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Breaking down the referendum judgment

The ongoing saga over government’s plan to build new cruise berthing facilities in George Town took another twist on Wednesday following a judgment from the Grand Court. Justice Tim Owen ruled that government must put in place a general framework law setting out a fair process for how people-initiated referendums are handled before it sets the date and question for the poll. Here we break down his judgment and the repercussions for the port project.

Interactive map: How the port will impact life in the harbour

Much of the debate around the cruise berthing facility has centered on the potential impact on the wrecks and reefs in the harbour. Amid conflicting reports about the health of the marine life in the impacted area, we enlisted the help of underwater photographer Courtney Platt and produced an interactive graphic to demonstrate exactly what lies beneath the glassy surface.

Port opponents kick off campaign with rally

A crowd of more than 200 people filled much of Celebration Park in downtown George Town Wednesday night as the Cayman Port Referendum group held its first rally in the runup to the 19 Dec. vote.

Port opposition details expenditures

Officials with the Cruise Port Referendum Cayman organisation said they have spent less than $12,000 so far in their campaign to stop the cruise berthing facility proposed for George Town Harbour.

Cruise line boss claims piers could mean 2.5 million passengers

A new cruise berthing facility in Grand Cayman could see visitor numbers surge to 2.5 million per year, the president of Royal Caribbean International said this week.

Geotechnical study planned for cruise project

Engineers have applied to begin drilling boreholes in the seabed in George Town harbour for a study to help determine the subsurface conditions in advance of the planned cruise port development.

Cruise campaigners want referendum next year

Campaigners are calling for the people-initiated referendum on the cruise port to take place in January at the earliest.

Cruise port referendum: Campaigners deliver petition to Cabinet

The Cruise Port Referendum Cayman group delivered its port petition to the government on Wednesday.

Letter: Thoughts on the cruise port

I, amongst many, am temporarily breathing a sigh of relief to have a bit more time to help ease the anxiety of watching pristine reefs that hold unimaginable marine wildlife, get annihilated.

Scientists warn port project will impact Seven Mile Beach

The Central Caribbean Marine Institute has urged Cayman to “consider the long lasting impacts” of the cruise port development and warned it will affect Seven Mile Beach.

Campaigners call for release of reports before referendum

With a referendum on the controversial cruise and cargo port project now looking inevitable, campaigners are calling for the release of detailed information about the project before a vote takes place.

Government spends $130,000 on cruise project ad campaign

A freedom of information report has revealed that the Cayman Islands government has spent more than $130,000 in public money in promoting the proposed cruise and cargo port project.

Letter: CPR outlines key concerns on cruise berthing facility – part 3 of 3

What will Caymanians really pay for the project? Governments have a duty to deliver value-for-money projects with public finances.

Opposition criticises government’s handling of cruise port petition

Opposition members on Wednesday described the government’s efforts to allow people to “unverify” their names on a petition calling for a referendum on the proposed cruise port as “dastardly” and undemocratic.

Carnival signs on for Bahamas cruise port project

Carnival Cruise Lines has agreed a deal to build a $100 million cruise port in Grand Bahama, according to Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis.

Letter: CPR Cayman outlines its key concerns on cruise ship dock

Cruise Port Referendum Cayman has submitted a three-part letter to the Cayman Compass outlining its concerns about the proposed facility. This is part 1.

‘High intensity’ campaign to promote cruise port plan

Government is seeking to hire a public relations firm for a new “high intensity’ campaign to promote its plan for a new cruise berthing facility in George Town harbour.

Environmental study planned for port design

The final proposed design for the new cruise port reduces the ‘dredge footprint’ of the project by around 20%, according to the Ministry of Tourism.
US citizens have been warned not to travel on cruise ships in a move that could have a huge knock-on effect on the tourism industry.

The cruise port deal: Readers’ questions answered

The Compass featured an extensive report on the key questions and answers about the deal that were addressed by the government. We asked readers to submit any questions they felt were not answered in that story, and we endeavour to answer those questions here.

The issue explained: What gov’t has said about the port deal

Government held a press conference Monday to outline details of the planned cruise and cargo port project. Premier Alden McLaughlin, Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell, Chief Officer in the Ministry of Tourism Stran Bodden and Project Manager Peter Ranger gave details of the project and answered questions from the media.

Another port project, another protest

Citing environmental concerns, questionable economic benefits and a lack of transparency over the project, campaign groups are collecting petition signatures to stop a major cruise development in the Caribbean.

Campaigners cruise towards petition target

Less than two dozen of the 1,500-plus voters reviewed by Elections Office staff have declined to verify that they signed the petition calling for a referendum on the port project.

Web ticker follows verification progress for cruise petition

The Elections Office has released a web ticker that tracks progress in verifying petition signatures for the cruise port referendum.

Port referendum petition: Door-to-door verifications begin

The Elections Office on Friday began door-to-door verification of signatures on the cruise port referendum petition, in the districts of North Side and East End.

Extended hours for Elections Office

The Cayman Islands Elections Office is extending its office hours so people can verify their signatures on the cruise port petition.

Port referendum: No shortcuts to democracy, governor says

Governor Martyn Roper has given his support to the person-by-person verification process taking place for the petition for a referendum on the cruise port.

Campaign group concerned over verification process

Campaigners for a referendum on Cayman’s planned cruise and cargo port project have highlighted concerns about the scope and extent of the verification process for their petition.

‘Historic moment’ as cruise petition handed over

The petition calling for a people’s vote on the controversial cruise berthing project was handed over to the Elections Office Wednesday in what was described as a “historic moment” for the Cayman Islands.

Governor keeping tabs on referendum process

Governor Martyn Roper said he would work closely with the Elections Office during the process to verify the authenticity of more than 5,300 signatures on a petition calling for a referendum on the controversial cruise port project.

McLean calls for port negotiations to halt

Opposition leader Arden McLean has joined calls for the cruise port project to be put on hold until a petition calling for a referendum on the development has been verified.

Ships head to Cayman amid Cuba cruise ban

Cuba’s loss could be Cayman’s gain, following US President Donald Trump’s decision to ban cruise ships from travelling to the communist island.

NEW: McLean calls for port negotiations to halt

Opposition leader Arden McLean has joined calls for the cruise port project to be put on hold until a petition calling for a referendum on the development has been verified.

Premier makes no guarantees over port referendum

Government will proceed with plans for a new cruise and cargo port in George Town harbour despite claims from campaigners that they have collected enough signatures to trigger a referendum on the project.

The issue explained: How the referendum process works

Here, we look at the key questions around the referendum process, and how they were answered.

Every signature on port petition must be verified

The Elections Office will need to individually verify every single signature on the cruise port referendum petition before a vote can take place.

Deadline for cruise pier bidders

Final bids from companies vying to build the new cruise and cargo facility in George Town harbour are expected to be submitted to government Friday.

Bryan calls to expand port referendum to include gambling and skyscrapers

George Town independent legislator Kenneth Bryan is urging government to poll the public on gambling, same-sex unions and skyscrapers as well as the cruise port project, if and when a referendum is called.

Port referendum: Elections chief to address meeting

Elections supervisor Wesley Howell will speak at a public meeting Thursday evening on the cruise port referendum issue amid uncertainty over if and when a public vote on the controversial issue will take place.

Cruise pier campaigners: Threshold for referendum reached

The Cruise Port Referendum Cayman campaign announced on Friday that it has received enough signatures on its petition to initiate a referendum on government’s proposed cruise pier facilities.

Cruise berthing facility recruits another benefactor

Cayman’s potential cruise berthing facility came one step closer to reality Wednesday, when Premier Alden McLaughlin announced that MSC Cruises has made a financial commitment to the project. Royal Caribbean, Disney and Carnival had previously signed on to help build the facility in George Town.

Cruise port referendum campaign creeps towards target

Door by door, signature by signature, campaigners are inching towards their target of a people-initiated referendum on the controversial cruise port project planned for George Town harbour.

950 more names may trigger port referendum

Campaigners aiming to trigger a referendum on the controversial cruise port project say they are within touching distance of reaching the required number of signatures.

Cruise arrivals surge to new record levels

The Cayman Islands’ cruise industry just experienced its busiest month in recorded history.

Floating cruise pier arrives in Caribbean

Jamaican authorities are installing the region’s first floating cruise pier this month at the historic underwater city of Port Royal.

Disney to help finance cruise pier project

Disney Cruise Line has committed to help finance the building of the planned cruise berthing facilities and cargo dock in George Town, Premier Alden McLaughlin said on Thursday at the Chamber of Commerce’s legislative luncheon.

Opposition raises questions over cruise ship port financing

Opposition leader Ezzard Miller claims government’s negotiations with cruise lines to finance the new port have compromised the entire procurement process for the controversial project.

Bahamas announces plan for ‘mega’ port

Carnival Cruise Line is planning to build a “mega” cruise port in East Grand Bahama, the Bahamian government announced on Wednesday.

Cruise port petition puts dock debate on collision course

Almost six months after beginning a campaign to force a referendum on the controversial cruise port project, volunteers are still collecting the signatures needed to trigger a public vote, though organizers have not stated how many people have signed the petition to date.

Campaign groups plan town hall meeting Saturday

Campaigners for a referendum on the cruise port are hosting a community meeting, bringing together groups working on various related issues including beach access and the proposed development of land on the Barkers peninsula.

New piers will not impact storm dynamics, officials say

The proposed new cruise pier will be able to withstand severe weather conditions and will not exacerbate flooding in George Town during extreme storms, according to officials leading the procurement process on the project.

Panton supports referendum ‘if they get the numbers’

Former Environment Minister Wayne Panton says he supports the democratic right of campaigners to seek a referendum on the controversial cruise port plan.

EDITORIAL – What we’re watching out for in 2019

As a rule, Compass editors are cautious about indulging in the temptation of attempted prognostication. However, there are some issues and themes, classified as “in progress” or “recurring,” that we expect to find ourselves writing about in the coming year.

Cruise controversy and airport progress as tourism arrivals surge

Amid another record-breaking year for tourism in the Cayman Islands, one controversial development was never far from the headlines.

A look back at the year that was

The year 2018 was an eventful one for the Cayman Islands.

Cruise petitioners seek assurances from governor

Campaigners collecting signatures for a petition to force a people-initiated referendum on the controversial cruise port project met with the governor Friday as they continued their push for Cayman Islands voters to decide the issue.

Brac cruise port plan considered

Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell confirmed government is in talks over the possibility of bringing a cruise port to Cayman Brac.

Premier: Cruise lines commit to help finance cruise berth facilities

While speaking at Friday’s ceremony to christen the newest jet of Cayman Airways, Premier Alden McLaughlin made a major announcement concerning another aspect of the tourism industry.

Government defends $55,000 spending on marketing port project

Tourism officials have defended a decision to spend more than $50,000 of public money promoting the controversial cruise and cargo port project.

Tourism minister quizzed over port campaign spending

Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell has denied that any public funds were spent on advertising that suggests signing the petition for a referendum on the cruise port amounts to a no-vote for the project.

Push for port referendum continues

Organizers of a petition calling for a referendum on the cruise project continue to collect signatures in an effort to trigger a national vote.

Cruise port environmental impact study must be updated

A second phase of the Environmental Impact Assessment on the cruise berthing project will likely be required before Cabinet can grant final approval for construction to begin on the project.

MLA Bryan wants new meeting to air all views on port project

Independent MLA Kenneth Bryan, who represents George Town Central, said a Thursday night meeting on the pending cruise ship port project was meant to provide his constituents with relevant information and a forum where the future of the project could be discussed.

Opposition questions claims over port’s economic benefit

Opposition politicians continued to argue against government’s cruise port plan at the latest in a series of public meetings Wednesday night.

Tourism Association stays neutral in port debate

The Cayman Islands Tourism Association is maintaining a neutral stance in the ongoing debate over government’s plans for new cruise piers in George Town harbor.

Port project objections raised at North Side meeting

The first of several public meetings organized by Opposition politicians to address questions on the proposed cruise ship docks for George Town harbor dealt with such questions as the environmental impact of the project, alternatives to the two-dock design, or whether any substantive change is even needed to accommodate cruise passengers.

Cruise port meeting: Cruise lines say build piers or lose passengers

Representatives from two of the world’s largest cruise lines have insisted they are moving toward operating mega-ships that will not tender in Grand Cayman.

Cruise port meeting: Officials questioned over pier project

A panel of government officials fielded dozens of questions over the controversial cruise berthing project Wednesday night but were unable to give specific information about the cost of the piers, the funding formula and the identities of the bidders.

Government: Referendum would kill cruise port

Government has claimed that holding a referendum on the issue of cruise piers in George Town would delay the project to such an extent it would effectively kill it.

Tourism minister to discuss cruise pier at public meeting

Government is holding a public meeting about the proposed cruise berthing project on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Family Life Centre in George Town.

EDITORIAL – Cruise pier: To be or not to be?

As readers can see for themselves, the “pro” and “con” sides differ on many aspects of the port proposal, but what everyone should agree on is that the cruise dock would constitute the single largest and most influential public works project in the history of Cayman, the impact of which will reverberate through the tourism sector and wider economy, far exceeding the capital cost of the project, whether that turns out to be $150 million, $200 million or more.

Environment chief removed from cruise project committee

The Department of Environment is no longer represented on the steering committee overseeing the cruise berthing project.

Government: No final bid agreed for cruise port dock

Government has dismissed claims that construction on the cruise berthing facility could be under way within weeks.

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