House Speaker Hon. McKeeva Bush weighs in on the grassroots effort to trigger a people-initiated referendum on the cruise port project. He told Cayman 27 he believes the petition will prove futile.
Meanwhile, CPR Cayman said after more than three decades in elected office, Mr. Bush has grown out of touch, and is underestimating the referendum effort.
For almost six months, grassroots group CPR Cayman has been collecting signatures with the goal of taking the cruise berthing facility question to the people. Under section 70 of the constitution, this would require signatures from at least one-quarter of the electorate, as of 1 January first, according to Elections Office figures, that number is 5,286.
“They’re not gonna get no signatures to do that with, and government can’t pay attention to that, we have to do what is right,” said Mr. Bush.
Mr. Bush told Cayman 27 while there have been many plans for cruise berthing facilities throughout the years, the time is now for action.
“We have to advance, and we cannot advance by standing still,” said Mr. Bush. “We are a developing country. We are going to have all the problems that a developing country will have, but we can manage that, and so, if we didn’t accept it anywhere else, George Town harbour is the only place that it’s got to go, we cannot stand still.”
“You see people like McKeeva making statements that they don’t think that this will see the light of day, or it won’t get enough numbers, that is really sad, because some of his core supporters have signed the petition,” said CPR Cayman’s Mario Rankin.
Mr. Rankin told Cayman 27 that CPR Cayman has collected well over 4,000 voter signatures, with some 40 petition books still in circulation.
He said he believes Mr. Bush and other politicians are underestimating public opinion on the referendum.
“All we are asking for them to do is just listen and take that into consideration because whether they want to be a part of it or listen, the constitution gives us that right,” said Mr. Rankin.
“The country has to have proper facilities. We just can’t say we are a top tourist destination, and what do we have? The worst docking facilities,” said Mr. Bush.
As Speaker Mr. Bush’s support for the cruise berthing facility remains unwavering, CPR Cayman hopes to serve the speaker and other naysayers a slice of humble pie.
“When we submit the 5,288 to the election office, I think that he will be singing a very different tune,” said Mr. Rankin.
Despite CPR Cayman’s push to take the cruise port question to the people over financial and economic concerns, Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin recently indicated it’s ‘full steam ahead’ on the project.
Mr. McLaughlin said it’s crucial to safeguard Cayman’s economic future.