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EDITORIAL: Don’t let Cayman fall into the Brexit trap

The British populace has been tortured by the Brexit debate for three and a half years, the Brexit referendum having taken place on Thursday 23rd June 2016. Ever since then, British politics has been mired by the debate as to when, how and even if Britain should leave the European Union, with many people seeking a second referendum because they don’t feel they had all the facts in front of them on that fateful day when they voted.

Cayman has its own historic people-initiated referendum on 19th December 2019 to let the people decide if the new cruise berthing facility and cargo port renovation should go ahead, the first time in our history that such a referendum has been called. We hope that our voting electorate will be able to make an informed decision on this project that is so important for our country.

The National Trust has just issued a statement on the issue, in which they outline the potential damage that could be done to our precious coral reef, should the project go ahead, detailing that 60 rare and some endangered coral species that could possibly be damaged irrevocably, along with 400 species of fish that would be impacted. The National Trust states that further analysis needs to be carried out to “wholly assess the potential ramifications and determine what is truly at risk in the long term. Most of the data collection for such analysis will not commence before March 2020.” That is three months after the referendum.

The National Trust calls upon port developers Verdant Isle Partners to release pertinent information as the new studies become available. But, “these reports will regretfully not be published in time for the referendum so the people of the Cayman Islands will have to make their decision without having all the facts,” they state.

Without all the facts it is difficult for our voters to make an informed decision as to whether they believe the project should go ahead or not. We hope, therefore, that as much information can be provided to voters as possible going into the referendum, so they feel they have voted with a clear conscience. A fiasco along the lines of Britain’s Brexit must be avoided at all costs.

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