Premier: No cruise vote in this term

| 16/04/2020 | 55 Comments
Cayman News Service
Premier Alden McLaughlin at Thursday‘s press briefing

(CNS): The cruise port referendum will not happen any time during this term, Premier Alden McLaughlin said Thursday, as he pointed to the national health crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the people’s vote would now be a matter for another government as his administration was going to be focused on continuing to contain the coronavirus and then managing the economic fallout until the end of this political cycle, implying that the current proposed cruise project is dead.

However, the premier stated at today’s press briefing that the case before the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal next month was about the “major” constitutional issue of the courts overriding elected legislators and not about the referendum per se. The cruise port referendum, he said, was not something that was even on government’s agenda for the rest of this term.

“Let me make that clear, whatever happens with that, it will be another government that deals with that,” McLaughlin said. “We have a national… public health emergency we are dealing with, as well as trying to keep the economy from collapsing. That is going to occupy all of our time for the rest of this term and well beyond… The holding of such a referendum is not on the government’s agenda at all.”

But he had met with the attorney general, he said, and the appeal was about whether the court is entitled to put itself in the role of the members of the Legislative Assembly. While the premier denied having any part in the scheduling of the case during this current appeal court session, he justified pursuing the appeal because he said it was a significant constitutional question.

“It is a major constitutional issue,” he said, as he pointed to the concerns about the ability of democratically elected members being able to pass laws if the court was allowed to overturn them. The premier said that the ruling regarding the same-sex marriage case was wrong and he believed it was the same in this case.

“It cannot be right that the court can decide what legislation can be passed by the Legislative Assembly. It is judicial activism on steroids,” the premier added.

Given the implosion of the tourism sector around the world and the massive hit that the cruise sector, in particular, is going to take, the likelihood that the current deal to build the cruise piers will remain intact appears very slim. But the definitive answer from the premier that there will be a pause on the referendum, pushing it onto a future political agenda, will be welcomed by campaigners as it makes it clear that government has essentially abandoned the current plan.

International reports suggest that both Carnival and Royal Caribbean cruise lines, which were the cruise partners for the project, are facing serious financial jeopardy. There are also major questions surrounding the future of the cruise industry as a whole: what it will look like even if it manages to stay afloat and whether the orders for larger ships will remain on the books.

See the full briefing on CIGTV below, set to start at the CNS question about government’s appeal:

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Category: development, Laws, Local News, Politics

Comments (55)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Also, if asked, most of the LA would proudly relay their belief that the Cayman Islands is a sovereign country, not a dependent territory of the UK.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Apparently he has failed to grasp the very fundamental purpose of the Constitution that he helped to create: To guide government in how it governs, including HOW, not WHAT, it legislates. Maybe he should go and have a good read of Section 19 of our Bill of Rights, which, allows ALL of governments functions to effectively be judicially reviewed, pursuant to Section 26(1), including its legislative function, on judicial review type grounds, to wit:
    (1) lawfulness;
    (2) rationality;
    (3) proportionality, and;
    (4) procedural fairness.
    He is not alone in failing to understand (or acknowledge)this.
    Other great “once upon a time” legal minds, like Alex Henderson, didn’t get it either.
    All yet all it takes to figure that out is to be able to read.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If the Government does not have to face having legislation declared incompatible, then it should pass (both primary and subordinate) that does not infringe the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution.

    If the Government does not want legal action to be taken against any public official, then Government must not threaten or breach fundamental rights and freedoms in the Constitution.

    And, so too, if the Government does not want decisions or acts to be declared unlawful for being done in a way that is incompatible with the Constitution, then it must ensure that Cabinet proposed compatible legislation and the Legislature passes only legislation, which is compatible with the Constitution.

    It’s seems that the Government’s leadership seems to have forgotten or not understood that there is not Parliamentary supremacy in the Cayman Islands, but instead constitutional supremacy.

    It’s baffling that the Premiere was so instrumental in passing the Constitution, but has not acted in accordance with the Constitution. There is likely
    more constitutional claims to come before this election term is over.

    The people of the Cayman Islands needs to keep any Government in line by, at a minimum, minimally act in accordance with the Constitution and not only relying on the Constitution when it does not like being cross-check by the judiciary

  4. Stefano Jones says:


    Now decision to relaunch the economy:

    1. Make Grand Cayman a high-end tourism destination by forbidding cruise ships over a certain size to come;
    2. Make the island a super high-end ecological place, and brand across the world this unique selling tourism proposition;
    3. Grant licenses to bars and restaurants at George Town, allowing access downtown only to electric cars.
    4. Allow Cayman residents to live in downtown buildings
    5. Replace the cruise port project with a small human size ship port project

    Who wants to vote me?


    • Anonymous says:

      Can you also bring down the frankly exorbitant price of everything? Then I’ll vote for you.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Some good NEWS, all you commenters are EXEMPT from the corona DEATH ESTIMATE!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I am confused. Why are still going ahead with the appeal?

    • Anonymous says:

      Simply, they do not believe they are bound by the Constitution.

      • Anonymous says:

        Stop wasting the people money on this issue. Let it go Alden……… we have much bigger things to spend it on. You have already wasted enough of our Money on something you wouldn’t listen to that the people did not want. Thank God no cruise port deal was signed. We would be in an even bigger mess right about now……..

    • Anonymous says:

      Basically CIG don’t like grand court judge telling them how to make Cayman laws and sclaim judge stepped over the line. This is a very Mac-like move. CIG know very little about law other than playing at it; whereas the judges are impartial, seasoned experts in interpretation and administration of law. I for one know who I would rather trust and I hope CIG abandon or lose this appeal. Judiciary is there to keep a check on government when they act ultra vires or unconstitutionally. This is why they hear judicial reviews. Without the judiciary having impartial oversight on matters such as this, politicians could run amuck. They already are in my opinion, hence the resistance.

  7. Just Sayin says:

    Ayyhh. In his little arrogant mind, if he sends a bill to the LA and HIS speaker allows it (guaranteed) and HIS ‘follow-the-leader’ troupe votes for it (guaranteed), that’s it. The public should accept it as being properly passed by those who are supposed to pass laws – the LA – and take it as gospel. No one should be able to find any fault in what has been passed, no one.
    So what if you have a constitution (that he steered) and the law offends that constitution. No one should point that out, and definitely no one should hold him accountable. After all, he’s Alden McLaughlin – he knows all about all and anything that he does is fine.
    There’s no treatment for Corvid-19, but there is treatment for arrogance – vote him and his ‘follow-the-leader’ troupe out!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Also in this term: No Plan

  9. Anonymous says:

    Ok that all sound good. Can we now hear the plan. All we hear is 2 weeks without new cases but then we let new people on the island. So what is the real plan..

  10. Anonymous says:

    That was a fantastic question Wendy.

    If you feel like putting another needle in, can you please enquire about the other 800lb Gorilla: when the public (especially the girls and women of these islands, and the men that love them) may expect a DPP ruling on the violent episode involving the Speaker of the House? If no criminal charges follow soon, the community will be absolutely outraged, loose faith in the Governor’s justice system, and erode confidence in RCIPS.

    Couldn’t be a worse time for free passes.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not just the violent episodes that are public, it is the violent episodes towards women at the highest levels that everyone are too afraid to talk about.

      • Res Ipsa Loquitor says:

        Many currently elected have committed those same types of actions and demonstrated aggression or malicious intent. Yet they are elected to office, re-elected over several terms and given a title that makes them think they are honorable.

        Why are these actions not exposed?
        Why are all the dirty deals involving corporate cayman not investigated?
        Why is competence, ineptitude and corruption rewarded for politicians and high ranking public officials?
        Why is no current elected official or senior civil servant or member of the social club in Prospect of Freemasons or former public officers including former politicians been investigated, charged and convicted?

        The time has come to expose them all and drain the cayman swamp.

      • Anonymous says:

        Anyone else see the post on fb from a friend of someone who is a live in nanny for a lady who has a job high up in gov? Apparently this point Nanny is meant to work seven days a week, and got yelled at for closing and locking her door on Easter so that she could have a day off. Her friend posted it up asking about the labour laws because her friend is too scared to go to anyone for fear of retribution from her employer. How are all these people not named and shamed?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Listen, what’s being decided here is far more insidious than any cruise pier vote. The question at issue is whether this, or any successive Cabinet, will retain their long freedom as “law and regulation makers” to deliberately design and submit bad laws, ie. those that are prejudicial to the Constitution, and continue to get away with it. The result of this case couldn’t be more serious for civil liberty and resident rights – and not just same sex rights, but all rights that stand to be impugned through (deliberately) prejudicial lawmaking.

  12. SKEPTICAL says:

    Boy – that was a narrow squeak mr. premier. Now sort out the Coronavirus issues, leave the cruise ship dock catastrophe to whoever replaces you at the next election and you can quietly slip away to your farm you recently mentioned. Perhaps not exactly with your chin held high, but at least not slumped on your chest.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Fear not, he’s found another way to drive us to poverty. Jamaica here we come!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Waking up to this headline is great, great news.

    All the money that would have been spent on port can now be used for our economy.

    The Minister of Tourism, while licking his wounds, needs to be realistic about cruise tourism and what will be a very critical look into their operations.

    We talk about Covid-19 testing, so any future cruise tourists should be tested and cleared before being allowed to come onto our ships – as this whole thing started from one cruise ship patient and the medical staff where that patient went to.

  15. Anonymous says:

    “Someone’s else problem not mine” why is this guy consistently allowed to say this with every project? He spoke of this with the “landfill briefing”…this guy does not have Cayman at heart. Worries me of their ability. Government payday will arrive soon with their full amount and not one of the politicians or CEO’s are willing to take a pay cut to assist the needy. NATIONAL VOTE.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Patient Zero…I’m leaving this right here…

  17. Anonymous says:

    Praise Jesus! At least this is one thing that hopefully we will never have to worry about ever again…

    Let’s make sure that the airport runway is completed and ready to bring us lots of stayover people.

    I hope now that it can be seen that even with a port that the cruise ships are more of a detriment to our society than airplanes flying in with folks with money in their pockets and investing in our economy..

  18. Anonymous says:

    This warms my heart…Alden did say it would take a miracle..Kinda wish the miracle wasn’t manifested as coronavirus though.

    Alden, be careful what you ask for…..your words not mine!

  19. Anonymous says:

    The appeal on the port project referendum is nothing but a shuffling of deck chairs on the Titanic. Weakened by CPR and the courts, this government’s signature infrastructure project was made vulnerable and has fallen victim to the virus bequeathed on us by its underwriters. How fitting. Let it be our only native one, and long may the clear blue waters of the hogstyes serve as an enduring un-monument to the poisons of that vile industry.

  20. Anonymous says:

    He’s a fool and he is punishing us for killing the deal pre covid.

  21. Elvis says:

    Damn right Alden. The world is in crisis and Trump about to murder millions soon too.

    • Anonymous says:

      Millions? Look, I loath the orange C U Next Tuesday, but millions? Not quite. And the fact is… we will all get it now or when the world starts moving again so what do we do? Hide forever?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Jesus!!!

  23. v.p.watson says:

    Cayman Saved by COVID-19 from generational debt! Imagine that! Remember, ALL THINGS work together for good….. And some say that God is not real….Others, however, have proven, to the contrary, that ‘God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.’

    • Bishop Nicholas Sykes says:

      V. P. Watson – You are surely quite right. There is however a constitutional issue of great importance here, and for the sake of any constitutional government in the future, the Government, and in particular the Premier and the Attorney General, are wholly right in their quest, on behalf of the people both now and going forward, to pursue the correction of the constitutional overreach that the learned judge made in his last ruling on the matter.

      The Constitution is clear on the matter. A judge may order (in the course of his ruling on the actual matter in hand) that a law be changed: but that change must be made through the Legislative Assembly and not by the courts. Until the change is made, the existing law stands.

      For a court to overrule the Constitution, as was attempted here, is constitutional overreach, a severe affront to democratic government, and, in effect, a judicial takeover of the body politic. This must be prevented.

      • Anonymous says:

        I am truly tired of people saying the judge overreached. The judge said that the law is unconstitutional and therefore needs to be re-done. I really can’t wait till the court of appeal judge says the same thing, because he will. This is not an overreach. This is a systems of checks and balances, so that we do not get a dictator. Can you imagine if the legislative assembly was to continue unquestioned? Just because it’s a law, does not make it right and the court ruling gives the people of the Cayman Islands an opportunity to challenge unjust laws.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Not surprising at all that they are backing away from it

    The Coronavirus outbreak is giving them the excuse they need to avoid having the vote and save face because at the end of the day they knew they would lose the vote and that would mean the project would be dead for good

    The PPM will now slip the port back into their manifesto (without campaigning on it explicitly because it is a very unpopular proposal) and get their usual George Town and Sister Islands MLAs elected and claim that they have a mandate for the project and attempt to revive it in the next term

    • Anonymous says:

      They can’t avoid the vote forever. It is a people’s initiated referendum after all therefore it must happen and the government can’t just cancel it.

    • Anonymous says:

      7.01pm You’re just impossible to please. You got what you want and you are still unhappy.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not impossible to please, thousands of Caymanians wanted the ability to vote directly on whether or not this project should be allowed

        The government shelving it for this year doesn’t mean that come 2021 they won’t pick it up again and try to push it through in the 4 years they will have after that

        I want the project to be DEAD for good
        Not put on the backburners to be revived when no one is looking

        The vote will happen one way or the other the governement cannot simply disregard the petition now that it has been verified

    • anonymous says:

      vote the PPM out and there will be no port project.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes there will. Like a ball the port project bounces from one administration to the other in perpetuity when really it needs to be completely abandoned.

      • Anonymous says:

        While in theory it sounds, PPM is pretty much guaranteed to have their two lackeys from the Sister Islands. The number of voters from Cayman Brac and Little Cayman should only result in them having one representative – although it would still be PPM – it would be interested to see if the Sister Islands would elect Mo$e$ or the Josephina the lady wearing a coat of many colours.
        Stay Safe and Farewell (for now) Verdant Isle company.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Let’s face it, the cruise port plan is dead along with the cruise industry. We would have half constructed piers out there which would never be completed if it weren’t for the CPR stalling the process.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not to mention hundreds of Chinese workers and advisors on island if the contract had gone to CHEC. Talk about dodging the bullet!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Thank you CPR. This is a massive victory for the people!

    Make no mistake without a united effort from the community led by a brave group this government would have already started building the cruise dock and been left in the lurch because of the COVID 19 and the abysmal state of cruise companies finances. Cayman is fortunate to have brave citizens that fought the madness and injustice from a government that did not represent the wishes of the people.

  27. Kurt Christian says:

    Vote No ! ,,,,,,,, next election also !

    • Anonymous says:

      Doubtful the disposable shell company this regime decided to partner with, Verdant Isle (who have pledged/risked nothing), will remain a company in good standing that long. Did they even establish a local bank account?

  28. Anonymous says:

    ‘that the case before the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal next month was about the “major” constitutional issue of the courts overriding elected legislators and not about the referendum per se’

    Sure. That’s why $9 million dollars was chucked at promoting the port. Give us a break.

  29. Anonymous says:

    “It is a major constitutional issue,” he said, as he pointed to the concerns about the ability of democratically elected members being able to pass laws if the court was allowed to overturn them.”

    He is essentially saying the rights enshrined in the Constitution are unenforceable and elected members can pass laws that violate them, or refuse to pass laws that allow us to exercise those rights.

    • Anonymous says:

      Alden proves that he is a complete knob. The law was incompatible with the Constitution.

      How is he an attorney or worshipped for being smart? He is delusional.

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps if the Premier does not want laws overturned, then pass laws that can pass the filter of the Constitution.

      This Government if a law is not valid, it should be struck down. The Premier was instrumental in contributing to the current Constitution and now it is being used against his Government.

      One cannot always he one’s cake and eat it too. It seems that this is the year of the Constitution. I wonder what other excuses will abound.

      I would say one thing. At least we can take pride in the fact that it’s greasy to see that people are using the Constitution to defend against threats.

      Hope we can eventually get to a point where the Constitution is not needed as a shield, but it’s nice to know it’s there.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is exactly what he is saying. He accepted an OBE for his part in writing the constitution, and now seems to say he can ignore it.

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