Appeal set against people’s port vote

| 15/04/2020 | 75 Comments
Cayman News Service
Shirley Roulstone (right) and her lawyer, Kate McClymont from Broadhurst LLC

(CNS): Listings for the Court of Appeal spring session published Wednesday show the Cayman Islands Government is still, regardless of the circumstances, pursuing its appeal against a court ruling on how it handled the people’s referendum for the cruise port project. However, Premier Alden McLaughlin, who is instructing the government lawyers making the appeal, said he knows nothing about it going ahead.

CNS understands that lawyers acting in the case for Shirley Roulstone, a member of the Cruise Port Referendum campaign group, had approached government about a postponement until September, but the case has been listed as a Zoom hearing for 8am on 6 May for two days.

Despite the public listing and the fact that he has driven the response to the people-initiated referendum petition from the get-go, the premier claimed he was unaware that the case was going ahead.

“I have not been informed of any such matter. I will have to get a report from the attorney general before I am prepared to comment,” he said.

What was, just a few weeks ago, a matter of significant national importance has been eclipsed by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The likelihood that the cruise industry will return to anywhere near its pre-covid-19 state appear increasingly unrealistic. Some cruise lines, including Carnival according to international media reports, are facing serious financial difficulties, putting into question its resolve to invest in the cruise ports here.

Less than two weeks before Cayman began going into lockdown following its first positive case of coronavirus, the Cayman Islands Government had been ordered to quash the referendum law it passed to pave the way for the people’s vote on the cruise port project.

In Justice Tim Owen’s ruling, delivered in February, he found that government’s attempts to set the people’s referendum had been incompatible with the Constitution. And he made an additional order last month requiring government to start the process with a general people-initiated referendum law before drafting a specific law to meet the requirements of this petition.

However, the law has not been withdrawn and government is continuing to appeal the full ruling. But it has not yet made its grounds of appeal public and nothing has appeared on the judicial website showing the arguments government plans to make next month when it appears in the court of appeal.

Given the current lockdown to manage the coronavirus outbreak, it is impossible to hold a public vote any time soon, so at this point it is not clear what government will gain if it wins its appeal.

The CPR group still wants to hold this crucial vote at some point because even if the cruise lines that are part of the current proposed project pull out or the industry goes into decline, it is important for the question to be settled about the level of support for such a project. But it is clear that the membership is content to wait. Several members of the group have publicly stated that the most sensible time to hold it would be on the day of the General Election next year.

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (75)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Cruise industry is done. Next.

    • Anonymous says:

      Eco-staycations when curfews lifted; eco-tourism when borders lifted. Yachts instead of cruise ships.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Don’t worry, soon enough all of you won’t have incomes, so this will be the last of your worry.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Informative Bloomberg Article:

    “Carnival’s future is less clear. Australian police have launched a criminal probe into whether the company’s Princess Cruises subsidiary misled authorities about an outbreak aboard a ship docked in Sydney, and its Costa Cruises subsidiary is facing multiple passenger lawsuits regarding its Covid-19 response. (Princess says it’s cooperating with the investigation, while Costa says: “We are prepared to vigorously defend ourselves.”) Carnival canceled all its cruises in mid-March, and the company’s share price has fallen sharply, along with the rest of the industry. (It’s down 75% so far this year.) Its executives speak about their next moves in militaristic terms. They’re setting up “situation rooms,” cutting through the “fog of war,” countering the virus on “the front lines.” Says John Padgett, Carnival’s chief experience and innovation officer: “The cruise space is as bad as it gets. It’s Armageddon.”

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wait a min when Wendy asked about this in the last press briefing didn’t Alden said he was not aware of this? How is that possible that he was not advised by the AG?

  5. A. Caymanian Voter says:

    Dear Government members

    It would be most helpful for the members of cabinet to confirm if they agree with the Premier’s decision and their justification for doing so.

    Moses Kirkconnell
    McKeeva Bush
    Joey Hew
    Roy McTaggart
    Juliana O’Connor-Connolly
    Tara Rivers
    Dwayne Seymour

    Backbencher members of UNITY government

    Barbara Connolly
    David Wight
    Capt. Eugene Ebanks
    Austin Harris

    It is important that all your constituents understand what you consider as a priority and why you support such a irresponsible and poorly thought out decision during this time.


    A. Caymanian

    • Anonymous says:

      Absolutely! We need to get a statement from every single one of them. If Alden didn’t know about this then who is driving it?

    • Anonymous says:

      They didn’t speak about the alleged public physical assault of a young woman they ain’t gonna speak on this.

      • Anonymous says:

        They all remain silent when it comes to their corruption or theft or other shady dealing…… including beating women, etc.

    • Anonymous says:

      You forgot Kenneth….

  6. Anonymous says:

    And we won’t need a bigger cargo port with our declining population.

  7. Anonymous says:

    You mean vote no. Not needed.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Fix the damn dump! Priorities!

  9. Anonymous says:

    And he will win too. After all this over with people out of work they will think he is a god. The port will be built. So sad but true.

    • A. Rose says:

      I think it would take more Caymanians to make the dump acceptable than to build a new dock.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Just like trump wants the virus out of control to take away from the next election (where he will lose) and use it as a reason to postpone, Alden seems to want to keep our mind on caged children, green pools full of scarier disease, mounting bills with no income, household maintenance stalled, etc just so he can push through his shady port deal. CIG won’t have any money to pay back all the cash that’s already traded hands over it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Trump derangement syndrome.

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s a pity that so many people don’t see the irony in using the words Trump and deranged in the same sentence.

        • Anonymous says:

          Either you don’t understand the work “irony” or you may be a redneck with a sister/mommy

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t care what Trump does or says. He isn’t in charge of our islands. The truth is, Alden is not in control of them either!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Clearly, there is no longer any business case or financial commitment for any of this port kabuki any more. CCL has raised over $6Billion from the capital markets just in the last week, and are staring down the barrel of dozens of class action lawsuits. *But* this is a important procedural conflict that everyone should pay attention to.

    Q. Can the Cabinet do whatever they want from their thrones of power (even ones they didn’t earn by vote) and get away with it, even after the judiciary finds their bills/laws in contempt of the Constitution?

    • Anonymous says:

      God has upset their port plans. They said we couldn’t do without cruise ships, because tourism was so vital to the economy. Well, where are those ships now? Where is tourism? Have they learnt a lesson? Had they signed the contract for the port they would be up the creek without a paddle.
      What the Minister for Tourism has to say?

  12. Anonymous says:

    It was reckless and irresponsible to plunge cayman into massive debt before we lost so much revenue and most of our economy. To proceed with this now is absolutely beyond comprehension. Alden must lack any ability to reflect and reconsider anything. It terrifies me that essentially he singly in charge of our COVID policy. Anyone who complains about Trump need to think about the fact that trump has far more advisors, checks and balances, and separation of power than Alden does. He might be right, he might be wrong, but either way we’re doing whatever Alden wants.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Mr Premier, if you continue to pursue this you will negate all the positive the community currently has of you. As well CIG should be very careful how the money is spent moving forward. Remember little money is coming in for many, many months, so limit your expenditures to what is vital. The appeal is foolish, especially now.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. Should this be classed as ‘essential business’? No.
      There will be so few cruise ships for the next 5-10 years, with all still wanting to come here, that they will not care about using tenders.

  14. ppm Distress Signal says:

    Typical ego driven foolishness and another expensive and poor decision by Alden McLaughlin and his band of merry men in Cabinet who all go along with these decisions.

    That version of Alden that we all dislike and distrust is back with this action. How is this a priority for a government we are supposed to trust?

  15. Anonymous says:

    A cruise ship is responsible for bring the virus to our shores. Why is Premier trying to protect us from the virus but at the same time fighting to benefit the culprit. Doublespeak!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Is this for real? Blondie doesn’t give up…does he.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Speaking of court cases where are we on assault case against MacKeeva? What is taking DPP so long deciding whether or not to prosecute?

  18. Anonymous says:

    So government is pushing ahead with a $200m project for a industry with incredibly uncertain future…..can anyone else think of a valid reason that isn’t related to contract kick backs? Our government is disgusting!

    • Anonymous says:

      Be lucky to get a dime out of Carnival now. They need every penny they have to pay their creditors rather than worry about pier access in Cayman in a couple of years time when they may no longer be in business.

  19. Anonymous says:

    After the dust settles lets get on with it and vote for our port.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Ha, just when we thought Alden has climbed down off his perch! he proves us wrong yet again. This is completely reckless, the revenues that were supposed to “pay” for this will be almost non-existent for years. Where is he going with this ? A monument to himself?

  21. Anonymous says:

    I have to admit I was once a cruise port supporter but in light of the current situation and the problems we see with these cruise ships, I would rather see them at anchor where we are able to hold them in cases when diseases are on board. We are going to have to look at doing a lot more things before cruise passengers come on our shores again..We need a re-think and to be honest, I don’t see the cruise companies coming out of this for a very long time..

  22. Anonymous says:

    So let me get this straight….the Premier can find money to continue this useless appeal that has already cost God knows how much but yet during this current pandemic he has constantly shoved down our throat Government has no money to help all of it’s citizens given the fact that Tourism is completely squashed till God knows when!!??

    This must be a joke! You lost Alden, take the blow to your pride and drop it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah – be nice to know how much this outing is costing the tax payer. But this is what happens when you spend other people’s money – tend to be a little indifferent to what it costs. But like being a little indifferent to job losses or layoffs caused by shut down – it’s difficult to grasp what going without your weekly pay check means when you get your salary paid every month on the dot regardless.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Spending our country’s funds now on this appeal is not what we should be doing..Let’s put this one behind us and move on.. Even if the government does win this battle there will be a very tight timeline to even get this started by the next election..It’s not happening! Stop wasting money and stay home, please???

  24. Anonymous says:

    Swallow your pride Alden and let this one go..History will hold you in a good light for doing so..

    Continue with it and you cause more disruption and discourse amongst the people when you so need them to have your back..

    Be a true leader and walk away with your head held high..No one will judge you for doing the right thing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t be silly! Alden has to do what he is told to do by the people that run the show.

      • Anonymous says:

        And they don’t like being told how to make laws by seasoned professionals such as Grand Court judges whereas we, the people are grateful that the judiciary is there to keep a check on them. Hence the existence of judicial review and this constitutional process.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I can only hope that Alden will do the right thing tomorrow and let the public know this isn’t going to happen. How can we even entertain this now in light of what is going on in our country?..Does anyone think that Cruise lines are worried about building docks now when they don’t even know if they are going to have passengers for another year or so?..

    I’m sorry Alden, but if you don’t speak to this tomorrow in the right way you have lost all of my respect for you as a leader..

  26. Anonymous says:

    All you people praising the Premier still do not see his secret agenda while everyone is occupied with worrying about the virus outbreak:
    1) push this cruise deal thru at any cost
    2) get the speaker off from his assault charges
    3) forget about completing the dump remediation
    4) postpone the election due to the still lingering virus epidemic so he can keep the power

    Wake up people before it is to late

  27. Caynonomouse says:

    I’m not usually inclined to be superstitious but the new regime that cruise ships will be required to comply with invalidates the new port entirely. The mega cruise industry is in for a serious blow on top of it’s already haemorrhaging bottom line.

    Eight mega ships due to be delivered this year might as well be ghost ships since when they arrive the cruise industry will be busy taking out their dead.

    There is a silver lining to all this and I don’t even think it will be in the hands of CPR or CIG by the time it is expected for dredges to break bottom.

  28. Kurt Christian says:

    Vote No !

  29. Anonymous says:

    Mr Premier – pursuing the port is a complete contradiction in terms of your ‘virus argument’ of ‘the economy against loss of life’. An attempt at salvaging this project potentially puts the cruise ships in the immediate vicinity of the majority of the population, – please submit the motivation of what you truly represent.

    From Forbes a year ago, –

    It is estimated that over 50,000 Europeans die prematurely every year as a result of shipping-based pollution.

    Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, local environmental groups have demonstrated that a single cruise ship can emit as much pollution as 700 trucks and as much particulate matter as a million cars. It has been estimated that between 40,000 and 100,000 Britons die prematurely every year as a result of emissions from the shipping and cruise industries, with major port-cities such as Southampton, Grimsby and Liverpool particularly affected. In recent years there have been several moves towards reducing the amount of pollution being emitted by ships, however, half the UK seashore lacks the legal protection of maritime pollution laws.

  30. JTB says:

    It seems completely academic now. Are we just paying legal fees for Alden’s pride?

    • Anonymous says:

      You are naive if you don’t see there must be nefarious monetary considerations at work.

  31. Anonymous says:

    The port must be built.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Great for lawyers. Another couple of million in their pockets. CIG has so much money.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Build our port!

    • Anonymous says:

      With what? There is no economic model for such a project given we now have 0 cruise passengers and the project requires 2 million passengers a year to be paid off. Or are you suggesting we not own the cruiseport which to be honest I think was always the intention of this terrible deal anyway. Cayman needs a modernised tender cruise and cargo port to own and guarantee jobs for *Caymanians* who provide #Caymankind, our no.2 commodity. Keep it authentic, make it stand apart from the other cruiseport islands. This is what we should focus on and sell, be exclusive, not a shopping destination. Read the message that Covid-19 is sending. It’s the services that are needed. It’s the front-liners like our tour operators. Pave it over with concrete and all you have is a block of concrete. Stop the nonsense, VOTE NO.

    • Anonymous says:

      With what funds? You fool enough to still believe the cruise industry has money to pay for it? You should be grateful it never got started, we would be left with incomplete structure and no money to finish it.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Our” port? Are you pregnant?

  34. Anonymous says:

    We may never financially recover from this. – Joe Exotic

  35. Anonymous says:

    Vain and pointless waste of money. In the current environment entirely reckless also.

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