MLA claims to be listening to voters on port

| 21/11/2019 | 134 Comments

MLA Barbara Conolly (GTS) writes: When I campaigned during the 2017 general elections I asked the people to vote for me because I was willing to do what is right for the benefit of our people and these beautiful Cayman Islands. I have thought long and hard about the various issues surrounding the proposed cruise berthing facility. I have heard from those concerned especially about the potential environmental impact. I have also heard from constituents concerned about traffic congestion in the waterfront area.

I have also witnessed the public dialogue which is clearly very emotive and, in some cases, seems to get very personal. Persons who would otherwise be happy to be friends and family are now being alienated from each other due to their differing opinions on this project.

But this does not have to be our way.

As a representative of the people I stand by my promise to do what is right for the benefit of our people. I have carefully listened to the concerns and made myself aware of the facts so that I can properly address the concerns expressed to me.

Traffic congestion – As more details of the plan can now be revealed without any commercial sensitivities and without any breach of confidentiality, we can now reveal that there will be a large area built within the port area to accommodate all the related traffic dropping off and collecting passengers. This means that the traffic congestion concerns expressed to me will be fully addressed and it’s possible that the situation on the main roads in the waterfront will be even better than it is today.

There appears to be a misconception regarding the number of tourists which will be in the waterfront area on any given day during our high season. Most of the additional passengers will be arriving primarily during our slow months which is July to September on the larger ships. Therefore, while we may see some increase during the high season, we will not be receiving all of these additional passengers during this time as they will be spread out over the other months of the year. Ultimately the Port Authority has full authority over how many ships/passengers can arrive. That control has always been there and will remain in place.

Cost – This project does not pose any risk of over runs which might end up costing the government more money because the contract is a fixed price contract. Any over-run costs will be fully borne by the developers.

In addition, although we will be giving up 2.32 cents from the passenger head tax to support the project, we will have an increase in the number of cruise passengers from 1.9 million to 2.5 million and therefore the overall revenues we receive over the 25 years will actually be more not less. Therefore, the project will not cost the government or public over this 25 year period.

One of the facts that has not been mentioned much is that at the end of the 25 years the people of this country will also own a port facility valued at over $450 million.

Environmental impact – The footprint of the project has been significantly reduced. In fact, the new design now shows that the entire area will be reduced by around 30%. The potential damage to Seven Mile Beach area was also one of the main concerns raised at the very beginning of this proposed project. But we now know that our Seven Mile Beach will not be negatively impacted.

I see my role as an elected member of the legislative assembly as serving the interest of our people. I believe that this project will be in the best long term interests of the country. I know fully well that this project poses political risk but I am willing to do what is right for the people who I serve.

Our government has put pressure on the developers during negotiations to ensure that the project is carried effectively while being environmentally sustainable. Like my other colleagues in the LA I would not support the project if I were not convinced that the mitigation measures and new design is in the best interest of our natural environment.

The proposed cruise berthing facility will create hundreds of new jobs. It will help many smaller local businesses who rely on the cruise industry for their livelihoods.

I will continue to listen to all my constituents on this project. I promise to continue to fight to ensure that any remaining concerns can be addressed in the way that this project is executed to ensure that we will all reap the benefits while minimising the costs and any potential negative impacts.

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Category: development, Local News, Viewpoint

Comments (134)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Barbara, whose cool aid are you drinking? I’ve always thought you were a ‘wally’ but this proves that you are. Can’t you see you are being used by those slightly brighter than you are?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am voting for my future. I’m voting no. I’m voting no not because of political reasons either. I didn’t vote for Barbara in GTS and whoever else runs in GTS if you were for the port you aren’t getting my vote either.

    My reasons for voting no are:

    1. I’ve always enjoyed swimming in clear blue water. Unlike other countries I’ve visited. Most countries you cannot see your feet when you are swimming, visibility is terrible and the sand is usually brown. The port will bring up silt and change the beautiful blue water downtown.

    2. I have children and hopefully one day I will have grandchildren. I would like them to enjoy the beautiful ocean as I knew it growing up. The port will destroy not just the coral reef but stir up too much silt.

    3. If the port is built they will only work with a select few local operators and squeeze every last penny out of them. Who really benefits anyway?

    4. Duty free and high end jewelry, cakes and goods aren’t what they used to be. Tourists can just order off of amazon or some website. We don’t need to protect them. Which millennial wants a Lladro anyway?

    5. Traffic will be worse during lunch hour when I’m trying to get things done. It’s already bad now. I don’t want to take a two hour lunch and tell my boss that I have to work the time later. I have children to pick up and spend time with. Actually traffic may be horrible in the mornings also. They can’t just corral them in an area and if they do, then they aren’t spending everywhere, just that area and then whisked off to a prepaid attraction where my cousin will make $1 per person because the cruise ship squeezed everything else or they just may open their own Cayman company and cut out all locals.

    6. Has anyone considered the garbage and the smell from the exhaust of the ships? The air in Cayman is wonderful ( aside from the dump downward wind) but add in the cruise ship smog. We are asking to all die at 50 from cancer ok ok maybe 30.

    7. The coral reef will be destroyed no matter how much they try to downplay it. Why are we destroying this?

    • Anonymous says:

      11:32 its better to wait a hundred years and let the ship anchors do it !

      • Anonymous says:

        Except the ship anchors don’t come anywhere near where they are going to dredge. They anchor further out – where they have destroyed the coral already. This is about destroying the coral the ship anchors havent already destroyed

  3. Kurt Christian says:

    Vote No

  4. Anonymous says:

    Here’s a thought you will minimize the risk by X% if it isn’t 100% then or even 95% then why are we doing this. Let’s add to the fact that the cruise liners have botched other Caribbean countries with damage. Even Cayman has been destroyed by a cruise ship either from sewage dumping or an anchor.

    Now let’s compare to a plastic surgeon. Would you do this elective surgery to fix your face with a surgeon that has botched many other people’s faces and he received many poor reviews all freely available publicly? Would you really go to a plastic surgeon in the first place to fix something that doesn’t necessarily need fixing. When actually what does need fixing is your hair and you need to get a hair cut or the real problem is braces. But now you’ve botched your face and you still need to fix the other problems.

    Barbara GTS constituents are an educated group of people. We aren’t like the West bay constituents that keep voting Mackeeva back in. Majority of us has bachelors, masters, PhDs, many of us are well travelled and I don’t know anyone in my district that doesn’t swim. A lot of us surf and even more of us scuba dive.

    If you keep this up, I will personally campaign against you. I will rally to ensure that you do not get back into politics. Plus I will seek a referendum that any politician that was a one time politician should not receive a pension and include all former one time politicians.

    You want Cayman to be prosperous. Let’s stop the greed. The port is not necessary. It is elective, a choice and not a pretty or useful one.

  5. Jotnar says:

    Well, hat off to you for at least communicating rather than shouting like McKeeva or refusing to answer like Alden. But with respect, your answers are so shallow and riddled with logic problems that I wonder whether you are an honest but dumb person, or just another politician who will say anything without really believing any of it. Taking your “facts”in turn:

    Traffic congestion – providing a space for taxis to pick up does help reduce jams, but you understand that the vehicles are going to leave the car park and drive on the roads, right? How is the biggest car park in the world going to get around shipping another 600,000 people down West Bay Road?

    Waterfront area – ok, so your point is that rather than even more people cluttering the streets in busy season, the slow season will now be as busy as winter season. So the same level of congestion all year, rather than even greater congestion in winter? Sp thats all right then. Passing over the fact that the Oasis class ships are not going to be coming here just in slow season .

    Cost – if we give up ALL the passenger head tax, doesnt really matter how many more people come – you cannot say that because the volume increases the tax lost on the 1.9 million is magically replaced

    Environmental impact – so the damage – not sure what you are basing this on since the new EIA hasn’t been completed – is going to be reduced by 30%? Hooray. So if I was going to burn your house down, but decide after all to save the lounge and kitchen you are going to celebrate? 30% reduction on entirely avoidable damage is not the same as avoiding all the damage. And where do you get your “fact” that Seven Mile Beach will not be impacted. From that EIA which hasn’t been completed yet? Or is it something Alden told you, cause that must be true, right? The ” best interest of our natural environment” is not building the damn piers in the first place, not in tweaking the design so it only kills 70% of the fish and corals the first effort was going to.

    “I will continue to listen to all my constituents on this project. I promise to continue to fight to ensure that any remaining concerns can be addressed in the way that this project is executed to ensure that we will all reap the benefits while minimizing the costs and any potential negative impacts.” So whilst listening to your constituents, you are going to support it anyway irrespective of what they say – but you will “continue to fight” – haven’t seen much example of any fighting at all so far, BTW – to try and limit the damage irrespective of whether your constituents want it or not? You want to listen to your constituents? Hold a public meeting n your constituency, don’t confine them to written questions you or your puppet master can filter, and you will get a pretty accurate idea of what your constituents have to say. You wont like it, but at least you will be able to say you are listening with a straight face.

    You seem a nice lady, and I was impressed at your efforts in dealing with Smith Cove. But your statement is full of obvious fallacies and illogicality, to the point where I am struggling to believe you are actually being honest. Shame.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with this statement 100%. So much talk about the cruise passengers and stay over tourists but what about our quality of life with this uncontrolled tourism.Why didn’t you just hold a meeting with just you and your constituents at the SS Community Center? Talk to us, listen to us?? No experts from the US. I really don’t think you wrote this ,it’s just PPM rambling. Your better than this Barbara. Wake up!! A GTS lifetime resident .

  6. Anonymous says:

    Barbara as has already been pointed out, but just for clarity I will highlight the reality to you again

    In 2017 you received 375 votes out of 1209 total registered voters , totaling 31% of the sum of registered voters

    The petition garnered the signatures of 412 persons out of 1207 total registered voters totaling 34% of the sum of registered voters

    ( the size of your constituency has changed by a total of 2 people since 2017 moving from 1209 to 1207 people, so comparing the percentages of the total is mostly accurate despite the numbers not being exactly the same )

    Not only are you not listening to your constituents more of whom signed the petition than voted for you, but you voted with the PPM on a bill that does not allow your constituents to display to you what action they want you to take because the numbers will not be reported constituency by constituency

    Please don’t insult our intelligence with this nonsense about you listening to voters
    You are listening to Alden McLaughlin and you are listening to the money you make in your cushy councilor job, you certainly are not listening to the voters who put you where you are
    I wish I could catch you on the radio one day to call you out for this BS, I hope for your sake, you are avoiding the public because as said previously I would have no qualms about slamming my door in your face

    You are a sellout nothing more nothing less, and you ought to be voted out come 2021

  7. Anonymous says:

    The sargasso sea weed will be back as Climate change continues. We WILL lose stay over guests in the future.
    All across the Caribbean has seen guests pack up and leave hotels and Air bnb’s because of it. Banking has seen numbers drop from 625 banks to less than 139? Banking will continue to drop as new financial vehicles will take over. It’s only a matter of time. Whats plan B? Factories? Farming? I will prophetize that we will need a proper Cruise ship facility and Cargo dock. We will need to move Rubis and Sol fuel oil storage. Best places will be North Sound or Central Mangrove.

    • Anonymous says:

      For future reference the word is prophesy ( pronounced “PROF-a-sigh”) not prophetize

      and I recall something about false prophets but I’ll leave that all to you

    • Anonymous says:

      Sargassum. Our overnight numbers have gone up, not down, despite the seaweed, and I think you will find the same for all non Dorian impacted Caribbean destinations. . And whats your point – seaweed on the beach only deters stay over guests, not cruisers. SMH.

  8. Madeleine Rowell says:

    Can’t wait to vote this one out in the next election

  9. Anonymous says:

    Wish Paul Hurlston would have been elected in GTS. He really has the countries best interest at heart! If he runs again in 2021 I’ll be voting for him again!

    • Anonymous says:

      He certainly knows the history of the Port and could give good advice.Did anyone from PPM ask his opinion?? Probably not……….shame

      • Anonymous says:

        No. They did not ask his opinion. They made sure to force him out years ago because he knew better than to support their cockamamey ideas. This whole port thing has been going on for 20+ years and the PPM is not to blame. It’s the UDP – they’re the ones pushing for it. Notice that Alden is backpeddling while Big Mac is gearing up and lashing out. It’s all HIM.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Oh my. Just because you say it’s so, doesn’t make it so, Barbara. You’ve made a lot of definitive statements that are certainly not settled. They are your opinion, but you state them as fact. I am a voter in your constituency and you certainly aren’t listening to me and, by the sounds of things, aren’t really interested in my opinions on traffic, the piers or the necessity of building the port in a time when stay-over tourism is at an all-time high and increasing, all while there are five major hotel projects coming. You will not be getting my vote in 2021, I can tell you that. Now I wish I’d voted for Mike Adam, even with his McKeeva connections! At least he would have understood the importance of stay-over tourism over the cheap-skate human pollution of 2.3 million cruise tourists invading our island and ruining the experience for our bread and butter visitors who are more respectful, more sophisticated and more generous with their spending.

    • Anonymous says:

      Barbara : you want everybody to vote yes because it’s your government. You’re being disingenuous and trying to fool people. How did you and the Whites feel when Mckeeva wanted it. Yeah. I thought so. Not enough information = Vote NO.

  11. Anonymous says:

    sell out!

    • Say wa says:

      Barbara , Barbara we are giving up 2.32 cents? Come on now you serious you don’t proof read or what? You have just lost the next election

  12. Anonymous says:

    but Barbara, the Govt & group you’re supporting has admitted themselves that they don’t have all of the information and won’t have until after the referendum vote, – there’s a good chance that a lot of your narrative is mute

  13. Anonymous says:

    I bet neither she nor the other members of her party can find where their navel strings are buried because they sold out the land long ago.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Barbara who?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Barbara, more people signed the petition than voted for you

    You are not listening to your constituents
    Who do you think you are fooling?

    • Anonymous says:

      Neither Barbara nor the White boy wanted the cruise berthing facility under the UDP but now becuse the PPM pushing it she on board. Barbara you can’t have your cake and eat it too. BTW who put you up to write this crap?

    • Cruise? says:

      Is the educated votes of GTS who cann’t spell that instead spell the word than.

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