Absence of DoE stumps minister’s panel

| 27/09/2018 | 193 Comments
Cayman News Service

Attendees at the tourism ministry’s port meeting

(CNS): Many questions posed by the public at Wednesday night’s meeting about the controversial cruise berthing facility related to the environment, as well as who is bidding and who is paying. But the panel assembled by the tourism ministry were, in many cases, stumped by the questions. In a meeting lasting five hours, dozens of the more than 400 people who attended were seeking answers that were not provided, as the decision by the tourism ministry to remove the department of the environment from the steering committee and have no representative from that agency at the meeting left attendees frustrated.

Alongside Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell, Chief Officer Stran Bodden, Acting PACI Director Joseph Woods, Cayman Turtle Centre Managing Director Tim Adam, and Max Jones and Peter Granger from the Central Procurement Office were joined by two representatives from the cruiselines, David Candib from Carnival and Miguel Reyna from Royal Caribbean — which proved controversial because both of those companies are involved in a consortium bid that has made it to the final three.

The former chair of the National Conservation Council, Christine Rose Smyth, made her skepticism of the minister’s claims about caring for the environment clear when she pointed to comments made by the premier about the National Conservation Law being ridiculous and plans to gut the legislation, which has still not been fully implemented. She said government had failed to implement the marine conservation enhancements and misused the Environmental Protection Fund, which is made up of money taken from tourists, including cruise visitors.

Smyth raised a number of questions about the impact on reefs and what she called the “poster child for failed coral relocation” in Falmouth, Jamaica, where a cruise pier project has decimated the marine habitat and the local people have failed to see any benefit. But the panel fell far short of addressing the concerns.

Katrina Jurn, another environmental expert and a leading activists involved in the call for a referendum, as well as a cross-section of people involved in the tourism industry had concerns about the environmental damage. But most questions were left hanging, as the panel members conferred and chatted among themselves without coming up with answers.

On a number of occasions, Jones and Granger hastily sought to find answers as they thumbed through the original EIA published more than three years ago relating to an entirely different design. Claims by the representatives of the procurement office that the final preferred bidder will take responsibility for mitigating the environmental damage and undertaking all of the necessary studies created further concerns.

Questions about how the silt and sediment will be managed and monitored, not just throughout the construction but also from the arrival and departure of the mega ships for the life of the development, were not addressed. Jones and Granger appeared to indicate that environmental concerns would be monitored and strict protections would be part of the conditions for a contract, but there was no indication that the government has much of an idea how badly the wider marine environment will be impacted.

People openly expressed frustration about the presentation before the Q&A session, which they believed lacked substance and proved to be a repeat of the minister’s speech in the Legislative Assembly earlier this month, a revisit of the history of the process over the last five years and some promotional soundbites from the cruise lines. Audience members said on a number of occasions they had come to the meeting to hear the facts “but we are left frustrated” because question had not been answered.

Who is going to do the project and how it will be paid for were among other poignant questions that were left unanswered, as Bodden insisted that naming the bidders would “compromise the process”, but there was no explanation why simply identifying the bidders would do that.

Johann Moxam, one of the co-coordinators of the call for the referendum, pressed for details on the economics and questioned why the cruise lines were on the panel when they are both involved in a consortium bid known as Verdant Isle, which CNS understands includes local general contractor McAlpine and a well known international marine engineering firm.

Despite demands from members of the audience, who pointed out that public money will ultimately finance this project, the ministry refused to answer questions on bidders and the financing model. The minister also refused to say how much over the $200 million estimate or “the range of potential costs” the government is prepared to go to and still press on with the project, as he simply seemed unaware of a significant amount of important details about the project.

The estimated price tag is understood not to include any of the issues relating to environmental mitigation, the necessary geological and environmental studies that still must be conducted, or the proposed coral relocation.

The question of how, given the company’s global reputation, China Harbour Engineering Company has found itself on to the list of the final three bidders was also a place where the government did not want to go, even though several people pressed the issue.

Mervin Smith, an unsuccessful West Bay candidate at the last election, was one of several pushing the panel to explain how a government that says it has the best interests of the people at heart was prepared to allow them to bid. But Bodden repeatedly insisted that the panel would not answer any questions about the bidding process or the bidders involved, though they did not deny that CHEC is on the short list.

The details of how the project will be financed were also unexplained, with the minister and his chief officer pointing to the final part of the bidding process as the time when the actual financing model, including the rearrangement of fees, will be calculated to cover the cost of the project.

The cost was raised by a number of younger audience members, who drove home the point that they will be the ones paying the fees and taxes of the future to pay for it, even as government was failing to demonstrate where the benefits were.

Although very little new information emerged at the meeting, there were some shifting justifications which did not go unnoticed by the audience. The government has persistently stated that the main motivations are accommodating the future class of mega cruise ships so the cruise lines don’t drop Cayman from their itineraries, and keeping the ships here longer and increasing passenger numbers.

But given the arrangement of the piers and the small number of large cruise ships that will be plying the Caribbean over the next decade, it appears that the government is actually seeking to achieve similar visitation numbers as those we have at present but with less ships.

Also, recent claims by Kirkconnell during the LA debate earlier this month that ships could stay for as much as eight hours was reduced to five hours. And the panel struggled to explain why the outline business case clearly states that having berthing facilities will not reduce the time it takes to get people on and off the ship as it does currently with the tendering while claiming that the passengers will be onshore for at least an hour longer.

Several people who make their living from tourism, including cruise tourism, raised concerns about the way the cruise lines treat independent tour operators, now cutting the margins and taking the bulk of the profit. It was clear some smaller operators believe that if the cruise lines secure a stake in the project, things will get worse for them.

Some audience members accused the cruise lines of bullying with their demands for the piers. Information supplied by Joseph Woods that between 90-97% of cruise passengers currently disembark and that the cruise lines continue to come to Cayman because of passenger satisfaction served to illustrate that there is little room for the Cayman Islands tourism product to grow even with the pier development.

The loss of watersports business in the harbour was also queried by several people, as it is estimated more than $9 million per year will be lost from snorkeling, diving, boat and submarine trips in the harbour, as well as the loss of businesses in the footprint and the detrimental impact on the restaurants and bars around the edge.

How the government plans to meet the infrastructure needs, how it will tackle the seasonality and the overcrowding that the increase in numbers will cause, the contradictory claims over the environment, the lack of detail on who will benefit, the type of jobs it will create, how the three year construction period will be managed, as well as the environmental and economic questions were not properly answered, as the government representatives were either unable or unwilling to address the people’s concerns

Check back to CNS for more from the meeting.

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Comments (193)

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  1. Dwene Ebanks says:

    Now that was a meeting. Problem is: I do not know if i mean that sarcastically, celebratory , literally, metaphorically or figuratively! hahahha Whatever lens you use they all fit hahaha

    Thankful for the meeting. We were able to clearly see the smoke screens. Sign the petition and let the people decide.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I love government logic (I use that word loosely). By their reasoning, the port won’t “cost” government a cent. It will be financed by others. How do they make their return? Compensation is in the form of fees that previously collected by government as part of their revenue stream. So no. It doesn’t COST anything. On the other hand, without that revenue stream, government will have to raise funds elsewhere. Increased duty? Increased government fees? Income tax? Go on. Pick your favorite. They have said cruise tourism contribute MILLIONS to government in terms of head tax. Where will that money come from now when the benevolent party building the dock for us at no COST is taking it???

  3. Ron Ebanks says:

    This meeting that was held by Mr Kirkconnell and Company , says that the Government is still believing today 2018 that they are dealing with the people of Cayman islands from 1960’s , and are forgetting that the People are more educated and smarter than some of them politicians .

    To the Cayman Islands politicians , wake up and change your vindictive politics and be more honest with the people .

  4. Anonymous says:

    My family has been here for five generations and not a soul I talk to is against this dock. Some have different opinions of where it should be but everyone local I talk to want piers somewhere on island

    • Anonymous says:

      Funny the majority of Caymanians at the meeting on Wednesday seemed against the project

      along with 3000+ Caymanian signatures on the petition so far

      We can have an honest discussion about the realities of the port project at any time, but pretending that no one is against this project (when clearly people are) is as ridiculous as saying no one is for the project (when clearly some people are, even if they happen to be a minority)

      Perhaps you live in a convenient echo chamber constructed over the five generations of your family
      or perhaps you just need to widen your circles and entertain conflicting opinions

      • Anonymous says:

        I am Caymanian and not against the idea of the port. But, I’m not sure if GT is the right place, I’m not sure if it should be a priority over the airport and stay-over tourism, and finally I don’t have the confidence that this government can manage a project of this scale and do it without some level of corruption. For this reason, I signed the petition.

        • Anonymous says:

          you claim to be a Caymanian name me one Caymanian that want the dock in their back yard you will have a hard time

      • Anonymous says:

        correct 100% how can you not be and be at the same time ?

    • Anonymous says:

      anon 8.58am You have to understand something is one of those Caymericans; he went to the US and stopped being a Caymanian and now spends his time on blogs criticising us. He doesn’t speak for Caymanians of any age.

    • alaw says:

      how can you not be against the dock and at the same time find a million reasons why
      there should not be a dock?

  5. Anonymous says:

    That proud Caymanian woman banging on about how well travelled she is and how many cruises she’s been on and just came back from one.. George Town will DIE if the port isn’t built??? Woman, it’s DEAD at night BECAUSE of the port!!! You can’t sit out on the balconies of either of the 2 waterfront venues and hear a conversation but for the huge trucks transferring the containers in and out of town.
    Those cruise ships will NOT stop coming here!! I can guarantee you that. And their threats are only that, empty threats.
    Cruise ship people are not all that well travelled. I don’t consider sheeple lining up to do what everyone else is doing… Taking guided tours etc… “well travelled” LOL
    By the way lady, this was not a meeting to hear your opinion, this was an informational gathering where people were trying to get questions answered to be better informed.
    I watched the feed online afterward and skipped through your uniformed speech thanking everyone on the panel for coming.
    Pointless for the cruise line guys to be there. Why do we care what they are lying about?

    • Anonymous says:

      Ppm mouth piece, thst is who she is. It pains me to hear someone who should be intellligent talking so much rubbish just to be in the PPm fold. If she was part focthecommittee she should have been up there on the platform with the rest of them.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The whole town hall was just a farce – nothing but lip service and meaningless answers. To date I have not yet been able to hear a proper business case being made for why the dock is needed. This whole thing has been debated for yes, yet the cruise lines still continue to send their ships. We can’t even manage what we have, yet we keep asking for more. Total and utter foolishness.

  7. P Hurlston says:

    At the presentation on Wednesday night It’s was mentioned that a similar cruise pier design was taken to the STAR center simulator in Florida and the Captains from the lines had a go at it docking etc under different weather conditions. The panel said on Wednesday night that waves would affect the ships at berth but did not elaborate. This study was done by GLF construction at a cost to us of over US$350,000.00. What they also found we understand from that exercise was that ocean swells would affect the ships ability to dock or stay at the berth: the two pier layout was too close together for safe navigation of the ships and they needed to be further apart resulting in a larger dredge foot print ever if piers were in deeper water: winds speeds around 18 knots to 23 knots from any direction it would be the Captains decision to dock or stay alongside: winds over about 23 knots from any direction it’s was not recommended for the ships to use the piers.

    • Anonymous says:

      For most of the year, the conditions would probably be suitable for ships to berth at the proposed dock layout, but you have a percentage of days that swell will pose limitations / winter and northwester conditions, or winter south-west swells making it into G.T. Harbour. The windage on the ships as you point out, will be a major factor for the Captains berthing. None of them will want to be in both swell and wind, boxed in to a low concrete dock and no space to manouver.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr hurlston, weren’t you the highest paid civil servant in government before being removed from the Port position?

      • Anonymous says:

        There was no corruption and the Port was well run kwhen Mr Hurlston was director. He just wouldn’t be a puppet for the PPM or the board. The Port could certainly use his integrity now but if he didnt agree with everything the board or government wants. Bye Bye Don’t think he would support this port…….adios !

    • Ron Ebanks says:

      P Hurlston , very good point , and the biggest fool in the world could see what is in the $350,000 . Study without spending the $350,000.. But it is very sad that our politicians can’t see those kind of things without spending that kind of money . I suppose that it could be a little harder to understand it if you don’t have boating experience , but this is where Captain Eugene could’ve have came in useful to government , but he didn’t again .

  8. Anonymous says:

    This government has given us more information on this project than any other in my lifetime. This is sorry needed for our people.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yep, more info that any other time frame but a fraction of some is better than none I guess but still not enough.

    • Anonymous says:

      Super-conflicted Moses keeps admitting that costs have not been fully calibrated, how then can he stand there with a just-you-wait smirk on his face, with a big blue banner beside him, saying that the benefits outweigh the costs? It’s hard to imagine how dumb or brainwashed into ignorance someone would have to be to bet their futures on this snake oil salesman. It has to stop now.

    • Anonymous says:

      how old are,2?

    • Anonymous says:

      The simple minded are easily fooled. Pity.

    • Ron Ebanks says:

      7:12 am , “This is sorry needed for our people”. I would say from that sentence , you and our people wouldn’t be getting any benefits from the pier and that you are only being USED . So go and sign the petition for the referendum, that would be more beneficial to you , and our people and the environment .

  9. Anonymous says:

    If the Moses is committed to follow best practices with the cruise pier then he needs to show leadership. The first thing he needs to do is tackle head on the Board/ Management mess at the Port Authority. Until this is done in a meaningful way then it shows us he / they are not capable or wiling of handling a small situation much less a $200 million cruise pier project. The sad think is the Port Authority was never in such a mess until he choose the composition of in 2013 Board of Directors lead by Errol Bush. Can we trust his judgement now?

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, the first flagstone on the path to credibility is proving this Cabinet have no conflicts, by enacting the long-differed Standards in Public Life Law (2014) and opening all of their current and past financial records, business interests, personal foundations, and associations to audit-grade scrutiny. Nothing they say matters until they agree to basic transparency in their own realm, as is their duty, as public officials in positions of trust and power (albeit unearned by any voter-given mandate).

      • Anonymous says:

        We may need a 20 year implementation period to allow ethical people to get into office first. I have a suspicion this has not been enacted because it would reveal far too many ongoing things and possibly invite a TCI-style raid by the UK. As much as I want high standards in public life and fully support that law being implemented, I do not want us to become embroiled in messy, internal, personal politics like the UK MP’s expenses scandal, when we have so many external threats to face and the government is doing a good overall job of keeping us with the times and planning for the future. That is just my pragmatic view and stands apart from my principled view that a transparency law, once enacted, must be implemented. If not, there is only one inference the public can make.

  10. Anonymous says:

    They would be lucky if there were 20 real caymanians in that anti Port croud last night. The whole supporters of the Port side was packed with generational caymanians

    • Anonymous says:

      For real, all expats except for the few and far between loud mouth pieces that call in to the radio daily with no solutions and only complaints

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry to tell you but they are real Caymanians if they can vote.

    • Anonymous says:

      I was, and am, proud to sign the Petition to oppose the ignorant status quo. They were voted out by your countrymen and women in May 2017, yet slithered back to resume something they had no business doing.

    • Anonymous says:

      I could not help but notice that most anti-port speakers did not have any form of Caymanian accent.

      • Anonymous says:

        It is not a requirement to have a ‘Caymanian accent’ to be a Caymanian and neither does it matter if you are a multi generation Caymanian. These are just stupid divisive comments.

      • Anonymous says:

        I know plenty of generational Caymanians that don’t speak with a Caymanian accent on a day to day basis, but can do so if they feel like it. This is like claiming someone isn’t a real Jamaican if they don’t speak the thickets patois

    • Anonymous says:

      “Real” or not. If they are Caymanian they have a say

    • Anonymous says:

      That is really an unfair statement. Firstly, the whole country is founded on expats. There was no one here when Christopher Columbus found it. We were half slave and half free, slavery didn’t work and it stopped. This country is extremely diverse.

      I am very tired of hearing this argument. All of the ones with Save Cayman are Caymanians. Just because they may not match the “colour” or have the “accent” does not make them any less Caymanians.

      That hall was full and I only could clearly see 25% of the crowd wearing the yellow shirts and claiming to be pro-port. The rest of that hall was not in favour and even if they did not get up, it was clear that this issue is not going away and that the Caymanian people are standing up.

  11. Anonymous says:

    People asked for it from the horses mouth and they got it from not one but two. And the biggest two. Case closed if Cayman wants to stay in cruise you have to have docks

    • Anonymous says:

      You mean when the representative from Carnival stated “Cayman will always be one of our destinations”?

      • Anonymous says:

        you people head is very hard, Cayman will always be a destination until the last small ship! then what?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hello everyone,

    Please share your thoughts and suggestions of how we can best make the petition for a referendum available to you.

    E.g. District, location, business place, landmark, time of day, weekday, weekend, etc.
    (Other readers please thumb-up suggestions you consider most feasible and useful.)

    Also, we are ramping up our door-to-door efforts as of this weekend so please be on the lookout.

    Lastly, all are invited to direct message us via our Facebook page (“Cruise Port Referendum”), social media and email to request a direct delivery / access of the petition.

    CPR Volunteer

    • Anonymous says:

      Stop the facade, the petition is just a vote against the dock

    • Anonymous says:

      I have a suggestion 11.39pm.Just bring me all your unfinished books and I will see that they finished. Just drop them in the drum marked CRAP ( or should that be CRP at the intersection of Hirst Rd and the East West Arterial Rd.When you show up to collect them you will be surprised with the results that you will probably need CPR.

  13. Anonymous says:

    One side is just as bad as the other. Neither being honest with the people.

    • Anonymous says:

      It one side is just asking for an OPEN vote by the people, the other is asking for Carte Blanche to do as it pleases in spite of the people. Go figure…

  14. Two Cents says:

    I don’t know what time Acting Premier Moses Kirkconnell got to sleep last night but I’m pretty sure he went to sleep kicking himself for having that meeting. We can only presume that the plan was to be first out if the blocks to dampen interest in the meetings planned to start next week in favour of the referendum.
    What a catastrophe!! I have never seen a panel of people so out of touch with what are the public concerns that they were supposed to allay. Over and over again, fundamental questions were dodged. If dodge ball ever makes it to the Olympics as a sport, Cayman should be a world class performer under Capt. Moses.
    I could not believe that this panel is still pushing this narrative that the public will own this facility in 25 years and it isn’t going to cost us anything. Why are we still electing people who take us for such fools?
    Why wasn’t the Acting Premier able to even attempt to answer the concerns raised about allowing any company which is debarred by the renowned World Bank and of Chinese ownership from participating in the biding process with the inherent potential for us to become a cockroach in the current US/China standoff? Is this not he kind of issue that ‘leaders’ are supposed to be on top of and there to protect us from? It clearly showed who the real leader of the ‘Unity Government’ is, and he wasn’t there last night; Capt. Eugene was there to keep an eye on things. Whatever version of premier they claim to be – Premier, Acting Premier, Deputy Premier – they are all beholding to their boss – McKeeva.
    The real victory for those seeking a referendum was having the representatives of the cruise lines say publicly in Cayman that Cayman is an attractive destination that their customers want to see on their itineraries. Even if the piers aren’t built, they would still cater to their customers tastes and bring them here on the conventional ships. It provided the greatest insight into how poorly our so-called representatives have represented us in the dealings with the cruise lines.
    We need the referendum, and God knows we need elections soon after.

  15. Anonymous says:

    This video should clear up any issues about the environment in GT, it was done in 2014. I hope there will be comments. Everyone has the right to freedom of speech. One question should be: Is the narrator qualified? Is he pushing an agenda for or against ?Should we believe him because of his qualification? etc.

  16. Anonymous says:

    All the people complaining about a new cruise ship facility don’t do Cruise ship business, end of story. Pure bias and envy and jealousy. Sad 4500 people work in Cruise buisness.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good to know you are working backwards from your conclusion

    • Anonymous says:

      Its so sad that the majority of the posters here does not understand basic procurement guidelines. Wait forgot that …what is lacking here is simple common sense.

      Folks asking Moses the cost of the piers at this time is like someone asking you how much your new house will cost when all you have is the plans in your hands. The answer- how in the hell do i know- i have not even selected a contractor yet. I may know my budget but there is no way in hell i know the final cost. Enage brain it helps.

      • Anonymous says:

        Really? That someone knows how much money they have to spend on the house though, and they know it isn’t going to cost more than that because that is all the money the can afford to spend.
        Difference here is that Moses is spending our money and refused to say how much he would spend to get what he wants. People like you are willing to sign the cheque and let Moses write in the amount.

      • Anonymous says:

        So you design a house with no budget and commit to it.
        Please come and see me as I have a deal for you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Name me one set of people other than tenders and those that run shops at the terminal who deal ONLY with cruise tourists and not over night stayers. The way I see it, only the tenders and those with the terminal shops are the only ones who do not deal with over night stayers so please tell me who and where that 4,500 people are?

    • Anonymous says:

      4,500 work in the cruise business. How many of them are Caymanians? Of the none Caymanians how much of the money they make is remaining in Cayman in any way?

  17. Anonymous says:

    What a bunch of nonsense. You were there and you got your answers and you still putting out this fake agenda. I heard Johan said he wanted to have a guarantee from Gov’t how much the piers were going to cost and why can’t they guaratee the price? Are you kidding? The first price of Clifton Hunter was 50 million it finally rang out the cash register at 110 million? Where is the petition to do the referendum? It was amazing nobody asked how much JGHS is going to cost or how we going to pay for it. Need a referendum? Let’s do one on every major project going ahead.
    The engineers was asked the questions can you guarantee that dredging and bow and stern thruster usage will cause silt and sentiment to kill coral “thats why we shouldn’t build the piers”. The engineers explained that the contract includes vacuuming the bottom periodically from time to time for the life of their 25 year term.
    Someone else asked about putting a dock at spotts or red bay. I know I would love it. But the reality is the weather is usually rough most of the year. I agree I fish at spotts.
    Another person starting asking if Government was going to guarantee jobs to Caymanians and how many jobs and what kind of jobs were they? He didn’t have his list that was his fault.
    Another person asked about the sand? The engineers stated that the EIA stated that NO SAND would be disturbed or be lost. I knew that already all you got to do is go along the beach and see the orange sand.

    • Anonymous says:

      Um You can ask for a guarantee in price when it comes to construction. Any contractor worth their reputation can give you one. I do all the time and 96% of the time I am right unless something unforeseen happens.

    • Anonymous says:

      What fake agenda?
      Did you really just try to equate projects that serve as an actual investment into the people of the Cayman Islands to a project simply envisioned to service international cruise companies and the waterfront merchant class? Clearly you can’t seem to wrap your mind around the difference between essential spending and discretionary spending

      Not to mention the fact that the entire meeting was much ado about nothing, almost a carbon copy of earlier speeches and releases by the CIG
      But please do tell what new “answers” did the Caymanian people get? and be as specific as you can I am sure I am not the only one who wants to know.

  18. Anonymous says:

    After that meeting there is very little in questions I have left. I still don’t think China harbor should be considered but they seemed to show they would not be.

    • Anonymous says:

      If they weren’t being considered they wouldn’t have made it into the top 3

    • Anonymous says:

      The government has already come and said China Harbour is their preferred bidder.

    • Anonymous says:

      I can understand not naming the three companies who are currently bidding. But there should be no issue naming a company who is NOT bidding. So the only logical conclusion that can be drawn from the fact that they won’t say China Harbour is NOT bidding is that they ARE in fact bidding.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Cruise ship passengers contribute 25% to the tourism revenue.
    In other words it is not worth any investment at all.

    On the other hand there is 200 million $ to spend for friends and family….

  20. Cruise says:

    Instead of a referendum for the port, members should be holding a referendum for an early reelection? Clearly, those in power now are not meeting any of the country’s needs, best interest for the future generation or the environment. We need Leaders not bullies and Leaders that will listen to the majority. Just look at new roads recently built for the Eastern districts. Lots of money spent but where are the true values? Traffic backed up from 7 in the morning and in the evening going home, up until 7 pm. Traffic is actually worst than when we had one lane and a police at prospect primary. Well done NRA, your road sucks!

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think many people were surprised that the roads didn’t do much for traffic. Everyone knows that part of the bottleneck is by Hurley’s, you can put 6 lanes on the bypass and it won’t help anything until they either address the flow of traffic in general and the part by Hurley’s or do something serious about public transport. I’m not holding my breath on either.

      • Anonymous says:

        when you are going east in the afternoon it is only when you reach Hurley’s
        round about that the traffic disappears I would not call that a bottle neck

    • Anonymous says:

      you dumb head you don’t know what happens when there is no limit on the importation of cars
      you can build roads until Christ comes you will see little change

  21. Anonymous says:

    The biggest and most importantly piece of information came from the Royal Caribbean guy, Royal will drop to half the amount of tourists here in a couple of years if we don’t have piers. Carnival said same, going to lose a ton of tourism if we don’t get piers. Better hope dart starts donating to unemployment

    • Anonymous says:

      7.26pm Wait and see if Dart doesn’t build the piers on SMB on his property and with the support of the same people who are trying to stop it happening in Hog Sty Bay.What else do you think all this noise is about.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s actually worth studying what both men said very carefully. What they said was that they wouldn’t bring the mega-liners into destinations where they had to tender, which I think we all knew was likely any way. What they didn’t say was whether or not the itineraries for the mega-liners would include Grand Cayman if the dock was built. I didn’t hear any firm commitment here.

      This is what’s been reported by another, notably pro-dock, publication –

      Miguel Reyna, director of port business development for Royal Caribbean Cruises, “Our projections are that within the next five years, our traffic [into Grand Cayman] may drop from 450,000 passengers to potentially 250,000 passengers ….”

      David Candib said Carnival would continue to come to Grand Cayman but was not prepared to tender its larger ships for practical reasons.

      What strikes me is the neither made the very simple statement that if we build the pier they will put Grand Cayman on their mega-liners future intineraries. Mr Reyna seemed to simply be saying that passenger traffic would be falling off in future not that it would stay at current levels if the dock was built. I suspect there’s a very good reason for them to be so cautious – based on previous projects the pier/dock could take at least five years to complete and in that timescale a heck of a lot might change in the cruise business.

      • Anonymous says:

        To quantify what CI Port makes from what have been record cruise arrivals:

        Passengers Fees for cruise ships, the number of passengers X $2.46 150GTs) that will ply our waters for the next 10 years, are already coming here regularly: https://www.caymanport.com/ship-schedules/

      • Anonymous says:

        4:29 What’s interesting about the story you quoted is that their headline doesn’t actually match what was said at the meeting. It’s a subtle spin on what the cruise lines said.

        • Anonymous says:

          12:57 And if you check the website they’ve now rewritten this to state that ‘Cruise port meeting: Cruise lines say build piers or lose passengers’ which, rather curiously, is not what they said. I can see lines in the sand being drawn here. Seems we’re moving into a ‘You’re either with us or against us’ situation. Best of luck with that.

      • Anonymous says:

        yes and do you have a guarantee the sun will rise tomorrow?

      • Anonymous says:

        negative thinking have no end

    • Anonymous says:

      I would take that as a signal and opportunity. If their statements are true, then now is the perfect time to start upgrading and cross training those working in the industry that will be displaced by a slow down. Use the slow season to do this. The reduced congestion of fewer low spending cruise tourists, will improve the quality of life for residents and stay over guests. It is not all doom and gloom if the piers aren’t build. Still invest in upgrading the cargo facility as that is core necessary infrastructure. The key would be to act now. Start training those in the cruise industry in trades such as electrical, plumbing, a/c, general construction. With the amount of new construction taking place, there is great opportunity. The key is to act – be proactive, not reactive. Go.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Moses Kirkconnell deserves an award for sitting patiently through all the garbage talk that was put out there. Couldn’t help myself but laugh when the one opposer asked if the ships would still be able to dock in a hurricane. That my friends is the levle of person going against this piers and pignig the petition in disguise.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I never expected to see so many pro Port supporters, every single one was caymanians too. Not like the petitioners that are 90% expat

    • Anonymous says:

      I was required to show my Voter Registration card to sign the petition. I didn’t sign the petition because I am against the facility. I signed it because I feel that due to the magnitude of this project, the people of the Cayman Islands should be able to say yes or no.

      • alaw says:

        if you are not against the facility then you have to be for the facility, I wrote that for you, see, a lot less words.

    • Anonymous says:

      7.10pm I noticed the same thing. The protesters are controlled by the expat group. Caymanians that truly care about the environment were dominated and used by expats with their own agendas. Like wanting Dart to build it. Funny they never ased about the water taxi service coming to Camana Bay.

    • Anonymous says:

      LOL 90% expat but the petiton is now over 3000 Caymanian signatures

      Try again

    • Anonymous says:

      How do you identify Caymanians vs expat? Surely not by looks &/or accents?

    • Anonymous says:

      are you saying that just because a person is white, smart and pretty that they are not Caymaninan? you are a stupid ass and you should check up on your own genealogy to show where you have come from.

      • Anonymous says:

        No no you see, it’s all about the accent. If they don’t have a stereotypically Caymanian accent then they clearly are not Caymanian.

        • Anonymous says:

          I’m a born and raised multi-generation Caymanian who has been away for 10 years and I no longer have the “stereotypical Caymanian accent” does that mean I’m no longer Caymanian?

          Oh guess what… I am against the port and I signed the petition.

    • Anonymous says:

      If it’s 90% expats, don’t know what you’re moaning about. You should comfortably win the referendum, given they won’t be voting.

    • Anonymous says:

      It was astonishing that so few of the yellow-shirted supPORTers got in the long lines to speak. And the two that did asked pertinent questions and did not offer blanket support.

    • Anonymous says:

      Whether they are born or paper, if they are Caymanian they have a say

  24. Anonymous says:

    An absolute piss poor amateur performance but the entire panel. They were totally unprepared to give relevant information and to answer the stinging questions from the audience. A total disgrace, after havent spent over five years and millions of our dollars with the best consultants and experts according to the Minister – this the best they could do? It’s was also very interesting that members of the Port Board of Directors lead by Errol Bush had the tenacity to show their faces at the meeting. This is the same Board the has reeked havoc and destroyed the Port Authority with scandals, wasting finances and brought its employees moral to below zero. The Minister went on to emphasize many times his confidence in this Board by saying that they would run his $200 million cruise port. That alone shows his disrespect for the people of the Cayman Islands or his lack of understanding of reality. Which investor would put up $200 million to have Errol Bush manage it based on his current performance? Moses it’s time for you and the rest to wake up and get rid of these Lodgeoigest brothers. They will finish sink your ship.

    • Ron Ebanks says:

      I am drinking this scotch and water for Moses.,God knows he need one today after last night .

      • Anonymous says:

        Considering how much he will personally profit from a new dock I think the least he could do is attend a meeting and listen to what people have to say.

    • Anonymous says:

      PPM should have never had this meeting. The concept of informing the public was good but they could not answer so many of the most important issues with staight facts on basic issues. It was almost painful to watch. Government and the board can’t run the Port they have now. What a Mess. Please Cayman sign the referendum we need more information before any more of our money is spent on this project. #staywoke

  25. Anonymous says:

    I heard something amazing. We want to spend 100’s of millions of dollars to attract the few mega ships that pass by a week. Yet we do nothing to enhance the runway at the airports when 100’s of planes pass overhead per week.

    I will say it again. Tourism EXPLODED in Vancouver when the 3rd runway opened.

    Improve the tender system, add 1500-2000′ to the runway. And move the darn cargo port out of downtown. That is the single most detrimental thing to a vibrant waterfront, you cant go to eat, you cant go for a walk when these trailers are rumbling at excessive speeds through those streets of an evening.

    • Anonymous says:

      Except that there are no ships of his description passing us by. The ships he talks about (ie >180GT) haven’t launched from their shipyards (first commissioning is Dec 2018) and were never destined for our waters (they are purpose-built discount liners for Europe and China/Pacific mkts).

    • Hold the Referendum says:

      I wish I could add 100 likes to this post.

  26. E. Nygma says:

    When it comes to the European Union or the UK

    The Premier and the CIG will get up and boldly say that “Cayman will not be bullied”

    But when it comes to the cruise ship industry and the demands of international corporations
    They are seated on stage next to the Minister of Tourism and he nods and smiles like an imbecile as they threaten to destroy our tourism industry if we don’t give in to their demands

    They get a bigger seat at the table and their voices heard more than ANY Caymanian ever has or ever

    The special interests run Cayman, and don’t you forget it
    Simply look at whom is talking down to whom

    Those men sitting at the table are somehow expected to give the people of the Cayman Islands the “facts” when their group bid is currently being considered by the procurement office
    They (international cruise companies and their representatives) have no care in the world for Cayman, all we are to them is an easily replaceable 5 hour stop on a week-long itinerary

    We need to be wary of who we get in bed with, and what their interests are

    • Ron Ebanks says:

      E Nygma , I agree , that we have to be careful who we get in bed with, and those cruise line representatives are the ones not to . Unless she is well built and not like the cruise ship .

  27. Anonymous says:

    Only thing verdant about this port proposal is the $ to be made by the major pro port stakeholders. Nothing else is green about it ‘cept maybe the algae and scum it will create around GT harbour.

  28. Anonymous says:

    The entire procurement process has been conducted by the Major Projects Office in the Public Works Department.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yet Cabinet will have the final say on the project when the procurement office is done
      and if you really think Cabinet isn’t already involved then I have a tower to sell you in Paris

  29. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Jones and Mr. Ranger are not from the Central Procurement Office. They are with Public Works Department and the Major Projects Office.

  30. Anonymous says:

    It was a bit ironic that Moses knew that the port would provide three hundred plus jobs ( I guess he meant additional jobs) but he couldn’t name one job. Personally I think he got his butt roasted last night and he was lying through his teeth. It was painfully obvious that they are not ready to undertake this enormous expensive project. It seems wrong on all fronts.

    • Anonymous says:

      300 CHEC jobs.

      • Ron Ebanks says:

        300 CHEC jobs , and not a one would be going to you . So are you still in favor of the 300 CHEC jobs .

        • Anonymous says:

          No Ron, I (9:18) meant to say they are 300 jobs for CHEC employees. Just like Jamaica where the jobs were mostly Chinese immigrants granted permits and rights to stay by the Jamaican government.

  31. Anonymous says:

    No surprise here. Our Government doing what it does best. Ignoring the people’s needs and not answering questions. They are all about “SELF”

  32. Rodney A> Barnett says:

    So typical of the government and its lack of respect for tax payers. (YES we DO pay taxes) and it is the taxpayers that support the government, including the salaries of the Ministers.

    SHAME on all of the government administrators who had a part in this.

    • Rodney A. Barnett says:

      To clarify the above — Ministers should have come prepared for this meeting, and certainly allowed the Environmental Unit to participate and be available to answer questions.

      Also, how can the government be inching towards a contract when nobody has detailed, specific ansers to important questions????

  33. Anonymous says:

    Morons in charge!

  34. Anonymous says:

    I was at the meeting, all 5 hours of it, and I was fully willing to give the CIG the benefit of the doubt and hopefully learn more about the whole project. All I heard was dismissals and one main theme when questions were asked “not at this time”. I could have spent my time at home twiddling my thumbs and have been more productive. I am now more fully resolute from the fear mongering, the lack of transparency and the waffling that we need the resolution. That meeting made my mind up. I am signing the petition because I want answers.

    • Anonymous says:

      The petition will not get you answers. The information you seek will remain protected by law.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually it will, every referendum has a campaign period
        The government will finally be forced to address this issue head on
        directly to the Caymanian people not with flowery rhetoric on stage but door to door and in intimate public meetings

        Not to mention at least 6 members of the Legislature are opposed to the project and the government has a constitutional duty to acknowledge their opinions

      • Mario Rankin says:

        The petition will force the information because if successful then they Will have convince the people why they think it’s a good idea….its the only thing left to do if we don’t sign petition for referendum then no matter what issues we may have or what will happen we wont have and say or can’t stop it…..

        • Luigi says:

          Mario, that will require a second referendum, the praying shit you all are asking for will get you nothing.

        • Anonymous says:

          But Mario aren’t you the same chap that wanted to destroy the North Sound and Sting Ray City just a few years ago. Oh didn’t you also have an interest in moving the fuel bulk storage tanks to the North East coast of Grand Cayman. Talk about damage to the reefs and waters of the island if there is a spill . I guess East End and North Side are expendable. And weren’t you disqualified from running in the last election. I mean isn’t that what has you so hell bent on giving this Government a black eye.You guys claim that you are not trying to stop the Port but then spend your time on the radio giving reasons why it shouldn’t be built.

          • Anonymous says:

            11:10 I agree with you 100% Mario starts on the talk show “I have nothing against the port” then he goes on to name a million reasons not to have a port !

        • alaw says:

          Mario I think you forget the reason the independents could not form a government, was because they were like a bunch of tails that could not find a head.
          when the dock is finish it will be strong and nice just like DART tunnels and will not be easy to tear down!

        • Anonymous says:

          Mario what make you think a referendum will make the government tell you
          what you want to hear?

    • nauticalone says:

      I was prepared to give the benefit of the doubt also – but decided against going. It’s become clear to me the CIG and pro-port groups are only interested in pushing the project through….rather than learn and provide clear believable information.
      Too many unanswered questions with this very large and very expensive project.
      I signed the petition today….and I encourage all who haven’t done so yet to please get out and do so. It’s too much to do this as is and leave the costs for generations to come to bear.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, I found it hilarious how they kept trying to reassure the public saying that the answers to our questions and the information we want will all be provided once the tendering process is complete, only to later admit that when those answers and information are finally available, it will be far too late for the public to have any say!

  35. Ron Ebanks says:

    I am very happy to see that the Caymanians are awake and ready to handle the cartel . It seems that the People were more prepared for this meeting than the ones that were holdind it .

    But for Mr Moses to be so deceiving to the questions shows very much that he’s not being honest with everyone , and should be asked to step down . I think that he’s not upholding the Oath of office .

    So now with this good news about the death of the pier , I will go now and finish my half bottle of scotch .

  36. Anonymous says:

    OMG! This meeting sounds like an utter shambles. But should any of us be surprised? Of course not. It only proves that the people ‘organising’ this project don’t have a clue what they are doing.
    All they see is opportunity for them personally to benefit at the cost of the people and the entire future of the island. Once this thing is built (or half built and then abandoned) there is no going back.
    Please, please, let’s do something to stop this monstrosity before it’s too late. Let’s concentrate on making Cayman a quality destination for the discerning, not a quantity destination for cheap and unpleasant budget travelers.
    In the words of the wise “they paved paradise to put up a parking lot”.

  37. Anonymous says:

    go home ppm – you do not have our mandate as you claim

  38. Anonymous says:

    Please email cprcayman@gmail.com and they can provide a petition booklet for your workplace. Speak now, or forever hold your peace, Cayman.

  39. Anonymous says:

    I just hope if this dock does go ahead they allow us to have a conch and lobster free-for-all before they break ground and kill EVERYTHING!! Might as well let us harvest all of the food before it’s killed and goes to waste.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Kirkbots might win thumb wars on cns but the public crushed their dreams at the meeting

  41. Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

    Just Another Day in Absurdistan

  42. New Caymanian says:

    There was no substance to the meeting as the Deputy Premier and his government was exposed by the majority of questions and the woeful answers provided in most cases. After attending and watching the rest of the meeting on tv, it was clear Moses Kirkconnell has been lying to the public from the beginning. The cruise lines confirmed they would continue choosing Cayman due to customer demands even if they had to use ships smaller than the Oasis class ships that carry 6000 passengers. How can we trust Kirkconnell and the government about the cruise port after an evening that saw the business case and entire story unravel at the family life centre?

    • Anonymous says:

      One of the most surprising facts was that we are already at 90%+ (number quoted was close to 97% I think) disembarkation and there will be no expected significant increase in the number of tourists in sum total. There might be a larger number coming off the mega ship, but these would have been spread over the smaller ships. Essentially, it seems that $200M and possibly more will be spent and the possible destruction of significant amount of coral all for persons to spend 1 extra hour on land. Hmm…..

      • Anonymous says:

        One extra hour? The taxis and cruise buses will still have to get to the port early, with more tourists as they would have us to believe, more time would be needed to disembark and get about town, get in and out of the shops, get on the tours, get through the traffic, get back on the ship etc.etc. last time I check there is still only 60 minutes to an hour. These ships have tight schedules, if they are not over- nighting in Cayman or extending 3-4 hours I really don’t see the benefit of spending so much money to build these piers. Every plan and everything is causing so much stress on this little 2×4 rock it would be nice if we could relax, take some deep breaths and chill for awhile. Why do we have to cram big city living in such a small space? So much does not make sense for a tiny island as ours, for example the tunnel on west bay road? Was that really necessary, is it really necessary to build on every little sliver of earth?, do we really need seven and ten storey buildings? We have lost all the quaintness and charm that we once had all to the ever- grabbing of more,more! Now it is gaudy and vulgar looking. I guess I am feeling nostalgic and missing my Cayman. Too late for me I guess, but I had hope to leave it a little prettier and better for my children and grand children.

        • Anonymous says:

          What I got from the presentation was that we are building the dock so the Turtle Farm can finally operate at capacity. Never mind that other, more popular, attractions are already over capacity.

          • Anonymous says:

            It appears as if for every dollar the turtle farm bring in 50% of it goes through the back door. Seems like thst place needs new management and more accountability.

  43. Anonymous says:

    That meeting was like watching a car crash in slow motion

  44. Anonymous says:

    Most people don’t have the time but I sat down last night, and watched that entire presentation, and the entire question period after

    And all I can say is wow
    If anyone had any thoughts about this project being supported by the public, they are dead wrong
    There is no mandate for this project
    and getting 10 people to show up in yellow shirts they probably didn’t pay for doesn’t mean you actually have support

    Let me save busy Caymanians some time
    ——-Last night’s meeting had a whole lot of talking and very little substance, talking points, delusions of grandeur, and promises of an economic miracle ——

    The government is essentially saying we will tell you everything when we have the final bid
    but at that point it will be too late for public input
    They have no interest in our voices, they have no interests in our opinions, every single person in Cabinet has made their decision

    Its time to shut this project down for good

    Sign the petition, take part in the referendum and vote these clowns out 2021

    • Anonymous says:

      “The government is essentially saying we will tell you everything when we have the final bid but at that point it will be too late for public input”

      Most disturbing aspect of the meeting for me

    • Anonymous says:

      why do you people have to beg so hard for people to sign?

  45. CB4 says:

    “it appears that the government is actually seeking to achieve similar visitation numbers as those we have at present but with less ships”.

    Doesnt this mean the taxi drivers are actually going to do worse not better?

    Right now with the numbers more consistently spread out and smaller, they get a bit of work every day. But with concentrated, mass numbers on fewer days (unless they can clone themselves and drive 5 taxis at one time!!), their opportunities will be limited and with gaps in between arrival days.

  46. Anonymous says:

    I have no confidence in the current government! They need to go!

  47. Anonymous says:

    Moses the white Mckeeva should simply go home. Stop insulting the intelligence of the the people with your pack of lies. PPM and their snake oil salesmen did not look or sound convincing for one minute. We all can guess the under the table dealings that have taken place – the many millions that will be channelized to PPM / UDP henchmen through overpriced contracts. Everyone can see that Alden ran away to Monacco leaving Moses to calm the masses …

    • Anonymous says:

      Ppm is about to come apart- Austin, Jon Jon jump ship while u can

      • Anonymous says:

        Vote them all out including Austin and Jon Jon!

      • Anonymous says:

        No let them two clowns stay with those that own them now

      • Anonymous says:

        8.30pm Isn’t that what this whole uproar is about? People still upset that they did not get the Government of independents that they believed they elected.

        • Anonymous says:

          yes I think this is not really an anti dock and environment thing
          this is an anti government thing!

        • Anonymous says:

          a government has to have a head, independents don’t have a head
          that is why they will never form a government.

  48. Anonymous says:

    If the government don’t build it Dart will on Seven mile beach don’t you see what is happening here then that will be more damage.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have felt for sometime that there is big money promoting the anti port/ pro referendum movement.Now I am beginning to understand. Don’t get me wrong I am sure that there are persons who care deeply about the environment who are involved but I believe they are being used to stop the Berthing Facilities for reasons other than the environment. If it is true that there’s a company importing water taxis to take cruise ship passengers to the Royal Palms and Tiki Beaches that might explain a lot. These can then walk over to Camana bay and shop or catch a tour to Stingray City. Some one operating a water taxi business would not necessarily want the ships docking up;.hmm. That channel cut in the reef ( supposedly dug for tests to be carried out) would fit in nicely with a pier for water taxis.Ask Mario about the water taxis, he mentioned it on Radio Cayman Talktoday.

      • nauticalone says:

        Water taxis – hmmnn – sounds quite nice / fun actually. More so that clogging up the roads anymore!

      • Mario Rankin says:

        Funny how people listen to radio and hear what they want then hide behind anonymous so everyone don’t know who they are so they can stupid comments maybe you go back and listen to what I said….which was I heard it was a company that bought water taxis not I know there’s a huge difference also what does that have to do with petition drive for referendum?????oh wait I don’t expect you will answer using your real name but take shot at it may know that it’s in writing you won’t misunderstand what was actually said…..

      • Mario Rankin says:

        Furthermore anti/port wouldn’t make sense because if what you assume is true then I would have to be pro port because had you listen to the show I said…that the high end cruise ships that requires berthing is the clientele that would be suitable for the camana bay shops and that’s what the water taxis would be for to move people..

        You guys are grasping at straws because last night was a true failure of satisfying the question asked by concerned people…

        Anonymous ????????????????

  49. Unhappy reader says:

    As someone who was there and listened to the presentations, I think CNS is biased in their reporting of this event.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree the reporting is slightly exaggerated, but I for one was not happy with the information received at the meeting or the performance of the panelists. I’d say the basic jist of the reporting is correct.

  50. Anonymous says:

    Please read this and then tell me if you believe this port is the right thing for Cayman…


    The development of this port is going to destroy our reefs for miles around the construction site. The silt will choke all life to death.

    • Anonymous says:

      Everything from sunset house to treasure island is going to die.

      • Anonymous says:

        How much stuff was damaged when they built Patricks Island, Cayman Kai, Yacht Club, The Shores and more, with progress comes sacrifice cant have the cake and eat it too.

        Mario just because it wasn’t your idea it is bad but when it done you will make business too guess you will do trucking again with aggregate.

    • Anonymous says:

      Baird’s George Town Port EIA warned about “sponge and coral reef suffocating particulate” at some length, as well as acoustic and water temperature changes that go along with that to repel or smother all marine life. You can’t make this stuff up.

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