Carnival gives backing to CIG pier plan

| 13/10/2015 | 82 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cruise ship in George Town Harbour, Grand Cayman (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

(CNS): Government may have secured its first commitment from one cruise line for the development of piers in George Town, CNS has learned. During talks at last week’s Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) conference in Mexico, officials managed to secure at least some commitment for the project from Carnival. Sources tell CNS that the commitment is for passenger numbers that would equate to tax revenue of some $50 million. CNS has asked the tourism ministry for details regarding the support from the cruise line but we have received no response.
Carnival is an important partner for government in this controversial project but that cruise line does not operate the new class of mega ships, one of the main reasons why the CIG claims Cayman must develop piers. Royal Caribbean, the line with the new generation of massive ships that refuse to tender, has not yet made any commitment to the Cayman government’s proposed plan.

Two weeks ago, although there had been no formal Cabinet discussion and before public disclosure of the updated Outline Business Case, which has still not been released, Premier Alden McLaughlin told a Chamber of Commerce audience that the government had decided to press ahead to the next step in the process of the cruise project, which would be to talk to the cruise lines and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Undermining claims that government is strictly following process, the premier’s announcement was therefore made before the full consultation process with Cabinet and the members of his backbench and in absence of the updated OBC and explanations of how the project would be financed. The premier’s policy position was made very clear during his address at the event, when he stated that government must “choose between the economy and the environment”, and they were choosing the economy.

However, it is understood that McLaughlin made the announcement so that government officials could begin talks with the cruise lines at the cruise conference.

Despite the findings of the environmental impact assessment, which clearly indicated the project would be very destructive project to the marine habitat, the public consultation, which came down three to one against, opposition from the tourism industry and the business community via CITA and the Chamber, the PPM administration appears to be committed to the port now that it believes that Seven Mile Beach is not at risk.

But as government presses ahead with the project, opposition appears to be mounting in the community as the public begins to realize that the project could very well become a reality, regardless of the serious environmental threats.

This weekend members of the Save Cayman campaign, supported by Sustainable Cayman and others concerned about this particular project, are organising a peaceful protest and are hoping that a significant crowd will send a clear message to government that the Cayman community does not support the project, as they believe this particular plan is too high an environmental price to pay and will undermine Cayman’s position as an attractive and unique destination when it comes to its marine habitat.

They dispute that this is a stark choice between economy over environment but also warn that building the piers is by no means a smart economic choice either.

“We’re not against an attractive cruise port; we’re against dredging,” said local photographer Courtney Platt, a member of Sustainable Cayman and a supporter of the Save Cayman campaign. “We don’t want anyone to lose jobs, including both the Cayman cruise industry and the watersports tour operators in the harbour, who are currently earning nearly $10 million per year in direct ticket sales,” he said, noting that revenue will be lost as a result of dredging.

“There are ways to keep Cayman’s cruise industry and the reefs too if we don’t dredge. Whether the solution is improved tendering or berthing, all of our needs can be met without dredging. What Save Cayman, Sustainable Cayman and thousands of individuals ask of government is that they look again and change the plan. There are several good options already on the table. This is not a question of build the current plan or die, as some proponents for the current plan would suggest,” he said, as he urged people to join the protest on Saturday afternoon.

The protest starts at 3pm on the harbourfront in George Town opposite Breezes by the Bay.

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Comments (82)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Nice picture for this article. All this backing amounts to is the Carnival pirate ship throwing down anchor in the cayman islands, so they can r*** and pillage the island of its natural treasures. Infesting the island with the disease of over crowding and low spend tourists.
    And when its all done and they can’t squeeze any more profit out of us they will just pack up and leave us with this unsightly mess and economic chaos.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Now Mr. Moses and Alden you need to go and lock in Royal and Disney and Cayman is in good shape for the next couple of decades.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t forget Norwegian! We want to see that cool Guy Harvey painted hull pulling into Hog Sty Bay too.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Let the ships keep their casinos open while in port. They will stay longer so their passengers have more time to spend in Cayman.

    • Rp says:

      Let’s build a high end casino downtown, that will force tourists to get off the ship and we’ll get the profits instead of carnival. Change GT to mixed use and build some hotels out of those empty office buildings. That will revitalize GT in no time flat and bring a new source of profits to gov from casino tax.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What that picture looks like to the small operators in Cayman is a big red santa sleigh that will finally get Cayman the port it sorely needs.
    The independent watersports operators will have a much better opportunity for business with piers because of how the tender disembarkment works. Right now passengers with pre-booked tours get the first tender tickets and priority to leave. Those that have not booked through the cruise lines have to wait 1-2 hours minimum to get off of the ship. Once we have berthing and all passengers can walk freely out those that would take the opportunity to arrange tours on island will actually have the time to do so. Lastly we are not talking about a huge increase in total numbers. We are talking about making the most of what we get with a slight increase over time. Cayman has fallen way behind the region in cruise growth and will continue to do so as long as we are tender only.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Carnival Corp makes up 60% of the cruise industry. If you want the Princess, Holland, Cunard, Costa, Aida etc of the world you have to work with the group.
    Don’t underestimate the Carnival brand itself though. the total spend from their guests makes a huge impact on Cayman whether you like cruisers or not.

    • Anonymous says:

      CNS says that Carnival has no Mega ships that will need piers to unload their passengers, But they fail to mention in this article that Carnival has 4 mega ships on the block and will be on the ocean just in time for Cayman piers.

      • Alie Youatell says:

        As their fuel supplier, I can indeed confirm that it is great news that these four ships (two for AIDA and two for Costa) will be calling here weekly. I can’t wait! Ka-Ching!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ask these cruise lines for a commitment that once Cuba opens up to them, that they won’t ditch us and sail straight on to Jamaica and the Eastern Caribbean. Of course we won’t get it, neither will we get anything but “moral” support for spending hundreds of millions on these piers which could well end up becoming derelict except for the fish swimming around their foundations.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman has a much better guarantee now that ths hips will actually invest here. Do you think they would throw $50m at a port if they didn’t have long term plans for Cayman? You can’t say on one hand that they only care about money and then on the other that the monetary commitment means nothing.

      • Rp says:

        They are not throwing 50 million cash at our port. They are saying that they will bring enough tourists so that gov can collect 50 million off tourist taxes. We still need to figure out where to get the 300m to build it. Also we should see the details of this commitment. Ie. How many years will they commit? And how much per year?

        Also we should see how much they commit now in passenger volume and compare to the 50m commitment. This will tell us the incremental benefit of building the port.

        Guys read carefully. A two year commitment for 50m per year is nothing when we plan to invest 300m. Now $50m per year for the next 30 years is something else.

        One last thing, what recourse we have if they break their commitment? My guess is not much. Let’s not jump for joy yet.

      • Anonymous says:

        They are not throwing $50 million at the port. They are talking about extra revenue in taxes from additional passengers which is NOT their money. There is no time frame mentioned and they have not responded to Government’s request for details of their “commitment”, so what sort of hollow promise is that?.

    • Anonymous says:

      Seems like you are not educated enough about cruise tourist, the destinations that the ships take depends on the passengers, why would you ever think that these ships will pass us by? if and when we get a pier? Cayman is the preferred destination for most cruise lines. i wouldn’t worry about them not stopping into Cayman. Cuba will compliment Cayman Routes

    • Anonymous says:

      Why the worry now about Cuba? where were your concerns for the last 45 years of cruise ships not stopping in here, is it because we are now going to build piers?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Once again PPM is getting it done. Well done, the first government in decades that can actually say they accomplished something for the country.

  8. Anonymous says:

    But isn’t Carnival the cruise line with the low-spend customers? As far as I know, Carnival even demands a cut of anything their customers purchase from Kirk Freeport. Having Carnival as a partner brings the value of the project back down to negative territory.

    • Anonymous says:

      Carnival does bring a lower spend customer but the commitment is from Carnival group which is Holland America, Princess, P&O, Costa, Cunard, Aida and the yachts of seabourn.

  9. Anonymous says:

    If the school yard bully said they might give you five grand, would you, having no spare revenue or capacity to service new debt, then run out and seek a loan for thirty grand and think you made a fantastic economic decision? Let’s add to that: not knowing when and how the bully wants their five grand back.

  10. F.A. Cetious says:

    Oh goody, Carnival, those bastions of Corporate Social Responsibility. Well we all feel much better about the whole thing now. Please proceed with the dynamite order.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I have a recurrent nightmare of over-zealous contractors rock-blasting sections of cavernous and porous limestone under the iron pan and a whole slab of the harbour releasing and cleaving off like at Port Royal Jamaica.

  12. Anonymous says:

    No surprise at all! Carnival is one of the worst offenders for dumping raw or poorly treated sewage into the sea. They don’t give a damn about anything but $$$$.

    If the CIG had any cajones at all we would be demanding that they improve their waste management before pulling into our port! Grow a pair Alden.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Just build the flipping piers already. You know your going to so just stop the prolonging it and get it going. You can’t please everyone. If people don’t like it then Leave!!!! It’s enough already.

    • Anonymous says:

      If this government keeps plunging into ever-more expensive projects, like this unfunded $300mln fiasco, then you may get your wish when direct taxation comes. Nothing would please the FCO more than Cayman putting itself over its own barrel.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry but we have to get this done before the fiasco man gets back in.

        • Anonymous says:

          You dont unnastan dey tek the fiasco man seat for good dis time?

        • Anonymous says:

          We know who you’re talking about, very funny, but you can’t reasonably expect that this regime will double our national debt for a single project, and think that this will be a) completed and b) fully-amortized in the remaining months before next election? If this proceeds to that stage, it will take many decades to pay off any lenders, regardless of whether engineering, architecture, geological and enviro assumptions, and construction go according to plan.

          • Anonymous says:

            a) There is NEVER any guarantee that anything on the face of this earth will go according to plan, and, b) it takes money to make money.

  14. Tim Adam says:

    The CNS article states “Carnival is an important partner for government in this controversial project but that cruise line does not operate the new class of mega ships, one of the main reasons why the CIG claims Cayman must develop piers.”
    And now for the rest of the story:

    Carnival Corp. group of cruise lines together already have at least four “LNG Class” mega cruise ships (6,600 max pax) larger than Oasis class (6,260 max pax) on the order books for delivery dates starting with 2019
    and two other undefined build slots for 2021 with the same (Meyer) shipyard group, so I doubt they will want to see Cayman have only one Oasis-sized pier … Perhaps that was also part of the deal struck in Cozumel but no doubt we will hear for sure soon once Cabinet officially finalizes and announces the decision. Anyway looking to the future, I doubt Carnival will be satisfied with a Quantum-class sized pier.

    The CNS article goes on to say: “Royal Caribbean, the line with the new generation of massive ships that refuse to tender, has not yet made any commitment to the Cayman government’s proposed plan.”

    With Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas mega cruise ship passing less than 6 nautical miles away from our north coast every Wednesday in “winter” and right now every other Wednesday in “summer” this year, plus Royal Caribbean’s new Oasis-class ship Harmony of the Seas starting in the Western Caribbean including the Falmouth-Cozumel leg next year November, so let’s get real: we shouldn’t expect that Royal Caribbean would miss stopping those high-end mega ships in a berthing-equipped Cayman …

    And just for fun, a factoid for Throwback Thursday when it comes: Oasis class is FIVE TIMES (5 X) the size of the Titanic!

    • Anonymous says:

      The four LNG mega-ships Carnival are contracted to build are for launch in 2019 through 2022 and are going to their Med/European subco “Costa”. They aren’t going to operate in this hemisphere.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually they will be and I bet you’ll hear from Carnival Corp soon that they need the right size to accommodate those ships and the plans will have to reflect that. We already get Costa ships through the busy season on a weekly basis.

    • Insub Ordinate says:

      Not on my watch buddy.

    • U R FIRED says:



      • Anonymous says:

        Did you actually watch the whole video? That punk entitled employee deserved a lot more than a “shut up”
        I work in HR for a much larger company and let me tell you when you have to record meetings it is not because the employee is known for being cordial and courteous.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just the man I want to hear from… certainly you have my trust and confidence… smh.

    • Anonymous says:

      and Tim when these mega class ships pass by every Wednesday do you think they can see what’s happenin at the Turtle Farm or hear somone roarin at the staff there?

    • Rp says:

      Tim, wasn’t the turtle farm expected to make profits based on the economic studies conducted before it was built? What happened to those projections?

      My concern is that just because we build it, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will come and keep coming. PWC is having difficulty narrowing down the benefit of building the piers, the estimated range of potential outcomes is too wide to predict.

      We need more than a vague 50m guarantee.

    • Anonymous says:

      Carnival could put their own turtle holding tanks on those large ships and then the passengers wouldn’t have to come to the Turtle Farm.

  15. Iggy says:

    Has Carnival demanded first dibs on the piers? Have they said anything to the effect they will ONLY use piers going forward? If they do that, and they have no mega ships, where will the mega ships go??? Will they still come?? Will they throw out threats and put Carnival’s nose out of joint when Government says the piers are given priority usage by the mega ships? There will only be 4 spots. On peak days the number of ships goes well past the 4 mooring spots…

  16. Anonymous says:

    Scream, shout, protest all you like, but Alden and the Lodge aren’t listening. The only way the people are going to have a say in this matter is by way of a REFERENDUM.
    The people, that is to say the taxpayers, need to have a choice between a dock as proposed, a floating dock at a fixed price for supply and installation, or improved and expanded tendering to cater to all the different tourism sites.
    DEMAND A REFERENDUM. This matter could bankrupt a nation as small as Cayman.
    If you believe that CIG has the ability to carry out this construction, then take a ride out to Frank Sound and check out the monument to CIG planning and management.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Unless it’s in writing it’s not a deal, and as we all know, you just cannot trust this CIG or previous ones to give accurate figures. Especially when they are on a mission to support their buddies

  18. Anonymous says:

    No real surprise here. Carnival’s game plan has been pretty clear for some time but I wonder what the quid pro quo will be. What concessions will Carnival expect in return?

  19. Cruickshank says:

    “There are ways to keep Cayman’s cruise industry and the reefs too if we don’t dredge”

    Would Mr Platt explain, in detail, how he would propose berthing cruise ships in George Town harbour without dredging?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Chinese were told no. Dart was told no. FCCA was told no from years back.
    But Cayman has the money for this project?

  21. Dominique says:

    Good move by this government on a cruise pier, it should have been here 20 years ago. Excellent job!!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Starting to look like the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place. Hoping they release the business case so we get the full look. All we need now is a little more funding work and the engineering and full costing and we might be home free.

  23. Dolla Dolla Bill says:

    You can write it whichever way you want but it is pretty hard to put a damper on a Fifty Million Dollar Guarantee.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is only 16% of the $300mln number they themselves are using.

      • Anonymous says:

        I heard a guest on Rooster the other day say that he got his $300m figure from the Decco and Chec designs. He obviously never took a look at those designs and compared them to the current plan. The EIA shows that the overall proposal now vs those is less than half the dredging and less than half the total project size. There fore much less than $300m in price tag.

        • Bean Counter says:

          This project will cost the Caymans a minimum of USD400 million in construction costs alone by the time it is completed and drive the country into a form of direct taxation within the next ten years

        • REAL TALK says:

          Kirk Bot #1 is hard at work again to discredit any persons asking questions about the royal family’s master plan that will be subsidized by John Q. Public. The game is over the public understands your agenda.

          Pro Port lobbyists and merchants who believe in the project and who are driving the process from behind the scenes should put some “skin in the game” and help the ppm to finance this potential white elephant as evidence of their patriotism and confidence in the project.

  24. Anonymous says:

    50 mill sounds pretty sweet to me.

  25. Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

    Another poor decision by government. SMH

    Just Another day in Absurdistan

  26. Anonymous says:

    And there it begins.
    Seeing as Carnival corporation just ordered 4 ships bigger than Oasis I guess they are making sure key locations will be ready for them.
    Major step up for Cayman, big moves Mr. Deputy Premier, big moves.
    Congratulations Cayman on this huge accomplishment.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Moses Kirkonnell and Alden McLaughlin have sold out the Cayman Islands to unscrupulous merchants and Carnival cruises who will now be in total control of our cruise tourism product and GT dock since they will have “skin in the game”

  28. Anonymous says:

    There goes the neighborhood and the end of Cayman as we know it

  29. GT Voter says:

    Carnival do not have any Oasis class ships with the better cruise tourists so what is the point? Thanks Alden.

    The justification for the cruise berthing has always been the quest for better quality or higher spending visitors si why aren’t Royal Caribbean involved in negotiations with CIG?

    Carnival will provide the peanut butter and jelly tourists that the Pro Port lobby claimed they want to avoid because they do not spend enough. So the PPM’s plan appears to be quantity over quality and bringing more cheap tourists to Cayman to clog up the infrastructure.

    Don’t Stop the Progress

  30. Anonymous says:

    You asked for it from the horses mouth, here you go. I’m sure this headline will spark serious attention from the other cruise lines.
    Carnival was happy to hold out seeing that no dock would mean keeping the Oasis out.
    Now that we’re moving ahead we’ll see that the commitments are ready and willing.

  31. Anchors Away! says:

    Well there’s a big surprise. We all know how much Carnival cares about the environment.

  32. Anonymous says:

    What are the options of building a new pier without dredging? Not many viable. However if the community is against the dredging it begs asking the question, how is this representation of the people, when the Government does not represent and commit to the people who elected them? There is money being made and streamed into the economy, but like many other projects, who is benifiting from these projects? This has been seen in the past with roads, construction contracts, and most recently the CCTV that has cost the country millions of dollars, provided by the Security Centre, but who is against these projects, and who is benifiting? When you listen to both sides and see who, you can arrive at a conclusion if something is truly in the countrys best interest.

  33. Anonymous says:

    “That would equate to tax revenue of some $50 million,” no doubt that has to be offset against Carnival’s investent. Old saying ‘You don’t get owt for nowt!’

    • Anonymous says:

      And with a total project cost of some $300mln, amounts to less than 16% of the bill – and still theoretical.

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