Turtle farm to open Brac centre

| 21/11/2019 | 88 Comments
Cayman News Service
Cayman Turtle Centre and Island Wildlife Encounter, West Bay, Grand Cayman

(CNS): Government has allocated CI$2 million over the next two years to open a satellite Cayman Turtle Centre in Cayman Brac. The centre was described as having a particular focus on the conservation of hawksbill turtles. But as Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell was questioned in Finance Committee on Wednesday about the new project, it emerged that while the cash was allocated in the budget, the business case for the centre has not been done.

The minister said the business case was underway, in response to questioning by Ezzard Miller about the income and expenditure for the project, which neither the minister nor the CEO of the CTC, Tim Adam, could not answer. Adam said there would be no entrance fees and there was no indication that this new small centre would sell meat. Adam said this facility would rely on donations and sponsorship for the conservation work.

Minister Kirkconnell said the $2 million was allocated after a process within the ministry to work out the size and facilities needed at the new centre, and that he was confident the money would cover the costs.

“We are extremely excited about opening the centre in Cayman Brac,” the minister said, explaining that it would not just be a conservation centre to support the main facility but also a tourism attraction for the Brac.

Meanwhile, with almost $8 million allocated for the Grand Cayman farm, most of which is for operational costs, Miller asked if the ministry had issued any policy directions about how to cut this subsidy. The minister said no direction had been made to the CTC, but its board was working on a strategic plan to get the facility to break even. The minister justified the significant subsidy because, among other things, the centre is an anchor attraction and a major employer in the district of West Bay.

Adam accepted that the facility was still losing millions of dollars per year and is getting less than $30 on average per head from the tours the cruise lines sell for much more. Adam also said that only around 11-15% of guests visiting Cayman on cruise ships as well as overnight visitors go to the Turtle Centre.

Chris Saunders also queried claims that the farm would increase its revenue by 24% in 2020, as he said the numbers did not appear to add up. Kirkconnell said the aim was to promote corporate events, push the food and beverage offering and increase tour numbers.

Given the gaps in the responses to the committees questions, some opposition members voted against the $8 million allocation to subsidise the West Bay attraction. But government nevertheless carried the vote.

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Category: Business, Marine Environment, Science & Nature, Tourism

Comments (88)

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  1. Man-O'-War says:

    Forty years ago the Brac had a shrimp farm – until the shrimp were eaten.

    The owner of the shrimp farm built a pyramid: that’s gone too!

    In answer to Anonymous at 7.46pm: That pond is too shallow for turtles to swim; even with the added seawater pumped in it is only a few inches deep.

  2. Anonymous says:


    Yes, Government don’t care if you are PPM, Unity, CDP, PNA or whatever – please build it on the Brac:

    1. Cruise Ship Dock
    2. Enhanced Cargo Pier
    3. 18-Hole Championship Golf Course (we could host a PGA Tour event)
    4. Wind Farm on Bluff and Wind Farm Off-shore
    5. Bluff edge Trolley System.
    6. Casino (could host World Poker Tour events)
    7. Multiple marinas and a world-class harbor for yachts
    8. Raceway on bluff
    9. Uptown Exclusive Community
    10. Ship to ship Oil Transfers.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t one of the Kirkconnell family have some sort of turtle processing place in Stake Bay along the road – northwest of the District Admin building?
    This would seem to be an obvious place to establish the Turtle Centre.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Just so you will know – The Brac Turtle Centre will be placed in the vicinity of the Brac Wind Farm, Brac Marina, Brac Golf Course and Brac Uptown Community – all done in conjunction with a wealthy former US resident.

    You heard it here first, stay tuned to see it in the Compass, on this website and the Gov.ky website – and remember timing of announcement is crucial so don’t expect it immediately but do expect it before May 2021.

    Little Cayman development announcements not being made public at this point, but does have something to do with exceptionally large objects in the sky that look like birds soaring . . . and does involve two well-known Caymanian last names. Documents that are out in the public domain do clearly outline millions of dollars to be projected to be spent on an infrastructure project related to the large objects in the sky.

    Thank you Mo$e$ and Juliana for working exceptionally hard to ensure that both of the Sister Islands gets some source of funding.

    To the nay-sayers in Grand Cayman. You bitch and complain about us over here – so why in the hell are so many people from Grand Cayman now relocating to the Brac working on the roadside cleanup and receiving social service (NAU) assistance???

  5. Anonymous says:

    got to say Mose has learned the political game very quickly…give the Bracers something so they can vote for his dock..This is rubbish.Why doesn’t Mose andJulie take that $2M and build a dock on the Brac for cruise ships to call..oh wait the ship will be too big to come there and will be hard on the infrastructure of the Brac..Give the Brac something to stimulate its economy.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Seems that people were right to think the turtle farm means that they’re going to build a dock in brac as well if they get away with the one in grand. You can tell that the Kirk bots at work here on this post to which means….. dock.

  7. Anonymous says:

    C’mon Alden…stop this project…

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’ve always been told at staff meetings that the pin-eyed Brac poachers don’t grind up the Hawksbills, just the more fatty/oily Green and Loggerhead. What good is a Hawksbill Farm in wild west Poacher country? Most Brackers haven’t heard of, and don’t care about IUCN Red List…they would batter and eat it with onions and scotch bonnet if you printed a copy.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Our volunteers are trying to protect the age-old turtle nesting cycle. This would be a seriously backward step and a poor educational model.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Why don’t we go out and buy three brand new widebody planes we can’t fly…oh wait…

  11. Anonymous says:

    Give them to Jamaica.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This is ridiculous…. Cayman Turtle Centre can’t breakeven and we’re going to have a free centre in the Brac… Another hole in a sinking boat.. Wouldn’t a plutonium enrichment centre be a better idea….

  13. Anonymous says:

    If you want the turtle centre here to even be remotely profitable there needs to be things that are entertaining. watching poor turtles be manhandled by humans isn’t nor is knowing that they’re going to be murdered for meat, something the majority of the public despises. Change it to conservation minus providing meat to your constituents and teach the locals that what you used to eat maybe you shouldn’t eat anymore. You should eat green iguanas over turtles. Yes, I get it, it’s your culture… but some cultural things aren’t helping preserve what we need for our future generations.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, and that poor saltwater crocodile. What a dreadful life she has. From wild in the ocean, to that tiny enclosure. Not at all humane! 🙁

    • Anonymous says:

      The turtle meat that Caymanians buy And eat, from the Turtle Center has not one iota of negative impact on the wild turtle population.

      Their turtles are bred and raised outside the wild population and the Turtle Center takes nothing from the wild.

  14. Jotnar says:

    $2 million seems rather light to build a facility with tanks, infrastructure etc, and there is no provision for running costs because sponsorship and donations will magically appear to take care of them. What do you bet this is a tar baby – we chuck in $2m, Moses rings his hands in 6 months and says oh dear, it all took more than we anticipated but we can’t throw away the $2m invested, and before you know it the actual constriction cost is $10m. Once its built no one is going to want to shut it down and fire the Brac staff hired, so when the donations don’t turn up Moses will be back every year asking for an ongoing subsidy, just like the West Bay black hole.

    • Anonymous says:

      Or…the$2M simply gets reassigned to one of his other pet projects to buy more favour before the next election!

      Seriously though – this proposal is just the most ridiculous thing I have heard!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Cayman Brac is the red headed step child. You have to give them 85% of everything to make them feel equal.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please tell me what Cayman Brac has that equates to what Grand Cayman has to offer… Have you even visited Cayman Brac?? And please don’t mention the daycare centre. The daycare is owned by the government, which is why it now has free admission.

  16. Anonymous says:

    so we get it, you plan to build a port on the Brac next

  17. Anonymous says:

    But.. but isn’t the one here in the red? If it’s not profitable here why would it be in the Brac?
    Common sense is not a commodity among our leaders…

    • Tibbetts Family says:

      It is about jobs for the Brac. Thank you Moses and Juliana. You citizens had better be thankful for the leaders you have and the lives you have instead of trashing our Government and elected leaders.
      Pray for your Government and stop being ungrateful and hateful towards them. This is not healthy for everyone.

      • Anonymous says:

        Jobs? That’s the last thing Brackers want. That could mean they would have to work!

    • Jotnar says:

      Its not about making money. Its about providing Moses and his Brac acolytes with another tourist attraction, paid for by the tax payer. West Bay has theirs – at $8m per year cost to us all – now Moses wants his people to get theirs.

      • Anonymous says:

        Reading between the lines, the long unspoken quid pro quo terms of the backroom May 2017 Unity/Speakership alliance are really starting to come into sharper relief this week…impartial Speaker McKeeva is now vocally lobbying for continuation of his long-deferred CDP port agreement, Moses and Juliana for their Brac subsidies…everyone is lining up their pet capital projects now while no SIPL is enacted. It’s the end of days feather-nesting tour, for as long as it lasts. Our borrowed dough is flying everywhere!

  18. Anonymous says:

    I pressed the smiley face on the “how does this make you feel” bar because it is the closest thing you have to a LOL button. My guess is I am not alone.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Dont just blame Moses. Also blame the other bobble heads in Cabinet, Alden, Joey, Tara, Juliana, Dwayne, and Roy McT, who approved this to be included in the budget.

    And they all approved it without a business case??!! Totally Ludicrous from supposed “leaders”

    What a joke this Cabinet is

  20. Cheese Face says:

    Is it April again? I really need to get my calendar fixed!

  21. Anonymous says:

    can we just sell cayman brac and be done with it….it’s a waste of money.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow.. really? You do realize that Grand Cayman is only one of the CAYMAN ISLANDS right?

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes. Its the ONE that carries and pays for the other TWO!

        • Proud Caymanian says:

          Yeah, and have you thought about WHY that is?

          Both Cayman Brac and Little Cayman need development. They need to be given the same financial opportunities as Grand Cayman. I swear, if Grand Cayman gets developed anymore it will sink. Look at the flooding in Grand.. it rains for 5 minutes and the place is underwater. Why? OVER-DEVELOPMENT! Cayman Brac and Little Cayman avoided building on swaps for the same reason why Grand Cayman is flooding now.

          But yes, I do agree with you to a certain extent. If they build the centre, they should charge admissions.

          • Anonymous says:

            So your idea is to do the same thing to the Brac and Little that has been done in Grand?

        • Anonymous says:

          You’ve got Ken Dart, hundreds of registered off shore banks and Seven Mile Beach. So while you’re tooting your conceited horn, just remember, most of your blessings have nothing to do with how hard YOU work.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sell to Cuba and take payment in sugar and coffee.

  22. Anonymous says:

    more charity for the brac….
    cayman brac…a blackhole for cig expenditure.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Very smart. The current assminsistration just bought all the votes in the Brack with your money.

  24. Anonymous says:

    This is great news for those who live off of the government dime. More free welfare money for them and guaranteed millions each year of extra income just like the Grand Cayman turtle farm That only cost what ? $8,000,000 a year to keep running? Hey. Any Government sponsored business is a great way to give out a free living wage for those too lazy to get a real job.

  25. Proud Caymanian says:

    Why so much hate toward the Brac? Last time I checked, the Brac was part of the CAYMAN ISLANDS too.

    Seriously though, why is it that whenever the government decides to do something for the Brac, people from Grand Cayman cry out?

    If you think about it, Cayman Brac may actually be a good fit for a turtle centre from a cultural stand point. A lot of seaman and turtlers came from the Brac. I mean.. there’s a gigantic whole that leads to the sea in bush next to West End park called the “Turtle Crawl”. This area was commonly used by the sea and fishermen to herd turtles.

    Cayman Kind people. We’re all connected and we share the same culture. When are we going to stop dividing each other into groups?

    • Anonymous says:

      How many Tourist visit the Brac annually? The proposed attraction main source of revenue generation will be from Tourist expenditure not residences; this is another hair brain proposal that no business case will be able to justify. I’m all for helping the sister islands but let’s focus upon strengthening education and reducing welfare.

      • BeaumontZodecloun says:

        So, what you’re saying is that with all the hotels and restaurants and attractions and cruise ships in Grand Cayman, you cannot spare any tourists? People who want to see what they Cayman Islands looked like before it got overdeveloped?

    • Anonymous says:

      Does CYB do anything to make money? Is everything free over there?

      • Proud Caymanian says:

        Oh my goodness… I think you need to take a trip to visit Cayman Brac. I think that’s the only way you’ll truly see things as they are.

        Yeah, Cayman Brac doesn’t pull in the same amount of money as Grand Cayman. How can it? It’s smaller, and hasn’t been given barely any tourist attractions that would bring in revenue. They need to start from somewhere. Cayman Brac needs development. If Grand gets anymore development I swear it’s going to sink.

        And yeah… what’s free over there? The public and government owned daycare centre? Should we charge people for looking at boobie birds? What does Cayman Brac have??? Please!!!

        But, I must admit.. if they do build the turltle centre there it should charge an admission price.

  26. J|) says:

    All unna on GCM want the Sister Islands to be part of the Cayman Islands yet when it comes to helping them out you b%tch and complain.

    When Ivan hit unna, you ran to us for help and shelter. Remember that!

    • Anonymous says:

      So you’re okay with supporting a fail project that we all pay for via taxes??? C’mon now, this proposal makes no sense.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Does this idiot Kirkconnell and his other cronies know how far 2mil could go in the Brac for education? The schools need computers, supplies etc etc and he wants to waste these funds on a turtle centre fit ghe Brac with no fees to get in. OMG how can they do this to us and waste our money

  28. Anonymous says:

    VOTE NO!

  29. Anonymous says:

    If the facility is to be built can we please have a US construction company do it? That way we know it will be done on time, safely, with quality and most of all within budget. Too many friends getting contracts to build things and nothing being completed yet money being spent.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Where is the WTF button?

  31. Anonymous says:

    And the Brac welfare train rolls on and on.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Classic stupidity. I honestly think the majority of these politicians aren’t up to politics in the modern world.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Yet another sinkhole the public will be forced to put money into. Don’t you get it Moses? Most educated, worldly, high income tourists don’t want to see an abhorrence such as this. Especially those who visit the Brac’s near pristine waters for diving and snorkelling.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Have the road paving machines broken down?

  35. Anonymous says:

    Put the turtles in the pond that they were so dearly protecting in the Brac…instead of them agreeing to develop the marina, they oppose it….who owns the only/current hotel…yours truly…XXX

    CNS: The only hotel on the island is owned by the Tibbetts family. I’ve also deleted the next sentence as you don’t appear to be well informed and I don’t believe it’s true.


    all yours truly have to do is promise them a promotion in there job and they are willing to jump off the bluff for him….what a bunch of loonies over there!

  36. Anonymous says:

    If Mr. Kenneth wants to do something useful during the referendum…why not carry out a survey of a national vote…it is the only way out of this mess…Brackas worship their legislatures… they do nothing wrong in their eyes.

  37. Anonymous says:

    What a waste of public money! What’s with these morons?! Exactly who, “tourists”, are supposed to support this Brac centre – the hundreds of thousands of annual Brac visitors??

    Enough is enough! Take to the streets!!

  38. Anonymous says:

    This is great news for the Brac!

  39. Anonymous says:

    If you must, close the Turtle Farm (because that is what it is) on Grand Cayman and use those government subsidies to open a world class conservation center on the Brac that talks openly and honestly about the insanity of eating an endangered species.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey 6:46, show some respect. Eating turtle is one of the cornerstones of Caymanian culture.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Minister Kirkconnell said “the $2 million was allocated after a process within the ministry to work out the size and facilities needed at the new centre, and that he was confident the money would cover the costs”…..these guys just don’t follow the law…why are they allowed these privilege’s and the regular civil servant need to build a business case for a box of pens.

    • Anonymous says:

      A classic case of ‘shoot first and see what you’ve hit after’. No plans or any idea of what they need or want, just ask for the money and the fools approve it!

  41. Anonymous says:

    WTF! Moses is taking us all for fools. Cayman has too much money and idiotic leaders

  42. MR says:

    Moses creating employment for himself for when Brackas finally vote him out – he will certainly be appointed to the seat of turtle centre director.

  43. Anonymous says:


  44. Anonymous says:

    Someone getting ready for the next election? This makes no sense at all.

  45. Anonymous says:

    We’re expanding a business that has to my knowledge not once in 36 years of government operation turned a profit

    Is this what the PPM is referring to when they go around bragging about fiscal responsibility?
    We can’t even sustain the one on the main island with 60,000+ people and millions of tourists every year but lets open up a new facility in an sparsely populated and rarely visited area

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