Opposition Leader Arden McLean has called on Deputy Governor Franz Manderson to look into government departments participating in the Verdant Isle job fair for the proposed cruise berthing and cargo project.
The East End MLA highlighted concerns about the event in his contribution to the debate on the referendum bill on Monday.
He pointed to the Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman department, which he said was going to be at the event. McLean said he was not aware if Manderson had objected to WORC being there and he had not heard him address it.
“I am now imploring him to look into that, if there is any legitimacy to it,” McLean told legislators.
The job fair and open house is planned for Tuesday at Margaritaville Beach Resort, West Bay Road. It is set to begin at 4pm.
McLean questioned the legitimacy of the event, in light of the fact that no contract has been signed with the government.
He also drilled down on the number of jobs being offered at the event, saying “A job fair for jobs that started at 900 and now down to 200.”
The lawmaker also took issue with the government’s handling of the disclosure of information on the $200 million port project, saying it had shifted its responsibility to the project team.
“They allowed some of those financiers to come into the country to do the job of explaining to the people what the project entails. A job that they [government] alone were elected to do,” he said.
McLean lamented that the premier’s plan to issue a booklet on the project is too late.
“If the government is so convinced that the cruise facility is that important [and] is not going to adversely impact this country environmental or otherwise, then they should have been doing this a long time ago,” he said.
McLean said it is government’s responsibility to explain to the electorate how and why the project must be done. “The people are questioning the utility of participating in the democratic process, even at election,” he said. “I have become very concerned about that.”
He said that, at almost every stage, the government made the process difficult for those pushing for the referendum.
McLean rejected Premier Alden McLaughlin’s claim that the Cruise Port Referendum Cayman team employed tactics to get the signatures they needed to meet the threshold to trigger a people-initiated referendum.
He said that “not once during that entire period” did he think there were “any tactics being used by those young people to get people to sign that petition”.
He reminded legislators that inside the Legislative Assembly chamber, there were only 19 members, saying, “We do not know the underlying wishes of this country and, as such, we must be cognisant of their wishes and give them the right to exercise it.”
The debate resumes Tuesday.