The Elections Office on Friday began door-to-door verification of signatures on the cruise port referendum petition, in the districts of North Side and East End.

In May, members of Cruise Port Referendum Cayman, which organised the petition, announced that the number of signatories on the petition had reached the 25% threshold of the electorate – more than 5,289 signatures – needed to prompt a people-initiated referendum.

The petition was handed over last month to the Elections Office, and Supervisor of Elections Wesley Howell stated that the office’s staff would begin the process of verifying every signature. Elections Office staff will visit petition signatories at the addresses listed in the electoral register and will ask them sign a form that confirms they have signed the Cruise Port Referendum Cayman petition.

Premier Alden McLaughlin has said that government will proceed with its plans for a new cruise and cargo port in George Town harbour, stating that government’s legal advice was that it “should not and need not” have any regard to the petition until it has been verified by the Elections Office and reaches Cabinet.

The government has received the final bids for the project and a preferred bidder is expected to be selected in the coming months, the premier told legislators early last month.

Petition organisers and members of the Opposition earlier criticised the Elections Office’s verification process, which they feel is effectively replicating the efforts of collecting petition signatures. They have also expressed concerns that people who have signed the petition may feel intimidated when faced with Elections Office staff on their doorstep.

Howell has said that once the signatures are verified, the petition will be passed to Cabinet.

According to a press release from the Elections Office on Friday, people will be able to identify its staff by their shirts and ID cards. Also, while verifying signatures, staff will also have change of detail forms for registered voters who have changed names or addresses but have yet to notify the Elections Office.

The Elections Office is also inviting members of the public to come to its office at the Smith Road Centre to verify their signatures if they have signed the petition.

Verifiers are expected to begin going door-to-door in Bodden Town from Friday, 5 July.

The Elections Office stated that it will keep the public informed as the process moves to other districts.

Officials are also reminding the public that the deadline to register for the next publication of the Official Register of Electors is 8pm on Tuesday, 2 July.

For more information, contact the Elections Office at 949‑8047.

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