CPR expects New Year referendum

| 18/09/2019 | 24 Comments
Cayman News Service
Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose (2nd from left) formally accepts the petition from Johann Moxam, Mario Rankin and Shirley Roulstone

(CNS): Campaigners for a people-initiated referendum on the question of the proposed cruise dock have formally handed over the fully verified petition document to Cabinet. While no dates have been confirmed for the national ballot, all indications are that it is likely to take place in January next year. On Wednesday three representatives of the Cruise Port Referendum campaign handed all 5,305 confirmed original signatures to Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose, setting the ball in motion for the historic vote.

Following the formal handover, activists Shirley Roulstone, Johann Moxam, Mario Rankin and Shirley Roulstone told CNS that they are now looking forward to seeing the referendum bill that will set the date of the vote, the referendum question and outline issues, such as campaign spending limits, the rules around observers and agents, and formally making voting day a public holiday.

Although Premier Alden McLaughlin has said he wants the vote to happen sooner rather than later, the campaigners believe it will be set for early 2020. CNS has also learned from sources close to the governor’s office that the vote could not feasibly take place before December, and January was the most likely month.

“We anticipate a referendum date in January 2020, based on constitutional requirements, precedents set by previous referendums and processes outlined by the elections supervisor in May 2019,” said the CPR campaigners. “If the referendum bill were to be issued on 23 September 2019, the earliest date the referendum could be held is 23 December 2019,” they added, implying the vote will not happen before January.

Cayman News Service
Elections Supervisor Wesley Howell hands the petition to Mario Rankin and Shirley Roulstone

The Elections Office also indicted in a release in May, before the petition was handed in, that after a writ is issued to set the referendum, the office would need around ten weeks to prepare staff and materials, and carry out the ballot process, including postal ballots.

Meanwhile, after handing back the original verified petition to the campaigners to allow them to formally take the document to Cabinet, ensuring they follow the constitutional provisions, Elections Supervisor Wesley Howell confirmed that his verification report should be with Cabinet by tomorrow, keeping the process on track.

“Although the Elections Office has already started their preparations, as with previous referendums, we believe that the ten weeks previously advised is necessary, at a minimum, to ensure a fair and just process to ensure that all voters have time to educate themselves, understand the referendum question, and ensure overseas students and voters have sufficient time to organise their voting ballot,” the campaigners stated.

Moxam pointed out that without a referendum law and a clearly defined process, there are significant uncertainties surrounding the next steps. However, the campaigners are confident they have done what they need to do to secure the people’s vote.

“In the absence of a referendum law and a framework that would have guided the process, we are still satisfied that we have provided Cabinet with everything required to force the process forward. From the setting of the the question and the date to the Elections Office preparations, government must now prepare the people of the Cayman Islands for this historic vote,” he said.

But as the campaign gets underway on the actual subject, which is whether or not the Cayman people support the government’s proposed cruise berthing project, Roulstone pointed out that the people need information.

“The premier has still not responded to any of our requests for information relating to the specifics, but this will not deter us,” she said. “We will continue to remain on top of this issue and we will make sure the people get their say. Their voice will be heard,” she added.

Rankin noted that the formal handover was a historic moment and the people of Cayman were 100% responsible for making it happen. “Future generations will thank us all for this moment, when we were able to trigger the country’s first ever people-initiated referendum on an issue that we are all agreed is a matter of significant national importance,” he said.

For more details and how to register to vote visit the Elections Office website or call 345-949-8047.

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Category: development, Local News, Politics

Comments (24)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    CPR should be organizing a series of follow-on petitions to get things to moving in the direction of the People:
    (a) Petition Governor to use reserve powers to change Referendum parameters in Section 70 (3) from >50% of registered electorate, to >50% of voter turnout. The sitting gov’t cannot fairly justify why those that don’t show up should get any vote at all. It is prejudicial to those that are going through the effort to seek change.
    (b) Petition Governor to use reserve powers to delete section 61(2) in its entirety.
    (c) Petition Governor to use reserve powers to audit LA members for compliance with Disqualification (62) and Tenure (63). By virtue of these published restrictions, any MLA/Speaker who is party to a gov’t contract has vacated their seat (63f).
    (d) Petition Governor to use reserve power to enact the Standards in Public Life Law within 21 days.
    (e) Petition Governor to dissolve LA and call elections.

  2. Bertie : B says:

    Be interested to see if McAlpine get the permit to do some test holes . If they do ? the port will be built as there will be new laws come out of the woodwork concerning agreements that have probably already signed . I personally do not think that they should destroy such a pristine beautiful diving area ,not to mention what this port could do to the beaches . Mother nature rules and don’t piss her of Ever .

  3. Anonymous says:

    Do we get a day off from work the day of the referendum? Is all I care for…

    • Anonymous says:

      All you can comment on is getting a day off work. Why don’t you just resign and have all your days off. Sometimes it is better to remain silent and appear stupid than to open your mouth ( in this case -type) and remove all doubt. I am sure someone else would love your job!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Alden McLaughlin Moses Kirkconnell McKeeva Bush Joey Hew Tara Rivers Dwene Seymour Juliana O’Connor-Connolly Roy McTaggart Austin Harris and the other members of this govt cannot be trusted. They all must be voted out in 2021.

    They are lying to voters and fighting the public using every trick possible. They are using public funds to fight the people’s referendum which gives the voters a chance to demonstrate their view on the cruise port dock project.

    • Yes Sah says:

      8:23 AM for Add Dwayne JJ Seymour, capt Eugene Ebanks and Bernie Bush to the lot please. They all have to levert, adió, good bye, sayonara.

    • Anonymous says:

      Too many braindead PPM voters who will continue to back them and then turn around and ask why nothing has changed for another 4 years

    • Anonymous says:

      why 2021?
      cant there be a vote of no confidence now?

      I would like to know how an online pole would turn out?

      CNS: Whatever the results of an online poll on any subject, it would have no legal significance.

      • Anonymous says:

        CNS: voters, at any time, can petition the governor to dissolve the Assembly by proclamation and call elections. Constitution Order 2009, section 84. The voters can also petition the governor to use his/her reserved power under section 81, to enact laws (like SIPL or Referendum law, or MLA Candidacy Rules) within 21days, especially when in the interests of good governance, and where there is reluctance by the LA to do it themselves.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I don’t see why so late far down the road.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because they’ve got to figure out other ways to lie to the local public about this cruise port.

      • Anonymous says:

        Cayman cannot get the decision wrong.
        It is clear based on the timelines of the election law process which is being referred to in the absence of a Referendum Law and the delays of the government to have prepared in advance are the reasons for the proposed date.

        This will also afford the Premier and Deputy Premier the opportunity to share all of the information including the updated EIA and other reports to help voters get informed of all the facts and risks to make an informed decision prior to voting on Referendum Day.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Of course, if Roper had required good governance, including verifying the petition by fast and efficient random sampling, and requiring government to prepare necessary referendum legislation in any event, we could have the referendum now.

    I guess civil servants are all the same, no matter their seniority or public pronouncements.

    • Anonymous says:

      Some people are never happy. You are getting the referendum, whats your problem? More haste less speed.

      • Anonymous says:

        I am far from happy and will continue to express frustrations when I see the public’s cash wasted, with no accountability.

      • Anonymous says:

        1. The Law should have been in place since shortly after the constitution took effect.
        2. The verification process was unnecessary, lengthy, and expensive.

        You understand that a private sector managing those responsibilities in that manner would be heavily chastised by the business owners? You understand that what people are treating as cause for celebration may actually be cause for embarrassment?

        Probably not.

  7. Pure says:

    Alden and his team will try every trick in the book to stop this referendum from happening

  8. Anonymous says:

    Thank you CPR!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Later the better. In the meantime, CPR need to petition the court to stop this process and any Harbour damage. The Cabinet need to be compelled to reveal the original bid documents, emails, a public audit of that procedure, and full financial and gift in-kind audits of Cabinet and immediate family members. How were two non-starter bids deemed to have been “qualified bidders” in the first place? It reeks. FCO should also be on high alert, as they presided silently on this farce.

    • Anonymous says:

      The FCO did not sit silently in this farce. Through Roper they have actively supported and assisted in it so far.

      How much has this charade of verifying every element of what has now been proved to be a perfect list, when the same could and should have been accomplished by random sampling, cost us so far?

      Fiscal responsibility and good governance? Pull the other one.


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