Drivers take ‘no port’ campaign on road

| 04/11/2019 | 52 Comments
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service

(CNS): With just over seven weeks to go before voters go to the polls to decide whether or not government should press on with its controversial cruise port project, people opposing the project are stepping up the campaign. Various vehicles, including taxi drivers, have emerged on the roads with window postings urging people to vote ‘no’. Given that government has already spent more than $250,000 promoting the project, the ‘no’ campaign has a lot of catching up to do.

Government has access to the public purse but it has not introduced any campaign finance regulations or limits on spending. The grassroots opposition campaign, spearheaded by the Cruise Port Referendum group and supported by numerous environment-related non-profits, has not been offered the same use of public funds.

With the playing field so far tipped in government’s favour, the makeshift campaigning on the road and social media is helping the ‘no’ side make a mark in the face of government’s publicly funded pro-port position.

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Across all three islands campaigners are working hard to raise awareness of the problems presented by the project and in particular the serious environmental threat. The National Trust has raised a catalogue of concerns about the threat to the marine environment and misleading messages about the exceptionally over-optimistic position being taken by the developers on the relocation of reefs and wrecks.

But ordinary people are also raising their concerns about the impact on the environment, infrastructure, traffic and the misleading information coming from government, the developers and the pro-port lobby, largely on social media.

The Verdant Isle group, a consortium made up of Royal Caribbean and Carnival cruise lines, local general contractor McAlpine and marine engineers Orion will be attending a series of public meetings that government is hosting this month. The first meeting will take place next week, on Tuesday 12 November, at the Mary Miller Hall, when the public is invited to attend. In addition to the presentations, the public will be able to put questions to government and members of Verdant Isle.

The government also hosted a ‘lunch and learn’ session at the government building today and is scheduled to do the same tomorrow to promote the project to civil servants. CNS contact the offices of the tourism minister, the governor and deputy governor to find out if the CPR will be offered the same access, but so far no one has responded to our enquiries.

At last week’s debate in the Legislative Assembly all of the government MLAs who spoke backed the project, with the exception of Bernie Bush, the representative for WBN who quit the government benches as a result of his opposition to the project. Government has now published the law and regulations on the gazette.

See law and regulations and other related documents in the CNS Library

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Category: development, Local News, Politics

Comments (52)

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  1. All for naught says:

    We had 5 or 6 miles of pristine beach; we sold it to the big resorts. We had mangroves that protected us from rough seas in the Sound, we are tearing them down for expensive apartments. We have Hog Sty Bay, we want to sell it to cruise companies that come and go. What are we leaving for our future generations? Debt, cement jungles, small public beaches with 200-people capacity. Is that what we want? When we drop down from stress, pollution or the constant rat-race to make more money-can we take these piers with us?

    • Lakeside Condominium Complex, pay attention says:

      CIG is virtually doing nothing to address the fact that there are residents, in particular, children, the most vulnerable of the population, living and studying near the toxic waste dump.

      Residents of Gordon Plaza, Inc. v.Cantrell
      “Plaintiff filed a citizen enforcement suit under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”), alleging that the Mayor and City of New Orleans (“the City”) have imposed inhumane and dangerous living conditions on residents of Gordon Plaza. Rec. Doc. 2 at 1. Gordon Plaza is located on the former Agriculture Street Landfill (“Landfill”) site, which the City of New Orleans operated as a dump from 1909-1957 and reopened for waste from Hurricane Betsy in 1965-66.”

  2. Caveat Emptor says:

    CIG and the Verdant Isle Partners have been consistently lying to the public from day 1 to justify a project that benefits a few to the detriment of the majority.

    The Cayman Islands have much more important priorities than a cruise port e.g. fixing a failing public education system, dealing with rising costs of living and significant infrastructure issues. We spend four hours in traffic daily on tiny island. Quality of life is real concern.

    What are the reasons and who is getting paid to push this project through no matter the costs to the country? Where is the Governor’s Office, FCO and Auditor General’s Office?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I want to congratulate all of you Rascals who are willing to stand up for the environment, no cruise port, your country, and lgbt rights. Love seeing the unity, loyalty, commitment and pride especially from fellow Caymanians. Never too late to do the right thing!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    If cruise passengers can easily get off and get back on the ship they would spend less time on land, not more as there’s nothing to do. Taxi drivers would lose, not gain. Why is it so hard to understand?

  5. Anonymous says:

    In order to ensure as big a turnout as possible, which we should all encourage, I am happy to pay $10 per voter who attends the polling booth. If I am joined by just a few other lovers of Cayman then the vote should reflect the views of the people as a whole.
    What’s not to like?

  6. Anonymous says:

    That must be a fake taxi. I thought I heard that all taxi drivers were totally supportive of the new dock! Are the pro-port people and government telling lies?

  7. Anonymous says:

    The cruise lines’ convenience and their interests are paramount, not the overall benefit of Caymanian and Caymanians! Mr. Bayley, the cruise line representative who gave a presentation to Cayman tourism officials, has admitted that for the foreseeable future after the piers become available, hypothetically, there could be two Oasis-class stops per week (read “be hopeful”). So why is our Government intending to commit $200 million (which may double), receive nothing for twenty-five years, undertake major on-land roadworks and other traffic accommodating measures for downtown GT at public cost (they haven’t even factored this in yet), etc., for the possibility of two Oasis-class ships per week?!

    He’s politely telling Cayman that our tourism product is outdated, Stingray City is “in the past”, etc. He’s really telling us that there is nothing in Cayman as attractions, compared to other nearby destinations, to accommodate the interest of the majority of passengers on daily Oasis arrivals. He’s right. On the western end Cayman Turtle Centre and SC can’t cut it. Traffic and the ground transportation situation are so screwed up that it’s challenging to efficiently include an island tour or Pedro St. James, Botanic Park, Crystal Caves, etc. Many tourists from the ship never see these.

    Let’s imagine that tomorrow the tour operators and the cruise lines could take advantage of the eastern-district attractions. On a cruise ship day not just the SMB traffic corridor would be extra busy but all the eastern roads. Just the tour buses and taxis which exist now along with normal existing traffic on those roads would choke them. Then let us assume that most ship visitors would have a good to great experience at each of the eastern-district attractions (I have) and they would each consistently capture enough visitors to significantly boost the tourism product overall, so as to make the cruise lines “consider” more Oasis stops per week. Then let us “transport” (pun intended) ourselves to the future with only two Oasis class per week adding to the present ships and the traffic from all of that. Then what if they add more stops per week? It could be exponential but I’ll stop there. So where are our roads and other infrastructure for all this? Roadworks being presently considered will not be enough. So there goes a few more dozen million$ of our money!

    So there is no long-term win for Cayman to build piers to accommodate Oasis-class. Either we take the step (subject to referendum), build at great public debt, risk unknown environment damage (itself with trickle effects), incur greater public debt for roadworks downtown and island-wide to facilitate the Oasis tourist requirements, or we don’t and continue to accommodate the present class of ships as long as they sail (that’s another factor being overlooked, there will always be a market for the “smaller” ships after the Oasis’ are sailing) and spend the same $200 + million to get our roads and other infrastructure upgraded for our present needs. Population is increasing and all that follows from that impacts us daily, not just on cruise ship days! Let’s get our home in order first before we spread the expensive mats to welcome more visitors!

    Voters of Cayman, please pay special attention and read between the lines what this man has presented. Basically, don’t expect Oasis-class ships because there’s nothing here to capture their passengers. So why are we getting saddled with a big debt?! VOTE IN THE REFERENDUM – NO TO THE PORT FOR OASIS-CLASS!

  8. Anonymous says:

    But CIG are saying this port crap is to support jobs like taxi drivers. Seems like they are not buying CIG BS. Alden wake the F up and listen to the people!

    • Tourism? says:

      Send all cruiseships away and people like this donkey can go eat grass or smoke it and get a job in the financial industry since they knows what’s best for the tourism industry. I am sure as a taxi she can get a job as a lawyer or paralegal. Since all they do is argue.

      • Anonymous says:

        That billion that your government lost and never found could have fed how many and for how long?
        How many trade schools could’ve been open to retrain taxi drivers? How many jobs in environment protection, public mass transportation, waste management could’ve been created if CIG shifted its focus from accommodating millions to just few with money by turning Grand Cayman into ecological preserve?
        If you have basic understanding of the reports issued by the Auditor General and do simple math, you would probably find another lost, wasted, stolen billion.
        When the entire government is frolicking in Monaco but a taxi driver has to work hard to meet ends, don’t blame financial service industry.

      • Anonymous says:

        OK boomer.

  9. Anonymous says:

    There is only one bus with this writing, one bus out of the whole industry doesn’t mean anything. I shows the anti-port minority.

    • Anonymous says:

      I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. …

    • Anonymous says:

      Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh I know many others who are in the tour and taxi business who will be voting NO with all their family too. hahahaha So you stay there thinking it is the one BRAVE taxi driver that do not support this.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The only people who would understand are people who rely on Cruise ship business. Suppose we had Benny Ross tender boat still taking passengers off the sea plane and never built an airport? People would think it was kind of fun and exciting. Remember we were the Island that time forgot. But would there be any opportunities for others to partake in the tender boat operation? No, only Benny would still be in business. That would be unfair wouldn’t it. Tourism is an industry for all to partake in its fruits, whether they be mangoes or apple banana.
    But alas not everyone want to only eat 2 fruits. Some want to branch off and add more fruits maybe breadfruit and plantain.
    But then comes some people who would prefer lobster and steak. Thats the big ships “lobster and steak”. The only way to enhance our business is for us to take the next step. Anyone can go on YouTube and look for “Cruise ships for sale” and verify that past ships that use to come here are being sold. But Remember the “Cruise ship Representatives” said that in the meeting. They told anyone who was “listening” that larger ships would be their new path to bring their company more business. So older ships would be phase out like the ONES THAT ARE BEING SOLD that can be seen ON YOUTUBE. We want to INCREASE OUR BUSINESS like any other business in the world. We have new people joining the taxi, bus, tour co, Stingray city business, stores, restaurants, bars, Turtle Center, Hell, Tortuga rum, Pedro St James, Botantical Park, beaches etc. So that is what we want. We want people to stop making false stories about the Cruise ship business. Whatever design is made for the piers will make no difference to John Q Public. We don’t KNOW what kind of piers are right for larger Cruise ships. But the Cruise ship companies do. To make another EIA is not going to say anything different then before . It is merely a strategy to lie about the sand on the bottom.
    When we travel along Harbour Drive did anyone notice that the color of the sand is different in places like Lobster pot, Arthur Bodden shop or where the fishermen throw the waste in the water to feed the tarpon? This shows that the beach sand does not come from & mile beach. That is why there is no beach in town. So the docks will not take the sand away. Any sand that goes from 7 mile beach goes west OFF the wall. Gravity takes them down. I hope this answers your question.

    • Anonymous says:

      And what will the people come to see, nothing BOBO. Everything would be destroyed!

      • anonymous says:

        Exactly, It is not sustainable and very much putting the cart before the horse!

        We all seem to forget how small our island really is. I love my country, i think it has 5* potential and say that only because the industry does need improvements but bigger cruise ships and a dock aren’t the answers we need to be pursuing. I’d call us a ’boutique’, we should be making our current product better and sustainable before making such a risky ‘investment’ – and i use this term loosely. I would love to visit these same shops and restaurants in town as i’m sure our stay over tourists would (they have the money to travel by plane, afford accommodation and spend money in our restaurants, supermarkets, taxi and car rentals, etc.) – but I avoid town like the plague when there are ships in as i’m sure they do. It’s too much! Revitalize GT, fix the traffic and see how much our same people who rely on the cruise ship business thrive. We’re basically risking our own product, ignoring the warnings to build something that could destroy everything we have to offer.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually pretty interesting thoughts, not the same old stuff from the “camplaigners”.

    • YesYes Yes says:

      U know why this referendum is going in favor of the Government and the people because the Government is for the people and by the people . The so-called Activists just looking fame. How come all of these years moxam, Rankin and all the Others went largely unconcerned about the destruction of our islands environment by the dump, the cutting down of trees, our lack of sound education our crime rate , the spend on Cayman Airways, our beaches being taken over with no access to caymanians , our scenic est bay toad etc etc. also remember this most of these activists voted for the PPM but because the Government is doing what needs to be done and not asking the permission of some of their previous handlers who have lost control oover them, and it gonna hurt their business they are finding new people to control and be their mouth piece. Shameful I say shameful .

      All of a sudden these nowhereans come to save us, because the tender companies will lose out on the tens of millions they have made over the years, because now their eyes have been opened and no good old hog sty bay where only the black children of George Town used to play now has suddenly become hallowed ground. Cha..

      Sorry set of people who only looking out to make a name Fe themselves people,

      On December 19th Csyman Vote YES ya hear.

      • NO NO NO says:

        VOTE NO NO NO!!!!!

        • Anonymous says:

          Vote No and have a better life. Grand Cayman isn’t large enough to compete with those large tourist meccas that have multi-million dollar resorts and are like some big city in the sea with everything imaginable to satisfy hundreds of thousands of tourist. It is a nice small island where people like to visit and enjoy the very fact that it isn’t a mega-mass of people elbow-to-elbow without enough room to turn around. Don’t try to make Grand Cayman something it isn’t! IT WON’T WORK!

        • Anonymous says:

          I can vote three times? Yay!

    • Anonymous says:

      Calm down 5:48– if this project doesn’t go through, that DOES NOT MEAN THAT ALL CRUISE SHIPS WILL STOP COMING HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      When ooohh when will Pro-Porters, and mainly the Government, STOP LYING TO THE PUBLIC! There will always be cruise ships, and the company who wants to partner with us said they will ONLY HAVE 2 MEGA SHIPS!! TWO!! One of which won’t even be on the Cayman route, soooooo all of this marine life destruction, moving of historical wrecks where Caymanian ancestors are buried, relocating acres of thriving coral beds with no 100% guarantee they will survive…. for what? ONE MEGA SHIP??

      The cruise ships will ALWAYS come here. We are a destination of choice. There’s a BETTER way to increase our cruise tourism, and it’s NOT with MEGA SHIPS aka “we are the destination”! Try researching boutique ships, those who pay top dollar to travel via cruise ship and get off the ship and actually get involved in what’s on shore, and spend more than $25 for a burger and a Pepsi!

    • Anonymous says:

      Just a few things for thought on this. Firstly, have you ever thought about when enough would be a enough? I gave an analogy to someone the other day and I’m going to give it to you now. Take a glass and begin filling it with water, now look very closely at what happens the longer you keep pouring the water. I’m actually not going to tell you if you do not have the common sense to see it for yourself, but I will try to explain the bigger picture here.
      I recognise that people in the tourism business want to make more and more money but what I would like all of us to recognise is that we have a finite amount of resources. Take a few that were listed above for example: Stingray City, with our current cruise numbers this attraction is being overrun and is an accident waiting to happen. Take the current numbers and add the “larger ship” numbers that you are begging for, then take a boat out and observe for yourself.
      Turtle Center: This place should probably close based on my last trip there. I took some overseas visitors and I was so embarrassed. There are now only a few turtles to be seen, the restaurant had little or nothing that they ordered from the menu and when their son was using the pool slide, he was knocked down the slide and pushed under the water by another older child who took it on himself to jump down the slide because the “lifeguard” was sleeping!
      Beaches, we only have Royal Palms left (to be soon closed) and even with the filler next to it (Coral Beach) both are over ran by the current numbers. Again, add the numbers from your “most wanted” larger ships, wear a body camera and post your video here after.
      Everyone wants lobster & steak but our very same government has seen it responsible enough to impose a ban because they (lobster) are being over fished (we only have a few cows left).
      As for the sand in town and the gravity that pulls it off the wall, come on now. You’re just as bad as the people you are trying to tear down. I see no degree much less an inkling of factual knowledge from your end to even suggest that you may have something.
      All of this to say that while you, like others before try to reap everything you can from this little rock in the short time that you have, please try your best to think of your children and their children. They won’t even know who Benny Ross was if you continue. They the tourist came before for something, trust me they will continue as long as you don’t continue to screw it up. Make no mistake, they will not when it is over crowded, over priced and no longer that jewel in the Caribbean. Instead of overly increasing numbers perhaps we should look at how we can re-organise to maximise whats left of our existing products. Try to think out of the box for once, instead of having other people tell you “this is good for you”.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Will be voting yes 🙂

  12. Anonymous says:

    Unless these big ships are paying our CUC bills every month none of us locals will see any extra money from this.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Only one person that I have spoken to that is pro-port. And she keeps hammering on about the cruise ships will stop coming…. blah blah blah. She drinks that Kool-Aid…

  14. Anonymous says:

    we should vote to stop cruise ships visiting and instead concentrate on stay-over tourism.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Who is actually for the port? I have yet to talk to someone face to face who has shown anything but at best indifference.

    Gov. and support tour tourism (as if they were not one and the same) claim that they have the majority support but I never see anyone supporting it out in the wild. Just soundbites from the same 5 people over and over again.

    • Anonymous says:

      3:33 PM. I guess you have not been talking to too many people or probably talking to the same people.
      I support the port and wish we had it built years ago. In one breath people are shouting to the government asking for jobs and what are they doing to provide jobs. Now that they are doing something that provides both work and opportunity for Cayman people to provide for their families. It is now being said that they are not listening to the people. It is no wonder that the outside world say that Caymanians are fools and don’t know what they want or know what to do. That is why the outsiders come in and take the jobs, because we sir on our backsides and complain. I wish when all is said and done I don’t hear another Caymanian complaining saying that they can’t find work and that government is not listening to the needs of the people.

      • Anonymous says:

        OK you typed a lot about other people but why do YOU want it? Why do YOU think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and why do YOU believe that the way the government has gone about this process is acceptable.

      • Anonymous says:

        What jobs? I keep hearing about jobs but I dont understand, other than maybe selling jewellery, which jobs you are referring to…..please share

        • Want a job? says:

          You do not want a job. If you was interested you would have attended the job fair.

          • Anonymous says:

            You mean the job fair where only 100 jobs were available after they told us it would 1000, then 500…now only 100. Those jobs?

          • Anonymous says:

            Firstly, your grammar is terrible.

            Secondly, I did go and I find it funny that every time they advertise about the jobs that will be made available the number gets smaller we started at over 1000 now we are down to 100.

      • Anonymous says:

        The needs of the people? Seriously?

        Those are things like a proper education (which government fails to provide), proper transportation (which government fails to provide), fair opportunity (which government fails to ensure), affordable necessities (utilities, bread, etc. which government fails to provide) and safety and security (which appears to be diminishing).

        Get those right first. Then we discuss this damn dock as a need, right after your iPhoneX.


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