Trust calls for EIA update before cruise port starts

| 19/10/2018 | 51 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cruise ship in George Town Harbour

(CNS): The National Trust for the Cayman Islands is calling for an independent, fully updated environmental impact assessment (EIA) before the proposed cruise berthing project begins in George Town. The non-governmental organisation is calling on Cabinet to follow the recommendations of the National Conservation Council for this development, as it is the independent watchdog established to safeguard the Cayman environment. Falling short of outright opposition to the project, the Trust said it believes there are too many unanswered questions and a lack of data supporting claims in the Outline Business Case for it to go ahead at present.

“The National Trust is of the opinion that several critical questions remain unanswered and it is also felt there is a lack of research and data to support the assumptions made in the Outline Business Case,” the Trust said in a release on Friday. “As a result, it is difficult to make an informed decision on the impact the proposed Cruise Berthing Facility would potentially have on Grand Cayman’s environment and its economy.”

The Trust pointed out that the project poses the threat of long-term damage to the marine environment from dredging and other submarine works. Failing to secure an updated independent EIA would inevitably raise questions of conflict and accuracy, the Trust said.

This comes in the wake of indications from the government that the EIA will not be conducted by an independent agency but by whichever entity or consortium secures the final bid. But the Trust said that the country needs to know the extent of the potential damage, not only to Grand Cayman’s marine environment but also its historically significant sites before the project goes any further.

“Due consideration must be given, and every measure taken, to ensure that the potential for damage to both Grand Cayman’s environment and historically significant sites can be properly and accurately ascertained before any aspect of the project proceeds,” the Trust said in the statement. “Similarly, acceptable and effective plans for mitigation of environmental damage must also be identified and agreed upon before the project is permitted to proceed.”

The Trust also noted it had “an obligation to remind the Cayman Islands community that the value of our irreplaceable marine ecosystem, our areas of historic significance in George Town and our environmentally sensitive Seven Mile Beach should never be underestimated or disregarded”, as it urged caution before government commits to the contentious proposal.

CNS asked the Trust whether it was in support of the people-initiated referendum, for which volunteers are still collecting signatures and getting closer to the target figure of 5,280 names. The NGO’s director, Nadia Hardie, told us that the Trust was not taking a stance on that issue but believes the public needs facts. “The referendum is a decision for individuals to make on their own,” she said. “The Trust would simply encourage people to make decisions based on facts.”

The Trust made a statement on the project three years ago to the month, when it raised similar concerns about the lack of data to justify the project and the serious potential harm to the environment.

In the most recent statement the Trust said it understood the government’s desire to improve the cruise passenger experience and derive further revenue, but made it clear that much more information is need about the potential harm versus any benefits before it is approved.

“There is growing attention to this contentious major infrastructure project and the concerns highlight the ever-increasing apprehension surrounding the protection of Grand Cayman’s fragile marine and terrestrial environment,” the non-profit organisation added.

Anyone wanting to sign the referendum petition can call 327-5411 or e-mail cprcayman@gmail.com, or visit the Cruise Port Referendum’s Facebook page for more information.

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

Comments (51)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Amazing how a Minister for Health, Environment, Culture and Housing can get on the radio and defend building a cruise pier after just 1 talk with the Minister of Tourism, yet cannot use the same radio outlet to defend the environment that he is currently responsible for.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yes, I’m for the Port.

    The Gov’t needs to build the friggin port!

    This story has been played out before…

    CIG = Man and Son
    Port = Donkey
    Detractors = Opposition Leaders, National Trust, Referendum Seekers, Overnight Activist etc..
    The old man that follows: Carnival Cruise, Royal Caribbean Cruise

    Message to CIG: “Don’t let the donkey drown!”

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Nadia – you are a smart lady. I know you would Iike to think and hope that a referendum would give people the opportunity to vote on the facts but that’s a misplaced assumption. Three-quarters of the people form their opinion based off CNS, Marl Road and Cross-Talk comments.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    The trust is run by DOE through directors, DOE Doesnt want and cruise Port or any development for that matter on the coast regardless of it’s benefit to the island.

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    • Nadia Hardie says:

      Sorry Sir/Madam – your statement is inaccurate. The National Trust is run by its Council which is elected yearly by its voting members. If you join as a member, you too can have a say in how the Trut is run. You find out more by going online and reviewing the National Trust Law and Bye Laws.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t tell lies, 8:30 am, or all your children will be born naked.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Why do governments lie so much? Is it the narcissism, the power or the money?

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Moses has the designs on his etch-a-sketch bit Jon Jon borrowed it and deleted them playing tic tac toe with David.

    Ps David won, best out of three games
    They then had a Rock Paper Scissors war and Jon Jon edged him out. All exciting stuff

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    • Anonymous says:

      I trust that making fun of people rudely leaves you feeling really happy and proud of yourself. If you have children hopefully you teach your kids better. I have noticed that for the most part the unnecessary language and name calling is being done by the anti-port lobby. Whether accusing people of being corrupt, calling a dark skinned politician a gorilla or worse. If you are objective and look for yourself you will see and hear this as well. I see or hear very very little of this on the pro port side. Just saying…

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Finally, a response from the National Trust! I wait to hear of Mr. Guy Harvey’s input on the matter. I understand he is huge conservationist.

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  8. Weapons Grade Bollocks says:

    Dear Government

    The time has come to accept that it’s no longer only the “vocal minority” described by the government that have serious concerns and are demanding answers about this project. The PR campaign has been an expensive failure and there are now even more questions than answers from multiple stakeholders. This has been a huge mess from day one shrouded in darkness due to a lack of transparency which could have been avoided. Worse we now know the government and pro-port lobby are willing to mislead the public in order to advance their own self interests.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Another huge black eye for Alden Moses and the cruise pier project!
    What will it take for government to understand the message that has being sent loud and clear by the public, CITA and the National Trust. Doing this project is a bad idea with limited support.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    This trust needs to stay out of the process. Honorable Premier, please just get Decco & CHEC going, stop all the pussyfooting about and show everyone you are the boss!
    Make Cayman Great Again!

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    • Ron Ebanks says:

      7 : 04 pm , see how many thumbs down that comment got , I would be quiet from here on with those kind of words .

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      • Anonymous says:

        XXXX all you are doing is messing up our tourism product and causing undue pressure to our government. By causing all these delays you will only run up the cost of things. CHEC & Decco are prepared to give a quality product at a good price and that is why our leaders want to get it going so we can stay competitive in the cruise industry.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Your writing style is recognisable and your baiting narrative is wearisome. We get it. You don’t want the port. The divide and conflict is well ratcheted up enough without your pretend support.

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      • Ron Ebanks says:

        To both of you chichen shit anonymous commenters 8 :39 am and 10 : 21am , why can’t you be man or woman enough to even say who you are referring to in your comment .
        And remember that issues like this pier project cannot get enough support . If you’re referring to me , I will continue to give my support and correct anything I believe is wrong , and support it if it’s right . The good part , you can’t and won’t stop me from doing or saying anything .

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        • Anonymous says:

          10:21 AM here. I am referring to the 7:04 pm drone.

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          • Ron Ebanks says:

            Anonymous 2 :51 pm ,Your apology are excepted , but next time learn to address who you’re replying to , then no one can have a misunderstanding of who you are talking to .

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        • Anonymous says:

          My apologies, Sir. I (8:39) was referring to 7:04. I believe this person is against the port, but has written several posts nearly exactly like this one. It seems clear to me that they are trolling for the purpose of racheting up the drama, rather than participating in a discussion.

          No disrespect to you intended. I would use my real name in these discussions if it didn’t risk my job. I am not a chickenshit. I am a man whose primary concern in life is continuing to feed his family.

          You misunderstood. No worries.

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          • Chris Johnson says:

            Maybe two percent of people put their names to articles like Ron. Does that mean 98 percent may lose their jobs? A lot of chickenshit out there my friend.

        • Anonymous says:

          Ronnie boy, you still can’t conceive the fact that “Anonymous” is a name!

    • Anonymous says:

      You are the worst kind of human. Short sighted, greedy, oblivious, infantile, flippant, and vocal. At this point you can contribute to the betterment of the world and your fellow human beings only by keeping quiet.

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    • Anonymous says:

      @7:04 The use of the acronym CHEC offends me and IF you had any sense and did some research, it would offend you too. I guess sheeple don’t surf the net too much other than to bleat mindlessly as told.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Ok so now that it’s not just the Opposition accompanied by the Pro Referendum Group and given that CITA won’t endorse the project and I believe the Chanber is also undecided … can we now proceeed to a referendum ?

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    • JTB says:

      There’s no point having a referendum until there is some accurate information for people to make their minds up on

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      • Anonymous says:

        That would be the main point in having a referendum! Force the proponents to deliver their arguments instead of keeping the public in the dark.

  12. Anonymous says:

    A business case would be nice too.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Are there even official design plans, or just the cocktail napkin sketches?

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  14. Ron Ebanks says:

    At this point because of all the misleading information that has not been made publicly about the pier project . I would say that this new EIA should be made public before the pier project starts , and done in partnership with the DoE and the National Trust .

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    • Anonymous says:

      A revised EIA must be done by a credible third party (not papered-over in hindsight by a winning bidder), after a design has been formulated and approved by marine engineers, with input from geologic teams. This isn’t a dead 40 foot protected Harbour quarrying into a granite bottom. An order book that matches Cabinet’s misrepresentation might also help. Certain realistic dichotomies need to enter the discussion, even before an EIA can begin.

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