Member of the Legislative Assembly Kenneth Bryan said during a press conference on Thursday that the upcoming cruise port referendum is a unique opportunity for gauging public opinion on other topics.
Bryan said he plans to have stations set up outside each polling station on 19 Dec., the date set by government for the referendum. He said those choosing to participate in the poll will be asked six questions, two each on three topics: gambling, same-sex unions and ganja.
He’s calling the effort the ‘Cayman Voice National Survey’ and, so far, he is mounting the campaign on his own.
“I came to the conclusion it would be a perfect opportunity to survey the people on a number of questions,” Bryan said. “Many voters will be in one place at the same time, already in the mindset to address a serious topic.”
He said he asked government leaders about putting the questions on the referendum ballot but has had no response.
His poll would pose the following questions:
- Should the Cayman Islands legalise a national lottery?
- Should the Cayman Islands legalise casinos?
- Should the Cayman Islands legalise same-sex marriages?
- Should the Cayman Islands legalise same-sex unions?
- Should the Cayman Islands decriminalise marijuana, better known as ganja?
- Should the Cayman Islands legalise marijuana, better known as ganja?
While the topics he’s addressing in the survey have generated discussion across the islands, Bryan said no official survey of voter sentiment has been taken.
“We have made much assumptions on the public viewpoint on these topics,” he said. “I believe most people are still opposing same-sex marriage, but I can’t say that (with confidence).”
He said he is hoping to get a sample size of at least 10,000 respondents.
Tents will be set up 300 feet away from each of Cayman’s 19 polling sites including, he hopes, the ones on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Participants will be given an electronic tablet with the questions on a touch screen. Only registered voters will be allowed to take the survey. No personal information will be collected, he said, and results will only be released after the referendum vote is announced.
Bryan said he anticipates the survey will cost $30,000 to conduct.
He’s determined to carry it out “even if it means I have to get a loan myself”, he said.
He is making a plea for 80 to 90 volunteers to come forward to help. “If you are interested in democracy and you feel this is a good exercise,” he said, “please, please, please reach out to us.”
Because 50% plus 1 of registered voters must vote no on the referendum’s question, those who don’t vote are essentially registering a yes for going ahead with the cruise berthing and cargo port project.
“Whether you’re for the port, against the port or don’t care at all, I want you to come out,” Bryan said.
Bryan does not appear to have the support of fellow members of the opposition group. “I’d rather not tell you why they’re not involved,” he said.
Alva Suckoo, deputy leader of the opposition, issued a statement through his assistant saying he had no comment on the matter.
Bryan said survey participants will qualify for a raffle where a $2,000 cash prize and $3,000 in other prizes will be awarded.
“At the end of the day, my job is to serve the people of this country,” Bryan said. “This, in my opinion, is the best way to do so.”
Anyone interested in volunteering can call 924-3111.