By Christopher Tobutt
Since being announced just over a month ago, Caymanian Voices National Survey, which aims to gauge voter’s feelings on major national topics, has gathered momentum. The survey, which plans to ask registered voters whether or not the Cayman Islands should legalise same-sex unions (whether marriage or civil unions), gambling and marijuana, in a series of six questions on Referendum Day (19 December) was begun by representative for George Town Central, Kenneth Bryan because, he said, legislators needed to know what voters thought on these important issues. Since its beginnings, an executive body has been established to help organise the survey, and Mr. Bryan has become the Chairperson. Mr. Bryan was joined by another member of the Cayman Voice executive team, Eden Hurlston at a recent press conference to announce some new developments.
“I am really happy to say that there are other MLAs who are now on board,” Mr. Bryan began, although he wouldn’t name any names, he said, because he wanted to give the MLA’s concerned the chance to make their own announcement. In addition, the recent Appeal Court ruling on same-sex marriage had created a situation where it was more important than ever for Caymanian’s to let their opinions become known, Mr. Bryan said.
The survey will ask voters: “Should the Cayman Islands legalise a national lottery? Should the Cayman Islands legalise casinos? Should the Cayman Islands legalise same-sex marriages? Should the Cayman Islands legalise same-sex unions? Should the Cayman Islands decriminalise marijuana (beyond medicinal use)? And, Should the Cayman Islands legalise marijuana (beyond medicinal use)?”
Mr. Eden had some good news about including a further “220+ persons,” who, although they will not be able to take part in the referendum, would still be able to participate in the survey: “We are using the updated voters registration list and they will be able to have their voice, in this way, by taking part in the survey and letting it be known what their opinion is,” he said.
Another development was the inclusion of three other days when registered voters can take part in the survey, in addition to the referendum day itself, at specific locations. These would be: 5 December at George Town Constitutional Hall, on Friday 6 December at the Government Administration Building from 7am to 3pm; and Saturday 7 December 9am to 2pm at Fosters Camana Bay, and from 5 pm to 9pm at the Parade of Lights. “It is an opportunity for people outside of Referendum Day to be able to take this survey as well,” Mr. Eden explained.
The scope of the original survey has also been broadened to include “postal votes,” that is, registered voters who are living abroad, although these will actually be conducted by email, Mr. Bryan explained. “They can forward an email to us, saying what your name is, and with your identification scanned. You’ll have access to a survey sheet will be on our Facebook page. You can print it out at home or office wherever you may be, and answer it however you choose, sign it, attach it with a small declaration that you are who you say you are, and you would like this to be reflected as your viewpoint in respect to the survey.”