The referendum day was held on 18 July when Cayman’s electorate took to the polls to answer the referendum question: “Do you support an electoral system of single-member constituencies with each elector being entitled to cast only one vote?”
The answer, it turned out, was “no”, despite the majority of voters ticking the “yes” box in the ballot papers.
Due to the constitutional criteria that stipulated that the referendum would be decided by 50 per cent, plus one voter, of the entire electorate – not just those who voted – the referendum would have needed 7,582 votes to pass.
A total of 5,631 people voted yes, while 3,001 voting no. All districts in the Cayman Islands, apart from then-Premier McKeeva Bush’s constituency of West Bay, voted in favour of switching to single-member constituencies.
The referendum quickly disappeared into the background with the controversial announcement by then-Premier McKeeva Bush a week later that he intended to introduce an income tax for expatiate workers in the Cayman Islands. He called the 10 per cent tax a “community enhancement fee”, which would be imposed on work permit holders who earn more than $20,000 per annum.
The plan led to outrage from many sectors, galvanising in the speedy creation of a Facebook group that had gathered thousands of members within hours.
After the business community in Cayman presented Mr. Bush with alternative ideas for raising revenue, the premier announced during a public meeting in George Town that he was dropping the idea of the “expat” tax.
The Olympics in London began on 27 July with an elaborate ceremony themed “Isles of Wonder” that showcased the best of Britain in all its multicultural glory.
Five of Cayman’s top athletes attended the Olympics, including Cydonie Mothersill, Ronald Forbes, Kemar Hyman, Shaune Fraser and Brett Fraser. However, Mothersill did not compete due to injuries and Hyman, who qualified for the men’s 100m semifinals, did not perform also due to injuries.
Brett and Shaune Fraser both qualified for the semifinals in their respective events, while sprinter Ronald Forbes competed in the 110m hurdles heat.
Stingrays in decline
Scientists confirmed local anecdotal reports that the number of stingrays at the Sandbar was decreasing.
A census of the animals showed that in 2008, more than 100 rays were at the North Sound tourist attraction, but a count in January 2012 showed only 61 remained. Another census in July found just 57.
Weeks later, the four missing stingrays that had been counted and tagged at the Sandbar in January 2012 were found in a tank at Dolphin Discovery in West Bay. They were released back to the Sandbar, but four others caught in waters outside the Sandbar remain at the dolphinarium.
Better project management
Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick issued an audit report on some of the government’s major projects, including the construction of the high schools and the government administration building.
The report examined how well government managed projects that accounted for about 25 per cent, or about $150 million of its annual spending. Among his findings, Mr. Swarbrick determined that Cabinet did not appear to have given formal approval of the high schools projects, a situation he said was “unusual” in a project of that size.
Lone dolphin shows up
The Cayman Islands Department of Environment warned swimmers not to get in the water with a sexually aggressive bottlenose dolphin because the animal could be unpredictable and pose a potential danger.
The dolphin, nicknamed “Stinky”, “Humpy” and “Randy”, continued to appear and interact with swimmers, divers and boats throughout the month, culminating in the animal being caught on video by divers who the dolphin harassed.
Teen waits 10 years to be adopted
Teenager Zachery Wright waited more than 10 years to be adopted by the family he had been living with since he was a baby.
The issue came to a head in July when the 15-year-old looked likely to need medical attention overseas, but could not travel because he did not have a Caymanian passport because he was not legally adopted. Ultimately, he was able to get treatment locally and his adoption was finally completed on 21 November.
No Privy Council appeal for Estella’s murder
The Privy Council in London, the last court of appeal for legal issues in the Cayman Islands, declared it would not hear an appeal by Kirkland Henry and Larry Princeton Ricketts, the two men convicted of murdering Estella Scott Roberts.
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council reported that it had considered and refused the application for permission to appeal “because the application does not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance”.
Scott Roberts was killed on 10 October, 2008, after celebrating her 33rd birthday.
Nelson returned to wild
An injured Cayman Brac rock iguana called “Nelson”, who was airlifted to Grand Cayman in April finally returned to her home island after recovering from a broken leg she sustained after being hit by a speeding car.
She spent the initial part of her recovery in the home of Department of Environment officer Mat Cottam in Grand Cayman, where she took up residence in his shower for a few days. She was later flown home to Cayman Brac and recuperated at Bonnie Scott Edward’s home before being released back into the wild on 20 July, watched by schoolchildren from the local school.
Light pollution kills baby turtles
Turtle patrollers on Cayman Brac made the grisly discovery of the dead bodies of 33 baby Loggerhead Turtles on the islands public beach on 29 July. The hatchlings had been disoriented by artificial lights on the beach and wandered inland rather than out to sea.