UK minister has no issue with $200m cruise port

| 27/08/2015 | 78 Comments
Cayman News Service

Grant Shapps MP, acting overseas territories minister

(CNS): The UK acting overseas territories minister seemed entirely unfazed by the Cayman government’s plans to build a cruise berthing facility that could cost more than $200 million, despite still having control of the public purse. Grant Shapps, who made a flying morning visit to Grand Cayman Thursday on his route from Jamaica back to the UK, told the press that, provided the process was followed, the cruise port was a matter for the local government. “If you don’t move forward you will stand still,” the Conservative minister said as he appeared to give the costly, controversial project the nod.

Attempts by former premier McKeeva Bush to develop cruise berthing facilities in partnership with the Chinese firm CHEC was blocked by the UK as a result of the failure of his UDP administration to follow process. But the temporary junior FCO minister seemed to have no concerns about the potential costs and damage this current proposed development will have, even though the Cayman Islands government has not yet explained how this project will be financed.

Shapps, who revealed he had visited Cayman before on a cruise ship, said the country had to keep an eye on the regional competition. He said if the people wanted the berthing facility and due process was followed with consideration for the environmental risk, it was a matter for Cayman to decide.

As well as major concerns surrounding the project and the major loss of marine habitat and reefs, which were noted again by Environment Minister Wayne Panton Wednesday, the economics of the port project is also being called into question.

Panton said that the updated outline business case (OBC) for the project, which is being undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers, is expected to be released shortly. This document could make or break the project, as the local consultants are being asked to factor in the findings from the EIA and the certain devastating marine life losses and other major risks that have not yet not fully assessed, which will significantly alter the economic profile first presented in the OBC published and approved by Cabinet almost two years ago.

Speaking at a press briefing Wednesday announcing the public consultation on the enhanced marine park expansions, the environment minister spoke about the conflict presented by the need to enhance protections for Cayman’s increasingly precarious marine habitat versus the massive destruction to it presented by the  cruise port proposal.

Panton acknowledged the question about reconciling the port project with the implementation of marine protections. However, he said there were certain development needs for the country and protection must be considered in that context and follow a process that enables government to arrive at a decision that reflects the most sustainable use of resources.

He said government was going through a process that would allow it to consider the environmental impact and possible mitigation against possible benefits. Panton said he would like to be in a position where the country did not ever have to consider the kind of impact on the environment as proposed but he said it had to be weighed against possible wider benefits for the country as a whole.

The port project was not just for the benefit of a few retailers, he said, even though the EIA public consultation process indicated that very few people other than George Town’s downtown retailers were in support. But the minister noted that there were very clear concerns from an environmental perspective.

“We recognize the conflicts and the question of how best to balance the decision which has not been made yet,” Panton added, as he indicated that the PwC update was expected before the end of this week.

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Category: development, Local News, Politics

Comments (78)

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  1. Verado says:

    The relentless pro-CBF effort on every CNS dock article is proof that, as at sea and on the web, trolling is mind-numbingly tedious and just makes you nauseous.

  2. Anonymous says:

    There are less scuba divers coming to Grand Cayman. With no cruise ships going to little or Brac why aren’t there divers going there? Ok use your common sense and you will see that there is very little sandy beach there. So if diving was gone tomorrow , tourists would still come for the beach and stingray city which also has no coral. Plus there is nothing to do there accept dive.
    So no it’s not that important to the tourists.
    The Dredging will not hurt the reef anyway. They use silt screens and the wind is mostly going WEST. So very little chance of damage to the Eden Rock or Cali area. Balboa is boring .Kittiwake is the new shipwreck to dive.

    • Anonymous says:

      1. The sandbar is already at full capacity; how do you plan on taking 4000 more people there if this dock is built?;
      2. Worst case scenario is that SMB disappears when they build this pier, then what will they come here for?;
      3. Where are all these people going to go on SMB? There are very limited options for busing all these people to the beach if you didn’t already know and they are already at capacity when ships come in; Public Beach, Royal Palms and Tiki are the only spots on WB Rd for major public access last time I checked.

      The UK will not be funding this, that’s why he couldn’t give a monkeys. We certainly cannot afford it or borrow, we screwed that up already.

      You like others are being sold on Kool-Aid as usual and need to open your eyes.

      We do not need to be like every other Island in the Caribbean, and tourists sure as hell don’t ant that either.

      Uniqueness will draw them here, not joining the bandwagon.

      And if you think the ships will stop coming here if we don’t build this monstrosity, you need to stop smoking crack.

    • Anonymous says:

      The consultants not only said in the EIA that 7 mile won’t be affected, they came back in their response to comments and confirmed that 7 mile won’t be affected.
      Sandbar might get to capacity on some days but this isn’t the only attraction. Sandbar may need daily limits set, but don’t forget their are actually two “stingray cities”. We need to push other attractions or help the go East initiative and develop better things to do in other areas.

      The only kool-aid being served is by those against the dock. Do you have any idea how much Cayman has lost out on due to sticking with Tenders? go do some research and you’ll quickly see what I’m talking about.

      This has never been about trying to be like the other islands in the Caribbean, this is about not ending up with the unemployment, poverty and crime that the other islands have.

      Keep pushing this down and you’ll find out really quickly about what we can’t afford.

      • Anonymous says:

        Stingray City is an option for divers only, its 12ft deep, 9/10 of the tourists off the ship can’t dive or swim. Stingray City is not an option form cruise business. The Sandbar already has daily limits and its at full capacity.
        SMB will change, sticking a giant pier at the end of it will disrupt its natural current also known as longshore drift; its how beaches are created.

        Aren’t numbers for cruise shippers up this year?

        There are other avenues that our Govt. needs to be looking at that other Caribbean nations offer and it does not involve a monstrosity of a cruise dock that will negatively impact our country both environmentally and in the eyes of people worldwide.

  3. Anonymous says:

    “However, he said there were certain development needs for the country and protection must be considered in that context and follow a process that enables government to arrive at a decision that reflects the most sustainable use of resources.”……… I had so much hope for the Hon. Wayne Panton and his integrity with regards to the environment.

    Statements like this are exactly what we heard, before capitulation, when the mangroves on the western peninsula were about to be destroyed above ground, in the name of development…………now they are gone forever.

    Like the politicians of yore, it appears that Mr. Panton is all for conservation underwater and enacting laws to protect it, once it only impacts the average Caymanian, however, throw in the words Developer or Development and we will see what we can do, to let the developer do what they want to do.

    goodbye Balboa!

    • Anonymous says:

      I have faith that Mr. Panton will honour his word. He campaigned with the rest of his party committed to building a dock and revitalising George Town. We can’t afford to lose jobs and he is smart enough to know that we will if this government doesn’t build the dock. The jobs at stake are Caymanian jobs (taxi, tour operators, retailers). No one wants to see a soaring unemployment problem under their watch.

  4. Occupy Europe says:

    Run along their Mr minister before those migrants occupy your house. European arrogance has a price, squabbling and bickering now over their very own human rights mandates they try to force on others, Pay back is a bitch eh. These colonial overseas bastions may very well be the last truly BritIsssH empire hope for their displaced people. Watch Out Cayman more British Coming!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      ummm… Caymanians are British. Now, if only some of those who hate the British would leave, we would be much better off.

    • Anonymous says:

      Entitlement at its best. As part of the UK I suspect that CIG will do the right thing and offer to take a couple of hundred migrants. Did I just put “CIG” and “do the right thing” in the same sentence? My bad. Apologies. Too much wine last night. BTW Occupy Europe, I believe there is treatment for your lisp now. Not sure they can fix stupid though.

  5. WaHaPen says:

    I haven’t heard diddly from a certain “WhatDoYouSay” fellow on this topic.
    He normally likes to chime in on this kind of stuff. I find his comments fairly entertaining in here. Comical young chap he is.

    Starting to miss him.

    • Anonymous says:

      WaHaPen? ………… original. I told you that you did not have an original thought of your own.

      Actually, I have 4 posts, now 5, on this topic. I post anon. after you stole the WaYaSay penname, Hope you are enjoying using it ………… by the way, not so young any longer. Goodbye sucker.

      What do you say?

      • NewWaYaSay says:

        Dude I swear that one wasn’t even me this time HA!
        Must’ve started a new sport.
        We have got to go have a beer some time WaHaPen….dammit!

        • WaHaPen says:

          OK NewWaYaSaw you can have the title! You be the one without an original thought of your own.
          Don’t drag me into your stupid ego game! I thought my post was quite original.

          • Anonymous says:

            “You are the worst kind of Troll, someone who would impersonate someone with a fake name.”


  6. Anonymous says:

    One might say that the minister has no issue with Cayman period because quite frankly the island doesn’t appear on his or UK radar very often despite the inflated egos of our leaders….

  7. Anonymous says:

    The FCO minister is trying to help us not become like Greece where social welfare programs and unemployment over extend the revenue streams of the country.

    The Cruise facility will be one of the large secured revenue streams for the island.

    Cayman puts zero $ into marketing to cruise passengers but yet spend $40million plus in Cayman Air and DOT expenditure. Cruise passengers actually bring CI Gov revenue into the country that guess what, not one cent gets spent on downtown or and cruise related infrastructure. It goes to other ministries and toward subsidizing cargo port operations.

    Mac got in front of hundreds of people when presenting the Decco miniature island they wanted to build in George Town Harbour and when asked about the head tax and port fees that are collected per cruise passenger he said “we can’t use that, that is already being used in other areas”

    If all the ignorant people out there trying to shoot the cruise dock down succeed you will find out real quick what that money is currently being used to fund.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why is it so hard for you to see the truth? We spend nothing now to attract cruise ships, why not pay a few million a year to attract an average of one more cruise ship per day to Cayman.

      One more cruise ship per day for 4 days will deliver more visitors than the two Mega Ships each stopping once per week. Do the math. If the money spent attracts an average of two more ships per day, our visitor count will surpasses 2,4 million.

      That 2 million visitors, if tendered, will pay to Government the same entry fee they will if they are docked. You talk as if the dock itself will be printing money.

      The $10million that would be paid as tendering fee (If we can believe the $5.00 per head figure) is largely going back into the Cayman economy through salaries and fuel costs. If Government was to tack this on to the fee they already charge, they would find that the Government tax is out of line with other countries. Worst yet an additional $10 million handed to Government would disappear to Social Services and never make it into the economy.

      • Anonymous says:

        Such a simple mind. There are already ships in the area and any additional traffic is going to come in the form of larger ships. you add more ships that won’t tender and guess what happens….they don’t stop here. Ships keep launching and they are getting bigger. Ships continue to cross Cayman. Every year that a big ship launches it takes smaller ones off of the Cayman route. Wash rinse repeat until there isn’t enough cruise traffic stopping in Cayman to make any GT business viable.

  8. Knot S Smart says:

    I wonder if he would get the European Union to donate the $200 million – since we are always bending over backwards to get off their gray list, black list etc.. and get on their ‘white’ list… Although I accept that we are African-Caribbean and therefore will never make their ‘white-list’…

    • Anonymous says:

      Why don’t you try to not rush to be a victim.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why should other countries hand over/give money to build port to be built in “Cayman”? African Caribbean country? Which island do you live on? Last I checked there are quite a few races and nationalities which comprises “Native Caymanians”. Views like this is why we have decay in our society.

      • Anonymous says:

        Its the Caymanian way to ignore everyone else in your family tree who lives outside Cayman.
        People like Ebanks, McLaughlin, Bodden, Smith and many more would blatantly deny the fact that their surnames are in fact British and that their ancestors came here from the UK on ships and mated with the slaves.

  9. Bluff Patrol says:

    And exactly how much weight should we give to the “apparant nod” by the temporary acting junior minister on a half-day trip?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Since Mr dart loves us so much maybe he will give us back some of those “concessions” to help us out.

    • Anonymous says:

      Would you like Dart to pay your bills too?

    • Anonymous says:

      Take back 20 mil in concessions when he is injecting over 1 billion into our economy; talk about biting the hand that feeds you. How about he takes back all the money he has given us and plans to give us? Where do you see any revenue whatsoever coming from you muppet?

  11. Bigge LoCks says:

    So long as we stick to over development and flash pan tourism and hand over everything else to the UK No problemO! Just Kool Star!! What a blow to all those Die Hard monarchist who foolishly believe they care.

    • Cass says:

      Exactly, look at their faces….his and the Governor’s. Priceless, like “they really are buying this aren’t they”, let them have as much money to blow and squander so they end up like GREECE.

      • Anonymous says:

        The difference between the dock project and Greece, is that this project is a revenue and opportunity generator, NOT toward funding an onslaught of welfare and social entitlement programs to a nation full of deadbeat losers that feel they have a human right entitlement to have their neighbors pay for their shit.

        • Anonymous says:

          We will need to increase the following to accommodate these ships;
          1. Public access and areas on SMB; and
          2. The sandbar.
          How do you propose that as they are both at full capacity last time I checked with the current cruise visitors that come here?
          Joining a bandwagon gets you nowhere in life, that’s what everyone else seems to be doing. Keeping yourself unique is what people want.
          Last time I checked thats what we Caymanians are proud of, not selling out to the high and mighty which is what all you pro-pier people are singing right now.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Ok Shapps, but what are your thoughts regarding the following issues?;

    The London Gatwick airport expansion?
    Fracking in the UK?
    The HS2 train line project?

    Something tells me Mr. UK Politician won’t be so quick and forthcoming with his advice re “moving forward* onto his own British voters.

    – Whodatis

    P.S. Could not care less for his opinion on our CBF’s…not to mention the hypocrisy is astounding – yet again.

    Cayman will decide what is best for Cayman.

    • Bigger Bertha says:

      “Cayman” in this case being a cadre of interested merchants and conflicted politicians…….

    • Anonymous says:

      He wasn’t asked about Gatwick you muppet, its of no interest to Caymanians except you with your continuous agenda to deflect attention from discussing home grown problems. His words allow Caymanians to decide.

      • Anonymous says:

        You pen such a single-celled reply but still have the gall to call me a muppet?

        – Whodatis

  13. Anonymous says:

    The Cayman Islands doesn’t have $200 mln or the loan capacity to borrow it. Last I checked, the CIG doesn’t even have a spare $10 mln to remediate the dump. This is all fantasy unless the liners are willing to step up and pay. The freakin’ FCCA hadn’t even heard of these plans until a couple weeks ago!

    • Cass says:

      Preach it!

    • Anonymous says:

      In the real world, not everything requires you to have 200M in your back pocket to build something. In the private sector, we sometimes solicit “investors”. But in Cayman, we can’t stomach that someone else stands to make a dollar. So as good citizens, we continually tear them down along with their projects in the name of the environment, flooding or whatever else is convenient to destroy it.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Luckily for both the 36 acres of marine park, and the people that care, CIG does not have a spare $200mln in cash or loan capacity. There are many foreign governments that would love to see the Cayman Islands plunge into a mistake that would bring about direct taxation. The perfect “it doesn’t work” conclusion for taxing governments worldwide.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are many ways this can be funded without any need for direct taxation. Investors, fund, public bond issues, loads, a mixture thereof.. etc etc etc..

    • Rudy armadillo says:

      Direct taxation will not work as the population is too small. It would cost more to administer than it would stand to gain. Once the population climbs to 80,000 or ideally 100,000 then it will be a certainty.
      To facilitate that sort of population there needs to be far more permanent residents, far more working salaries to tax and houses would have to spring up on any available ground. See where this is heading already?
      It is a demographic certainty that the population will expand, it is just a question of how fast.

  15. Anonymous says:

    “If you don’t move forward you will stand still”

    Or you could go backwards. Or sideways. Or do the hokey-pokey. As long as you can boil a complicated issue with points to consider on both sides down to a simple, useless catchphrase, you’re golden.

  16. CayGuy says:

    Not impressed, you can tell he don’t live here. He thinks like a cruise visitor

  17. Bean Counter says:

    Three questions for CIG and the FCO

    1. Where is the independent Economic Impact Assessment to compliment the Environmental Impact Assessment and Outline Bussiness Case prepared by PWC to insure this a thoroughly contemplated process?

    2. Can CIG afford a project of this magnitude on what financing terms?

    The estimated cost has increased from CI$150m to 200m every time there is an official comment but in reality with its usual cost overruns associated with CIG projects it will cost more than CI$300m? What are the annual maintenance costs and other costs associated with the proposed CBF project year on year?

    3. How will CIG pay for this “white elephant”?

    • Anonymous says:

      For a bean counter, you’re very creative. There are plenty of way to fund this without having to go into debt.

  18. UK Driftwood says:

    He said the UK have no issues because they know it will never happen.
    Had to laugh but was no surprise to see the airport expansion has been delayed already. The reason a contractor has not been appointed
    How you can give a start date and cost without a contractor is beyond me. But then this is Cayman

  19. B. Hurlstone says:

    It seems to me that the minister hasn’t really given much thought to the results of this dock project. Big bucks expended by the government now for less income later when the prime reason for visitors coming to the Caymans is removed!

    • Anonymous says:

      can you explain to the people of Cayman what you mean by; ” the prime reason for visitors coming to the Cayman is removed”
      I sure wish that you Marine Consultants would stop talking bull shit! our tourist come here mainly for our beaches, diving, turtle farm, stingray city.
      I didn’t know we were mowing down the 55 miles of coral reef surrounding our Island. there are 365 dive sites around our Island , 3 in the harbour.

    • Anonymous says:

      You mean the prime reason for tourists coming to Grand Cayman is the reef? You mean dive tourists then. Well the reefs are really all we have left as an original tourist attraction since on the land side the “prime reason”, as you say was removed years ago. I’m sure some tourists get the feel that its just like coming to any small urban center in Florida. Why do we seem hell bent on creating infrastructure at the expense of environment be it above or below the water line?

      • Anonymous says:

        Explain one country where infrastructures were built that didn’t sacrifice a small % of the environment, we are talking 2 dive sites out of 365, 1/10th of a mile of corals out of 55 miles that surround this island. We will have lots to offer our tourist wouldn’t you say?

  20. Turtle Mania says:

    Erry likkle ting going to be alright ya so cause this proxy govt and loyal stooges always get what they want cause they always do what mamma say. So all you coral huggers out deh tekk dat . Our marine environment don’t mean S%$#@ so long as we keep handing over our rights and financial assets to the fco’s nasty agenda and so long it ain’t Mckeeva asking, they will get want they want and need to stay in power.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Worth checking out –

    This is one of a number of recent stories documenting the cruise lines recent shift towards the Asian market.

  22. Anonymous says:

    The bit he left out was, “but if you screw this up don’t come crying to the UK for help.” The problem with any comment like this by a UK minister is not what he says but what he conveniently leaves out. Like any other member of the UK parliament I’d trust this guy about as far as I could throw him.

    • Anonymous says:

      Power is devolved to Caymans own MLA’s. People elected by Caymanians. All the UK is doing is making sure that spending, if any, is by transparent and fair means. That’s the price of having the Union Jack in the corner of the flag. You want to run your own affairs? Great! Just make sure you elect people competent to do it, it’s your choice, not the UK’s. And correct, don’t run to Mummy when your own f##k it up. You are supposedly grown ups.

      • Beobachter says:

        Elect competent people? And where shall we find them? And. “You are supposedly grown ups”. The key word here is “supposedly”!

  23. Anonymous says:

    Why has the minister got a turtle on his head?

  24. Anonymous says:

    The FCO has a clear understanding that if Cayman wants to secure and grow its current revenue streams we need to acknowledge the importance of progress. Yes we need to make sure no unnecessary damage is done to the environment, and all of the safeguards needed have to be followed while the CBF is built. We also need to make sure Cayman’s economy is stable and ready to support the growing population. Minister Panton knows this also and when the time comes CIG will make the decision that stands to benefit its people the most.

    • Spirit of James M. Bodden lives says:

      Making expensive decisions that are bad for the environment will benefit a few GT merchants but it doesn’t equate to a decision that benefits its people the most when all the facts are assessed

    • Anonymous says:

      “no unnecessary damage”. So it is OK to cause a great deal of environmental damage so long as it was necessary to building cruise piers?

    • Anonymous says:

      There’s your problem right there – growing population – why exactly?

  25. Smash'n'grab says:

    Given the UK’s track record of sweeping aside environmentally protected areas to suit developers, is anyone surprised? Look at what Trump was allowed to do in Scotland.

    • Anonymous says:

      Minor point, but Trump was allowed to build that golf course in Scotland by the SCOTTISH -not UK -Parliament.

    • Anonymous says:

      9.24 Caymans record in this area is not outstanding. And you see why when you see Caymanian families on the beach enjoying themselves and leaving their trash everywhere. Then as part of our PR points for community service, we get to have away days cleaning it all up, so thanks, you are helping us to stay!

      • Anonymous says:

        Get over yourself already………why on earth do you desire to live among “Caymanian Trashmongers” that you hate so much?

        I hope you never get PR……go home already……wherever that trash free place is! Quit sucking off Cayman, we can afford trash collectors.

  26. Revelations 3:45 says:

    FCO will gladly endorse any project that gives them more control over the Cayman Islands at the negotiating tables for real issues like Beneficial Interests Public Register. Unfortunately, Cayman are playing right into their hands with the usual short sightedness and construction politics which requires building more edifices to the egos of the elected gods forever to be called honorable.

    • Anonymous says:

      Revelations, methinks that you thinks that UK really has interests here. Their only interest is good governance and making sure the politicos, as far as possible, don’t run off with the dough.

    • Cass says:

      Yup, and Alden is their golden goose. He trying win stripes with them and they using him for their hidden agenda; which he knows about so, that would mean that he doesn’t really give a rats arse about Cayman or the people who reside here.

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