Activists confident as they launch ‘No’ campaign

| 21/11/2019 | 67 Comments
Cayman News Service
Launch of the Cruise Port Referendum ‘No’ campaign (Photo by Courtney Platt)

(CNS): The Cruise Port Referendum group kicked off their formal ‘No to the Port’ campaign Wednesday night on a confident note. Described as a David versus Goliath story, the volunteers and activists were positive about the road ahead. In four weeks Caymanians will go to the polls to vote for or against the proposed port dock, but in order to stop the project 10,608 voters will need to vote ‘no’. Mario Rankin, one of the founding members of the campaign, called for the greatest voter turnout in Cayman history.

Roy Bodden, a former president of the UCCI and former Cabinet minister, joined the line-up of local speakers who appeared at the launch. “We will win!” he declared to an enthusiastic crowd, having outlined why he believes the port project was not worth the significant marine destruction.

Opposition politicians Kenneth Bryan and Chris Saunders also made brief statements about why they are voting ‘no’. Saunders spoke about the constant shifting justifications that are have been touted by government, only to be abandoned, and the evidence coming from Jamaica that going into partnership with the cruise lines was never going to be in the best interests of Caymanians.

“The cruise lines are not our partners,” he said. “They are competing for the same share of wallet as we are,” he said, pointing to the reputation of the cruise industry, and urged people to take a close look at who the cruise lines really are. And, he said, given the concerns of experts that Seven Mile Beach is at risk, if the government’s claims that it is not under threat are wrong, there will be no way to fix it. “It’s too big of a risk,” Saunders said.

Bryan, who said he would be voting ‘no’, urged everyone to vote whether they were for or against the project. But looking to the future, he highlighted the significance of people registering to vote. He said that young people are still massively under represented on the register and urged them to sign on. Bryan made it clear that until young people become part of the electorate, then green and environmental issues that concern them will never be addressed by the government.

“The government will never listen to the things you care about until you are registered to vote,” he warned as he urged them to register.

Former tourism director Angela Martins, coral reef experts, and radio personality Ruthann Young also addressed the crowd before the evening was wrapped up by Johann Moxam, who has been a major driving force behind the campaign.

Moxam spoke about the diversity of the group of ‘rascals‘ that had emerged from the campaign, which started as a result of government’s inability to address the questions that people had about the controversial project. He said the core of the issue was the failure of the government to properly listen to those it is meant to represent.

He said there were significant environmental concerns surrounding the project, but government had “put a gag order around our very own experts at the Department of Environment”, he said, as he asked what they had to hide.

Moxam noted the importance of input from non-profits such as the National Trust, the CCMI and the Guy Harvey Foundation in sounding the alarm, given the constant silencing of the DoE since they were thrown off the steering committee over a year ago.

He noted government’s decision to spend money on people it touts as overseas coral experts but who have no proven track record, but will not listen to the numerous home-grown experts, who know the local marine environment from years of experience.

Moxam urged everyone at the meeting to encourage all of their friends and family to vote ‘no’. He said the country could take back control of this project, beginning with everyone showing up on Referendum Day.


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Category: development, Local News, Politics

Comments (67)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m happy to see that Caymanians are waking up and taking back there country from the older sellouts like McKeeva and Alden – they’ve been caking off the ignorance of Caymanians for years…now everyone is waking up.

  2. Anonymous says:

    CPR is very much political.

    Guaranteed that some of those individuals will be running in the next election…

    ‘Me seh dat’

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    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      So what? Even if that’s true, do you want windbags as MLAs or politicians who actually listen to the people.

      *GASP* What an enlightening concept! Imagine !!

      I’ve seen no evidence that any of them are running in the next election, however I would welcome that, if so.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    guess those same activists will be there, when and it will happen. The economy tanks. And people complain about lack of jobs. Then and only then will everyone be like “gee, why didn’t we build that dock”. and as the year pass, the dock gets more and more pricier.

    *shakes head

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    • Anonymous says:

      There are reoccurring recessions in the economic cycle. PPM broke the public purse right before the last one. We don’t need this port

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    • Stephen W says:

      I’ll start by discrediting myself and say “I’m no expert, but…”

      If the economy tanks, it’s because of our leaders and their supporting parties who are directing this metaphoric ship into an iceberg before people realize just how greedy and narcissistic they really are.

      The fact that some of our locals won’t just think for a second and are falling for these slapdash schemes to try and get us to buy in to something that could pose such a massive threat to the lifestyle every single person on this island leaves me speechless.

      Do you really think anyone will want to come here after all of the digging has destroyed the corals and made from Hog Sty Bay to The Kimpton muddy (currents, people)?

      What purpose will a dock and the jobs created by it serve in a decade when tourist stay on the ship because the main attraction (to the event that is the Cayman Islands) is demolished to try and get more of them in? It was promised to us (the class of 2010 that actually broke ground on it) that it would be ready by the time we were ready to graduate. I think I’ll leave that where it is.

      The real problem is our schools are failing to educate our (and your) children to take the jobs that are currently available. But when an ex pat comes in fully trained and ready to work it’s somehow their fault? No! Blame the people in charge of ensuring our own are intelligent enough to run this country.

      My guess is the they’ll go against the people just like they did when we said no the first time. Let’s see what it’ll actually take to get some proper direction in Cayman.

      I’ll close by saying just pay attention to where the port is proposed to be located.

      #backwards

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    • Anonymous says:

      That’s exactly what will happen if we build this and destroy the eco system that so many of us rely on for our income! You think the tourists will be in awe of our murky harbour? Probably, but not in a good way!

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      • alaw says:

        Lets face it we have two options we can build the dock now and destroy the coral or wait a hundred years for ship anchors to do it !

  4. Anonymous says:

    Let’s give Alden a miracle wrap it up in swaddling clothes and present it to him for Christmas.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Fools! Dart owns this island, yet the port would belong to CAYMAN and you OPPOSE it?? smdh

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    • Anonymous says:

      How do you know that DART, CHEC, Kirk Freeport, and Cabinet aren’t all shareholders in this disposable Verdant Isle shell company, that has posted no bond? Do we have the Share Register in the public domain? Nope.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Correct: The Cayman public has been obliged to own and actively subsidize the missing 500,000 passenger gap (from record 2mln to fictionalized 2.5mln arrivals) and has provisionally agreed this potentially widening gap to a Cayman shell company, which we all presume to represent the two foreign liners, so they can shut down engines and save fuel costs. Oh, while destroying our natural advantages over neighbouring ports that have already destroyed theirs and learned nothing. A great deal for eager dummies that can’t read and learn!

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    • Anonymous says:

      @9:37am
      Donkey, if Dart owns this island, and the Port is on this island, what makes you think he wouldn’t own that too??

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    • Anon says:

      No it won’t. It will be paid for through a loan for 25 years. What happens if we have a hurricane or don’t get 2.5 million tourists per year. Maybe then Verdant will sell the loan to the Chinese! Wake up and smell the S$$$$

  6. Anonymous says:

    The port/pier is one isolated symptom of wider real or perceived corruption problems in the Cayman Islands. Until we address those wider issues, eg. by compelling enactment of rudimentary stripped-down SIPL Law, or remove the contrived and prejudicial hereditary restriction verses on candidacy from Constitution, we will be getting nowhere different by the next election, and the one after that, and so on. The governance mechanism is clearly broken. It’s like complaining about a/c energy loss, while leaving all the doors and windows open. The government is emboldened by decades of true voter apathy and inaction, and they (and Boards) can still line their pockets with relative impunity. As much as I like what CPR is doing, there is no other concurrent voter-led effort to raise governance standards towards improved democratic responsibility/accountability and that’s the 800lb gorilla in the room.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Wow! What a great meeting! I watched the one the Government had in West Bay and I was so ashamed. McKeeva, the speaker of the house and a position of neutrality got up there like he was on the campaign path for 2021(which he probably is) berating people and calling them names and telling the people that the folks in the CPR were looking for support to get a seat in the LA. He also said that we should be happy that the government is trying to save the Balboa because if it was him in charge, it wouldn’t happen…unbelievable!!

    These dinosaurs must understand now that getting up on a podium, screaming out lies and untruths, calling people names and plain just being arrogant is not going to work anymore. that worked in the past but in won’t work going forward.

    We want people who are level headed and get speak to us with respect. Calling us rascals, muppets and all other names shows total disrespect for the people that may have a different viewpoint from yours..

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    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      People my people don’t be fooled, those crying out for detail if you give it to them they will still find fault.!Unfortunately that is the way that people who wish to be noticed act, that is the way of people who really don’t give a damn about hog sty bay or the environment but see this project as a way to get prominence.

      Why haven’t we heard from them all including their scientists, their environmentalists and the wanna bees with all of the destruction of natural foliage all over this island, where were they when safe haven was being dredged, when all of our beautiful aged and unique species of trees and fauna were being cut down. Where were they?

      I’ll tell you where they were taking care of their own, amassing wealth looking down on the little people and in one case in particular touting his wealth to the BBC giving an impression that all was well in the Cayman Islands, I wonder if he thought about anything environmental other than taking in substantial sums on the works of the Esterly Tibbetts highway,

      We have to recognize that in life people will resist change, but change can be good. This port process thus far may have not disclosed all the data being asked for but certainly it will be as far as contractually agreed to, that is the way of business worldwide, welcome to the 21st century.

      I wonder where some of these Activists were when the schools were being built why didn’t we hear their outcry to see plans, contracts etc, those schools amounted to a pretty dollar too I’m just saying that even though that process failed there was no outcry before the capital works contracts were concluded. You may say oh that wasn’t as important as the Port , to which I respond as was touted last night I see the schools as integral part of our future children’s generation and too as an indelible part of of our legacy.

      So People people think carefully I can’t tell you how to vote but I can surely and unequivocally tell you to beware of these or I should say some in particular who are Activists in sheep clothing.

      Vote your Conscience

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      • Stephen W says:

        1. Schools are far more important than the proposed port.

        2. Were you hiding under a rock? Tons of people said no to the schools and suggested they either be downsized or just scrapped altogether and just use the money for renovations on the old schools

        In that case they went with the most expensive plans they could find and left the implementation and maintenance (arguable the most important parts) half finished. Now students are destroying a million dollar state of the art school in Frank Sound, and there are still Satellite classrooms and mold in the schools in town more than a decade later.

        I feel like the past is due to be repeated at this rate.

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      • Anonymous says:

        eye roll please…. We will vote our conscience! We will vote NO! Please don’t compare fighting for our natural resources with building an expensive school- that’s apples to oranges! It’s not about the money, it’s about the destruction of our marine environment, our crystal clear waters that people from all over the world come to see. We build this particular project, and that all goes away!

        If you disagree, please, enlighten me– why is the gov’t relying on an EIA from 2015 and why wouldn’t it be in their best interest, as a member of our community, to have a new one done to VERIFY the safety of SMB and the marine life in the harbour?

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Looking in at high level you are building a Port in the same location that has been used as a Port for more 40 years; a larger cargo area which will allow more imports for local business and employment for Cargo Workers. A Cruise terminal for efficient handling of the tourism product yet so much objection. yes there are concerns and risk but risk can be managed, discussed and some mitigated. Why not also PROTEST on all the new developments which impacting more on the environment; why sell lands to foreigners and then be made restricted to go to the beach. Truly this referendum seems more to be about politics

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    • Anonymous says:

      In the best of years, the entire “pillar of Tourism” represented at maximum merely 25% of our Territorial GDP. Of that, perhaps less than 5% from Cruise Tourism, and the other 20% from stayover. Stayover is where the money is. It’s not worth ruining the lifetime experience for those 20% we should care more about, or the actual residents and future Caymanian generations we would unforgivably betray to appease two bullying liners, represented by a disposable Cayman shell co – without any plans to build the actual ships they purport are passing us by. The one RCL ship represents approx 13 “missed” stops per high season, and if you break it down, that’s about $40k a year in foregone fees to CIG. Which is nothing. Sit down, get a calculator, and do the math.

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    • Anonymous says:

      If you think a bigger Cargo port is going to bring in more items for shops you’re losing your mind because they can only ship so many containers on one and already they’re not all that full. Also it’s not gonna change the duty and how much it cost to bring items in so the cargo ship is stupid and it’s not going to employ more people.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The majority of cruise visitors are not spending money in Cayman. Maybe a T-shirt if that. The est their breakfast on ship and go back for the buffet that is always laid out. So much that it is nauseating. They take a tour that wa already booked for them on board but now with millions more they will get on the tour bus and spend one hour trying to get out of town with this traffic problem we got going on here.

  9. Caymanians! ASSEMBLE!! says:

    Wow! What a powerful evening for the Caymanian people! The message for the evening for the most part was just “present the facts, let the people decide for themselves”. No name calling, no political bashing, no BS. Just honest expression of emotion from Caymanians who love Cayman. Black Caymanians spoke of their love for these islands. White Caymanians spoke of their love for these islands. The Caymanian people came together, united for a just cause. It was beautiful! I am so proud of my people! For the first time in a LONG TIME, I am so proud of MY people!

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  10. Anonymous says:

    ““The cruise lines are not our partners,” he said. “They are competing for the same share of wallet as we are,” he said

    That na wa happening now regardless of port or tender disembarkation?

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    • Anonymous says:

      @10:52pm
      Yes but imagine it 100 times worse than what it is now.
      People who support this project, have you seen the videos or read the articles of our sister countries in the Caribbean who have done this same thing, gone into business with the cruise lines, and where they are now? what the surrounding area to their ports look like? Why would you want to replicate that? Wasn’t there just concerns about how the cruise lines were taking over local businesses so they could pocket more of the profits (owning beach chairs on SMB and tours across the island).

      Are you not reading the articles where these same cruise lines are getting all sorts of fines for dumping their garbage into our oceans, ruining reefs, and running into piers and causing millions in damage??

      I just don’t get how people can support a government who spends mine and your money with such blatant disregard. This government spent OUR money to have 100% verification of the petition done in a short period of time, to turn around and tell people who had verified their signature, that they must go back and withdraw it. AFTER THEY SPENT OUR MONEY TO VERIFY IT IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!
      How does this sh** not bother you??

      Its not even about the port or the referendum anymore. Its about this backwards a** government we have, who want to take us for fools.

      #VOTENO

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Why is CNS. not saying what a poor turnout CPR drew to their launch, they have lots of work to do.

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    • Anonymous says:

      OMG!!! What a straight up blatant LIE!!! I was there sitting to the right of the stage, and there were hardly any empty seats. There were a lot of people standing to the back of the seats as well, even as far back as sitting on the wall where Mr Don sells food, and further back along Scotia Bank parking lot others stood up and listened to what was being said.

      What Cayman needs to understand is that intimidation is prevalent among us. They employ most of the voting Caymanians, tell them they can’t go to public meetings, tell them they can’t like or share posts on social media. What else do you think gonna happen? You control a man’s dollar, you control the man!!!

      But come Referendum day I hope that people get up and vote with their heart and their conscience. Give them a sweet sweet Christmas present.

      #iAhRascal #CaymanianPride

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    • Anonymous says:

      You might as well just come out and say you weren’t there, because this comment makes it blindingly obvious you are just making things up, the seats were filled nad dozens more people stood behind the seats for 2+ hours

      Anyone claiming the event wasn’t well attended is simply lying, the pictures are on CPRs facebook page anyone interested in the truth can see for themselves

      All you have to do is look at the empty public meetings the government is hosting to see the reality of who the people are backing in this fight

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    • Anonymous says:

      Those that signed the original petition, and affirmed a second time, don’t need to keep belaboring their no vote positions, during their family dinner time. Chances are very strong they already know how they’ll vote, and don’t need any further help with that. Padding a room with people already sold are Unity tactics, and presumably involve corrupt attendance incentives that I’m glad CPR are not considering.

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    • Anon. says:

      Ha ha. You jealous Bobo! It was a huge success. Full house and had over 2000 views online. Compare that to the government empty seats and 60 views. Wake up and smell the coffee!!

  12. Kurt Christian says:

    Vote No

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Don’t worry David (CPR), Goliath (Gov) is so big, how can you miss? 🙂

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Can’t the Deputy Governor and the Governor intervene into this mess…being that the government is intentionally withholding information from their people? Where is the justice in our islands. What worries me most, is that the election is right around the corner, and Caymanians will put them right back in… No wonder the expats think of us as loonies…will now have to side with the expats…I think they care more about our islands than we do Caymanians…Go expats…

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  15. Anonymous says:

    I am a Civil Servant and I was (for fear of retribution) going to vote in support of my government but CPR’s openness, transparency and bravery won me over. Obviously there isn’t enough information out there to confidently vote in support of this port. I am voting NO! NO! NO!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Hahahahahah

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    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t really understand why people would vote in favor for fear of retribution.
      How can anyone know what you vote for once you go into the polling station??
      Its only you and God in there, so no retribution from people/ govt.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Except because failure to vote is taken as Yes, your employer may wonder why you went all the way to the polling station unless you were going to vote No.

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      • Anonymous says:

        If you see God in there, ask which way he/she/it voted.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Thank you CPR. You have convinced me to vote yes

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Alden Moses and McKeeva are officially in trouble!

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    • Anonymous says:

      They ‘ve been in trouble for a while now

      Its why they only held one meeting regarding this project and saw the public response then stopped
      Its why they refused to hold the referendum themselves in 2018 when they had the chance

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Amazing night that inspired many

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Thank you cpr!

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Best political event I have attended in 20 years.
    Just the facts and real old fashioned honesty from great speakers

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    • Anonymous says:

      But wait, thought CPR wasn’t political?

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      • Anonymous says:

        You thought a group collecting signatures for a public vote (an inherently political process) , would just sit back after turning in the signatures and let the government run the show?
        They have been campaigning the entire time for transparency and openess with the voters
        Unless you object to that type of politics…

        Think that says more about you than it does about them

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      • New Voter says:

        A referendum is political and a national vote that’s why the govt are campaigning. Please try to keep up

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      • Anonymous says:

        Everything about the port project is politics ask Deputy Governor Franz Manderson

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      • Anonymous says:

        How can you not be political when the subject is politics? You listening too much to Mckeeva and the rest. It does not matter if anyone from CPR is a political hopeful, it’s actually a great start, and they are looking out for Cayman unlike the people at helm.

        Every time i hear one the these dinosaurs talk about “they only trying to get into politics” like only they can be politicians, I just laugh. It shows their true colors and how it worries them that their political career might just really be over.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The government made it political, the rest of us just following their lead.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    I ❤️ People Power

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  22. Anonymous says:

    CPR will be remembered for being National Heroes. They are inspiring Caymanians to engage and work together. History is being made and the game will be changed going forward as a result.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    It was inspirational and proves that people power exists. I’m proud to support CPR

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  24. Vote No says:

    Thanks CPR it was a great event. A very well attended meeting with great speakers sharing real information exposing the government lies. I will vote no

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  25. Anonymous says:

    It was a great showing and a great event, we will win because at the end of the day
    The government has the backing of business interests
    We have people power

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