No sign of plan during port construction

| 03/01/2019 | 39 Comments
Cayman cruise, Cayman News Service

Cruise ship passengers visit Grand Cayman

(CNS): The opposition leader has expressed further concerns about the government’s continued plans for cruise berthing piers in George Town in the absence of any contingency plans for the actual construction phase. Ezzard Miller has said this could have a serious detrimental impact on the entire tourism industry far beyond the two years or more it will take to build the facility. With government still hoping to start the project this year, what will happen to ships and passengers once the project begins remains a mystery.

“I have asked the tourism minister numerous times about what contingency plans are in place to deal with the ships during construction and I have yet to get a satisfactory response,” he told CNS Wednesday. “My fear is that there simply are no plans in place and there is a very real danger that the project could drive off the cruise tourism business during the building phase.”

While the timeline, like many other things about this project, remains uncertain, the tourism ministry has indicated a desire for construction to begin at some point towards the end of this year. However, the goal to achieve a people-initiated referendum on the topic has not been abandoned and organisers are still confident that they will soon be handing into the Elections Office a clean list of more than 5,300 voters’ signatures — the number needed to trigger the vote. If they do, it will throw the project’s timeline into question.

But if, as the ministry hopes, the process for selecting the winning bid is completed in the next few months without a vote interfering with the plans and the preparatory work goes as anticipated, by the time we reach the 2019/2020 Christmas and New Year season, there will be a real impact on passengers calling on Grand Cayman.

On Wednesday this week there were more than 18,000 passengers on six ships in George Town, and on Thursday another five ships were in port carrying over 17,000 people. But how government would mange those kinds of numbers as dredging begins remains a major unanswered question.

Miller pointed out that moving this number of people would be a major challenge during construction, especially since the project itself would reduce access to amenities and attractions, adding to the stress caused by the increasing decline in access to Seven Mile Beach and a lack of places for such large numbers of passengers to visit.

Miller said that government should have been investing in onshore infrastructure to help move passengers through George Town before the project starts and at this point, even after the project is complete, government has given away no information about future plans for dealing with passenger load.

He said that he was extremely concerned that the government was giving consideration to absurd ideas that have been floated about over-passes across the downtown area.

Cayman News Service

George Town dock damaged during the Christmas storm 2018 (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

With the lack of plans about how the cruise sector would be managed during the construction phase being just one of many existing and well-documented problems with the project, Miller urged government to think about this ill-fated proposal, especially in light of the recent impact by the rough weather over the Christmas weekend.

Just one night of large swells over a short period of rough seas caused havoc in the downtown area, with waves flooding the roads and dumping huge piles of seaweed and debris all along the harbour front. The cargo dock, some of the beachfront bars and the fish market took a serious pounding, fuelling concerns that a bout of similar weather during construction or once the project is finished would have a far more detrimental impact.

“The recent weather should surely have sown doubts in the mind of the government about this project,” Miller said, as he pointed out how vulnerable the island will continue to be with rising sea levels.

With so many possible threats posed by the proposed project, Miller said the opposition would be focusing on ensuring the referendum campaign reaches the required number of signatures during January. It is more important than ever, he added, that the people of Cayman have their say about this development before it is too late.

For more information about the referendum campaign or to sign the petition call organisers on  327 5411, email cprcayman@gmail.com or visit the Facebook page.

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Category: Business, Tourism

Comments (39)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This is just a simple question of priorities, approx 18,000 people (or a 1/3rd of the population descending on Cayman doesn’t work at this point, the infrastructure isn’t there to support it. Wait for the cruise reviews following the past couple of days with people sardined from the end of Cayman Reef Resort to far side of the Sovereign, being just one element of the mass influx and they want more. The once highly revered Cayman experience is swirling before going down the toilet with the leaders and their Govt puppets disregarding to have checked the whereabouts of some Charmin

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  2. Anonymous says:

    What rational person can have confidence in the government’s ability to actually make this work?
    The answer is to have the project construction company do the Environmental Impact Assessment.
    Now doesn’t that sound like a recipe for disaster?
    No motivation to pad that EIA report.
    Also I want to sell you a bridge to the Brac.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    The “Cayman People” HAD their say on the issue (twice). There was an election, the port was on the ballot (again) and won (again). The obstructionists had their rally.

    Now BUILD THE DOCK!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Claiming that this issue was “on the ballot is ridiculous

      Also even if that is your argument

      The PPM does not have a majority so your point is moot

      You cant claim they have an electoral mandate when they lost 3 sitting ministers to Independents

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wrong! PPM lost!! CDP lost!!! No party mandate!

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Where is the millions coming from to build the pier? That will evidently kill tourism in the future. Cayman will turn into a giant garbage pit from all the tourists shit. Cayman will NEVER be the same..

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    • Anonymous says:

      The money comes from the tourist. It does not come from a country that has nothing anyone wants except a nice beach to visit. Kill tourism and there goes your money, Cayman is already famous in the world for the huge garbage pile every cruiser sees first as the island comes into view and its not tourist shit that made it and they know it. Cayman is also famous for doing things their way. Taking three times the money to get half as much done and never doing anything with competency. Am I wrong?

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      • Anonymous says:

        On a positive note, the ticket machine at the airport has worked foe me two times in a row! Now that is real progress.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    This government has lost its damn mind. This port is such a ridiculously stupid idea I cannot believe it is seriously considered, let alone, warrant the government to enthusiastically push forward with it. Why not just build up Spotts dock and then you have two points of entry at all times?

    Seas in that area is calmer during bad weather so it wont destroy the port while being built. Cayman should abandon rearranging everything just for 4 or 5 big cruise liners. The small ships are always going to be enough because you can only fit so many people on this rock before it becomes unmanageable.

    This needs to be put on hold and better foresight and planning need to be imposed before moving forward with this disaster in the making.

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    • Ron Ebanks says:

      Vote for Aden and Mac and you wil get the 50 story building and the pier . And see if you get a job on the pier or in the multi purpose 50 story building.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Democracy dies in darkness. We need to shine the light in on all of this back-room hijinx.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    I posted comments about this months ago. At the time I suspected that DoT figured they could just muddle round the problems like they always do and if it went belly they’d to blame someone else – as they always do!

    Simple fact – this is a massive construction project that will cause huge disruption in the surrounding area. If nobody bothers to assess this there’s one thing I can comfortably predict – all the businesses impacted by that oversight will be queuing up to sue CIG.

    This is turning into a $200-$300 million clusterf**k!

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    • Anonymous says:

      The rewards which will flow to certain pockets if CHEC are the contractors , will make sure this port gets built.

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      • Anonymous says:

        So what, on any project there are favors or finders fees paid. See all these large house projects, see Dart projects, all jobs have certain special parameters that get followed; just the way business goes in Cayman. Problem is the complainers are not getting anything back from it or they would be quite.
        If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    We were proud to drive folks to sign yesterday. If you care about transparency and good governance, speak now, or forever hold your peace. Commenting on Rooster or CNS have no Constitutional effect.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Oh my word….

    Naysayers, doomsdayers, negativists, steam full ahead into 2019.

    Collect unna money quick as this charade soon done ???

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  10. Anonymous says:

    If the people of Cayman wanted their say, they would have had it by now. Pointless petition with no legitimate end referendum question is now officially dead. Go pray on your own Ezzard.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Funny how you say if the people wanted their say we would have had it yet the current government was campaigning for the people to not sign the petition.

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      • Anonymous says:

        We do not need any stupid referendum and our great leaders have the plan and it will be fantastic. Dart always does first class projects and now that they have CHEC in with them the port will be low cost and first class. You whining babies need to move out and let the real leaders do what they do best – lead!

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        • Anonymous says:

          “Dart always does first class projects” – they can’t even hire people to maintain their property portfolio and sit mute on their hands while the volunteer beach cleaning folks ruin their Sunday mornings cleaning up their crap.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Spoken like a true idiot. There is a saying “Trust and verify” and it especially holds true when it comes to the government. If these in power were real politicians, as in went to school for it, did it and only it all their lives, I would have more faith in them but these are part time politicians who only have themselves in mind. If you blindly follow them you are sadly misled.

          And speaking of you lord, master and savior Dart. Have you ever taken the time to Google him? See the “first class projects” he’s done in other countries and how he cannot return to those countries else he’ll be immediately arrested? Or you all purpose crutch CHEC. Again, act like someone who has a few brain cells and free will and google that hot mess and see a company backed by the government and the bank of China who willfully bribes and breaks laws and safety regulations to get their “first class” jobs done and who’s only purpose is to spread Chinese influence around the world like what they tried to do at UCCI? See if you’re opinion changes. If it doesn’t in ANYWAY and you think Dart and CHEC is good for Cayman, then you Sir are too far submerged in Mac’s, Alden’s and Moses’s BS to rescue.

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          • Anonymous says:

            You wasted a lot of time replying to them. They troll every post about the port like that.

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            • Anonymous says:

              True BUT!! The commenter has good information for anyone that reads it. The trolls you speak of are very easy to spot and easy to ignore.

        • Anonymous says:

          Current CIG couldn’t lead themselves out of a paper bag with a compass, map, directions and a push in the right direction.

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        • anonymous says:

          12.36pm I can only assume you got paid for this.

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      • Anonymous says:

        This whole narrative of “even if you’re for it, sign it so we all have our say” is complete BS.

        If the 51% of voters opposed, it would have been signed and submitted by 25% already. Do you all not understand how “MAJORITY RULES” works in a democracy? Jeez!!

        The 25% TRIGGERS IT, but you need 51% of voter opposition to throw away the whole port project.

        If you are for the port, there is literally no point to sign the petition unless you’ve changed your mind.

        If you are not for the port, sign the petition, then they will need to get the other 26% of people who didn’t sign the petition to vote against. Good luck with that.

        Correct me if I’m wrong.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Why would any sane person blindly accept “the cost” of the proposed project (in every sense of that word) without understanding anything about the obscured inputs that matter? Leaving crippling decisions to school leavers is not what adults should do. So we’re clear, “the cost” is not at all restricted to whomever is privately suggesting, in a back-room environment, that they may or may not pay for some or all of initial construction. The PwC report which hypothecated “benefit” on the assumption there would be ships with capacity that don’t exist in reality, and aren’t on even the intermediate build time horizon. We don’t even know if the pilings can be secured into what the 2015 Baird EIA report classified as “cavernous fractured limestone” – and that’s before lateral blue water Nor’Wester force is applied. Who’s going to insure this thing? Who’s paying for that? Who’s paying for the maintenance dredging and repairs? What does the dive industry do when the West wall is inundated with “sponge and coral suffocating particulate”, or our SMB hotels to guests when our famous crystal clear waters turn to milk, and the fish start washing up on the sand? Who pays for that? So much misplaced blind faith for a regime that can’t even keep two parking machines working at the airport.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Show me where we the people / gov will pay for it.

            The plan is for the cruise lines to develop, build and finance on a contract for 20-25 years after which it is handed over to our people.

            During which time (construction doesn’t last 25 years) increased visitors will do more than go to stingray city and buy a watch in town.

            They will venture out further and for longer. Increased volume but you can’t deny reduced stress on the limited places they can get to now. Restaurants and John down the road will see more people.

            Not to mention the boost to the cargo side of the port, which is likely nearing capacity.

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            • Anonymous says:

              How imbecilic is it to cite “an agreement” or process that is totally obscured from public and likely still being heatedly hashed out behind closed doors?!? Dunce mentality!

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            • Jotnar says:

              Where do you think the money comes from to finance the construction? A magic money tree? The cruise lines charity fund? There has to be money paid to repay the finance and interest. The government passing revenue from the passenger head tax or port fees to the financiers has exactly the same effect as paying for it – not collecting a dollar is the same as paying a dollar from tax payers pockets.

            • Anonymous says:

              You say that they will venture out further and for longer, but it has already been stated that there will be no increased time in port so the additional time you suggest they would have to make it further afield is marginal and wouldn’t change plans much.

            • Anonymous says:

              Wow. Just wow.
              1, We the people pay for it. The cruise lines aren’t doing this for love. They will be taking their returns in form of the fees previously collected by government. So no, we won’t pay directly, we pay indirectly by not receiving the revenue we currently do. Costs are not always direct!!
              2, What are all these things the additional tourists will be doing? Accept it, we are a small destination with limited attractions. Great attractions, but limited. How much better will these be with twice the number of people visiting?? Stingray City is already stretched to the max – just ask those in the know – the DOE, Dr Guy Harvey, the old time captains… They all see it.
              3, I love the assumption that the tourists will venture out further – presumably you are assuming they will be going east with all the extra time they have in port… Now go look at the ports with piers and the average time in port for ships. Compare to the pre-pier times. There is very little difference. Time in port is didctated by the overall schedule – the ships need to move on in time to sail to the next island….
              4, I love your last line where you assume port is nearing capacity. Far from it. Current schedules put ship arrivals on just a few days a week. No ships arrive Monday night or Tuesday night… Ships arrive weds night, thurs night, Friday night/sat am and one more over the weekend. The port can comfortably operate two ships a night but on each. Of these there is usually only one. Weather does disrupt schedules and force port to consolidate operations from time to time but as a rule, there is ample capacity at the port. What those at the port try and sell is the idea of bigger ships coming in this reducing cargo costs. But, since ships barely travel at capacity for all but the heaviest part of the year, this is also a farce. They won’t bring more cargo if there is less demand. And if instead of doing two voyages a week each like the lines do now, they went to one, then freshness of product could become an issue. And if a single large ship came in and drove the multiple smaller ships out, you might see economies of scale, except they would now be a monopoly and as anyone who remembers the days when we did have a monopoly shipping line here knows, those savings rarely make it to the consumer.
              In short, the arguments are twisted to the motives of the person making them. Our government has become hell bent on the piers, whether as a monument to their egos or from drinking the cool aid of those selling the idea. The risks are huge. The damage, once done, cannot be undone.
              What we need to ask is at what price do you stop and realize the cost of progress is eventually going to outweigh the benefit when in the fishbowl world of an island with limited resources and capability to handle massive increases in tourism. We should be working on our core infrastructure, the dump, transportation routes etc, and working to educate our youths to partake of any growth. Only then should we start to explore growth needs and opportunities.
              Let’s try walking before we go running off down the hill …

        • Anonymous says:

          You are wrong Sir, a democracy works by people voting on a subject to pass or deny it. Not speaking up on something is actually called abstaining in a democracy regards of why you do not speak up.

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