Port opponents lay out poll strategy

Katrina Jurn, centre, of Cruise Port Referendum Cayman, with Johann Moxam and Shirley Roulstone, addresses a crowd of volunteers at a meeting Thursday evening at Sunset House. - Photo: Mark Muckenfuss

About 35 supporters of the Cruise Port Referendum Cayman group crowded into a small basement room in Sunset House on Thursday night to talk about how to motivate Caymanians to go to the polls in December and reject the government’s proposed cruise berthing project.

“Our job is to help people understand why it’s important to engage,” said Johann Moxam, one of the group’s organisers.

The 19 Dec. vote is the result of a nearly year-long effort to gather the 5,292 signatures needed to trigger a referendum on whether or not the cruise port should go forward. The port, which would expand the existing facility, would require dredging in George Town harbour in order to allow a new class of mega cruise ships to dock. Currently, cruise ships that come to the island anchor offshore and passengers are transported by tender boats to shore.

Moxam and Katrina Jurn led the hour-plus discussion about mounting a door-to-door campaign along with advertising through various media outlets. They also talked about ways to get voters to the polls on voting day.

Jurn said all those things will take money, and the group is launching a fundraising effort.

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“We have some funds, but we need a lot more,” Jurn said.

The organisation’s goal is to raise $125,000, she said.

Some of the money may be used to mount a legal challenge to the referendum process. Moxam said the group would be consulting with attorneys in the coming days on whether to take such action. Of particular concern is a group of 207 voters who have been told they are ineligible to cast ballots because they registered too late.

Jurn said part of the group’s push will be to inform voters who are not in Cayman on 19 Dec. how they can vote by mail. She said the Elections Office is already accepting requests for postal ballots. Moxam said he was encouraged by the turnout for the meeting.

“If we get 30 to 40 volunteers out of here, we’re going to crush it,” he said.

Moxam referred potential volunteers and donors to the group’s website: http://cprcayman.com.

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