Challenges and uncertainties for port project

| 10/06/2015 | 76 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cruise ship visits Grand Cayman

(CNS): The authors of the draft environmental impact assessment for the proposed cruise pier project have presented a picture of serious marine destruction, massive disruptions and noise nuisance in the capital for up to three years. As they detailed their findings at a public meeting Tuesday, they revealed cargo port challenges, excess fill problems, numerous uncertainties about turbidity and sediment movement and not much in the way of genuine benefit, and most of the 150 or so people attending were left asking if the project was worth it.

In a comprehensive presentation about their work the consultant team that undertook the work, led by WF Baird & Associates, spelt out a catalogue of destruction, disruption, complexities and challenges and many unanswered questions about the impact of the project on the marine environment and the capital itself.

Related article on CNS Business: Watersports business warns against cruise dock

The consultants said some 87 acres of coral and a marine park would be at risk in the harbour, which was described as a unique and complex marine environment and topography, home to 27 different types of coral, six of which are threatened species. The consultants counted 99 species of fish in the harbour, along with turtles, stingrays, even lobsters, in clear water, which in the context of the region is some of the most pristine in the Caribbean, even though it’s a working harbour.

Cayman News Service

Public meeting about the proposed cruise ship dock 9 June 2015

The reef system has an economic value of around $20 million per year due to the tourism and the marine protection value.

But the consultants warned that if the project goes ahead 40% of reefs will be directly destroyed, with more than 35 acres lost. The indirect impacts were not quantified or detailed by the consultants, however they warned that there could be much more impact on the reef systems beyond those directly affected in the harbour. They pointed to additional habitat fragmentation as the connectivity is reduced between reefs, impacting bio diversity. They also said coral would die because of the turbidity and sediment during what could be three years of construction.

They suggested that the excess fill dredged from the ocean, which would be significant even after some 7 acres of land would be reclaimed, could be dumped in deep-ocean, but the experts were unable to say what that would do to the islands’ surrounding seas.

The experts stated that if CIG decided to go ahead with what was described as a very challenging and complex project, a $13 million plus coral reclamation project would be required, with no guarantees of success.

The Balboa Shipwreck will be lost, so that too would require relocation, which is technical possible, the consultants said, even though they did not know whether it would be successful. And efforts to move the Balboa could completely destroy what is a world famous dive spot, particularly for night diving, as well as a culturally and historically significant wreck.

The consultants described significant periods of major disruption in the capital during construction, with existing cruise and cargo operations severely impacted and an obvious threat to business in the capital over the two and half to three years it will take to build the concrete piers.

Nevertheless, the consultants said that they believed Seven Mile Beach was not under threat, as they described that area and George Town Harbour as two separate and unconnected marine systems.

Cayman News Service

Attendees inspect the plans for Grand Cayman’s proposed cruise ship dock

Although that assumption still appears to be question, it was the only threat that would have caused government to stop moving forward with the proposal.

Regardless, the consultants painted a very worrying picture and there seemed to be almost no support for the project among the tour operators, local business owners, divers and cross-section of the local community at the meeting.

The consultants indicated that the economics of the project were also in question, as significant losses needed to be factored into the hoped for $200 million boost to the economy over 20 years.

But as the final public consultation period now begins, the community appears to be doubting the claimed economic benefits and justification for what is, without doubt, a very destructive project for George Town Harbour. Once the consultation period is complete, the EIA and public input will be formally presented to Cabinet. Then it will be the seven government ministers who will need to weigh the destruction of the environment and economic losses to some businesses versus the limited and unguaranteed future economic benefits for only certain sectors of the local economy.

Many people raised the question that if the government destroys the watersports in the harbour, which attract the cruise passengers in the first place, what will they do when the step off the boat onto the new costly concrete piers. The point of visiting George Town would be lost, many people pointed out.

Others questioned the received wisdom that piers mean more disembarkation for longer periods, as it was noted that if it’s easier to get off the ships, it will be easier to get back on. The consultants confirmed that 90% of passengers disembark in Cayman and cruise ship figures for the region show Cayman without berthing is consistently in the top four destinations in terms of numbers.

The consultation period on the EIA, which is available in full, including technical appendix, on the DoE website, will last until 3 July. The Department of Environment is also conducting a survey of public opinion of the Draft EIA, which can be completed online or on hard copy and delivered to the offices in North Sound Road.

Check back to CNS later this week for more on the EIA and the threats posed by the cruise dock proposal. 

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Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (76)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Interesting thumbs ratio on this thread of comments.

    I trust my fellow Caymanians realise that this readership is the very same that tends to overwhelmingly support anything that ultimately serves against the interests or sensibilities of “native” Caymanians.

    Let us interpret accordingly.

    Granted, they are those locals that hope to gain directly during the few years of construction from this destructive project, e.g. contractors and the business owners in the area. However, we are all kidding ourselves if we think the cruise companies are in any rush to break significant bread with Cayman – or any other country for that matter.

    Seriously, have we seen the proposed plans for cruise tourism? They are hell-bent on keeping their passengers on-ship and consuming every dollar by way of bungee jumps, sky-pods, mini roller-coasters, water-slides and exquisite nightlife … all on board!

    When we couple this with the significant damage to our ecosystem that we do know of, much less what can not be predicted by any report, it would be an affront to the advancement of mankind and sustainability to continue any debate on a GT cruise terminal.

    My kids deserve better than that.

    *And in the next 10-15 years, the majority of those on the other side of the debate will feel the same when they finally begin to truly feel Cayman is “home”. We cannot allow them to lead us because they are currently motivated by cynicism, prejudice and arrogance. Therefore, it is up to us to save, not only ourselves, but them from themselves.

    “NO” to a cruise terminal in George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.
    (Thank us later.)

    – Whodatis

    • Anonymous says:

      Hold on guys, a Whodatis contribution that doesn’t scream colonial oppression, UK conspiracy, British people to blame, etc……..
      I need to sit down. Yes I agree with Whodatis on this one, there I said it. Now time for therapy.

  2. SKEPTICAL says:

    Has anyone else tried to visualize the ” footprint ” of 15 acres of coral reef ? If it was square, it would be 270 X 270 YARDS. You could put the Truman Bodden Sports Centre on top of it and there would be quite a bit of space all around the edges. To ignore the Baird report would be verging on criminal stupidity.

    • Anonymous says:

      I wonder if the report deals with the fact that when these shallow reef’s and wrecks are destroyed, the huge numbers of snorkelers and divers visiting them on all the tour trips, will have to be displaced to other sites compounding the situation by destroying one area PLUS now overstressing other sites that will now be the alternate site/sites to the ones destroyed for the ships.

  3. Jimmy says:

    Give any thought to how an increase in cruisers will impact the sandbar? Already overcrowded, stressed rays and sea life. No conch left never mind a lobster. More low-fare, hardly make any money, overcrowded cruse ship tours. That will eventually kill that site as well as what would be gone from Hog Sty. We continually give away the good stuff for free. Worse yet we will spend a fortune of borrowed money so the cruise lines will still feed at our trough and leave us with a used up island and nothing to show for it but a giant dump and trash washing up on our beaches.

    • SSM345 says:

      The stingrays will soon be gone or dead like all other marine life in the North Sound due to the leakage from Mt. Trashmore. Couple that in with the risk of further destroying or seriously damaging our marine environment and possibly our beach and I cannot understand why they are still pushing this idea to sell a few more t-shirts.,
      If our marine environment is compromised and our beach is damaged, you can kiss our entire tourism product goodbye.

  4. Sinbad says:

    Place the airport up at shetty hospital whereby there’s growth for the future and for larger planes. The current airport can be used for smaller/private planes.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the cruise passenger that posted this on the Compass website:

    “As to why cruise passengers don’t want to do the tender route, let me point out that the cruise ship and the tender are rocking on the waves, making the transition often difficult and somewhat dangerous.

    Often, the ships cannot stop at Grand Cayman because of rough seas. The tender process is often slow; meaning passengers cannot spend as many hours on the island as they want, thereby reducing the dollars they could be spending money in Grand Cayman.

    Limiting cruise passengers, limits the dollars your local cab drivers, tour operators and restaurant workers make which hurts the overall economy. Been cruising since 2004, love Cayman, but hate that tendering.”

    • WaYaSay says:

      You Sir/Madam (6:10pm have got to be kidding me.
      How do you know that was even a real cruise ship passenger posting in the Compass? First of all,it is the Compass, next you will be telling CNS readers that there is a target on your back. Secondly the reason I read CNS is because I don’t give a s*it about anything printed in the Compass these days.

      It is really LMFAO time when I hear a cruise ship passenger try to use the cruisers $ spent as a weapon. We already know how much the average cruise ship passengers spend, there are many studies published that that tell us that and it’s not so grand. Remember the high price you pay on the cruise ship for shore excursions, is nowhere close to what reaches the person on shore, that takes you to stingray city. The average spend per cruise passenger dollar that makes into the local economy is about US$100.00.

      If you do not want to tender ashore in Cayman to spend that US$100.00 here is what you can do with it. You can take a big cruise ship from Miami or Ft. Lauderdale to Bimini that goes three times per week (yes the cost per trip is only $100.00 or $2.00 per mile cruised). They have a brand new cruise dock just waiting for you. You can also swim in, now muddy, waters that surround the Islands, snorkel the silt covered reefs, and don’t forget……..buy a T-shirt and a pina-colada to drink on the still beautiful beach.

      Don’t forget, when you return home, blog to the Compass and lament the tragic loss of all the coral reefs on what is one of the most beautiful places on earth….. Bimini.

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t have any reason to believe this was posted by anyone other than who they said they were – a cruise passenger.

        • Capt. Woodrow Cain says:

          You “don’t have any reason to believe this was posted by anyone other than who they said they were”? I do!

          I noticed you didn’t want anyone to know who you are. Why not? Do you have a dog in this race!

    • Anonymous says:

      Putting an open dock like this in won’t make things any different in rough weather. To solve this cruiser’s issues you’d need to build an enclosed harbour and bluntly for what most of them spend here I wouldn’t be too bothered by their opinions.

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s not only tourist spend by the cruisers that matters….far more important is the per head fee paid to govt. Which is millions into our coffers for all the services we would otherwise have to pay for thru taxes.

        • WaYaSay says:

          Anon 8:40am: Your ignorance of the contribution of cruise tourism is showing through…….. do some research before answering me so offhandedly and dismissively.

          1. Government gets paid for the number of passengers on the ship when they arrive, not the number that disembark, as they all enter the Cayman Islands when the ship anchors.
          2. The tendering service, according to the study this article refers to, brings MORE people to shore than docks do in other jurisdictions….not less.
          3. The study goes on to point out that there is NO indication, that in the case of the Cayman destination, a dock will expect to land more passengers on shore.
          4. It is also a fact that where there are docks, the time passengers stay on shore is shorter, not longer, simply by the fact that they can walk back on board any time they want to and enjoy the facilities on board.
          5. Passengers definitely avail themselves to the free lunch on board, instead of buying lunch on shore, thereby spending comparatively less, when walking off versus tendering.
          6. The tendering service ensures that the Cruise Lines also have to pay for the cost of tendering, in the private sector, on top of what they pay to Government.
          7. The money paid to the private tendering service, is paid partially to Caymanian employees to operate the tenders.
          8. The money spent on salaries to Caymanian employees is in turn spent by those Caymanians in grocery stores etc. thereby applying the economic benefit of the multiplier factor, giving Government more money in import duties, business licenses, insurance, work permits, etc.

          If you want a sustainable argument against our tendering, try this one: The tenders need upgrading to larger, more stable, air conditioned launches. I will agree that is a fact, however, I cannot fault (and neither should you) the private companies involved for not investing the $millions necessary when Government keeps threatening to put them out of business by spending hundreds of millions of dollars to build a dock. Government should put this to rest by unequivocally stating THERE WILL BE NO CRUISE DOCK BUILT.
          Government should concern itself with providing a safe, sheltered, two tiered tender dock and air-conditioned disembarking area for the cruise ship passengers.

          yes, I am one of those 7 generation, ignorant, no country Caymanians, whose ancestors were driftwood, so let me save you the time to say so in your answer.
          Now Sir/Madam WaYaSay?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Having the piers will eliminate the damage we’ve already had from anchors. I hope this government has the xxxxx to see this through. We need someone to standup for the local workers that maybe aren’t as organized as the environmentalist groups, but need someone looking out for their jobs!

    • Diogenes says:

      “Eliminate the damage” by concreting over it, then damaging the remaining coral that hasn’t been affected yet. Great.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I wouldn’t think there’s a need for much deliberation on this. JUST SAY NO – there’s too much at stake and obviously this report is not conclusive – they don’t know what WILL happen if the port is built in GT. Those that know, i.e. the old sea captains, have said Red Bay is the place but the money-powerhouses say they won’t make enough money if the visitors do not disembark at their doors.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Red Bay – As the Captains say –

  9. Anonymous says:

    Just don’t do it.
    Primarily because it is a destructive, massive and ever-changing gamble as the cruise companies will always be holding the reins of the cruise industry.

    Let us focus our energies and resources elsewhere – like ORIA.

    – Whodatis

  10. Rp says:

    What do we want our turism product to be in 50 years? Are we aiming for exclusive overnight experience or are we going for mass tourism? Have we done the analysis?

    Remember we can’t control mass tourism! Ie, ships will ditch us for profit. Ie. if or when a cheaper port of call comes online such as Cuba.

    Mass tourism has massive impact on our island. What is this impact? Have we done a cost benefit analysis for each potential tourism product, factoring impact on infrastructure, maintenance, environment etc? What is the optimum level of cruise tourists per day to minimize impact and maximize benefit?

    In terms of projected revenue, which revenue stream can we control and project more accurately? Difficult to control mass tourism! Ie, ships will ditch us for profit. Ie. if or when a cheaper port of call comes online such as Cuba.

    Have we answered these questions before we decide what to build or not to build.

    If you build it they won’t necessarily come! Turtle farm anyone?

  11. Anonymous says:

    back to square one…cayman style….

  12. Meg says:

    At a time where our reputation is taking a ‘licks’ globally, I’d simply say that we don’t need to encourage any more backlash. Surely, destroying reefs will not sit well with anyone who gives the slightest damn about their environment and surely we will get even more harsh criticism worldwide for this. From divers, ecologists, people with sense…. 🙂
    Do I see the point in making it easier or “safer” to bring our cruise tourists to land? Well, yes, but having worked on the waterfront for years, what you hear FROM THE TOURISTS is that the place is beautiful and they enjoy it more than most of places, including some of these places with the big piers and berthing facilities! I honestly can’t remember ever hearing a tourist complain about the tenders, even in bad weather…
    I feel like we’re so ass-first when it comes to things. Personally I’d like to see all of George Town just get a PAINT JOB to start. Then maybe in a few years when the rest of the district is up to par it would deserve to have it’s pier…

  13. Hillary says:

    9:08. The length of the runway is not the problem? I would like to see a fully loaded 777/787/767/A330 try to take off from Owen Roberts and make it to Europe. Landing may not be a problem, but the runway needs to be extended at least another 1500 feet to accommodate long haul operations. We need to open up other markets and not rely totally on the US for tourist.

    • Anonymous says:

      why?…ba cannot even fill a plane for cayman from london without the bahamas stop off…

      • Anonymous says:

        That’s because there isn’t a market here. Not enough hotels and resorts, the Bahamas are head and shoulders above Cayman, as is Jamaica and most other Caribbean destinations. Cayman once had a vibrant and busy European vacation product, the lack of foresight after Ivan put pay to that.
        And by the way, it was serviced direct by 777 aircraft from London Gatwick, and before that by the old DC 10, also full both ways and direct on the very same runway that exists now.

        • Anonymous says:

          the vast majority of visitors that arrive on ba are friends and family of the ‘evil’ expats……. there is no way cayman will ever become a popular tourist destination for europeans or asians….. if they want to come they can come….and they might need a connecting flight from the us…..big deal…..when i fly across the world a connecting flight doesn’t put me off

    • Anonymous says:

      This is the old ‘we can get in but can we get out again’ issue. The runway needs to be long enough to stop in a situation where an engine fails before the aircraft reaches V1.

      One interim answer might be to get CAL to connect with the tour operators’ UK and European flights into Jamaica, Cuba, the DR, whatever. This is what they were supposed to be setting up with Virgin Atlantic five years ago. But then that is typical CAL – too busy playing at being an international airline to do anything useful.

    • Rp says:

      I think we need to build the airport mid island. Here is why:

      1. Cheaper land out east for govt. Land that ORA is built on can be sold for significant $$$ which could recoup a lot of the cost of new airport built mid island.
      2. No land constraints. We can build more than 1 runway, long runways to cater to all types of craft
      3. Alleviate congestion. Current road to airport is a one laner. All traffic funels into central Georgetown
      4. Current Noise pollution close to residential areas.
      5. Current landing path right above or too close to residential and key corporate and govt headquarters.
      6. Rebuilding ORA will take longer time, impact travel and tourist experience for a few years while under construction and may be more costly as workers cannot work 24/7. Also, requires continuous temporary changes to ORA to facilitate operation of airport while building.
      7. Locating mid island can lead to more tourism pockets like east end, north side and boddentown as all would be much more accessible.

      That’s my thought. Interested to hear other views.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well if you were here in the late 90’s and early 2000’s you would have.
      BA under their contracted operator, Flying Colours, did indeed land and take off full with both 777’s and DC10’s. And because this was prior to the Bahamas and T&C explosion in package tourism, the jets came here direct from London and their crews based themselves here to carry out the shuttle back to Nassau and of course onwards to London. So incoming they were full, and outgoing they replaced those passengers getting off with those going back to London via Nassau.

      I do not disagree that more room is always preferable, (the T&C now receive flights by 777 as a shuttle from Antigua) but to say it can’t be done is clearly wrong.
      As I understand it, it is indeed reduced fire coverage that has stopped the 777 being allocated back here. This is now the ONLY Carribean holiday route being serviced from Heathrow instead of Gatwick, why? Because Gatwick flies the 777 fleet and not the antique 767’s. And that too few holiday makers are coming to Cayman from Europe so it is classified as a business route.

      And finally, the 767’s are being decommissioned as we speak, very few are still flying with BA as they introduce new 787’s and existing 777’s to their mid range routes. As there are no plans in the pipeline to extend the runway at this present time, how do you think this route will be maintained, (as it must to a British Territory) without these jets? I think you’ve not thought this through.

      Ex BA/Flying Colours crew member and Holiday Inn regular.

      • Hillary says:

        I was referring to non stop flights to Europe. If you think BA or any other airline can get a B777 or B767 out of Cayman with a full load of passengers and fly non stop to Europe legally, then you are quite mistaken. The 787 is replacing the 767 on a lot of BA’s routes. FYI, both the 777 and 787 are used on long range flights. UAL for example, uses the 787 for their Lax Melbourne (Australia) flights and their 777’s are utilized daily from Washington Dulles to Dubai, all non stop.

        • Anonymous says:

          Hilary, you’re not paying attention. No one is saying the trip to London has ever been non stop. Nassau has always been a shuttle route, either on the way here and on the way back, (as now) or just on the way back, pre Ivan. But that isn’t the problem, the length of the runway was the the initial doubt, not its capability to reach London. In fact the problems arise with too much fuel capacity on landing, given they need an emergency quota to cover emergencies or go arounds, hence the fire coverage being important.

          No, you are quite wrong, BA did fly full from here via Nassau to London on both DC 10’s and 777. A 767 is not a long range aircraft, it is classed as mid range, as is the 787.
          Thompson use 787’s to Tenerife from London, (1500 miles), but what does that prove, only that it is a versatile and economical aircraft.
          London is under 5000 miles away, it isn’t a long haul route compared to London/ Melbourne where A380’s and 747’s dominate.

          Of course, there is the possibility that I dreamt 30 years of flying, many years partying on SMB and staying at the old Holiday Inn. Damn that rum punch is good!

        • Anonymous says:

          It’s never been a non stop route. The plane is lighter due to low fuel load when taking off from here, she refuels in Nassau and always has.
          It’s not rocket science, or is it?

      • Anonymous says:

        3:06 I used to regularly fly on the DC-10s and in my experience the majority of the passengers were German cruise shippers flying through Gatwick (using DBA) to Nassau.

        As for the future of the Nassau-GCM route? I understand BA plan to axe it. It’s been running at a huge loss for at least the last 10 years.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hilary, you are so wrong, these planes can and have landed and taken off full from here and reached London via Nassau.
      I do agree that we need to look towards Europe. They have a total population twice that of the U.S, (not including Russia) and nearly all EU citizens hold a valid passport and travel abroad on a much more frequent basis.
      We need to readjust our product, more hotels, more resorts, less condos and a vibrant nightlife for all age groups and interests.
      We need to make Cayman attractive to European high spending middle class earners, not low budget, eat all you can, no fashion sense or public decency, cruise ship passengers from Middle America whose spending power cannot excuse environmental vandalism.

      • Just Commentin' says:

        European visitors have been flocking to Cuba in record numbers for a long time now.

        Tell me: What do we have to attract them to Cayman? Sure there might be a niche market for those Euro visitors who are masochists and might relish experiencing being gouged by exorbitant prices, being “welcomed” to the country by surly customs officials, taking in the cheesy architecture, loving the horrid traffic, and who like sketchy service, etc, but it is a pretty limited market I would opine.

        Cuba is at the top of my list of places to get away from Cayman and enjoy a truly relaxing (and unbelievably low-cost) stress-free vacation.

        My Cuba getaway includes very attractively priced gourmet meals ( for about the cost of a bag of fast-food here), warmly provided service from people that make you feel like they truly enjoy and appreciate your patronage; affordable taxis. I can buy local handicrafts to bring back for all my friends for what a couple of Chinese-made trinkets with “Cayman Islands” imprinted on them costs here. Forget the cattle-car Cayman-type tour! My Cuba get-away comes with my own private tour guide with a delightful local person fairly fluent in English driving me around for the whole day in a classic antique car for about the cost of renting a car + gas here. Breathtaking beaches that make Seven Mile beach look positively shabby and overcrowded. In outlying areas the beaches are absolutely pristine and you feel like you have the whole beach to yourself. A reallyyy festive high-energy nightlife in clubs with high-quality live entertainment, where a round of heavily rum-laced drinks for my whole table for little more than the price of a couple of weak cocktails here. High-quality local smokes for less than USD$1 per pack. The list goes on…but you get my point, eh?

    • Anonymous says:

      Hilary, the poster who quite correctly points out that 777’s and DC10’s both landed and took off full from Cayman also said that the return journey went back to London via Nassau. So you are not further confused, this meant that the aircraft could take off with far less fuel, (and therefore weight) on the shorter runway. It would then refuel at Nassau for the journey home.
      I cannot see any inference or reference to a continuous flight from here to London, so what’s your point?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Why do we need such a huge facility? Check out the simple finger piers in Tallin, Estonia, for example, surely we can work with something like that?

  15. Anonymous says:

    As part of the presentation the tourism minister is quoted above (I couldn’t be there) as saying that, “Belize is getting a pier, Haiti, the Dominican Republic. All of our competitors in this region are building piers or already have piers that the ships can go directly to.”

    The Belize project is still in the planning stages and passengers are currently getting ashore by tender. In fact the proposals there involve two cruise lines using separate locations and seem to be fraught with unresolved issues.

    In Haiti Royal Caribbean have developed Labadee, a 260 acre private beach resort. That is a bit different from a pier. They are also developing Tortuga Island as an exclusive cruise destination.

    The DR project is Amber Cove, due to open in October. The partner here is Carnival Corp and again it is a lot more than a pier.

    Whether or not the Hon Minister has a valid point he left out the fact that all these developments involve substantial funding from the cruise lines, something that is missing here, and go way beyond just a dicking facility.

    It’s the same if you start looking at most other cruise related projects, like Grand Turk which I saw built, they all involve a substantial investment by a major cruise line.

    The question I would have is why is this not happening here? This project has been kicking around for over a decade now and to date not one major cruise line has come on board to support it. Maybe they are sending us a message there?

    • Anonymous says:

      Should be ‘docking’ facility in the fifth para – Freudian slip?

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe we should be revisiting the Scandinavians and their floating dock concept. Relatively cheap, able to withstand the worst of the Norwesters and easily towed into safe waters when the occasional Hurricane does threaten. Very little impact on the sea floor and no chance of ruining 7MB. Move the cricket ground to a drier location in order to impact North Sound minimally and build a runway that can handle intercontinental airlines. Then just monitor the fund managers etc and Cayman will be great again. Then we will have the funds to build trade schools which are actually commercial enterprises and train our kids on the job. Carpentry fabricators comes to mind.

    • Anonymous says:

      One of the reasons the cruise lines probably don’t want to put money up here is because of the bureaucracy involved. If their experience of trying to deal with CIG has been anything like that of one large UK/European package holiday operator a few years ago their reluctance in understandable.

      The lesson learned at that time was that people in positions of power here think they are doing these multi-million dollar companies a great favour by letting them have access to Grand Cayman and expect to be treated (as in rewarded!) accordingly.

      The result is that, while the UK/Europe all-inclusive holiday business is booming everywhere else in the region, we’re not getting anything. Even Virgin Atlantic’s highly publicised 2010 tie up with CAL came to nothing. The irony of this is that in the 1990s Virgin actually offered Grand Cayman as a holiday destination but now we’re not even on any of their websites.

    • Rp says:

      Maybe because once Cuba opens up they may want to drop us from the itinerary? The American demand for Cuba will be huge given the current restrictions. They will also save a lot of gas by not having to sail around cuba’s land mass to get to us. Hmmm.

      They will also benefit from inland development a lot more then they could here. They can build facilities in all those countries cheap. They can’t do that here.

      Besides why are we planning to compete with Haiti, Belize, DR and other third world destinations. We are better off standing in the crowd and focus on exclusivity. Monaco, Dubai etc.

      • Anonymous says:

        Monaco, Dubai etc. LOL, get real. Have you ever even been to Monaco or Dubai?

        Right now Grand Cayman can’t even complete with the standards of service being offered by most of the all-inclusive package holiday resorts in the region. In fact despite all the problems out there you get better accommodation and service in Egypt’s Red Sea resorts.

  16. Anonymous says:

    How about a better idea. Redo the airport. Making Cayman the central hub of the Caribbean. Better flights to Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, Middle East charge a visa and airport taxes. Build a proper international university attract students who will have parents support everything we are seeking – rental income, bars/restaurants, grocery, camana bay, local shops, gas stations, dive industry etc. this would also encourage business’ for new clients. Just a thought.

  17. Anonymous says:

    One of the big reasons that Camana Bay is flourishing is that it is not crammed with cruise ship passengers. These passengers spend very little in high quality shops but rather concentrate on tee shirts and shot glasses as souvenirs.

    We need to concentrate more on the stay over visitor who can afford to buy the Rolexes and the Waterford crystal.

    Keep the cruise ship masses to a minimum and give George Town a facelift to attract the stay over visitors back. That will put the capital back to where it was and where it should be.

    Let’s get real – do you try to go shopping in George Town during cruise ship days? Only if you want to get trampled!!!

  18. Fin says:

    It would be interested to see how this one plays out. The irony of this is that we want to destroy our reefs so we can get more tourist on shore quicker and efficiently which are the same tourists that come to dive our reefs and now enjoy our crystal clear harbor? I recall some years ago the powers to be enacted a law that made the local parrots and endangered specie and implemented some strong fines and penalties at the price of our dear local farmers. Poor farmers struggled came harvest time to pay their bills. just saying….

  19. Anonymous says:

    In the three years it takes to build this thing Cuba will be a full American cruise ship destination

    • Anonymous says:

      …and that is exactly the opportunity! We want to be on the Cuba route. We want the tourism jobs for Caymanian tour operators, taxi drivers and retailers. We need these jobs for our families, I pray that those people crying about moving the balboa wreck to another location don’t make us miss this opportunity.

      • Anonymous says:

        We will not be on any ‘Cuba route’ because the route will be Cuba. Get your head around the fact that’s what the cruise lines are planning and forget about the myth that the Cayman Islands will pick up trade when Cuba opens up. Read the quotes from the cruise line CEOs – they’ve made it very clear where there money will be going and it’s not here.

        • Anonymous says:

          You are mistaken, that’s not how it works. The idea of a cruise is To be able to keep everything on board and travel to several stops.

          • Anonymous says:

            Not any more, you’re way out of date. The new trend started on Grand Turk and has now developed into places like Amber Cove and Labadee.

            What the cruise companies now want is to put people ashore at facilities that they have a major financial interest in. When Tortuga Island opens up everything there will be under effective control of Royal Caribbean and that is what it looks like will happen in much of Cuba. At least that’s the way the cruise companies are talking it up.

            I’ll bet if (God forbid!) CIG offered a major cruise line Little Cayman to build an exclusive resort on with no restrictions I bet the money would come pouring in.

  20. Shore Diver says:

    The whole idea is dumb. It makes about as much sense as tearing up your yard so a bus can drive right up to your door to deliver your guests!

  21. Anonymous says:

    I’m confused, are we saying we will or are we saying we are not building a cruise ship facility in GT.? Didn’t the report say there is NO problem with the DOCK being dredged in town and will not cause sand loss on 7 mile beach ? Didn’t it say just the Balboa and the small reef to be transferred to a new site? If we redo the airport will we not be lengthening the runway into the NorthSound? British Airways needs a longer runway so I guess the rest of them will too. So is this not the same thing ,”destroying the environment”?
    Cuba will get our ships but Jamaica and Cozumel will not loose ships? Why do you think that is????? ( No facilities ,people standing in the sun and rain on the dock and the tenders).
    Can you check out businesses in Camana Bay and ask how their doing? People who are not owned by Dart says business is slow, very slow. So if we build another Camana Bay in town who will be buying? Because business from Cruise lines are obviously not coming to a place that promised to increase facilities but have failed to complete said task.
    Dart will protect his businesses with his hotels and condos.
    What will GT protect their business with?

    • Anonymous says:

      Well I don’t know where your info comes from but gov isn’t extending the runway and if they were you can’t compare the Northsound area where the runway would be extended with gt harbour two very differents ecosystems. This project is not good for us at all. I see no reason why this should even be considered in the first place. I have no fancy degree or anything like that but heck a fool like me can read between the lines millions of dollars in damages with no guarantee of return. Once it is destroyed theres no turning back I just don’t understand it, places around the world are adding laws to protect their natural habitat and we are looking to ruin ours. Sometimes we need to stop putting money first. When are we going to wise up and stop following everyone. We’ve survived this long without cruise piers I’m sure we would be alright without them. Maybe we can improve the tendering process and use newer and more comfortable boats to shuttle passengers. Improve the area where I see passengers waiting to get on the tender boats so that they aren’t in the rain or sun while they are waiting.

    • Anonymous says:

      No, British Airways needs proper airport fire coverage to bring in new aircraft. The runway used to support DC10’s and 777’s pre Ivan, so the length isn’t the immediate problem but I agree should be rectified. They also need quality hotel and resort accommodation to bring their customers to, something that is sorely lacking at the moment.
      The old 767’s are being phased out within the next couple of years, in fact Cayman is only one of a few destinations where they continue to fly. Where have Thompson, Thomas Cook, Cosmos, BA Holidays, Kuoni and many other European holiday companies gone. Far more UK and European airlines have economical, mid range, modern aircraft such as the 787 or new airbuses than just 10 years ago, so where are they. Why have we still got a worn out, uneconomical, old crate on this route?

      Why haven’t Sandals or Beaches chosen Cayman as one of their premier resorts, is it the Cayman business practice of ‘some for me first’ putting off this hugely well know and successful family owned business? If it is Cayman’s current investment and business law that is holding up investment, then change it, make it easier for these well known resort chains to work freely in Cayman without having the millstone of a Caymanian partner hanging around their necks. Of course controls are needed, and the best deals sought for all the people of Cayman and not their already rich business community, we don’t want another Spanish Costa or Cancun here, but we do need the money.

      I totally agree that it is the huge European market that Cayman needs to be targeting, but without the infrastructure it cannot happen. The Bahamas saw this coming and rebuilt their airport and encouraged external investment in first class resorts. They take at least 85% of all the passengers on the BA flight, this must stop.

      Europeans do not tend to independently book their annual vacations, they prefer to rely of the package holiday which in turn offers them financial protection should any part of the package cease trading. Mass rows of condominiums are useless for this market, unless they are organised as a hotel resort and offer all the services of a hotel/resort.
      Cruise ship passengers, especially those from the bucket shop cruise lines which Cayman appears to have a love affair with, do not spend enough to warrant the massive investment and disruption of a cruise dock in GT harbour. The transient nature of cruise passengers means that the average spend per head is a fraction of what a middle class hotel resident releases over the course of a week or two.

      We need the affluent middle classes, who throughout the world are the ones that earn and generate the highest proportion of disposable income. The super rich don’t do that, they merely bring it with them and rarely stay for long enough to make any discernible impact.

      We need spenders, not hiders and hoarders who only use Cayman as their off shore piggy bank and trust fund hideaway.

      • Anonymous says:

        9:08 this is a brilliant extension of what I briefly posted at 7:26. When one of the large tour operators/resort owners you’ve named (and for legal reasons I can’t identify them here) came to these islands a few years ago they were greeted with a combination of a ‘what’s in it for me’ and ‘that’s not how do we things here’ mentality. If you greet representatives of a big name company with demands that do not even remotely fit their business plan they will smile politely, shake your hand then go somewhere else and that is exactly what they did.

        The harsh reality is that embracing the UK/European preference for all-inclusive holidays and building hotels to fit that model could have transformed Grand Cayman into a major player in the stayover tourism business on the region but that never happened because the people involved couldn’t see beyond the end of their noses.

        The problem with these islands is that for at least the last two decades nobody in either CIG or the LA has had a clue about how the tourism industry works. They have lots of ideas (remember ‘high-end’ tourism) but none of them were remotely realistic. Even when they’ve bought consultants in the ‘not invented here’ attitude still prevailed.

        Realistically you can understand this because it’s far easier to make money selling real estate to developers but in the long run that won’t pay the bills.

    • Anonymous says:

      BA only needs a longer runway if it plans to fly non stop London to Cayman and back. At the moment it takes off light due to low fuel load between here and Nassau so doesn’t need the full 8,500 feet that a fully laden aircraft operating in hot temperatures and humidity needs.
      The runway will have to be extended eventually, especially if other European airlines decide to route here direct.

  22. SSM345 says:

    If they go ahead with this total destruction of the GT marine environment, then they can kiss our dive industry goodbye. People who come here to dive won’t do so anymore knowing that our Government destroyed the environment they all love so much. They will boycott the place. Guaranteed.

    • Anonymous says:

      SSM345 should use the name ‘Chick Little’ ….’the sky is falling’
      Or maybe they are supported by the owners of the tenders!

      • Red Flag says:

        Owners of the tenders, OWNERS OF THE TENDERS…..you asshole, if it wasn’t for the owners of the tenders, there WOULDN’T be ANY cruise business at all. You seriously think all these cruise passengers have been swimming to shore all thse years??? Pull your head out of your third point of contact and give THE OWNERS of the tenders the thanks they deserve for the years of service they have provided in good weather and bad.

        • Anonymous says:

          They have served us well and made a boat load of money. But we need something better now.

        • Eddy Nugent says:

          I doubt it.
          The tenders were just the only alternative to a shi**y situation. Ask any cruise ship officer about tendered ports. They are avoided where necessary.
          Try the fire service or the post office when the time comes.

    • Anonymous says:

      The dive industry is already down to a shadow of what it was 15-20 years ago. I can remember full dive boats queuing to get on popular moorings and not just in high season either, it was still good all through hurricane season. You don’t see that any more. If this goes ahead it’s the final nail in the coffin.

      • Anonymous says:

        The dive industry is experiencing an aging population. Our divers are telling us they want more now that they’re older. With the piers that will bring traffic to help the GT revitalization we will have more to offer as a package.

        • Anonymous says:

          Sorry 7:29 but I don’t see the point you are making. I’ve been diving these islands for over 20 years and all I’ve seen since Ivan is the place going rapidly downhill. Just as one example – look at the number of good shore diving sites like Seaview we’ve lost to condo development.

  23. Dolphin cover. says:

    Now that the fiction delivered by the Minister, who just happens to have the same surname of the businesses that would benefit, is starting to fall apart can we get back to addressing the issue of the dump.

    We should give credit that this report, and much of this hopefully i’ll fated proposal, is available to the public instead of behind closed doors.

  24. H says:

    Who wants to depart the Legislative Assembly with that blood on their hands?

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