Campaigners aiming to trigger a referendum on the controversial cruise port project say they are within touching distance of reaching the required number of signatures.
The Cruise Port Referendum Cayman campaign announced Monday that it had collected and internally verified 82% of the 5,288 signatures required to force a referendum on the issue.
That means around 950 more names are required to meet the threshold of 25% of the electorate required by the Constitution for a people-initiated referendum.
“We fully expect the petition to exceed the number required in a matter of weeks,” the group said in a press release Monday.
The group has been collecting signatures for a petition since September last year.
The statement suggests the number of signatures gathered already should give government pause about the wisdom of the project.
It adds that government should be wary of signing any deals in the near future, amid the possibility that the project could be halted by a people’s vote.
“Government too should be cautious in signing any binding contracts or contracts with penalty, until after the referendum result so as to prevent misrepresentation to international corporations, as well as avoiding paying contract breach penalties with public funds,” the statement adds.
Shirley Roulstone, of Cruise Port Referendum Cayman, said the internal verification process includes checking off people who have signed the petition against the latest voter registration list from the Elections Office, checking for exact names, legibility of details, up-to-date addresses and removing duplicate signatures to avoid double counting. She said this was an internal process to ensure the precise number of valid signatures is known before submission.
Official verification will be completed by the Elections Office, if and when the completed petition is submitted to government.
Roulstone urged anyone who had not yet done so and wants to have a say on the port project to sign the petition.
“We would like to remind the public that this petition is neither for nor against the port and encourage all registered voters to sign the petition, especially on behalf of your children who are unable to have a voice but will be most impacted by this decision, in hope that, by the time this comes to a referendum, we will all have enough information to cast a vote with the confidence that the proposed project is either in the best interest of our island’s future or not,” she said.
Delivering the government’s Strategic Policy Statement on Friday, Premier Alden McLaughlin told legislators that plans for a new cruise ship berthing and cargo dock would go ahead.
He said, “The new cruise and enhanced cargo port when built – and it will be built – will secure our vital cruise industry for decades and create jobs and business opportunities for Caymanians.”
For more information about the petition, call 327-5411 or email [email protected]