Gov’t and bidders to meet public on port

| 11/11/2019 | 45 Comments
Cayman News Service

(CNS): Over three months after announcing a consortium involving cruise lines, a marine engineering firm and a local contractor had been selected as the preferred bidder on the cruise port project, the tourism ministry and those bidders will all come face to face with the public. Government will be hosting a series of public meetings in partnership with the group known as Verdant Isle Port Partners, giving people a chance to quiz all those involved before the referendum on the project next month.

Eight meetings are planned to take place across the island, starting on Tuesday, 12 November, at 7pm at the Mary Miller Hall, where officials from the ministry and Verdant Isle will make presentations and answer questions about the project.

“These meetings are an opportunity for the public to get more information on the project and have their questions answered before Referendum Day,” said Premier Alden McLaughlin. “It is vital that the public is able to weigh up the issues and make an informed choice based on facts, and not on hearsay, opinions or assumptions.”

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Despite government’s constant misrepresentation and continued failure to justify the project, the premier accused those campaigning against it of spreading misinformation, causing confusion and casting doubt on the CIG’s reasons for wanting to move ahead.

Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell said government had been accused of keeping secrets and not sharing information about the cruise port project but that, in fact, all of the various studies and reports had been posted online since in 2015 for the public to review and scrutinise. In addition, 30 press releases have been issued and four public meetings and two press conferences have been held to keep the public abreast of developments.

However, it is more than a year since the government held an open meeting about the port project and Kirkconnell, the tourism minister, has refused to attend other meetings about the project.

Government has throughout been reluctant to answer questions and explain why it believes the development of piers for what will remain only one mega cruise ship for many years to come is justified.

In order to accommodate Royal Caribbean’s one Oasis class ship in the Western Caribbean, government is proposing to directly dredge around 14 acres of coral, kill another twenty or more acres indirectly, equating to a loss of more than CI$26 million annually to the tourism economy. That loss will come from the destruction of reefs and wrecks in George Town harbour and from the closure of watersports operators and harbour-front restaurants.

As government continues to push its claim of transparency, it said this set of meetings will provide the opportunity for people to discuss the environmental factors, which have always been the central platform for those who object to the project. Government is making claims about the relocation of coral that many experts have said are way beyond the realms of possibility and are exceptionally misleading.

“It is understandable that some people still want to learn more about the project,” Kirkconnell said in a release, indicating that officials will be outlining “the innovative steps being taken to protect our environment,” she added, “Now that the bidding process has concluded and Verdant Isle is identified as the preferred bidder, much more information is being shared with the public, as we always assured it would be.”

The CPR will also be hosting a meeting at the court house at 6:30pm on 20 November where they will highlighting their concerns about how government has managed this process and the environmental concerns.

For more information related to the cruise berthing and cargo enhancement project visit the Support our Tourism website, the CPR Website or connect to either on Facebook.

The dates for the public meetings are as follows:

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Category: development, Local News, Politics

Comments (45)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If only Kirk bots could vote in the referendum.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’ve reached out personally asking approx 50 cruise ship guests their opinion of having to use a tender to come ashore. Not one considered it an inconvenience with some even mentioning they preferred it because it diffused the bottle neck of everyone coming off of the ship at the same time when at a pier, – here the on tour guests are assigned different departure venues with non-on tour guests getting tenders at their leisure. When explaining the reason for the question guests would interject they also wouldn’t support the pier themselves, – Govt / VIIP misinformation at its finest, – vote no thank you

  3. Anonymous says:

    Minister Kirkconnell, the premier, minister Hew and the Verdant group did an awesome job answering all questions. Many of the questions asked were quite abrasively written and even so they all handled the session really well. Lots of information. If people are listening then it is hard to say that there is much facts left untold.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Diving on the Cali shipwreck is free. It’s a shore dive so people bring their masks snorkel and fins from their country. Balboa the other ship wreck is in the middle of the Cruise ship tenders path to the dock and cannot be used 6-7 days a week. The dive companies are not losing any money when they can go to Kittiwake shipwreck.
    By the way if you build a dock in town how come we going to lose 7 mile beach sand ? But shouldn’t we be losing sand from such a large navy warship in 60 feet of water? It comes up to 8 feet below the water.
    Both ships in town were blown up by explosives and destroyed coral. Why is it a dive site? Did it come back? Did they do a coral relocation? People need to know their history.
    EIA another one again for what? You all keep talking about we going to lose money from our pocket. But you keep throwing it away to try to change the story. The 7 mile beach will be fine. The building on Boggy sand road or Marriott showed that the beach was only loss in front of the BUILDING not the whole 7 mile beach. Look again for yourself. George Town port is NOWHERE near 7 mile beach. It’s a lie.
    At the end of the day there is nowhere that these people want a pier ANYWHERE on this island because they are not in business with the Cruise Ship Companies.
    Traffic goes through town needlessly, most are headed to somewhere on 7 mile beach or West Bay. Roads from the East need 4 lane to go around GT central and connect to bypass.
    Dr. Guy Harvey will have to close at least one Restaurant if the cruise passengers drop to 500,000 and drop his prices. Plus the minimum wages will be coming up soon.

  5. Anonymous says:

    “In order to accommodate Royal Caribbean’s one Oasis class ship in the Western Caribbean, government is proposing to directly dredge around 14 acres of coral, kill another twenty or more acres indirectly, equating to a loss of more than CI$26 million annually to the tourism economy. That loss will come from the destruction of reefs and wrecks in George Town harbour and from the closure of watersports operators and harbour-front restaurants.”

    So to accommodate a single cruise ship that will stop here for 1 day every other week (26 times a year) to bring an average of 3000 (probably too high a number but for the sake of argument) extra $35 spenders, we will lose $26 Million a year. Ok lets do the math.

    3,000 x $35 = $105,000 x 26 = $2,730,000 per year

    Annual loss caused by dredge = $26,000,000

    Cayman losses $23,270,000 a year from the exchange of coral to port bottom line. Sorry answer to vote is still no.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The media should ask if anybody in the CIG camp have bothered to estimate the total project lifetime costs assessment to the Cayman Islands of going ahead? Where is that report and why wouldn’t that one matter?!? Not just the limited-scope projections for the construction phase costs, but the entire laundry list of other accompanying “no column” truths that come with a go ahead. Billions in other costs, almost all of it unilaterally borne by the people of the Cayman Islands, for the benefit of foreign-owned liners and/or their disposable shell company our reps have awarded this “winning” bid to.

  7. Caveat Emptor says:

    Once again the government’s insistence that Cayman’s cruise sector will die unless the cruise piers are built in George Town is not supported by statistics. They are lying to the people.

    Cayman is enjoying better cruise numbers than popular destinations such as St Maarten, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and the US Virgin Islands. All have cruise berthing ports. The cruise berthing is not needed and does not guarantee success.

    Cayman does not need the cruise berthing. Why is The Premier and Deputy Premier desperate to mortgage the future and give total control of the cruise tourism product to Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Lines at all costs?

  8. VOTE NO says:

    Read the open letter from Guy Harvey.

    What the hell is this government really thinking about?

    Everyone can see this port is a terrible idea that is not needed except for Alden McLaughlin, Moses Kirkconnell and those elected in government that are either blind, deaf or robots programmed to ignore the will of the people.

    Stop this madness and vote no against this Port and the government.

    • Anonymous says:

      1. why should the Cayman Islands not have the best in class cruise arrival and departure experience?
      2. when the marine parks law was put into place what was the vision for the George Town harbour?
      3. when the current George Town dock was proposed back in the 70’s were there the same type of objections?

      • Anonymous says:

        Some possible answers:

        1) That can be done without destroying the beautiful harbour, damaging our downtown further, for far less $$ invested.

        2) There has been a positive mutual benefit working relationship between the Port Authority and tourisim operators for use of the natural environment located in the immediate area, and within the harbour itself. This historical partnership is probably more of an indicator of what the vision for the GTH is than the law itself.

        3) Looking that far in the rear view mirror isn’t likely going to help us out now. Think about how much more you know now than you did even 5 years ago, never mind 50.

        No to this dock deal, yes to improving cruise tourism.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Stop shoving the project down our throats. No matter how much they sugar, it won’t go down.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Yes I have a question: where is the bloody updated assessment report?
    All this talk about how we will benefit from the port but what about the damages we will suffer. Seven Mile Beach will be wiped out and you can’t tell me otherwise: why you ask? Because there is no new report to prove me wrong. That’s what we’re working with.

    • Anonymous says:

      There will not be an updated EIA until the contract is awarded because gov want the consortium to pay for it.

      This is a bag of spoiled goods Vote NO.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Where’s the updated Environmental Impact Assessment report?
    What are they hiding? Why can’t we see it?
    Is it because the 7 Mile Beach will be destroyed?
    Why can’t we get the report to study and form our own opinion before December’s vote?
    Something is just not right here. The 2015 report is no longer relevant due to all the changes. I smell a rat!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree that we should not decide – individually, as a government, or as a country – before having all of the information. To whit the updated EIA. However, the reason the Government is not sharing it is because it does not exist yet. It will not be completed (if even started) until after the referendum date. You may rightly smell a rat, but it may be a different species of rat.

  12. Anonymous says:

    On Saturday I came home to find some pamphlets on my doorstep.
    1) the Support our Tourism brochure ( full of the usual lies)
    2) an invite by the Ministry of Propaganda to a the above meeting
    3) a news letter from the Prospect/Red Bay community group CERT.

    It is item three that I find the most disturbing.
    What is meant to be an apolitical community group have shown their colors as nothing more than a mouthpiece Alden and the other joker.

    This group is also the Community Emergency Response Group.
    Is it now they only assist people with their political view.
    Hazard Management need to disband this group.


    Join you at your “Christmas Party”. Not a chance .

    Change your talent show name to “PRB Got Political”

    Partisan hacks.

    • Kara Coe says:

      Regarding the Prospect Red Bay Community Flyer.

      I would like firstly to confirm yes we are a POLITICALLY NEUTRAL GROUP and have always been. The Prospect Red Bay Community is the largest functioning community on Island and yes we have to work with other groups to get things done. Also, I would like to point out that when the Executive Members do anything in the community 99.9% of the time is from their pockets as they are invested stakeholders in the PRB area and would like to ensure the community is safe for their and your children, the upkeep of the area is at an acceptable standard as to ensure the land value stays at reasonable level which benefits us all.

      Secondly, YES we do work with our politically elected members to get projects in the community done, isn’t that the reason why we elect them? Therefore when it comes to the distribution of information using a few hired individuals to reach everyone in the community I would as that you please provide the funds for us to distribute to over 4000 homes in this area as our small executive team have full-time jobs and families to tend to first and then we use our time to make OUR community better.

      Lastly, Hazard Management has absolutely no involvement in the community group side of things only the emergency response subsection of our group.

      Therefore, please join us at the Christmas Party to get better informed on what we are about. I even invite you to become a part of the executive team by emailing us at

      Looking forward to your email!

    • Anonymous says:

      Got the same BS. They spending money that we give them blanketing constituents with lies all in the same area the traffic is a massive problem. How about you guys spend money on making (fixing it) to one entrance at the car wash roundabout instead of spending our money on pamphlets you do nothing ppm.

  13. Anonymous says:

    People yell for more information even though we have been handed more studies information and evaluations than we have seen on anything else CI Government has ever done. Now people are complaining because the experts and companies that will design the dock are being involved? Can’t win with these people.

    • Anonymous says:

      And did it ever cross your mind that the people you are referring to here have every incentive to play up the port as nothing but a win so they can get themselves a multi-decade contract worth hundred of millions of dollars
      You really think that the group who are inches away from a contract worth this much money is above exaggerating to get their hands on it and dealing with the consequences later?

      Those studies and evaluations that you are referring to are multiple years old, and by the CIGs own admission they were done on a design which ha been altered and is not the design being proposed.

      They brought the cruise lines down here before the preferred bidder was even announced to sit up on a stage and sing the praises of the project
      This process has never been about informing people on the actual pros and cons, because the entire time people were asking for information nothing was revealed, ministers dodged meetings, and barred civil servants from attending They held what a total of 2-3 public meetings in the more than 5 years since they have really been pushing for this project.

      This entire charade is years too late, the people should have been informed on the process prior to the contract award, not as the CIG is pulling out their pen to sign on the line
      Having a handful of meetings after the fact is not keeping people informed or caring about public input, its their shoddy attempts to cover their own asses because they realize how pissed people are.
      Do you think for a second we would be having these meetings or information put out now if it wasn’t for CPR reaching the threshold for a referendum

    • Anonymous says:

      Nobody voted for Verdant Isle Port Partners. The elected government is supposed to speak to the people it and represent them.

      Who voted for VIPP?

      • Anonymous says:

        Can we not report Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Orion to the US authorities for possible breach of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Those white buildings are replacing the shops that will be relocated to the new area.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. So why do the government adverts say there will be no upland development (and no dredging in Hogsty Bay)?

  15. Anonymous says:

    The upland development is for people like you and me who want to sell to cruise ship business. We will be able to rent places like at the airport.

    • Anonymous says:

      How did that work out for all the small businesses that tried to apply to rent a place at airport??? If you think for a second that anyone other than the cruise lines and a handful of Caymanian millionaires will make any money from this guess again.

      • Anonymous says:

        Been talking with some “snowbirds”. While they like the new airport (well, most), the fact that Wendy’s and Subway are the local food choices was a big disappointment to them. Made be think and agree…..

  16. Anonymous says:

    If Verdant Isle have not signed a final contract with government what exactly are they doing presenting to the public without a new completed Environmental Impact Assessment report to share with the public?

    • Anonymous says:

      They don’t want to commission a new EIA what they want, and what they are here to do is trick people into supporting them getting their hands on a multi decade contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars

  17. Kurt Christian says:

    Vote No

  18. Anonymous says:

    More expensive flashy lies being told by CIG.
    With no updated EIA how can the people vote for this project? If they break the seal and start digging up the harbor they cannot put it back together the damage will be done forever.

    There is no guarantee that 7 mile beach will not damaged once the dredging starts. Why are Alden McLaughlin and Moses Kirkconnell pushing this project no matter the costs or damage to Cayman?

    • ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiNg says:

      They are pushing this project through for selfish personal reasons. End of story.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Governor Roper and Deputy Governor Manderson: Given that the public is paying for government sponsored advertising which confirms there will be “no upland development” could you please let us know what all those white buildings on the plan are?

    • Anonymous says:

      Go to the meeting and find out.

      • Anonymous says:

        No. Not the point. I know what they are. Why do government pro port adverts (that we are paying for) state that there will be no new upland development, when that is plainly not the case?

        • Anonymous says:

          Truth in advertising may be an issue. They also claim there is going to be no dredging in Hogsty Bay. Farcical.

          • Anonymous says:

            How can you suggest that any government produced and paid for advertising is anything other than totally open and honest? We know it is beyond any scope for questioning. Our Deputy Governor and world class civil service have assured us all totally accurate and at the highest of standards. Our Governor has promised us that he is exercising scrutiny to ensure a fair referendum. What could there possibly be to be concerned about?

      • Anonymous says:

        Wondering why no meeting on the Sister Islands?

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