Caribbean News

Cayman Islands to hold referendum on controversial cruise pier project

(CMC) A referendum on a controversial cruise pier project will Government will be held on December 19.

A Referendum Bill that was gazetted last Thursday, paves the way for the historic vote.

Referendum day, to be held during the Christmas season, has been declared a public holiday to allow people to cote, although bars and restaurants will remain open to avoid disruption during the festive season.

In a press statement accompanying the release of the bill, the government said that it had taken legal advice both from Attorney General Samuel Bulgin and an external firm, to help formulate the question.

The statement said it was designed to be clear and simple and reflect the intentions of the petition that triggered the vote.

With the publication of the bill, there is a mandatory 21 day notice period before it is debated in the Legislative Assembly and passed into law. 

After that the writs of referendum will be issued, sparking a six-week process to organise the poll and facilitate postal and mobile voting.

The Government was required under the Constitution to organise the referendum after campaign group Cruise Port Referendum Cayman collected signatures from more than 25 per cent of the electorate – more than 5,000 people – calling for the public to decide whether the project should proceed.

Verdant Isle Port Partners, a consortium of cruise lines and construction firms, has been lined up as the preferred bidder on the multi million development after a lengthy procurement process.

The press release indicates that the date was dictated by the legal and logistic timelines required before the bill could be debated and passed, and the referendum held.

It adds that Supervisor of Elections Wesley Howell has confirmed that his office will be “operationally and logistically” ready for referendum day.

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