OBC on cruise port remains under wraps

| 07/10/2015 | 82 Comments
Cayman News Service

Proposed cruise dock for Grand Cayman

(CNS): The updated Outline Business Case which fuelled the premier’s announcement last week that the Cayman Islands Government is moving to the next step in the process to develop cruise berth piers in George Town will not be released to the public yet because Cabinet has not considered it, officials have said. The CIG had claimed that the controversial cruise port decision would only be made after the relevant documentation had been received and discussed in Cabinet. However, before that discussion had taken place, the premier announced to a Chamber of Commerce audience last week that government was pressing on .
Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell has been quick to stress that the current administration is following the process in accordance with the law on the major projects in his ministry. But in the case of the port, the process seems to have been circumvented. Although the business case has not been released to the public and even before it has been discussed with his Cabinet colleagues, Premier Alden McLaughlin told the public that government has decided it must move forward on this project.

Environment Minister Wayne Panton has made no comment regarding the announcement, which was made while he was off-island, but he has made no secret of his concerns about the damage to the reefs and marine environment, not just in the immediate footprint but the silt threats posed during the construction phase as well. He had stated that the economic case would have to be compelling before he could accept that the level of risk to the environment was justified.

McLaughlin gave away very few details in his speech last week about the updated business case, describing it as “favourable”. However, sources close to government tell CNS that the consultants found it “challenging in the wake of the EIA findings” to make a persuasive economic case for the facility. As a result, significant assumptions appear to have been made about projected spending of cruise passengers and arrival numbers, even though the CIG has not yet spoken to the cruise lines or solicited any commitment to the plan.

McLaughlin said that the next steps would be to talk with the UK and the cruise industry, which he said needed to have “skin in the game” in order to support the project.

In the wake of his very public announcement the rest of the Cabinet now has no alternative but to rubber stamp the premier’s decision or cause a political rift. In the meantime, the public must wait to see for themselves if the cost of the marine destruction and the subsequent economic losses as well as the physical loss of endangered species and the unique marine environment in George Town Harbour are worth it to boost the coffers off a limited number of downtown merchants.

The latest activist group to voice their concerns is Concerned Caymanians, who have pointed to the Bill of Rights and Section 18(2), which calls for government to “adopt reasonable legislative and other measures to protect the heritage and wildlife and the land and sea biodiversity of the Cayman Islands”.

The premier stated clearly last Wednesday that he believed that the port decision was between protecting the economy or protecting the environment and he had chosen the economy. However, the activists pointed out that there is no section of the Bill of Rights dedicated to protecting the economy.

“No government should ever have the ability to destroy our environment for future generations because of a one-time campaign promise for votes,” they said in a an open letter this week, as they called on the Human Rights Commission to ensure that Section 18 is not violated by this decision. The group also urged the wider community to take action as the potential Bill of Rights violation would pave the way for the people to take the case directly to the Grand Court to enforce the law.

The HRC has not yet spoken out directly regarding the port itself but it has offered its support to plans to enhance the marine parks protections and emphasised the importance of the environment and its protection in the Bill of Rights under section 18.

“The Human Rights Commission remains of the view that the Department of Environment and the National Conservation Council are taking positive, and necessary, steps to bring the National Conservation Law into effect and strongly supports this important process. The Commission encourages all members of the public to engage in the public consultation process on the enhanced marine parks,” the HRC said.

The local marine habitat is already under immense pressure and facing significant external as well as internal threats. In response, the government is, on the one hand, giving its blessing to DoE plans to extend legal environmental protections, while on the other hand, steering a path towards the largest deliberate destruction of live coral in Cayman history.

Section 18 of the “Bill of Rights, Freedoms, and Responsibilities” enshrined in the Cayman Islands Constitution, is dedicated to the “Protection of the Environment”. 
Section 18 (1) states: 
“Government shall, in all its decisions, have due regard to the need to foster and protect an environment that is not harmful to the health or well-being of present and future generations, while promoting justifiable economic and social development.
Section 18(2) states:
“To this end government should adopt reasonable legislative and other measures to protect the heritage and wildlife and the land and sea biodiversity of the Cayman Islands that – 
a) Limit pollution and ecological degradation
b) promote conservation and biodiversity; and
c) secure ecological sustainable development and use of natural resources 

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Category: Government Finance, Marine Environment, Politics, Science & Nature

Comments (82)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ha! These Kirk bots have gotten so good at hacking this news site that they can take my anti dock responses to pro dock comments and put them under other comments against the dock to make it look like I am also against the dock too. Sneaky bastards!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Think of the Turtle Farm. But much much worse in terms of drains of public finance. No, much much worse than that. Yes, that is the dock proposal. Huge huge risk for no guaranteed benefit.

    • Anonymous says:

      Odd that this comment had a heavy leaning towards “thumbs up” when I went to bed and then went the other way overnight. The Kirk-bots either don’t sleep or they are based in China.

  3. Anonymous says:

    CIG will not build this dock. They will build one but not this one. If you understand politics you will understand they have an opportunity to get re-elected by pleasing every one. Here is the plot. Say you building it, then later change to another plan. You have now keep the pro people on your side but also gain the anti people by saying we listen to the peoples voice. Win Win Win.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The sad thing out of this whole situation is the level even and especially with online media that continually throw the names and reputations of good people from both sides like it is nothing. There are amazing people and families that brought this island to where it is today over generations and they are on both sides of the argument.
    I really believe that this has been blown so far out of proportion that it is turning everyone crazy. I don’t think the whole ocean full of reef is goo g to disappear. I do think Cayman is I trouble if we don’t get some for of cruise dock built. I think there are ways to make the plans better for everyone, especially the Cayman people.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I hear people talking about conspiracy theories but has anyone been paying attention to the two facebook pages recently? The port group page has been climbing constantly over the last couple of weeks. It wouldn’t take too many of those 6000 followers to get a couple dozen thumbs in here.

    • Anonymous says:

      You can buy friends on Facebook. An over-representation of female friends is a good sign since the vast majority of fake “friends” have female identities.

      • Cathy Church says:

        The problem with voting on the dock issue on the pro-Dredging web site is that you can ONLY click on “Agree”. There is NO button for disagree. We are not anti cruise ships, we are anti DREDGING. Find a plan with less dredging!

  6. Anonymous says:

    My guess would be that the updated PWC biz case says exactly what is needed to justify the port. If it did not then there is no way that the Premier would come out into a public setting with the statement that the port is a go. We will all have a chance to see it, it don’t know why we haven’t either but it will come.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh yea…no way minister Alden would do something that flies in the face of good governance.. oh wait, never mind!

  7. Anonymous says:

    People keep looking past all of the environmental damage done every day because we don’t have docks. Those ships are stirring up water and running their power plant sized engines all day because they are not at a dock. Add those dozens of tender ships burning diesel all up and down the harbour and we are supposed to be getting green.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Minister Panton, please consider our jobs are how we feed our families. I understand you are in charge of both commerce and environment, and have to balance them. Remember this will only be .006% of our marine environment but as estimated in the PwC report without the dock the number of unemployed Caymanians will increase by 18%. That hurts our families. Only the Good Lord knows what that would do to crime rates.

    • Anonymous says:

      I really hope minister Panton reads this. He needs to think about his people.

      • Anonymous says:

        Mr. Panton probably spends many a sleepless night worrying about the plight of the many Eastern European jewellery salespeople on commission……

      • Anonymous says:

        I hope he is smart enough to realise that preserving our environment is what is best for our people and that the pro-port families are rich enough!

      • Anonymous says:

        Now the Kirk-bots are responding to their own posts. They are mutating and soon the entire world will be one huge watch shop.

      • Cathy Church says:

        I am glad that you agree that Minister Panton needs to think about his people and about the children who want to grow up in the same beautiful, clean environment at the harbour that their parents enjoyed. He needs to assure our cruise visitors of a nice holiday in our clear waters. He needs to tend to our future and our children’s future because when cruise ships decline, and the money goes away, the reef will not come back. He needs to look at the plans that do not require DREDGING.

        The dive industry has brought a LOT more jobs to this island since the 60s than one or two more cruise ships a week will bring. Three new hotels show the world’s interest in staying here and spending their money. How many more people do we need? Three hotels will provide us with tourists through out the week, not just Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays.

    • Anonymous says:

      The 18% figure is purest gibberish plucked from the enormous backside of a Carnival passenger.

      • Anonymous says:

        The number of UNEMPLOYED would increase by 18% if the dock is not built. That was calculated based using international standard practices by PwC.

        What do you think those hundreds of unemployed are going to think about when it is time to pay their rent? Maybe how their government let them down!

        They won’t be worrying about whether the expats have an extra dive site to play in.

        • Anonymous says:

          I suppose 18% of ZERO is still ZERO. There are no unemployed, just drunks, junkies, criminals and those that don’t want the many jobs that are available.

      • Calling a senior Partner at PWC the enormous backside of a Carnival passenger is a trifle harsh.

  9. Anonymous says:

    My understanding on the tender fees being raised a couple years ago was due to how high gas prices had gotten. If gas is falling they must really be making a killing.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Everyone keeps talking about the businesses that rely on cruise being money centered but the local TV station even has a clip showing Cathy Church talking about keeping her job and business. There are financial motivators on both sides of this thing. The tender boats want their money, the Divers want their money, any business that works with cruise is fighting for their business.
    Government needs to do what is right for the country, jobs for its people, revenue for public projects etc. Keep on moving CIG.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Those voting bots at it again, I know for a fact that not that many people are against the pier.

  12. Anonymous says:

    What seems to be becoming a central theme in the information pushed by the Save Cayman group is an “upgrade the tenders or nothing” message.
    It seems as though as the end is near the final end game and tell of motive is becoming louder and louder from them each day.

    • Pat Richardson says:

      I don’t know about “upgrade the tenders or nothing”, but if it’s “destroy the reef and spend $300,000,000 or nothing”, I choose “nothing”! Dump the dock!

      • Anonymous says:

        The pro dock voting bots out as usual. Only financially interested parties, very few compared to the masses and very few employing Caymanians think this is a good idea. Doing whatever they can to ramp up publicity on here, Facebook, etc.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Somebody please stop the pro-port lobby from hacking every article on this subject…….
    Again for the record…The pro-port lobby has already been caught red handed in hacking public forums….

  14. Pro Environment says:

    If you check out Save Cayman’s page they have the emails up from the tender company to the cruise ship. They make $5.50 per person back in 2012. If you take the same number even if their fees haven’t increased they would take in $29,700.00 every time the Oasis ship came here. On those $20k cruiser days that means they take in $110,000.00 !!!!!!!
    IN ONE DAY!!!!!!
    If that was my business I would be fighting fist over foot to make sure Cayman NEVER got a dock!
    At 1.9m people next year they are scheduled to take in $10,450,000.00!!!!!!
    A little incentive to keep the status quo that is my friend.

    Some times freedom of information can be a good thing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hell yeah. Looks like we need to save Cayman from Save Cayman.

    • Shirley Smart says:

      I don’t care how much they make, but I DO care about throwing 300,000,000 dollars of OUR MONEY at a dock that is unnecessary and will destroy an important part of our ecosystem!

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t you hate it when people make more than you? Love counting other people’s money rather than trying to earn your own, ‘cos frankly, you haven’t got the brain to do so? Prepared to screw Caymans reefs to feed your jealousies? Where are the Westbay ladies now? This is much more important heritage than Westbay road, and not a peep

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s not mathematics, it’s Macamatics. Twist and turn everything worse than a church goer on LBGT rights…

    • cathy Church says:

      The tender money STAYS in Cayman. It employs Caymanians and of course rarely do all people get off the ship. With the dock, you LOSE that money to whoever pays for the dock. That money now leaves the island and no one is employed running or fixing the tenders, etc. You simply take away an industry. There is no gain to the island. IF more people get off the ship and IF people increase their interest in shopping, that money goes to the top guys as just more profit. They do not hire Caymanians very often to sell stuff. NAME ONE JOB that this port will create that is not already available to a Caymanian by simply displacing a less qualified permit holder.

  15. Pro Environment says:

    Taking this same constitutional requirement, the Cruise Berthing Facility is a must do.

    Going to your point on CIG to “foster and protect an environment that is not harmful to the health or well-being of present and future generations” also “Limit pollution and ecological degradation”

    Building the cruise berthing facility will have the following beneficial effects:

    Existing Cargo port offshore navigational hazard is removed preventing ship grounds and ship damages entering or departing the cargo port.

    Anchoring and anchoring damages from cruise ships in the marine environment is greatly reduced.

    Diesel Fuel consumption and carbon footprint of tendering is eliminated in summer and reduced 50% in winter between 30,000-60,000 lbs/day of carbon per cruise ship day

    Diesel Exhaust emissions from tenders eliminated in summer and reduced to 50% in winter

    Depending on ship size berthing ability will reduce cruise ship burn by 800,000 – 1,000,000 lbs/day of carbon per cruise ship for all four cruise ships berthed.

    Amount of fuel saved roughly equates to around 72,000+ diesel cars on the road in Cayman driving to and from work (round trip) each cruise ship day.

  16. Anonymous says:

    The reporting on the Port has gotten steadily worse but this one really catapults biased reporting into a whole new stratosphere.

    Firstly, do you really think that Alden McLaughlin would have made the decision to move to the next stage on his own, without the benefit of knowing whether his Cabinet colleagues would be supportive?

    To say that the Cabinet has no alternative in the wake of the Premiers announcement is laughable and totally ridiculous. They all have a voice and a vote and I would bet my bottom dollar Alden would not have gone out on this particular limb without his Cabinet colleagues being there with him.

    Then we have Wayne Panton being heralded for his stance about damage to the marine environment, which should also be no surprise to anyone given that he is Minister for the Environment. But it’s funny there’s no mention of the fact that the same Wayne Panton has also said that publically that while he is concerned about the environment, he also accepts that development has to take place.

    When the development is justified, the damage to whatever natural environment has to be considered and minimized as much as possible. Minister Panton has NOT said he is against all development in favour of protecting the environment, neither has he said that the level of risk in this particular case is unjustified.

    As for the last ditch appeal to the HRC, what exactly are the ‘Concerned Caymanians’ expecting them to do? Section 18(1) of the Bill of Rights states that Government shall have due regard for the environment…. while promoting justifiable economic and social development.’ When the OBC is released we will all get to judge whether this development is justifiable, but I’m sure Government wouldn’t have taken the decision to proceed if the OBC had said otherwise.

    Section 18(2) goes on to say that Government should adopt reasonable legislative and other measures to protect the heritage ….. and sea biodiversity of the Cayman Islands.”
    Not that long ago folks complained that Government is going too far to find out about all kinds of mitigation options. Doesn’t that speak to the fact that they are trying to adopt reasonable measures? No really, doesn’t it?

    Come on CNS. We the people elected this Government to make decisions on our behalf. When they don’t take decisions, we complain we put them there to act on our behalf and nothing’s happening. When they DO take action, we still complain because they’re actually doing something. Bottom line, if we don’t like the decisions they make, we will change them when the time comes, but for now, let’s try to remember they are the only ones that have the benefit of ALL of the information. Therefore the decision to proceed is based on what they already know!

    Stop the incessant stirring CNS. We will ALL find out why this decision was arrived at when the OBC is made public. In the meantime, please let the Government get on with doing the job we are paying them to do.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good job Kirk-Bot!

    • B. Hurlstone says:

      That’s a well-thought-out comment, Mr. Anonymous…. or should I say “Mr. Bot”? I like the way you mix truth and fiction. Gives us something to think about. First of all, I appreciate the effort CNS is putting out trying to prevent a disaster from happening. I sure hope they are able to convince Caymanians that the dock is a bad deal for all but a select few and will not help the rest of us. In fact, it will create great change in the environment that will detract from the beauty that attracts our visitors……… the ones that spend the most money and helps pay the salaries of our fearless leaders! Let us not forget that some of it will even help pay for removing Mount Trashmore. Won’t that be great!

      I’d like to also comment on the Government making decisions on our behalf. In a few words: They don’t! Most of us are old enough to know that 98% of politicians put themselves above anything and everything…… which means the people that elected them are not at the top of the list for anything.

    • Anonymous says:

      The constitutional challenge could easily lead this silly plan to fall to piece much like the Beef Island proposal.

      • Anonymous says:

        Agreed, a constitutional challenge is in order here. With the Beef Island and Great Guana Bay legal challenges, have also come international supporters, including Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Global Coral Reef Alliance, to name the main ones.

    • Anonymous says:

      You, sir are a liar.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey, my new watch just quit!

  17. Cache Refresh KF.KY says:

    The Kirk-bots will be stirred out of “sleep mode”
    Cache refresh ready. Check.
    Kirk-bots ready. Check.
    Operation Thumbs re-commence in 3-2-1-Go!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Dear PPM

    Why is this a big secret? Where is the transparency?

  19. Anonymous says:

    If McKeeva Bush had pulled this sort of stunt the Progressives would be pushing for a formal investigations and abuse of public office charges to be laid. How is this any different when the books are being cooked to justify destruction and a project Cayman cannot afford? Conflicts of Interests have been the accepted modus operandi of government from the first day with the port authority appointments and this proposal. Where is the Auditor General’s office to review every aspect of the most expensive capital works project on the history of the Cayman Islands before the environmental and economic disaster is confirmed?

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman needs to forget about mckeewa bush and get on with our lives.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr Bush unilaterally decided to proceed with a docking facility with the Chinese,without an EIA or public input. It was only the UK Government insisting that we apply our own laws, and abide by the framework for fiscal responsibility that put a stop to him. That is the good, short story. He also made deals with other contractors previously, and left us holding the bag for the costs, while claiming that we could recover this through “intellectual property” rights. Right.

  20. Anonymous says:

    The OBC does not help make a definitive positive case for the ppm decision to move forward when you compare version one to the current version than has gone thru substantive redrafts by PWC.

    Why do you think it hasn’t been made public yet because it doesn’t say exactly what they need it to say ask the CO of the Ministry of Tourism and Moses Kirkonnell

  21. Anonymous says:

    All of the job data that has been used by Cayman’s Port Cayman’s Future has come straight out of the report produced by PWC.
    Seeing as PWC is one of the largest accounting firms in the world if you have a problem with the data you should speak to them. I’m sure they can defend their work. I also believe that if you ask the Pro port group to justify their numbers they would be able to point you to the source.

  22. Brad Smith says:

    Is that the view from the dump top observation deck?

  23. Anonymous says:

    CNS thank you for sharing the documents on the FOI request.

    I see that the tenders were making $5.50 per person in 2012. Can you confirm if they have had an increase from that?

    I also think I see where the negotiations on the possibility of tendering the Oasis/Allure broke down:

    The very last point says “Other 1) An additional item that RCCL wanted was 50% reduction in tender fees”

    I can imagine that is exactly where the conversation ended.

  24. Anonymous says:

    This Government is XXXXX so confident that they are untouchable that our wonderful Premier is not even afraid to publically announce decisions that Cabinet has not even yet officially made. This is a disgrace it is an abomination and it is time for a complete overhaul of our Government!!! We must throw out all these good for nothing old ministers and install an entirely new Government!!!

  25. Anonymous says:

    .006% of our marine environment would be affected. But a much larger percentage of Caymanians.

  26. Anonymous says:

    The HRC is there to protect humans. Not coral. Get a grip on life, people’s livelihood’s should be way more important than a small amount of coral, that are rarely dived.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Well said!

  28. Scarlet O'Harbour says:

    We will continue to tweak the OBC until the Kirk-Minions are happy……

  29. Anonymous says:

    I find it funny how the pro port lobby says how many jobs will be created by this port? Chris Kirkconnell came on this very forum to say that the majority of caymanians they employ, work in the back offices.

    So answer me this. IF this dock cause a serious increase in their business (which has yet to be proven), WHY would this cause them to employ more accountants/secretaries??

    When your revenue numbers increase you don’t hire more back office. The same accountants just punch bigger numbers in their calculators, the same inventory managers just order more merchandise and the same owners put more money in their pockets. Trickle down is a lie. Just look at the income gap increase in America as an example.

    I wish they would stop with all this “it will create caymanian jobs” nonsense.

    • Anonymous says:

      You must not be a very well versed business person. Every part of a business is scaled. If sales are up every department of the organization increases. More sales means more data entry, more accounting work, more IT needs, Increased logistics team, more work in after sales and of course more sales people. I don’t know their organization intimately but it is fairly basic to anyone that has owned a business.

      • Anonymous says:

        This is bollocks, all they do is squeeze existing workers to do more for the same money so they make more profit. That is the way of the world.

      • Cathy Church says:

        I am a business person, and regardless of sales, I have basically the same staff in the back. It is the front staff that must be increased or decreased as the number of customers changes.

    • Cass says:

      Exactly! This is true!

    • Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

      PPM version of good governance + transparency on display for all to see. LOL

      Just another day in Aburdistan

    • SwampCrab says:

      Exactly, as I said in the previous article: Jobs for who? I certainly do not see many Caymanians working in any of the businesses that would benefit. The vast majority of them are all permit holders who send their money elsewhere, contributing very little to the local economy….In essence, the government is planning to put the country in debt hundreds of millions of dollars, in order to destroy the environment, to save jobs for people who contribute nothing to Cayman, then when they hop on the plane and head home to live like kings, Cayman will be left with hundreds of millions of dollars of debt, a destroyed environment that no tourists will pay to see, and all to be paid for by Caymanians who are discriminated against in the workforce of their own country. Awesome Deal! And I second your comment about trickle down, for it is a bunch of shit, the permit holders in Cayman send out the amount of money in just 1 year that it would take to build this dock!

    • Anonymous says:

      You have whipped the Kirk-bots up into a frenzy.

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