June 23, 2021

The Editor speaks: Government have only themselves to blame for the Referendum delay

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Colin Wilson

I can only lament at the terrible way our Government have gone about convincing all of us who supported the proposed Cruise/Port dock that perhaps it is not a good idea.

The closed door mentality over some of the simplest queries with unbelievable explanations, especially concerning whether China Harbour were one of the bidders, the fact that their Public Meeting they were forced to stage to tell us all the true facts due to the increasing opposition to it and in fact – didn’t.

When it was disclosed after the meeting that two of the cruise ship impartial ‘experts’ were in fact members of the consortium to build it, the general public, like me, were outraged.

Why on earth didn’t the government point that out at the meeting? Were they really trying to deceive us or were they frightened their experts testimonies at the meeting would have been derisively laughed at?

There had been cries of secret meetings behind closed doors and ‘hidden’ agendas that I am not going to stipulate.

When the Referendum date was set, it gave weight to the opposers that government were trying to rush it through before the additional 400 voters came on the Electoral Roll.

The very first, and one of the biggest blunders was to get rid of Department of Environment Directer Gina Ebanks-Petrie from the steering committee fro the cruise/port project without a valid explanation.

Next they invoked the wrath of the Cayman Islands National Trust by refusing to answer satisfactorily their questions they had every right to answer.

During all this our Premier said government employees need not vote as a vote not registered counted automatically as a ‘Yes’ vote. Why the heck would he want to say that? Then he boasted “it would take a miracle for the project not to go ahead”. I remarked to him “Miracles do happen.” My customary Christmas ecard never came last year.

All of this brought one of the leading campaigners against the project, Shirley Roulstone, a member of the Cruise Port Referendum campaign group, to go to the National Trust and get their support to stop the Referendum until after a Judicial Review that started today (22).

Finally government have produced the latest Scoping Data that should have been produced well before the Referendum Date was set.

Doesn’t the premier and the members of his cabinet realise that his people who voted for them are very, very concerned at the impact to the environment the dredging is going to do?

We have been led to believe this update was peer reviewed by Royal HaskoningDHV and takes into consideration the revised design of the proposed cruise berthing piers as well the additional cargo project, which was not included in the initial EIA. It was produced by Baird, the company that carried out the original environmental impact assessment in 2015 on an entirely different design to the one now proposed.

Gina Ebanks-Petrie confirmed that she has received a copy of the document.

Now we have entered the chicken or the egg situation. Government don’t want to spend anymore on the project until the referendum question is decided. The opposers and the National Trust want more work executed including geo-technical work before the Referendum.

If the premier is so confident it will take a miracle to stop it why is he so worried – NOW!

It sadly is because of all the above that this Government have themselves to blame for the referendum delay.

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