Teen activists ask cruise partners to stop project

| 03/10/2019 | 23 Comments
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service

(CNS): The young activists from Protect Our Future made it clear to the cruise line partners in the Verdant Isle consortium this week that the planned berthing development should not happen because of the environmental destruction it will cause. Handing over a petition with more than 200,000 names from many tens of thousands of visitors and others supporting the local opposition to the project, the students stressed that these threatened reefs are critical to their future.

The group of young people explained who they are and that the goal of Protect Our Future is to maintain sustainability in Cayman and protect the beaches, reefs and the marine environment. Speaking directly to the president of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Michael Bayley, who has adopted the role of chief spokesperson for the consortium, the students said the reefs are what makes Cayman a world renowned destination.

Ben Somerville (16) said that while Protect our Future appreciates the potential benefit and profit for some in Cayman who stand to gain from the cruise berthing facility, he said that “our organisation strongly believes that based upon available research, the economic benefits are far outweighed by the negative consequences to the environment”.

He said Cayman is recognised globally for the beauty of its waters and surrounding marine life, so the proposal to remove around 68,000 square metres of seabed would be detrimental to local marine ecosystems. Somerville also noted that the sediment would kill even more reefs over time.

“Water visibility and clarity will be reduced materially,” he reminded the cruise partners. “With such large amounts of sediment being disturbed, surrounding waters will visually become ‘cloudy’, becoming less appealing to incoming tourists off the cruise ships, but more importantly divers,” he added, stressing the importance of scuba diving to the local tourism product.

He noted the threat to the “pristine visibility of the local waters, marine ecosystems teeming with life”, as well as more than twelve dive sites that will be impacted in George Town Harbour, including several popular ‘wreck’ dives.

The young activists are not convinced by Verdant Isles’ claims that the coral relocation is going to be a great success, pointing to the inconsistencies surrounding efforts to move reefs and how their loss has global significance.

“Such a large removal of reef will only add to the global problem. We cannot simply stand by and watch yet another unsustainable project be passed,” Sommerville said, as he made it clear the young activists will press on with their campaign against the proposed berthing facility.

His school colleague, Dejea Lyons (16), pointed to the cultural significance of Cayman’s seas. “Building this port takes away our history and the tales that have been told, but it also takes away the tales that can be told,” she said. She said that, like many young people, POF was also worried about climate change.

“As an island, we must ensure that the environment does not take a back seat to the quest for short term economic benefit,” she warned. “Protect Our Future believes, as evidenced by the petition signed by over 5,000 people of the Cayman Islands forcing a referendum on the cruise berthing facility, that the people of the Cayman Islands care about their environment.

The students pressed home the point that destroying historical sites and reefs so a few more tourists can step off a boat onto our shores for a few hours not only flies in the face of the National Conservation Law but also contradicts Royal Caribbean’s own claims about their desire to protect the environment.

The POF members intend to press on with the online petition, which is not just open to locals but everyone around the world who loves Cayman. In the last week alone another 30,000 signatures were added from visitors and supporters who are standing with the people of the Cayman Islands against plans to dredge the reefs for the port.

See the petition here

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Category: development, Local News, Politics

Comments (23)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Protect mother earth, when she is destroyed humanity and all of life on Earth will be gone also.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Good for them! We parents must encourage and support them.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank goodness more of these opinions are in agreement instead of against kids having a say.

  4. Anonymous says:

    so…they don’t have jobs, have never had any real responsibilities. Yet. Some how. We as adults should care what they have to say? You know the anti port people have weak arguments when they have to use children.

    Sorry kids. I really don’t care what you have to say. Your opinion doesn’t matter. Go out into the work force, own a home, make car payments, and chuck in a few more responsibilities. And when your about 30. Then I will listen. Then come back and talk about the cruise port. Oh wait…it will probably in some way, be creating jobs for you. Great thing no one listened to you back then when you knew nothing.

    They aren’t legally allowed to enter contracts. But some how they are experts at what society needs. LOL….seriously.

    • Anonymous says:

      Doubt anyone is “using” these young people, who simply have the guts to stand up for what they believe. Instead of supporting their effort, even if you don’t agree with them, you bad-mouth them as if they are some of the idiotic people who use drugs, cheat, steal, etc. Do yourself a favour and work on figuring out your own sense of entitlement and superiority. Moron.

    • Anonymous says:

      you need to be able to differentiate between a business decision and morality decision. I would agree a high end business decision they might not be skilled enough yet but one based on morality in its most honest and pure sense without political / corporate influence for gain I would side with these kids every day. They’re standing up for longevity and sustainability of the environment and climate, – your argument doesn’t seem to consider that.

    • Cheese Face says:

      “so…they don’t have jobs, have never had any real responsibilities. Yet. Some how. We as adults should care what they have to say?”

      This could almost be compared to what a slave owner might say.

      You sir / madam, are a fool x

    • kjones@gmail.com says:

      your comments are ridiculous – get a life – and clearly based on your uneducated views your don’t have much of a job yourself and likely still live at home

    • Anonymous says:

      Really??? We’d better listen to these young people.

    • Cindy Moriaety says:

      Hey! One of those kids is my nephew and smart as a whip. Wait until he’s 30 he’ll have way more to say and more authority with which to say it. Of course we should listen. Age is irrelevant. We screwed up the planet. The next generation is left holding the (plastic) bags. If you don’t want to help move aside. Going to sign a petition now….

    • Anonymous says:

      I disagree with your assessment that they need to get a job and be 30 years old to have a say. They have a right to speak up as long as they have a concern.

      However, let’s not kid ourselves (no pun intended) regarding the possibility that these students are being used as part of a campaign. This port thing has erupted into a bitter full blown political campaign exercise where each side uses whatever means necessary to touch nerves. Young people do that as can be seen by all these comments to ‘let the youth have a voice’ etc but please please look into exactly who guided them and you will get the answer.

      We are all excited to see young people have a voice but let’s not be so naive about the campaigning that’s going on right now. This very ‘story’ published here on CNS was a specific objective by one side.

    • Sandra van der Bol says:

      I am so proud of these young people. They Get it! No environmental integrity….no tourists ultimately. Beware of the false promises of vested interests and get with the most vital priority of our day…honoring Mother Earth and her many gifts. Jobs will develop steadily and surely as the vision for a gentle, sensitive progression of a unique tourism project continues to unfold without the false and destructive policies of the ‘money only’ moguls.9

    • Mark Fagan says:

      As the saying goes, we don’t inherit the earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children.

  5. Anonymous says:


  6. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic work by these young people. Keep it up!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Great job!! Things are looking up for Cayman with these youngsters who can see further than their pockets and the few honest intelligent elected members in the house. ( I do not mean the cabinet and their sheep) We seem to finally see a glimmer of hope!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Like a UNESCO World Heritage Site, George Town Harbour’s Hope Spot – has been a global tourism attraction since scuba diving was invented. Our pioneers have all been inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame for lives spent building this industry. That the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame finds its home in Grand Cayman should be highlighted into the minds of our people.

    As legendary Oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle has stated: “May the George Town Harbour Hope Spot serve as an example to the world, encouraging people to take responsibility and ownership of their environment. The ocean is in trouble, but you can do something about it. We welcome the Cayman Islands to our global community as we work together towards this common goal. We want people to own their ocean and for Hope Spots to become a shared vision large enough to save and restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet.”


  9. Anonymous says:

    Link to petition?

    CNS: Thanks to POF here is the link to the petition and its in the story now too

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe the kids should swap the stock “great barrier reef” image for one from Grand Cayman’s Harbour.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I am so PROUD to read this news article!!!!!!!!!!!

    You can change the future. Speak up. Be polite. Be firm. Be articulate. We are all cheering you on!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree 💯. This young people give us hope. One of them speaks more sense and understands the impact on our environment than all the MLA’s put together.

  11. Anonymous says:

    What an inspiring group whose only motivation can be the long term future of Cayman

  12. Anonymous says:

    Brilliant! Well done.


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