Save Cayman in push for poll

| 12/05/2011

(CNS): The man leading the charge in the campaign to prevent government from dredging the North Sound said that he believes there is now a real possibility of achieving enough signatures to trigger a people initiated referendum. Capt Bryan Ebanks said the campaign has gained enormous support from the community. Despite the fact that many people feel they can’t sign the petition because they are civil servants who do not know if they are allowed to sign, many others have been willing to put their names to the cause. With plans for another major push on 21 May, Ebanks said that he hopes to encourage even more people to sign or become involved in the fight in some other way to save the North Sound and in turn the whole island.

Ebanks is opposing government’s proposal to create a channel in the North Sound for mega yachts as he says the risk of losing Stingray City and the Sandbar could be catastrophic for the country’s entire tourism product. Aside from the dangers cutting into the reef would present for West Bay and George Town, in the event of a major hurricane, Ebanks said, dredging would cause significant damage to the entire Sound.

Although the campaign has a wider goal of trying to persuade government to rethink the choices it makes about development in general, the primary motivation is to collect enough signatures to trigger a referendum specifically on the dredging of the channel before the premier makes any deals with developers.

“We have already collected around half the number we need, but we are now making another major push to get the rest,” said Ebanks. He said that he understood the difficulties some people felt they had signing given the ambiguity surrounding the situation with civil servants but he said people could help in other ways.

“Noteveryone feels comfortable signing the actual petition,” he said. “We understand that and I would never say that people should do anything that would threaten their livelihood or their businesses but there are many other things that can be done behind the scenes.”

Given the amount of support there is for the campaign, Ebanks said one of the reasons why the petition has not reached the required 3,500 or so signatures yet is because of the manpower required in getting the signatures and collecting up petition sheets. He said he really needed anyone who supports the campaign but had to stay out of the limelight to come and help with the backroom work.

“We are really grateful to those people who have already been helping but we do need more hands on deck,” Ebanks said. “We cannot give up on this campaign, it is very important to all of us in Cayman. It’s not just about the West Bay boat captains that work in the Sound itself this is far wider, it affects everyone. The North Sound is an economy in its own right that trickles down throw the wider community and to lose it is unthinkable.”

The people initiated referendum, a concept introduced in the new 2009 constitution, is the only sure-fire way the people have to stop a government from going ahead with a specific course of action they oppose. The opposition cannot stop a government that has the full backing of its members and no amount of vocal objections or marches, or even the petition in its own right, can lawfully prevent government from going ahead with a legal proposal of its choosing.

However, Ebanks pointed out that triggering a referendum would enable every voter in the Cayman Islands to go to the poll and say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the channel and if more than half of those who vote say ‘No’, government is constitutionally obligated to respect that result and would not be allowed to dredge the channel.

“This is a powerful tool and we intend to use it as there simply is no other choice,” Ebanks added as he encouraged everyone who was against the proposal to dredge the Sound to get in touch and either sign the petition or come out and help in some other way.

Captain Ebanks can be contacted via email on 916 3048 or via the Save Cayman Facebook page.

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  1. Ken P says:

    For the future of Cayman please sign this petition. We don't need any developers dredging our beautiful North Sound and Mac please quit chasing after these Chineese. Redevelopment of the airport is far more important and I suggest that we use local contractors like Arch & Godfrey or Mcalpine. Trust me any dredging done in the North Sound will have a damaging effect on our natural environment including stingray city and the sandbar.

    Blessings to all

  2. IRON CLAD says:

    The Petition…

    For an electronic copy of the petition, you may visit the Save Cayman blog site @ where you can download, print and sign the petition. I was told that copy can also be signed by any other family and friends who are in objection and not yet signed. Once signed, you may email the Save Cayman group to request a pickup or delivery of same.

    I also understand that if that may not be convenient, you may request via email to have it brought to you and they will bring it to you to be signed.

    Hope that helps.


  3. Anonymous says:

    Sorry to be off topic. but does anyone know about the robbery that occured today in central GT? Police cars and the helicopter were all over the area from about 4pm in the vicinity of Shedden Road at Harbour Drive (across from Royal Bank, near the new Fed Ex).

  4. 3RD CLASS CITIZEN says:

    We have to stop Mac and his millionaire buddies from killing our country. XXXXLet's help Captain Bryan by signing this pettition now.

  5. Anonymous says:

    As most of us know, Stingray City and Sandbar are 4 miles apart running east-west, so it would seem doubtful that any north-south channel would impact both locations.  Also very doubtful there would suddenly be a giant tsunami that would inundate Barkers.  Extrapolating wild condequences weakens your argument and will not garner support from sensible people.  

    Rather than allowing skepticism to permeate this important environmental debate, Save Cayman should focus on well studied realities.  Talk to DOE, Google dredging projects and consequences from Eastern Caribbean.  Learn.  Focus on reef destruction, bleaching, and the effect on biodiversity, fishing (a Caymanian's birth right), and dive tourism and you'll get my signature (and probably many more).  

    Keep it simple and real so everyone can understand and sign for the right reasons.  Good luck!


    • Anonymous says:

      Either one is enough damage for me. The dredging will kill a couple thousand acres of turtle grass as well. Maybe it will grow back one day.

  6. anon says:

    Where can we sign? I haven't seen a petition anywhere.

    • Anonymous says:

      The petitions will be at the supermarkets next Saturday the 28th May. A copy is also available during the week at the PPM office on Crewe Road. If you email, someone can bring it to you if you can't get to it. If you have any spare time on 28th May, please email Save Cayman and volunteer your time.

      Thank you.

    • Anonymous says:

      The push will now be on the 28th of May at the major supermarkets. There is also a copy at the PPM office on Crewe Road (open from 10am to 5pm). Please contact Capt. Bryan if you can help out.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Its a shame so many on work permits, and in the middle of being naturalised, and working in government departments are so afraid to sign this petition. I don't blame them, I blame the system that makes them feel so intimidated that they can't exercise their right to an opinion.  I am not speculating here, I know many, many people who want to, but simply daren't sign for fear of the consequences.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Civil cervants can vote on elections so they can also sign a petition. It is a democratic right.

    Where can we sign ?

    So if I understand it correctly:  If a member of the opposition starts a people initiated referendum in which the people demand new elections, that would work?