Premier’s claims backfire as cruise vote looms

| 08/11/2018 | 125 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cruise ship passengers getting on a tender vessel in George Town Harbour, Grand Cayman

(CNS): The war of words on social media and government’s propaganda machine show no sign of letting up, even as the campaign for a people-initiated referendum on the cruise berthing project looks certain to get the required number of supporters to trigger the vote. But a Facebook post by the premier this week, in which he used the craft market as justification for the project, appears to have backfired. Just a few hours previously, a woman who works at the market called into a radio talk show to say that on 30 October, even with five ships in port, she made just $25 because cruise visitors just don’t spend and she depends on overnight guests to make a living.

Earlier this week Premier Alden McLaughlin posted a new video from government promoting the cruise port development, claiming the craft market vendors are dependent on cruise tourism and need the new berthing facility.

However, with the exception of just one comment, the response to the Facebook post was overwhelmingly negative, as people called out the claims made by the country’s leader and once again questioned the need for the cruise piers.

Social media has also been blowing up for the last few weeks with commentators calling out misleading information coming from others supporting the controversial facility. Posts about the need for the facility because of a new cruise berthing project in Belize, which were not entirely accurate, also caused a backlash.

It has now become increasingly clear that government’s claims that opposition to the project is coming from just a few die-hard environmentalists and the tender operators is wrong.

Johann Moxam, one of the team of volunteers spearheading the referendum campaign, said that the constant misinformation coming from the premier, the tourism minister and the pro-port lobby are doing a disservice to their own campaign.

“Our leaders are using public funds and have hired public relations agents to wage a campaign against thousands of  citizens who are united by their collective concerns and exercising their rights enshrined in section 70 of our Constitution. Ironically, these same elected officials are sworn to protect our Constitution and the rights of Caymanians,” he said.

“The government and its agents are deliberately misrepresenting facts to suit their narrative on multiple platforms. Government has failed to answer basic questions and be transparent with the public. They have failed to address significant environmental, and economic concerns. The PR campaign can best be described as a fable that is riddled with inconsistencies.”

Moxam accused the authorities of being desperate to undermine and belittle the genuine and, as evidenced by the referendum campaign petition, widespread public concern about the cruise berthing project.

“Their duplicitous messages and the arrogance that has been consistently demonstrated does not help the country,” Moxam said. “To claim they have been following the highest standards of international best practice in the procurement process is laughable at best. Look at the panel at the September public meeting. It demonstrated everything one would need to understand about the integrity of the process, lack of transparency and the lack of respect shown for the intelligence of the general public.”

Moxam said that government’s own actions and mismanagement of the process have fuelled the growing public concern.

“The constant misrepresentation of facts from officials while asking the public to trust them is counter-productive for the project and our country,” he added, as he expressed disappointment that there is still so much to learn about the true motivations and what is happening behind the scenes relating to this process.

He said that it was only a matter of time before “the primary beneficiaries of this government sponsored corporate welfare will be revealed”.

With the campaign to trigger a people-initiated referendum so close to securing the vote, government will soon have to accept that the public wants and will have its say on this project. An honest and open discussion about the real justification is therefore now needed more than ever.

The government is still falling well short of justifying the project, including Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell’s failure to produce any information to back the government’s claim that 900 permanent jobs, over and above construction, will be created by the development of the piers. Government has also not addressed admissions by the major cruise lines that they have no intention of dropping Cayman from the itineraries of most ships, whether or not the piers are built.

By the end of this year, if the passenger arrivals stay true to the current schedules, Cayman could see its busiest cruise year in history, beating the record-breaking year of 2006, when over 1.9 million people visited on board ships.

However, these numbers are already placing a strain on the local infrastructure and dwindling access to Seven Mile Beach. In its own National Tourism Plan, the Department of Tourism raised real concerns about the overcrowding on heavy cruise traffic days at attractions like Stingray City.

It is still not clear what the number of cruise passengers would be if the piers are constructed because government has sent mixed messages. The business case called for an increase from the annual average over recent years of 1.7 million to around 2.5 million to make the project financially viable. But more recently government has spoken about retaining the current numbers but from less ships.

With only one Oasis-class ship currently sailing in the Caribbean and clear evidence from the cruise industry that there will be no more than four or five new mega-ships being constructed over the next ten years, it is not clear what Cayman will be accommodating in the short to medium term with four piers.

But what is becoming increasingly apparent is that with overnight guests representing around 80% of the revenue that government and the private sector generates from tourism, there is a genuine danger that by chasing mass cruise tourism, government could undermine the far more lucrative stay-over product.

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Category: Business, Tourism

Comments (125)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Went to the float parade this Saturday. Walked by the craft market to get there. ‘Thousands’ of prospective shoppers in Town (hundreds at least in that area alone). No one vending at the craft market. Clearly customers aren’t what the craft market needs. So suggesting we need to build cruse docks to support the craft market is … questionable. (They may need help but marketing and market-training cost a lot less and will net them larger returns.)

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians, Love to fight, with each other, more than building their future.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Build our dock.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    We are willing to spend 300M on getting cruise ships visitors to the shore to spend their $25, but the air arrivals who have booked accommodation and spend hundreds if not thousands are not provided with jet ways off the plane. Doesn’t make much sense to me.

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    • Malcolm Saunders says:

      Regarding jet ways…. ‘Penny wise, pound foolish’ and when it rains…. Soaked arrivals! I gather passengers could not de-plane recently due to a downpour. Not smart.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    PPM, UDP remnants, Aldan, Moses and your cronies continue to work against the CAYMANIAN people.

    Lambasting your electorate shows you are afraid of your own people who elected you. You do not want the referendum process to work but you.know what it just might be successful, then what?

    Every day you separate yourselves more and more from the Caymanian people.

    Alden we thought you were different than Mac – we were wrong!

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  6. Bob says:

    Cayman bread and butter is in the overnight visitor we should focus on enhancing their stay by adjusting price on hotels etc.and adding new on land features and attractions. As well as putting money into making the Georget town port and Spotts dock enhanced to accept the tourist..For compromise if the government does go ahead and build I would recommend building one leg of the Per but do it on pilings to do minimum damage to environment,this way everyone’s happy they big ships can still come the tenders will still have business to accomadate the smaller ships if need be.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    I want to know how many Caymanians have lunch on a slow day in George Town? in Camana Bay? I had been eating breakfast and lunch in the summer months 4 days a week with a friend of mine until his untimely death but not now. Nothing to do with the food or service, the price. Only a millionaire could keep up with the ridiculous prices of restaurants. No they don’t have but 1-2 Caymanians woking as waiters or waitresses either. They make less then $6.00 and they need tips.
    When that larger jet comes in with Europeans or South Americans they will argue you are charging too much. So if prices drop, we should be able to see an increase in business. US$8-12 for breakfast and US$12-25 for lunch not including tip. The last time I had lunch “upstairs,” I paid US$125 for 3 people and my wife had potato skins, daughter had cheeseburger and fries plus a mojito and I had an appetizer and a mojito. Including tip? Thats too high and nobody in their right mind would go back there.
    My question to Johan is why did you all sell out? You were the second largest tourist related companies in town? Why are you not wanting a dock now? Surely the price of the dock is always going to keep going up each year with cost of living and interest rates. I have not seen any project that didn’t have “cost overruns or come in on time” issues. We can talk until we turn blue in our faces. There are underlying issues here that don’t make any sense.
    We have been talking about building a dock for 30 years. Mr. Linford Pierson can attest to that when he was the man in charge. We can have EIA’s for the next hundred years its not going to change the fact that the reef is dying around the planet. We are also not going to change the fact that SOL and RUBIS needs to move from where thats at either. It really won’t make a difference where the swampland they put it either. Everything needs to be protected. But we will move it to the swampland, not true? We are on an island stop lying to the people. It has nothing to do with saving the environment.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    The reason that lady doesn’t make more sales has nothing to do with the amount of ships. Its her atitude toward customers. Her boss makes good money on the dock. But realize there are environmental laws that block there product from creating a lot of sales. Black Coral is illegal in USA, Canada.

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    • Anonymous says:

      That’s right people, remember the CITES Convention? No trade or export of black coral or turtle products.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The best part is, he didn’t even have the integrity to reply back to honest criticisms on his own posts

    This Unity government is a sham and an even bigger farce than a one party majority government

    They have no shame

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  10. Anonymous says:

    It’s funny how they can find $300,000,000 for a new dock we may or may not need but they can’t find that money for new and better equipped schools for the children of these islands to grow a better tomorrow and programs to help after school.

    Keep the masses stupid and dull, makes them more malleable to conform with whatever you desire.

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    • Anonymous says:

      That to me is the biggest shame (and crime), that they constantly, relentlessly chase money, money, money and the schooling (of kids AND parents) remains so poor. Your government is more interested in collaborating with expats for $$$$$$$$ than it is in seeing that the regular Caymanian is educated and equipped to carry on in today’s and tomorrow’s world. Less competition for the ruling class and their offspring may have something to do with it.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    This dock is probably going to be the biggest mistake Cayman will ever make (and that’s saying something considering the daily bad decisions this government makes). This port will cause massive environmental damage as well as cost the people at least $300 million (no plan or figures that show we will ever make the money back).

    I’m just sickened, disheartened and angry that Alden could even say he has a mandate to build this port. I’m whole heartedly against this port but I still feel this should go up for a vote. If the Caymanian people really want this port, they will voice their support for it in a referendum. I will still think it’s a terrible and stupid idea, but at least the people made the choice and not Kirkconnel and Alden.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The dock and Cayman Airways going ahead with those new planes

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    • Anonymous says:

      I was in town on Thursday heritage day , and heard a man ask a woman if she signed the referendum paper ,,,,ha,ha ,she replied You think I want loose my job ? They might say we can sign , but after that we will get sacked . Need I tell you she work for gov . Shame our people should have to feel that way .should be me .

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Someone remains in dreamland, claiming that there was a march 40 years ago when the current port was being developed. That is bullcrap! There was a march in 1970 organized by Jim Bodden as he started gathering steam for a political career. The subject was the issue of taking sand from the beach. At the time, the new development law proposed to make it illegal to wantonly excavate sand from the beach (that law remains). Jim Bodden started scare-mongering as “no one will be allowed even a little basket of sand for your yard”, and the less educated grabbed hold of the subject and ran, actually, marched with it. It stared Jim Bodden’s political career, much to the detriment of Cayman!

    There were no marches protesting the port development which was undertaken 1973-5 under Berkley Bush, as ExCo Member for Works.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    It happened 40 years ago ppl protesting when Berkeley Bush built what we have now. We need the piers and expand the cargo dock. Cayman is a developing country this country is being left behind. Johann has a opinion for everything he should put himself forward as a candidate and solve the issues of the country… LOL

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    • Anonymous says:

      Are citizens not allowed to have an opinion without running for office themselves

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    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you Mr. Moxam many caymanians are standing with you and the group who have signed the petition.

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    • GT voter says:

      Are you saying private citizens should do what paid MLA’s are not doing?
      What would be the point of having paid government MLA’s or the elected Opposition?

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    • New Caymanian says:

      You don’t need to like him to know he’s 100% correct on this port project or the points he consistently raises. We need more brave locals like Mr. Moxam involved in affairs of state.

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    • Anonymous says:

      God forbid we have opinions without being MLAs ourselves right?
      The sheeple are so stupid they don’t even understand they are brainwashed

      The very party that oversaw the creation of the 2009 Constitution is now complaining and trying to delegitimize the use of it’s clauses

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  14. JTB says:

    What little money cruise tourists generate goes to a very few people most of whom happen to be named Kirkconnell. The jobs they generate are low skilled, minimum wage and are done by expats because Caymanians don’t want them, at least not on the wages on offer. In return, the character, beauty and heritage of our island is despoiled and the Caymanian identity is lost forever, as we turn our islands into another identikit gift shop. But anyone who dares to question this is condemned and belittled.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Considering all the land, buildings, businesses and the fact that the highest rents on island are in George Town should put to rest the idea that cruisers don’t spend money. Rent in camana bay is half of that in town…says a lot!

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    • Anonymous says:

      2:38 What you been smoking? That comment makes no sense at all!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah. It says the people in town are fantasising and it explains why most shops are empty and GT is a ghost town complete with tumbleweed.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    We all been asking for some proper ganja and all we get is propaganda.

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  17. Robert Ketron says:

    Condo owner here – our average guest family spends $6000-$10,000 per week here. 7MB is not a bargain destination to begin with , and 80% + of our revenues go into maintaining our properties – that means ALL that money stays in the CI economy. That’s $2,000-4,000 per person, or $350-700 per DAY! Lodging, car rentals, eating out, buying food @ Fosters, excursions to Sting Ray City, luminescent tours, Turtle Centre, Cayman Caverns, swimming with the dolphins, fishing trips, sunset sailing, jeep or bus excursions – you name it…. we promote and encourage our guests to do ALL this and more, including visiting the Botanical Gardens, National Museum AND Gallery, our remarkable native Craft Center along with Debbie’s vast array of local gifts and artwork at Pure Art. We thank our Caymanian friends for supporting an open and transparent process to protect both our environment AND economy, and especially leaders like Johann Moxam for his dedication to REAL facts and fairness of process.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t forget Nina’s Beach Bubbles in Bodden Town!! She is expanding…

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      • Robert Ketron says:

        Thanx! I only hope others respond with many other delightful attractions that I either missed in my hasty reply, or just did not occur to me (or, just did not know about!). Go, Cayman!

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    • Anonymous says:

      80% of your revenue goes into maintenance? Why are you doing that to yourself?

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      • Professor Bob says:

        Well, Anonymous 7:11pm – Anonymity doesn’t really deserve an answer, but readers do, so here’s a lesson in Cayman Economics 101: not only is this not a bargain destination for holiday-goers, it is far from a bargain to hire qualified, skilled workmen, professional-grade housekeepers, property managers, maintenance staff, and the like. Especially if you want competent, trustworthy results. We pay noone a minimum wage, more often it is in the $15-30 p/hr range, and sometimes much more. We have had to upgrade and improve our properties several times over the past 35 years here…. going from linoleum flooring to ever larger ceramic tiles (8×8 to 24×48)…. From wood trim to coral walls, from simple laminate to exotic stone countertos, as well as totally renoted bathrooms, kitchens and living rooms. All this costs money, and that’s not even the least of it. Strata fees have risen from a few hundred to several thousand monthly, not the least of which is due to escalating labor costs for staff plus the inclusion of benefits like medical insurance and pensions. ….and, to emphasize the original po8nt made, ALL of this goes into the Cayman economy and benefits the businesses and work firce here. I not only do not apologize for my exorbitant cost structure, I have no complaint to offer either, as we are blessed to be able to succeed and stay above water in a truly remarkable place – our paradise of Cayman.

    • Mike says:

      Not going to debate that 2.30 pm, but, the majority of SMB condos are predominantly owned by foreigners who are dodging taxation at home, and speculating on reselling for a profit. If only Caymanians were the majority of owners! AND, if we keep on flooding Cayman with budget cruisers, no body will want to own these condos eventually.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Trust me, North Americans are pulling out of Cayman. It is a Banana Republic and about as xenophobic as a place could be. People with a high quality of democracy, eco awareness and morals do not want to spend their time, let alone money, in a place like Cayman. It is fast becoming a communist dictatorship and the only people who will want to live in Cayman are Asians.

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      • RG says:

        Further to Mike, I would suggest that his painting “the majority of SMB Owners” as “foreigners dodging tacation at home” first, I would suspect he has no idea what the complexity of tax laws are in those foreign jurisdictions, nor what the true motivations have been of ex-pats who have come to our shores and fallen in love with this remarkable piece of Paradise. Second, It is rather narrow minded to make the blanket claim that most North Americans are only hiding money when there could literally be two thousand differing reasons as to why foreigners have invested here, whilst there is but one reason that the overwhelming majority of Caymanians have not: they did not want to when offered the chance to do so.

  18. Jeffrey Poulin says:

    I have been watching this debacle for years now, since the earliest iterations. I met with one of the earlier Cayman Cruise proponents in Toronto at Zeidler Partnership Architects to discuss the matter, that firm having had good success world wide with both cruise ships and harbourside rejuvenation in major waterside cities (Vancouver, Baltimore to name a couple).

    The government in the Caymans seems powerless to drive this project, either fiscally, or imaginatively. There is a contingent of locales who believe the cruise ships are detrimental to local business as they see very little reward for entertaining them while in port.

    The entire idea of tourism in the Caymans, with cruise ships as a part of it, needs to be looked at comprehensively, with more than a scant mention of what it is that the destination itself has to offer.

    The destination itself is key to understanding the effects that tourism might have on the economy. Georgetown is a quaint little place but its ability to draw tourist dollars is limited. The idea of creating more captive markets by introducing residential density into the core, which in turn will spawn recreational and other business opportunities, is an example of what the horse before the cart thinking can do to shape solutions, for example. If cruise ships can create the visual draw in the harbour, a raison to create density in town begins to offer itself up. With density comes activity, and money. Handled adroitly from a planning perspective, the entire offering could take shape and be the straw that provokes major cruise lines into scrambling for a place in line.

    I think that the government should start thinking more about what Cayman has to offer instead of what Cruise Ships could do for the economy, in its efforts to win over the minds of voters.

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    • Anonymous says:

      One of the problems is, sadly, much more basic than that: our successive profligate regimes seek to maximize CIG receivables via arrival fee headcount, and eliminate a foolish tender subsidy started years ago by our Speaker…not quite realizing that this endeavour will relinquish 100% those fees to a developer/financing consortium for 50-75 years to pay for the project.

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    • Anonymous says:

      “The Caymans…” lol

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      • Anonymous says:

        Hope you enjoy your flight to the Grand Cayman Islands , we will be back in touch closer to landing.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    has any of these’ pro-port’ persons, as they are called, ever taken the time to walk around George Town and see how little the tourists spend? Truly, it is not worth it to destroy our water-front, our sea bed and our environment that we will never be able to redeem.
    Alden and supporters of this destruction please open your eyes and take note. Sad will be the days we get another storm like that of 1932 November 32.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    So sadly funny.

    I have been on 26 cruises in my lifetime, all around the Carabbean, Mediterranian, Europe and the Arctic.

    I think I have spent about a total of $500.00 in all that time purchasing things at various exotic locations. Frankly, the stuff is the same everywhere, the manufacturers simply change the name of the country on the design or dont even do that.

    Check out the really costly things here on Cayman, and you will find they are the same things you can buy at home (such as Canada, London, Paris, or New York) but priced higher.

    These days people around the world who have internet connectivitry can shop for items on EBay or Amazon or others cheaper than at tourist traps. I really dont think a huge berthing terminal will pay for itself.

    People of Cayman Beware!

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Cruise passengers spend on the ships! That is the intention of ships outfitted with mini shopping malls on board. It is the cruise lines’ intention and expectation that their guests spend on-board. Of course a small percentage of cruise pax will buy a small souvenir when they come ashore. But there is no way that there will be large-scale spending on land. The mega-ships which our Government is trying to convince us we need will just have more shops and mini-malls on board for guests to spend at, they will not push the focus of spending to on-shore locations.

    The sooner the local demographic which supports the port expansion realize that, the better for Cayman. We DO NOT need to destroy our pristine harbour and potentially the Seven Mile Beach for business which will never come ashore! Not to mention, not getting a penny from the expanded Port for 25 years!!

    Sign the Referendum against the Port!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      And the signs in the ship stores that say, “if you find it cheaper on the island, we will beat their price……”

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    • Mike says:

      Agree with you 12.38 pm, and add to that, the cruise lines try to book as many Caymanian activities as they can at THEIR prices and the operators here are paid a pittance of those onboard prices. Cruise companies are rabid exploiters, and do not care much for local environments, culture, or welfare. It’s all about their allmighty dollar. nothing else. Any “partnership” with these guys is a deal made in hell.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    If you want the Craft Market to survive, move it to the Tower Building site.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Nah, that should have been a parking lot a long time ago, if they truly wanted to revitalize GT.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Interesting, so you think someone does not want to revitalize georgetown? Maybe drive down the property values? hmmm.

  23. Anonymous says:

    If the petitioners are successful it will be the death nail for the Cayman, and specifically, the Caymanian economy. All the expats sitting in their ivory towers in the (for now) financial industry don’t want to be bothered by any tourists or traffic while the little people are trying to make a living. At least not until those same people don’t have work and resort to other means of survival. Oh well, we’ll see.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Read the Miller Shaw report and build the piers.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I remember clearly not long ago a Kirk freeport worker saying , when we have so many ships in its a disaster ,we rearly sell anything ,it’s better with the overstayers ,.this was an interview after 7 ships was in harbour …anyone else remember this ? And the poor people at the market ,,,Emmmm sorry for them if they wait on cruise ship to put on pot …

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      • Anonymous says:

        12:13 I remember hearing exactly the same comment from someone working in the duty-free shops way back pre-Ivan. They reckoned that once you had three or more ships in there were so many people in town they just kept walking.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Typical comment from a first class loser.

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    • Rodney Barnett says:

      If the “little people” as you call them rely on tourisim businesses to live in Cayman, God Bless them and keep them, since they certainly cannot survive on what they make.

      Caymanians should be DEMANDING inporved schools and traning centers that can provide the skills to participate in the real future of Cayman. Corporate, financial, research and hyper technology development are the real future of Cayman. Not selling 25 cent trinkets for $2.00.

      WAKE UP CAYMAN!

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    • Anonymous says:

      The premier has really deluded himself and completely out of touch with the people. When you shroud things in secrecy how do you expect people to trust you? Believing you have a mandate, is not the same thing as having a mandate. He sounds just like McKeeva. The referendum will decide democratically if or not you have a mandate.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Anonymous at 7:32 am you are talking pure rubbish. The same amount of tourist coming now without the mega ships will continue to come without the mega ships. I listened to the meeting with the two cruise reps and neither one said they will pull the smaller ships. The mega one don’t come here .we are against destroying the harbour and seven mile beach not against tourism. Stop drinking the coolade.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Gotta love the rusty death nail.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Cruise-ship passengers don’t spend? Really? Then why are places all over the world trying to court them? Why are there thousands of businesses in ports of call that cater to these cruisers at obscene rents? Because they do spend and spend big. There are reasons to consider not building a proper cruise port but to say they don’t spend is just factually wrong.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I’m not sure about ‘don’t’ spend but they for sure don’t spend anything like they did 20 or even 10 years ago. The days when cruisers hit town to party and spend loads of money are definitely long gone. You also need to look at what’s happening in other places. To start off with there’s the growth of cruise line owned resorts and the very clear linkage between those resorts and the businesses in them. If the cruise lines can’t make up their margins that way they put crazy mark ups on their contracts with local businesses at destinations like Grand Cayman where there is no resort. Bottom line is cruise passengers may spend money but not much of it ends up in the destinations they’re visiting, most of it goes to the cruise lines.

      If you doubt this look at how many cruise-dedicated businesses (including several big names) have hit financial problems in the past 10-12 years.

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      • Anonymous says:

        10:08 I was at Rum Point recently when a bus load of cruise shippers were dropped off and all I heard from them was bitching about how expensive everything was. One of them looked at the food prices and said something along the lines, ‘You’ve gotta be f***ing joking!’ Fact is they can get a 14-night cruise for about $1000 (or roughly $70 a night) each with meals so if somewhere tries to charge them $30 for a beer and a hot dog they’re going to get pissed off. Worse than that they’ll go home bitching about how expensive we are. Current cruise shippers are cheapskates cashing in on the cruise lines need to fill cabins – they don’t spend money here and you better get used to it.

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        • Anonymous says:

          They may be cheapskates but you cant blame anyone for complaining about Cayman prices.

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          • Anonymous says:

            5:20 Amen to that! If they thought the food and drink was expensive they should check out the hotel room rates.

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      • Anonymous says:

        and do you spend the same way?

    • Say it like it is says:

      11.32 am and 10.08am – Firstly the phrase is “death knell” not “death nail”.. From what I see it is just a few filthy rich business owners making pots of money, the little people get little or nothing from the cruise industry. All the businesses at the port and the duty free stores employ almost all expatriates on minimum wage and the bus companies and tour operators also do not have a preponderance of Caymanian drivers.
      To say the cruise sheep spend big is fantasy, their main purchase is duty free booze and rum cakes. You see them in the duty free shops but they just look, to take advantage of the air conditioning and outside grab a free piece of rum cake. I pass along the harbour front every day, and 95% of these visitors are carrying only their purse and their money belt.They choose a cruise as an all inclusive holiday and are always reluctant to spend anything extra. Comparing these people with our mostly high end stayover visitors is like comparing chalk with 5 star cheese.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Because of government taxes. Bigger ships, more people, more taxes for the government coffers

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  25. Anonymous says:

    When you hear nonsense like, ‘the need for the facility because of a new cruise berthing project in Belize,’ you know the pro lobby are clutching at straws.

    Belize is 8,800 square miles in area (roughly the same size as New Jersey, slightly larger than Wales and over 100 times the size of GC) with 240 miles of coastline and they’re trying to draw comparisons with a development there?

    In any case it’s worth studying the project because it’s not only a lot more than just two finger piers for four cruise ships but, at $50 million, the projected cost is a fraction of the figures being bounced around for our dock. The other thing with Stake Bank Caye is it’s a completely new project (ground up if you like) not a re-vamp of an existing facility so there’s going to be no disruption of the on-going cruise business – a cost factor that the pro-dock lobby seems to be ducking.

    If we are looking at developments like Stake Bay Caye as examples of the way forward here’s a thought – why not create a cruise resort on the Brac. There a large areas on the north side where you could build it and, if it was done carefully, environmental damage would be minimal. Imagine how much that would do for the local economy over there?

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    • Anonymous says:

      I have checked the cost of similar projects throughout the world. The most sophisticated and therefore expensive don’t exceed $100 mil.

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      • Anonymous says:

        With all the many costs overruns happening, should we be asking if paybacks “under the table” are being provided for? And if yes, who are the recipients? Just asking…

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    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry, two typos near the end of my 8:55 comment – I typed ‘Bay’ when it should read ‘Bank’ and the next sentence should start ‘There are’.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    hopefully the target is met….
    then alden must resign out of principle….well that what would happen everywhere else in the world….

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  27. Anonymous says:

    No confidence- Alden, Moses, McKeeva, Austin- they all need to go!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Austin is such a disappointment. Obviously no morals. Just in it for the pay cheque. After years of taking the government to task, he turns on a dime….where have all the heroes gone.

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  28. Anonymous says:

    “the primary beneficiaries of this government sponsored corporate welfare will be revealed” = I wonder if we selling George Town to Dart 🙂

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  29. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t it beautiful watching democracy do it’s thing!?

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  30. Anonymous says:

    Puerto Plata just cancelled plans for a second dock.

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  31. Anonymous says:

    Ha – Decco & CHEC will be starting very soon regardless of the silly referendum or any of these other objections. Our strong leaders know what side the toast is buttered on!

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  32. Bushy says:

    Most of us know this. The question is, why is the Premier and his cohorts so intent on pushing this down the throats of the Caymanian people?? It reminds me of how he was with the schools project. Nothing could stop him. Why??? I hate to think this but we are governed by a WIIFY group os selfish individuals.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I forgot he was the one with the leadership role in the schools. What a track record. Whatever happened to “you cant have your pudding until you eat your meat?” Finish the schools.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Because there big associates have instructed them to do it. This allows Decco to get CHEC into the country and then have the lowball construction get moving. They need it to support there huge bureaucracy of upper management.

    • Eyesight says:

      Alden clearly identified the need to educate our people. The ignorance expressed in this forum confirms that he was on the right track and I hope one day he eventually succeeds with that goal of educating Caymanians, because those who criticize the cost of education have no idea of the real cost of ignorance! Johann is criticizing the building of a decent berthing facility. What is his alternative? Nothing! Folks, the day a river stops running it dries up. And so will our cruise tourism if we do nothing. And that will mean the loss of hundreds of jobs for Caymanians like the independent taxi, tour and Stingray City operators, not to mention the Caymanian vendors. Johann, are you going to provide for them when they are out of work, or are you going to do what you do best and blame government for their unemployment? Lord, ignorance is like a snake!

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  33. Anonymous says:

    Bottom line is the only people who will ever benefit from the cruise dock are those involved in the construction of the damn thing. I suspect the real motivation for pushing this project is that certain well-known faces, along with their friends and families, stand to make a nice little financial killing out of the contract(s) for the work.

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    • Anonymous says:

      4:28 I’m sure that several of those involved have already had their snouts in the proverbial trough on this. Every time I see references to things like ‘consultancy fees’ my mind automatically reads it as ‘kickbacks’.

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    • Anonymous says:

      couldn’t agree with you more….the PPM are making sure that their supporters are getting a big piece of the construction pie. some will sell their souls for the love of money. wonder if they don’t realize the detriment this is going to be…and where will future generations find themselves?…….we will be mopping up the mess forever and our reefs and beaches will be history.

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      • Anonymous says:

        While failing to enact the Standards in Pubic Life Law to reveal their family and crony conflicts…Cabinet are probably setting up their own construction firms to win the contracts.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I have heard that some of their hangers- on are already applying for contractors license.

  34. Anonymous says:

    There can be no downside to a referendum. You can vote both ways.

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  35. Say it like it is says:

    The old adage that went the rounds in the seventies when cruise sip arrivals started picking up still applies to this day.They come ashore for the three P’s – a postcard, a pepsi and a pee, total spend $1.50.

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  36. Anonymous says:

    Cruise tourism barely dwindles without piers. To suggest that there are so many new or planned vessels for our region being built at >$2Bln a piece, solely reliant on berthing, is the biggest fallacy of them all. There is only one vessel “passing us by”, Oasis of Seas, carrying just 2000 more than any other boat, every other Thursday in what is already a full schedule. Spare us the fake news.

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  37. Mike says:

    Questions NOT adequately answered are :- (1) Who is guaranteeing that there will not be serious environmental damage? (2) Who is really going to benefit from these piers – suitably located duty free dealers? Certainly not crafts market traders.

    Remember the crazy scramble by duty free traders years ago for real estate that they believed would be close to the pier? Who has the best spot presently?

    Investing heavily in mass-market and poor cruise passenger tourism is stupid. All you do is flood the streets and beaches etc. with people who have little to spend, and ruin your tourism product for genuine stay over tourists who do actually spend money.

    The main beneficiary of this ridiculous project is going to be the best located free zone operator, and who is that? Are they a part of the govt? These sheisters must think that the Caymanian people are stupid sheep. Well, looks like they are about to get a nasty, embarrassing lesson that will damage them badly. Keep it simple Cayman, and stick to the present level of cruise shipping, or maybe reduce it to prevent the overcrowding and degradation problems. Focus on stop over tourism which has better residual revenue for the island. Govt is hooked on landing fees, just as it is on work permit fees, and neither are eventually going to help Caymanians! My 10c worth.

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    • Google says:

      the bottom line,tenders are used, when docking is not an option, for a cruise ship.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman’s Port Cayman’s Future” is literally run by waterfront merchants like Chris Kirkconnell, vice president of Kirk Freeport

      (He spoke for the group in recent edition of the compass: https://www.caymancompass.com/2018/09/20/community-groups-battle-for-hearts-and-minds-in-port-debate/

      Their goal is simple no matter the cost, or potential environmental impacts to get this dock built to corral as many tourists in the central George Town area to get them into duty free stores like Kirk Freeport. While ignoring the facts when it comes to the government’s capital projects which are almost always initially overpriced, late to completion and over budget.

      The CIG shot down the Opposition’s motion in hopes that the citizen organizers of the petition fail to reach the 5,200+ signatures needed to start the referendum
      Every single one of the pro-port groups are coordinating with the government across social media with paid advertisements on multiple platforms, false statements from members of government and these groups, videos that include clips of people supporting the project Using assumptions rather than any reasonable facts or logic.

      The government is wrong on this issue and many others the focus needs to be on improving the already existing facilities and tourism product not corralling more people into GT

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  38. Anonymous says:

    Alden McLaughlin’s tongue has not belonged to him for a long time now.

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  39. Anonymous says:

    $1.99 tourists….I remember that statement clearly. Who else remembers?

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  40. Anonymous says:

    Those of us that where in the Tourism Industry years ago know that the cruise ship passengers never spent any monies.
    Today I was in town and was asked by a group of cruise ship passenger for direction. We continue to talk about the island and they mentioned that they would never go on a cruise ship ever again. That was the worse trip they have ever made.
    They did mention that they will be returning to Cayman only by airline and to stay for a few days and stay in a hotel/condo/bed and breakfast.
    In other words who is benefiting from the cruise ship industry.

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    • Anonymous says:

      7:21 pm And if they’d never visited by cruise ship do you think they would be coming back as a stayover tourists?

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      • Anonymous says:

        3:05 More likely people come off the cruise ships take a look at what everything costs and swear, ‘Never again!’ That’s the feedback I got from some folks who were over here two weeks ago.

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      • Say it like it is says:

        7.21pm that’s the problem, having seen a small island swamped by hordes of waddling overweight cruisesheep they would never come back to endure days of this torment.

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    • alaw says:

      dumb head the Government makes money from every cruise ship passenger even if their feet don’t touch shore!

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  41. Weapons Grade Bollocks says:

    As usual government are selling pork pies and talking out their arse! Wake up people we need to stop them before it’s too late

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  42. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Johan and volunteers for being brave enough to speak up and hold them accountable. This project will be an expensive disaster.

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