Campaigners are calling for the people-initiated referendum on the cruise port to take place in January at the earliest.

The Cruise Port Referendum Cayman group has also renewed calls for the release of information, including the proposed design of the dock, in advance of the vote.

Citing comments from Elections Supervisor Wesley Howell earlier this year that it would take around 10 weeks from the issuance of a writ of referendum to organise the poll, the group is seeking assurances from government that it will not seek to hold a poll before Christmas.

In a letter to Cabinet, the campaigners wrote, “Ten weeks at a minimum is necessary to ensure a fair and just process to ensure that all voters have time to educate themselves, understand the referendum question, and ensure overseas students and voters have sufficient time to organise their voting ballot.”

In an interview with the Cayman Compass this week, Howell indicated that only six weeks would be required from the passage of the cruise berthing referendum law in parliament for his office to effectively organise and hold the referendum.

He said this was the same timeline as the last two referendums held in Cayman.

Before the law can be passed, government must first publish the bill, which would set the question and date among other details, and allow for a 21‑day notice period. It will then have to be debated and passed in the Legislative Assembly. That leaves a narrow window of opportunity for a referendum to take place this year, based on Howell’s six-week estimate for preparation time.

CPR Cayman is advocating for a longer preparation period and also wants the release of reports and information, including the new design, updated business case, full details of the financing arrangements, the updated environmental impact assessment and geotechnical studies before the vote.

“In the interest of good governance in our first people-initiated referendum, 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 the following information and reports, will be made public, sufficiently in advance of the referendum on this matter of significant national importance.”

If you value our service, if you have turned to us in the past few days or weeks for verified, factual updates, if you have watched our live streaming of press conferences or sent an article to a friend... please consider a donation. Quality local journalism was at risk before the coronavirus crisis. It is now deeply threatened. Even a small amount can go a long way to sustaining our mission of informing the public. We need our readers’ financial support now more than ever.