Referendum activists bring in expert

| 25/06/2009

(CNS):  Once enacted, the new Cayman Islands Constitution will give voters in the islands the chance to initiate referendums on domestic political, social and economic issues, which could directly influence legislation. With the introduction of that new democratic tool, local activists, People for Referendum, are hosting a special open public meeting today, with Dr John Matsusaka, President  of the  Initiative and Referendum Institute, to begin what the group says is an important education process about people-led referendums.

The People for Referendum said that Dr Matsusaka had agreed to share some of his expertise on the subject of his research and experiences in voter participative initiative and referendum governance systems while vacationing in Grand Cayman.

“The opportunity to hear from such a scholar on this subject is of interest to all of us in the Cayman Islands as the implementation of the revised Cayman Islands Constitution begins and the legislation to give effect to the beginning of binding voter initiated referendum systems to influence governance will be discussed in the near future.  It is incumbent upon all voters to become educated on this very important subject,” the local activists added.

At the meeting, which will take place at the UCCI this afternoon (Thursday 25 June) at 2:45pm in the Cascade Room (Administration Building, second floor), Dr Matsusaka will share his expertise and offer some insight into what this new constitutional provisions could mean for the community.

According to section 70 of the new Constitution, voters in Cayman will be able to initiate a referendum if they can present a petition to Cabinet signed by not less than 25% of the electorate and any subject of national importance, provided it does not contravene the Bill of Rights or the Constitution. The referendum would be binding if assented to by more than 50% of registered voters – unlike the referendum for the Constitution itself, which required only 50% of voter turnout to pass.

Dr Matsusaka’s research focuses on the financing, governance, and organization of corporations and governments. He has published numerous scholarly articles, served as a consultant for the White House Council of Economic Advisors, and is the author of For the Many or the Few: The Initiative, Public Policy, and American Democracy (University of Chicago Press, 2004). 


Dr Matsusaka, an expert on referendums and other ballot propositions, is also a noted expert on government budgets and taxes, and in 2001 he joined with 60 plus economists to write President George W Bush a letter urging his rejection of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD’s) so-called "Harmful Tax Competition" initiative.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    For the record:

    Dr. Matsusaka did not visit the Cayman Islands for a meeting with People for Referendum. 

    Dr. Matsusaka was vacationing in Grand Cayman with his family and graciously agreed to use some of his vacation time to meet and share some of his vast knowledge on the subjects of initiativeand referendum with persons working towards the development of participative democratic governance systems for the benefit of all persons in the Cayman Islands.

    I found the meeting very informative.

     CNS: Please re-read the second paragraph.


  2. Expert says:

    Why not save themselves the expense and just consult with the CNS Comment boards, plenty experts around here!