Cruise Port Referendum petitioners say they have the signatures to trigger the country’s first people’s initiated referendum, but a three-way verification process looms.
With uncharted waters ahead, CPR Cayman and the Elections Office held a public meeting to outline what comes next.
A crowd of more than 100 turned out Thursday night (30 May) to hear from Cruise Port Referendum petitioners about the next steps. While no signatures have been submitted, the group maintains it has enough to exceed the 25% voter threshold.
“Once the process is done and if the 25% threshold is verified, then the petition is presented to Cabinet,” explained Elections Supervisor Wesley Howell, a guest speaker at the town hall event.
After a brief outline of the process, Mr. Howell was peppered with questions, many pertaining to the verification process.
“This exercise is to ensure that the signatures on the list correlate with her name on the voters’ list,” said Mr. Howell. “It’s actually putting a face to the signatures and verifying that those are all the same.”
He told attendees that the three-way verification process could take months.
“I smell a rat, and the rat, the rat it seems to me, is in the verification process,” said former cabinet minister Dr. Roy Bodden.
Dr. Bodden said the deck is stacked against petitioners, and warned that the battle ahead is likely just beginning.
“For the life of me, I cannot understand such a convoluted and complicated route to verification of a couple thousand signatures,” said Dr. Bodden.
Others questioned if the verification process could expose civil servants who signed the petition to political retribution.
That notion was dismissed by Roy Tatum, Head of the Premier’s Office.
“Hand on heart, from where I sit, there’s no need for civil servants to be concerned about any such retribution,” said Mr. Tatum.
Mr. Howell said until the petition is verified and in the hands of cabinet, talk of a referendum is strictly hypothetical.
“Until it is accepted by government there is no petition in relation to meeting all of the constitutional requirements,” he said.