32,000 people ask CIG not to dredge

| 05/11/2015 | 76 Comments
Cayman News Service

Tube Sponge on Balboa Reef (Photo by Courtney Platt)

(CNS): Local environmental activists opposing government’s plans to dredge George Town Harbour to make way for cruise berthing piers have collected almost 5,000 signatures on a local petition and more than 27,000 on an international one. That means more than 32,000 locals, residents and visitors are asking government not to destroy the marine environment. Organisers of the campaign against the piers have said they are disappointed with the cruise lines’ refusal to tender mega-ships and their “severe disregard” for the environmental concerns of a small island nation.

Save Cayman and Sustainable Cayman are partnering on the campaign to persuade government to take a different approach to cruise tourism in the face of the overwhelming opposition to dredging and reef destruction. They have called for an open and transparent assessment of the alternatives to dredging if the cruise lines cannot be persuaded that better shore-side facilities and security screening, as well as enhanced tenders can meet their needs, while avoiding damage to the harbour’s reefs, wrecks and wider marine environment.

After government confirmed last week that it would be pressing ahead to the next step of the cruise project, which is to discuss how to finance it, the activist groups issued a joint statement, saying they had serious concerns about the decision to go ahead, given the size of the opposition, illustrated by the petitions and the public consultation, which revealed the public was 3-1 against.

The activists pointed to the implications for government’s finances as well as the environmental concerns, as the project could run in excess of $300 million. In addition to the financial and environmental concerns, people are also worried about the impact on local infrastructure and overcrowding at the remaining attractions, with the resulting increase in passengers from more and bigger ships in one day, as well as the effect on stay-over tourism.

One of the major problems is that the number of passengers needed to justify the cost of the piers and support the findings of the outline business case could defeat the purpose of the project.

The increase in cruise passengers will not be spread evenly over the year or even over any given weekly timetable. The ships will still not come in greater numbers in the summer months but instead they will be coming en masse in the winter. George Town will still see many days with no ships at all but could then see one or two days of the week during high season with two mega-ships and two regular size ships at the piers and even more at anchor, putting immense pressure on the tourist attractions that are left after dredging.

The activists called on government to look again at non-dredging options if they cannot persuade the cruise lines and the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association of the great environmental threat and the need to reconsider enhanced tendering.

“If that is irrevocably off the table, we would like to see an open and transparent assessment of the potential options, demonstrating that preserving the reef and water clarity are considered first and foremost in any solution,” the activists said. ”We advocate a pier option that can be achieved with no dredging and minimal or no destruction of the marine environment of George Town harbour, including our coral reefs and the historic Balboa shipwreck.”

The activists also asked CIG to fairly assess alternatives put forward by developers and the consultants, including detached berthing piers in the deepest water possible, cable cars, floating docks, or a suspension bridge with moving walkways.

“If a cruise berthing facility must be constructed, we implore the government to carefully consider … and to implement a proposal that will eliminate dredging, with little to no destruction of George Town harbour’s ancient reefs,” the concerned groups stated. “It should also ensure that the long-term economic benefits of a project paid for by all, are widely distributed amongst Caymanians and not only for the benefit of a few.”

The local activists also called on their fellow Caymanians and especially registered voters concerned about the impact of the proposed development to sign the referendum petition (click here), which is more than halfway towards the target to trigger a people’s initiated referendum on the port project.

Anyone who wants to know more or get involved can also contact organisers of the campaign via email info@savecayman.org or the SaveCayman Facebook page.

Save cayman – Sustainable Cayman PRESS RELEASE Nov 2015

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Category: development, Local News, Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (76)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Build the cruise ship dock, it can only make Cayman better. Camana Bay, Ritz Carlton and many other project did. Caymanians need business and job opportunities.

    • Anonymous says:

      6:10, I couldn’t help but notice the 2 places you highlighted for Caymanian employment opportunities, great examples.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have now visited Falmouth Jamaica two times, the first time I chose to play it safe and stay near port. The second time I decided to go to the Rose Hall Hilton Hotel. While it was an expensive option for us, it did offer us something different to experience at this port. That said I still think that my least favorite port ever is Falmouth Jamaica, it just way too poor, and not friendly. There is a permanent feeling of not being safe, that just makes this too uncomfortable really enjoy.

    I would seriously suggest to you to just book one of the shore excursions that the cruise line offers when visiting this port. Here are a few of the ship excursions offered by cruise lines in Falmouth Jamaica.

    1700’s great house tour $25
    Aerial explorer bobsled and canopy adventure $139
    Bamboo Beach club $69
    Best of Falmouth Jamaica $99
    Bob Marley Experience $99
    Chukka ATV Safari $99
    Chukka Beach Break $29
    Dolphin Swim $155
    Dun River Falls $69
    Red Stripe Beach $24
    This is a personal view that will tell you the real reason tourist don’t go outside the port Falmouth .

  3. Anonymous says:

    So you’re saying that the cruise lines owned the busses , Boats, beaches, restaurants and other tourist attractions ? So if they are not spending, did you ask why? I think it’s not the ships fault. I believe the people need to look at their methods. Are they doing prebook with the ships company?
    I bet you other Jamaicans making money from those ships. Cause they always get half ,so they will promote business on the ship.

  4. Anonymous says:

    “”The AP published an article today regarding the plight of Falmouth. The world’s biggest cruise ships are sucking most of the money out of the Jamaican port and leaving little behind except crushed expectations of the local community.

    “World’s Biggest Cruise Ships Drop Anchor in Caribbean, But Ship-to-Shore Feud Brews Over Cash” takes a look at Royal Caribbean’s “development” of this historic port where it promised that if Jamaica spent a couple hundred million dollars building a deep water port for its monstrous ships the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas, the mostly U.S. passengers would each spend would over $100 ashore and infuse the local Jamaican economy.

    Jamaica lived up to its end of the bargain, at consideration damage to the mangroves and coral reefsAllure of the Seas – Royal Caribbean – Falmouth Jamaica around Falmouth. But the residents of Falmouth are seeing little money in return. The AP article quotes a local businessman saying: “We were promised that we’d be able to show people our Jamaican heritage, sell our crafts. But most of the tourists stay far away from the local people . . . we’re on the losing end.”

    I have been to Falmouth and feared that it would be another Royal Caribbean project that benefited the cruise line and exploited the local community. Three years ago I wrote an article critical of what I believed would be another Royal Caribbean scheme (like Labadee Haiti) to suck money from another Caribbean island and sail the loot back to the cruise line’s coffers in Miami – “Historic Port of Falmouth – Jamaica’s “Crapital” for the Oasis of the Seas.”

    I followed this article up with “Will Royal Caribbean Ever Live Up to Its Promises to Falmouth Jamaica?” Unfortunately, the people of Jamaica have a history of being exploited by foreign plantation owners, sugar barons, slave owners, and bauxite-mining companies. Royal Caribbean is the latest robber baron to appear as the country’s professed savior. But like other false prophets, it will do no better for Falmouth than those in the past who have taken greatly and given little in return to this beautiful island.

    The AP article says that the people in Falmouth are “growing angry” and predicts that things will only get worse, quoting a local vendor:

    “The pot is starting to boil and, trust me, it will boil over if things don’t change around here . . . why can’t we, the people who actually live here, make a living off the cruise ships, too?”

    The answer lies in history of the non-sustainable cruise industry. Poor Caribbean countries like Jamaica are beholden to selfish billion dollar U.S. based cruise corporations. In the end game, the local Jamaicans are victims of the exploitative cruise line system. “”

    • Anonymous says:

      The simple reason that the passengers don’t leave the port area, other than for a tour, in all the Jamaican ports is because they don’t feel safe. Anyone who has cruised to Jamaica would know why because the second you go through the gates the locals are all over you like a rash. It is the same in Ocho Rios and Montego Bay so many of the passengers stay on the ship, especially the older passengers, nobody understands why Holland America still goes there as most of the passengers are too scared to get off unless its for a tour, and even Dunns river falls has been rated the no.1 tourist trap in the Caribbean because to get back to the bus you have to walk through a swarm of locals thrusting their local arts aggressively in your face. I was on 1 cruise where 1 passenger was mugged at an ATM and another was held up at gun point for their jewelry in Ocho Rios. Jamaica has its problems, Royal was trying to help them but until the passengers feel safe, they won’t leave secure areas.

    • Moon River says:

      I wonder how many of these 32,000 are Caymanians, or even residents. It would appear that the foreigners have been working over time to get signatures. I say just get on with the dang thing, it has been promised to us for too long now. Too many broken promises in the past, we need action now, finally.

    • Anonymous says:

      Even Kirkbots might understand this one! Unlikely, I grant you, as they blindly push their own interests believing they will make millions, only to wake one day and realize that they not only sold out Cayman, but themselves too. But they won’t hear that of course…. You can’t fix stupid

  5. Anonymous says:

    Finally a glimmer of hope from the environmental mafia. Congratulations on the new potential approach to this development. Try working with government for the best, most appropriate design, which reduces the environmental damage, instead of being pure obstructionist.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why do you have to call them the “environmental mafia”. ? When did it become okay to denigrate people for wanting to protect the environment?

      • Anonymous says:

        “Sorry El cappo, I meant no disrespect….” would you prefer I use some other term similar to “kirkbot” to denigrate and strong arm people with a differing but valid opinion?
        There is nothing wrong with protecting the environment, but how about protecting the livelihood of the thousands who directly depend on cruise tourism to feed their families.
        There is no reason why both can’t be accomplished with a little compromise.
        I haven’t seen one comment from the port proponents advocating as much environmental damage as possible. But the other side wants no port at all. The proponents know a dock us needed and I’m sure would value true environmentalists coming forward with suggestions on how to accomplish that end in the best way possible – being a cruise port that caused as little environmental impact as possible while still being cost effective and efficient

        • Anonymous says:

          But they aren’t saying “no port”. They are asking the government to consider other alternatives so that the environmental damage can be reduced. You are assuming that this is only about saving the tender business. I think you’re wrong. While I’m sure they are a significant part of this movement, there are many more of us who are genuinely concerned about the long-term negative effects that dredging, etc. will have on our beautiful island. I am in no way connected to either the Kirks or the tender company. I, like countless others, just want what is best for ALL of Cayman. Why do you have to be so cynical and assume that we all have some ulterior

          • Anonymous says:

            You should read the original comment again. It’s basically in agreement with you. Support for the best port possible

      • Anonymous says:

        When they start using mafia-like tactics. Instead of co-operation and working for a balanced solution best for the island, they have tried to deceive people with false information and false facts, using smokescreens to act like their actual goal is not to save the tender company.

      • Maycow says:

        And why do you denigrate people for protecting their ability to feed their families.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m against the dock 100% but the next person that I hear say “Kirkbot” is getting a swift kick in the nuts!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    why are the kirkbots afraid of a referendum?????

    • Anonymous says:

      Which country have you seen hold referendum on their Infrastructure developments? This suggestion is ludicrous!

    • Anonymous says:

      we don’t have room for the 32000 foreign tree huggers who will be flown in to sign the referendum.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Since we’re counting the whole world how about the headline to this article should actually say “Seven Billion, two hundred and ninety nine million, nine hundred and sixty-eight thousand don’t sign petition!”

    • Anonymous says:

      Since we are reading you could have written something sensible 09.08, but you did not. Just to humour you, I could also point out that the same number also did not vote for the pier, a clear indication that they are against it. Unless you are saying the majority of the world (you and the 50 or so kirkbots excluded) are insane?

  9. Anonymous says:

    All you people can think about is the now and the immediate future, money is the only goal that you see and want. Yes it MIGHT bring money and an increase in tourism, but have you asked the next generation about their opinion on the matter? The ones who will actually be there when you finish the dock and possibly see a return? Have you asked the ones who will have to live with that decision that the previous generation made? You have to understand that it’s not the current CIG who will have to live with the decision on whether to dredge the waterfront, it’s my generation. No matter the decision it will ultimately affect me and my peers. I am not saying go forth with the dock or do not build the dock, but just want you to take into consideration my future as a Caymanian.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your concerns with the future of Cayman should be to upgrade your Country’s infrastructures. you guys got this reason backwards..to stop progress is to starve your future generations to come….no business will be here for those children you speak of.

      For example, should you guys had been around in the late 60s when Cayman started to dredge all those canals and marinas which took out our Environment, should you had stopped them then, do you realise what would have happened…. we would be cannibals by now. Give it a break, chill! nobody is going to destroy anything and have nothing left for our future generations, that phase is old and doesnt work.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Interesting that 5000 local only out of 55,000 in Cayman and 27,000 foreigners totalling 32,000 fools who have signed up for the Savemytenders campaign masquerading as Savecayman the environmental campaign supporting the man who only a few months ago completed the largest dredging project in North Sound in 20 years to improve access and business for his boat repair yard whilst using all the dredged fill for his residential development adjacent to his business, yet he mounts a campaign to stop all dredging for important infrastructure for the country in George Town and is now passing himself off as an environmentalist obstructing the port with propaganda for 5000 locals and 27,000 foreigners, most of who have never been to Cayman to follow him against dredging in George Town after he has completed his own dredging a few months ago. How can so many people be so naïve and fooled by this campaign to obstruct port in order to promote a tender business. SHAMEFULL.

  11. Mr Fixit says:

    Take the dump, throw it in the harbour and there you have it folks, two birds killed with one rock stone. A magic cruise pier that save us from certain demise and we get rid of dump that will otherwise remain there until all eternity. Environmentally balanced solution I’d say.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes dump thousands of tons of toxic waste into a delicate salt water Eco-system
      that a great idea. After that lets kill all the turtles and use there shells for ear rings, and skin all the blue iguanas for belts, you short sighted numb scull

  12. Anonymous says:

    Kirkbots all over this comments section.

    • Anonymous says:

      If by “kirkbots” you mean “the majority of Caymanians” then yeah you’re right. Save Cayman makes you feel like you have good support from all those overseas green peace sign ups

      • Anonymous says:

        8.59 Interesting take on the very visitors you want to encourage to cruise here, we will be sure to put that banner up to welcome them. Idiot. If you look what goes on here (piers included) and compared to what goes on in the more developed western world then it should come as no surprise that furreners generally get the issues and have no patience for the money bandits, hence not even your kirkbots can match the numbers, I mean, how long will it take both of you to give an pro-port article 32,000 likes? About a month full time? That’s why you not doing it…

  13. Anonymous says:

    When they went to the FCCA meeting in Cozumel ,they saw for themselves, how they offer diving next to the piers when ships are not there. The docks in Cozumel are on the windward side. For you landlubbers that means the wind and sea comes into the shore. So the ENVIRONMENT WAS FINE. The tender company has had more then 3 decades to put plastic curtains on so that the guests don’t get wet. They have never tried to put tents up for old or physically handicapped people in the sun. They collected upwards of 11 million dollars. They have never,never tried to do what was necessary in over 30 years. They are multi-millionaires with all the businesses they own in Cayman.
    If they start collecting a petition from all the customers who have had to wait in long, long lines while in the sun and rain . I think we could easily pass 100 of thousands of people signatures. The heavy rain that has been hitting this island for several days would easily pass 27,000 signatures. So please stop you’re embarrassing yourselves. Even the Governor has agreed with the dock , she is an intelligent person.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Ask them how many of those names are “mickey mouse” or “Bob marley” I bet you find a bunch of bogus online sign ups

    • Mickey Marley says:

      I don’t remember seeing any mickey mouse or Bob Marley names, but there seem to be a lot of kirkbots named Anonymous!

  15. Allar says:

    If this dock is not built it will be the end of the long rein of the Kirkconnell’s. They will go broke having to pay for all the vacant space it their buildings. Why do you all think Moses and his government doesn’t give a heck what we the people say. Wake up cayman

    • Anonymous says:

      They’d sell to Uncle Dart and be right as rain.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would rather see the Kirkconnell family succeed than Dart.

      • Anonymous says:

        to 8;37
        Thats the Cayman spirit…black crab mentality, the Kirkconnells been doing business in Cayman for over 100 years, they happen to be Caymanians, they deserve to make money in their business.

      • Anonymous says:

        I would rather Cayman succeed over both, but that doesn’t concern the kirkbots

    • Anonymous says:

      More like if the dock isnt built the Kirkconnels will sell and have millions and give up on Cayman. Sure without a dock the land probably loses some value but then dart has ci by its b@ll$ and it’s throat

    • Anonymous says:

      This is PPM government policy protecting one family’s interests at the expense of masses

      • Anonymous says:

        I think it is about time any Government take interest in our local businesses. we need the protection from any outside forces, including protection for the kirks.

    • Cass says:


  16. Anonymous says:

    Not to worry, CIG will need to go on a dredging expedition to find the cash before any real dredging takes place. Not to mention the begging and groveling expedition to the FCO. The Governor’s endorsement really means “go for it you fools, hang yourselves”.

    • Brain wave says:

      Hurry up and build …..everyone thought it was a great idea to have piers when the UDP was going to build it….but now that the PPM had followed a open and transparent process everyone thinks it’s a bad idea. But we will be so proud when the largest cruise ship in the world docks in a few years.

      The government has listened and will shift the piers and extend to deeper water…more money but we will save most of the coral.

      Build build ….We need the jobs and increased cruise passengers.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Those numbers are a joke. they have had about a half dozen of more different online petitions going over the last 4 months so I would guess most of those are all duplicates.
    Not to mention most have never stepper foot in Cayman in their life.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Somewhere along the line the group against the port are going to have to realize that the main support they have are not locals and definitely not voters.
    All I can see in their release is ways to try to get government to stall. They do this because they know that if they get things stalled we start the process all over again just as we have done for decades. It is a smart strategy but after how many millions of our money waste in previous failed attempts with the chinese and such are we going to allow before the country gets the solution it so badly needs. Quit playing around and just get the thing built already.

  19. Anonymous says:

    This is hilarious.
    If you go follow the petition page like I have there are hundreds of comments from people that even say they have never been to Cayman before. Save Cayman email blasted to every eco crazy group on the planet to try to get traction on this thing.
    The only thing they want in no dock at all plain and simple and there is only one reason they want that, they tender owner profit.

    • Anonymous says:

      So not having been here means they can’t have an opinion on the environment? Or having been here and wanting to keep the already endangered reefs safe from what is an absolutely unknown result is against your interest so therefore not right in your book? You have the intelligence of brick wall and managed to insult just about every potential visitor to these currently unspoiled islands. The very people you want to spend money here. Guess you were last in line when they were handing out the smarts.

  20. Anonymous says:

    It is a loosing battle because the money hogs want this and they will do whatever it takes to get there way. The hell with the environment, Money rules!!!!!

  21. Anonymous says:

    When I was a boy growing up in Cayman the entire South Sound land area was swamp. I remember a dredge spending years there bringing up what is now the most valuable real estate in Cayman from the sea bottom. Today and for very many years now nobody would ever guess that the sea bottom in this area is not 100 percent as mother nature made it and it is still one of the very best snorkling areas in all of Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      Obviously 32,000 people, the large majority of whom have very likely never even set foot on Cayman, and couldn’t possibly care less about our future, or our economy, have absolutely no knowledge whatsoever regarding the long term effects of dredging.

    • Anonymous says:

      The thumb down responses to this comment can only possibly be in ignorant self interest. South Sound is there for the whole world to see. Go take a look, folks.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Ah Democracy! These kirkbots are a damned nuisance.

  23. Anonymous says:

    So we are to listen to what around 8% of the people in Cayman want and 27k out of a world of around 4 billion people. LMAO!! Everyone complained when the dock wasn’t going to get built and now they cry that it is. Employment is bad now, see what will happen without he new piers. There is no right way to do this, just imagine if in 10 years the only ships that come here are the ones we have today which by then will be old and outdated and oh guess what, big spenders don’t go on old ships, they go in the nice new ones which will be too big to come here if the dock isn’t built.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Why doesn’t this government provide some leadership?
    Develop Cayman as a small cruise ship destination where the huge ships are not considered desirable. A special country that chooses their environment over development into just another Caribbean destination and who focus their energies on dealing with pressing island issues such as the dump instead of a pier.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because if they did that town and Caymanians jobs would be gone. You’re still have the balboa wreck and a tiny bit of coral in the harbour but everyone would be starving

      • Anonymous says:

        Drama queen. No one starving now and we don’t have the dock. The more desperate the kirkbots get the more stupid their claims.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Still trying to find out if this is a very recent picture of the coral or its long ago picture????

  26. Anonymous says:


  27. Anonymous says:

    but can’t compete with 70-80 kirkbots…..

    • Anonymous says:

      or 27,000 people from overseas. How many have any ties to Cayman?

      Locally only 5,000 out of a population of 50+ thousand.

      • Tom S. says:

        Many of them have “ties” to Cayman; either through birth, marriage or as a tourist. If you don’t think those that pay to come to Cayman have a “tie”, think again.

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