Current state of the cruise port question

| 24/11/2019 | 47 Comments

Candy Whicker writes: As it has been just over a year since I wrote about the proposed cruise-berthing facility in George Town harbour, I thought it would be useful to review what has happened in the interim, look at how much more we now know — and what we still don’t. 

CPR (Cruise Port Referendum) Cayman achieved the momentous task of gathering over 5,000 signatures to trigger a people-initiated referendum on whether to build the facility as currently proposed and the Elections Office efficiently verified every single signature. For the first time in our history, on the 19th of December, the people of Cayman will vote on a matter of national importance. 

In July 2019, government announced the preferred bidder and project cost. We learnt that Verdant Isle, a consortium made up of two cruise companies, Royal Caribbean and Carnival Corporation, plus McAlpine and Orion Marine Construction, had won the bid to design, build, fund and maintain the proposed facility. We learnt it will cost some U$250 million to build and that this will be paid by Verdant Isle, who will then be repaid over 25 years from passenger income. Government also said they had cut an exceptionally good deal, “unprecedented” in fact, as they will bear no cost or project risk.  

So what do we now know? 

Tourism numbers 

The Department of Tourism website shows that in 2018 we earned US$680 million from 463,000 stayover visitors and US$200 million from 1,921,000 cruise visitors. We know that 20% of our tourism revenue comes from cruise and 80% from stayover and, as such, stayover visitors are far more valuable to us. 

Jobs and the environment

We are told that 4,500 jobs rely on our cruise industry and need to be protected, it is clear however that these jobs do not rely exclusively on cruise visitors but on stayover visitors and residents also. These jobs exist now, but what of the businesses in town which rely on water activities, how many jobs will be lost here during and most likely after the build, and what of the 50 employees of the tender company once this is no longer needed? 

We know that we will destroy all the coral in the dredge area. We will damage or kill all the coral in the surrounding area with silt during the build, and turbulence from propellers and thrusters will prevent any meaningful regrowth or recovery.

The consortium tells us that they will relocate the coral and rebuild the reefs, and this is commendable, but it has no guarantee of success and is really a large coral experiment rather than the real coral reefs we have now.

So the fact is that we will lose our only shore accessible snorkeling, diving and underwater tours in the harbour. We are one of the only islands in the Caribbean to have this clear water harbour with water activities which is why many of the cruise visitors come here. Why would we want to destroy that?

Those who say we shouldn’t prioritize the environment over jobs are missing the point that the environment is the main reason people come to Cayman.  If we harm the environment, we will lose the jobs anyway.

The business case

In the past 20 years, overall tourist numbers have grown steadily and the Cayman economy is more robust. As a result, we have far more choice about how to develop our tourism product and can and should be more selective. We are a safe destination with a robust infrastructure and people want to come here. We know that the footprint of 2,000,000 plus cruisers per year, all the crowding, pollution, congestion and degradation that this brings to our island damages our experience and that of our higher spending, more discerning stayover visitors, who in the main love and respect our island, our culture and our natural beauty as much as we do. But they will start to go elsewhere if we allow our cruise sector to become even more dominant.

A snap shot of tourist revenue data from our Department of Tourism:

In 2018 we hosted 193,000 more cruise visitors than in 2017 and earned CI$11 million more revenue.

In 2018 we hosted 45,000 more stayover visitors than in 2017 and earned CI$182 million more revenue.

That is 16 x more revenue for a quarter of the people. This current data should inform our decisions, not a 2015 business case.

Why build a facility for our cruise visitors that will cost us many hundreds of millions of dollars in terms of lost passenger revenue and put at risk the much greater revenue we earn from our stayover tourism, especially now that Mr. O’Sullivan of Royal Caribbean stressed in October 2019 that cruise lines would not stop calling, no matter what happens with the port?

Surely now we have the perfect opportunity to develop Cayman into a predominantly high-end destination, where we prioritize the experience of the stayover visitor rather than the cruise visitor.  

The global trend of high-end cruise destinations 

We are in the unique position of actually having hindsight. Every day, we read of the effects of overtourism, crowding from cruise ships, pollution from mega ships moored close to beautiful places (Venice, Cannes, Santorini, Dubrovnik). We are already experiencing a taste of it ourselves with our most popular attractions, Stingray City and Public Beach, seriously overstretched on busy cruise ship days. 

People all over the world who live in cruise destinations are standing up and saying enough is enough and limiting these big ships from their harbours and shores. We don’t have to get to that stage. We already host 2,000,000 cruise visitors a year and we keep the ships at a safe distance from shore. We are in a far more enviable position right now.  We don’t have to try and take back our island – well, not yet. 

Let’s not be 10 years behind the rest of the world on this one.

And now a few words about THE COST 

We know that the facility will cost US$250 million to build and that the consortium will be repaid from the passenger tax over 25 years.

The consortium will be paid US$8.05 per passenger, which with approximately 2,000,000 passengers comes to US$16 million a year. However, this US$8.05 will be increased by 2.5% each year, so this means the payment will over double to US$36 million a year by year 25. 

Clearly these figures are not exact as passengers will still land via tender initially and some US$75 million will go towards the maintenance of the facility during the 25 year period. However, if we use the governments anticipated passenger growth figure of 2,500,000, guess what the final figure paid to the consortium adds up to? 

US$675 million. Let that number sink in. 

So how does this all make sense? A huge return for the cruise companies, a loss of revenue for our government, potential project risk and all to fix something that’s working well already, earns us good income, is more suited to our resources and allows us to keep control of the income stream from cruise visitors? 

But maybe I am being a bit unfair, as in July government said that any excessive profit will be capped if passenger numbers rise above a certain level, but that this cap had not yet been agreed. Surely this is the one most important number: without the cap we cannot assess the value of the deal at all. Without this one number, no deal has really been cut. 

I leave that thought with you. 

So let me recap what we still don’t know about the current proposal: 

· We don’t know the full cost until the cap is negotiated

· We don’t know how many or what jobs will be created (though we know we will lose existing jobs) 

· We don’t know the extent of the damage to the coral in the harbour and surrounding areas 

· We don’t know if the business case really does stack up or whether stayover revenue will decline

· We don’t know if it will damage Seven Mile Beach 

And we still don’t have a robust Environmental Impact Assessment on the current design.

If it just comes down to Seven Mile Beach, when our own seamen and marine biologists have warned us it will be affected, even a whisper of this risk should stop this project dead in its tracks. 

What are we ALL looking to achieve and how can we do this?

· We want to protect and enhance our total tourism product,

· We want to protect and create more jobs,

· We want to maximise economic returns

· And we want to do all of this while protecting our fragile environment. 

At the moment all the revenue from our cruise sector flows to our government and Cayman businesses. We have beautiful coral in and around the harbour which thousands of visitors enjoy daily, we have myriad small Caymanian businesses benefiting from water activities in the harbour. All good. But our port and cargo facility are in need of an upgrade.

I propose we remain a tender port, upgrade both the cruise terminal and cargo areas and install security screening on shore to improve passenger flow. The current proposal allows for US$20 million to enhance the cargo side, so we could no doubt upgrade the cruise side for a similar amount, let’s say US$30 million. A simple plan such as this achieves all that we and government want at a cost of $50 million, and let’s partner with McAlpine and Orion to do this, and pay them back using the passenger tax.

No need to build large piers, no need to dredge at all or destroy any coral, no loss of water clarity, jobs, businesses and best of all, we retain ownership and control of our invaluable cruise asset. Our 2,000,000 cruise guests will thank us for upgrading our facility and come back as stayover visitors, we save our beautiful views from George Town, we save our money – and at no risk to Seven Mile Beach. 

Why give our tender revenue to the cruise companies? If government prefers those dollars to flow into public coffers rather than to a Cayman-owned business, then let them buy the tender company or let it be sold to the people of Cayman so that we can all benefit – and insist on no foreign or cruise-company ownership of these precious shares. 

Let’s swap the Cruise Berthing Facility for the Cruise Facility. We don’t need the additional 3.7 acres of hard standing on the cruise side to accommodate the same number of daily cruise passengers. The current proposal is excessive for our needs and it is these aspects of the proposed design which account for the enormous cost and environmental damage. It is these aspects which are causing all the opposition, upset and divisiveness – and we don’t even need them.

Adopting my proposal would be a true win for us all.

As Guy Harvey says, we are unique – let’s stay that way 

We are told that everyone has cruise berthing piers now, so we should have them too, but why? Why not let’s be the one that doesn’t, the memorable one, the one that people come back to because the ships are kept at a distance. Let’s be the pretty little port they visited on tenders with the opportunity for real holiday experiences, snorkeling in the harbour, simple family time on the beaches, not prefabricated, fake, cruise-owned theme-park experiences that they get everywhere else. Let’s stand out from the crowd! 

Finally, I believe we should cap our cruise visitors at 2,000,000 or even 1,500,000 as Guy Harvey suggests. This would send a hugely positive and timely message to the tourist world and would most likely boost our stayover visitor numbers even further. We have a brilliant Department of Tourism, think what they could make of our uniqueness and our stand against overtourism. 

And so 

I have no doubts that our elected representatives genuinely believe that they are acting in the best interests of our people, country and future and regard the opposition to the proposed project as unnecessarily obstructive. But I worry they exist in an echo chamber, a chamber spun seductively by the cruise companies, the modern-day Pirates of the Caribbean. They are caught in a place where their view is restricted by the years of work, negotiation and fear for our future. I think if they stepped back and looked at the facts, an EIA that actually spells out the dangers when you read it and a dated business case so burdened by caveats it has no value as a decision making tool. And if they look clearly, they will see that there are other viable alternatives that achieve all our ends and which pose no danger to our revenue stream from stayover tourism, our economic independence or our environment.

In some ways, the port, the opposition, the money, the tourists, none of these really matter as much as the overarching truth that we are beginning as human beings to realize, the truth that we need nature very much more than we knew before. We need to change our ways and tread more lightly on the planet, because if we don’t we cause irreversible damage and will all suffer. Young people globally are leading the way on this. This enormous cruise berthing facility is the embodiment of old world thinking, squeeze every drop of revenue regardless of the damage it does. The voices calling a halt to this project are not just Caymanian, but are echoed all over the world where strong leaders are beginning to listen and act. With this referendum our people and our government have the power to step back and really do what is best for the people and for Cayman and her natural treasures.

I will close by asking each of our decision makers to cast their minds forward to the day when they are resting, with a grandchild or two on their knee, and ask them to reflect on whether they truly want their legacy to be the fact that they caused thousands and thousands of tons of toxic concrete to be poured into George Town harbour, so that Cayman could host more cruise visitors. Or rather that they had taken the decision to protect that moon sliver of golden sand in Hog Sty Bay where they, their grandfathers and their great grandfathers splashed in crystal-clear waters, so that their grandchildren can do the same? 

This is not a done deal if you vote, but it will be if you don’t.

Please vote no.


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Category: development, Local News, Viewpoint

Comments (47)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    WAKE UP Taxi drivers. You will not be getting any more business. you will probably get less as the water taxis will be taking over your business and WE all know who would own them,

  2. Anonymous says:

    If you want ‘stay over’ tourism don’t complain about the constant construction work being carried out building new hotels all over the island to house these stay overs.’ You can’t have it all ways!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Very well written with allot of thought and details however this is such a very simple idealistic view of everything which is not realistic or practical at all, nor does it consider all the issues involved. Again this is cherry picking only the negatives to support a view and an agenda. There is absolutely NO positives considered whatsoever. Do the mathematics and you will see glaring misleading misinformation. Divide the economic financial benefits by the number of stay over tourists and the spent rate is $1468/head then divide the 45000 additional stayover tourists into the additional economic financial benefits and you derive a figure of $4044/head. This is obviously not correct at all, and this simplistic analysis does not compare apples with apples because the cruise tourists spent rate of $100/head is totally understated, and it does not include the increase in spent rate when ships are berthed (refer to St Maarten) and cruise tourist have a far longer and more pleasant experience ashore. It also does not include many other expenditures by the cruise lines into our economy, like concessions purchased onboard the cruise ships, berthing fees paid and head taxes paid to CIG etc etc etc. It also does not consider or include the spend rate of the massive crews onboard the cruise ship who will be able to come ashore if their ship is birthed where by at anchor or on dynamic positioning they are not permitted to disembark their ships. Additional the stayover financial benefit to the economy does not separate all the other people who come to Cayman on business or otherwise who are not stay over tourists. The majority of the benefit of stay over tourists remains in the private sector because the public sector only receives a hotel service tax on the room. A good start would be to identify and separate what revenue out of the economy does Government receive as public sector earnings for both cruise tourism and stay over tourism .

    • Anonymous says:

      Good points. Here’s where we end up when your comment is combined with the viewpoint: we need both, we have both. Case closed. We don’t need any more bodies or dollars right now.

    • Candy Whicker says:

      Thank you for looking closely at my figures, you are absolutely correct that that implies an amount of $4,044 per visitor which is not correct. What happened in 2018 was that not only did the number of stayover visitors increase, but the amount spent per visitor also increased, which means that the $183 million came from the 45,000 extra visitors and the higher spend of the other visitors. It is all in the DOT report. But the fact remains that we received $183 million more revenue and only 45,000 more people.

      I do agree with you we need to look at all this very closely so that we can better understand our best way forward.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Someone has posted this article on Amsterdam. VERY interesting and a good read.
    We DO NOT want over tourism. Already pushing it as it is..
    https://www.dw.com/en/how-amsterdam-is-fighting-mass-tourism/a-47806959

  5. Rosh Addlestone says:

    Excellent article Candy. Thanks for taking the time (again) to write it. Cayman is indeed facing a historic time with the referendum and we should decide once and for all to focus on low volume, high end tourists, both those on smaller ships and those who stay over. We should improve the experience for those tourists we already receive, not go grasping for more, especially at the risk of damaging our beautiful coastline and waters.

    I would encourage anyone (and especially the MLA’s) to take a Stringray sandbar boat trip mid-week and see how terribly over-crowded we already are when the ships are in. Public beach and Starfish Point are the same. It would be even worse with more passengers – we should reduce the numbers who visit now, to make it memorable and fun for those who do come, not bring in more.

    Instead of the cruise port we should focus on improvements of existing infrastructure such as shade for those lining up for the tenders (preferably from new trees, which are so sadly lacking in GT, which would make it cooler and more picturesque at the same time). We should also have a bypass road from the airport to Seven Mile, so that the Industrial Park is not our stayover visitors’ first and last impression. That would also ease congestion (and accidents) at the Butterfield roundabout too, which is a terrible bottleneck for all.

    We should also focus on reviving George Town. We should protect and restore the few remaining cottages and limit the number of passengers disembarking there. The exodus of office workers has been caused not just by the availability of new space and better parking elsewhere, but by how unpleasant it is being overwhelmed by passengers if you are trying to work downtown.

    Please Cayman – don’t let’s ruin this verdant isle, set in blue Caribbean sea, that we all love so much. Let’s do the right thing and protect it for our future generations.

  6. Anonymous says:

    We should focus on increasing stay over tourism, it’s far more valuable for the island as a whole. If cruise tourism numbers declined slightly, that would be positive for the island. Less cruise shippers would mean our key attractions e.g. Stingray City, SMB etc. would be less busy and remain premium products for the big spending stay over tourists, and we could then focus efforts on redeveloping GT and improving SMB. The cruise ships will still come even if the port is not redeveloped.

  7. Revelations 3:45 says:

    The movement has now taken on a life of its own that cannot be stopped. This is Cayman’s Arab Spring.

    The lack of respect for the people, lack of transparency and arrogance on display by this government particularly Alden McLaughlin, Moses Kirkonnell, McKeeva Bush, Joey Hew, Tara Rivers, Roy McTaggart, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, Dwayne Seymour, David Wight, Barbara Connolly and Austin Harris. The time has come to vote them out for failing to listen to voices of the majority. This referendum represents a historic change where the people will not be ignored anymore.

    Truth will always prevail! The government brought this on themselves because they did not think the people were watching or understand what is at stake. The government do not respect the public. Now the public are reacting to their actions or lack thereof and showing them they work for the people and should demonstrate respect for the voice of the people.

    • Anonymous says:

      And none of that has been achieved just by posting comments on CNS. Think about the effort that has gone into the referendum and public education effort. We have proof of concept now for how we can change Cayman without having to all become politicians.

      Time to turn the heat up now. I suggest we invite everyone who signed the petition to attend a peaceful demonstration, to show our numbers. Not the kind of demonstration people blow off thinking others will pick up the slack, but the kind everyone turns up to specifically for the purpose of sending a message. With moves like this we could win outright or, if we fall slightly short, the government might change its mind after a still-strong showing of 8,000-9,000.

  8. Angela Martins says:

    An excellent, balanced piece. I commend this to everyone. We really need to get our heads around the fact that once we destroy nature we don’t simply repair it with crazy glue.
    This project is about that and so much more. We can’t any longer think only about short term gain. This approach hasn’t served us well so far and this project shows that all future generations will live with the negative wide ranging impacts should we go ahead with it.
    When we destroy what we have been given by our forefathers what do we have to give to those who come behind us?

  9. Anonymous says:

    If stayover visitors could vote….we vote NO!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Based on the figures presented the obvious direction is the stayover visitor. Surely it’s prudent for that to be the endgame and so therefore enhance the infrastructure and Georgetown pedestrianisation instead to bring the cruise guests we do have back for extended stays once they’ve had the initial cruise experience. Suiting up for more and more cruise guests against a scale of limited returns as well as loading up an already overloaded 5hr window destination with the additional associated new port risks just doesn’t make any sense at all. The end game is what we should be playing, an end game that ensures the season multi-dimensionally and not just a 90 minute result.

  11. Smoke says:

    I stopped reading after she started talking about jobs. I realized this is a more of a novel with lots of speculation and smoke and mirrors and not an analysis of the facts.

    • Say it like it is says:

      8.05pm You need to go up in smoke!

    • Anonymous says:

      Someone turn on the fan and blow this smoke away.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you generally offer opinions on novels you haven’t finished?

    • Anonymous says:

      Can you only handle things written in crayon with lots of pictures?

    • Anonymous says:

      Absolutely correct, this is actually an election campaign being held with no concern for finding out the truth relating to the Port as speculation and misinformation is running rampant with the only aim being to embarrass the government prior to the next election. Vote no people, throw out Royal Caribbean and Carnival and let’s see who will be bringing cruise passengers here in the future! Welcome the Chinese!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for this detailed assessment but I have a few observations:

    Tourism numbers.
    Everyone is well aware that air arrivals generate more revenues per person. The point is that our cruise tourism sector positively impacts thousands of Caymanians and small businesses which rely on that sector. You cannot view total revenues in isolation: there are very few industries left in our economy which have a large percentage of locals as the ‘owners’ on the businesses. This does not happen in our professional services or financial services and it’s becoming very rare in the construction sector as well.

    It’s all well and good to talk about high end tourists but you cannot build an economy and prepare for opportunities based on a single demographic. This country needs a more diverse set of opportunities for our locals. For many of these individual business owners they would not have any other opportunity if it were not for the chance to operate a small business.

    Jobs and the Environment
    You speak of jobs based on the water sports as if the entire waterfront area will be decimated. It will not. The idea that there will widespread damage is something being promoted by those opposing the port and whenever mitigation measures or the true size of the dredging area is mentioned those in campaign mode simply don’t want to hear the truth.

    There will still be dive sites for water sports businesses, but there is another critical point you are missing: it’s highly unusual for the port area to permit as much personal swimming and diving due to very serious safety concerns. We can’t say we want to be different if that’s not safe. And neither can we say we want to be different to other places with piers if that’s the most efficient means to accommodate the passengers. Look at the cases of Cancun and Grand Turk after piers and you will see evidence of coral and sea life everywhere.

    What we have here is a unique opportunity to strike the right balance that permits us to create new areas for diving by replenishing coral while having a first class port facility.

    The Business Case
    Your analysis of the business case relies on the same idea above which compares air arrival revenues to cruise passengers. It does not take into account the real economic opportunities for Caymanians stemming from the cruise sector.

    There are many good examples where looking purely at the financial figures cannot give you a realistic assessment of whether that thing is worth doing. Education in this country costs more per student in the public sector than in most other countries. But we cannot abandon educating our children because our cost benefit analysts is limited to looking at revenues and costs. We continue to invest in education because we know it has a much wider and more impactful contribution both economically and in quality of life.

    This is also true of the many jobs and business opportunities available to Caymanians due to our cruise sector.

    Here’s another real example of how looking at the dollars and cents isn’t the full picture: our financial services sector earns hundreds of millions of dollars every year. But how many Caymanian millionaire were made from that sector? Hardly any – but no-one is suggesting we should get rid of that industry?

    Our country’s GDP per capita is among the highest in the world. It’s currently at around $70,000 per person. But take a look around and you will see thousands of persons not actually earning $70,000 per year.

    Fact is, a more holistic assessment must recognize that some of us are earning lots of money, others are running a small but profitable business, some are not able to get certain type jobs but can earn a living as sole proprietor in a business while others are making a decent and honest living from other opportunities. Our economy must serve all the people with varied skillsets, not just the few and privileged.

    The Cost
    First let’s talk about another number that needs to ‘sink in’.

    With no port, the tender boat owners will earn over 250 million over the next 25 years and we believe (which is consistent with your analysts) that they employ 40 to 50 persons. The tender boat owners have already made manyl millions. At the end of the 25 years we will have nothing to show for this money aside from a few very wealthy business owners and if we are lucky, 40 to 50 jobs. Let THOSE numbers sink in.

    What we are taking about here is using the tender boat fees to pay for a critical piece of infrastructure. The tender boat funds are NOT costing the government or public anything because it’s not going to us now anyway.

    Furthermore you cannot start with the number of 250 million and end with 650 million without recognizing that we are taking about a mortgage arrangement where obviously there will be some interest paid to the lenders. Most of the funds used to repay this loan does NOT come from public funds because we are only taking the 2.32 from each passenger.

    And we also need to recognize that at the end of it all we will have an asset valued over 450 million. We will also have a first class cargo port which we badly need. We cannot talk about the cost of what we are buying without equally reflecting on the value of what we have acquired.

    The only true final assessment of this project is this:

    We the people are paying ONLY the 2.32 per passenger which amounts to around 145 million. But after deducting the 2.32 we will also continue to receive the remaining 9.95 per passenger. When the total revenues under both scenarios (new port versus existing port) are compared the government ends up with a slightly greater amount in revenues not less. So in terms of public sector cost the project will not cost us anything.

    Everything else comes from the private sector and cannot therefore be counted as government funds or the people’s money.

    Finally, you are right that there were questions remaining but many of those have been answered with the new information being distributed.

    The remaining questions we should be asking as a country is:

    How can we work together to minimize the negative impacts while proceeding to enhance our port as is being proposed?

    Why is the benefit to 2 business owners viewed as more important than enhancing a critical part of our country’s infrastructure?

    Why are we allowing opportunistic politicians to hijack a national debate for their own future benefit instead of focusing on doing what’s right for our country?

    • Anonymous says:

      The negative impacts will be huge and cannot be meaningfully mitigated. Harbour-related businesses will close taking jobs with them, the coral will all die, the fish will all leave, GT will be hell for years from construction. What creative, can-do mitigation of the industrial noise I will have to hear in my office for years did you have in mind? Ear plugs? I need to be able to hear my clients speaking to me (and they need to be able to hear me).

      The reason tendering wins is because it does no damage to the environment. If a private business is providing what is essentially a public service in a professional, trouble-free way, that’s a win. For $2.32 per passenger the tenders safely handle the job and government hasn’t had to run its own tendering operation or take the associated risks. Besides, the fact that the tender company will make money is no argument for anything, it’s just a statement. What problem do you have with a well-run business providing a vital service to the community at an affordable price and turning a profit on that? As far as I am concerned, every fee paid to the tender company is going into the ‘Harbour Protection Fund’ because tendering allows us to have cruise tourism without ruining the views and water quality on the west side of the island (where all the money is made) through cruise berthing.

      Your final question is just as weak. Aspiring politicians need causes to demonstrate how they think and how they would govern and make choices on behalf of the people. Some jump on a popular grievance, others introduce their own ideas and push them hard. Either way, they have to enter the moment that is happening in the public sphere. There is absolutely nothing wrong in a representative democracy with a couple of admitted political aspirants being supportive of or involved in a pressure campaign. Politicians never want what’s best for their country as much as they do before they are elected anyway. The problem is after the election when they learn how easily they can manipulate voters and elections, how much money and how many privileges they get, how to climb the greasy pole, and all the rest of it. What you must know surely is that these political aspirants didn’t start this campaign. It is a true grassroots effort and like any that finds success, others will be attracted to it and come in with the resources to fight the fight for real.

    • HQ Mueller says:

      @6:36 thank you for your your assessment of the view point writers opinion. The truth is that we must also understand the political dynamics which are at play here. We have on the one hand people who were supporters of the UDP/CDP, who shifted allegiance to the PPM crew and because of their own internal turmoils and wishes which are not fulfilled by those whom they have supported are now again looking for a HOMe some what like the boo weavel ( looking for a home got to have a home); most certainly they are gravitating to another political alliance and ergo the need for actively supporting a “cause”.

      We must also not forget the unsavory association with convicted felon.,ala Cayman millionaire who had a moment of fame with a BBC article not in the too distant past Quite frankly the old adage Of Politics make strange bedfellows,also now extends to Activists in the Cayman Islands. I have referred to the aforementioned, so that people are not fooled by the well put spiel that is enunciated but also to make people think of whether complete trust can be had of people who have shady past , and an ulterior motive other than or with the advocacy which they promote. Perhaps more credibility could be ascribed to the CPR movement if they culled their ranks.

      Truly this is not a David vs Goliath battle, but a political ideological fight for power at the next election, nothing more nothing less and the voting public is caught up in it. People needto look carefully at what is said and by whom it is said by , and determine whether there is truth and total transparency within the Activist group and its ultimate mission.

    • Anonymous says:

      You seem to be under the impression Ms. Whicker wants to get rid of the cruise industry. That’s not what she stated at all.

  13. Anonymous says:

    How Amsterdam is fighting mass tourism.
    No other city in the world is cracking down so radically on mass tourism. The Dutch capital is fending off a particular kind of visitor with all the means it can muster.
    https://www.dw.com/en/how-amsterdam-is-fighting-mass-tourism/a-47806959

    • Anonymous says:

      Venice has banned mega ships from visiting due to erosion of the piers and canals. They too are trying to stem the flow of destructive cruise ship tourism. We should learn from other countries mistakes. Mass cruise tourism is a bad idea.

  14. Anonymous says:

    #1 Why nobody ever talks about trash/waste each visitor leaves here? Is there a some sort garbage / sewer fee imposed on each cruise ship visitor? If not, reduce tourism revenue numbers by the cost of garbage collection, dump maintenance and other environmental costs associated with each visitor. Each cruise ship visitor consumes water, electricity and leaves a pile of $hit that has to be properly disposed. Who pays for that? I assume Hotels and condos charge some sort of tax to recoup the cost.

    #2 even Amsterdam had enough of visitors and is now trying to direct them away from its street to less visited destinations.

  15. VOTE NO says:

    Thank you CPR for standing up bringing the people together and holding the government accountable.

    Thank you Candy Wicker for a detailed View Point that hits all the key points that should wake up the people. Caymanians we must stop the madness and vote no.

    The revolution will be televised and expressed on CNS.

    7th Generation Caymanian

  16. Anonymous says:

    Excellent analysis of the choice we face. One point I wish to add is that the Cayman Islands economy rests on two pillars: finance and tourism. The main growth driver of the finance sector during the past 25 years has been the funds industry. The funds business looks like it has reached maturity and will start to decline. This is partly endogenous and partly indigenous. The endogenous factors are: the poor value proposition of a large proportion of hedge funds due to high fees and disappointing performance, CRS reporting requirements globally, the natural attrition of hedge funds which have an average life of not much more than 5 years, and the fact that you now need AUM of probably over $100 million to make a new hedge fund profitable for a manager, let alone the investors who ultimately bear much of the cost of increasing regulation. Hedge funds have had net outflows nearly ever month for the past year. The indigenous factors are the rising costs of compliance with all the new regulations introduced in recent years: CRS, the Beneficial Ownership Law, Economic Substance rules, the amended Securities Investment Business Law, and the soon to be implemented laws relating to Private Funds.

    The Cayman Islands finance sector needs to capitalize on the next new gig. The fastest growing parts of Cayman’s finance sector are Private Trust Companies (PTCs) and family offices. Very wealthy families are moving or setting up their family offices or trusts in Cayman. In some cases, these families are physically moving here. We have families that moved here recently and bought expensive condos or houses to live in for part or most of the year. Some have even moved from Monaco. Why? They were deterred from living in Monaco because it was becoming overcrowded, turning into a massive construction site with reclaimed land, and losing its charm.

    Cayman needs a cohesive economic development strategy. Building a cruise terminal to accommodate mass cruise tourism on a scale bigger than what we already have is not coherent with building a finance sector that depends more heavily on very wealthy families moving here to take up residence. Cayman has limited resources and we need to price them accordingly if we are to maintain or improve our current standard of living. The economic spending by wealthy new residents will reverberate far beyond the finance sector. We can only accommodate a certain number of people without changing Cayman into a city state which I think few of us want it to become. So let us instead focus on those who can bring the greatest economic benefit to Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sure we need more ‘private trust companies’. The OECD, FATF and EU are down on us and are only a few years away from making the financial industry irrelevant and instead of looking at ways to diversify the economy you are talking about how inconvenient the extra cruise tourists will be. Sounds exactly like the privileged and already very rich group of people that are funding the campaign against this port. Wake up Cayman!. If our cruise tourism suffers none of these people posting on facebook from their ivory towers will be there to help because this is absolutely not their reality. but it is the reality of many Caymanians and is their only means to make a decent living.

    • Anonymous says:

      Late Bo Miller said “ Cayman was built on two pillars – its people and its peaceful, pristine environment.“

      • Anonymous says:

        One is on its way out and the other is already gone.
        I miss Bo Miller. I voted for Bo Miller. He was ahead of his time.

    • Nick Smith says:

      The financial services industry is in a period of transition (as has occurred on several occasions since its inception in the 1960s). Virtual structures cutting and dicing global capital flows are likely to be entering a period of gentle decline.

      Substance and physical presence of UHNWIs/Family Offices (and their money) in Cayman should be embraced and encouraged as the next stage in our development.

      Focus therefore ought to be on this and high-end tourism (i.e. stayover guests) rather than wasting valuable resources on trying to attract more cruise ship passengers.

      If the port is constructed and it doesn’t work, we lose. If the port is constructed and it does work, we will arguably lose more.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The other thing we don’t know, and it seems everybody on the pro-port side is carefully avoiding, is what will happen while the dock is being built. This is easily going to be the largest construction programme ever undertaken on Grand Cayman and it’s right in the middle of George Town. If that doesn’t spell chaos to you nothing will.

    Assuming the build time is 12 months (and based on other projects here it’s going to be a lot longer) what happens while the construction work is going on? Do the ships drop off at Spotts? What happens when the passengers get ashore there? What are the logistics of shifting thousands of material to the site? And it goes on and on, and on.

    We need answers on this but it seems nobody (including the media) is asking the right questions.

    One side assumes the dock will be built and they’re fudge round these problems when the time comes, the other assumes the dock won’t be built and these questions are irrelevant.

    Come on CNS – start asking!

    CNS: The question has been asked numerous times.

    • Anonymous says:

      And answered numerous times.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you came to one of the public meetings, you could ask that question yourself?

    • Anonymous says:

      What happens after the dock is built and a nice norwester comes blowing in. You think those mechanized whales are going to be able to dock during that? No they will either have to by-pass Cayman since “they can’t be tendered” or go to Spotts and be tendered like we all know they can be.

  18. Concerned Diver says:

    Brilliant. Excellent and balanced article and fantastic suggestion about up-grading the cargo facility and the passenger landing facility. Thank you! Government please listen.

  19. anon says:

    Well said Candy. Unfortunately most of the pro pier voters are more interested in what they are paid to vote for it,and too uneducated to read your enlightening critique.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Great comment. Much is made of the environmental aspect of the building of this new facility. But equally important is the cost – the figures set out so clearly here. The figures don’t stack up. It’s as simple as that. And if the figures don’t stack up – you don’t take the risk.

    • Captain Steubing says:

      Very well thought out article. One of the most honest and real that I have read (I feel the same about Guy Harvey’s article too).

    • Anonymous says:

      The figures do stack up and it’s much simpler than the opposition campaigners are saying. The 2.32 per passenger is the only amount being taken from the public and that amount is more than offset by the additional revenues from the increase in passengers. We will build the port at no net cost to us. Whether it cost 500 million or 600 million the point is that the funds are not coming out of the public purse.

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