Trust and CPR file official legal action on port vote

| 25/11/2019 | 42 Comments

(CNS): The National Trust for the Cayman Islands and the Cruise Port Referendum group have now filed official legal actions over the decision to hold the people’s referendum on the cruise berthing project before critical information is available. Earlier this month the Trust sent a letter to government warning them that they were considering legal action unless it agreed to defer the vote until a new environmental impact assessment had been done, while the CPR activists raised challenges to the legislation paving the way for the poll.

In a public statement the Trust said it had reluctantly moved ahead with the official action.

“The National Trust is not satisfied with the response received from the government and has taken the decision to file papers requesting a Judicial Review on this urgent matter,” Director Nadia Hardie stated. “The National Trust values the close working relationship it has with the Cayman Islands Government and therefore does not take this decision lightly.”

But the Trust has raised its concerns about his project over the last four years, asking for critical questions to be answered and full assessments to be completed before any work begins. Because of the potential impacts on coral reefs and two historical shipwrecks, the Balboa and the Cali, the Trust said it had “not taken a stance in favour of or against the port project and believes that there is currently insufficient information to do so”.

Outlining the main reason for taking legal action, the Trust said it is asking that before proceeding on this project or going ahead with the vote, further studies should be conducted and published.

“The National Trust is duty bound to its members and to the general public to act as the guardian of matters of the environment and places of historical significance and has been doing so for over 32 years. The Trust stands proud of all its achievements to date and remains fully committed to preserving all that makes the Cayman Islands unique,” Hardie added.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for CPR told CNS that they have applied for a protective order from the court ahead of potential judicial review.

While the two planned actions converge on the environmental issues and the need for the research, studies and EIA to be done before the vote, the activists also have a long list of concerns relating to the actual referendum law passed to pave the way for this vote.

These include the date, which has been set for just six days before Christmas, the disenfranchisement of more than 200 new voters, the failure of government to address campaign finance in the law, and a number of other major issues, which the CPR believes the government is using to try to manipulate the referendum and suppress voter turnout.

This is particularly significant given that the final result has to be 50% plus one of the entire electorate and not just a simple majority for the ‘no’ vote to carry the day.

CPR had asked government to address their concerns with the law and to postpone the national poll until they had. However, it is understood that government’s response to them was equally unsatisfactory and reflected Premier Alden McLaughlin’s statements at the government’s public meetings on the issue, that he will not delay the referendum because government believes it has a mandate for the dock and intends to proceed as quickly as possible.

The CPR is continuing to campaign for people to vote ‘no’ on Referendum Day, given that it is just over three weeks away and even if the court is able to act quickly there are no guarantees that the vote will be deferred.

See the details of the CPR’s request regarding the law and the Trust’s letter outlining its concerns about the lack of environmental information in the CNS Library.


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Comments (42)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank God for the National Trust and the CPR! They are trying to save our islands! It is as simple and as complex as that!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Persons are being attacked on social media for merely voicing their pro port opinions, hence the ‘anon’ approach by many.

    Also: Being louder than everyone else or being aggressive about an issue does not mean what that person is saying reflects the truth.

    And a person justifying their attitude by saying I’m angry because this project is going to destroy Cayman’ or will ‘hurt our children’ (despite the passion) is still very much a matter of opinion and does not necessarily reflect an analysis of the facts.

    • Give Alden and Verdant Isle coal for Christmas, Vote No on Dec 19th says:

      Garbage, as usual from the pro port side, make up lies about being attacked and bullied

      You all have been saying this for months now, the government even ran ads saying CPR was running around forcing people to sign the petition and that dozens of people were contacting them to figure out how to unverify
      and then turns out that almost no one unverified or claimed that was true and happened to them

      You people are just desperate

      Alden, Mckeeva and Austin Harris are the ones who on video attacking people for disagreeing with them
      and not a peep from you,

      Vote no on the 19th

  3. Anonymous says:

    First: This petition is about Democracy. We are not for or against the port.

    Then: Vote No!

    And now: We don’t want the referendum again actually.

    Truth: We are really just playing some super politics to delay the project or stop it whatever would make the government look worse, while we gear up for the next general election. And some of us are just privileged high income persons who don’t want those little cruise tourism individuals and small businesses to get in the way and make traffic bad. We didn’t complain like this on the last 3 occasions when the port expansion came up because we just didn’t have the political opportunists around us that we have now.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dumbest comment I have had the displeasure of reading

      Vapid, and lacking any actual arguments
      Just more garbage from those who would have Autocrats rule all facets of life from behind the closed doors of the cabinet room

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s actually a decent and insightful point being made. Your angry response (“you’re dumb and garbage”) though, is pretty intelligent and profound, shows class and character etc..

    • Anonymous says:

      “Political opportunists” is the right phrase for the “leadership” of the Cayman Islands at this point in history!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Costs incurred by the National Trust should be reimbursed from the Environmental Protection Fund.

  5. Anonymous says:

    No this is what I call a waste of public donations and funds. Never going to succeed and why is the National trust trying to fight a people’s initialed referendum? Ludicrous to fight the people’s right to vote.

    • Anonymous says:

      They aren’t fighting the vote, the are fighting the MLAs attempts to hide information till after the referendum
      If the MLAs had been forthcoming with the relevant information then the National Trust wouldn’t have a case

    • JTB says:

      The National Trust is not trying to stop the referendum, it’s trying to ensure that the people can make an informed decision

    • Anonymous says:

      If you actually read the article – the Trust is only asking for the Referendum to be held WHEN there are actually real facts to be considered. Unlike the spin that is being fed to the people now. They DONT want the referendum cancelled, simply held when the people can make an informed decision. Do you have a crystal ball that maybe you can share with the rest of us? The Government is duty bound to provide real information. Alden has stated many times including VIPP that they dont have any updates and the initial report showed this plan was like a E-. You happy with that sort of assessment?

    • Anonymous says:

      Not exactly what the trust is seeking. Delay the vote until all the relevant information is available and hold a fair referendum. It no secret the trust is there to protect the natural environment and historically significant things Caymanian. I think it speaks well of the board that they have taken this action given they receive funding from government risking getting the funding cut from the next budget.

  6. Anonymous says:

    We want a referendum! Wait, no we don’t! Wait, let’s have a referendum to stop the referendum!

    Fix the damn dump.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because wanting the vote = letting the government change the norms of our elections and tip the scales in their favour and say nothing
      CPR has won the right to this public vote, that does not mean they have to sit back and watch the government break all the rules

      They have set up this vote to prevent the constituency count (despite the norm for any elec
      They are breaking the elections law by having bars open during polling hours
      They have not put in place campaign finance limits
      and they set the date to prevent newly registered voters from taking part in the vote

      If you are going to make an argument at least make one that is logical
      The only reason why this is going to the courts now is because the Premier and Cabinet have tried gaming the system

  7. Anonymous says:

    As the justice told Donald Trump, “You are not a King.”

  8. Anonymous says:

    The problem for me right now is the grounds for voting ‘Yes’ all seem to be based on promises from the government and Verdant that the dock is a good thing but at the same time they are trying very hard to avoid giving us any specifics. It’s a bit like a Judge at a trial telling the jury to convict somebody without any evidence because it’s the ‘right’ thing to do. I already don’t trust any of them as far as I could throw them and the more secretive they get the further I move over into the ‘No’ camp.

    • Anonymous says:

      The false premise that there are several ships routinely passing us by, loaded with passengers to get us to 2.5mln, has been factually disproven many times over. I don’t know why we are still proceeding on that basis unless there is someone in Cabinet that has been paid to hustle this through. When they continue to refuse to enact SIPL, the evidence of corruption piles up. This is no longer about the Port, this is about bad actors abusing their office. If they won’t open their accounts for inspection, then people should be asking a lot more questions about their motivations to propel false info, using public money.

  9. Kurt Christian says:

    Vote No

  10. Anonymous says:

    Smart tactical legal moves by CPR and the National Trust.

    Thank you for challenging the madness of this runaway government that seems to be representing the cruise lines more than the Caymanian people they are elected to represent.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Lets just vote and get it over with. These troublemakers just want to delay it and cause more division in the country. What are they so afraid of – loosing?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, okay Anonymous

    • Anonymous says:

      Losing*. Spend the money on Education… Prime example. ^^^

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

      Division in the country?

      There is no divide I am seeing, what I can see is the pro port campaigners are backing a process that prevents 200 voters from participating
      and all that after spending a year advertising against a petition, with lies like a referendum would mean the bidders would pull out, and the project would be canceled https://www.caymancompass.com/2018/09/25/government-referendum-would-kill-cruise-port/

      -The government were the ones who had the option to prove they had a mandate in August of 2018 when they voted down the opposition motion to hold the referendum
      If the government cared about division they could have called this vote a year ago and this would have already been settled, before there even was a CPR group

      -The government were the ones who said there was no rush to the vote and initiated a costly and months long door to door verification in an attempt to avoid this referendum

      -The government is currently withholding key information until after the vote, in an attempt to prop up the ugly bits of the deal because they have no interest in letting people make an informed vote

      -The government is currently blocking members of the DOE from speaking publicly about their concerns about this project

      -The government is refusing to put into place proper campaign finance limits for both sides to ensure that the public is not browbeaten by those with financial interests and cash to burn

      -The government is refusing to treat this vote as they would every other vote, and refusing to allow the count by constituency, along with other norms like closing alcohol distributors until the polls close.

      -The government is running around with foreigners who as of yet have no business here telling us what we need to do for them so they can “help” us

      -The government is trying to sign us up for 25 years of debt that we don’t want, and that we have no interest in

      And all that goes without mentioning Alden has a long track record of starting horrible projects and then shirking responsibility,
      The schools, the airport, the road expansions etc
      The man destroys anything he touches, while pretending he is some political grand strategist because he can con a couple of people in George town to keep electing him and his cronies

      The country isn’t divided on the port issue
      The country is unified in its opposition to this god forsaken project, which will be displayed when the vote is held whether it is in December or if the vote is forced to be put off by the courts

      The only people trying to rush this vote, are you, you all have done everything you can over the past year and a half to try to stop the vote and have only now accepted this vote while stacking the odds in your own favour and claiming that it is the other side that is scared
      How dumb do you think people are?

      People can see what you all are doing, in your desperation to win the vote
      The rest of us have no qualms letting all Caymanians interested vote, waiting for all the available information and holding the referendum at a time when Caymanians are not celebrating the holidays or overseas with family during vacation periods

    • Logic of the PPM and Mindless Pro Port Clowns says:

      Alden and the Port Supporters: “Don’t mind me breaking every norm and electoral tradition in this country”

      Alden and the Port Supporters: “Well now that I am good and ready, lets have this election CPR, don’t worry about the fact that we have been dodging and delaying this vote for as long as possible”

      Alden and the Port Supporters: “what do you mean you want this election delayed? I just spent all this time rewriting the rules and setting this up perfectly so that I can have the highest possible chance of winning. What are you scared? Clearly you are just trying to divide the country by not taking part in this vote that I have orchestrated after refusing to hold the vote last year when I had the chance.

    • Anna Peccarino says:

      These people are heroes not troublemakers. They are amazing people with courage and integrity and we are all in their debt for having the courage to do the right thing and speak up to protect our islands. They are doing what our elected government should be doing and deserve our admiration and support.

      And if you have anything to say in answer to that, please drop the “anonymous” because this is a time for people to speak up in their own name, whichever side they’re on.

  12. Do nor trust the trust says:

    Time to shut down the National Trust. This is why the goveremt is repealling the NCL.

    • Anonymous says:

      I didn’t catch your name.

    • Anna Peccarino says:

      Time to give the Trust a medal (and double its grant) for having the balls to do what it was set up for and mandated to do. Well done NT! We’re proud of you and in your debt for speaking up for all of us!

      CIG should take note and start doing what it was elected to do: take care of all Caymanians FIRST and protect our environment as it is expressly mandated to do by the Constitution.

      And what’s with the “Anonymous”? If you’ve got something to say, then have the balls to put your real name to it.

      • Anonymous says:

        The Trust should be nominated as our next hero. Heroes day just around the corner.

      • Anonymous says:

        Anna:
        Persons are being attacked on social media for merely voicing their pro port opinions, hence the ‘anon’ approach by many.

        Also: Being louder than everyone else or being aggressive about an issue does not mean what that person is saying reflects the truth.

        And a person justifying their attitude by saying I’m angry because this project is going to ‘destroy Cayman’ or will ‘hurt our children’ (despite the passion) is still very much a matter of opinion and does not necessarily reflect an analysis of the facts.

    • Anonymous says:

      If anything, now is the time to support the Trust as they try to protect the interest of Caymanians. They only doing what they are mandated to do. How hard is it for government to give all of the details of the port project? That’s all the Trust is asking for and so should every Caymanian.

    • Anonymous says:

      ha ha… shows how ignorant you are. The NCC and the Trust are two separate bodies. Start doing some reading. Its pretty simple.

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