99% of petition names confirmed

| 10/09/2019 | 81 Comments
Cayman News Service
Elections Office banner on Smith Road

(CNS): The Elections Office has now verified 99% of the required number of signatures on the petition calling for a referendum on the question of government’s proposed cruise berthing facility. As the full verification becomes tantalizingly close, officials said that as of 11:00am on Monday 9 September, there were just 56 more names to confirm before the national vote can be triggered.

The last few dozen signatures are proving the most challenging, as elections officials attempt to track down the last few people. But with over 620 signatures still not checked, the buffer should ensure that the campaign will reach the necessary 5,292 names within a matter of days.

As officials urge those last remaining voters who have not gone to the Elections Office or seen an official from the office to make contact as soon as possible, the governor has told the referendum campaigners that the Elections Office will be ready to hold the vote any time from the middle of November.

In an email to Johann Moxam, one of the activist spearheading the campaign, Governor Martyn Roper said that once the Elections Office verifies the last few names, the issue will go to Cabinet to decide the next steps. He also noted that his office has contacted the UK’s Commonwealth Parliamentary Association about observing the vote.

“As far as the Elections Office is concerned, they are currently planning on being in a position to organise the referendum from the second half of November based on the likely timing of the next LA session. They have already started training of staff,” he said. “I can confirm that issues around finance are being discussed and I am seeking advice in the absence of a referendum law.”

He added that the Elections Office had discussed the referendum with the UK Elections Office to ensure best practice.

“My office is in touch with CPA-UK about observing the referendum and we await confirmation that they are willing to take part, subject to other commitments,” Roper told Moxam. “I can assure you that I will continue to attach the highest importance to ensuring this referendum is carried out in line with the rule of law and principles of good governance, integrity and impartiality.”

Once the verification is complete, the Cabinet is responsible for drafting the necessary legislation, which includes the all important referendum question, as well as setting the date.

The premier has stated that he wants the vote sooner rather than later, as government remains convinced that the majority of Caymanians are in support of the project, a position the activists profoundly dispute.

However, the constitutional provision for a people’s referendum sets the bar high because in order for the activists to put a stop to the port project they must secure votes from 50% plus one of the entire electorate, not just a simple majority of the turnout.

Despite this high bar, that fact that the campaigners managed to get almost 6,000 voters to put their names to a public petition is a significant achievement and reflects the engagement of the public with this campaign, whether for or against. As a result, the national vote could see a high turnout, which is what the campaigners who are opposed to the project need to stop the controversial project.

From significant environmental concerns and worries about the impact that increasing cruise numbers will have on Cayman’s already strained attractions and resources, to the real cost to the public purse and the lack of transparency regarding the justification for the project and the true benefactors, this project has courted controversy from the beginning.

Cruise Port Referendum Signature Verification Countdown

* 5,438 submitted June 12th + 199 Jul 11th + 26 Aug 5th + 78 Aug 15th + 54 Aug 28th + 33 Sept 6th + 21 Sept 7th + 13 Sept 8th
** Constitutionally required 25% of the 21,116 registered electors = 5,292
# of Elector Signatures submitted for Verification*# of verification forms received# of signatures remaining to be verified # of verification forms remaining to reach 5,292** % of the required 5,292** signatures received Date & Time of Last Update
5,862 5,239 623 56 99.0% Sept 9,11AM

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Category: development, Local News, Politics

Comments (81)

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  1. Ron Ebanks says:

    I believe that the Government is trying to make any oppositioñ to the pier fail at all cost .
    Why aren’t the vote for the referendum put on the ballot in the General Election? No they would rather it be done before so it would cost more and have a better chance of not getting the votes/support ,.

  2. Increase in cruise passenger arrivals has NOT translated to economic boom in the Bahamas... says:


    • Anonymous says:

      cruise ship tourism makes money for cruise ships and leaves the locals with exhaust fumes and little hope of making a living.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If about 70% of the voters vote as per usual, you will need about 72% of them to vote “no” because you need 50%+1 of all registered voters to win. If 80% of the voters turn out, you only need 63% of them to vote “no.” If only 60% turn out to vote, you need 86% to vote no in order to get to the magic 50%+1 of all registered voters. What will the 75% do who didn’t sign the petition? You need about 33% of them to actually show up and vote no (assuming all the petition signers show up and vote no) or you lose. That might seem doable, but keep in mind that if there is only a 70% turnout, you need all of the petition signers to vote no, plus 65% of those voters who didn’t sign to vote no. This starts to look impossible considering it is unlikely all the petitioners show up and vote no which raises the number of non-signers you need even higher.

    • Anonymous says:

      -Considering the public consultation was 3 -1 against
      -Every meeting has displayed vastly more opposition than support
      – and the clear public sentiments that have been expressed by huge swaths of the country

      It is highly possible this project will be unprecedented in terms of opposition anywhere from 60-70% against is entirely possible

      Just ask yourself this, in your experience how many real caymanians do you know who support this project, and how many are opposed (anecdotal evidence isn’t perfect, nor would I claim it is objective or entirely reliable but with no credible polling there isn’t much else to go on)

      There is a reason why the government has been fighting this vote from day 1, even if the 50+1% of the total number of registered voters is not reached during the official vote
      The CIG would be hard pressed continuing on a project voted down by the people, they could in theory do it, but it might just be the final nail in the coffin for a shrinking political establishment

      • Anonymous says:

        Without any polls you’re just guessing. You could be right, but who knows. The opponents are clearly more vocal in some quarters, but there are a lot of quiet ones who may have different views. People also lie about their intentions for all kinds of reasons.

  4. Anonymous says:

    same entity’s quest for control of all other caribbean islands is hard at work here…..said it before, how many members of cabinet are involved in the lodge?

  5. Anonymous says:

    The people of Cayman need to FIGHT! Come together and PROTEST! Go on STRIKE! Get what you deserve! GET UP STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS!

    • Anonymous says:

      The must also turn out to vote on Referendum day. The power lies with the people at the ballot box.

  6. Anonymous says:

    bettlejuice bettlejuice bettlejuice

  7. Anonymous says:

    Who you gonna call….Ghost Busters!!!!😨

  8. ppm is either scam or sham says:

    What time is it Cayman ??? Time to reTURN every single one of these useless political menaces called the unity against Cayman Gowerment ,back to mindless state of private life as soon as it is possible

  9. Anonymous says:

    simple question:
    if the port is such a great idea that will have so many benefits why are the pro-port group and the ppm so against a referendum????

  10. Anonymous says:

    hopefully now we will see an end to the port/ppm-bots for good.
    i personally think their should be an independent investigation into whoever tried to manipulate public opinion on this site and on the former compass opinion polls.

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      Those that tried to manipulate public opinion……. on BOTH sides? Or just the one you disagree with? 😉

      Some of us call it a discussion, with subjective opinions and stuff.

      • Anonymous says:

        you miss the point. compass confirmed that there opinion polls were interfered with.

  11. Anonymous says:

    congrats to all involved. a historic and important time for democracy in cayman.
    and a huge slap in the face for vested interests and their pathetic attempts at manipulating public opinion.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The dock will be built and progress will move our beautiful Isles Isles forward into the future!

    • Anonymous says:

      maybe…at least now we will have a proper debate where hopefully all information is shared and then the people will decide.

      • BeaumontZodecloun says:

        Exactly!! The result of the Referendum vote is important, but the process is vital.

    • Anonymous says:

      Which will be a little less beautiful having covered Hog Sty Bay in concrete

  13. Anonymous says:

    8:19 don’t tremble.

  14. Embarrassment for CIG... soon come says:

    The November headlines are going to write themselves:

    “Government claims of “mandate” rebuked by voters”
    “Port project voted down despite Government intervention”
    “Government proposal summarily rejected”
    “Grim reality for port supporters”
    “RIP Port expansion project 2015-2019”

    Going to be fun seeing the rationalizations that will come from the government benches after this vote is completed

  15. The Constitutional Critic says:

    Hopefully the first of many people’s initiated referendums to come

    Legislators on these islands have for too long sat back and been complacent on issues because being inert politically is safer than having an even slightly controversial or divisive opinion.
    Well simple solution, the people of the Cayman Islands will make the decision and all you have to do is what you are told

    In an ideal society during regularly scheduled general elections there would also be scheduled concurrent indicative votes and ballot initiatives to be as efficient as possible
    but of course why favour efficiency when you can obstruct the will of the people, waste the people’s money and claim to have a mandate which is the preferred strategy of the government

  16. Anonymous says:

    The only people that support the Hon. M. Kirkconnell are those who have financial interests. He has lost the support of the people.

    • Tell It Like IT IS says:

      I hear a lot of wishful thinking on the referendum being the panacea to stop the new port facilities. I personally believe the referendum will fail simply because 25 per e t of registered voters is not 50 +1 attending the and voting. You got to analyze voting history and see how the majority votes and for what . I’m not going to do the analysis for you or Re eat my numbers, you enlightened Activists must do your homework.

      All I can say finally is Never Happen. You will remember I told you so !

      • Anonymous says:

        You people really don’t get how statistics and numbers work despite claiming you do
        The 25% who have signed the petition are not the only people concerned with this project they are just the people who went out of their way to sign their names and make their opinions known
        They represent a tiny part of the true number of Caymanians against this project

        The voter turnout will be similar to every other election in our recent history (at or above 70%) and anyone actually paying attention to public sentiments can see that it will be a clear majority against the project
        That is why the CIG have went out of their way to not only oppose the opposition motion for a referendum last year but to campaign against a PETITION instead of waiting until the referendum was triggered. Once the referendum is triggered the government would have had ample time to campaign for their proposal as scheduled as is standard in every other nation.

        The idea that the referendum will return a positive result for the government because the petition only has 6000 signatures give or take is ludicrous and evident of overarching failures of the education system in relation to basic civics and the democratic process
        Thousands of Caymanians who did not have any interest in signing the petition (for one reason or another) will still end up showing up at the polls in November because we have done a relatively decent job of keeping voter turnout consistent. Look at the referendum result for OMOV where near 60% of registered voters showed up for something as obscure as voting on changes to the elections law nowhere near as divisive and consequential as this 200 million dollar port.

        You can write as many comments as you like citing 0 credible sources and claiming to be doing analyses on nonexistent numbers and data points (in barely passable English I might add)
        The only information that is relevant to this process is already publicly available ( the lack of a majority by the PPM in the 2017 election, the public consultation done on the project, the massive turnout against the project at multiple public meetings etc)

        All of that goes without even mentioning this petition already has more signatures than the total number of people who voted for ALL PPM candidates combined in the 2017 election
        The campaigners against this petition have already proven they are on great footing in terms of voter support taking an issue and attracting more support than the largest party could muster in the country

        The reason why you haven’t actually stated any factual analysis or numbers in your comment is because you have none that are of any substance you are just stating your ill-informed opinion

        • Anonymous says:

          Some of your comments are correct, but the fact of the matter is that when referenda are held outside of general elections, voter turnout is considerably lower. (This is easily researchable if you don’t believe it). Although I agree with you that there are many more voters against the port than the 25% who signed the petition, to get 50%+1 of registered voters to actually show up and vote against the port in a referendum held outside a general election is probably not going to happen. Even if the ratio of against vs. for is 3:1 or 4:1 (which I think is likely) the pro-port people will sell the idea that staying home on voting day is like a vote for the building of the port. And technically, they’ll be right. The result of the referendum will then be advisory and the government could simply say that everyone who didn’t show up to the referendum was voting for the port, so the majority of people favour it. Of course, this stance would be highly hypocritical, given the government’s stance after OMOV, which didn’t hit the threshold for being binding, but was accepted anyway on a simple majority of those who did vote. Ignoring the will of those who do vote comes with serious political risk, so perhaps the government backs down because the backbenchers could revolt at the prospect of the end of their political careers. However, I predict some will push forward, citing specious “good of the country” reasons. Regardless, I signed the petition and will show up and exercise my democratic right to vote against the port at the referendum

        • Say Fella says:

          Boy to say what you have to say not only took a lot of valuable time but also time Oita ya life. Get over it will ya the Cruise Port WILL BE BUILT! Short and simple no strain no verbosity ,just the plain truth. Kapish

        • Tell IT LIKE IT IS says:

          Hullo @12:05 PM you said it right in your last sentence “ I am speaking from an informed position” haha so much things to say right now haha !

  17. BeaumontZodecloun says:

    The PIR will happen; the government has now both a mandate and an opportunity to step up and acknowledge what has legally transpired. To fight it further is foolish, and will only make them seem more foolish.

    CIG, in a few days, just acknowledge that the threshold has been met, quickly meet and ratify the necessary legislation and FAIR wording and timely date for voting. Please don’t spend any more of OUR money on advertising supporting your vision.

    CIG, you are in the midst of history. I know several of you; you are not bad men. You MUST embrace the Constitution, not oppose it. Mr. Bush skewed this all when he cancelled the vetted and awarded bid during his administration, and tried to give it to CHEC. That was the right time for this project. I fear that time has passed. In your zeal to correct things, please don’t subjugate the will of the people.

    Either way the vote goes, this will be a wondrous and historic moment.


    • Anonymous says:

      I would not count Alden out just yet. Remember what happened in the last elections when the people voted for an independent government? Look at what we got and the independents still looks dazed and confused as to what just happened? I hope you all are checking every law and every possibly way that Alden can play this and turn it all on you.

      • Anonymous says:

        the people did not vote for an independent government(which in itself is a contradiction)

  18. The CIG has shown its contempt, and the People will reciprocate says:

    So we can surmise the official declaration will come sometime this week (probably within the next day or two)
    and be the top of the agenda for the next Cabinet meeting (next week) regarding the wording of the question and the date
    with a special meeting of the LA called to pass a formal referendum bill likely sometime in October

    If the government or Cabinet dithers or delays on this vote they will be taken to task, and rightfully so
    They had the opportunity to call the vote last year and they refused citing a nonexistent mandate that even they know is completely fabricated
    They could have supported the effort to collect signatures rather than deriding and campaigning against a petition, they chose to obstruct and misinform
    and now after a year we have still ended up in the same place with tens of thousands of dollars of the people’s money spent campaigning against the people

    The only thing this government has shown time after time is a lack of foresight and a sheer and unashamed disconnect from the electorate
    How it is possible for representatives elected to constituencies of less than 2000 registered voters to be so out of touch with the voters is mind blowing, these constituencies are the size of small towns and MLAs act as if they don’t pick up on the real outlook of the people

    This referendum is going to be a rude awakening for them, and they have no one to blame but themselves

    The quicker this is settled the quicker we can move on to supporting projects that will ACTUALLY benefit Caymanians and the residents of these islands rather than waterfront merchants and politically connected businesses

    • The CIG has shown its contempt, and the People will reciprocate says:

      Just as a slight addendum to the timeline people can expect
      The meeting of the LA tentatively predicted for sometime in October would also include meetings of the finance committee to ensure that the referendum’s expenditures are budgeted and approved as necessary
      The vote itself would be held at the earliest in mid to late November if all things go according to plan and if the Government doesn’t delay or challenge the proceedings on some formality ( the Gov would probably try to avoid having a public vote in December seeing as it is the holiday season with its own public holidays, with planned travel festivities and whatnot) So if for some reason the referendum is not held in Nov, the date would likely be sometime in the new year

      These are all just predictions from my understanding of the way this process works but seeing as it is unprecedented this could be subject to change

      *There should have been a referendums law passed years ago to put this process in stone but our leaders have always preferred shortsighted apologies to planing for anything other than monuments to their own egos

  19. CaymanCoyote says:

    At 99% verification, why does my government not simply take the initiative now to stop the spending without direction and go forward with a referendum for complete clarification regards the Port Project? The voice of the people is clear.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your government is arrogant, full of themselves and members of a devious secret society.
      That is 3 reasons. Go find a few more and get back to us. We’ll wait.

  20. Anonymous says:

    why does the constitution allow the chief justice to advise the government on legal matters? do any of you fellow caymanians see anythimg wrong with that??? 😞

    • Anonymous says:

      Who approved the constitution?

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s a Jamaican/Caymanian ting..dem a look out for each other..

    • Jotnar says:

      Well, first off it doesn’t – that’s the AGs job. It allows the CJ to modify any existing law that is contrary to the constitution, and of course he has the ability to rule on whether the governments actions are in violation of the constitution. That is not the same as advising them and entirely consistent with the separation between the executive and the judiciary you are implying is undermined. Second, where on earth do you see anything in the article about the CJ advising the government?

  21. Anonymous says:

    This is such fantastic news however, my greatest fear is that the governments propaganda campaign efforts are aimed at the ill-informed, under-educated and the older generation that thinks they can trust what their mla’s say. I wouldn’t even doubt that some $$ will be passed around like all the other election campaigns.
    At least I can leave if I don’t like it. Most other Caymanians do not have that option.

    A Concerned and Saddened Caymanian

    • Anonymous says:

      You hit the nail on the head. They are essentially targeting the poor and promising a better life.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Regardless of whether the majority of the electorate (its not the majority of Caymanians, it’s the majority of those to whom we’ve granted the right to vote, there are 000’s under voting age who have more to win or lose in the long term than we do), the current CIG should take notice that so many have voted to have the Referendum heard. If i understand correctly, the votes are not simply in order to stop the Port, they’re more often than not a protest as to how the Port project has and is being managed. There’s real concern over all and everything including but not limited to:

    Priorities (Education/Health/Cost of Living/Transport/the Dump/Dart Monopoly/Immigration/etc – all of these concerns weigh heavier than a Port for so many of us

    Corruption – true or not, it’s kinda stinking the project out and we need some air freshener

    Secrecy – true or not, everything from EIA reports to the Accountancy Reports (how they state their own reports are not to be relied on!!), etc

    Long Term commitments of Cruise Lines with or without a port

    Who’s paying? Why? Who’s really paying? etc.

    New Jobs – really? They’re kinda temporary, let’s be honest, although that’s good too of course. But.

    Environmental damage. Cruise Ship’s owning onshore activities, maybe on-port concessions, etc, etc.

    And so on.

    there is no rush on this Port. I for one think we absolutely need to improve the visitor experience for cruise passengers disembarking here, it’s shocking seeing them snake around GeorgeTown in the heat for hours. But is the solution a GT port? is the solution a mega project as proposed? I dont know. But i do not believe the ships are leaving us any time soon if we don’t build one. And i’m pretty sure if we started again with total open transparency, the CIG would have it far easier. And i’m definitely sure that purpose built Cruise Ports elsewhere in the Caribbean have decimated local businesses in the surrounding vicinities AND deeper into the countries (tours/etc).

    Cayman needs Cruise tourists. And probably needs the higher spending ones that are on the ships refusing to tender. But when so many questions are unanswered and so many people are bothered enough to call a referendum, I’d take a step back and think before i pushed on

    • Anonymous says:

      Conceding defeat at the polls already we see.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with some of what you are saying and hope you are not getting cold feet. However I do not believe that many higher paying tourists visit Cayman on a cruise ship. I think they come via air travel and go to their condos or one of the higher priced hotels. Just saying.

    • Anonymous says:

      If a person can vote then they are Caymanian whether you like it or not.

      • Anonymous says:

        Simply untrue. A number of non Caymanians are on the electoral roll.

      • Anonymous says:

        actually i think the point was that many Caymanians are not yet of age to vote, and its those Caymanians that will suffer or benefit long term

    • Anonymous says:

      brillant, balanced, sensible commentary.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Next is people-initiated referendum on de-criminalization of ganja up to 4 ounces and 3 plants at any one time, for personal use!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Amen! This would have huge turn out at the polls

    • Anonymous says:

      So stupid that entire countries are legalizing and enjoying the tax revenue yet we continue to allow a thriving black market to fulfill the demands of literal thousands of Caymanians who medicate with the plant.

      • BeaumontZodecloun says:

        Perfectly said.

        Think of all the programs the CIG could fund with the much-need influx of cash from a government-overseen grow, package, tax and sell. Best of all, it would remove the criminal element of ganja.

      • Anonymous says:

        Medicate? Like I medicate with beer you mean?

  24. Anonymous says:

    The dock will be built.
    The people objecting now who object to every major (and lots of minor) projects in Cayman and all over the world will more on to their next “Cause”

    • Anonymous says:

      The dock will NOT be built. The people supporting it are hoping to line their pockets as that is their cause.

    • Anonymous says:

      so why wasn;t the dock built any time over the last 15 years….

  25. Anonymous says:

    Support the Port-o-Potty

  26. Anonymous says:

    This is how it works when Caymanians decide to work together for a cause and no longer accept the bs from mla’s that have forgotten they work for the people. The referendum says everything we need to know about how the people feel about this disrespectful collection of politicians in govt

  27. New voter says:

    Thank you CPR

  28. anon says:

    Our first National Hero was best known for bulldozing what was perhaps our most cherished National Monument. If the referendum goes through I nominate Johann for this award as on this occasion it will have been well earned.

    • Tell says:

      What 8:47 am you kidding right booo on you! And oh. mS you don’t have to show me anymore where your loyalty lies

    • Anonymous says:

      Go tell it on the mountains it’s a bad stupid ice 8:47 am. Really.

  29. Constitutional Questioner says:

    This is actually a fairly balanced article for once. Nice! As it was stated “the constitutional provision for a people’s referendum sets the bar high because in order for the activists to put a stop to the port project they must secure votes from 50% plus one of the entire electorate, not just a simple majority of the turnout.”

    This is a the key point with all this. Voter turnout will matter greatly and maybe we’ll finally get some all-around participation. But then we may not, since someone choosing to not vote is actually a vote FOR the port.

    • Anonymous says:

      Too much apathy to get 50%+1… majority of turnout should be all it takes – like anywhere else in the modern world.

      • POLITRICKS 101 says:

        Here’s a reminder of Cayman’s recent political history.

        Please note the position of the then Leader of Opposition Mr. Alden McLaughlin in 2012 versus his position on the People’s Initiated Referendum as the current Premier.

        Cayman Compass, May 14, 2012

        Alden McLaughlin, Moses Kirkconnell were in the Opposition versus then Premier McKeeva Bush’s UDP Government.

        ”Opposition members argued that 50 per cent plus one of voters who showed up to the polls on 18 July should be the threshold,”

        If the leadership of the PPM now the Premier & Deputy Premier of the Government of National Unity…have any of integrity, they must bring a motion to the house that changes the bar from 50% + 1 “of the electorate” to 50% + 1 of the votes in the referendum.

        See article below:


        • Anonymous says:

          Politriks 101- the bar is set by section 70 of the constitution, not by the Premier or the Government.

          • Anonymous says:

            Who approved the constitution again? Do remind us.

          • Anonymous says:

            The point is when Alden was leader of Opposition his view on the threshold was completely different. Read the article in the link

        • ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiNg says:

          Don’t hold your breath on that one.

        • Anonymous says:

          And the decision not to vote should not be an automatic agreement/disagreement. If you don’t vote then your voice (or lack thereof) should not count.

    • Anonymous says:

      We know. That’s why all the flights will be full going out for the free holiday !

    • Anonymous says:

      Even if the vote doesn’t get 50+1 of the total electorate the CIG would have to be insane to continue with the project after a clear defeat which is expected by almost everyone that is why they refused to hold a referendum themselves last year when the opposition offered the motion, and it is why they have spent the last year advertising against a petition despite claiming to have a mandate from the people

      And for the record, every piece of information we have so far points to a good margin of opposition among the electorate, it wouldn’t surprise me if the result came back 60-70% against with upwards of 70% turnout which would be the end of the governments talking points

  30. Anonymous says:

    lodge sweating!! lol😉

  31. Anonymous says:

    This referendum is all but inevitable, the writing is on the wall for the unity government. This is their vote of no confidence.

    The question remains what more will this government do to try and avoid having the referendum. For example, will they say it’s not of “national importance.”

    The verification might be over but the real fight and test starts now.

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