Cruise lines don’t want reef destruction

| 11/08/2015 | 64 Comments
Cayman News Service

Area of reef in the George Town Harbour in the direct dredging zone (Photo by Courtney Platt)

(CNS) Edited for clarity:  A marine scientist and author who works as an independent consultant in the cruise industry has warned that the cruise lines will not welcome the level of reef and marine destruction posed by the proposal in Grand Cayman to develop piers. Dr Ellen Prager, who is visiting Cayman with no agenda regarding the local proposal, has warned that cruise lines will not want to be seen supporting a project that will cause such “significant damage” as the one currently on the table.

Dr Prager told CNS that a major cruise line has told her it expects to see an “an environmentally-responsible approach to the pier”, but is waiting to see what the government decides before commenting on the plan specifically.

She works with and supports the positive environmental polices of the cruise industry, but was in Cayman speaking on her own behalf as a marine scientist and individual. Her views do not represent the Cruise Industry or anyone else. But she said the proposed plan will be an environmental and economic disaster for Grand Cayman and its residents as she indicated that this proposal goes way too far.

“The cruise lines want piers, yes, as a result of issues of safety and itinerary management but not at any cost,” she warned. “The EIA is extraordinarily clear that this is far too damaging.”

The scientist said that the Cayman government are unlikely to get any guarantees or commitments on calls, passenger numbers or any other security to justify the investment in the piers. Prager said that what Cayman needs to do to secure its cruise tourism future is to make Grand Cayman into the destination that the ships cannot ignore, regardless of whether there are piers or not.

She pointed to the now unique selling point that Cayman has compared to all other Caribbean destinations. Prager said the incredible near-shore clear waters in the George Town Harbour and the attractions that allow visitors immediate access to the marine wonders are exceptional. It is now the only cruise destination in the region where passengers can experience a crystal clear ocean immediately on their arrival.

“They don’t even have to get into the water to see how beautiful it is. They can see it clearly sitting at a waterfront restaurant,” Prager said, pointing to the rarity of such clear and beautiful water in a harbour. “Government should capitalize on this and develop this unique aspect of its tourism product.”

Echoing comments made by the president of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association President that destinations, not ships, are important to passengers, Dr Prager said that if Cayman presses ahead with this project and the extensive marine damage that will come with it, the island risks losing the main attraction it has for cruisers. This is the only place in the region where ships are pulling into a genuine marine conservation area and it is inconceivable that the government is considering this extensive destruction for a dock.

“Piers are not an attraction and shopping is available everywhere. Cayman needs to develop and exploit its valuable marine resources, not destroy them,” she stressed.

As a marine scientist, Dr Prager pointed out that moving the complex coral reef systems in the George Town Harbour that have taken millennia to develop is impossible. There is a considerable amount of misunderstanding about moving coral, she said, and the limited developments in coral relocation have occurred moving coral heads and pieces in small areas that have been damaged, not entire reef systems.

“You will not be able to move these complex systems as they are where they are because of the environment,” Prager warned. She said the clear waters and sunlight here have contributed to the reef development, so moving them elsewhere, even if the move was successful, is no guarantee that they will survive. Just a small change in the many variables that allowed the reef to flourish where it did means they could easily die in any other location.

With so many variables and risks, the marine scientist said, “Once dredging starts, you can’t reverse it when the true extent of the damage becomes apparent.”

Urging government to consider not just the environmental impact but the seriously questionable economics of it all, she warned that the development of cruise piers could have the exact opposite impact to the aims of the project, with less calls, not more, as Cayman loses its unique attraction for visitors who no longer demand that ships call on George Town.

Cayman News Service

The Cali Shipwreck and reef is located in 10 to 30 feet of water immediately adjacent to the base of the cruise ship landing and will be completely smothered by silt during dredging operations if the cruise berth goes ahead as planned (Photo by courtney Platt)

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Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Contact: Nikki McCoy, PR Manager
    The Pavilion, Cricket Square, P.O. Box 67
    George Town, Grand Cayman, B.W.I.
    Tel: (345) 949-0623; Fax: (345) 949-4053

    For Immediate Release

    Released by:

    Ministry of Tourism
    Mr. Charles Clifford
    Permanent Secretary of Tourism

    Shipwreck City Project Gets Green Light

    George Town, Grand Cayman – August 28, 2002 – The Cayman Islands will have a brand-new underwater tourist attraction in 2003. The Hon. McKeeva Bush, Leader of Government Business and Minister for Tourism, Environment, Development and Commerce recently announced that the Government will provide funds to kick start a project known as Shipwreck City.

    The “Shipwreck City” initiative, which involves the sinking of five ships in the waters around Grand Cayman and Little Cayman, is the brainchild of the watersports operators of the Cayman Islands and has been developed over the past two years.

    After consulting with members of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association and the Department of Tourism, the Hon. McKeeva Bush agreed to redirect some of the Department of Tourism’s dive marketing funds to this product development initiative, which is expected to deliver the much-needed shot in the arm for the Cayman Islands tourism industry.

    The Minister is in contact with the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense to secure a British war ship with historic connections to the Caribbean as the potential first ship of Shipwreck City.

    The Hon. McKeeva Bush said, “The Cayman Islands is in need of new and exciting attractions to bring visitors here. We have reached the peek of our tourism life cycle and it is high time to rejuvenate our product offerings if we are to maintain our international leadership role in the diving and snorkelling markets. Shipwreck City will bring great benefits for all involved in the tourism industry, as those who will come to dive and snorkel the new wrecks will fly here, rent accommodations, visit our fine restaurants, as well as renting cars and visiting our many other land based attractions. The wrecks will also be popular snorkel spots for cruise passengers and provide an additional attraction for submarines”.

    It is envisaged, that the first ship will be sunk on the West Side of Grand Cayman, where the cruise ship, Rhapsody ran aground several years ago. The site has the ideal ground composition, size, depth and location and is in need of an artificial reef since its natural reef was destroyed.

    Nancy Romanica, CITA Watersports Director and Shipwreck City Project Manager said “In addition to providing a very popular underwater attraction for our visitors, shipwrecks also offer great opportunities for scientific studies for artificial reef development and fish colonization and bio-diversity studies. Already, a number of very reputable scientific research units have expressed their interest in working with the Cayman Islands to push forward the border of knowledge for marine research and conservation.”

    To develop a permanent revenue flow for ongoing maintenance, research and conservation efforts, as well as funding additional wrecks, it is planned to introduce a “per person visitation fee” charged to all watersports operators for taking visitors to the wreck.

    Gina Ebanks-Petrie, Director of the Department of the Environment commented “We have been advising the Shipwreck City Project Team over the past 2 years and have provided them with guidelines that would need to be met for the sinking of any ships. These include size of the vessels, hull structure, depth requirements for stability, proximity radius to existing coral reefs, cleaning requirements for oils, grease, pollutants and general provisions for ongoing maintenance for future years and generations. A DoE representative will remain on the project team throughout the entire process.”

    The Hon. McKeeva Bush concluded “there is no better year than 2003 to inaugurate Shipwreck City, especially with sinking a British ship as a monument signifying our historic links to the United Kingdom. With the commencement of this project during our quincentennial anniversary year, we are celebrating our past, our present and most importantly, our successful future.”

    It would seem that business was failing so this was thought to help bring diving tourists back to Cayman.
    “Lets say it again”
    “The Hon. McKeeva Bush said, “The Cayman Islands is in need of new and exciting attractions to bring visitors here. We have reached the peek of our tourism life cycle and it is high time to rejuvenate our product offerings if we are to maintain our international leadership role in the diving and snorkelling markets. Shipwreck City will bring great benefits for all involved in the tourism industry, as those who will come to dive and snorkel the new wrecks will fly here, rent accommodations, visit our fine restaurants, as well as renting cars and visiting our many other land based attractions. The wrecks will also be popular snorkel spots for cruise passengers and provide an additional attraction for submarines”.

  2. Anonymous says:

    David millerCruise statement: Tourism association’s self-inflicted harm
    Posted by David miller on 7/21/2015 12:24:32 AM

    How can anyone whois for the environment deny what has been happening in GT? Here are just some examples of marine incidents that have occurred over recent years involving groundings and/or damaged coral reef because of an absence of safe berthing facilities:
    1984 ? Rhapsody grounding off the southern end of Seven Mile Beach
    1985 ? Grounding of Hyde?s Shipping vessel on Eden Rock
    1990+ – Grounding of North Empress on coral reef offshore the port
    1990+ – Grounding of the Athenian Express on coral reef offshore the port
    1995+ – Grounding of Holland American Line cruise ship on Soto reef area
    2005+ – Multiple groundings of the Seaboard Venture on coral reef offshore the port
    2005+ – Grounding of Seaboard Sun on coral reef offshore the port
    2005+ – Grounding of bulk Cement Carrier ship in Hog Sty Bay
    2005+ – Grounding of bulk Cement Carrier ship on Eden Rock
    2008+ – Grounding of Amazonia in GT north Harbour
    2008+ – Grounding of Holland America Line cruise ship anchor incident preventing departure of vessel unable to recover anchor.
    2010+ – Grounding of the Thompson Dream cruise ship near Pageant Beach
    2013+ – Loss of entire anchoring system of Carnival Freedom in harbour which had to be salvaged and recovered from GT Harbour.
    2014 ? Massive coral reef damages suffered from the dropping and dragging of cruise ship anchoring in the south side harbour from a Carnival Cruise line vessel this year anchoring at No. 4 anchorage.
    2014 ? Grounding of Thompson Dream cruise ship in GT harbour
    These are just a few of the destruction that hits these reefs. How about the more then 700 shipwrecks around these islands?
    If concrete is going to keep anyone away from GT then it would have been closed since 1937. People have been coming from cruise ships up to 8 ships in a day. No one I repeat no one has ever stop coming to Grand Cayman because of it .
    Again WHERE would this group suggest that a cruise facility think it should go??????

  3. David Miller says:

    Boy oh boy here we go again, As I have said many ,many other times I now have it on the radio with other people trying to stop the scare mongering. When Rhapsody ran aground back in 84 they brought a DREDGE BOAT TO DREDGE BY 7 MILE BEACH . The made a mistake and dropped all the SILT,SEDIMENT, SAND AND MARL on the reef in 70 ft of water the top of the mountain was about 30 feet from the the surface. As I got back on ADRIAN BRIGGS BOAT we said it was going to cause a major disaster when the next NORTHWESTER came through. NOTHING HAPPENED,NOTHING HAPPENED,NOTHING HAPPENED,NOTHING HAPPENED. I cannot see that anyone with Common sense cannot figure out that when a Northwester comes through for 3 days and mixes everything that is on the bottom (sand,silt, sediment) and when the North East wind comes back around we are back to CLEAR, PRISTINE WATERS.
    Remember that the dredge area is not the entire 8 miles of the west side being churned around like this small area. Which would be the equivalent of a toothpick in a bowl trying to mix olive oil and vinegar . So thats one reason , the next is the machine is smaller then the usual machines they normally dredge with. third reason they will have silt screens and turbidity screens and if anything starts people will be watching and they will shut down the machine. So they are doing the best that technology can do.
    The only place that will be impacted is Balboa. Sorry that has to go , but it could be moved to another site. But no one uses the site hardly because its in the tenders path so Port Authority closes the dive site. The only time you could use that site is at night.
    I have worked with my family who had a dredge, dragline, bulldozers, end loaders, dump trucks in Prospect Park, Omega Properties. Harbour House Marina was dredged by our company when LT. COL Mc Sorley USAF owned the property. Environmentalists kept complaining that the whole of the North Sound was going to be destroyed. We didn’t even have a silt screen. Harbour House dredged their canals just recently. Didn’t hear about it? Why? 12-15 projects have been dredged or dragline in the North Sound since 1971. Rumpoint to Starfish point was dredged SEE any PROBLEM. Any one can say anything once they have a license but that doesn’t mean they don’t lie.

  4. anonymous says:

    You all in this room that say Cayman should offer something different is so right on.
    I have been on six cruises. Most things offered at ports are the same junk a la tee shirts made in China. It would be refreshing to see hand made gigs, boats, thatch mats, island made, unique, hand made things even from recycled aluminum stars for Christmas trees???
    It looks like the docks aka quays, piers are going in. It’s just who you know and powers that be that rule. That happens to be the case. Cayman will be just like Key West with too many people congregating out front at George Town. Can they not put in docks at other places in the island and redistribute the crowds. Please. People can take taxis and crowd control and traffic calming can happen. Cozumel has managed to put in their docks at different spots on their island other than where their usual commercial boat traffic comes in.
    Things will have to change when traffic comes to a standstill. Cayman please get some professional planners for your third world existing mess of no planning for sewage, drainage, overpopulation, cow path roads, etc. Looks like Dart is trying to help you but you keep tying their hands. If you do not have methane gas vents for your Mt. Trashmore it will eventually plague you with fires that will keep the jet from landing! Would love to see folks comment on any of this but as usual nothing said about reality. I have not even hit yet on your debt nor the upcoming interest that is due shortly. Ever heard of the money problems of Greece and Puerto Rico. Please think and get informed.
    Don’t get me started on your inflation problems!!!

    • Patty Bwoy says:

      Say what you want about Key West but at least they kept their old homes and they have a very nice monument on their waterfront dedicated to the memory and achievements of Norberg Thompson. Not the same Norberg Thompson as our Norberg Thompson but the point is, you get the point right?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am sick to death of this stupid dock nonsense- it’s a bad idea- it’s too risky and WE HAVE WAY BIGGER PROBLEMS!!!! CAN WE PLEASE SOLVE THE DUMP, SCHOOLS and infrastructure of this country before we even entertain spending 200 million on A DOCK?!?!?! How is it possible that anyone is putting up with this. I will vote against every single current MLA member- How can you not prioritise?!?!?

  6. Anonymous says:

    There are a lot of people that sit there with their rose coloured glasses on and have no idea what is happening with the average Caymanian. Go sit at one of these political party meetings and check out how many out of work locals show up and are begging the politicians for money to help out their dire situations. I’ve spoken to politicians that tell me that people complain about the salary that the politicians make but they end up having to give more than half of it away to help starving Caymanians. You want to know why they think the dock is needed? Go ask them they can tell you that for many Caymanians and their children that are coming out of school soon needing jobs that unless we do things to create jobs we are going to have major social issues in our blessed little “jerusalem”.

    • Anonymous says:

      How many of those people honestly look for jobs? How many are too proud or lazy to take a hard-working job? I’ve never been to a country with better opportunities for locals.

    • Cathy Church says:

      In this comment, I am referring to the small percent of unemployable young people. This does not include the ones who worked hard to learn, and have gone on to further education. Those people have jobs in the banks, and many other places around Cayman.

      I was talking recently to an unemployed young lady and asked her why she did not have a job. She said she left her last job because it did not pay enough money. I asked if she could type. She said no, but that I should teach her. I said that if I could type I would not need her. I asked her why she needed more money, and she said because she just had another baby. NOTHING that this poor girl was telling me indicated that she could ever qualify for the type of job she WANTED. And she would not take the type of work she WAS QUALIFIED for because the pay was appropriate to a less qualified worker. She somehow felt ENTITLED to high pay for menial quality work. The fault lies with her parents and her teachers. We let these kids graduate from school even when some have not learned very much. We are letting them down by giving them passing grades when their grammar is terrible and they cannot do math or speak clearly. In the past I read that a teacher was fired for flunking a student. That teacher respected that student far more than her bosses did. That teacher wanted that student to learn for REAL!! But, no. Some weakling, who cared nothing for the actual future of that youngster said that she should allow that student a passing grade anyway. And now the student pays the price.

      • Anonymous says:

        Cathy, as much as you think you are wise you don’t know me or my people. quit judging us. You sit there in your shop and live your merry life. I have smart family that try hard and still not enough work. You know how hard it is to do construction? You think we’re so privileged and entitled? You want me to take scraps? shame on you

        • Anonymous says:


          I am a Caymanian as well (with a traditional Caymanian name). I worked hard and I have a good education and I was offered wonderful opportunities just because I was a Caymanian. So I agree. A lot of people (not all) but I think it is fair to say a majority are simply lazy and feel entitled. I doubt anyone with excellent grades that finished their education is unemployed because they cannot find a job.

  7. Another Dave in Paradise says:

    Not to worry folks. The GT dock is Cayman’s equivalent of Heathrow’s “runway 3”. They’ll still be studying it and commissioning reports 40 years from now.

  8. Anonymous says:

    CNS is so biased in their reporting about the cruise dock it’s hard to beleive anything they publish. The first paragraph alone says this consultant came here “with no agenda” yet Cathy Church in the comments confirms this consultants trip was bought and paid for by Adrian Briggs, aka, owner of the tender operations. I wonder if he would have paid for the trip if she was in favor of the port facilities.
    The “Save Cayman” group claims they are not against a cruise pier but just want to protect the environment, but I ask them… if a proposal was put in place to build the docks that only affected the immediate dredge area, (not damage Eden Rock, Soto Reef and the surrounding area) would they support it?
    What say you Cathy Church, Adrian Briggs, Keith Mahen?

    • B. Hurlstone says:

      My Dear Anonymous 11:55,

      If you think CNS is biased, please put me in that category, too. I am BEYOND biased! You think it would be heavenly if the dock were built without changing the environment. I don’t believe we have the ability to do it and even if we did I would still be against it. I don’t want more people crammed on our sidewalks and streets than we have now when several ships come at the same time. Stop trying to make Grand Cayman something that it isn’t! Do you and other pro-dockers think tourists will continue coming here when it’s too crowded for them to turn around? I don’t want to be in a herd of cattle and I don’t think others want it that way either!

      B. Hurlstone

      • Anonymous says:

        The biggest complaint I hear from hotel people is, they don’t want to shop in George Town when the cruise ships are in because it’s too crowded. Then when the ships leave they think it’s safe to go shopping and are shocked when they get there that all the shops are closed. Since most things are closed they don’t even bother checking the restaurants there because they think they are closed too. More cruise shippers crammed into George Town is not the answer.

      • Anonymous says:

        @ B Hurlstone.
        I guess you haven’t seen the lines of people waiting to get back onto the ships. Standing in the hot sun for up to two hours mid afternoon with no shade. If that isn’t cattle hurdling, I don’t know what is.

        • Anonymous says:

          Why would they want to suffer a wait for two hours to get out of here?

        • Cathy Church says:

          Anonymous 5:41. If our current guests are waiting too long to get back to the ships then fix the darn clearance area. You don’t need to dredge 23 acres to put up a nice cruise guest facility to help people board more quickly, stay in the shade and even be entertained while they wait. Maybe we could do that instead of making them walk past a lot of sales kiosks.

          Arrange for more tenders. If speed of loading is worth building a 200+million dollar dock, what would just a few million get us in a few more tenders and a better receiving facility? Make the shore experience so much fun no ship would pass us by. Be different, have clear water, lovely water sports, nice shopping.

        • Anonymous says:

          Hurdling is an event in track and field. Herding pertains to cattle.

        • Anonymous says:

          They’ll have to stand on line to get on the boats, too, the gangways don’t accommodate everyone at once. A little shade would be a great idea, either way.

    • Keith Sahm (not sure who Mahen is) says:

      Just an FYI regarding Dr. Prager. Yes, Ellen is a guest of Sunset House. Yes, Ellen has been a guest of Sunset House for over 3 years, before the dock issue was raised. Yes, Ellen writes Children’s books and Grand Cayman, Sunset House, Stingray City and more are all in book three to be released next May. Yes, Ellen has and is participating in the Stroke and Stride Event this year as last. Yes, Ellen is an avid diver and repeat Sunset House Guest. Yes, Ellen is a consultant to the cruise line industry. Does Ellen have a discounted Stay? Yes, as she has for the last three years as a Women’s Diver Hall of Fame recipient and industry professional. Did Sunset House, Adrien Briggs or Cathy Church (who has not even seen Ellen this trip) pay for Ellen to come down? No. Does Ellen care about the oceans, the Cayman Islands, the cruise industry, business and breaking down the EIA to where most of us can understand it? Yes.

      If you want to know anything else, feel free to put your name down in a comment, email me, pick up the phone or come to me office and meet her for yourself. Sorry, she will be out diving tomorrow morning. Better call to make arrangements… I will not respond to any more anonymous writers.

      • Anonymous says:

        @ Keith Sahm, (and/or Courtney Platt, Cathy Church, Adrian Briggs)
        You never answered the question.
        If a proposal was put in place to build the docks that would only affect the immediate dredge area and not damage the surrounding areas like Eden Rock and Soto Reef, would you still be opposed to the dock?
        FYI, I choose to post anonymously for business/ political reasons. You knowingly chose to publicly associate your names (and businesses) against the port, while courageous, is not something I am prepared to do at this time. Regardless, I’m sure this is a question the wider public would like to know your responses to, since you are now the public “leaders” of the anti port movement.

        • Shabba Rankin (aka not anonymous) says:

          Keith, you have used her name from the very beginning. Trying to convince us that you guys aren’t trying to stack the decks with pretend “unbiased” scientists is not going anywhere. Bring as many of your diving buddies down for free (or massively discounted) trips as you like. It doesn’t change the truth.

        • Cathy Church says:

          No, Anonymous 5:59 pm. We do not oppose cruise ships, or even a dock, but until there is some sort of dock that does not need to dredge out deeper areas for the ships, or use any significant dredging, we will continue to oppose the current proposed cruise berthing facility described in the current Baird EIA. The problem is that you cannot dredge without killing nearby coral. The actual dredging itself will remove the Balboa, and even a corner of Sotos South. What are you proposing?

          And why, if your ideas are sound, would you not be prepared to back them up with your name. Are you afraid of me? Our businesses will be crushed if the dock goes through, so I have nothing to lose. What will YOU GAIN if YOU win? Let’s see just what you represent. Are you biased? Would YOU bring someone to Cayman who OPPOSED the dock. Stick with the facts of the matter and stop trying to talk about bias and personal attacks. Tell us some facts we don’t already know. Tell us why you should win to make a little more money and I and others should lose our entire business.

        • Co Mmon Sense says:

          You aren’t going to hear a peep. But that isn’t because you are anonymous. That is because they have one agenda…NO PORT!
          So the tender master has spoken, so it shall be

        • WaYaSay says:

          Anon 5:59, you are a business man/woman so you should understand why the anti dockers, be it Adrian, Courtney, Keith or Cathy would pay to bring in a professional who shares their point of view, even if they paid her, at least they did it with their own money and not my tax money.

          The pro dockers have no shame, and I include you in that group. They want Government to build them the dock with my tax money. Even more despicable is that you guys convinced Moses to spend several $million dollars to keep trying to find someone that thinks the whole idea of a Mega Dock is a good idea for Cayman, with no downside, and that the benefits outweigh the environmental damages. Why not spend your own money to convince me it is a good idea.

          here is a newsflash for you…….the environmental damage, whatever that may end up being, is NOT the most important consideration. The most important consideration has to be the cost, no matter how creative Government is in achieving the dock, it will have to give up future revenues or pay loan and interest fees that will amount to far more than the $200 million “cost” that is being forecast.

          The only argument that holds any water is that we “need” more cruise passengers. This objective can be reached through the tendering service for zero cost to Government and zero damage to the underwater environment. Government needs to stop spending money on studies and play nice with the tendering company………..oh yes and actually talk to the Cruise Lines to convince them to have more of their ships call at Cayman………..even McKeeva managed to do that so it cannot be that hard.

        • Keith Sahm says:

          As we have said many times, we are against THIS proposed CBF. There cannot be any “dredging”, especially what is proposed now. We are not against cruise or piers that are sustainable and do not effect the uniqueness and natural assets this island possesses.

      • Anonymous says:

        LIKE – since my like/dislike etc buttons never seem to works anymore

        • Anonymous says:

          Just to let you know and the other Kirk employees know, you can only vote once on a subject….

    • Cathy Church says:

      Mr. Briggs brought in an expert to assist in decision making. The government brought in their experts, Baird, et al, who happen to be saying the same thing. We are all adding real, factual information. Who would YOU bring in, Anonymous 11:55? You obviously have no facts and you are so ashamed of your stand that you cannot even put your name to your thoughts. Show us YOUR expert. Oh, maybe you don’t have one. Maybe there is no one in the world who will testify that dredging is just fine for coral reefs, no matter how hard you try to “Mitigate.” Find us one, Pretty please….

  9. Anonymous says:

    So how exactly are the politicians greedy again? This one needs some explaining.

    • Cathy Church says:

      In the past there were hints of kickbacks on dock construction costs, but that may not have happened. Now there are ties to the politicians by families who have the most to gain. All in all, it is quite complex, because if the facility is built by a cruise ship company, the government will lose the income from docking fees as that money will go directly to whomever built the dock, This is an area I am not fully versed in, so I am only guessing that tendering them may actually make more money for the government than docking them on someone else’s dock. I could be wrong about that, so if anyone has the facts, pass them along.

      Of course, if we build the dock ourselves, the fees for the debt will also be huge, and since we have a monstrous debt coming due soon, I doubt that the gov. will be able to fund this directly. Where, or where, will the money come from???

  10. Sad to say I am Caymanian says:

    CNS should shut this moronic commentary off. This lady is much respected all over the world and the muppets of this community want to throw her under the bus, because it goes against what they “want” without any regard for the island, its economic and ecological health, its uniqueness and the assets we have that separates this country from all others… Just shear stupidity. Just check out her credentials. Check out the many other issues she speaks has been requested to speak about. Plus, she is an advisor to the Cruise Lines. Maybe we should ask them if she is legit and if not, why they pay her to be an advisor. I am sorry Wendy and Nikki… Just shut it down. We are embarrassing ourselves.

  11. Short Term Memory Loss says:

    Projects that we cannot afford. Now when has a PPM government ever done that?

    • The Sufi says:

      I think the time has come for the Government to hold some strategy conferences on the island to try to get a handle on what exactly is going on. Try to get some reputable specialist in the fields of fighting crime, dealing with pollution, decide once and for all time what to do about the landfill.building piers, environmentalists, sort out the legal systems, education system, explain this human rights issue so everyone can understand that every body has rights and not just the gays and lesbians, strategies for getting best value for money, medical practices and health insurance especially how to take Cinico to the next level by creating another tier of coverage by possibly offering another policy for a little more money, for those who can afford to pay a little more and possibly turning Cinico into what it was suppose to morph into eventually and that is a real national insurance. get the local tourism properties to offer rooms, food at a discounted rate for the delegates from overseas. Cayman Airways could offer discounted airfares to bring these people down. Gather the local experts from the public and government sectors and have these conferences. As it is now everyone is clamouring to be heard and some of those clamouring are just spewing out garbage, start with the most urgent ( that will be difficult because everything is urgent). Right now it seems like Cayman is a powder key ready to explode. We need to get a handle on this mess now.

      • The Sufi says:

        The government also need to get a handle on social services, try to figure how to properly screen the clients to ensure that the needs assessments are properly done before giving out the money. The museum is also starving to death for proper management. That office should be one of the most vibrant department of the government but it is left to languish because the persons under whose portfolio it falls don’t, give a dam about it. no one there has any passion- they are all dead. Also this stupid habit of giving these portfolios to lazy people needs to stop. put energetic , smart people in charge , look they are all around you the time has also come to take a good look at the legal system. Something need to be done to break down the line of every one in the department being of one nationality and that definitely is not Caymanian. They are not even smart , heck if you are going to displace Caymanians please try to do it with smarter people.

  12. Anonymous says:

    yikes… the thumbs obviously show how this issue has been trolled and hijacked by the pro-dock group……. scary…

  13. Anonymous says:

    How can anyone remotely connected to Royal Caribbean claim that they have any interest at all in protecting the environment? Their track record on this is a sick joke.

    The cruise lines may want the facilities, they just don’t want to take the blame for the environmental damage or pay the construction costs. Publicly they may spout of about this but in private they don’t care so long as someone else gets the blame.

    It’s time for the big players in the industry to get off the fence, stop playing games and spell out in terms we can all understand just what their future intentions are here.

  14. Anonymous says:

    You see this is it. The majority of the cruise industry support wildlife conservation and would not support this move if it meant destruction of all or part of the reef in GT. On the other hand local politicians are greedy and cannot see beyond the need to build quays to attract more cruise tourism and more money (even those cruise tourists generally don’t tend to have a lot or spend a lot of money on-island anyway, that department belonging to stay over tourists – who we should be encouraging. The dollar signs flashing in front of their eyes blind them to the things that they should really care about – and as you can see that’s not Cayman.

  15. Common Sense says:

    Another expert who actually works in cruise tourism for Royal Caribbean telling the government precisely what the 2.5m EIA report pointed out and confirming what the FCCA have said formally. Yet the ppm continue to be hell bent on going forward. WHY?

    What other evidence do they need to make the right decision? Incompetence, Greed, Nepotism and Corruption must not be allowed to overrule expert advise and good old fashioned common sense.

    • Cathy Church says:

      46 people disliked the comment that Greed, Nepotism and corruption should not be allowed to overrule expert advice. That means that all 46 of these thumbs down people think that Incompetence, greed, NEPOTISM and CORRUPTION SHOULD be allowed to overrule expert advice.

  16. Anonymous says:

    IK read today that some 200 tourists who responded to a survey indicating their feelings against a pier. This survey appears to have been conducted downtown so I presume most of these tourists have just disembarked from a ship and did not appear to have had a bad experience with tendering.
    So it would appear that the very group most affected are against the CBF.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Is it really that much of s shock that a scientist that Keith and Adrien flew down to stay at Sunset House has an opinion against the dock?
    Somewhere along the lines people are going to realize who and what the REAL push against the dock is coming from, I just hope it’s not too late when people’s eyes finally open.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have no agenda in this- n fact I am friends with some of the “pro-port people” BUT I also have common sense and decency and I am not ok with supporting anything that will destroy such important habitats. Decency and morals do not need justification.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please open my eyes. Who and what is the real push against the dock coming from?

      • Cathy Church says:

        Anonymous 1:30. You know who we are. WHO ARE YOU?????

        • Anonymous says:

          I am one of you, however, being on a permit makes me very open to punishment for my views, not a coward, but not a fool either. Good luck stopping this thing.

          • Cathy Church says:

            Anonymous 4:49. I respect the fact that freedom of speech does not pertain to permit holders, although you have contributed a lot of your work and income back to this community. The problem, in a nutshell, is that the vendors on the land side of Harbour drive want a bigger buying audience without having to do more than ask the govt to build a 200million dollar dock to bring them more customers. The rest of us have to get our customers through a better business plan. Some people have even fallen for the line that our small percentage of unemployables will now find a job even though the massive Dart projects have not solved the last of our unemployables.

            On the anti-dredging side are those who love the coral reefs, who believe that a significant amount of our cruise and some of our land tourist dollars are dependent on those harbour reefs, and who feel that downtown can be much better served with a different approach. It is especially opposed by those of us who not only desperately value our ocean heritage but also because our businesses are intimately tied to those reefs. Destroy the reefs, and you destroy a lot of the vendors and jobs and trickle down income from vendors closing on the ocean side of Harbour drive. Is that fair, I ask? Is government obligated to serve one side of the street at the full detriment of the other side? Is the winning side willing to pay our losses made at their gain??

      • Anonymous says:

        Owner of the Tenders, who owns Sunset (voiced by Keith), and owns Red Sails (voiced by Rod) and rents to Cathy Church, and rents to Guy Harvey Gallery…. Who are all funding the SaveCayman group.

        • Cathy Church says:

          And WHO ARE YOU, Anonymous 3:47? You have yet to give us your name. I guess you are way too ashamed of your stand to bother putting your proud name to it. Your comments are of little use to me. What special interests are behind YOUR stand? Regarding funding, you will not see full page ads in the compass from our side. There is far more money on the pro-dock side, but that is not the point. The point is the will of the people!! The will of the MAJORITY of people. This country is a democracy, and not a dictatorship.

    • Kirk Lover says:

      And of course, the Kirk Freeport group have the 85 staff members backing the commentary on this, right? Why don’t you want to listen to experts… I guess it was the same for John McKenzie being a professional expert

    • Cathy Church says:

      Anynymous 11:26, and Just WHO ARE YOU who does not want to admit his name behind such a dumb statement? When it was known that the consultant to the cruise lines could share her knowledge, Mr. Briggs was generous enough to bring her down. Our own government was not going to bring in an expert such as her, and we all need to learn what she has to say because she is a consultant to the cruise lines. Don’t you think that it is a good idea to get as many opinions as possible? Which marine ecologist are YOU bringing in? Whoever you are?

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks for confirming Adrien paid to bring her down Cathy. I thought it was just speculative comment above. And people talk about government trying to stack things in their favour. Sheesh. True colours shining through.

        • Cathy Church says:

          So, still hiding your ridiculous thoughts behind Anonymous 4:14. We are adding information to the cause. What are you adding? We are adding an expert because the government is in need of some experts. We are being helpful, what are you doing? Who do you know that will tell us how to actually SAVE the reefs?? Do YOU know anyone better who can help us avoid making a huge mistake in either direction? Come on. Give me a name!!! And bring them down for a debate. Please. Do that!!

          • Anonymous says:

            The more time you spend questioning people’s anonymity the less time you spend NOT answering the valid questions. Either refuse to answer or answer them. Put yourself in our shoes, the questions are not unfair, unreasonable. We do not have the proximity to you so if our input, opinions and critique matter to you then there is no need to get defensive. A deal like this HAS to be assessed and opined on because this affects the country. You can’t expect people not to have concerns. If someone brings in an expert to assess something that benefits the person who pays for the expert then it is not independent and the results are expected to progress that person’s agenda. You cannot expect that people would not see that and query it. You say you are a part of the SaveCayman Group so you have to accept that your version of Cayman isn’t the same as everyone else’s Your Caymanian experience isn’t the same as everyone else’s and yours in not automatically the prevailing or superior one. You are severely underestimating how the future leaders of this country view you and what you are trying to do. This upcoming generation of Caymanians is a very powerful one and they are way more eco-friendly that the older generations. They won’t follow you because your name is popular and they won’t vote for their family member. Matters such as this port will fall into their hands to manage and you are not conducting yourself in a way that would encourage them to align themselves with you. After all these years, most of us are still SO blind when it comes to our tourism product – tourists who visit the proposed port area dont’ want a concrete jungle, theyre not all buying watches and they look pretty sad mulling around town waiting for stores selling vaguely Caribbean wares to open. Everyone is so busy trying to get what they want and no one is paying attention to where tourists are going and why. To be honest, the saving grace for Cayman will be when some of these older, regurgitated, detached, delusional people in Cayman simply go quietly into that dark night – then the task of having to read these embarrassing tirades can end. So many of you older politicians and business people thrive back when it was too easy.

            • Anonymous says:

              Stran can you help with this question please? “If someone brings in an expert to assess something that benefits the person who pays for the expert then it is not independent and the results are expected to progress that person’s agenda. You cannot expect that people would not see that and query it”

              • Whatever! says:

                So your basically saying that her expert opinion was bought by a plane ticket and a stay at Sunset?

                Do you really think that she would jeopardize her credibility for such a thing? Don’t you think it makes way more sense that she truly believes this is harmful, and she is a conservationist and so she made the time to weigh in on an argument that she believes in. The only thing Adrien might have given her was the opportunity to add to the dialogue.

                To imply she would change her expert opinion and ruin her credibility for an economy class ticket and a stay at Sunset seems a bit much….but I guess you people are grasping at straws….

                • Cathy Church says:

                  Anonymous 9:21. My biggest problem is in knowing which Anonymous I am responding to. I have tried to quote the IEA, but that was often to no avail. But I am ready to answer your questions. Do you want to know how many acres and how many cubic yards of dredge material will be dug? Do you want to know how many pilings will be hammered in? Do you want to know about reef death? You ask, I answer. All answers are from the expert government-paid-for EIA by Baird and Assoc.

                  What is MY interest in this, besides loving to take my students to the Balboa since 1972? My interests are this: The future of Cayman. I want us to continue to be known for pristine water. I want us to hold on for as long as we can to be the island of friendly people, clear water and lovely snorkeling and diving. I do not think that a huge concrete pier that wrecks a large portion of the very reason people come here is a good idea.

                  I also have the concern of a person who has worked to develop Cayman’s diving market since 1972. I and my staff continue to teach students off shore at Sunset House on an almost daily basis. When that water is clouded with silt long enough, the corals and sponges will die. If enough customers decide not to come to Sunset House because our shore diving has been ruined, I am assuming that Sunset House will become condominiums. (For an actual statement as to whether that is true, you would have to ask Mr. Briggs himself. I am simply adding 2 and 2.) If that does happen, my business will shut down. My incoming partners will certainly cancel the deal. I will no longer have income to fund my retirement. I personally will be lost. I am 70. What will anyone do for me? NOTHING!!! What am I asked to do for the vendors inland of the harbour Ave? I am asked to give up everything I have worked for for the last 50 years. I am simply told, that Yes, I will lose, but it is for the good of the island. Since I also do not think that it is for the good of the island, I am saying that I am being asked to give up too much for the wrong reason.

                  Don’t tell me there are other reefs. They are too far to get to in an afternoon 4-hour class. I settled at Sunset House because it was in a Marine preserve. I started there in 1972 because it was a good location. I also taught for a while out of Spanish Bay Reef and when they closed I went to the USVI for four years, but I came back to Sunset House in 1985 because it was the BEST place in the world for me with the BEST owner.

                  Does that make it clear why people like me oppose the dock? There are others in my shoes as well. How about companies like Don Foster’s or Eden Rock or Lobster Pot Divers. I do not speak for them but I can only assume that they will have some serious problems if this current plan goes through.

                  Does that make it clear, all of you Anonymous, just who I am? Now, tell me who the beneficiaries are? Dive operators to Stingray City? That site is full!! Will the dock bring in more ships on Mondays or Fridays? The dock only holds four ships. How do we get seven in? Do we want seven? Is there anything that the dock will make better for our cruise visitors than a better landing facility cannot do without destroying the reef? I have yet to talk to a taxi driver who wants more traffic!! Stop using taxi jobs as an excuse. You can give them vouchers to bring people to a vibrant down town from the three new hotels that are in the planning stage. Didn’t the big Shetty hospital increase taxi jobs?

                  Let me know specific questions, and I try to respond.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Neither do the vast majority of the Caymanian people.. Just a few greedy politicians and merchants.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Totally agree. However, this is merely more ‘wagging the dog’. There is a new proposal on the table that does less damage they are not ready to release yet. As soon as they finish the dog wagging, this new proposal will swoop in to “save the day”. But it still causes silt and will STILL cause turbidity.
    But, yeah, lesser of the 2 evils, eh!
    Playing you like a fiddle folks.

    At the end of the day, all of the islands offer the same jewellery stores and shops. Same ol same ol. Please can we be different?

    • Anonymous says:

      I have been saying this for years – people make nice noises – then they do nothing 🙂

    • Cathy Church says:

      To all of the trolls who clicked thumbs down, would you please respond intelligently as to why you do not like the possible new proposal better than the current one? Can you also explain how your stores are different from all of the others and offer something uniquely Cayman. And explain why you disagree with the statement “Please can we be different?” You are offering a very poor argument.

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