Gov’t to splurge on PR for port

| 09/08/2019 | 89 Comments
Cayman News Service
George Town Harbour, Grand Cayman

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Government has already spent more than $60,000 promoting the proposed George Town cruise berthing project, according to a response to a recent freedom of information request. But it appears that it plans to spend much more of the public’s cash in future, after an RFP was posted earlier this week. The tourism ministry is seeking a public relations firm to launch a “public education campaign… to provide strategic and tactical marketing… for a focused, persuasive, high intensity” campaign for the project.

According to the request for proposals posted on the government’s bid portal, the ministry claims that not only is the port poised to be the biggest infrastructure project in Cayman’s history, but it is “likely to be the largest single determinant of the future prospects for cruise tourism”.

As government has selected a preferred bidder, the RFP indicates that it is now in a position to “embark on a high intensity, comprehensive PR and marketing communications public education campaign to provide information to the public that previously could not be disclosed due to the ongoing procurement process”.

The ministry claimed that the legal requirement to keep details of the negotiations confidential until a winning developer was selected had “led to accusations of lack of transparency and has given rise to misinformation circulating in the community, which this public education campaign will seek to address by providing the facts”.

However, even in the RFP, government is already including claims that are not factual. In the introduction it states that cruise ships will stop calling on Cayman without the piers, despite clear confirmation from one of the cruise companies partnering with the selected bidder, the Verdant Isle Group, at a public meeting last year that they will still come, no matter what.

Nevertheless, the RFP is seeking a publicity company that can “develop an aggressive, slick, out of the box campaign that can support the government’s position” on the project and address what it says is the negative perspectives across all types of media.

The RFP documents give the first real indication that government is well aware that this project does not have wide public support and sets out a goal for the PR campaign to “positively sway public opinion and increase support for the project”.

It is asking the bidders to provide copy for regular blogs and advertorials as well as speeches for officials and responses to “inaccurate media reports”, and sets out an ambitious campaign of TV and radio commercials.

The documents at this stage reveal no cost estimates but the extent of the campaign indicates that it will be far more costly than the spending so far, all of which will come from the public purse.

Although the RFP makes no mention of the likely referendum, it is clear that government will be using public finances to fund the pro-port campaign once a date is declared for a people’s vote, while the grassroots activists will be depending on their own resources.

See tender details for the pro-port public funded campaign here


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Tags: , ,

Category: development, Local News, Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (89)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It’s pretty clear people are being bamboozled by thinking there are a lot of “real” people actually voting “yes” for this port. It sounds like a scam!

    I think all Caymanians who believe this port is wrong for our Island have a moral responsibility to reach out to all your neighbours and friends.

    Look for the people who don’t have access to these news articles and comments and perhaps can’t read. (Sadly, it’s a fact).

    Explain the situation to them, help them understand, help them vote!

    Let’s go Cayman!!

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  2. Anonymous says:

    When looking ahead at a billion-plus-dollar hole, prudent accounting would prescribe paying that future liability down, a little bit each year, banking any “surplus” to retire the liability in advance of it coming due as an emergency balloon payment CIG could never answer. Having a problem later (after this regime is dead) will always be more convenient for this regime. That’s how they are wired.

  3. Anonymous says:

    On March 21, Moody’s Investors Service affirmed the UK-backstopped “Aa3” LT- foreign currency credit rating of Cayman Islands with, for now, a “stable” pre-Brexit outlook.

    We have USD$312,000,000 coming due on November 24, 2019 (http://cbonds.com/emissions/issue/11677) and, instead of retiring that and rebuilding reserve, will have to roll forward much of that debt forward via a new 10 or 20 year issue and service that debt at a new interest rate to avoid default.

    That issue will count against our total permitted loan capacity with the post-Brexit Foreign Commonwealth Office.

    There is no EXCESS money for spending, folks, and there are still Billion+ dollar underfunding liabilities with CIG healthcare and pension that aren’t reflected on the territorial balance sheet.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Can the PPM not see that the public are getting fed up with their shenanigans. This vote while on the port has larger implications this is the no confidence vote in this government just like how the OMOV referendum was the vote of no confidence in the UDP.

    It’s time for the PPM and the rest of the Unity government to pack their bags and go we have had enough.

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    • Anonymous says:

      What are voters doing to Standards in Public Life Law, or to lobby for changes to the Constitution to open the field of candidacy beyond those, whose only qualification is a lack of honesty/employability and a Caymanian Granny? We all deserve better.

  5. Anonymous says:

    So the public has mostly considered the damage that will occur to the environment if the port is built, BUT has any consideration been made as to the amount of potential new illnesses from around the world that be brought to this small island via the ship’s?

    Already we see spikes of viral infections when it is the height of tourist season. I recognoze that Islanders travel and any one of us can bring something back. But the risk increases even more when you have multiple small towns visiting us at one time!!!

    How does a tiny island with inadequate health care prepare for that? Is there even a Virologist on island? This is a legitimate reality.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    A PARENT’S PLEA:

    WHY? And Where is the Voice of Our Youth…The Future Voices of Cayman… Our Legacy

    We are a beautiful, vital community with a strong heritage who are committed to preserving our Island and its people.

    WHY is it so difficult for everyone to accept that creating this new port will be the future demise of our Island?
    WHY are we unwilling to stand up for what’s right and what we know in our hearts to be true, “THAT THIS PORT WILL DESTROY OUR ISLAND AND THERE ARE NO ‘GO BACKS’!!
    WHY are our young adults and future leaders of Cayman afraid to stand up and be counted? Where is their voice?

    WHY are we not teaching and helping our children to be strong and be heard. Don’t sell out to greed and instant monetary gain for others that our future generations will never benefit from. A dollar today…gone tomorrow. Then what?
    WHY do you allow yourselves (and your children) to be persuaded by senseless progress and short-term financial gains that are not really meant to provide for your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.

    Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you know in your hearts to be right.
    Don’t be blinded or coerced into voting the wrong way.

    JUST SAY ‘NO’.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Given the terrible history this government has in mismanaging public works projects and the lack of transparency this government has shown the people who will ultimately pay for this project just how can anyone have confidence in this project or the government’s PR spin ?

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  8. Anonymous says:

    if the pro port people would take the time to drive along South Church St and north Church St. they would see the folly in wrecking the environment there. Looking across the water is a a beautiful and breath- taking view. this will gone forever when the port is built. what a shame!

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Hope Mr Roper steps up, and the opposition. Usually in a referendum a PR budget cap is set and both sides only get to spend up to that amount.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how many tragic online trolls 60k buys? Funny the support this thing has here on CNS given I’ve yet to meet one single person in real life who thinks the port is anything but an unmitigated financial and environmental disaster. Come on down thumbs lets see how many of you losers our cash buys; do your worst….

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    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      The Anti-Cruise Port movement has demonstrated a lack of trust in the sitting government. This is clear from the pronouncements being made by a popular radio talk show host, a host of young ones including new old migrants ,want change caymanians, opposition legislators and how can we leave out the indomitable duo whose name strikes discord in the minds of at least two thirds of the fair minded thinking populace.

      The facts to a certain degree are however in favor of the aforementioned gang. Having a major project of this magnitude within the shores of the main Island who feeds the entire three without an education campaign and public input prior to this stage seemingly has been the fuel for the cry of lack of transparency, potential corruption , and the list goes on and on. There is also a previously unnoticed side to this saga and that is the political mileage which is now at play for maybe those who are pontificating loudly, for the so called official opposition and for the soon to be Caymanian Peoples Party ( I hope I got that right).

      There is so much political fodder out there that an election right now could conceivably cause a serious upset for the infamous Unity Government crew who it seems has a back bencher who could be swayed to jump ship and another whose credibility has recently been shattered in a talk show where it has been disclosed that all of his vivid pronouncements on topical affairs on talk radio have been not of his own making and all he Has done is it seems is to become a PUPPET, whose Master now wants to destroy him. Could it be said he has changed one for another? Politics indeed does create some weird visions of copulation.

      Inasmuch as there is a lot of good juicy gossip and activist super fuel, the Government has the advantage over these little pesky bites that is for rounding them up and swatting them away quite convincingly with what has been revealed of the Cruise Port so far in terms of financing , Limited dredging and coral replacement being their highlights. Still there is much more that they have to bat six on for a final environmental study is still to be done, they still need to show the new jobs that are to be created and quite frankly I can see at least 100 (10% of their quoted figures) in terms developing a full fledged Customer service operations to guide tourists and maintain a fluid process of information,movement of transportation, security, customs personnel and screening facilities which if plan goes ahead will be needed to create a more efficient and customer friendly service.

      The reality of this proposal is that because previous governments did not get it done the PPM in its imminent only divine intervention can stop me style has decided like the expansive unfinished projects of yesteryear that this will be their long term legacy project notwithstanding what anybody says or thinks. They have made it their mandate, have done the work on this project in a much more disciplined manner with few leaks ( though the infamous duo was on the airwaves stirring mightily on CHEC being the ultimate bidder) than previous governments and have almost reached the finish line. Will the Referendum results give them the final push over the finish line or will we see a resounding defeat in 2019 and 2021 making way for another Coalition? What are the odds you casino and gambling advocates out there!

      Sorry Yall got to run Premier League soccer is on!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Just 21? $3k a supporter! That’s value for money right there.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    The PPM. was given a mandate in TWO consecutive elections to build this very important peice of infrastructure, which should have been built 25 years ago.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Hope the Gov is watching what’s happening around the world

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      • Anonymous says:

        Hope they watching Hong Kong

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        • Jotnar says:

          In Hong King protestors are prepared to be tear gassed and beaten. In Cayman you struggle to get more than 5 people to turn up for anything, unless it involves free refreshments or gay rights.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thats wonderful eccept the PPM didnt win the friggin elections you dumbass

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    • Anonymous says:

      Hilarious that you have the audacity to say this considering the PPM didn’t have a standalone majority in 2013 or 2017

      In 2013 they convinced Julianna and C4C candidates to join them which a lot of people conveniently forget in Cayman

      The PPM have only ever won a single election in their 20 year history

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      • Anonymous says:

        11.01pm . They won the big prize , the LA, after the last two elections ; whether you like it or not.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Sigh. No they didn’t. A coalition is not “winning the big prize”. You are always vulnerable to your partners deciding not to vote with you. And it absolutely means you can say that your manifesto has majority public endorsement which is what the original poster was claiming.

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    • Anonymous says:

      True, but the PPM (and CDP) lost the last election.

    • Anonymous says:

      The PPM didn’t win the election, therefore they have no mandate. They borrowed people from the other sides and according to the latest news will have to pay a very high price-again.

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    • Bill Johanson says:

      @ 3:08 pm: Who says it is a very important piece of infrastructure? Anyone who believes that is a fool, or dishonest, like some of the leaders trying to stay in power forever. This ridiculous waste of money is NOT what we need! Folks, what we really need is new leadership that is honestly FOR the people of the Cayman Islands, and not outside interests taking advantage of us… like Dart! Fixing the stinking dump is something that we REALLY need!

  12. Anonymous says:

    The lodge wants its pound of flesh.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Time for the Auditor General to thoroughly investigate this Government’s support for and handling of the cruise berthing project. Its like watching a heist in full daylight.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Auditors General come to Cayman, point out basic and embarrassing corruption risks, are ignored and harassed by those in power and they go home.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Wait, our governor doesn’t anything wrong with this? In any other democratic country this move would be considered as a conflict of interest especially when funded by the public purse to counter a referendum by the people. SMH!

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  15. Anonymous says:

    5:08 pm, you are right about holidays help to make the cost of living go up, the thumb down is a lazy fool thats wants his cake after eating it.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Make Lying Wrong Again.

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  17. I ❤️ Kirkbots says:

    Kirkbots and professional bloggers on contract with the Tourism ministry are in DEFCON 5 mode trying to win the 👍👎 battle on the unscientific cns comment polls.

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  18. Johnny Rotten says:

    Unity thuggery knows no bounds. These two faced pigs should not be in the business of misappropriating public funds when the stake holders with deep pockets are obligated to foot the bill. The CIG initiated advertising budget most likely has passed the $1M by now and continues to grow.

    I hope the CPR takes legal action against CIG to recover advertising monies independent of the final outcome.

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    • Anonymous says:

      @5:55 pm with the handle you have given ya se.f you should be the last one calling two faced pigs, hmm takes one to know one ei.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Hog Sty Bay is a designated marine park yet our esteemed leaders have the temerity to destroy its beauty, which cannot be replaced for tourists who stop by for a few hours? shame on the leadership of this government and shame on the Caymanians for not trying harder to see the folly of this move. Doubtful that the tourists are doing that much spending in those few hours in George Town.

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    • Anonymous says:

      There was a very interesting development in Venice, Italy last week related to large cruise ships. The decision was taken to ban all cruise ships for 2 reasons:

      1) Local merchants claimed that cruise ship people were contributing nothing to the local economy because they spent practically nothing when they got off their ships.

      2) The cruise ships were doing environmental damage as the ships were stirring up the sea floors and creating waves.

      Sound familiar?

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    • Anonymous says:

      There is no dredging in hog sty bay. They said that in the press release.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Judging by all the down thumbs, it looks like the Government is trying to use the media to control the minds of the population through bots.

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    • A. Bodden says:

      Note to CaymanNewsService: Is there any way you can prevent the multiple “loading” of the “thumbs up”, or “thumbs down” that the government is using in the port comments to mislead your readers?

      CNS: Not that I know of. Sorry.

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      • Anonymous says:

        A.Bodden. You are assumng that Government is using bots. I hope you do realize that others are free to assume that CPR is using bots also.

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      • Anonymous says:

        CNS, turn off the thumbs up and down feature on this topic. It is obvious that the Pro-Port lobbyists are either using bots, or have multiple people assigned to monitor the comments and troll. As 11.25 said, the government is using the media to control the minds of the population.

        CNS: With the system I am using now, I cannot switch the thumbs off for individual articles. I’m still looking for a better one.

  20. Anonymous says:

    If they claim they already have the majority of peoples support and are following the mandate then why do they need to spend money on a PR campaign to convince the already convinced?

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Port! Port!? Government needs to splurge those PR dollars on a campaign to convince the public, especially the Cayman market, to fly on those CAL Max 8 jets after they get “fixed”. They will have a serious PR issue on their hands with that problem! Better yet, send them back to Boeing!

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  22. Anonymous says:

    The unity government led by Alden McLaughlin and McKeeva Bush is riddled with scandals. They are pathetic and need to go now!

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    • Anonymous says:

      they are draining the treasury so I guess we will have to oblige them and drain the swamp next time around?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Now that’s rubbish talk.

        Boy you can run your mouth.

        Did you listen to latest update on Government finances provided by Roy McTaggart?

        No, the figures can’t be audited as yet because the fiscal year ends on December 31, 2019.

        No, Franz did not do his job to get the historic figures up-to-date.

        Notwithstanding all of that, the Treasury is in the best shape it had been in for many moons!

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        • Anonymous says:

          Pension liabilities?

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          • Bean Counter says:

            Roy McTaggart is doing as instructed and forgot to mention the UNFUNDED pension and health care liabilities for civil servants last estimated at $1.4 BILLION the last time there was a report done by qualified actuary. That is significant long term debt for a local population of 35,000 Caymanians to deal with. Government have not commissioned an updated report for obvious reasons. It seems better to paint a pretty picture than tell the public the truth.

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            • Anonymous says:

              12:19pm and 2:30pm, we need your help.

              Name 1 country that has a pension liability fund.

              Then name 1 country that has it fully funded.

              Pensions are future liabilities and no matter how dumb you are you will not expect them to be fully provided for today.

              The real question is: Do you have a creditable plan to fund these liabilities when they become due in the future?

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Government will now pull out all the stops and go super negative to fight the democratic rights of the public.

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  24. Anonymous says:

    Alden Moses McKeeva and their band of merry men are reeking of desperation!

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  25. Anonymous says:

    Aye Quincy sounds like they only using you until they can hire foreigners ol’buddy.Going back to the Brac again!

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  26. Anonymous says:

    Moses will spend millions to fight the people. This government cannot be trusted look at all their tricks.

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  27. Anonymous says:

    Hilarious coming from a government claiming they have wide public support and a mandate for the project

    Wish I could catch on of these clown MLAs on the radio so I could embarrass them

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  28. Anonymous says:

    Oh my word….

    That’s what governments are supposed to do – promote projects that their electorate vote them in for.

    This is not a new project – been around for at least 30 years in one way shape or form.

    Some news organisations promote the projects that the people who pay for their advertising want promoted.

    Some news organisation write stories to push the personal agendas of their editorial staff.

    CNS should push whatever it feels is right, despite not having a political mandate of any way shape or form. It’s freedom of speech.

    Is life, get used to, next

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    • Anonymous says:

      Except the government has claimed this entire time that they have the support of the people on this project so why is it necessary for them to continue the almost year long media blitz that is convincing no one and accomplishing nothing?

      The problem with people like you who don’t use logic or rationality, you cant even see when your own arguments make no sense

      If the people wanted a PPM port project they would have elected a PPM majority in 2017, they didn’t
      If the people wanted this port project they would have expressed that in the public consultation period, they didn’t (which was actually 3:1 against the project)
      If the Government for even a second thought they had a majority of Caymanians in agreement with this project they would not have voted against the motion brought by the opposition calling for a referendum last year

      The government (and you) know full well the people are opposed to this project for a multitude of reasons, a horrible CIG track record with capital projects, risks the the environment, further overcrowding of GT, and further development in the area not for Caymanians but for a select few waterfront merchants who have failed to update 30 year old business models and instead are now demanding the government step in and shovel them new customers.

      There are other areas of these islands that need immediate attention, schools are filling with no plans for expansion, the court system is physically overburdened and prevents swift adjudication, the traffic issues have never been worse, wages have been stagnant for 30 years, The prison is full with no plans for expansion

      There are bigger fish to fry than some god forsaken cruise port meant to enrich family of certain ministers who will then conveniently get donations from those family members come the next election

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    • Anonymous says:

      “projects that their electorate vote them in for” But this was NOT a mandate and NOT what they were woted in for.
      Sounds like your own personal agenda.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Are you government?

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  29. Anonymous says:

    After all it’s not their money is it? Typical public sector attitude.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Numbnut the voters put them in charge of the people’s money.

      Until you are voted in, the only thing that you are in charge of is running your mouth.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Correct please honorable governor shut down these trouble makers

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      • Anonymous says:

        4:33 And it’s illiterate idiots like you that voted them in.

        • Anonymous says:

          3:33pm

          And that burns you little sucker privileged one!

          We the people vote them in!

        • Anonymous says:

          4:33pm

          Aaaaaaaah!

          Even if I threw away a couple of my qualifications and 30+ years of professional “doing something” experience, I suspect that you will still be “on the ropes”.

          Hence your only comeback would still be calling me “illiterate”.

          And I don’t have to write “proper” English to “burn” my point across.

  30. Anonymous says:

    How about spending the money on an environmental impact assessment?

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    • Johnny Rotten says:

      They’d just squander the money on a consultant to produce a pro port “sugar coated” report complete with whipped cream and cherry on top.

  31. J says:

    Much less costly than a referendum. Anyway, happy for the extra holiday.

    Gonna get up early, go wote yes, then day drink. 🤙🏽

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