AG rehashing port ref arguments in appeal

| 05/05/2020 | 58 Comments
Cayman News Service
Shirley Roulstone (Credit: Courtney Platt)

(CNS): The Attorney General’s Chambers plan to rehash all the arguments made during a judicial review, which was brought by a member of the Cruise Port Referendum campaign, at an appeal on Wednesday. Last month the premier claimed that the appeal was going ahead in order to address the overreach by the court and not the port vote issue, which was now a moot point.

However, it appears that the Cayman Islands Government is re-arguing the whole case against the court’s findings in favour of Shirley Roulstone’s challenge to its port referendum law.

There was some surprise that the CIG was pressing ahead with its appeal in this case in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Speaking at a COVID-19 update briefing on 16 April, Premier Alden McLaughlin said that the issue was no longer on his government’s agenda, indicating that the deal that had been struck to build the controversial cruise port project had gone south. However, it was already clear that tourism, especially cruise tourism, will be on its knees for many months, and that holding a referendum in the near future would be impossible.

McLaughlin said at that press briefing that the reason why the Attorney General’s Chamber was still pursuing the appeal was not about the referendum but to address the “major” constitutional issue of the courts overriding elected legislators. He said it was about the decision by the judge to quash the original law rather than direct the legislature to address the issue, which could not be left unchallenged because of the wider implications.

But according to the revised skeleton arguments filed after the premier’s comments, the CIG has put forward five full grounds of appeal, rehashing the its position from the original judicial hearing.

The government will argue that the judge was wrong to find in Roulstone’s favour and that the Constitution does not require framework legislation for a people-initiated referendum before a bespoke law can be passed in response to a successful petition, as was the case with the referendum over the cruise port.

However, the CIG has already stated that it plans to pass supporting general legislation for a people-initiated referendum and that it no longer plans to rush ahead with a vote, which had been the concern of the campaigners who had succeeded in securing the necessary number of signatures to trigger a vote.

While McLaughlin has made it clear that the cruise project is no longer on the agenda for this administration, the government lawyers appear set to pursue a costly full appeal this week against all of the arguments.

The case is scheduled for three days of appeal court time and involves at least three QCs from the UK, as well as a dozen supporting attorneys who will be arguing the full appeal via Zoom.

Given the social distancing requirements and the current soft curfew, the public can view the appeal via the courts’ new live streaming provision here.

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Category: development, Laws, Local News, Politics

Comments (58)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Can somebody please explain to me why it is that the Government have to hire English Queens Counsel to fly down here to rehash what Alden seems to think is trite law? With all of the local “QCs” we have around here (and a number of very competent advocates who haven’t been bestowed that lofty privilege) and with the AG and SG offices being populated by supposedly competent counsel (who must have a little less work now that they don’t have to enforce our laws), why in God’s name should we have to farm this out to very expensive (probably $1000-1200+per hour?) QCs from London??
    Is that just another way to punish us taxpayers for not going along with the cruise port charade? Am I the only one seeing this??

  2. Anonymous says:

    The cruise ships will be back. People are trying to book ships now. It’s only a matter of time. Why wouldn’t they be back? How can anyone not believe the growth in the last 20 years of ships and ports. People are in denial.
    All one has to check out is the amount of rental being offered at the most ridiculous prices. A two bed two bath starting at $2000-$4000 per month not on the beach? Are we trying to destroy the middle class? How the #$%^ is any family of four going to live on this island? We complain we want a small population but what amount of money would you need to make to pay this amount of rent with the cost of living?
    Bar tenders and waitresses need to make CI$1000 a week. What happens when they don’t?
    So we got this pandemic thats not done, are we still going to allow 6-8 people per 2 bed apt still? We need to make a law against that, but if we do, where would lower wage people live? Planning needs to stop high rent and push lower rent apt. and houses. If not we will be like parts of the states where people will live in tents and defecate on the sidewalk. There has to be a balance of 25% of your salary is spent on rent. The minimum wage needs to go to $15-16 per hour.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Waystus Pace.

  4. Kurt Christian says:

    Vote No !

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is just another waste of taxpayers money, at the one time in our history when we can least afford it. We would be better off taking the money we’re spending on the droves of overseas lawyers on this lost cause and put it towards a fund to buy a few of those now defunct cruise ships and load them with all the garbage that comprises Mount Trashmore, seal them up and then sink them in the cayman trench so that the intense pressure down there can crush all that garbage into something the size of a basketball. We should probably think about adding some of the garbage that we call “leaders” to the load as well. Because some garbage really shouldn’t never be recycled!
    There, three problems solved in one fell swoop!

    • Anonymous says:

      How many millions have been wasted on this with lawyers fees? Bet over $10 million.

      What a total waste in a continuing attempt to shove something down people’s throats.

    • Anonymous says:

      This. And you for premier!

  6. Jtb says:

    Pretty much the first thing said by the Government’s QC this morning was to accept that the Legislature is not sovereign.

    It seems he and Alden haven’t compared notes.

    And if the government isn’t appealing on legislative sovereignty, what’s the point of the appeal?

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is beyond disappointing! At a time when other countries are having a mature conversation about mass tourism, our Government is pursuing their agenda for the port.

    Overreach of the courts; BS. More like incentives paid to received to support the port!

    Roll on 2021 – Cayman, let their be UNITY in getting rid of this corrupt in every sense of the word, ENTIRE government front bench!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Only in Cayman will you get politicians spending massive sums of money to appeal a clear-cut court decision, rather than putting that money forward towards helping the community during a crisis.

    • Anonymous says:

      To be fair to them they did the exact same thing on the same sex marriage issue. There were elements of the CJ’s decision in that case that were arguable, and they did win at the court of appeal. So that taught them that it’s worth making the argument.

      But the point was it was a colossal waste of time, energy and money as the end result will still be civil unions.

      All of that posturing and time wasted could have been spent on fixing the waste management problems, education, immigration, social programs, pensions. All the things that are important now.

      Same thing with the port. Even though they say they have lost interest in the port, they are fighting against some phantom “judicial activism” for essentially no purpose instead of spending time dealing with issues that are important to residents.

    • Anonymous says:

      Problem in Cayman is that CIG has too much money.

  9. Anonymous says:

    So no money for stimulus but more money to spend on this….bet the 18, 000 on the voter list would appreciate $100 each cause that what this will cost minimum 180,000. 00 on top of the $9 million

    • Anonymous says:

      Your maths is off – that’s $1.8 million, not $180,000K. Although with 3 QCs, a dozen supporting lawyers and 3 days of court time plus all the pre trial prep suspect the $1.8M is nearer the mark in terms of the costs.

  10. South Sounder says:

    Shocked that CIG is pushing forward the legal appeal against their own people. 😱
    The Grand Court has ruled that CIG’s position & process was incompatible with the Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009.
    1. The people have spoken
    2. The court has ruled in their favour
    3. The economy is crumbling and needs CIG energy
    4. Have faith in your own people

    Show your support for Shirley and the National Trust! Live Stream Video link (Court Room 6) at 8am tomorrow:

  11. SMH says:

    Alden McLaughlin and every single member of the UNITY Cabinet and caucus including David Wight, Barbara Connolly, Eugene Ebanks and Austin Harris proves how detached from reality they are in the ivory tower of the LA. It is a disgrace that at a time like this the Premier would mislead the public and again lie about the appeal of the Judicial Review decision which was ruled to be incompatible with the Constitution 2009.

    Why is the government wasting money and time on this appeal when it is clear that the government do not have any plan that will help Cayman’s economic recovery?

    People are suffering the future is bleak for cruise tourism but the Premier and Cabinet are still fighting for cruise berthing. The cruise lines cannot afford to pay for it and neither can the government. It is truly disgraceful and shows they cannot be trusted. SMH

  12. Anonymous says:

    We will be praying for cruise ships soon. The court of appeal always gets is right. CIG wins.

    • Anonymous says:

      And we the people will lose 🙁

    • Anonymous says:

      No we won’t. I hope they never return. They are garbage floats and we need to deal with our own garbage before it floats away in the next hurricane.

      • Anonymous says:

        Agree 100%. The amount of garbage (plastic/polystyrene) washed ashore here is terrible. Let’s not add to it from Mt Trashmore blowing &/or floating out into the ocean.

        • Anonymous says:

          Anyone notice how the garbage has decreased on the beach in East End since the cruise ships stopped coming this way? I

  13. BeaumontZodecloun says:

    Oh for God’s sake!!!!! The Premier has said the port project will not rise within the remainder of his administration. Is there yet ANYONE who believes that the dead-in-the-water cruise port project still has any validity or value to the Cayman Islands?? We are so indebted to the CPR for delaying the project to the point where we could all vote on it, and that we could see the true colours of the cruise companies.

    There was a time in the past for this, and then Big Mac killed it for us. That time is done. NO cruise port. Referendum if we must, but I am confident of that outcome. I don’t want A. SINGLE. CIG. dollar. spent. on. this. any. more.

    What say you, everyone else?

    • Anonymous says:

      Why waste money on an appeal then? Is it just so he can say ” I won again” these little people with their massive egos!

  14. Anonymous says:

    CNS, can you post the skeletons – arguments, that is – to you library please ?

    CNS: We can’t yet but will as soon as we can. I think that’s when the case is over.

  15. Anonymous says:

    And who is going to pay for it now that the cruise companies aren’t exactly flush with cash?

  16. Anonymous says:

    You, the Premier, have far greater issues facing Cayman today and in the near future!
    People first and foremost!!
    Enough said…I’m at a loss for words.

    • Anonymous says:

      We don’t want the court to legislate is the point.

      • Anonymous says:

        Umm, yes we do, especially when the elected government is found to have breached the very constitution by which any authority they have, is vested.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Community, Alden has admitted behind private doors that hes going to push the port following the reelection of the next premier.

    Don’t let the Covid fool the entire island.

    CIG does not have the community at heart and never will.

    You can’t fix a broken system by changing the player.

  18. Anonymous says:

    There can be NO port. It will be Chinese subterfuge and they will eventually want to colonize.
    Have you asked Jamaica how they got on with the Chinese?
    How about the Bahamians?
    The Greeks?
    The Nigerians?

    No you have NOT asked, so you probably know shit.
    No to the port and a bigger NO to Chinese investment however devious it may come.

    Every single interaction with these thugs has ended up with the politicians being bought out by the Chinese and the people punishing.

    What is wrong with our port? Stuff is arriving. We do not want nor need cruise ships (God rest their soul).
    NO, NO, NO!

    • Anonymous says:

      How can anyone be sure that Communist China has not already bought out politicians?

      • Call 911 says:

        Where is the anti-corruption commission and audit general to investigate the matter and start tracing funds by following financial transaction involving public officers and elected officials?

        What exactly are they waiting for?

        • Anonymous says:

          They have to consider how persons with no or little connection to the Cayman Islands were miraculously granted status. They have only had 15 years to address that question. When they have, they may consider more current issues.

        • Anonymous says:

          Waiting for the honorable Seymour to get them their face masks!

    • Anonymous says:

      3.44 agree with you, now all you have to do is persuade Mac.
      Not worried about the rest of them, they know the project is dead, so let’s not lose any more sleep over it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman is an integral part of the Chinese strategy in the Caribbean.

      Do not UNDERESTIMATE China. They will soon become a power in our region as America loses it’s leadership role in the world.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Is it possible that there are people who have been paid to push this port?

    • Arthur Rank says:

      Oh surely not? I mean, I know that some Chinese Groups have a bad reputation for buying politicians in countless other jurisdictions, not least nearby Jamaica, and yes, if you were wondering why, against all logic, reasonable politicians still wanted to do the project then you might wonder if money was involved, and of course you might also remember that an earlier Premier made some startling decisions that looked suspicious at the time, BUT, when you consider the good standing and probity of those same politicians then surely you cannot still believe they would do anything questionable?
      On the other hand, and giving the matter more thought………..

      • Anonymous says:

        China, China, China. Follow the Chinese money on island. Not easy but can be done. Requires political will from someone.

    • Anonymous says:

      Certainly YES. You got it 2:39. Keep an eye on Chinese money on Grand Cayman. Do some sniffing in real estate.

  20. Anonymous says:

    That horrible port!!!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Will the lawyers working on the case all be members of the Attorney General’s Chambers or otherwise admitted as Cayman Islands Attorneys as required by the Legal Practitioner’s Law. Perhaps the Attorney General could confirm?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Could Cabinet in these current conditions pass the port bill as emergency economic measures to help mitigate the damage from Covid 19? Asking for a friend.

  23. Anonymous says:

    In consideration of uncertainty of cruise industry there can really only be one reason MLA’s are pushing through with this large contract and it isn’t for the good of the people!

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