Minister: Cruise lines must pay for port

| 29/01/2016 | 62 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cruise ships and tenders in the George Town harbour, Grand Cayman

(CNS): The actual cost of constructing the proposed cruise berthing facility in George Town remains a mystery but whatever the bill, it will not be paid by the Cayman Islands Government, according to Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell, who said Wednesday that the cruise lines must bear the responsibility for the cost of the piers. As Cabinet awaits the revised design of the proposed dock, which aims to lessen the huge marine damage that the previous plans predicted, Kirkconnell is still driving the project forward, maintaining that government has an obligation to create an environment in which tourism stakeholders can make money.

Justifying the project, which has polarised the community and does not have full public support, the minister told the press at a tourism briefing that the increase in cruise passenger numbers in 2015 to 1.7 million, up from a low point in 2013 of around 1.3 million, supported the need for piers. He said that last year an additional $51 million was injected into the economy because of the increase in numbers, claiming that passengers spend an average of $110 on shore here in Cayman.

The minister said that the main goal was to ensure the Cayman government was not going to be picking up the bill for this very costly project, with estimates ranging from US$200-350 million. “The piers cannot pose a financial risk to Cayman,” Kirkconnell said. “We are looking hard at how the financial package will be structured so the burden doesn’t fall on government.”

The minister dismissed the idea that the cruise sector would undermine the growing and increasingly successful overnight tourism sector if the piers were built or that the arrival numbers would still be heavily concentrated in the winter months.

Kirkconnell said the way his ministry was dealing with overnight tourism was different to cruise tourism but government must provide opportunities for both. Pointing to the revitalisation of George Town, with cruise berthing at its heart and hopes that for more attractions and that passengers will also go further east on tours, he said the piers would remove the uncertainty of the cruise industry future and allow for investment.

The minister said the business case for cruise visitors was capped off at 2.3 million but the goal was to avoid the peaks and troughs of the season. Joey Hew, the backbench councillor in the tourism ministry, said that since the cruise ships would be paying for the piers, it would make no sense for them not to spread out the calls in future, thereby avoiding situations where several ships would be in port one day and none the next.

Echoing this sentiment, Kirkconnell explained that the Department of Tourism had been very successful in pushing overnight tourism business into the shoulder months on either side of the high season. This was also the goal for the cruise project, he said, and they were working with the cruise lines to level out the numbers across the year.

However, other industry stakeholders have warned that this will not happen because during the summer months the ships cannot call as they are not in the region, and there is a very real danger that the congestion in the high season would undermine any potential increase in business for the downtown retailers, who would still face empty stores in the low season.

Undaunted, the minister said the growth in concentration of locals in the taxi, tour and watersports sectors catering to cruise passengers illustrated the need for the piers. He said that most Caymanians in the tourism business did not work with the hotels but depended on the cruise ships for their livelihood and downturns in passenger numbers hit locals more.

The minister claimed that the government was not ignoring how an increase in cruise passenger numbers would impact the country and its attractions holistically. “But with luck and God’s help, it will work,” he said.

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

Comments (62)

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  1. Sharkey says:

    On the subject of cruise ship dock, I think that we should have trust in our Government and believe in it , but politicians make up the Government. We have to remember that when Government go in these kind of deals, they don’t care or come to the voters or friends or supporters for advice or imputed on the deal , they just do it to say I did it , or do it for someone else or self intrest. This is where we have to so watchful of our Government / politicians to make sure that when something like this is done for the benefits of everyone and the Islands .

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m just happy to hear that the government is keeping up the work to make Cayman better and help us grow. We badly need this dock. Anyone tat says different had never worked on the dock or with the tourists. It is an absolute shame the situation we put our visitors in right now.

  3. Anonymous says:

    i have been listening to this for past 7 years….when we were first told that we needed a dock or else the cruise ships would stop coming…..
    how comes right now we have record cruise arrivals…with no dock?
    maybe cayman should forget the dock and maximise the experience for the existing cruise customers…market itself as a luxury exclusive cruise destination?

  4. Anonymous says:

    “But with luck and God’s help, it will work,” he said

  5. Sharkey says:

    Read all the comments on this subject and others , I find it applauding that some of the comments are so much of subjects, and some don’t have a clue on how to deal with the problems of the subject matter, but because of my friend is mentioned in the matter some people go out to defend him or her even though when him or her is wrong . Why are people like that ?
    I think that we should look at all the pro’s and con’s , and look at both sides of the coin before we decide what the coin is .

    • Conscience says:

      How does this statement make sense “Undaunted, the minister said the growth in concentration of locals in the taxi, tour and watersports sectors catering to cruise passengers illustrated the need for the piers. He said that most Caymanians in the tourism business did not work with the hotels but depended on the cruise ships for their livelihood and downturns in passenger numbers hit locals more”

      The fact is that the growth and concentration referred to comes from the new increase in tourism numbers without piers, therefore to say that they need piers is a very shaky argument at best. As it stands today, the tourists by sea and by air are jammed in one two attractions and there is a dea serious need for more attractions to come into play to provide a better experience for the visitors, not the overcrowding in one two locations as it is today. There has to be a plan for locations my scheduling of times, consideration of traffic routes, pedestrianization and a myriad of other issues which no one in the Tourism Ministry or elsewhere is taking about. Lastly, there must be trained personnel ( caymanians) that are able to act as guides, policing the area and generally helping to provide a first class experience . Do we need piers to have a better than they Service excellence?

      If the Cruise ships are to pay for the piers are they doing it out of the kindness of their hearts , don’t think so. The Minister needs to start talking about what the Country is going to give up and how much and when. How can these people be so bold as to make these outlandish statements without substance. Come on now the country can’t run on luck Mr. Minister.

  6. Kman says:

    We don’t need a new port rather we have to redevelop the airport and change the outlook of our tourism target market. Having a few more 60-100 room 4 star boutique hotels/ Inns would be ideal. Revitalize George town an create Cardinal Avenue as a high end shopping street, add more bistros/cafes, Old AL Thompson building could be turned into to a 8 storey upscale mall with offices and condos. stayover tourist is key to our long term product and cruise lines such as Silversea, Seabourn and Regents are who we should be targeting not Carnival.

    • Anonymous says:

      Before talking about something g you obviously know nothing about go and count the total number of passengers possible with those lines you mentioned. No where could survive on 2 ships a month

  7. Fun33 says:

    If the cruise lines are going to put their money anywhere they should concentrate on Cuba. If Cayman wants tourist dollars let them build their own dock. We cruise 4-5 times every year and have not gotten off in the Cayman’s for years – just not worth the inconvenience of the tender – we are not alone – these are always a considerable number of passengers who choose to stay on board over the tenders. Cuba has so much more to offer frequent cruisers who are looking for NEW Caribbean destinations.

  8. Allar says:

    You can always tell when the PPM wagon is in motion there is all likes or dislikes. Well regressive supporters let me tell you all ppm is the poorest government this country has ever had. Arden for Premier!!!!

  9. g says:

    He must be listening and taking lessons from Donald Trump. good for you minister.

  10. ORACLE says:

    How can the FCO allow any developer or the cruise lines to have an ownership in strategic assets like the Cayman Islands Port or Airport?

    The risks are too great given the UK’s “Contingent liabilities”. What about security concerns who is ultimately responsible if something goes wrong?

    • Anonymous says:

      5;53 most developed countries dont own their airport or seaport, heathrow airport and 6 other uk airports are owned and operaed by an international group led by the spanish ferrovial group,how does that grab you.

  11. Anonymous says:

    What, the tooth fairy wasn’t available.

  12. Sharkey says:

    Peter Milburn is correct, if the cruise line build that dock , government would make so many concessions in the agreement, no taxi driver, no bus opperator, no store , no charter boats would never be needed to make a dollar of those ships. Mr Moses spend what money government has on the dump and the Airport , and forget about the cruise ship dock .

  13. Pharaoh says:

    Moses intends to part the reefs! What a disaster?

  14. Anonymous says:

    This is the only government I trust to make sure the dock is built for Caymanians. All the other governments before all had a whole new town being built on the water. This one will make the least ocean damage and the best economic benefit for our capital. Everyone else had lined pockets and this one will make sure the honest way is done. Congrats ppm. Even if other projects before weren’t perfect this one 8 finally going the right way.

    • Conscience says:

      Hanahahaha is your Kool Aid yellow or orange jiji

    • SSM345 says:

      7.51, have you ever spoken with Captain Obvious? He just asked me to shoot you a message, here it is:

      “If the Cruise Companies build the dock, they will own it and make every penny off it until the cows come home, you are completely off your rocker if you think that Caymanians will make anything.”

  15. Have said this before and will say again.If the Cruise folks build this dock we will be in their debt pretty much forever.They will more than likely want to control the land side of things as well.Shops etc.If one cruise line(Carnival owns quite a percentage)then it should be interesting to see which ships will be using the dock and will they stop at just 4 ships in port at any one time.Again I mention the word(s)find out what a sensible CARRYING CAPACITY for the island will be.first before entering into any agreement with them.If this is not ironed out at the start then it will be even more chaotic on our already congested roads.Seems like greed has already settled in when it comes to some of those Taxi(bus)drivers BUT NOT ALL are hell bent on driving down the middle lane and doing suicidal u turns just to pick up that extra fare most times without indicating.Its quite scary to see how these guys/gals drive.
    This will be quite an interesting time as we watch and wait to see what happens re the dock.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just because you only do 4 to 8 diver trips and can survive on bare minimum bombers doesn’t mean that larger numbers are not needed by everyone else.
      This dock will helps hundreds of families to make a living instead of big held back because two gys want to protect their tender boat monopoly.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I was worried that with all the other foolishness going on that PPM was going to commit suicide and stop the dock too.
    The only way PPM gets back in is if they make sure the dock gets built!

  17. Anonymous says:

    He is absolutely right. We must ask for God’s guidance and blessing in everything we do. God has blessed this island and Thanks to people like Moses Kirkconnell we will keep God in our country no matter how much others don’t want him there.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Moses has the business sense to run this island and demonstrates it every day and in every project he touches. Airport is moving forward, runway will be extended for stayover, cruise dock in place to solidify george town. All we need to do now if get him in charge of the dump and we good.

  19. Anonymous says:

    A cruise line will only pay for this if they have a monopoly on it’s use and operation. Having said that (and I’ve posted this before) I can still see Carnival moving in on this if those conditions are met and I bet it won’t cost them anything like US$200million – that’s the CIG rate. They also won’t be handing out any favours or kickbacks to the chosen few, anyone who contracts for the job will do the work under their terms and they’ll have effective penalty clauses in place to make sure of that.

    • Anonymous says:

      If they have to pay for it, they should be able to own it. If Carnival puts up all of that money alone, I don’t see why they shouldn’t be allowed to dictate who gets to dock there and how much to collect in docking fees.

      Hopefully this dock will help prevent more losses of reef as well

    • Anonymous says:

      How is a comment like this trolling? Explanations would be appreciated.

  20. Fred the Piemaker says:

    Definition of “magical thinking” in Mosby’s Medical Dictionary:

    “(in psychology) a belief that merely thinking about an event in the external world can cause it to occur. It is regarded as a form of regression to an early phase of development. It may be part of ideas of reference, considered normal in those instances, or may reach delusional proportions when the individual maintains a firm conviction about the belief, despite evidence to the contrary. It may be seen in schizophrenia.”

    If the Minister continues to assert that the cruise lines will pay for the piers, despite not having a single indication from them that they are prepared to do so, or money will somehow magically arrive to pay for these piers, or even that the cruise lines will suddenly start spreading their passenger loads across the summer months even though the reason they do not currently do that is that there is limited demand and their ships are deployed elsewhere, then the Minister and Mr Hew may want to consult a doctor.

  21. Anonymous says:

    yawn…the usual waffle…..

  22. Anonymous says:

    let dart do it….

  23. Anonymous says:

    like everything else…the ppm will do nothing on the port isuue except talk, talk, talk….

  24. Anonymous says:

    If he calls it in the Good Lord’s name then all of a sudden every preacher in the land will take up the pro-port fight and alelujah the people will be on side. From a personal point of view, with God’s help the self interested and severely conflicted people trying to get this done by ramrodding it down Cayman’s throat will get their comeuppance in short order. Whilst a slight exaggeration its like Hitler telling the German people that God was on their side whilst they slaughtered 6 million Jews.

  25. Anonymous says:

    With luck and God’s help he and his SAAB 340 disaster will be voted out next election.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think that you meant to say the “Moses SAD 340 Story”, no Operations Manuals, inadequate ground handling equipment (air conditioner), inadequate air conditioning while flying, Caymanian pilots do not want to fly the plane, no onboard Auxiliary Power Unit (APU)….. a SAAD Moses story.

      Every time Minister Moses talks about the SAAD story it is a different story because he is not telling us all of the SAAD truth!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Your imaginary friend can not save you or this awful project to destroy 1000+ year old reefs.

  27. Iggy says:

    Really – we are going with luck and God’s help in a gamble for the future well being of the country and the generations to come??? If that’s the case, God help us all!!!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Thank the good Lord we have a government that keeps plugging away for Cayman. Mr. Moses I’m glad we have someone like you cause it seems like you are going to keep working for us that voted you and ppm in to office. Keep your chin up from criticism and keep doing a good job.

  29. SSM345 says:

    “But with luck and God’s help, it will work,” he said.

    So Government is ignoring facts and is banking on some magic from a man who lives in the clouds prior to embarking on the biggest project in this Country’s history?

    We are screwed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Great, so everything is down to chance and the wishes of an imaginary deity of which there are 4000 other imaginary deities.
      Sounds like a shot in the dark and I have to ask, with this result, how do politicians earn their money?

  30. Anonymous says:

    Minister Kirkconnell is the only person in the current government that is making any progress for Cayman and Caymanians.

    I applaud Mr. Kirkconnell for all of his efforts and for putting Caymanians first. Keep up the good efforts and I pray the government keeps moving forward.

    • Anonymous says:

      @29/1 12:04pm The Minister is part of a team, without team support no Minister or backbench MLA can accomplish anything. If the piers get built, or the airport is expanded or if the dump is fixed (or not fixed) the PPM as a group will get the credit or blame.So please stop trying to divide and defeat the PPM by trying to cause friction between Ministers.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Methinks the Minister doth inflate the figures…which in turn causes Kirkbots to follow suite…

  32. Anonymous says:

    “But with luck and God’s help, it will work,” he said.
    Luck & God!
    This is how he wraps up his business argument????

    I think I’ll just go out and start a new business, become a multi millionaire by the end of the year and retire all thanks to Luck and God.

    Amen

  33. ALL SEEING EYE says:

    “The proof of the pudding is in the eating”

  34. PPM Butterball Voter says:

    Hahahahaaha The PPPM Bwoy and their wishful thinking

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