George Town independent legislator Kenneth Bryan is urging government to poll the public on gambling, same-sex unions and skyscrapers as well as the cruise port project, if and when a referendum is called.
Campaigners pushing for a people’s vote on the port announced last week that they had hit the threshold to force a people-initiated referendum on that issue, raising the prospect of an imminent vote.
Government must first verify the validity of the petition submitted by Cruise Port Referendum Cayman, and there remains considerable uncertainty about the process and timeline for a referendum.
But some are already looking ahead to the vote and urging government to embrace the referendum as an opportunity to get the public’s opinion on a variety of other issues.
Bryan has submitted a parliamentary question, to be heard at the next legislative session starting Wednesday, asking government to add non-binding questions on other issues of national importance.
He said, “I think it would be advantageous and cost-effective to take this opportunity to get the public’s input on one or two other key issues. Personally, I am really excited about the potential for a referendum and the opportunity for direct democracy.”
Bryan said members could debate which questions should be put to the public but his initial suggestions are to canvass opinion on legalising gambling, same-sex unions and building heights.
He believes referendums can and should play a bigger role in Cayman politics.
“I understand the government can’t go to the country on every decision,” he said, “but I think there are three or four big issues that every administration faces and it would make sense to get the public’s direct input at least once every administration.”