Environment chief removed from cruise project committee

The Department of Environment is no longer represented on the steering committee overseeing the cruise berthing project.

Gina Ebanks-Petrie, the director of the DoE, confirmed Friday that she was no longer part of the committee, which is made up of a variety of representatives from relevant government agencies and is tasked with overseeing progress on the project.

An environmental impact assessment, completed in 2015, highlighted multiple environmental implications stemming from the project, the most serious being the impact on coral reefs in George Town harbor.

The Ministry of Tourism had not responded by press time Monday to questions from the Compass about the new makeup of the board.

The development comes amid increasingly vocal opposition to the cruise berthing project. Supporters of plans for a referendum on the cruise project collected around 800 signatures from registered voters Saturday – more than 15 percent of the 5,288 required to trigger a mandatory poll.

Cayman’s constitution allows for a “people initiated referendum” on any topic of national importance if a petition signed by 25 percent of the electorate is presented to Cabinet. The result of that referendum would be binding on government.

Civil servants can sign petition

Deputy Governor Franz Manderson confirmed Monday that many civil servants will be allowed to sign the petition, as per the terms of a 2012 policy on signing of petitions by public servants.

The policy document indicates that civil servants can sign petitions calling for a people’s referendum. There are exceptions, however, for senior civil servants that are directly involved with policymaking and public servants directly involved with work related to the cruise berthing facility.

Anyone in a key position, which includes chief and deputy chief officers and policy advisers, is required to notify the public official whom his position supports, before signing.

A spokesperson for Cruise Port Referendum Cayman said, “The organizers are grateful to the Deputy Governor for his clarification on the matter and encourage public servants interested in signing the petition to review the policy to ensure compliance.”

The petition is currently available at Esso “Bar Cam” in Prospect, Four Winds Esso in West Bay, and Pure Art and Cathy Church Photo Centre in George Town.

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