A petition calling for citizens to support a purported no-confidence motion in Premier Alden McLaughlin is making the rounds on social media.
The petition, which is circulating on WhatsApp together with a link to a questionnaire from the Christian Association for Civics, contains a call to action asking recipients to answer five survey questions, as well as to sign the petition, which was prompted by the recent developments on the Domestic Partnership Bill.
According to the message accompanying the petition, the survey questions are from Opposition Leader Arden McLean, who, the message states, intends to bring the no-confidence motion against the premier. Contacted by the Cayman Compass on Wednesday, McLean would not confirm if he is connected to the survey and the petition, or if he plans to file a motion of no confidence in the premier.
There are 12 days left to sign the petition, which is on Change.org, uploaded by a user identified as Cayman Islands People-Initiated Referendums. In the WhatApp message containing the link, organisers request people sign the petition “directing your politician to support the Opposition Leader in filing a no confidence motion against the Premier who brought the Domestic Partnership Bill into parliament which was defeated so now the Governor decreed that he will try to make homosexual unions law instead after 12 days”.
The petition had 398 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon.
McLean told the Cayman Compass, “This is a citizen initiative.”
“In that vein, they have every right to petition their elected representatives, especially so on the heels of the recent actions of the governor and premier,” he added. “There are those who still believe in the principles of democracy. Their rights are as important as any other demographic.”
The Christian Association for Civics is planning an ‘I stand’ protest for Saturday in George Town, at which the questionnaire will be available
The Compass reached out to the association for comment on the message and its affiliation to the no-confidence motion petition, but received no response by publication time.
McLaughlin, when contacted for comment on the petition, stated, “The elections season has clearly begun.”
“Indeed, it seems the Leader of the Opposition is pushing for an early election even as we continue to navigate a global pandemic. The lust for power knows no bounds. What is coming is coming, and we will meet it when it comes,” he told the Compass.
This latest development follows the defeat of the Domestic Partnership Bill in the Legislative Assembly last month and the subsequent announcement by Governor Martyn Roper that he is using his reserved powers under the Constitution to assent to the law, which provides a legal framework for same-sex relationships.
Lawmakers voted nine to eight against the bill as Cabinet members Juliana O’Connor-Connolly and Dwayne Seymour, along with government councillor Captain Eugene Ebanks, joined with the Opposition to vote no.
Last week, the governor released a letter, dated 5 Aug., in which Baroness Elizabeth Sugg, acting on behalf of the UK Secretary of State, instructed him to use his powers under Section 81 of the Cayman Islands Constitution to bring the defeated law into force.
Roper has published an amended Domestic Partnership Bill and 11 accompanying pieces of legislation for public consultation.
“As part of the consultation process that runs until 31 August, we have already received several comments on the draft legislation. We will reflect upon all comments before I assent to the Bill at the beginning of September. A number of other Bills need to be amended to ensure a legal framework for same sex couples is provided,” Roper said in his statement following the publication of the bills.
Meanwhile the Cayman Islands People-Initiated Referendum petition states, “We the undersigned reaffirm the preamble to the Constitution of the Cayman Islands,” adding that, “the attached signatories to this document pray that: The Government considers the wishes and expectations of the Christian Community prior to the implementation of this same-sex partnership bill and the stated opinions below.”
The Constitution preamble refers to the “distinct history, culture and Christian heritage” of the people of the Cayman Islands.