Campaigners celebrate court decision

Campaigners were celebrating Tuesday following a court decision to delay the port referendum to allow a legal challenge to take place.

Shirley Roulstone, a leading member of CPR Cayman, said she had brought the challenge to ensure a fair vote on the $200 million cruise and cargo project.

Speaking outside of court Tuesday, she said the decision provided reassurance that the courts would ensure a free and fair referendum.

“It is very important,” she said.

“CPR has always been about transparency, democracy and upholding the laws of the land and we feel the way the referendum has been handled was not in a very democratic way or according to the Constitution.”

She added, “I think everyone is now on notice that this is going to be a fair referendum when it does happen.”

Kate McClymont, of Broadhurst LLC, which represented Roulstone in the case along with London-based Matrix Chambers, said the decision Tuesday was just step one in the process.

“This was only an application for leave (to apply for Judicial Review), so all we had to prove was that we had an arguable case and it needs to be heard,” she said.

“The judge agreed it is important that the vote be delayed in order to allow those issues, which he agrees are certainly arguable, to be ventilated properly.”

The National Trust issued a statement following the decision, confirming that it is now supporting Roulstone’s application as an ‘interested party’ rather than pursuing its own seperate legal case.

The National Trust’s Nadia Hardie outside court Tuesday.

The statement said it was pleased that leave to apply for Judicial Review had been granted and that the vote would be delayed.

“The National Trust is committed to taking all reasonable steps, including participating fully in these proceedings, to ensure that all the essential environmental assessments are conducted and published, and that reliable information is provided to the public in respect of the impact that this project will have on our precious and endangered coral reefs, our treasured heritage, and our fragile natural environment,” it stated.

“This should happen well in advance of any vote in order to allow for proper public consultation and scrutiny of the proposed project. Only in this way can we ensure that the public are equipped to make a fully  informed choice – in a decision which will impact not only upon our environment and heritage, but upon the lives of all Caymanians and future generations.”