Question change related to legal argument

| 08/01/2020 | 18 Comments

(CNS): The premier’s office has now admitted that Cabinet has approved changes to the cruise port referendum question to address arguments that have been made in court ahead of a judicial review to be heard later this month. In a press release issued by Alden McLaughlin’s office after a report on CNS revealed that the question had been changed, officials said it had been “tweaked” to resolve concerns about it not being neutral.

“Cabinet has agreed and gazetted a slightly revised question for the national referendum on the proposed cruise berthing and enhanced cargo port project to assist in resolving any concerns with the referendum question,” the release stated, almost three weeks after the new question had been gazetted.

Referring to arguments made by Shirley Roulstone, one of the Cruise Port Referendum activists who has been granted a judicial review, that the question was biased, the office said the words had been changed to meet what her lawyers had said would be acceptable language.

“In its final meeting last year on 17 December, Cabinet took the view that whilst there was nothing wrong with the original wording, it would nonetheless be pragmatic to tweak the wording in order to help save time and costs in the case,” the release stated.

However, while there were concerns about the use of more emotive language in the original question, the fundamental problem with the referendum question remains. Campaigners are much more concerned that the question includes reference to the government’s desire to include the cargo dock in the wider cruise project.

However, the referendum was triggered by a petition for a national vote on the cruise berthing facility and made no mention about the cargo element. As a result, the CPR campaigners believe that the cargo project should not form any part of the question, and this was a point that Roulstone put forward in her grounds for judicial review.

While government appears to have accepted arguments made by Roulstone that the question it had originally drafted could be interpreted not to be neutral, it has not yet accepted that the inclusion of the cargo is a distortion of the people’s petition.

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Category: Politics

Comments (18)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    According to the article “Referring to arguments made by Shirley Roulstone, one of the Cruise Port Referendum activists who has been granted a judicial review, that the question was biased, the office said the words had been changed to meet what her lawyers had said would be acceptable language. I take it that the wofding was done in accordance with the lawyer for Shirley. However it seems like the members of CPR were unaware of this up until 7th of this month when CNS did an article entitled “New-referendum-question-gazetted” In that article a CPR spokesman is quoted as saying that ‘ they ‘ were not consulted on the new wording.Poor coomunication, not a good image.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Since it is possible that the Courts may order a completely new question it might be wise to hold off choosing yes or no. For example if the question is changed at the court’s request to read something like…Do you agree that Government should stop further work on the Piers until the demands of CPR are met? Then CPR supporters will want to vote YES. As the question is presently CPR supporters are on the NO side.

  3. Slacker says:

    Anyone who has taken a 101 Survey Research Course or a couple of Stats courses, knows that this type of question will only result in unreliable and invalid results. Who knows what they are voting for or against?
    Cayman can, deserves and should do better.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Visitors want a unique experience?
    Swimming to the shore would be unique enough to stand out among other destinations.
    It is all about adventure, isn’t it?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Being pedantic is how lawyers earn a living.

  6. Kurt Christian says:

    Vote No

  7. Anonymous says:

    So… from their petition CPR only asked that :
    “The proposed cruise berthing facility, a matter of national importance, be decided solely by referendum pursuant to the Constitution.”

    There was no specific question asked for and they said nothing about Cargo even though they knew this was mentioned as a cruise and cargo project for years.

    Not sure why they are complaining about the proposed question then. They got the Referendum they asked for. Move on already.

    • Anonymous says:

      (a) It’s not a democratic vote if those that don’t show up are counted as affirmatives.
      (b) You can’t ask two questions and pretend they are one question. Cruise Berthing and Port Refurbishment are two different projects, albeit for the same weaselly Ministry, and even after all this time, neither have a relevant or applicable business case or EIA in the public domain. So we are supposed to vote in the absence of applicable procurement law steps, because why?
      (c) None of the Cabinet and few in the LA (if anyone) want to enact the Standards in Public Life Law, which criminalizes improper relationships, payments, and the type of corruption that flourishes in the Cayman Islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      You stated the petition question and you are right that it did not include cargo. Also, the reports that the government continues to rely on do not speak about the cargo facility. The BAIRD report and PWC report actually mention it and then dismiss it as the government in 2015 decided to move forward with relocating cargo.

      So adding it now is emotive and completely unfair. I suggest you move on already.

      • Anonymous says:

        There was no plan in 2015 to move the cargo port. Period. this has been one project for years with the cruise passenger head tax being used to pay to build the entire project – that is cruise and cargo.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Sorry I’m honestly confused. Can someone clarify?

    Is the following correct?

    The previous question was:
    “Should the Cayman Islands continue to move forward with building the cruise berthing and enhanced cargo port facility?”

    The current and final question will be:
    “Should the Cayman Islands continue to proceed with building the cruise berthing and enlarged and refurbished cargo port facility?”

    • Anonymous says:

      Not necessarily the final question…this is why it is going to Judicial Review.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes. Someone at CIG thinks substituting “move forward” with “proceed” and “enhanced” with “enlarged and refurbished” is enough to make it an unbiased question. Amongst pedants and English language scholars maybe – the general population, not so sure. To say nothing to the key issue on the question raised by the CPR – whether the port enhancement/ enlargement should be inextricably linked with the cruise piers. The port facilities changes are part of the overall development, but there is nothing so far to suggest that they are either entirely dependent on the cruise piers ( especially given the size of the government surplus) or the environmental damage would be as extensive improving the Oort as adding on two piers capable of accommodating 600m long cruise ships when we typically get a 100m long cargo ship.

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      To clarify: Yes, that is the current question proposed by the CIG. This question is heavily biased toward “Yes”, STILL, in that those that don’t vote are counted as “yes”.

      When we vote for our MLAs, the vote is carried by those that show up. Why should this vitally important question be any different??

  9. Anonymous says:

    Can someone say exactly what was the wording of the petition submitted.

    CNS: The petition is in the CNS Library. I’ve highlighted it in red for you.


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