(CMR) In a landmark Grand Court decision this morning Shirley Elizabeth Roulstone has won her judicial review application against the government of the Cayman Islands who were seeking to put forward a referendum law which they hastily drafted last year in advance of the anticipated December referendum on the cruise berthing project.
The referendum was delayed as a result of the legal action which the Cayman Islands National Trust also joined in on. The Honourable Justice Tim Owen Q.C. found that the Referendum Law 2019 is incompatible with s.70 of the Cayman Islands Constitution “because it fails to satisfy the requirement for a general law governing all s.70 referendums and it itself not in accordance with such a law.”
Speaking to Roulstone after the decision she stressed that this was a victory for the people and that government should be put on notice that the people will stand up for their rights when required to do so.
CPR issued a press statement sharing:
The Grand Court held that the Constitution required the legislature to enact a “general law” governing the conduct of people-initiated referenda rather than a specific law that it can tailor to suit its agenda in any particular referendum because “Section 70 of the Constitution confers a direct democratic right on the people to veto the policy choices of their democratic representatives” and “allowing the democratic representatives to change the ground rules every time there is a referendum risks the rules being changed to promote their policy choice”.
This decision shows that your voice counts and that your vote in the referendum will count. The citizens of the Cayman Islands can challenge the Government and challenge the status quo to bring about a precedent-setting, positive outcome that protects the democratic rights of all citizens.
CPR’s Johann Moxam said:
“We would like to thank Shirley Roulstone for her bravery, tenacity and dedication to her country as a humble, concerned citizen. She stood up against an attempt at injustice at the highest level and won. We are proud to include her amongst our executive committee and to have her represent us and the people of the Cayman Islands in this important case”.
Shirley Roulstone was represented in the judicial review by Kate McClymont of Broadhurst LLC. Ms. McClymont.
The Premier issued a brief statement this afternoon sharing:
“Understandably, the ruling of Acting Judge Tim Owen QC of Matrix Chambers handed down this morning is not the outcome that the Government had hoped for.
“While the Court determined that the Referendum Law was incompatible with section 70 of the Constitution, the question of the appropriate relief to be granted is still outstanding. We understand that it will take some time before an order on this issue is made.
“Pending the Court’s final order, aside from the immediate issue of an appeal, the Government will take time to consider its next steps regarding the port project, and will issue another statement in due course.”