Ex-speaker accuses CIG of secrecy on port

| 16/08/2019 | 71 Comments
Cayman News Service
Mary Lawrence on Radio Cayman

(CNS): Mary Lawrence, who served as Speaker of the House during the last UDP administration, having been appointed by McKeeva Bush from outside the Legislative Assembly, has criticised the current Government of National Unity for the way it has handled the proposed cruise port project. “There has been this veil of secrecy,” she said about the process, as she criticised this and other administrations for having a tendency to dismiss the people when they ask questions.

“They either ignore them or they pretend that they are stupid for asking the question,” she said.

Speaking on Radio Cayman’s morning talk-show, For the Record, hosted by Orrett Connor, Lawrence said this was not the first government that has failed to give out information, and argued that when making major decisions, all governments should seek to carry the people with them.

The former speaker suggested that this government had driven people to call for the referendum because they had failed to tell them what was going on. And she criticised government for not considering the need for referendum legislation when they knew people were campaigning for it. She said she believed it was because government did not believe they would get the number of signatures needed.

Lawrence raised new questions that government needs to answer about the preferred bidder and how they arrived at the decision. She said there were still many unanswered questions since the bidder was announced, and she dismissed government claims that they had been transparent.

“The government came out and said you have all the information you need. Let me tell you something, I did not get all the information I need,” the former speaker said.

She questioned what would happen to the cruise industry and landing cargo during possibly four years of construction. She queried what would happened at Spotts and where the cruise ships would go, even after it is finished, if there is a Nor’wester.

“When are they going to answer the questions that the people want the answers to?” she asked. “This is what everybody is finding so frustrating,” she added, suggesting that instead of responding, they were attacking the motives of the people campaigning for the vote.

Lawrence said she had serious misgivings about how all the construction was going to be handled in George Town Harbour, as this was an area she felt government has not addressed at all. She raised concerns about the environmental costs to the country, as well as the impact on cargo operations and the wider management of the entire project, pointing to the airport as a poor example.

Lawrence stressed that in a democracy the people have a right to question the elected government.

The former speaker was on the show with lawyers Steve McField and Theresa Pitcairn, who had concerns about the process of the referendum on the cruise port project and the project itself. McField warned that there was a danger of this referendum “being a farce”. He said people might challenge the vote in court if government does not put out all of the necessary information and what it all means to the people before they go to the polls.

Pitcairn noted that government is continuing to spend public money promoting only its view and that it seems to feel that only its view matters. But she pointed out that the money is the people’s money because it comes from taxpayers. She said the people have a view and things could be addressed if there were real, open conversations about this issue.

See the full show below on Radio Cayman’s YouTube channel:

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Category: development, Local News, Politics

Comments (71)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    2,:33pm And thank the Lord for creating sin

  2. Anonymous says:

    They don’t have to worry, 2021 the fools will vote them in again, and a few weeks after election, they will be sayng they have to go and then vote them again and again. The Policitians are smart, the voters are the stupid ones.

  3. Election Observer says:

    Think about the number of times Mary Lawrence has tried and failed to get elected to the L.A. There are very good reasons for that.

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      That has nothing to do with the point she’s making.

    • Anonymous says:

      12,:13 pm, you are right But in the end she lucked out with free pension and free medical for life. For being Speaker of the House from outside the House.

      • Anonymous says:

        She was older than pensionable age when she was Speaker. Of course Mac may have arranged some ex gratia payment arrangement for her. Her late husband was a seaman so she probably has medical benefits through that connection. None of this seems to be relevant to her speaking her mind on the issue of the port which she is entitled to do like anyone else.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because her blunt honesty (certainly on this occasion) is seen as a threat?

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually you seem to know very little about Cayman political history. It was NOT Mary Lawrence that ran for a government seat multiple times, it was the late James Lawrence.

      Would you like to retract your insinuation now, knowing the facts?

      • Anonymous says:

        You are the ignorant one, 7:31. Mr Lawrence NEVER ran “for a government seat” because he had US citizenship and did not want to renounce it. Mrs Lawrence ran several times over a period of 30 years or more.

      • Anonymous says:

        7,:31 am, you are wrong, she ran for election a few times

      • Anonymous says:

        Just go to elections.ky and look up the results over the years. You’ll see that you’re the one who know very little about Cayman political history. Would you like to retract your post now?

  4. Anonymous says:

    I give Mrs Lawrence (lets stop with the Dr the Honourable nonsense that goes on nowadays) credit for always having the courage to express her views even though I am by no means a supporter of the methods of her or her late husband, whose sometimes very sensible opinions (Cayman Airways, Turtle Farm) she parroted. When one thinks of the present Bodden Town MLA Seymour, it is clear they would be better off with her. XXXX

  5. Anonymous says:

    “Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives”

    I was watching a free documentary on IMDb today, “The U.S. vs. John Lennon”. It covers an extraordinary amount of material and does it well.

    I couldn’t help but compare the era and social climate around this documentary to what we are experiencing today. Why does it seem as if people today (not just my “generation” or my “community”) are fearful or apathetic towards fighting for what they think is right?
    I recommend everyone, especially younger generations to watch it because we have to remind ourselves that there are times to speak up and times to act.


    “Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for rights”. Martin Luther King Jr

  6. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t it incredible how close in like/dislike some of these comments are? You’d be forgiven in thinking that skullduggery is afoot. Or some silly algorithm.

    • Çòť-lovê says:

      Well … there’s a remedy if you don’t like the like/dislike option. Get rid of it. And then everyone looking for cookies to feed their ego, will be forced to produce worthwhile comments. For now, Cns, is just a site where ego infested minds pour their junk out to get meaningless ratings.

      Its actually amusing to see how ratings matter so much you are commenting aboit it. Poor thing. 🙂

  7. I ❤️ Kirkbots says:

    Kirkbots and professional bloggers on contract with the Tourism ministry and pro-port special interests are officially in DEFCON 5 mode are trying again to win the 👍👎 battle on the unscientific cns comment polls.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anti port paid special interest lobbyists also at work here, there’s no doubt about that.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Politics aside, I think Miss Mary Lawrence means these islands well by addressing secret deals made between our politicians and the elite.


    • Anonymous says:

      Miss Mary concerned about secret deals..? That’s rich coming from a UDP pal of the King of secret deals.

      • Anonymous says:

        That same guy is now the Co-leader with Alden McLaughlin of this coalition government of unity. The Premier only got his second term because of his deal with McKeeva Bush. There is currently no bigger fan club or BFF of Big Mac than the ppm diehards and Alden who know they must kiss his a$$ or the dolly house will fall apart.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Why didn’t Mary Lawrence speak out against the port when she was kissing up to Big Mac , a typical politician talk the people ears full of crap when they are on the outside then when they get elected do the same foolishness or worse

    • lost ??? says:

      And, how you know she did not object, or questioned Mckeeva Bush??? As well, she had to sit in a neutral position!

    • Anonymous says:

      Stop living in the past. She’s making very valid points here on a present day issue.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Poor Mary she just doesn’t understand procurement rules. But then why would she. What has she ever accomplished?

    When Mary is against something that is my clue to support it.

    As for Mcfield and Theresa well …

    Build the Port and Caymanians will be proud and thank the Government for years to come.

    • A. Bodden says:

      She is a better person than you, Mr. Anonymous! At least she has the fortitude to let people know who she is!
      P.S. Take your port and shove it!

    • Anonymous says:

      I believe Anonymous 8:08 pm is an educated azzole…….. but still lacking in grey matter.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mary knows right from wrong. Too bad you don’t.

    • Anonymous says:

      So what do you think will happen to all of the sand on 7 mile beach if they build that port? It will disappear within 5 years. Take a look at how the tides work and how the sand disappears after a norwester. Then it comes back as the direction of the wind changes. Right now it works. Put a port in with huge holes to be able to allow the cruise ships to dock up and then once a norwester comes all of the sand will be drawn towards George Town into those holes and then down into the deep water. Then you will have no beaches for the tourists to go on. You will have water lapping at the hotels and condos door as there will be no sand left. What will Caymanians have to be proud of then? Proud that we had one of the most beautiful stretches of beach in the world and the Government screwed it up by building a stupid port that we do not need. Cayman will be nothing then. Wake up.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well if you think this whole fiasco has not been run like a circus you don’t understand the procurement rules either my friend. But I do. Implicitly. I also understand financial matters pertaining to the use of the public purse.

  11. Anonymous says:

    You are correct, get CHEC & Dart to do the job, less cost and high quality.

  12. Anonymous says:

    It’s the lying.

    The secrecy and sneakiness we should expect by now. But the campaign of BS, already well-underway is what has become so offensive to those that LOVE the Cayman Islands.

    YouTube is already running pro-port Ads with the motive “supPORT tourism”, once again, falsely equating a “no port” vote, to a cancellation of all future land and sea arrivals.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wrong 5.14pm. What they’re saying is that supporting the cruise port is supporting tourism.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, and they say we have been invaded by little green men from outer space, too.

      • Anonymous says:

        When we all know (including them) that in reality supporting stay-overs is supporting and supporting cruise shippers isn’t supporting either tourism or the environment.

  13. Anonymous says:

    How are the passengers going to get the shore when the tender company decides not to do it anymore due to their business being threatened?

  14. Anonymous says:

    And still the Government is rolling on ignoring the will of the people. I’ll tell you one thing my memory long like time. I will happily remind them all during their campaigning about this. I will also happily call out the sheep for standing idly by while their voters are continuously ignored and our funds spent to work AGAINST our wishes. You’d swear we were flat out saying no to the port! We only want the darn details. WTF are they really hiding with this port? It’s of paramount concern to me and as the former speaker has pointed out there are simple questions to be answered that are of utmost importance.

    1. Where are they going to call when the port is in construction for 4 years?
    2. What happens during a storm? During the build and after?
    3. Will anyone be monitoring the under sea life during the building and will they be able to stop if adverse effects are noted?
    4. What exactly are the concessions we are really giving to the entities involved with building the port for ‘free’?!
    5. Will there be ongoing monitoring of the under sea life after construction?
    6. What’s going to happen to Atlantis Submarine? During the build and after?
    7. Does the owners of the stores on waterfront understand that they will have to rely on stay over visitors at some point during the construction of the port??!
    8. When will the EIA be released to the public?
    9. How much have we spent on the port thus far? With comsultants and the like?

    Still have tons more I’d like to know on top of those.

    I reported their stupid ad on Instagram after I left a comment stating that the least they could do is provide us with information instead of wasting our money.

    Disgusting representatives the majority of the bunch. The minority are sheep.

    S. Bodden

    • A. Bodden says:

      Thanks for the comments, S. Bodden. I find it hard to believe that our leaders are not one bit interested in the wishes of their citizens. The only reason I can think of for their dock is that they expect to make a lot of money if it is built! It surely will not do anything for most of us….. except make it harder to get around due to the packed streets and sidewalks in George Town. Sad…. sad …..sad.

    • Anonymous says:

      3:35 you left out when the world coming to an end!

    • Anonymous says:

      And what are the plans for conducting, and financing, maintenance dredging during the life of the Port?

  15. Anonymous says:

    So excited and looking forward to welcoming our new benefactors!!


    Check out Disney’s agreement with the Bahamas for taking over one end of the island of Eleuthera for their ‘private island’. Truly shocking that the Bahamas government has sold them out as well.
    “Lighthouse Point will be turned from an undeveloped natural preserve into Disney’s private cruise port.
    The Bahamas is not requiring any revenue sharing with Disney. The Bahamas will not collect any income taxes or real property taxes which would would benefit the Bahamas. The Bahamas is about to lose one of its last unspoiled sites in exchange for Disney’s unenforceable promise that it may hire Bahamians in the future.”

    • A. Bodden says:

      It appears that some of the officials of the Bahamas are for sale, too.

    • Anonymous says:

      Could this be the future of Barkers, Smiths Barcadere, etc???

    • Anonymous says:

      There is this concept called overtourism. It’s actually a big issue where tourist locations in the world are saying no more. It’s too much and actually making it worse for their local residents. Amsterdam and Venice have been trying to discourage tourists. Can you imagine?

      Recent article here on cruise ship over tourism. There are other sources online.


      Yet this government seems to think the rock and their hopeful 100k residents will appreciate this. The waterfront people need to get a grip and understand that they need to rethink how they do business and reinvent themselves. The cruise people arent even spending money, it’s the rich stay over tourists that are. They are greedy and too dumb to think of other ways to survive. The dock in GT is a bad idea. And the big ass ships will still be going to Spotts in Jan.

  16. Anonymous says:

    The audacity of the Premier and his helpers! He does not have that kind power over us to tell us how much information is enough for us. Until we get all the information thst he is covering up it will not be enough. How dare he suggest otherwise. His arrogance knows no bounds.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Well , well. Looks like the Cayman Peoples Party is getting busy and Mrs Mary is ready to lose another election. Had she watched the Press conference on the CBF she would have found out the plans for operating during construction .Guess she didn’t watch.

  18. Anonymous says:

    This government are in serious trouble. It is important to note that none of the guests on the show are affiliated with CPR yet expressed similar concerns that I have heard repeatedly from CPR spokespersons

  19. Anonymous says:

    Mrs. Pitcairn makes an excellent point about how cig are spending tax payer funds to fight the people. They are not interested in a national discussion only full compliance as if this is a communist country.

  20. Freedom Writer 345 says:

    Thank former Speaker Mrs. Mary Lawerence.
    You have raised important questions and concerns that many other people have expressed publicly and privately. The contempt and arrogance from the government is limitless.

    The Premier and Deputy Premier have failed to make a compelling case for the need of port at a time when Cayman has many other pressing priorities. Yet they are incensed when a any questions are put to them by any person.

    It will interesting to see how the Unity government and their PR machinery spin what has been said on the radio show by Speaker Lawerence to her being a political wannabe or bitter political opponent.
    In their world any questions or alternate views automatically makes the person an enemy of the state that they must try to destroy. Reminds me of Donald Trump. God help the Cayman Islands.

  21. LoveCayman says:

    Truth is government’s cageyness on the issue elevates suspicions perhaps even where nothing untowered has happened. It is a myopic, amateurish and insulting to the collective intelligence of the Cayman Islands people. Provide full information and not just propaganda type promotions and let the public make an informed choice.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Truth is government’s cageyness on the issue elevates suspicions perhaps even where nothing untowered has happened.”

      Yup, Public Relations amateurism

    • Anonymous says:

      2:57 will you know when you have full information!

  22. Anonymous says:

    This government are disconnected from the people and not concerned for any views on any issues that are not offered by them or their supporters.
    They govern to appease a select few to the detriment of the majority.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly. They work to further the interests of a select few and not the people.

      • Vincit Omnia Veritas says:

        Oh how I love a sweet sweet revolution. I hope the government doesn’t wise up and continues to make a mockery of themselves while being secretive and incapabale of handling such projects. The people are banding together and the government doesn’t like that it can’t control the will of the people anymore. Remember it’s all about control which the C.I.G. is losing steadily everyday as more and more are waking up to their B.S.

        Government( to direct, to rule) not here bo bo you listen and abide by the will of the people. The people get to decide what goes and what doesn’t. Remember that.

    • alaw says:

      2:49 why don’t you wait for the referendum?

  23. Anonymous says:

    Bodden Town voters short-changed the Cayman Islands many times by not voting Mrs. Lawrence into elected office, just because her husband wasn’t liked by some in the community. She would have been an excellent representative!

    Anyway, thanks Mrs. Lawrence for your contributions and work in the community and for speaking out on current issues!

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