Opposition hits out at gov’t petition attack

| 21/08/2019 | 93 Comments
Cayman News Service
Opposition members (L-R) Kenneth Bryan, Alva Suckoo, Arden McLean and Chris Saunders

(CNS): The members of the official opposition have hit out at government over the way it has criticised the campaign for a people-initiated referendum and handled the entire matter. Opposition Leader Arden McLean said the government’s behaviour, going as far as encouraging people to withdraw their names from a petition, was one of the most “dastardly acts” he had ever seen any government do.

Speaking at a press conference held by the opposition Wednesday, McLean, who represents the district of East End, said the request for the referendum was coming directly from the voters.

The opposition leader has also called on government to deal immediately with the lack of a referendum law in Cayman, and as soon as the petition is verified to settle the wording of the referendum question and bring it to the Legislative Assembly for debate and approval.

“We are ready and prepared to participate in the referendum process, and strongly urge the government to maintain precedents established in previous referendums,” McLean said. He confirmed that the opposition wanted to see observers appointed in the constituencies to replace the usual agents that would attend an election.

Congratulating those who worked so hard to reach the historic milestone to trigger this inevitable referendum, as more than 90% of the petition has now been confirmed, McLean said the opposition would be campaigning against this port project. While McLean admitted that he has supported the concept of a port in principal, he does not agree with this particular proposal. He said government had not examined the alternatives that could avert the need for dredging and had not justified this proposal.

All of the official opposition members who were present at the briefing raised concerns about how government has handled the entire referendum petition, its criticisms of the thousands of people that supported it and disrespect towards the campaigners.

Deputy Opposition Leader Alva Suckoo described government’s attitude towards the petition as a slap in the face to democracy. He implied it was one thing to oppose an issue during a referendum campaign, but the government was fighting the actual petition. He said he was particularly concerned about their efforts to get people to change their minds and accused government of “trying to bully voters into removing their names”.

Kenneth Bryan, the representative for George Town Central, where the port will be constructed if it goes ahead, pointed out that while it is by no means the only concern on the minds of his constituents, the way government had behaved was giving real cause for concern. He encouraged everyone to go out and sign the petition and those that already have to verify their names.

MLA Chris Saunders also raised concerns about government’s approach towards the petition and campaign and said he was appalled by the attitude towards the people, who are the government’s employers, seeking to exercise their democratic rights. He said that no one “should treat their boss” the way government has acted towards those who organised the petition and have campaigned for the referendum.

He encouraged all those eligible to do so to register to vote so they could take part in the historic referendum.

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Category: development, Local News, Politics

Comments (93)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Arden has big shoes to fill, Ezzard was the best man for the job, we don’t think Arden have what it takes to be up to Ezzard standard. Good luck Mr Miller and your party in 2021 election and God bless.

    • Anonymous says:

      God bless? God help us if Ezzard were to become Premier!

    • Anonymous says:

      Arden is tired and bitter. He has become a caricature of himself. Sadly he is also the best that group has since they will not line up behind Ezzard anymore. Arden does have one important qualification: experience. He has been around long enough to know what questions to ask. I find his questions in the LA to be pretty accurately pointed. He cannot fill Ezzard’s shoes though.

      • Anonymous says:

        To 10:36 how do you think they got experience, every time a new one come along they crow that one down and say (vote em out ) but the ones causing most the damage is the old cores ,they should be training these younger ones to take over ,,,they can’t go on forever, pure greed, full of self and power hungry,,,,hope you don’t think for one moment that Mr miller don’t want to be premier,,,,,God help us.

    • Anonymous says:

      To 8.58pm I don’t think Arden will be there when the next election comes around in 2021. Suckoo will have moved him out by then. So far Suckoo has turned on three leaders UDP leader McKeeva Bush, PPM leader Alden McLaughlin, and Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller. If the Opposition do not make Al Leader next year watch that group split up some more.

  2. Anonymous says:

    guy harvey for premier!!!!😢😢😡😬😊 lol

  3. Anonymous says:

    Shamefully, these guys were included in those sitting silent, or yucking it up, and/or ranting on their own behalf, against gay marriage in the LA over 3 full day sessions. Those actions, were in opposition to the Nolan Principles of Good Governance which all MLAs pledged to abide. It should be clear that we need Constitutional reform to expand the universe of eligibility next election to include those Caymanians with secondary birth passports/citizenships, remove grandparent requirement, and elect PUBLIC SERVANTS to lead us forward into the future. Otherwise, expect same a$$holes, and endless cycles of the same bad actors, and most importantly: without the best interests of the public at heart.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nah, sounds like we will be trading in one evil for an even bigger evil. Sorry bobo I pass.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It was Moses Kirkconnell who insisted CAL lease 4 brand new Boeing aircraft, leases which the Cayman Islands public still services, grounded aircraft we physically warehouse in the corrosive tropics, even months after anyone in their right mind would have surmised that other arrangements should have been sought. Moses Kirkconnell is also the guy that ignores the public-domain Cruise line order book (for NYSE-listed public companies), and continues to pretend that there are ships of this type that are destined to be fabricated for Billions of dollars and magically appear with the frequency to support the wild assumptions made by their PWC Business case. We loose every time Moses makes one of his “all-knowing” decisions on our behalf – and without an election mandate to do so, and without any transparency on his personal and associated family finances!

  5. Anonymous says:

    jokers..one and same. vote them out come 2021

  6. Anonymous says:

    What have the not so fab five done about the damn dump?!

    • Anonymous says:

      They are the Opposition not the Government you need to direct your question to the minister who is responsible for the dump. Please read a bit more and educate yourself on the differences in the role of the Opposition vs Government

      • Anonymous says:

        Ok, I read that they “hold the government to account.” So what have they done about the dump?

    • Anonymous says:

      Since when has government policy been the responsibility of the Opposition

      People really have no idea how our system of government works

    • Anonymous says:

      Kept it out of Bodden Town? Seem to have done a good job on that. What did you expect of them?

    • Anonymous says:

      What has your PPM government done about the dump?

      • Anonymous says:

        Had meetings, consultations, lots of talk and patted themselves on the back for undertaking the right process.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank God CNS accommodate anonymous comments otherwise there wouldn’t be a comment section……

  8. Anonymous says:

    Chris is correctly placed at the end of this article. A useless paragraph that did nothing to say anything new suits his contribution well. Congratulations Bodden Town West, you got what you wanted apparently, four years of nothing but hot air.

  9. Anonymous says:

    There is a lot of interesting looking faces here. One on his computer, one on his cell phone, each most likely checking face etc, one has a dump founded look on his face and to top it off one trying to speak English. This is just a “photo op” to be honest. Combined over CI$400K per year spent on salaries here and getting nothing back. I have no use for fake politicians. Elections coming up soon it will be very interesting I can vote now and none of the current MLA will I vote for.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Can this group offer constructive criticism rather than political criticism- and yes there is a difference. Many of us, myself included are still not sure about the cruise dock and whether its a positive or negative thing for Cayman. Why doesn’t the opposition make a noble attempt to EDUCATE those who are undecided so that we can make a conscious and informed decision as it relates to supporting or not supporting the dock. Once they can get up and blow hot air that contains no substance is all that matters for them.

    • Anonymous says:

      The issue they raise is not about the worth of doc…it’s about a conscious effort of the leading government to thwart the democratic process. They are even using the public’s money to do so. Thank god the CPR folks aren’t only ones speaking out as this government doesn’t care about the people.

  11. Anonymous says:

    These guys would be against breathable air, if they thought it would advance their political careers.

  12. Bonavide voter. says:

    The present opposition members are only against the port now because they want to secure their seats in the next election. All of as sudden we the voters are their employers, right! Since when have we been elevated to that high position?

    • Anonymous says:

      “Bonafide voter” you sound like a “deliberate detractor”, the Opposition have: held public meetings in every district including the Brac, moved the motion in Parliament and debated, you may remember Mr Suckoo was suspended for exposing alleged links between the Speaker and China Harbour, they have gone door to door gathering signatures, they have advocated for the referendum among their constituents, they have pressured the Government at every turn. So keep on spreading lies! just remember they always catch up to you.


    • Sousvide voter says:

      Mmm those short ribs

  13. Anonymous says:

    Did any member of the press ask the quartet—Alva, Chris, Arden, Eden (oops, I see Eden is missing)—how much they contributed to the gathering of signatures in their constituencies?

    From what I gather next to nothing. But they can set the record straight.

    • Anonymous says:

      Had you drop a gay cruise in the mix you can bet your ass he would have been feeling much better all of a sudden.

      • Anonymous says:

        Was probably home enjoying a gay video for all we know.

        The biggest homophobes are usually the deepest in the closet, and I have grounds to claim this because that’s how I hid my true sexuality from my friends in high school. Now that I’m a grown adult I just be honest.

        We still have progress to make but at least I don’t have worry about being shot like how it is in Jamaica.

        • Anonymous says:

          Could have been, might have just been blaring his favourite Buju tunes on the latest Bangand Olufsen system too.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I guess Arden thinks we forgot the tongue lashing he put on us at the first meeting Ezzard organized to offer support to our CPR group. Chris did not get any signatures in his book and Alva only got two in the book we gave his office.
    Now that it looks like the referendum will be triggered they holding press conference to climb aboard and be relevant.
    But thanks for your support now and we hope you all will campaign for people to vote in the referendum to stop this PPM/CDP monument.

    • Tell de Trut says:

      Dat na good sign of opposition power as you are putting it 7:02. Ya know ya really don’t know these politicos for they will jump through any hoops to be in power, watch and learn.

    • Johann Moxam says:

      I would like to state for the public record MLA’s Kenneth Bryan, Chris Saunders, Alva Suckoo and Ezzard Miller all assisted CPR to gather signatures for the petition to trigger a People Initiated Referendum under S.70 of the Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009…

      CNS: The rest of this comment is posted here.

    • Anonymous says:

      While I cannot speak for all members of CPR, I can say that I am very grateful to the Opposition for their support. They all contributed to gathering signatures and came out on door to door visits with us several times.

      The numbers reported above and not correct both Chris and Alva gathered a significant number of signatures and they must be commended for their efforts.

      Mr. Bryan, Mr. Mclean, Mr. Miller and Mr. Eden also gathered signatures. The Opposition also invited us to join them at their district meetings, and they have encouraged a large number of people to sign the petition.

      The comments above do not reflect the views of the entire CPR group and for anyone to suggest that we are not grateful for the efforts of the Opposition is disingenuous and divisive.

      A CPR Member

    • Anonymous says:

      You seem to be pretending to be part of CPR but if you are you would know that MLA Suckoo has been involved and supporting them from the group’s inception. He has walked the neighborhood of his constituency with members of CPR advocating against the destruction of marine parks, the reefs and gathering signatures for the benefit of the Cayman Islands. Obviously you were somewhere doing whatever it is that you do best – lying??

    • Anonymous says:

      What happen in the dark will come to light…

    • Katrina Jurn says:

      I would also like to state for the record that the above view expressed does not represent the views or experience of CPR Cayman. The Opposition, both under the leadership of Mr McLean, and prior to that under the leadership of Mr Miller, have been very supportive of the movement for a people initiated referendum on the proposed cruise berthing facility. All members of the Opposition significantly assisted to collect signatures within their constituencies and beyond, including going door 2 door with CPR volunteers in their constituencies. In October 2018 the Opposition hosted townhall meetings in all districts, and have been supportive of all of CPR Cayman’s efforts to educate the public on this critical issue for our country.

      All MLAs should be seeking the input of their constituencies on this and other important matters, and their positions should reflect the views of their constituents, as is being done by the Members of the Opposition.

      CPR Cayman is an independent grassroots initiative of concerned citizens seeking a democratic and transparent approach to the proposed cruise berthing facility, we are apolitical and not affiliated with any political party.

      • Anonymous says:

        Any politician whether part of the government or the Opposition and who has a semblance of understanding of how George Town, and the entire Cayman Islands could be negatively impacted by this ill- conceived project that this government wants to foist on we the people, and does not speak out against it is not worth my X next election. They
        can continue to act like the zombies they are but will pay for it down the road!!

  15. Anonymous says:

    I lower my expectations on a daily basis with this government.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Stating Government has encouraged people to withdraw their signatures from the petition and Government has criticized the organizers and petitioners, without stating a single incidence of the doing so is misleading.
    I know the Government has stated people have the privilege to withdraw their names from the petition, but that is useful information to know, not bullying or encouraging them to do so. The CPR organizers are spreading a lot of false information verbally, such as Dart wants the dock and will buy out Kirks as soon as the dock is built, and 7 Mile Beach will disappear if the dock is built.
    MlA Saunders, who talked so much about the profits from Local Insurance companies, which we now know was a real false and attention grabber, also speaks about the Government using incorrect data in making their business case for a dock. Well that speaks for itself, not a lot of analytical skills there, unfortunately.
    The Opposition has not given any evidence at all of Government bullying anyone in any way. The truth is a lot of misinformation and emotions are being swayed by fear created from unsubstantiated environment concerns, by the anti-port organizers. Facts should be stated and not sensational headlines to grab attention.

    • minion slayer says:

      @6:44am Someone doesn’t not have to blatantly state something, sometimes, it can be implied. The government has implied that the petition was not supported and had a bunch of fake signatures, requested for the elections office to verify 100% of the signatures on the list. Not a sample of say approx. 25% or even 50% but 100% of ALL signatures had to be verified, and in a short period of time. One can rightfully assume that the elections office had to hire additional people to complete the verification (who will be paid from the public purse). For government to then turn around and say you can withdraw your signature, AFTER the verification process! if someone didn’t support it after they initially signed it, then they would not have one through the hassle to verify it! One should interpret that as bullying! Secondly, why would the government make us pay to do 100% verification if they just wanted everyone to go and withdraw their signatures? That is a waste of money. A quarter of your voters are saying they do not support the current proposal, not that we do not support a need for better, more efficient infrastructure, which we understand is a requirement, we just don’t support what you have presented and who you want to go in business with and we are saying to go and look at more options.

      They way the government is handling the situation should really make you wonder, what exactly is their interest that they would do everything under the sun to not listen to what the people are saying.

      They even criticized the middle and high schoolers who were saying they want to protect the environment?! what kind of government does that. Insults their intelligence, and says they are just puppets, as if kids can not read, understand and formulate their own opinion on a subject.

      They are pushing for a port and promising jobs to Caymanians and blah blah, but with failing education standards, I would like to know which Caymanian they going to hire? the ones who graduation from high school that cant read, write or do basic math??

      Please tell me or give me an example of what major project any government in Cayman has taken on in the last 10 years that was on budget and on time? the high schools, the airport, the roads, have all been well over budget and didn’t finish on time. And you trust them to execute the largest project ever in cayman well? While getting in business with the worst cruise company in the world, Carnival, who is getting dinged left, right and center with health, environment and safety fines and court cases.

      The only people who need to wake up are you minions who could not form an independent thought or think critically if your life depended on it.

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s probably as simple as this is a Lodge-approved project, with crony business deals riding on it. I have no evidence for that, but money and special interest influence are the only explanations that fit government’s hostile behaviour. You would think they would avoid declaring war on 25% of voters if they had another option. They will lose several seats for this – maybe they know that so they’re using power while they have it. However you look at it, it’s not for the people that they’re doing any of this.

    • Anonymous says:

      You looking for evidence need not look further than the Premier and Deputy Premier’s appearance on Cayman27 a few weeks ago. They tried to mislead the public by saying that the non voters whose signatures were on a different list were included in the total at that time. The election office had to come out and refute it. DO you remember that?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Use the referendum to ask about the planned constitutional changes and immigration.

    1. Do want to expand government by adding another Ministry and adding another Xmillion dollars of expense to the Government budget? $12,000 a month for a Minister. $10,000 for a chief officer. XX more for staff, travel, entertainment, consultants, training.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Mr. McLean is right. The government is alienating the people. Moses and Alden have to go. They represent themselves and special interests.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Every member of the Opposition is in trouble in their constituency and some don’t even know it . They have just about lost the civil service vote and just keep falling on their faces. Thanks Kenneth.

    They know that once the Government starts building the dock they have lost the next Election.

    I voted in Bodden Town. I am not making the same mistake twice.

  20. Anonymous says:

    This government has fallen so far. PPM elected members, executives, volunteers, voters and donors should be ashamed of this behaviour. I am certainly ashamed of my part in helping to get them elected and will not vote for any of those who are currently elected ever again.
    Spending the people’s money to interfere with such a valued democratic process (which some of them helped to implement) is beyond disgraceful and is certainly less than democratic.
    The electorate has every right to request a fair and free referendum and should not be hindered in that constitutionally provided right. With haste and without bias, the necessary laws required should be developed and passed in the assembly to facilitate referendums. Furthermore, if for no other reason, cessation of this type of behaviour by the government members should commence in the hopes that they can maintain what little if any credibility they have remaining.

    Former supporter.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Rise so high, yet so far to fall
    A plan of dignity and balance for all
    Political breakthrough, euphoria’s high
    More borrowed money, more borrowed time
    Backed in a corner, caught up in the race
    Means to an end ended in disgrace
    Perspective is lost in the spirit of the chase

    Foreclosure of a dream
    Those visions never seen
    Until all is lost, personal holocaust
    Foreclosure of a dream

  22. Anonymous says:

    dirty deeds done dirt cheap

  23. Anonymous says:

    well said. but don’t worry, once the petition is confirmed alden will have to resign….or well thats what wold happen in any other civilised society.
    alden and ppm have made a fatal mistake in mis-reading public opinon….this time lodge favours won’t save you.

  24. Anonymous says:

    While they are rushing to table the Referendum Law, why not enact the Constitutional requirement for the much-revised Standards in Public Life Law…

  25. Anonymous says:

    Geezzz, look at this bunch of losers. If our elected member would from East End would have put half the effort into helping us East Enders as he does opposing everything the government does without coming up with a solution then we would be so much better off. The once in almost 20 years for a fun day not going to cut it. And those school items…what a waste…I sent my son to take it back to his office. We don’t need hand outs from him.

    • Jotnar says:

      So in your book an MLAs job has nothing to do with national issues – it’s the provision of fun days and handouts? Out of curiosity, just how much does your vote cost?

      • Anonymous says:

        the previous poster is correct in their comment. Mr. Mclean has been absent from the district. National issues are important but so are local issues.

        • Anonymous says:

          100 square miles and 60k people. Everything is very much a local issue. McLean, along with the rest of them, is as much use as tits on a bull.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well written – not! what a load of gibberish!

    • Anonymous says:

      10:15 pm, who is the fool, Arden or the voters,? u tell me.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Just Scooby Doo missing from the picture

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