With a referendum on the controversial cruise and cargo port project now looking inevitable, campaigners are calling for the release of detailed information about the project before a vote takes place.
With the number of signatures required to trigger a public vote passing 99% Monday, the Cruise Port Referendum Cayman campaign group is accelerating its preparations for a ballot.
In an open letter to Premier Alden McLaughlin, the group called for multiple reports on the project to be concluded and made public before the poll takes place.
They are requesting that the revised designs, an updated environmental impact assessment, the final business case report and full details of the proposed financing arrangements with the Verdant Isle group are placed in the public domain.
Neither the revised business case nor the final EIA has been completed at this stage. The Cayman Compass has previously requested the revised designs but has not yet received them. Government did give details of the financial arrangements, which involves Verdant Isle charging a per-passenger fee for use of the port to help recover its anticipated $200 million investment. Campaigners say there are still questions about how that process will work, and want more details to be made public.
In their letter to the premier, CPR Cayman wrote, “It is imperative that the Caymanian people have the opportunity to make a fully informed decision at the polls on the Government’s proposed cruise berthing facility, and we request your assurances that [this] information and [these] reports, at a minimum, will be concluded and made public, sufficiently in advance of the referendum on this matter of significant national importance.”
It goes on to indicate that similar letters have been sent from CPR Cayman’s legal counsel to the Elections Office, Governor Martyn Roper and the Attorney General’s Chambers.
“We are sure that you and your Honourable Members of Cabinet will agree that holding our first People Initiated Referendum without full disclosure of all pertinent information to the voting public would be a miscarriage of justice, failure of due diligence and set a dangerous precedent for participatory democracy in the Cayman Islands.
“We look forward to your detailed reply and receiving a comprehensive breakdown on the next steps in the People Initiated Referendum process with related details on the timelines of the process which will be directed by the Cabinet of the Cayman Islands Government.”