McLean: 19 Dec. ‘worst possible time’ for referendum

Leader of the Opposition Arden McLean

Opposition leader Arden McLean says government’s scheduled referendum date of 19 Dec. is the “worst possible time” to hold the historic vote.

In a statement Wednesday, the Opposition urged government to reconsider when voters will have their say on the proposed $200 million cruise and cargo port project.

The Opposition cited travellers heading overseas for the holidays and getting “caught up in Christmas activities” amid their main concerns.

“I am utterly disappointed in the Premier’s lack of respect for the people,” McLean said in the statement. “His entire Government is complicit in this behavior, and it really puzzles me that supposedly sensible representatives who were elected to represent and advocate for their people can suddenly turn a blind eye to the abuse their Government is dishing out against their constituents.”

“We are extremely concerned with what is clearly an attempt to deny the people a free, open and fair referendum.” – Arden McLean

Government announced the date last week. Premier Alden McLaughlin told the Cayman Compass the date made the most sense, pointing to the fact that schools would be finishing their terms and it would be more disruptive to hold the referendum in January. He also said those planning to leave the country for the holidays would still be able to vote.

McLean, however, pointed to what he described as an “extremely short time” voters will have to apply for and be allowed to vote by postal ballots.

He also took issue with the date because it would not allow for those who recently registered with the Elections Office to vote.

“This was no coincidence, neither was it a question of efficiency or practicality,” he said in the statement. “The Government is deliberately attempting to pervert the referendum and manipulate the outcome. We are extremely concerned with what is clearly an attempt to deny the people a free, open and fair referendum. It is an indictment of how the Government views its constituents.”

Click here to view the press release.