(CMR) Shirley Roulstone, a member of the CPR Cayman, has initiated legal action against the Cayman Islands Government in relation to the upcoming people initiated referendum slated to be held on December 19. However, NO formal application for judicial review has been submitted.
A press released received today from CPR confirmed that CPR Cayman is not an incorporated entity and will not be formally involved in the filing of any proceedings. Roulstone filed an application on November 21 seeking leave of the court to apply for judicial review and asking for a protective cost order.
They have also shared that after receiving a legal opinion on the matter they provided the government with an opportunity to address their concerns and incorporate recommended changes into the Referendum Bill. However, to date, the government has ignored all correspondence from CPR Cayman.
The protective cost order will protect Roulstone against any potential legal costs should her judicial review application be unsuccessful. The letter states that should that be granted she will then make the judicial review application. They stated that:
“As this is the first people-initiated referendum in the Cayman Islands, it will set the precedent for future people-initiated referendums, so it is particularly important that we hold the Government to the highest standards of democracy.”
The judicial review, should it be filed aims to seek legal clarification on a number of issues including:
- the inclusion of the cargo port in the referendum question
- the exclusion of 220 newly registered voters based on the date chosen
- the exclusion of cmpaign financing restrictions
- the exclusion of s. 91(1) of the Elections Law, 2017 – which bans the sale of liquor on referendum day
They believe that certain aspsects of the process thus far as open to a legal challenge on the basis that they are unlawful or frustrate the intention of a people initiated referendum. They further share that they are most concerned that the chosen date was strategically selected in order to ensure low voter turnout over the busy holiday period. They also clarified that the overarching reason for a challenge is to ensure that when the referedum occurs it is “conducted fairly and people are not unreasonably deprived of their right to participate in this important democratic event.”
For his part, Premier Alden McLaughlin, has already issued a statement from several days again indicated that the referendum is likely to be delayed because both CPR and the National Trust have filed a judicial review application. McLaughlin, speaking at the start of Finance Committee Tuesday, said both the Trust and Cruise Port Referendum (CPR) Cayman have taken legal action on the port vote. Based on this press statement from CPR Cayman, however, that is clearly not the case.
The National Trust has filed their own independent judicial review application on Monday.
McLaughlin said the national holiday that was set for 19 Dec. for the referendum will continue as planned and he will be meeting with the Attorney General to discuss his legal options. He is in favor of the referendum continuing but has now admitted that it's “uncertain”.