Nadia Hardie, executive director, National Trust
Nadia Hardie, Executive Director, National Trust

The National Trust for the Cayman Islands has confirmed it has filed for judicial review of government’s decision to proceed with a referendum on the $200 million port project before an updated environmental impact assessment is completed.

In a statement issued late Monday evening, the Trust said it was not satisfied with government’s response to the legal letter it issued two weeks ago outlining its concerns about the project and its environmental impact.

The Trust pointed out that it delivered in confidence a letter to members of the Cayman Islands government expressing its concern with the project’s potential impacts on sites of environmental and historical significance, and again calling for updated information to be released to the general public prior to the referendum.

“The National Trust values the close working relationship it has with the Cayman Islands Government and therefore does not take this decision lightly,” the statement said.

It said it has not taken a stance in favour of or against the port project and believes that there is currently insufficient information to do so.

“The National Trust’s request is that prior to proceeding, further studies such as an updated Environmental Impact Assessment be performed, and the resulting information made available to the general public before the referendum is held,” it said in the statement.

Cruise Port Referendum Cayman issued a similar letter to the government advising of its intention to take legal action on the referendum. CPR said it is in the process of reviewing the government’s response to its concerns.

Both entities said they will seek a stay of the 19 Dec. referendum until the matter is dealt with.

“The National Trust is duty bound to its members and to the general public to act as the guardian of matters of the environment and places of historical significance and has been doing so for over 32 years. The Trust stands proud of all its achievements to date and remains fully committed to preserving all that makes Cayman Islands unique,” the statement said.

1 COMMENT

  1. I am almost certain a challenge will soon follow from the CPR group seeing as they have an open and shut case of the government abusing their power to set the date of the vote into a form of voter suppression. I am referring to the roughly 200 Caymanian voters who will be unable to participate in the vote as it currently stands, Government supporters are quick to respond with claims like “they registered too late”
    That is a wonderful framing i’d argue more akin to an outright lie if I’m being honest
    The vote was not officially announced until after the deadline to register to vote this year had already passed
    In what other country in the world is the deadline to register for a vote, before the announcement that the vote is even happening

    In order to vote this year, a potential newly registered voter would have had to have registered before July 1st, the vote was not confirmed by the elections office until the evening of September 11th
    So you think its reasonable that the cut off time for registration for the election was a full 72 days before the people even knew for a fact there would be an election?
    People are entitled to reasonable enough time to register to vote, prior to said vote once they are aware a vote is being held, but voters in this instance had no opportunity. The government has the right to set the rules for requirement for registration and the cutoff point, but I for one, would love to meet the lawyer that will get up in court and argue that 3 months, is too short notice for the elections office to update their register to include new voters. I would love to meet the lawyer who is going to argue that the government should be allowed to pick a date weeks before the new register is released allowing voters to have their say. There is no reason why in a jurisdiction this small we cannot have same day voter registration, at a minimum set the deadline for one to two weeks prior to the election date.
    The pro port side and specifically the elected government is so terrified of losing this vote that they have turned to outright voter suppression to help bolster their efforts, there is no way around the disenfranchisement of 200 Caymanians who have every right to register, and who one could reasonably argue had more than enough time to do so seeing as we were still (at the time) months before the chosen date
    Anyone arguing for this ought to be ashamed of themselves and cannot claim to care about democratic principles, and I hope CPR challenges the government on that issue alone, not to mention the lack of campaign finance limits and the other ways in which this vote is being handled outside of the norms for elections here