Port denies connections with pro-cruise port campaign

| 14/07/2015 | 32 Comments
Cayman News Service

Port Authority of the Cayman Islands

(CNS): The chairman of the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands (PACI) Board has said that it and the authority are not involved in the campaign launched by a group of merchants and other stakeholders promoting the development of the cruise berthing facility in George Town. The chair of the board said the creation of the website and interviews by people associated with the campaign could have given the impression that “Cayman’s Port, Cayman’s Future” is directly linked to the authority when it is not.

The pro-port campaign is being pushed by the Association for the Advancement of Cruise Tourism in the Cayman Islands (ACT), which has been publicly represented by Robert Hamaty, Ronnie Anglin and Chris Kirkconnell (watch Merchants push for cruise port development).

“PACI has no role with either of the aforementioned parties and or their efforts,” Board Chair Erroll Bush said in a statement Tuesday. “Any confusion and or incorrect inference on how the website is laid out and the words and or title used on its front page and throughout its site are in no manner directly associated with PACI. As for the comment/opinion of a member of ACT regarding the proposed Cargo dock, his comments must not and cannot be construed as a reflection in any way whatsoever of the opinion of PACI and its prudent and dedicated Board Members.”

Gerry Kirkconnell, the deputy chair of the port board is, however, understood to be involved in the pro-campaign in his capacity as a private sector businessman with Kirk Freeport.

In the statement the chair stated that PACI “as with any stakeholder remains cautiously optimistic”, but he did not say whether that meant it supported the plans for this project or whether it was optimistic about the development of cruise berthing in general.

“As prudent board members, we too are simply waiting on the outcomes of this very involved process. Once the process is completed in an open and transparent manner, PACI will then formulate a formal opinion and course of action reflective of those outcomes,” Bush said adding that the port authority remained committed to “serving the people of the Cayman Islands with efficient cargo services and offering excellent customer service to the thousands of cruise passengers that visit our facilities weekly.”

The port authority will be heavily involved in the next stage of the process if government continues to press ahead with the project in the face of the findings of the environmental impact assessment. The draft report recently revealed the extensive damage that this particular project would cause both directly and indirectly to the marine life, coral reefs and wrecks, making up the capital’s main tourism attractions.

Regardless of the devastation that the project will cause to the marine life in George Town Harbour, the government still appears committed to the project, though the draft EIA has not yet gone before Cabinet for consideration.

The revelations in the EIA appears to have undermined a considerable amount of the previous public support for the development of cruise berthing.

The SaveCayman.Org local campaign is gathering momentum and receiving wide international attention. As well as the worldwide dive industry, marine conservationists and others are lending their support to save the reefs that will be directly destroyed during the construction. The surrounding reefs will continue to die due to the significant silt and turbidity during the life of the facility.

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Comments (32)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Localized white privilege (of the benefit of the doubt).
    Said it.
    Remember when McKeeva was peddling the cruise port proposal and everyone and their granny was up in arms?
    Please tell us, what has changed? Why is it suddenly worthy of consideration?

  2. Anonymous says:

    We now know from the more recent news story that its the Ministry of Tourism that is pro-port, going so far as to pay for a second environmental survey in the hopes of fading less reef in the dredge path.

  3. WaYaSay says:

    Come on man…………One Kirkconnell is the Minister of Tourism whose ministry HAS to spearhead the development of the mega cruise ship dock for Cabinet.
    .
    One Kirkconnell owns the majority of the Duty Free stores in central George Town…………..another gift from the people of the Cayman Islands of importing goods without having to pay the duty that we ALL have to pay on a daily basis. Incidentally not changed by a grandfather Kirkconnell 25+ years ago when he was a member of Executive Council, now cabinet………..?

    Another daddy Kirkconnell is the Deputy Director of the Port’s Board of Directors……..who gets to spend Governments (MY) money on a mega cruise ship dock……….?.

    Another uncle Kirkconnell owns the only private beach on Seven Mile Beach that caters heavily to cruise ship tours and will benefit from the cruisers who do not want to buy duty free goods………..?

    I am not suggesting anything crooked is going on here…………I am saying, stop wasting MY money on a dock for the 1%………they have enough of it already!

    Yes I am also saying that I am conflicted, I am retired and need to keep as much of MY money as possible and pay out as little of it on import duty that others are NOT paying, for the rest of my life. This mega dock certainly conflicts with MY interest.

    I am also NOT supporting Legge’s contention that ALL Caymanians are corrupt……..don’t paint ME, and my family, with the tar brush of the 1%’ers.

    Improve the tendering experience for the cruise ship passengers, we know this service can handle 2 million plus passengers as it has serviced over 1.9 million in 2006…………..Oh yes, open up the process to competition among Caymanians, as the way it is now monopolized also stinks. Government just needs to legislate the quality standards……..then get out of the way of free enterprise!

  4. Anonymous says:

    it really is an amazing coincidence….the Deputy Chair of the Port Board, the Tourism Minister, and one of if not the largest retailer downtown….all share the same surname….2 of them may be the same person! Of course, there is in all likelihood nothing underhand going on….but lets be frank….perception is reality…..either our country couldn’t give a monkey’s about perception…..or we’re really in Legge territory…..surely they’d think it kind of wise to recuse themselves?

    • Anonymous says:

      CIG decides wether or not to build a new cruise facility, NOT the port authority, so in this case even perception is unfounded.

      • WaYaSay says:

        You do mean the CIG, as in Cabinet, including the Minister of Tourism, right? You do agree that the Port Authority will be the entity that is tasked with seeing the mega port through to completion, right? You do agree that the Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Port Authority and the Minister of Tourism are cousins, right?

        I do agree with you that the “perception is unfounded”. The FACT is that there IS a conflict of interest and it demands more transparency before we waste any more money on this project.

        There are cheaper alternatives that will satisfy the cruise visitors, the cruise ship providers, the Duty Free stores, the divers and benefit ALL Caymanians through less long time debt!
        I have put forward at least one, surely you can think of another, less expensive alternative as well!

        Why don’t we spend our money on a study to show how the tendering process can be improved and meet the requirements for more capacity.
        Let the cruise companies, the dive industry and the duty free stores pay for the study and let the private sector tender company pay for the landing improvements; if the present company will not play ball, open the process up to others who can afford to, including the Cruise Ship Companies and other private companies.
        Government (the Cayman taxpayers) can pay for the air conditioned departure lounges and shore Clarence Facilities.

      • Diogenes says:

        So the perception that there might be a conflict between the minister for tourism, who is also the deputy premier, having a commercial interest in the outcome of a decision that the Cayman Islands Government will make is unfounded? Really? What a wonderfully interesting world of perception you must inhabit. ‘There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know’

  5. Anonymous says:

    There will be no silt and there will be no turbidity any more as there is today. Too deep, the bottom is rocky and coarse sand and the open ocean is very near. Turbidity and silt occurs when you are generally in close off area, with a mucky bottom. Like in the middle to south side of the in north sound for example. Entirely different area.

    The near by reefs will not die, there will be no beach erosion. Docks and piers actually help lower side currents which are largely responsible for shifting sand on the beach. This is why in places like the Bahamas, they build piers to STOP beach erosion.

    The emotional hysterics and fear mongering really need to stop and let’s get this port built.

    • Anonymous says:

      dumping 1000’s of tons of fill into the ocean will NOT cause silting on surrounding areas, says the marine expert, LOL

      • Anonymous says:

        Says common sense. Sure AS your dumping the fill, there will be silt. Once its completed, no silt and probably with the cross currents on that area, gone within weeks or days. FYI there is silt flowing over the center cut of the north sound reef DAILY during outgoing tides flushed from the murkier south side of the sound and dykes around barkers. Still have coral there…imagine that. What about all the canals dug… plenty silt, still fish and coral around….imagine that…

        ….You may not believe this but …. it *IS POSSIBLE* to build a cruise ship dock without ending coral life in the surrounding, without making the seas rise and the globe warmer and depleting the ozone layer.,,,

    • Michel says:

      And your name is ?

  6. Anonymous says:

    jus read legges/compass editorial again…….how anybody can disagree with that is beyond me……
    tell me what he said that was incorrect???

    • SSM345 says:

      The truth hurts. And because it is such a part of this society, they have no idea how to make the necessary change to deal with it. The problem is like so many other things that are swept under the rug, eventually it will come to light and by then the damage has already been done. People who live here know it, they just don’t like a foreigner spelling it out to them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anonymous – What he said that was incorrect was that YOU are corrupt. In fact your entire family is so corrupt you don’t know corruption when you see it. In fact you’re not on here now pointing out that there appears to be a conflict of interest and the Port Board (members) should have been proactive on not even giving the appearance of conflict of interest in the first place. Nope, you don’t see that because YOU and your entire family and all your friends are all personally corrupt. – Any other questions?

  7. Anonymous says:

    After read article, I must admit that Legge is indeed correct.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Where is Alden and his treason comments when you need him or his merry band of fellows? They must be proud.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Wise man, he should have bought a pharmacist as well

  10. Anonymous says:

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    A conflict of interest (COI) is a situation in which a person or organization is involved in multiple interests (financial, emotional, or otherwise), one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation of the individual or organization.

    The presence of a conflict of interest is independent of the occurrence of impropriety. Therefore, a conflict of interest can be discovered and voluntarily defused before any corruption occurs. A widely used definition is: “A conflict of interest is a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgement or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest.”[1] Primary interest refers to the principal goals of the profession or activity, such as the protection of clients, the health of patients, the integrity of research, and the duties of public office. Secondary interest includes not only financial gain but also such motives as the desire for professional advancement and the wish to do favours for family and friends, but conflict of interest rules usually focus on financial relationships because they are relatively more objective, fungible, and quantifiable. The secondary interests are not treated as wrong in themselves, but become objectionable when they are believed to have greater weight than the primary interests. The conflict in a conflict of interest exists whether or not a particular individual is actually influenced by the secondary interest. It exists if the circumstances are reasonably believed (on the basis of past experience and objective evidence) to create a risk that decisions may be unduly influenced by secondary interests.

    • Anonymous says:

      Brackers are especially known to be nepotistic….this is a fact. Take a look at the Ministry of Tourism and see who the majority of the decision makers and staff are.

      Politicians here often select their portfolios because of some interest, whether it is business or protecting their family or connections interests. The Government should have seen this coming, and placed them elsewhere to avoid this bombshell exploding.

  11. Anonymous says:

    its a rats nest of collusion, bias, nepotism and corruption……just another day in cayman…..
    legge was right.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just look at the conflicts of interest with the port, a certain govt official and a security company. Blatant conflicts of interest!!!!

  12. caymanaindonkey says:

    Can anyone say conflict of interest! Let’s make it simple and have a referendum and if the majority say NO then it’s NO!
    Again let’s expand our airport!

    • Pat Steadman says:

      So you are saying don’t build the cruise dock because we need to expand the airport and we are incapable of doing both at the same time? Why can’t we do both? Isn’t the funding for the airport already secured and very separate from the anticipated sources of funding for the cruise dock?

      • Anonymous says:

        Funding the airport requires Cayman Airways paying all of its landing fees, etc., to the Airports Authority. From CAL’s government subsidy. The port is already costing CIG millions (they raided the EPF this budget cycle to pay for unspecified Port consulting – maybe the new ‘find less reef’ survey? – when the EIA is already essentially done). And no one believes the Business Case for the Port, wherein the cruise lines ‘pay’ for it in some way will really come to pass. Except, maybe, by the cruise lines ‘guaranteeing’ passenger counts and CIG taking the money they make on passenger tax (including the money gong in to the EPF) and redirecting it to pay to dredge a big hole in the reef and pour cement in to it. Plus, all of the port reports point to the need to revitalize George Town, etc., as being more important components of good tourism management instead of or along with (depending on report & POV) the dock. (Don’t know what ‘ancillary’, e.g., road, costs the airport needs from CIG.) So, no, it is unlikely that the Cayman Islands (Government) will avoid paying out money to either/both construction projects.

  13. Capt. Ebanks says:

    Somebody is telling lies and proving Mr. Legge a prophet since the PACI and some of its members fail to understand how undue influence and systemic corruption is facilitated. It looks like the perception of corruption as a Public Officer is the reality in this instance. Where is the Good Governance PPM promised us?

    How can the Deputy Chair of PACI be involved in the pro-campaign yet fail to recuse himself from his position on the PACI board from all deliberations and discussions with Ministry of Tourism? The potential conflict of interests are obvious and in direct contravention of the Anti-Corruption laws. I hope Mr. Swarbrick is monitoring this case and his report gets forwarded to the ACC before government push ahead with this project.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The cruise piers and the cargo dock needs are two completely different issues and it is underhanded to make it appear there is an advantage linking them. Cargo needs can be addressed without this massive destruction. Yet another underhanded tactic by the Pro cruise group.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I think the phrase ‘heavily conflicted’ might best sum this up. PACI has been a shambles of vested interested interests ever since it was created.

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