Justice Tim Owen has ruled in favour of Cruise Port Referendum Cayman and the National Trust in a judicial review of government’s planned referendum on the proposed $200 million cruise berthing and port facility.
The referendum law has been ruled incompatible with section 70 of the Constitution because it fails to satisfy the need for a general law to govern all referendums, Justice Tim Owen ruled via videolink.
“For reasons of legality and on the basis that such a law will best guarantee the constitutional right to a fair and effective vote in a people-initiated, binding referendum, I find that the Referendum Law 2019 is incompatible with s. 70 of the Constitution because it fails to satisfy the requirement for a general law governing all s.70 referendums and is itself not in accordance with such a law. I will hear further argument on the appropriate relief,” Owen wrote in his ruling.
“Needless to say, we’ve very pleased with the outcome and we hope that this dock – if it ever does happen – is built in the right way.”
Government has confirmed it intends to appeal Wednesday’s ruling.
“This is what happens when a little group of people get together and do wonderful things,” said Shirley Roulstone, who filed for the judicial review on behalf of CPR. “This win is on behalf of all of the people of the Cayman Islands and it should be warning to the government that they are on notice to do things the right way or they will have us on their backs.”
A small costs application was made by the National Trust.
The National Trust for the Cayman Islands and CPR Cayman filed for judicial review of government’s decision to proceed with a referendum on the project before an updated environmental impact assessment is completed.
“Needless to say, we’ve very pleased with the outcome and we hope that this dock – if it ever does happen – is built in the right way,” National Trust Vice Chairman Peter Davey said.
Government had amended the question it planned to use for the referendum.
However, Cruise Port Referendum Cayman representatives, the grassroots group behind the petition that triggered the vote, said the new wording still falls short of addressing concerns that have been raised in the judicial review filed by CPR member Shirley Roulstone.