Activists urge people to vote in historic referendum

| 12/09/2019 | 55 Comments
Cayman News Service
(L-R) Mario Rankin, Katrina Jurn, Shirley Roulstone, Governor Martyn Roper, Linda Clark, Melanie Harris, Johann Moxam and Mark Lewis, 7 June

(CNS): Following confirmation from the Elections Office yesterday that it had fully verified the petition calling for a people-initiated referendum on the cruise port, activists behind the campaign are urging voters to turn out in record numbers and have their say on the day of the ballot. Meanwhile, the governor has committed to ensuring the fairness and integrity of the poll, and the opposition has urged the people to remain vigilant regarding the process.

The elected government has not yet commented on the achievement by the volunteers, who have worked tirelessly over the last year to pave the way for the people to have their say on the biggest ever capital project proposed by any government in Cayman’s history.

But the campaigners were delighted by the news, and Johann Moxam, one of the activists spearheading the campaign, told CNS that this was an incredible milestone.

“Reaching the threshold to trigger the people-initiated referendum is how participatory democracy is intended to work,” he said. “This historic event is giving each voter their say in the direction the country takes. This is a privilege and we encourage all voters to exercise their democratic rights by turning out in record numbers to vote and have their say on this matter of national importance on Referendum Day 2019.”

Moxam thanked the CPR volunteers for their commitment and hard work as well as the Elections Office team and all of the “brave registered voters that signed the petition, despite the best efforts by government, pro-port lobbyists and agents to prevent them from doing so”.

He said it was now critically important that the government release the updated information that voters will need to make an informed decision on referendum day. The activists have already written to the premier seeking information on the update EIA, the final business case and other reports about the proposed project. “We need to educate and inform the voters of all the facts and not rely on the government propaganda,” Moxam added.

Governor Martyn Roper gave a commitment to the integrity of the process, as he offered his thanks to Wesley Howell, the supervisor of elections, and his team for their efforts in verifying every single name on the petition to reach the 25% threshold to trigger the vote.

“It is clear that the threshold to trigger a referendum has been reached and the Elections Office will now be working to ensure that this is conducted in a fair, transparent and professional manner,” Roper stated. “This will be a historic moment for the Cayman Islands and a reflection of the mature democracy that has evolved here. I will continue to attach importance to ensuring good governance, fairness and the integrity of the referendum.”

But the members of the opposition remain concerned that the government cannot be trusted to run this referendum fairly and have urged the public to stay engaged and follow what is happening to prevent government from manipulating the people’s vote.

Opposition Leader Arden McLean congratulated the members of the campaign, the voters who signed the petition and the Elections Office, but warned that many questions remain about how the referendum will be organised, including how observers will be appointed and the actual question.

“The triggering of the Cayman Islands’ first people-initiated referendum is an event that we cannot take lightly,” he said, as he urged the government to heed the lesson to never ignore the wishes of the people.

But he said he was “deeply concerned” with the Government of National Unity’s lack of regard for provisions in the Constitution, and their failure to implement basic laws and institutions called for in the document, such as the Advisory District Council Law, the Standards in Public Life Law and the Referendum Law.

He said this made the vote not just about cruise port project but also a fight for democracy. He echoed the comments by the CPR activists for people to get involved in the process by taking part in consultations, meetings and to learn what they can. He urged people to pay attention to the meetings of the Legislative Assembly and to “keep a watchful eye on how the government proceeds with the referendum”.

McLean said that he expected more questionable behaviour but would ensure that the opposition did its part in helping to educate and engage the public during this process.


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Category: development, Local News, Politics

Comments (55)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Lots of discussion on turnout. If apathy at a general election lets in the wrong crowd, it can be put right in just 4 years. Apathy in this commits $300m of island revenue to a 25+ year project that in year 1 could destroy the very assets that grew Cayman tourism in the first place. Whichever way you might vote, on such a generation-affecting issue, just not turning up fails our children, their children, our neighbours and democracy. Be ashamed if you just opt for a day off. We should love our island. It deserves better.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Proposed referendum question option #1. “Do you support the $300 million cruise berthing facility?” Prediction. It will fail to get required percentage votes because there won’t be adequate voter turn out. Result. Dock doesn’t go forward.

    Proposed referendum question option #2. “Do you object to the $300 million cruise berthing facility?” Prediction. It will fail to get required percentage votes because there won’t be adequate voter turn out. Dock will go forward.

    So Mr Premiere. How will you phrase the question?

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  3. Anonymous says:

    I will not be surprised when the date for the vote is a Monday or a Friday. How many people are going to forget the vote and take a long weekend? Better make this vote on a Wednesday.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Let’s make Cayman Great Again, Jim Bodden style. Build the dock!

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  5. Anonymous says:

    What’s next: activists lamenting that the government is runnibg ads to promote the dock, in 3..2…1…

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  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m certainly motivated now. I’m definitely voting for the dock now.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    The Port is a small tip of the iceberg in this government fraud.
    Caymanians should put other laws in place to have checks and balances for the government.

    You can assume they will stop all petition stuff this after it’s all over. The port will eventually get built with due time, next year or x years later.

    Can’t even stop a port in there own country let alone the hundreds of billion dollar companies that launder money in Cayman.

    CIG known and willingly supports the corruption that happens in Cayman. If anyone thinks the CIG doesn’t know you are just as arrogant as them.
    This modern corruption has been going on since the 40s-50s this is nothing new. (Longer then that if you count the pirate days)

    I am Caymanian by the way.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    This referendum is likely to be the one opportunity in a lifetime for Caymanians to show the real strength of people power because after this the Gov will lock down, legislate, obfuscate and frustrate ALL avenues to stop anything like it happening again. Governments don’t like being embarrassed by hoi polloi.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Yes we will turn out, To vote yes to the port.

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    • Anon says:

      1.21am so what are you getting out of voting for the piers. We don’t want a repetition of what happens in West Bay every election.

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    • Anonymous says:

      No problem with you voting YES if it is what you want. Only it is not going to be built at this time, even if it gets green light by the referendum. Too many issues on too many levels. It might even get started, but won’t be finished in time or properly. My intuition never fails me.

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    • Anonymous says:

      yes the other 3/4 will turn out!

  10. Anonymous says:

    The fundamental truth behind this referendum is that the people are sick and tired of McLaughlin and Kirkconnell believing that they can do whatever the hell they want as they operate outside the law. Yes, using government funds to promote a political position is immoral, ill-advised and probably illegal.
    I do not think that all those registered will vote the same way, but the key is that they have a vote.
    McLaughlin and Kirkconnell are both on shaky ground and should be consigned to the dustbin of politics reserved for the dinosaurs.

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    • Anonymous says:

      But, but… with the dismal state of education, intentionally in my opinion, this is all you can have. Your local royalty won’t allow smart people into a poll of electable people, because there are NONE. None younger than 45.

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    • Doubting Thomas says:

      You know all a dis crap bout the government doing illegal things is a pile of Bujumbura. Prove it.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    If CPR fails to get anything less than the 5300 signatures to show up and vote on referendum day then they have completely failed. Anything less would shoe that they lost people from now until then regardless of the total that show up.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Relax, it won’t be built, regardless!! And if they start, it would be your worst nightmare. Sometime not getting what you want is a blessing.

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  12. Statistician says:

    The voter turnouts for the last four general elections were:
    2017: 74.06% 2013: 79.82% 2009: 79.57% 2005: 80.25%

    The voter turnouts for the two referendums held so far were:
    2009: 73.42% (On the constitution)
    2012: 57.23% (On one man, one vote)

    The Constitution question was approved, only because a simple majority of those actually voting was required.
    The one man one vote question received 65.23% in favour, 34.77% against but failed as, with only 57% turnout the number in favour was a long way below 50% + 1 of registered voters.

    One man one vote was just as controversial as the cruise ship dock, so it is reasonable to expect that voter turnout for this referendum (if it happens) will be similar. The outcome is obvious, so let’s save the expense and put it towards getting the dock built.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The vote that happens to be the lowest turnout also happens to be a vote on the obscure elections law

      Assuming that the port referendum will have similar turnout is preposterous
      Turnout will be similar to GE levels
      People actually care about this port project, people go to sleep when you start talking about electoral laws and voting methods

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      • Anonymous says:

        8:28 pm the truth is not within you right so it reeealy hurts when ya hear it.

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      • Anonymous says:

        In addition to Statistician’s numbers, you can do your own research and see that when referenda are held outside of general elections – ANYWHERE! – voter turnout is less.
        The referendum on OMOV was held outside a general election and only 57% of registered voters turned out. One man one vote wasn’t about just an obscure elections law – it was also a mandate to end the West Bay brand of politics, where one person who was very unpopular outside the district but extremely popular with a majority in his district had the ability to bring in four seats in what was then a 15-seat House.
        Regardless, there’s no way voter turnout approaches a general election (and by the way, voter turnout trended down to about 75% in the last general election). Voter turnout in general elections is higher because of the kind of outreach (and payoffs!) that are made by individual nominees who can make all kinds of promises and pull in votes on personality and family connections. That’s not going to happen with the port referendum.
        But let’s just say for argument’s sake that 65% of registered voters actually vote in the referendum, which is more than the last referendum held outside a general election. If that were to happen, about 75% of the votes cast would have to be against the port. That’s not impossible, but it’s not likely either, especially since the hardcore PPM/Unity sheep will do what they’re told, especially if the government uses its connections in the church to sway voters.
        If less than 65% of registered voters show up at the poll, which is what I predict, then a higher percentage will be needed to make the decision binding.
        It’s a long shot at best. If gambling were legal here, I’d bet against the referendum successfully stopping the port and give 4-1 odds.
        All that said, I’m glad the referendum is happening. A small chance is better than no chance at all.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Vote? Nope, we drinking that day. Thanks CPR!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Then we can only hope your job will be one of the first to go when it all goes tits up because of the port. Explain to your children and grandchildren how you couldn’t be bothered to vote when we all look back in a decade and lament the destruction of the islands resources for ever. Tell them you thought going out and getting drunk was more important than their futures.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Dear Johann: Why is this Referendum Day necessarily in 2019? The people need considerable disclosures, studies that haven’t been authored, a constraint put on public-funded pro-port propaganda, and an education Q&A period prior to a voting date being announced.

    The first question should be: by what criteria did the Unity Regime award the winner in a “Request for Proposals”, where entire sections of the Proposals are still incomplete, or missing to be pieced together later? How does a gov’t award a proposal that doesn’t exist?

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    • Anonymous says:

      That’s not a bad idea. . Why not put the referendum, and the whole port project, on hold until the next general election. It saves the government money, saves business the cost of another public holiday and gives both sides ample time to make fact-based cases (there’s been a lot of fake news from both sides!). If the referendum doesn’t get 50%+1 of the electorate to vote against the port, but gets a majority of voters to vote against it, the next government can decide to scrap the project. If the PPM/Unity government wins again, then they can say they have a mandate. If they lose, another government will likely listen to the majority on the referendum question.

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      • Anonymous says:

        So your entire plan is just putting off the vote to let the side with more resources (the government) continue to bombard the public with nothing but the best case scenario of their plan (which we all know is rarely the real result)

        They have already been running nonstop ads on Facebook,Instagram, Youtube, Print and online ads and radio ads for nearing a year now valuing hundred of thousands of dollars
        At what point are they done making their ‘fact based case’

        The petition was not for a vote when its convenient for the government, it is for a standalone referendum as soon as possible no ifs, ands or buts.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It would be good to have the referendum ASAP to stop this “government” from wasting anymore money!

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    • Anonymous says:

      And when else do you suggest the public vote be, the government was planning on signing the deal this year, they have only held off this long because they knew the vote was inevitable

      Its now or never

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    • Johann Moxam says:

      Dear Anonymous 3:28pm

      I agree with your comments and logic 100%.

      I referenced the 2019 timeline because I have confirmed that the elected government intend to hold the referendum as soon as possible targeting the week of November 11th 2019.

      If the government proceed with their plans and fail to disseminate all the relevant and updated information and reports including the updated EIA that would be unfair and not be acceptable as it goes against the principles of good governance and transparency. Their objective as our elected representatives should be to help voters get fully informed prior to voting on the referendum question.

      I trust the Governor will intervene and insure the right things are done. This decision is too important to get wrong and CIG should have nothing to hide from voters.

      Nevertheless, it is crucial that all registered voters exercise the privilege of voting on this issue of national importance. It is your chance to have your say and demonstrate the power of the people on a decision that will impact current and future generations.

      Best regards

      Johann Moxam

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      • Anonymous says:

        Please ensure there are provisions for proxy votes for persons who may be off island during the Public Holiday.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Choosing to go off island is a vote in itself.

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          • Anonymous says:

            The hell it is, I planned my vacation in January and I’m against the project. Proxy votes are required in addition to allowing residences overseas to participate as well.

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          • Anonymous says:

            I will be off island . The trip was planned before I knew about the date for the referendum. I will make every effort to vote by proxy just as I made the effort to sign the petition.

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  15. A Caymanian says:

    Great job CPR!

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  16. Anonymous says:

    If I stay at home and don’t vote, will it be counted as a Yes or No to the port project?

    The law states that 50% + 1 of *registered voters*, not the turn out, need to vote No to halt the project. Correct me if I’m wrong.

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    • Anonymous says:

      you are correct, so if you as many as get 80% turnout you will need 63.75% to vote no block it.

      Does not seem fair, oh and they could ask the other way around

      if you want the port vote yes then 36.25% could stop the port.

      I can’t understand why like the uk it would be the 51% of those who vote. it is the only fair way.

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  17. Apathy says:

    Cns, I see 25% sleepy faces. Caymanians again can be APATHETIC, DON’T CARE Attitude, and you will see what happens.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Are you the one of many (generation Z) who can only click on “faces” and “like” buttons and unable to actually say anything?

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  18. Anonymous says:

    2 things;
    1. CPR should be given the same amount of funds that the government is using to promote their position and help educate people. It’s our money and we’d like the same consideration.

    2. Will free $$ be flying around like it does during the elections? You know, like free appliances and sh!t like that?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly. In the cinema is a ridiculous ad saying there is no loan so Cayman is not paying for the port. Really? If you are giving future earnings/fees that the government would normally get to another party, seems you are paying for the port.

      To anyone that believes that statement, please sign over your future pension payments or annuity or life insurance payout to me. You will not lose anything.

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    • Anonymous says:

      where’s mines? I needs a new fridge. How you wants me to wote?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Roper, since you may not know, the above is a reference to a longstanding vote buying mechanism that looks to me like overt corruption, and which despite its open prevalence has never been curtailed by anyone in authority. You here to ensure good governance or smile and cut ribbons?

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        • Anonymous says:

          vote buying been around for ever, what make you think it will change !

          • Anonymous says:

            I do not think it will change. I just want it recognized that those that contend they are here to ensure good governance and that we operate our country at the highest moral and ethical standards, are full of crap.

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