New EIA for port remains in question

| 13/11/2019 | 30 Comments
Cayman News Service
Marine life in the George Town Harbour within the dredging footprint (Photo by Courtney Platt)

(CNS): At the first of a series of government-hosted public meetings about the proposed cruise piers, executives from the winning bid for the project implied that they are seeking to avoid a fully revised environmental impact assessment. In the absence, once again, of any representatives from the Department of Environment, government officials and the bidders made incredible claims about coral relocation and regrowth, which many experts have called into question.

But with no one from Cayman’s own pool of environmental experts at the Mary Miller Hall on Tuesday evening to counter the claims, the conservation concerns surrounding this project were dismissed by cruise executives and other sub-contractors involved in the Verdant Isle Port Partners. The company contracted to deal with the coral relocation claimed that they would be replacing the coral some ten times over.

Once cruise line executive went on to suggest that there will not be a net loss at all, as they will be moving and regrowing coral in such abundance. This claim is based on the work of Dr David Vaughn, who uses what is known as micro-fragmentation in an effort to regrow and relocate coral.

While this is a relatively new and promising technique, the concept that the existing ancient, diverse and pristine reefs in the George Town Harbour can be moved and regrown elsewhere in a short period of time, as claimed, is questioned by other experts, including those based at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute on Little Cayman.

Throughout the evening, however, the massive challenges regarding relocation of reefs and the Wreck of Balboa were constantly diminished. The Verdant Isle representatives claimed they would move the Balbao piece by piece and that the Wreck of the Cali would not be impacted.

When members of the public asked where the DoE representatives were, they were told that it was not appropriate for that government expert agency to be there. Peter Granger, from the government’s Major Projects Office, who will be overseeing this controversial project if it does move forward, said the DoE did not need to be at the meeting because the bidders were now preparing the details of an environmental scoping exercise looking at the need for an EIA. The results of that would go to the DoE, he said.

“It would be inappropriate for the DoE to be here at this point,” Granger declared.

The DoE were also absent at the last public meeting, which left government unable to answer many questions the public had about the environmental issues impacting this project. They were also removed from the steering committee part way through the procurement process.

The DoE director and her team’s unequivocal message about the impact this project will have on the marine life in the harbour and the absolute necessity for a new EIA is clearly at odds with the current desire of the Verdant Isle group to take on such an undertaking.

An official stated that the scoping exercise now underway will examine the new plans and previous EIA to see how different things are and whether or not a completely new EIA will be needed.

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Category: development, Local News, Politics

Comments (30)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    A public meeting where they will selectively answer questions…most anonymously put forward by themselves.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It’s the same trick used forever to cause enough confusion over something that is clearly bad for you (cigarettes etc) or the environment (pollution and climate change) to make it just pass and then it will be too late … and once we are just like every other jurisdiction with shitty water (and no mountains or other great typography or other great attractions) what will we have left ?

  3. Anonymous says:


    I pray people turn up and vote no to save our islands from this madness.

  4. Brian Tomlinson says:

    Moving the coral … kind of like relocating the American Indians to reservations. How did that work out for them?

  5. Anonymous says:

    “The bidders were now preparing the details of an environmental scoping exercise looking at the need for an EIA.”

    I thought the EIA was a legal requirement?

  6. Anonymous says:

    that’s NOT what they ‘implied’ at all. What they ACTUALLY said, was that a scoping document was being prepared that would be submitted to the DoE, and then it would be up to the DoE what the next steps would be…

  7. Anonymous says:

    More distraction techniques from the CPR. Get the port built

  8. Anonymous says:

    What we really need is for a dive videographer to go down and video these ten acres and when they are done have a screening at the Cinema to show people what they would be giving up..

    • Anonymous says:

      The 3 dimensional cutter suction dredge area is one thing, the areas north and south impacted by anticipated/unanticipated and failed mitigation of suspended particulate, is a much more pressing conversation. The first Nor’Wester and West Wall/Seven Mile Beach are at irreversible risk.

  9. Kurt Christian says:

    Vote No

  10. Anonymous says:

    This government do not believe in our support or understand the meaning of transparency.

    Carnival cruise lines have paid millions in fines and penalties for breaching environmental laws and guidelines but Moses and Alden and the government find nothing wrong with their track record of abuses. This is beyond shocking and public malfeasance. SHOCKING!

  11. Anonymous says:

    We can’t eat coral. Cruise and cargo facilities puts food on the table.

    • Anonymous says:

      If the reefs and water clarity is destroyed you think the tourists will still want to keep coming to our shores? They can find the same shops and rolexes at each and every destination. Why destroy what makes us unique? That is one risky gamble …..

    • Anonymous says:

      Drink more KoolAid that puts food on the table too apparently.

    • Anonymous says:

      You can’t eat money.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cruise and cargo facilities will make you lose your livelihood when the cruise lines realize there’s nothing to see here because….we destroyed it!

    • Anonymous says:

      You do realise that coral feeds and supports the seafood we consume, right?

    • Anonymous says:

      So fool. Where do you think your snapper lives?

    • Anonymous says:

      The only people who make money off cruise ships is the cruise ships !!! …and perhaps some politicians!!!

      Check how much money our tour operators actually get to keep for the tours they run that get advertised on the ships … the cruise ships keep the lions share every time … it is criminal !!!

      Cayman is a valuable destination and asset for the cruise lines not the other way around !

      We should be focusing on eco tourism and stay over tourists not these (insert whatever word you want here) as they walk aimlessly around the island spending very little money and destroying our valuable and irreplaceable reefs.

  12. Abys says:

    Coral lost is the main concern because of the tens of thousands of years it takes to naturally replenish, right?

    The EIA was done less than a decade ago.

    10 years out of just 1000 is only 0.1%

    Why the need to spend the resources and money on yet another EIA on the same location? Would you pay for your house plan to be done twice?

    • Anonymous says:

      The plan has been fundamentally altered so a new EIA is required
      The age of the EIA has no bearing on the matter
      The only people who could possibly be against a comprehensive EIA are persons scared to admit the type of damage that could potentially occur

  13. Anonymous says:

    Dr. Vaughan is a world-renowned coral scientist. Check out his work. Do you really think he would align himself with a project that is as destructive as all the opponents would have us believe? He is not in it for the money, the man wants to retire, but saving coral is his passion. Seriously, we are blessed to get such an environmentalist on board to ensure this is done right and will not destroy our precious environment.

    • Anonymous says:

      Seriously, this man Vaughan lost all credibility when he aligned himself with those that destroy precious reefs. How can he say he loves the environment when he is working with those to destroy it. This is simply his retirement plan. It’s a scientific experiment that’s all. If it works or not, he doesn’t care as he will get paid handsomely regardless.

    • Anonymous says:

      You do realize regardless of whom they hire there is no one on earth (blessed or not) who can stop the coral structures that are already there from dying

      His only role is attempting to move tiny fragments of coral somewhere else and hoping they grow back which even if they do will take decades or centuries to reach the level that currently exist

      The government themselves admit they will be destroying the coral there its not a matter of debate, the question is how much will end up being damaged not only in the direct construction but in the years of ships moving in and out stirring up sediment

      This comment is written as if he is somehow going to stop the destruction, the destruction is part of the plan, he is only going to be showing up after the fact to try to reverse the losses

      But no one should be surprised pro port comments are fundamentally misleading bordering on outright lies

    • Anonymous says:

      Go save coral that is already destroyed don’t destroy healthy reefs…

    • Anonymous says:

      @5:09pm – the kool-aid is strong in this one.

    • SSM345 says:

      “Dr. Vaughan is a world-renowned coral scientist.” looking at a piece of pie worth $25M which is what our Govt is earmarking for the doomed coral relocation. He is full of BS just like the other “scientists” involved with the mutated mosquito’s they released down here. who laughed all the way to the bank.

      Why do we have to get a guy from somewhere else to a. do it; b. tell us it can be done when our very own world renowned Marine Institute in Little Cayman is stating the complete opposite?

  14. Anonymous says:

    I’m not sure why we pretend a revised EIA will have any good news for marine lovers/inhabitants, or positive bearing on the decision which Cabinet have made long ago. It will just be another, in a long list of negatives. They don’t care about the process, the environment, or will of the public. Just vote no.

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