Door by door, signature by signature, campaigners are inching towards their target of a people-initiated referendum on the controversial cruise port project planned for George Town harbour.
The group Cruise Port Referendum Cayman announced Tuesday that it has reviewed and verified over 90% of the petition signatures required to a trigger a public vote under section 70 of the Constitution. Group members say they are now within 500 signatures of reaching the required threshold of 25% of the electorate, estimated at 5,288 based on electoral roll records at the time the campaign began.
Members of the group were joined by legislator Kenneth Bryan as they went door-to-door in central George Town last weekend.
Bryan said those efforts would continue until the campaigners hit their target. He said he was still finding people in his constituency who were unaware of all the issues and had not yet had a chance to sign the petition.
“I was pleased with the response at the weekend,” Bryan said. “I genuinely believe that the people of this country want to have their say on this issue. I believe in direct democracy. If this is something that is good for the country, then there should be no problem with opening it up to a referendum.
“I think it would also force some of the information into the public. Everyone would have to put their cards on the table and put their points out there and then the people are intelligent enough to make an informed decision.”
Cruise Port Referendum Cayman issued a press release indicating it is increasingly optimistic about reaching its target. The group said numerous people have registered to vote for the first time to be able to participate in the process.
“We see this as an encouraging sign that more Caymanians are paying attention to current issues and willing to participate in national decision-making as involved citizens,” the release stated.
It added that there has been an outpouring of support to the referendum campaign from those residing in Cayman and overseas who are not able to vote.
“Given that to date we have yet to see finalised plans, costings, and that the documents government is basing its proposal on themselves raise severe environmental and socioeconomic concerns about the project, we urge those in the community that have not yet signed to reach out to us. Our community deserves to decide on this project, as it will have long-lasting repercussions on everyone,” the press release stated.
Bryan added that the referendum could also represent an opportunity to poll the country on a host of other issues, from same-sex marriage to skyscrapers or legalising gambling.
“It would be a big opportunity to resolve some unanswered questions as to how people feel on a variety of important issues,” he said.
Door-to-door efforts to collect the final signatures for the cruise port referendum campaign are continuing. There will also be a petition table at Hurley’s this Saturday from 10am to 2pm.
Petition booklets are at Rubis Savannah, Four Winds Esso and Hell Gas Station in West Bay, Foster’s Food Fair Strand, Silhouette in Camana Bay, and Pure Art and Cathy Church Photo Centre in George Town.
Registered voters who wish to have the petition brought to them, at home or at work, can call 327-5411.