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Government transparency effort falls flat with referendum petitioners

The group at the heart of a push for a people-initiated referendum on the cruise berthing facility, Cruise Port Referendum Cayman,  told Cayman 27 it came away with more questions than answers on the controversial project.

This after government fielded questions at a marathon public meeting last week.

Unanswered questions, misleading answers, and mis-representations.

CPR Cayman representatives said government’s attempt to present its so-called facts of the cruise berthing facility fell flat with many in attendance at Wednesday’s public meeting. They told Cayman 27 interest in signing the petition has surged in the days since.

“Honestly, it’s just more questions than answers,” said CPR Cayman’s Michelle Lockwood.

While last Wednesday’s marathon public meeting on the cruise berthing facility didn’t provide the answers she and others were looking for, she said it has helped fuel a surge in interest for the referendum petition.

“We absolutely had more people asking us about it, we had about 15 emails that evening asking where can we go, please send it to us, where it’s located,” she said.

She pointed to what she called inconsistencies in the presentation and subsequent Q and A, like the pro-port claim that shore time would increase to eight hours for passengers if the cruise berthing facility is built.

“When I asked that question and it came up with other people that asked the question; how much time is it actually going to turn into, it actually turned it to just five hours,” she said. “We are only adding an extra hour.”

“A lot of the questions that were addressed, a lot of the answers that were given weren’t sufficient,” said CPR Cayman’s Mario Rankin, who told Cayman 27 he felt the effort at transparency came up short.

“There was a whole week long advertisement campaign saying come on out to get all the answers, and obviously when we got to the procurement process, and the bidders, and all of the people who are involved, I mean, we saw where they weren’t, they weren’t willing to give us that information,” said Mr. Rankin.

For its part, government insisted at the meeting that divulging the names of the final three bidders would compromise the integrity of the process.

Both Mr. Rankin and Ms. Lockwood argue that triggering a referendum will bring the process out of the shadows.

“The petition now it’s only thing that we have now in order to get the information that we don’t have now currently,” said Mr. Rankin.

“The way to get more information, and to have your say, is to sign the petition, and then go to the polls and make the decision there,” said Ms. Lockwood.

Not surprisingly, the government-backed online group Support Our Tourism has a different opinion of the referendum effort.

In a social media post last month, Support Our Tourism said that signing the referendum petition equates to a ‘no’ vote for the port.

How close is CPR Cayman to reaching the threshold of signatures to trigger a vote on the project?

The group declined to give an exact number, but told Cayman 27 it’s in a very good position, and expects to submit more than enough signatures to initiate the referendum process by the end of this month.

The petition is available at the following locations:

Bliss Living Yoga
Pure Art
Sunset House
Four Winds Esso (West Bay)
Hurley’s Supermarket (every Mon/Wed/Sat)

CPR Cayman said the petition will also be circulated door-to-door.

About the author

Joe Avary

Joe Avary

Joe Avary has been with Cayman 27 since 2014. He brings 20 years in television experience to the job, working hard every day to bring the people of Cayman stories that inform the public and make a difference in the community. Joe hopes his love for the Cayman Islands shines through in his informative and entertaining weather reports. If you have a story idea for Joe or just want to say hello, call him at 324-2141 or send an email to josephavary@hurleysmedia.ky

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