Campaign moves to next stage

| 14/03/2009

(CNS): Equality Cayman, a nongovernmental organization actively campaigning for a choice to be given to people in the referendum vote concerning the scope of section 16 in the Bill of Rights, wrapped up its petition drive today. Members of were out in force Saturday, 14 March, at supermarkets in George Town and West Bay and spoke with members of the public, gave away information sheets about the proposed Cayman Islands Constitution, and collected petition signatures. (Photo: Equality Cayman member Parthna Bhojani with a Saturday shopper stopping to sign the petition)

The grassroots group, which has about 10 active members, says hundreds of new signatures were added to their petition on Saturday, substantially raising the total number of signatures collected since the group was launched just a few weeks ago. Equality Cayman’s petition asks government to give voters the chance to choose between the full right to be free from discrimination by the government or the limited right that is contained in section 16 of the Bill of Rights in the current draft Constitution.

“We were very happy with the enthusiastic response from the public,” said Carlene Alexander, an Equality Cayman member. “We are finding that most people want to be protected from discrimination and they want their children and grandchildren to be protected from discrimination. It was great to see so many more signatures added to the substantial number that we had already gathered in previous weeks. We will present the petition to our elected leaders this week in the hopes that they will recognize the serious concern many people have with current draft constitution. It is important for the public to understand that all we are asking government to do is give people the chance to choose on 20 May when they vote. We feel very strongly that the current draft is far from acceptable because it simply falls short in protecting the people from discrimination. Saying that future governments will fill in the gaps with legislation is just not good enough.”

Alexander added that Equality Cayman will announce to the press and public this week the total number of signatures on its petition as well as plans for the next phase of its efforts toward securing the best possible constitution for the Cayman people.

The work of Equality Cayman was cited by Human Rights Watch in a release which stated that the territory should revise the draft constitution to give full protection to all against unequal treatment, and the British government should ensure that this happens.

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  1. Kath E Chisolm says:

    What nonsense in the previous comment.  Let’s take an example, the UK.  All Commonwealth citizens who are resident can vote, as can Irish citizens who are resident.  Given that over half the residents of this territory are denied the vote then it is valid for them to express their views.  But they won’t because of the true extent of discrimination and rights abuse in Cayman – free speech is great if you want to find yourself on a plane out of George Town. 

    • Anonymous says:

      And what happens if the petition has no affect whatsoever on the government postion. almost all expats that i know ae not willing to put their names to this petition due to the public access and the fact they are not sure who will see the list.

      I am unsure as to why Equality Cayman simply did not push for a no vote on the constitution since none of this shuold be passed with such a half baked bill of rights attached. With the absolute possibility that the petition will not be accepted or acte upon it will come across perhaps as desparate the request for a no vote. A NO vote shold have been the original positon and this is what should be publicised and sent forward

  2. Anonymous says:

    Is anyone checking to verify that qualified voters are the ones boosting the numbers on the petition.
    I’m not taking sides, however the petition should only have an affect on the governments opinion if the people signing are registered voters and/or Caymanians.
    While it can be argued that others are residents and it would “affect” their lives, no other country allows non-citizens to sway by way of petitions the political processes.