CPR activist secures court protection

| 06/01/2020 | 53 Comments
Cayman News Service
Lawyer Kate McClymont with her client, Shirley Roulstone

(CNS): Cruise Port Referendum activist Shirley Roulstone, who is challenging how government has gone about setting the referendum in the courts, has secured another important victory. Lawyers for Roulstone confirmed Monday that the chief justice had ruled in favour of a protective costs order, which will protect Roulstone from government should the court rule against her in the public interest judicial review of the referendum process and the need to ensure it is fair.

Kate McClymont from the local legal firm Broadhurst LLC, who is representing Roulstone, explained why her client made the application for the costs order.

“Ms Roulstone has brought this case, which involves a number of important constitutional issues, in the hope that it will facilitate a fair and effective referendum on an issue that will have a significant long-term environmental and economic impact on the Cayman Islands,” said McClymont.

“She has taken that step because she believes it is in the best interests of the people of the Cayman Islands to have these issues considered by the Court. The protective costs order will allow her to continue to pursue that goal without undue personal risk.”

The order comes ahead of the hearing later this month where the court will consider the concerns of Roulstone, in her capacity as a petition activist, over government’s handling of the question, campaign and other important elements, as well as the environmental issues raised by the National Trust for the Cayman Islands.

Securing a protective cost order was an important part of the judicial review process, given the massive public interest in this issue. It is also the first order of its kind in the Cayman Islands.

The lawyers said that without such a protective order, Roulstone could personally have been liable to pay the government’s cost if all of the arguments were defeated.

Government’s pursuit of litigants in human rights, constitutional and other legal cases is not uncommon.

Even after the courts found that the government was in violation of their human rights, the government is pursuing Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden for money, after the appeal court overturned the chief justice’s decision to legalise same-sex marriage in their case.

Government had also sought to get cash from the West Bay women who challenged its handling of the closure of the West Bay Road and the controversial Dart agreement, despite the significant public interest issue in that case. Fortunately, the chief justice stepped in, telling government that he would not award costs because of the chilling effect it might have on the public’s right to challenge its government in the courts.

But this time, regardless of the outcome, there is no risk to Roulstone, allowing the case to be fairly aired.

During the original hearing for a judicial review, the government did not dispute that this is a public interest case. At the conclusion of that hearing, Justice Tim Owen, who will hear the full review on 22 January, said that the case “plainly involves issues of great constitutional importance for the Cayman Islands, questions which have never been considered before because this is the first time that section 70 of the Constitution, which provides for a people-initiated referendum, has been triggered”.

This marks yet another first for CPR members, who are the first group of activists in the Cayman Islands to begin a formal petition to trigger a people-initiated referendum and to successfully collect and have verified the necessary signatures of 25% of the electorate.

However, as government has attempted to undermine the success of the vote by originally setting it six days before Christmas, deliberately creating an uneven playing field for the campaign, with no spending restrictions on its ability to use public money, and the manipulation of the question, Roulstone made the decision as a member of CPR to take legal action.

Her application for a judicial review was supported by a separate action filed by the National Trust, which focused on government’s failure to address a myriad of environmental concerns. The two have now been merged and the Trust has agreed for its grounds for review to be part of the wider action brought by Roulstone.

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Comments (53)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    seems government hasn’t paid their annual subscription for the bots to sway public opinion this year.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Shirley please run for office.

  3. In-The-Majority says:

    For the Majority of us non-25%-voters, i.e. the 75% of registered voters, those of us in the majority who did NOT sign up with CPR for their petition to have a Referendum: Do you realize that what this means is that now:
    – all of “WE the people” who pay any form of tax/duty/fees to government
    – are the ones who will be paying ALL of government’s costs in fighting this case (i.e because now none of those costs can be recovered from the person who brought this lawsuit)
    – so that we can eventually have our say in a Referendum
    – which the so-called “CPR = Cruise Port Referendum” group are apparently actually very keen on either delaying or not having at all
    – (in other words they’re not even living up to their own eponymous last name!)
    – EVEN IF AND WHEN the courts find that Ms. Roulstone’s case is lost,
    – and that CPR is rejoicing that WE will have to pay all of that, either way!

    Do you realize that is what this ruling means? (Not to mention what this precedent will mean for future litigants considering suing government on matters not to their liking…)

    And so Majority, just reality-checking:
    – are 90% of us really Happy about this court ruling, as the CNS emoticon analysis might suggest?
    – and is this what they mean by “Democracy”?

    • Anonymous says:

      Your comments are so typical of what Caymanians have always been subjected to in term of their ability to speak out without fear of retribution by our government. The ‘crabs in a barrell” mentality is still alive and well with us Caymanians.

      I am happy to pay my part of my taxes to help a well deserving and championing Caymanian to get this precedent setting event. Why is it that you believe it is okay for our government to continue to run roughshod over its people and when one stands up against them that they should be destroyed not only financially but reputation wise.

      It is precedent setting but I honestly do not believe that any judge would approve this if it was not in the nation’s best interest. Put yourself in this situation and ask yourself what would you do?

      Until the referendum is held, you have no idea whether you are in the majority or not. There was a lot of people that felt very uncomfortable in signing the petition for fear of the government lashing out at them which goes to prove even more why this lady standing up against this situation.

      What you are afraid of or want to continue is to ensure that the government will always have its way with the people. What you forget is that it is the ordinary people, the voters of this country that gave these worthless politicians the power that they now have..At no time did I or anyone else vote for a government that would seek to divide its people, destroy their reputations and financially bankrupt them.

      This action was not taken to delay the referendum but to ensure that it was done fairly which we can all agree was not done that way as is evident with the government changing the question again.

      This action provides a level playing field for the court action unlike the unfair action of the government to continue to spend millions of our tax money on promoting their side without a cap on spending…What say you about all the money (our money) being spent by the government without any cap? If you are so sure, that the government and yourself are in the majority why the need to spend so much to convince the minority?

    • JTB says:

      What this means is that ordinary citizens can challenge the government on issues of public importance without the risk of being bankrupted.

      That’s quite a good thing, isn’t it?

      It means the people can hold the Government to account. I like living in a country where that’s the case. We could call it ‘the Rule of Law’.

      And don’t forget, to get this far, a Judge has examined Ms Roulstone’s case and has found that it has sufficient merit for her to be given leave to bring an application for judicial review.

      • Anonymous says:

        JTB Bet you they cant do it to CUC or Flow or CNB. If they sued and lost they have to be prepared to pay. Same should apply to suing Government. Don’t sue if you can’t afford to pay if costs are awarded against you.

        • JTB says:

          It’s those few little words ‘issues of public importance’

          Law suits against private companies tend to be about private disputes, so yes in those cases the usual costs rules apply.

          But if you bring a judicial review application, you are representing the public, not just yourself. You are testing the legality of the government’s actions. In such cases the law recognises that there is a public interest in the cases being heard, which would not happen if litigants were deterred by the threat of financial ruin.

          I’m sorry if this is too complicated for you to get your head around.

    • Anonymous says:

      Drinking the kool ade still, huh?

  4. Anonymous says:

    “Even after the courts found that the government was in violation of their human rights, the government is pursuing Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden for money, after the appeal court overturned the chief justice’s decision to legalise same-sex marriage in their case.”

    Woooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Really all you need to know about this government.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I wish these two women were would stop being so concerned with the ocean bed and put their time and attention into the DUMP! It’s what’s killing us. The port project won’t KILL PEOPLE!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I hope when they are giving out awards this year they include Shirley, Chantelle, and Smellie. They are the real heroes.

  7. Anonymous says:

    so why does ci constitution allow the chief justice to give legal advise to ci govt prior to any case going to court???? not right….and yes i am a native caymanian…citizen

  8. Anonymous says:

    Where can someone buy or rent one of those nice bags?

  9. Revelations 3:45 says:

    Perhaps if the Premier & Cabinet had demonstrated sufficient levels of humility, professionalism and respect for the public that raised legitimate concerns that have now been confirmed in the Grand Court rulings all the current legal proceedings could have been avoided.

    It speaks volumes to the way the country is governed and the character those elected to lead the country when they dismiss over 25% of the Registered Voters (6000+ Voters) that triggered Cayman’s first People’s Initiated Referendum under S.70 of the Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009

    • Anonymous says:

      HahahA so the battle is won right? Hahahahahah

    • Anonymous says:

      The only legitimate concern that the court has acknowkedged is that the cause is worthy of examination to see if it is legitimate/worthy. The JR when done will determine the legitimacy of the assumptions of CPR.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Yesssss, Shirley! No to the port.

  11. Kurt Christian says:

    Vote No

  12. Choices and Consequences says:

    The lies of the UNITY Govt are catching up with them in the courts. This ruling is another sign that Alden Moses Joey Juliana Tara Dwayne Roy David Barbara McKeeva Eugene and Austin made a very bad decision to ignore the people. They are hanging their political hopes in 2021 on a cruise dock the country does not need at this time and cannot afford.

    • Anonymous says:

      This bunch are not hanging their futures on political careers because not one of them will have one. Five are “retiring” and the rest will be clinically deposed of and rejected by the same electorate that they turned their backs on.

  13. Anonymous says:

    TEK DAT Mr. Premier!

  14. Anonymous says:

    This is a victory for Cayman. For so long the government has ran roughshod over us because they knew they could destroy us whether we got into court or not and there are many examples out there that I could refer to..They used the people money to destroy anyone that got in their way…No more…Take note, this is precedent setting, Government you can no longer threaten or use government funds to destroy your citizens.

    My advice to Alden and Moses is to listen to the people and not just the few around them that will follow them like sheep to the slaughter. You have to know when to let something go when it is obvious the people don’t want it..Nobody is going to fault you except those who don’t have your best interest at heart if you stand up now and do the right thing..

    2021 will be telling at the polls and this Port foolishness has caused both the PPM and the remnants of the CDP to lose their support from their membership.

  15. BeaumontZodecloun says:

    This is very good news. Now that the Referendum has been deferred until later, those 200+ recently registered voters will now be able to vote in the Referendum. That’s one issue down.

    I believe the primary remaining issue is that of the wording of the Referendum question; as it stands, those that choose to not vote are registered as a “yes” vote. This is FAR too important of an issue to be decided in such a passive manner. The question also needs to focus entirely on the Cruise Port and exclude that of the Cargo Port. The question needs to be reworded in an impartial way that requires all electors to vote yes or no, and those that don’t vote aren’t counted.

    • Anonymous says:

      But…but…but….then the Gov have NO CHANCE of winning!

    • Anonymous says:

      BeaumontZodecloun Stop the propoganda.. those that do not vote are not counted as yes or no. They are counted as ‘did not vote’.

      • ppm Distress Signal says:

        Premier Alden McLaughlin and Deputy Moses Kirkconnell in multiple press briefings, radio shows and print media have said not voting means they support the port therefore represent a Yes vote.

        Maybe they are wrong but that has been government propaganda from the very beginning. This is all part of their strategy to prevent people from turning out to the polls on referendum day.

        None of this government can be trusted. Vote No then vote them out.

        • Anonymous says:

          ppm Distress Signal You quoted the Premier and Deputy Premier as saying ‘ not voting means they support the port therefore represent a Yes vote.’ This simply meant that if you supported a no vote but didn’t vote it doesn’t help the No voters in the same way that a Yes vote does not help the No voters total.Btw not voting does not help the Yes total either.

    • Ann says:

      The vote result should be based on those voting only. Counting non-voters as a yes is outrageous

      • Anonymous says:

        7.35am.Non voters will not be addede to either Yes or No totals. Not voting = no ballot to count. If CPR fails to gain 50%+1 of the registered voters, and it becomes known that a significant number of ‘NO’ voters failed to show then one could say to them” you may as well have voted YES because you did not help to reach the total.( A yes vote will have the same effect , it will not help the NO voters reach their goal. Rest assured that no one at the elections office is going to look at the voters list at the end of the day and add 1000 or 5000 non voters to the YES total or the NO total.
        Just come out and vote then you have done your part.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ann since this is people initiated referendum, the Constitutional requirement is a majority of registered voters. That section has been in place from 2009 when the Constitution took effect.

    • Anonymous says:

      In other words you want to ignore the requirements of the constitution and make rules that ensure the no vote wins That sounds fair – Not!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Great start to the New Year. The, ‘If this faiIs it will ruin you,’ deterrent has been used by both public and private organisations way too often to shut down people challenging their decisions. Which ever way it goes this at least means the case will get a fair hearing.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I am so very proud of your efforts to save our islands from the damage and cost of a comparatively low final income to the islands cruise industry. Move on to stayovers. They bring in the real money.

  18. Anonymous says:


  19. Anonymous says:

    Wow. So she can juzt sue and cost we the people all kinds of money and Govt can’t sue to re cover. Wow. I wonder did she obtain permission to sue Government from the over 5600 backers of the petition ? Probably not. She certainly didn’t consult me.

    • Sunrise says:

      Haha, sounds like you got a ham or turkey for Christmas, or maybe a better reason to sell out, a refrigerator!! Well we are not selling out and we will be victorious, trust me. Mr. Premier, better switch sides now.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, Alden spent $9M plus of my money on this and never consulted me. I don’t think her going to the court on behalf of the many people of these islands that do not support the building of this port will cost a fraction of that..

      Proud of you Shirley! As a Caymanian and a woman, standing up against worthless men that call themself politicians but are nothing but bullies takes a lot of guts that many Caymanians no longer have…

  20. #VOTENO says:

    Thank you Shirley and CPR for fighting the good fight and holding the government accountable. All of you are history makers. Cayman owes you all a debt of gratitude as champions of democracy.

  21. Anonymous says:

    As they used to say on the A-Team, “I love it when a plan comes together”.

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