CPR mulls court action on referendum concerns

| 21/10/2019 | 57 Comments
Cayman News Service
(L-R) Mario Rankin, Johann Moxam, Jonathan Edie, Katrina Jurn and Shirley Roulstone with Governor Martyn Roper

(CNS): The campaigners who secured a people-initiated referendum on the government’s cruise port proposal are considering legal action if several of the concerns that have emerged about the vote are not addressed before it is scheduled to take place. These include the disenfranchisement of over 200 new voters and the lack of a ban on selling alcohol on polling day, and the activists believe the hastily drafted bill, which will be debated next week, has created unfairness.

Campaigners met with Governor Martyn Roper last week to air a number of concerns about the referendum legislation. They have called on the UK’s representative to ensure that government levels the playing field, otherwise they will be seeking a judicial review once the legislation is passed.

The law already gives government the upper hand on a people’s vote, as it gets to chose the date as well as the wording of the question. Government has exploited both those advantages by selecting 19 December, six days before Christmas, thereby undermining the turnout. And it included expansion of the cargo facility in the question, even though those who signed the petition were asking for a vote on the cruise project alone.

Government also created a number of other advantages for itself with the proposed referendum bill, which activists with the CPR are urging it to address.

Their primary concern is that around 207 new voters who registered between July and October will not be able to vote because the referendum has been set less than two weeks before that new register will come into force due to the time lapse required to confirm the new voters list. Activists are asking the government to change the legislation to provide for the 1 January register to be brought forward to ensure that those new voters can take part, cutting the clean-up process by just two weeks.

They are also asking election officials to make sure all registered voters who have died and those who have been declared mentally incapacitated are removed from the list before Referendum Day, otherwise they will be counted as ‘yes’ votes because of the rules relating to people-initiated referendums.

Given that such polls are usually challenging government policy, the constitutional provision requires more than 50% of the entire electorate to vote for the change to make it binding rather than a simple majority. This means that every single voter on the electoral roll who does not go to the polls (even those who have died but are still on the roll) is automatically counted as being in favour of the government policy. In this instance that means every non-voter will be counted as ‘yes’ to the port regardless of their actual position.

Another major concern which the CPR group has brought to the attention of the governor is the decision by the premier not to close the liquor stores and bars during polling hours. Given the longstanding tradition that voting day, which is a public holiday, is always dry until the polls close, the activists are concerned that government has made a deliberate exception for this vote as another distraction to discourage voters from showing up.

The lack of any guardrails on campaign finance means that both sides can spend as much as they want on the promotion. But unlike the activists, the government can use public money as well as funds from the merchants who stand to gain from the cruise project.

While the activists have some commercial supporters, the campaign itself is a grassroots organization supported largely by environmental activists and some small business owners. The CPR group therefore reviewed the long list of inequities with the governor in the hope that he would step in and create a more fair environment in which the vote can take place

Having engaged in the exchange with the activists on Friday at his office, Governor Martyn Roper said that he had listened to the issues.

“I had a wide-ranging exchange with CPR Group this morning (Friday) to discuss the upcoming referendum on the cruise terminal. I explained my constitutional role and listened carefully to their concerns. These included the timing of the referendum, the inclusion of cargo in the question, voter disenfranchisement and campaign finance,” he said.

However, he has not yet indicated what can be done to address them.

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Category: development, Local News, Politics

Comments (57)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Typical activist crap. When you know you will lose at the polls, try to use the courts to nullify the vote….

    I’m sure the monopoly that makes millions every single year (for decades) that has a vital SELF-interest in the dock NOT being built, is all in favor of overturning every YES vote by any means necessary.

    • Anonymous says:

      The judicial system exists to assist all aggrieved parties in any dispute. This is not unique to the current situation

  2. Anonymous says:

    Starting to sound like sore losers when you are already winners for getting the Referendum in the first place. Believe in your goals and just get on with it, stop wasting time and efforts on anything else, it wont change anyhow. There are a lot of people very upset with the CIG and how they are perceived relating to the Port. Not necessarily upset with a Port, but upset enough with CIG that they’ll vote no this time. Don’t snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by mimicking the whining of the CIG. Believe. Go Vote.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The elections office is following the usual rules when it comes to who can vote and at what time. The 200 voters are left out because they registered late. Why should we change the law on this occasion because of the CPR’s grand standing? You wannabe be politician just stop with your election campaign and step away from the process so those that truly care about the environment can speak for themselves. That would give the CPR more credibility.

    You cannot say you respect the rule of law but change the rule of law just because it does not suit you.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It is my personal belief that this government will do everything in its power to secure their desired results. Using the people’s money to permote their case is highly questionable to any thinking person. Does conflict of interest or unethical mean anything to this government?

  5. Campaigners are complainers (Camplaingers) says:

    Just more of the same from the Camplaigners. We need to get this over with so we can move forward, if we can.

  6. Anonymous says:

    We have been able to get a referendum called. NOW, GET OUT AND VOTE. Regardless of all the commercials and b.s. put out by the government for this, this project will kill the Cayman Islands. You have worked hard to have a say in this. When the time comes, GET OUT AND VOTE. Don’t find yourself the morning after with the decision to go forward with this monstrous project is almost passed and think, “I wish I had voted on this.” Regardless of the wording or the date, GET OUT AND VOTE.

    • Anonymous says:

      7:09 you forgot to tell them vote NO.

    • Anonymous says:

      But I’d like for the late registered voters to have a chance to Vote No, too, in all fairness!! There are many of them that registered now just to be able to vote on this referrandum bcus they came eligible, for whatever reason, and had mafe it a point to sign the petition. There are some many things that is wrong with this CIG, that its not funny anymore. Yes, CPR, fight to the end to get the best results possible even if it means taking it to court!! Do it for my family, do it for me, do it for our future and younger generations, our environment, our beautiful Islands! Stop these greed ppl from destroying my Island, my only home!!!!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Kirkbots and trolls working the 30 👍🏻 game get a life!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Say wha Gov? What is it exactly that Governors do?

    • Anonymous says:

      Limit the speed capabilities of motor vehicles

    • BadSystem says:

      Governors listen to both sides with compassion . Just as the queen does in UK. Remain politically NEUTRAL. It’s waste of time to go to governor thinking he can do anything besides direct to any LAW or legal representation. This current governor gives the false impression as if he can do more.. (without using emergency powers). He wouldn’t want to cause a constitutional crisis doing that in “normal” times.

    • Anonymous says:

      Through months and months of testing, figure out whether their gin cocktail is better with a lemon wedge or a lime wedge.

  9. Anonymous says:

    50% of the leading voices of the referendum group don’t care about the environment at all. One of them was pitching an oil refinery for his own profit just a couple years ago and now he wants to pretend he is Jacques Cousteau. Really brings down the integrity of the rest that are genuine.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well maybe he’s against it for other obvious reasons? Like the total lack of infrastructure to deal with an additional influx of cruise ship arrivals?

    • Anonymous says:

      One person in the group cannot be 50 percent unless the group is only two persons. May be he is like MLA Wight – he claimed he had a change of heart and emerged! Stranger things have happened before.

  10. Anon says:

    Stop with the misinformation that Deceased & Mentally incapacitated persons are not removed. The list is updated every quarter and they are removed. Since most of you (including some Politicians) don’t understand the process here goes. If they died in September they couldn’t be removed in July when the Current Official list was published as was featured on CMR. The Revised list of October 1st should no longer show them as Voters and anyone dying in the Cayman Islands between that date & Referendum/Election date will be removed before the vote. This however won’t show online only on Polling station lists.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anon is that really you? A perfect sensible post. Prayers are a powerful thing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hello CNS could you please repost the link or point me in the right direction as I would like to check to see that this is the case.

      CNS: Sorry, which link are you looking for?

    • Anonymous says:

      This conflicts directly with what the Elections office themselves have said:

      “The Elections Office has released the revised list of electors, which is set to come into effect on 1 January 2020 and shows that the electoral roll has grown to 21,382 registered voters after 220 new voters signed up between July and October. Fifty-four ineligible voters were removed from the list, as well as 45 who have died since 2 July.”

      In other words, everyone who has died since July is still on the list and their votes will be counted as a yes. They will not be removed until the new list comes into effect on January 1.


    • Anonymous says:

      It is not misinformation. I still see quite a few family members that have passed on over a year now.

  11. Lord Varys says:

    A referendum vote should be treated with the same gravity and respect as a general election. The price of apathy in public affairs is tone ruled by evil and unjust men

    • Anonymous says:

      If we’re going to get into GOT references, just know there is one real Jon Snow up there, actually maybe he’s Ramsey Bolton, but a bit bigger.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The Governor has no backbone he is impotent in the exercise of his duties.

    • Anonymous says:

      5:49. With that comment we know the Governor is doing his job. He has to upset someone. Kudos Governor.

      • Messenjah says:

        And when any Govt, as is evidenced in current world politics, makes asinine decisions, then the people take action
        People the world over are waking up and realizing they just don’t trust Govts to make decisions that are good for them.
        This is a perfect example. Prob the first of many as the people open their eyes and realize.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Activity at polling stations will be hampered by Christmas traffic, office parties, early shopping trips overseas and guardianship of young children. The unfortunate truth is that the people who go to the polls could be as disenfranchised in their vote as the poor voters in the UK Government’s Brexit Campaign. The vote is necessary but poorly framed, just like those who voted “Leave” were framed 3 years ago.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is not about a Referendum in any other country, it is about our Referendum and the Government is trying to make it as difficult as possible. This shows that they are losing the plot. They might cajole to get the vote in their favour but history will judge them harshly.

  14. Anonymous says:

    My sweet !

  15. BeaumontZodecloun says:

    ANY Referendum — especially the historic first People’s Initiated Referendum — should be worded with parity, and voted upon at a time which is optimised to bring out the greatest amount of the Electors.

    The primary question should be reworded such that the greatest amount of “yes” or “no” votes chooses the outcome, not defaulting those who don’t vote as having chosen.

    This is history in the making. How will our children view this event? I hope they will view it as a turning point in which the Electors stepped up and voted, and the majority won the day. I hope they view it as a beginning of the People’s power to change things that matter to them.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Take them to court. Clowns in government wont be able to tell anyone a thing about who is still alive on these islands

    • Anonymous says:

      All you cry babies want to do is start trouble. You have your vote so just get on with it. You won’t be satisfied until you derail our duly elected goverment. I say shut this bunch down!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Perfect time to have the vote. Not everyone celebrates Christmas. Why should they otherwise pander only to Christians?

    • Anonymous says:

      Then I suggest you report to work on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and Easter Monday. Seriously? Show some respect to the majority of the people in Cayman who are Christian.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’d love to work on those days. Antiquated laws which violate my basic human rights dictate that I can’t. My Crowley, any comment?

        • Anonymous says:

          It’s your human right to come to another country and dictate your non-religious beliefs? Human rights also allows for freedom of religion and the Cayman Islands constitution that this is a Christian country. If you want to live here, respect the fact that the majority of people not only don’t agree with your views, they are angered by your rude arrogance. Did your mother never teach you about how to behave when your a guest? Nobody is asking you to agree with Christianity, they simply want you to respect their choice to be Christian and celebrate the typical rituals of the rest of the Christian world.

          • Anonymous says:

            I’m not a guest and you have just proven my point.

            • Anonymous says:

              The point that you’re intolerant and arrogant? If you’re not a guest, then you should know well that the majority of your fellow citizens are Christian and that the celebration of Christian holidays is something they hold dear. Who are you to decide it’s wrong and against your human rights to be … what? Atheist? That’s your decision and I respect that. Just respect others the same way, especially since you hold a viewpoint that is an outlier here. Bottom line is that most people here celebrate Christmas and having a referendum six day before is an obvious government ploy to discourage voter turnout. This isn’t about pandering to Christians; it’s about being fair to the democratic process.

        • Anonymous says:

          Get a job in hospitality like me. I work all those days!

    • Anonymous says:

      we are classified as a CHRISTIAN COUNTRY whether you know it or not.

  18. Anonymous says:

    wow, you guys are really reaching here. give it up. you got your referendum. honestly, what other country suspends liquor sales, let alone has a public holiday? if this is important enough, people will vote, but stop with the pathetic narrative that all forces are against you.

    • Anonymous says:

      CPR are requesting that the same standards apply as they did on referendum day 2012 and the election day process.

      the fact that you see nothing wrong with disenfranchising over 200 new voters speak directly to you unfair mind

    • Anonymous says:

      Ummm – this country does. It normally does both for elections. This time, no suspension of liquor sales.

      I quite agree that there shouldn’t be a public holiday for a poll, nor should liquor sales be suspended, but if you are going to do it for an election should be doing it for a referendum, otherwise they have a legitimate beef that its not a level playing field. Bit off of you to call them pathetic for pointing out the simple truth. You may not agree with them, but fair is fair.

    • Anonymous says:

      MACALDENBOT you still active.

    • Anonymous says:

      I mean the law states the sale of liquor must be suspended so, maybe blame those that drafted the law?

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