% of the registered voters are claimed to have signed – the 1500 is the number the registrar has reached so far not the total number of signatures. less than 2
      % of those contacted have withdrawn their signatures. So your 1500 number is also pants. In fact your whole comment is – but I think you knew that anyway.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Three petitioner organisers and a volunteer out at Hurley’s today. I saw 13 new signatures before lunch time. The government does not stand a chance of stopping this referendum. They can only publish an electoral roll every 3 months; signatures can be collected every day.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    SIPL should also apply to an “misrepresentation, corruption ir fraud” committed or conspiracy to commit same, as part of a petition to force a referendum.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I knew that you “downers” would hate that suggestion.

      Accountability for anybody else besides yourselves.

      Not democratic at all!

  8. Al Catraz says:

    I can’t wait to see the question:

    “Do you support the construction of a berthing facility to have two piers of 18 meters by 305 meters? Yes or no.”

    And then, whatever the outcome, the piers will be 304 meters long.

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  9. AnonymousV says:

    I am sorry. But I signed the petition once! NOT DOING IT AGAIN! What country on earth you see requires a referendum signed twice ???

    I’ve never heard of this before.

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    • Anonymous says:

      None of us are happy with it but if you feel that you have a right to have your say, then you would sign it again instead of letting the process defeat you.

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    • Anonymous says:

      WTF? Are you an imbecile? You are not signing it again, you are just confirming that you did sign it in the first place.

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    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      If your story is a truthful one, please we all ask you to go through the incovenience and confirm your signature. I was put out also, but this is so very important. You and me and others are in process of setting a legal precedent — one that will ring throughout the ages toward the mutual benefit of these islands.

      What else can we solve with the strength of the voters? We are limited only by our imaginations. We don’t need revolution, we don’t need independence, we need solidarity, the will of the majority.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Please understand that you hadn’t sign the Referendum. You signed the document asking for a referendum. Do not give up, please go and verify. They are banking on persons to get fed up and do not bother with verification. If you don’t verify then perhaps you might be that one signature that will allow or disallow the referendum Cayman will thank you.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Wonder why??? Why would you sign it in the first place and then change your mind? Seems weird but maybe it’s those amazing tourism commercials and that really fancy tune they’ve come up with on the radio. Sounds like the 50’s when everyone followed everyone else like zombies.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Not possible to change your mind. The only lawful question is: Did you sign it or not?

      If the answer is no, it should be referred to the police for investigation for fraud.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Simple, signed because was told it was an effort to have the facts about the port, then it turned out or seamed to have taken a turn to, we are against the Port. Not sure if its the case for anyone else, but in mine, preferred not to be included in the latter.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Too late. You signed. Your signature should count.

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      • Anonymous says:

        You do realise the people against the port are against it because of the information that is out there that suggests unacceptable irreversible constant damage will be done to the underwater world of the entire western side of Grand Cayman right, most concentrated around our best dive sites in that area and in fact removing the major attraction for residents and cruisers of snorkelling, diving, and taking the submarine and glass-bottom boats etc around? And if a referendum gets us information that the damage won’t be that bad, we’ll vote yes for more business? If it gets us information that it really is that bad, THEN we’ll vote no? No you don’t realise that, obviously.

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        • Anonymous says:

          But actually I signed it because I genuinely do NOT want this thing built. Not in this day and age with all of the damage humans cause in other places on such a global scale.
          Please can’t we be one small place that values our resources…
          Think of all the money that the government has been spending on this campaign of disinformation and ‘pro’ tourism. This should be spend on our dump and our education system.
          Anyone who truly thinks that the only people against this dock are related to the Tenders are so deluded and irrational it beggars belief.
          Thick. Thick skulls up in here.

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      • Anonymous says:

        So youre saying youre no longer interested in learning the true facts?

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      • Anonymous says:

        its neither, it is simply to request a referendum on the subject. So you can be FOR the port, but also FOR democracy and sign up for the referendum.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Until SIPL is enacted, to open the books on suspicious relationships and criminalize lying and corruption, nothing will change in “parliament”. At least a handful of members are confirmed bad actors with dossiers of self-service going back decades. We need to clean this house, and bar them from politics for life. Our “parties” are formed more along the literal adolescence sense of the word ie. free-for-all-celebrations, rather than shared voter-backed political ideology and allegiances. The Constitution requires adult accountability and consequences that haven’t been enacted. The whole LA should be suspended by Governor until these minimum standards of governance are met.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for ironing out the referendum kinks CPR people.

    When the USA federally legalizes cannabis in less than a decade, there’s thousands of Caymanians ready for a proper referendum.

    They seem to set the norm anyway.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    In any normal democracy, less than 24 fails out of 1,500 signatures would be proof enough that the petition is valid. It will be a true travesty and failure of democracy if the referendum doesn’t go ahead.

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    • Anonymous says:

      From what I read there were not 24 fails, only 24 people who refused to sign a form. They do not seem to have denied signing the original petition.

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    • Anonymous says:

      So far, more than 1,500 people have verified their names and less than two dozen have refused, officials said,

      In other words less than 1/2 of 1%. Just extrapolate to the complete population of signatures and get on with the referendum.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Something wrong with your maths buddy. 24 out of 1500 is not less than 1/2%.

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        • Anonymous says:

          thumbs down – do you just not like the truth or do you actually think 24 out of 1500 is less than half a percent? If it’s the latter you are too dumb to be allowed to vote.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes to the referendum but hell no to the continued verbosity of Moxam “the principles of participatory democracy, accountability, transparency and good governance”. You wouid swear he swallowed a recording of these words AND THAT THIS IS A PAID POLITICAL ANNOUNCEMENT MEANT TO BE A SUBMIMINAL MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE, COME ON MAN.

      Listen fella we know what those words mean, ok, just start expanding your vocabulary will ya you have repeated the same sentence 450 times in the past year, do yourself a favor fella Let us see you in other community activities as well that are not just criticism, and, that show you not just as an effervescent mouth piece but as an individual who truly believes in what he says , is willing to get his hands dirty in the aid of his fellow citizens and lastly one who truly believes in the words he loudly proclaims adnaseum,.

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      • Verified Voter says:

        You are paying very close attention to everything that Moxam and the CPR volunteers say which is the point. They are calling out the nonsense which is exactly the objective. You are focused on the messengers while ignoring the message.

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      • Johann Moxam says:

        Dear Anonymous @7:35pm 13/7/2019

        If you are interested in having a chat or cup of coffee in order to understand my reasons for supporting the People’s Initiated Referendum and principles of participatory democracy please contact me on 9260984.

        I don’t need to hide behind anonymity. I suggest you do the same. Please note that I do feel it necessary to publicly declare what I do or why I do it or how I give back to my community…I do not think anything I do or what any volunteer does in “getting their hands dirty” is a competition. I do not do any of it for personal glory. Neither do I fear addressing you personally on any issue.

        I’m happy to agree to disagree on this or any topic because that’s how sensible people operate and democracy is supposed to work.

        If you are serious and not just a bitter troll I have you given you an open invitation to contact me to discuss matters face to face.

        Enjoy your weekend.

        Johann Moxam

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  14. Anonymous says:

    1 is a big number with margins this small.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Ummmm, so the elections office say that a small number of persons who signed the petition have declined to sign the verification form? So it accepts they signed the petition? Then what business do they have enquiring further?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly….what is going on here is a resigning of the petition NOT verification. Verification would have included checking signatures yet nobody at the Elections Office showed me my original petition signature to verify .

      If people wont “resign” that means they originally signed which is in fact verification in itself. It seems this “verification” is actually more of a process to allow people to change their minds.

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    • Anonymous says:

      you should ask what is the result of non verification

  16. Anonymous says:

    petitioner shpuld not be worried….
    ppm have been at this nonsense for 9 years and as usual have achieved nothing with the port.
    in this instance….thank god for the incompetence of the do-nothing ppm…..

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  17. Anonymous says:

    said it before…take a sample 100 sigs and see if they are 90% verified. if so, move on to the referendum.
    cig have many plenty more dirty tricks up thier sleeves…

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    • Anonymous says:

      They took a sample of 1500 signatures but don’t like the result – the verification will continue until the answer Alden wants is produced, or the contract signed, whichever comes first.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    With many young Caymanian students returning back from college overseas, is it too late for them to sign. If peoples names can be removed at this stage it seems only fair new one’s can be added.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    How can I ascertain if my verification form has been submitted and accounted for.?

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Get on with the referendum so i can vote for the port.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I am against the port but I thumbs up this message because this person gets it. Sign the petition and have your say. How hard is that to understand?

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  21. Al Catraz says:

    In other words, out of 5300 signatures, it is unlikely that more than 85 will not verify – regardless of whether or not they signed.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I hope you are right – but you can’t just extrapolate given the 1500 so far are a combination of the ones who happen to be in when the inspector calls, but also those that are so enthusiastic that they go down to the registrar to confirm. Not a random sample. You would expect failure rate to increase the further they get through the population.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    They might refuse to sign the form, but do they deny signing the original petition? That is an important distinction.

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    • Anonymous says:

      simple if you refuse to sign, then you are asking for your sig. to be void!

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      • Anonymous says:

        But if you confirm it is your signature, it is not void.

      • FactsAreStubbornThings says:

        Even simpler, If you signed the petition,you signed!

        I sometimes think that I would like to have my vote for the PPM in the last election be declared void. Unfortunately, there is no legal basis for this to happen, as is the case for someone wanting their signature to be removed from the petition. In the absence of legislation providing a mechanism otherwise, the onus should be on the elections office to prove that the vote is fraudulent, not the other way around.

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