Cruise port debate needs more balance, less politics

| 21/10/2019 | 69 Comments

101 writes: Of all the questions asked about the proposed cruise berthing facility, none dare to focus on the question of whether its OK to compromise some of our natural environment. All of the discussions so far seem to disregard any thought that it may be acceptable to accept any negative impact at all on our environment.

Our position on this is a bit curious because every day on land we are striking a balance between development and the natural environment. 

We are not building homes on land because we are aiming to destroy our natural environment; we are doing so because we need a home to live in. We mitigate by legally designating protected areas and having a conscience. We are not building new roads because we have no regard for our natural environment. In fact, we do care but we need to alleviate our traffic congestion problems while getting everyone to work and school.

Similarly, we are not enhancing our port because we are aiming to destroy the environment. We are aiming to do so because we cannot continue to disembark thousands of cruise ship passengers via a 20 to 25 minute ride on another boat before they can visit our island. We took that approach years ago because it was the most cost effective way and there were far less tourists.

But we can now significantly reduce the time spent waiting in line and riding on another boat and passengers can come directly into our port and visit our island immediately. Disembarking right in our waterfront area is not a strange concept we are forcing on ourselves. It’s the way most major cruise destinations handle their passengers.

In other words, when considering the proposed port we are not applying the same compromise seen on land every day. Here are four reasons we should reconsider that approach: 

1.   We are an island nation (ignore the UK territory thing for a sec), so a seaport is a necessary infrastructure component. That port has to be built somewhere in the surrounding waters. It’s impossible to build that part of our infrastructure without any harm to our environment. Truth is, very few if any, ports anywhere in the world can boast near pristine waters and a wealth of marine life in the same immediate location as the country’s main seaport.

What we have is a highly unusual situation because we have already located a port facility in an area which historically has been maintained in such a manner that the surrounding waters is in relatively great shape compared to other port areas. That’s a great achievement on our part. But it’s now time to consider enhancing the facility. This will now require compromising some portion (hopefully small) of our natural environment. 

2.   Those opposing the port rightly point out the need for us to protect our natural environment for our children. But we need to consider not only the environmental concerns of our children’s future but the economic realities as well. Do we really believe that in 15 to 20 years our children will be able to ignore the significant increase in cruise tourism and cargo (which will occur naturally over the next 25 years) and turn a blind eye to the fact that their port desperately needs enhancing at that stage?

Our children will face the inevitable need to strike that delicate balance just as we need to be doing today. The difference is that it will cost them significantly more at that stage to enhance this part of our infrastructure. That will impose an unnecessary and possibly unbearable financial burden on them. Striking a balance and planning now will make it easier for our children to do the same thing many years from now.

3.   If the developers can demonstrate that the proposed port will not pose significant harm to our natural environment then we can agree that this compromise is reasonable. There are over 300 dive sites in the Cayman Islands and we have now heard from the debates that two or three will be negatively impacted by the proposed cruise berthing facility. Is that not a reasonable compromise?

On the other hand if we find out that the project will wipe out say 10% or more of our natural environment, we all need to march in there and say ‘no’ on 19th December.

4.  The current debate also now risks completely ignoring the many Caymanians that make a living from the cruise sector. Instead of focusing on these persons, campaigners are insisting that this entire project is about one family selling more watches. This is not just an ignorant political simplification (which unfortunately has been often too successful in our general elections) but it’s also an insult to the intelligence of the wider community.

Take a walk down to the waterfront on a busy cruise ship day and you will see a lot more business activity than tourists waltzing around jewellery stores. The majority of these visitors can more easily afford to purchase some souvenirs, eat at a restaurant, buy t-shirts or go on a tour than they can afford a duty free camera or expensive jewellery.

The hundreds of small businesses and many more hundreds of individuals involved in the cruise tourism sector are real people too. There are diverse sections within any economy and they all play a role in our success as a country. Pretending these people are invisible may work for a political argument, but that does not mean they don’t exist.

We are too caught up in ‘the fight’ to rationally assess the merits and costs of this project. The proposed project is popular to talk about and right now even more popular to ‘say no’ to. But we also need to consider the long term future of our infrastructure.

We are complaining now that the country did not implement a proper roads masterplan and that’s why we have so much traffic congestion. We would prefer to see all this money spent on education (despite recent evidence that lots of money spent on an education project has not been necessarily successful).

And we complain that what we should be doing now is ‘fix the dump’ instead. But none of these issues are caused by the proposed port project and not a single one of them will be solved if the project does not proceed. In fact, all of these issues have existed for close to 15 years, if not more.

This campaign contains far too much ‘noise’ and is conflating many unrelated issues instead of giving us rational arguments to consider. This is solely related to the emotions and politics in the debate. If we don’t get a grip soon, our children will feel the brunt of this in the years to come (and that means far beyond the 2021 general elections).


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Category: development, Local News, Viewpoint

Comments (69)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    3:01 Then the solution would be to move the environment and build the Port!

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    • Say Wa says:

      You know what I am going to go out and vote YES to the building of the cruise port. Caymanians if you truly believe in the Government you elected Get UP on the 19th of December every lay one a youse who believe in the Progressives , carry your sister, your brother, your uncle, aunt, and neighbors out and VOTE YES.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    I just love the fact that we are building a cruise port to attract more cruise ship visitors, who will buy more souvenirs, jewellery, and watches. These will all have been imported via the enhanced cargo port and then exported via the cruise ship port. This is a great self fulfilling business model that keeps feeding itself.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Until the cruise ship industry fails. Which it will within the next 10 years. After we’ve destroyed the ONE reason tourists actually come (and spend money)… diving and clean beaches.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Funny that every pro port comment seems to immediately get 30 likes and then that number slowly trickles up

    and every anti-port comment immediately gets 30 dislikes which again slowly trickles up

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Very good viewpoint! I was wondering what happened to people with common sense…

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  5. Anonymous says:

    As a longtime, silent reader, let me say “thank-you” CNS for publishing this opinion piece, and I agree with the heading that the cruise port debate needs a lot more balance, but a heck of a lot less emotive politics and scare tactics.
    There is little more I could add to what was written, except to agree with the points raised – that so few people who support the concept are commenting openly. Everyone should accept that, while there are indeed pros and cons, the one-sided anti-port “discussions” seem to disregard the fact that there will be consequences of one type or another.
    In this case, the worse thing that could happen about our port is to now do nothing! Especially if we have legal contracts to the effect that the developers will pay all costs and even maintain the cargo dock as well.
    We just have to do what is sustainable, manageable and realistic. If cruise tourism grows going forward even at the same rate that it has grown over the past 25 years, we will indeed need these cruise berths, and probably more. The need for tendering will still remain too, so no one will really lose their opportunities to make a dollar.
    Few people would argue that our seaport is a very essential part of our national infrastructure. All involved have done a great job of maintaining the eco-balance thus far, so I am confident that it will continue to be so into the future. As was stated in one of their points, we just need to “strike a balance now” and get this done. The Port Authority and their Board will remain in control, so we will not be losing control of our port as some countries have done.
    To be honest, as a Caymanian tourism worker I have earned good income from the cruisers, so those who look down on those who “purchase souvenirs, eat at a restaurant, buy t-shirts or go on a tour” are indeed missing the point. One bus load of happy day visitors can pay my bills for two weeks!
    The funny thing is that with cruise visitors to Cayman, it has traditionally been a matter of quality counts; but with the proper new berths in place and with more affluent guests walking ashore off a gangplank, the quality aspect will also be elevated, and will benefit everyone.
    This, I feel, will result in a true win-win for all concerned, but especially so, for the local tourism workers of the next generation.
    So, just because I have an independent opinion I hope CPR and others don’t blow a gasket, and try to now make me seem as if I too have committed a crime by speaking up in favor of the new cruise berth.
    Thank you.

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    • Forelock says:

      “Especially if we have legal contracts to the effect that the developers will pay all costs and even maintain the cargo dock as well.” is not a true statement. The costs will be financed, but the people of the Cayman is. will pay in the end.

      Today, the cruise passengers pay 100% of their own costs to land on our island.

      Why do we need to pay any part of that cost in the future when we don’t pay it now!

      Why are we fixing something that ain’t broke?

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    • Forelock says:

      “with more affluent guests walking ashore off a gang plank” is not a true statement. In fact, Carnival and Royal Caribbean are at the lower end of the market and so it’s likely that any increase in numbers will come at the lower end of the market, therefore the average cruise ship passenger walking ashore will be less affluent.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Bigger ships = more economical for the paying passenger = cheapo tourists ashore not buying anything. But yay to the polluting floating garbage ship in port. No to the port.

    • Anonymous says:

      “So, just because I have an independent opinion I hope CPR and others don’t blow a gasket, and try to now make me seem as if I too have committed a crime by speaking up in favor of the new cruise berth.”

      CPR has never gone after individuals for supporting the port, but I guess this is just more of the “people have been bullied and pressured by CPR activists into signing the petition” and “hundreds of people have inquired about getting their names withdrawn from the signature list of the petition as they feel the issue was misrepresented”, “CPR was barging into buildings and meetings demanding people sign the petition” garbage that the government was pushing earlier this year
      All claims which turned out to be false as we saw during the verification when not even 1% of names were withheld or withdrawn when approached by the elections office
      You people are in for a rude awakening come the 20th of December

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      • Say Wa says:

        CPR as a group no but One of its prominent members yes, he was observed berating a person who said he would not sign the petition at a supermarket and in the early stages of the drive. If he did it once , his Pompous attitude would drive him to do it again and again. This is not marl road talk eh

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    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for speaking up. I don’t agree with much of what you said but a healthy debate needs informed opinions from both sides.

    • Anonymous says:

      “I agree with the heading that the cruise port debate needs a lot more balance, but a heck of a lot less emotive politics and scare tactics.”

      I agree. Tired of the government’s scare tactics.

  6. Jonathan JT Adam says:

    Let’s get one thing straight here; A large segment of those who inhabit the ranks of the publicly funded pro port propaganda machine are from the West Bay Garrison. XXXX for example, and those like him, could not care less about the well being of George Town Harbour or the surrounding environments therein. As far as they are concerned the destruction of the snorkeling and diving sites in the general vicinity of Hog Sty Bay would siphon more heads of virtual human cattle to them and for them to translate into dollars at the expense of all and sundry, plain and simple.

    It does not matter one iota to those like XXXXX because they only care about themselves in this regard. This is to say nothing of the overall cabal of pro port protagonists who see nothing wrong with using public funds to push their own selfish and myopic and ill advised agenda. This is an all too common malady and state of being which has now become pervasively present here in Cayman. The simple reality is that unless the CBF was to be placed directly upon where their own money is made, as in a giant void where the sandbar once was, would he and/or far too many of those within his particular segment of this rock utter any opposition.

    It is indicative of a wholly disingenuous group of people when this argument in regards to Mr. Briggs and his financial lobbying efforts being the sole reason for everyone else’s opposition to the CBF is thrown out there as if said reasoning is even remotely valid. This veritable bile is constantly vomited out when said group of people feel that regardless of all hurdles thrown in the way of CPR, and far more important than the membership of CPR and/or any political intentions and/or egos therein, I am talking about the people of this country, may well be overcome. Is it not so that any and all manner of scumbag tactics have been utilized by the pro port propaganda machine and their henchmen and/or henchwomen? I for one am fully aware that Mr. Briggs has more money than he will ever be able to spend. So what. That has nothing to do with me nor the thousands of others who have signed the petition because we believe in the concept of real democracy. The continued operation of the tendering of cruise ship passengers has nothing to do with my opposition to the CBF, and the multiple reasons for that decision. We have seen what the woefully inadequate, and quite frankly abused and outright prostituted, semblance of democracy which we have in Cayman has become. It has become a sick, horrible and completely unacceptable scenario.

    Who are these absolute idiots who want to see Cayman’s population exploded beyond any realm of sanity in order to satisfy their own greed? Who is so stupid that they cannot see the problems with infrastructure, and the lack thereof, which is negatively affecting the quality of our lives more and more each day? Who among us can open our eyes long enough to actually see the reasons for this? Who is willing to take the corrective measures. Don’t stop the Carnival?!? Screw your XXXX carnival.

    There is a vast difference between incompetence and what the reality is and is often erringly termed as incompetence when it comes to the maladministration of the Cayman Islands. The term incompetence is used dissolve responsibility for that which is and has been a definitive dereliction of duty. My generation witnessed the purposeful ignoring of what some might call God given foresight in the name of a gold rush lunacy and the same said myopic greed which is the driving force of those who inhabit the pro port propaganda machine. Many of my generation benefitted from it as well. Mount Trashmore is the physical manifestation of that purposeful ignoring of foresight, and far worse. The traffic gridlock is a physical manifestation of that purposeful ignoring of foresight, and far worse. The dispossession of Cayman’s economy from Caymanian’s themselves has been a physical manifestation of that purposeful ignoring of foresight. The creation of a welfare state is consequential byproduct of it. The list goes on, ad nauseum. I shall digress.

    XXXX

    The political structure of Cayman amounts to a two headed venomous serpent which has now pulled away the curtains of farcical actual opposition to each other’s see saw bouts of maladministration and have embraced each other’s heinous and megalomaniacal sociopathy in a bid to retain there own undeserved power and influence, and are themselves puppets of monopolistic, neo imperial and vulture capitalist entities. For how long will the conscious and conscientious members of the electorate be forced to choose the lesser of a few evils?

    The debacle of the CBF is symptomatic of a continually all pervasive and now solidified institutionalized corruption and prostitution of the decision making processes which illegitimately and unjustifiably enrich some at the expense of all others. It is lethally unfortunate and detrimentally consequential to the well being of the Cayman Islands. We cannot trust our governmental maladministrations, why should we? How could we? They are as transparent as freshly stirred up mud and that is not by mistake. One could venture to say that those who have directly chosen or influenced the timing of or given their ‘support’ to the timing of the referendum should be ashamed of themselves. The problem is that would require the presence of a conscience and/or any semblance of an actual moral compass within the ranks of said individuals. Who among us actually believes that said qualities actually exist within the ranks of subsequent bouts of maladministration which the Cayman Islands and her people have been subjected to, willingly and/or otherwise?

    The very construct of the supposed law in regards to referendum is tantamount to defecating upon the very concept of democracy. It is ludicrous in the extreme and unacceptable in it’s entirety that those who will choose not to vote, whether it be yay or nay, are to be counted as a yes vote. How could one be more anti democratic than those who have formed said structure in this way? We have seen the weevil in the wig try to use this purposeful injustice in a full frontal and once again illegitimately publicly funded attack against any semblance of real democracy in the past when the question of ‘one man, one vote’ was the issue of the day. The story remains the same, the perpetraitors on the front lines is the only thing which has changed. The hypocrisy is stunning, but it is no longer surprising.

    There are those who would, will and have prostituted their vote for a handout. In my humble opinion those people do not deserve even the right to vote. Ignorance holds no water as an excuse for this.Those who would prostitute the well being of the Cayman Islands and her people in order to gain that for their own selfish political expediency deserve far worse. There are those who have done so repeatedly and it is they who inhabit the root of the problems which the Cayman Islands have been forced to endure.

    Unless and until there is a paradigm shift these symptomatic debacles will continue on into an unwanted and unnecessary perpetuity. The right and acceptable choice has no hope of being reached within this climate of untenable and unacceptable levels of repeated maladministration, a woefully inadequate democratic process, enshrined and solidified institutionalized corruption and a complete and utter lack of accountability at the highest levels of the so called ‘good governance’ of the Cayman Islands et al.

    I will vote. I will vote no. I will vote no for multiple and myriad reasons. I will vote no because I have no confidence in those who I should be able to trust but who have proven themselves to be unworthy in the extreme.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Here’s my concern with the port project: I remember the PR gathering where a concerned citizens asked Moses Kirkconnell for a list of the 999 full-time jobs and 491 construction jobs; neither Moses nor his panel could provide a list. That for me was the moment I started to pay attention.

    When the the Clifton Hunter High School campus was being built, it was budgeted to cost CI$58,000,000. By the time the school was ‘built’ it had cost the public purse CI$110,000,000 ($52,000,000 over budget – let that sink in) and the school STILL isn’t complete (I heard that the school doesn’t even have a certificate of occupancy yet – but don’t quote me on that). The government doesn’t want to release the final budget for the new John Gray High school (which would be facilitating an even larger number of students). And now, a port that is initially budgeted to cost around CI$200,000,000?

    There seems to be a pattern of unnecessary level secrecy around these projects for which I and my fellow citizens are paying. One of while I’m all for development and progress, the government hasn’t demonstrated that it can develop my country sustainably. In the case of the Clifton Hunter High School, no one can tell me that that school was built $52,000,000 over budget and no one received kickbacks.

    Forget about the environmental/sustainability argument for a minute – let’s assume that we do go through with building the port, and let’s say that port goes over budget (which with government’s track record of overspending, it most likely would). If even it went over budget by a modest 10%, that would $20,000,000 extra that the public purse would cough up. Think of where that money could go.

    Now let’s assume that it goes over budget by the 89.66% that the Clifton Hunter High School went over: original budget – $200,000,000; final cost CI$379,310,344 and change.

    That could build/update schools; implement a proper public transportation system (which would alleviate traffic); build a proper waste disposal facility; invest in an island wide renewable energy program; etc.

    I feel that there are pockets that are being lined by this project which is why there was so much secrecy at first. Now the pro-port side is promoting it as a good thing for Cayman.

    Im sorry 101. While I find your tone to be rational, I can’t help but think that past will be prologue with this project.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You phrased your reply as if government is responsible for budget and construction, which it isn’t. Your point about the school is irrelevant.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Because somehow the track record of the government for approving projects that aren’t thought out or properly constructed isn’t relevant

        Earth to clown, earth to clown, pick up clown

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  8. Anonymous says:

    The focus on ‘save the reef’ was in direct response to the pro-port lies that ‘there is no reef there to save’. Here’s the problem with the pro-port lobby: every time they are exposed as spouting gibberish they move on to the next illogicality. Now we’re supposed to try and balance a cargo port against a couple of dive sites? Balooney. That has never been the issue.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    I’ll go with late Bo MIller. An argument against cruise berthing facilities.
    https://www.caymancompass.com/2015/07/30/an-argument-against-cruise-berthing-facilities/

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Thank you to post something better and deferent. When it comes to this project idea I’m part of silent group that support it. I don’t want to say it publicly because there is too much anger about this. So this post is what I believe just that many of us can’t say it like this otherwise people act like we trying to commit a crime or something. I will do a vote to support the project because it’s right thing to do

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Strangely both this absurdly twisted Viewpoint and the immediate 30 followers stinks of trolls making far too much pro-port ‘noise’ and is a poor attempt at that.

    Our children will feel the brunt of this in the years to come (far beyond the 2021 and subsequent general elections) IF this stupid port goes ahead. And those of us who live through this will not forget. The politicians will still have to live among us when their political careers are over and they are no longer able to fuel personal agendas and ulterior motives.

    If the lunacy is stopped they will have resources (but still lack the brains) to resolve other more pressing matters that we DO need. The long-term benefits for our children would be vastly improved if the money to be wasted on the port was invested in stayover tourism, educational, vocational, environmental, and much needed infrastructure improvements instead. Along with the an aggressive enactment of SIPL.

    I would rather place decisions in the hands of our children and educate them to equip them to deal with the port fairly, rationably and reasonably in years to come IF it transpires to be real and not political pipe dreams. Much rather do that than saddle them with the consequences now, when it is neither needed or wanted.

    The more noise you guys make, the more we know we are right. Keep on and walk good.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Well with all that’s going on I think this is the most common sense I heard on this project in a while!

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  13. Anonymous says:

    that’s all lovely, but here’s the beef: if you relocated all the jewelry and souvenir stores to Spotts, or Red Bay, or East End, or Cayman Brac…nobody would be pushing for the Port to be updated in George Town.
    At the end of the day, this is all about money and the very, very, very few who truly will benefit from it. NOT the many, many taxi drivers, tour drivers, waitresses, jet ski owners, chefs, etc who will not see any significant uplift in their take home pay.
    It’s all it is – it’s money. Directly by cementing (pun intended) the arrivals infront of the existing stores. and Indirectly by overnight increasing the value of all land and buildings in the vicinity.
    Money.
    Follow it. The truth always hides right behind it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Ok let’s follow the money then.. how much do you think the owners of the tenders who are fighting the project are making? I am sure it’s not a small amount .. nothing wrong with making big bucks but at least let’s recognize who else has been getting rich here!

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      • Winter is Coming says:

        There is no difference between the duty free retailers who are driving the pro port efforts and owners of tenders (anti-port) in how they operate or view people. The working class e.g. taxi and tour bus water sports operators are pawns in this Caymanian version of Game of Thrones.

        Both sets are the definition of “Caymanian entitlement” that have historically run the country and controlled politicians for decades. The main threats to their existence and comfort levels is now DART, New Caymanians, well educated millennials and the multi-generational Cayman professional class and intelligentsia.

        Both sets do not have heirs or progeny qualified to continue the family dynasty or survive in modern day Cayman.

        Most members of the Caymanian merchant class elite have operated in this manner from the 1930’s to present day. The irony is most are related by bloodline or marriage and used the status quo to advance and protect their agendas. However both now struggle to stay profitable and relevant in the evolution of the new Cayman which is indifferent to their historical positions.

        Modern day Cayman is not interested in maintaining the status quo that benefits the self styled Caymanian royalty to the detriment to the many. I think this can be best described as the essence of Cayman Kind.

        “I don’t believe in saviors. I believe men of talent have a part to play in the war to come” – Lord Varys

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvAVlRkJaV8

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      • Anonymous says:

        that’s true too. But b/nw the two, the lesser of 2 evils is pretty easy to agree upon

      • Anonymous says:

        The tenders are going to be used regardless of whether the project is built or not
        Or have you not been paying attention, there will still need to be ships tendered regularly as there are only 4 slots in the CBF

        And they will likely bump up their fees to make up for any losses seeing as they have a monopoly and likely a grudge against a government that has spent the last 5 years smearing them

        But while we are talking about following the money:

        Have CPR or the tenders business spent 250,000 dollars in the last year on anti port ads?
        Does CPR or the tenders business have sitting ministers who help finance the current ruling party with their family owned business money?

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        • Forelock says:

          Sadly, this is unlikely to be true. When you take away the first four ships from their daily passenger count the tendering business as it is now will most likely become financially non-viable. Therefore it ought to be an equally logical conclusion that the docks will not increase passenger numbers, they may well permanently decrease them.for if there are no tenders to bring the passengers from the fifth, sixth and seventh ships ashore, then they will not come.

          Why are we fixing something that ain’t broke?

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      • Anonymous says:

        @10:09am
        I really echo your point about the owners of the tenders.
        For a moment put aside all pros and cons of constructing the port (there are good ones on both side).
        The business of tendering to the cruise ships is a monopoly that has outlasted C&W, and CUC. Yes it’s true. Don’t believe me? Well, try applying for a license from CIG Transportation Board to operate a tender. You will be turned down instantly. The reasons will be so vague, and ambiguous it may not seem relevant to your application.
        In the 1980’s if you asked… Is there an existing Government approved monopoly on the cruise ships tendering service? The answer would have been “No”. 30 + years later they will still deny any application submitted, and if you put the monopoly question to them again, the answer is still “No”.

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    • Anonymous says:

      money was important from bible times and will be forever!

  14. Anonymous says:

    The group fighting to stop the dock regardless of what it will cost the country, the economy and the Caymanians that live and work in the cruise industry don’t want to hear such level headed reasoning. This type of talk exposes the real unlaying belly of the referendum group, this vote push is really just an attempt to launch political careers, attack the current government and set themselves up for the next election. They don’t care if they do it on the backs of good people who ACTUALLY care for the environment and they are bringing down their names in the process through association.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yes the people who are saying continue the push of incessant and unending development as has been the norm under the last 20 years of various administrations are the ones who ACTUALLY care for the environment
      Ludicrous utterly ludicrous

      There are what? 2 total people with interests in politics in CPR both of whom are transparent about those interests

      Has it ever occurred to you that people could be opposed to the government plan both because they have an interest in politics and because it is a bad plan, of course it hasn’t occurred because you people see the world in black and white (except when it comes to this port, because the only thing you are seeing is green $$$$)

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    • Anonymous says:

      And what? in your mind any criticism outside of the CIG or LA of a plan is illegitimate because it is inherently political or said by someone who has an interest in politics?

      How do you think people end up in government without first being political outside of government or elected office?

      Do you lot think people are just born in the LA chamber, out of eggs or test tubes like clones, who do you think fill those 19 seats other than people who are political and stand for election? Seriously Cayman is the only country where people outside of government or elected office are attacked for having opinions more regularly than the government is held to account for being horrible in the first place, and thus necessitating the criticism and political.

      Johann or Mario can’t run on a project that will be decided more than a year out from the general election they could potentially stand in, the idea that this is all for an future election is farcical
      They have been speaking up about this for years as the project developed, its not some sudden thing they have taken up

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  15. Anonymous says:

    good article 101. your strongest points are 1 and 4. I really beleive we need to wake up and recognise that we cannot do without a port and there are many person making a decent living from the cruise business.

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    • Anonymous says:

      hey 9:49 am… what you need to do is learn the I before E, accept after C rule! You don’t even know how to spell, but yet you want us to BELIEVE that we have to wake up? pppssssttt, please!

      This is NOT a good idea, and voting NO to this project doesn’t mean we aren’t open to ideas to improve the facility that exists- it just means we don’t want to destroy our environment in the process and don’t feel our gov’t is being 100% truthful with their agenda! It’s YOU that needs waking up!

  16. Anonymous says:

    I have three major issues with the view point.

    1. The debate FOR the port always promotes the view that if we say no then virtually all cruise tourism will be lost. This flies in the face of real world evidence, including our own steady rise in numbers (even prior to Irma), the lack of numbers growth in places docking mega ships and the growth in more exclusive (smaller ship) travel, which Cayman is ideally suited to benefit from.

    2. The debate FOR the port makes a massive assumption that people will still want to come to Cayman when the very drivers of tourism growth for us have been destroyed by the dock construction and the remaining sites are overwhelmed leading to a poor experience.

    3. The debate FOR the port continually fails to address the question of what might happen to cruise business whilst the dock is built. Whereas the cost may be $200m, businesses on the island are likely to suffer a direct effect from people not wanting to visit a major civil engineering construction site. If using alternative sites to land was sustainable, we’d be building a dock in them instead of the treasured and beautiful waterfront.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wow. There you go again. Assuming that the port will destroy the drivers of tourism? Really??did you not get anything from the article about balance? At most 1 or 2 dive sites will be affected and we need to find ways to address that. But seriously what about the other 200 sites? This type of comment just shows how little the anti port dude wants to discuss any real information. Do some research and see what was said when we tried to build the airport and even when this port was first built many years ago

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    • Anonymous says:

      issue 1. not true. we already know that the larger ships are passing by, and that the smaller ships are being phased out over time. the smaller ships have tourists that spend less dollars on shore. even with the smaller ships, the new port would allow them to spend more time onshore, spending more money, and potentially travelling further out.

      issue 2. there is no actual, real, verifiable evidence that the dock construction will destroy the drivers of economic growth – in fact, the complete opposite is true.

      Issue 3. actually, there is a very specific plan to address what will happen…

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      • Anonymous says:

        Issue 1 – The information we have from other destinations does not display any significant increase in passenger spending even with larger ships, the time ashore in Cayman is in line with almost all other jurisdictions (even without us having CBF where other areas do) and will not change because the cruise ship companies make more money the longer their passengers are out at sea and thus limited to onboard expenditures. There is no evidence tourist will travel further out, that is another ‘fact” by pro port supporters pulled out of thin air because the time ashore will not change significantly

        Issue 2: The CBF will cause the destruction of coral structures in the immediate area (a favourite of tourists who are often unable to go to other sites as they have limited time to spend commuting) During construction the GT area will have an influx of people, equipment and materials moved by truck. The Dock after completion will lead to congestion in the GT area in terms of people and foot traffic especially if annual visitors are increased from the current 1.7-1.9M annually to 2.5M as is the plan. We already have over 90% of passengers disembarking from the ships without a dock

        Issue 3: Please show us the very specific plan in place considering the preferred bidder was only revealed a couple months back and they haven’t even done the geotechnical study or updated EIA and have barely disclosed any documents
        The fact that you didn’t specifically name the document or link it speaks volumes

        The real question is, why waste time lying about issues that are so easily disproved, at least put some effort into the propaganda

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    • Anonymous says:

      Regarding point 1: Don’t forget that the cruise lines themselves have explicitly stated that regardless of the results of the referendum they will NOT stop calling on Cayman.

      • Anonymous says:

        2:10 The Ceo from the Cruise line had meeting in Cayman just a couple weeks back
        how come that is the only part you remember that was said?

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    • alaw says:

      9:49 we will answer the #3 after we consult the rest of the world that has done the same job!

  17. Anonymous says:

    It’s amusing. 101 your first article on this issue was presented as supposedly impartial, this 1 at least you have come out from behind the curtains as it is clearly pro port. No discussion here about the impact of 2.5 million sheeple on our environment. The hundreds of small businesses – stayover tourists mean far more to this group. Your discussion fails to focus on the real beneficiaries of cruise berthing – ever since Ken Dart purchased the waterfront from Mr Arch at a hefty price some years ago his return on that investment has been poor. We all know the other well connected family desperate for more customers. Nothing wrong with that but just because they are cheerleading for it doesn’t mean we should follow blindly. When Barkers is torn up so the sheeple can be herded there will your explanations to your children or even grandchildren about striking a balance between development and the environment ring hollow? The consequences of this decision are far too grave to get wrong. Please do yourself a favour. Examine Cayman’s changed landscape. Look at the scale and pace of development over the past 7 years. There is no balance – thanks in large part to the government that sits in office today. Time for change and that starts with a NO on 19 December.

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  18. A. Caymanian says:

    Our government are spending public funds to fight the people and spread lies about a project the country does not need given other national priorities. The project has been a pr nightmare poorly handled by the government from the beginning. The lack of transparency is shocking.

    The Premier and Deputy Premier have contradicted everything said by the bidders Verdant Isle group. A few examples:

    1. They said the public purse would not pay for the project yet spokespersons from Verdant Isle have confirmed otherwise.

    2. Government said the cruise lines would cease or limit trips to the Cayman Islands yet representatives from both Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean Cruise lines have confirmed that they will continue to call into Cayman because their customers demand it and is the port of choice on their western Caribbean cruise itinerary.

    3. Government claim Oasis ships may not call into the port. Government claimed large Oasis class ships cannot be tendered yet we have seen the opposite occur on multiple occasions. MCS cruise line Oasis class ship is calling into Cayman next month.

    4. The Premier has told the public there is no more information to be given and all details will be provided after the contract is signed.

    That is one of the most ludicrous official statements made how can anybody support a project without the information? There is a reason our government are doing so. How can any person vote yes or support the project if our government will not give the public all the information to help persons in the middle vote yes?

    Cayman knows what it currently has including record numbers of cruise passenger arrivals based stats provided by DOT in 2018 with more growth forecasted in 2019.

    The attitude and management of the pr and project has been disastrous by the government and all the pr agencies combined to merit the majority support.

    Cayman does not know what it is getting but knows what it has. The devil is always in the details.

    The Premier has sealed the fate of the project and my support with every utterance and continues to insult the public with talk of miracles and proclamations of “there is no more information to be given.” It is these sort of items that make it easy to vote no on referendum day.

    Never forget “A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush.”

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Well written.

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  20. Reality is a b*tch for the CIG says:

    Oh here we go again, another “above the fray” holier than thou perspective from someone whose only intention is rationalizing years talking points and providing cover for the persons in positions of power to push their destructive and wasteful policies

    Responses to the points raised as listed

    Regarding 1: You are right as a country that imports vast quantities of goods annually a port is necessary, fact of the matter a perfectly workable port already exists.
    This conversation was never about stopping any further development of an actual port that benefits all inhabitants of the islands.
    The point of contention was and still is the cruise berthing facility which is entirely unnecessary and the focal point of the government plans despite widespread opposition. The cargo facilities were tacked on after the fact as a selling point by the government when they realized just how hard it would be to defend pushing the cruise berthing facility on its own would be
    Using the cargo port expansion to dress up the undesirable bits was a misstep on the part of port supporters like yourself and the government. There can be one without the other, any plans to develop cargo should be judged on their own merits not tacked on to sell an otherwise horrendous project to people who have no incentives to back the proposal

    Regarding 2: There is more than one way to expand out economy and industries, some of the people opposing this project are tired of having our economic table held up with 2 metaphorical legs
    The false equivalence and the reach being made in this section is stunning. If we don’t do this now the people in 15 to 25 years are doomed. Really? That’s the best you could come up with?
    The government has been saying if this project wasn’t done now it would be the end of days for the past 15 years. They are on record making these claims as far back as 2006 when these most modern plans were first taking shape
    The “its my way or the highway” policy proposals from this government and from port supporters seems to be working really well for you lot though, Explains the stunning PPM super-majority that was reelected in 2017 to form government… oh wait
    Any potential plans or costs for projects in 15 to 20 years are purely hypothetical and merely speculation as they currently do not exist. The way to sell reasonable expansion of infrastructure is not fear-mongering about potential costs in 25 years which are entirely speculative but to explain why we need it right now which you fail to do.

    Regarding 3: And where does that logic lead us? Do we just disregard the natural environment because there’s always more where that came from? How is this a compelling argument in your mind? This is a government that has already made it crystal clear their interests are first and foremost the interests of business and the owner class. Not the citizenry. They are currently going through the process of ripping up environmental protections that they themselves passed unanimously. Forgive me if I don’t trust them to make reasonable compromises in terms of what is and is not acceptable.
    and don’t think I haven’t noticed you made this point focused on “300 dive sites” rather than the actual precious and delicate coral structures. We can always develop new dive sites artificially that are for people to enjoy that has never been an issue. What we cannot do is reasonably and effectively remake thousand year old coral structures and environments. The types of healthy marine environments that are not only essentially for coastal attractions for people but essentially for maintaining the natural order and biodiversity in our waters. Often these coral areas serve as safe harbour for smaller species of fish that cannot survive in the open ocean, Coral itself is living but provides safety, an area for reproduction and food for many animals.

    Regarding 4:
    No one has suggested we disregard the persons involved in the tourism industry, the government has been pushing for this project against popular sentiment for years to the benefit of the people directly involved in tourism. They are not some silent oppressed minority that has been held down by the rest of society they can speak as freely as they want and can advocate just as anyone else can. The people involved in the industry have made their cases, they have stake in the project some of them are open about that others try to dance around it, are we just to accept the proposal on their word alone?
    Last time I checked the government serves all Caymanians, that means, as much as you may dislike it that not just people involved in tourism get a say on issues regarding tourism. They have every right to be heard, and so do the rest of us, they have no special vote or veto by virtue of their occupations or livelihoods this is not a tourism association it is central government, the money is all of our money, the natural environment exists to all of our benefit not just theirs. And we will all have to live with the consequences good or bad of this project. They should and have been included in the discussion, but they have no right to unilaterally approve and justify the project.

    You are right that a particular focus has been placed on the personal interests of certain Ministers and their immediate family and business. This could have been avoided in multiple ways at multiple instances by this government not the least being, ensuring certain ministers were not involved in the project even if only as a precaution, even if only to avoid the potential for corruption or to ensure there is not even the idea that anyone could paint an image that could be construed as policies pushed out of self interests.
    The government have brought this on themselves, they have long track records of serving personal interests, avoiding transparency and ignoring the voters
    The allocations of ministerial portfolios could have easily been done in a way to prevent this even being a possibility, the question you ought to be asking is why wasn’t it?
    People who raise this as a concern have every right to do so, the standards should be set highest for those who claim to represent us.
    and the microscope should be turned on anyone who attempts to subvert those high standards

    It is not enough for us to combat real corruption where it exists that is important of course but, we have to fight even the potential for corruption in order to ensure that our system can be trusted and relied upon.

    People bring up road works and the dump because they are key examples of the government claiming to be handling issues and left to their own devices only to have the underbelly reared up at the general populace at a later date. People like you who stump for allowing the CIG to put these plans into place for our kids, have nothing to say when year after year we see failure after failure regarding projects that are not thought out, not worth the money we paid or not what we were promised

    At the end of the day most of this VP was just repackaging of the same stale talking points that people have been using for years now
    We should trust the government to draw the line, we should trust the government to make the right decision, we should trust the government to not make a complete mess of things

    Those against the project have a simple message, without our pressure, we can’t trust the government, as they have shown time and time again, they cross their own red lines, they hide information from the public, they disregard our instructions, they disregard their own plans and advice they seek, they often have personal motives for pushing projects while others are left at the wayside
    and it is that message that you all have the hardest time fighting, its why you want this issue discussed in a vacuum, the toxicity of the reality of the situation impossible to ignore otherwise

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    • Anonymous says:

      Amazing response. Thank you for accurately addressing the self righteousness. Asking questions or holding the opposite view in the absence of full details or facts from the govt is an accepted norm in every mature democracy but seemingly an offence in the Caymans.

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    • Anonymous says:

      interesting that you object to the viewpoint but you don’t mention all the money te tenders are making. i prefer to build the port than giving money to those few boat owners. you people trying to make this sound like government is only one interested in the project. behind the scenes those who benefit from current approach want it to stay that way so they can be even richer.

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      • Caveat Emptor says:

        Government can buy the tender boat business or compete and provide the service to the cruise lines if the major concern is profitability of those persons currently providing the tender boat services.

        It would be cheaper than building the port, it employs Caymanians and avoids the environmental damage of one of the main drivers of the tourism industry i.e. the pristine waters and beautiful marine environment.

        To hold the country’s future ransom for cruise berthing because the tender boat service owners are making too much money is short sighted. The Govt can easily provide this service. It provides air service thru Cayman Airways for air travel although at a significant loss but there is nothing to prevent competition to the current service provider.

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      • Anonymous says:

        You prefer the foreign developers to make millions of dollars so a few Caymanians who aren’t you will make less money? Boy that’s CaymanKind.

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      • Forelock says:

        The success of the cruise ship industry over the last 40 odd years owes its life to the Caymanian owned tendering business that has constantly grown to meet the challenge of landing every passenger that wanted to land on these islands.

        Tendering has always been open for competition from other Caymanians who wanted a piece of the action but they were, and are, very good at it, hence we hear these crab-in-a-barrel arguments from those who are now jealous of the success that their hard work has won them.

        Our government is rewarding them by making their business redundant, and by paying foreign entities money that never had to be paid by any Caymanian before to land passengers on these shores.

        Atlee and Adrian are heroes of these islands. Our government should be rewarding them, but instead, they are being kicked in the teeth and then spat on by the likkle man who has no sense to understand that these guys are the people who made it all work in the first place.

        • alaw says:

          It seems like the Cruise Line CEO statement that tendering is outdated and is the option for not having Berthing Facilities is disregard.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Yes. Because (1) his next words (relatively speaking) were ‘but we won’t stop coming to Cayman even if we have to tender’. Or are you discounting those words?

            (2) Many places still tender from cruise ships. Including private islands in the Bahamas for the exclusive use of particular cruise lines. So if they won’t put docks at their own places why should we pay them to put a dock in here?

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said!

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow, this was an amazing rebuttal, and one of the best comments I have ever read on this site. Bravo.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Phenomenal view point. This is the fresh approach that we all need to hear. There is far too much political garbage circulating and the couple of loud mouth political hopefulls are hurting not only the debate but turning sensible people who would otherwise be supporters of the vote against them sure to all of the twisted agendas.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Get off the sideline and engage.

      Caymanian apathy is a cancer. Are you doing anything to help?

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      • Anonymous says:

        If engagement means being a loudmouth against the port then I guess I stay on the sidelines because I think the port is a good idea. Just because I’m not out there shouting doesn’t mean I’m on sidelines. I’m not against the port and I’m not on the sidelines.

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        • Anonymous says:

          I believe 8:55 was saying that if you believe people are being misled into not supporting the port then you should get off the sidelines and engage so that you can show them the error of their ways

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        • Anonymous says:

          The port in it’s current form is selfish and short sighted. But that’s if you’re paying attention.We need a port but not at the expense of the environment. But hey you can breathe so who cares about anything else.

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