Written questions only at pro-port meetings

| 13/11/2019 | 89 Comments
Cayman News Service
Michael Bayley addresses the meeting as the premier and deputy premier look on

(CNS): Members of the public hoping to engage directly with government and its selected partners proposing to build the cruise berthing facility were disappointed when they attended the public meeting Wednesday evening and found there was a written-only questions policy. At the first government meeting on the issue in over a year, people were expecting the opportunity to interact with government and the bidders by asking them about the project face to face.

Less than one hundred members of the public attended the first in a series of eight district meetings, though there were large numbers of government officials and people involved with the project or its promotion.

Premier Alden McLaughlin and Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell made brief comments about the port project before handing the floor to Royal Caribbean’s Michael Bayley, who has become the lead spokesperson for Verdant Isle, the group selected as the preferred bidder, and dominated the night’s proceedings.

In his brief presentation Kirkconnell focused justification for the port on an issue that is emerging as a major plank in the government’s campaign. With less talk now about the creation of new jobs or cruise ships staying longer, he focused on the ‘spread’, indicating that having the piers was the only way to spread the visitor numbers into Cayman’s low season.

He said the piers would ensure the arrival once per week of the single Oasis class Royal Caribbean ship that sails the Western Caribbean in the summer.

Cayman News Service
One of the questions submitted at the meeting

The premier urged people to be agreeable with each other about this project and took aim at the CPR group for calling supporters of the port “Alden’s Kool-Aid drinkers”. He said he was disturbed that the debate about the port “had taken a very ugly turn”.

The governments new promotional 41-page book about the project, paid for by the public purse, was handed out, along with question papers.

Some members of the public at the meeting told CNS they were concerned that they were forced to submit questions in writing because it limited their ability to follow up and to interact with the representatives.

One member of the CPR team submitted a question asking why the government had opted to have such a one sided conversation but that question was never answered.

The meetings continue, with the next one at the Family Life Centre on Thursday. See the full schedule below:

CPR begins a series of public meetings next week, starting at Celebration Park at 6:30pm outside the courthouse in George Town.

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Category: development, Local News, Politics

Comments (89)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What time are the local meetings? An important fact left out from the schedule.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well if the deep port is not approved, look on the bright side. At least an army of occupation will find it difficult to land.

  3. Anonymous says:

    No information before the Referendum because ii is unhealthy fot the environment and the people. The people that is being fooled or do not know any better will wake-up and open their eyes on referendum day and vote “No” way Bo-Bo against the port.

  4. Anonymous says:

    They look like two school boys.. who broke the window…lol

  5. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Kirkconnell is for the Kirkconnells and Mr. Alden is for Alden…screw the people..

  6. Anonymous says:

    Will there be refreshments at the meetings? @CNS

    • Anonymous says:

      Not unless you are willing to pay the government back for them over a period of 25 years

      *Don’t worry thought, somehow a deferred cost doesn’t count as a cost, according to Alden and Moses*

      Wait till they learn about mortgages or student loans, it will blow their minds

  7. Anonymous says:

    Its like a bunch of circus clowns walking around standing on rakes, – despite tagging on a top cruise CEO and the rest of the high flying cohorts, unlimited funds for a PR company to promote the idea, and an attempt to have a ‘discussion’ with the public our supposed top tier appointed officials do nothing but disgrace themselves and those in their pro port orbit.

    CPR and concerned electorate you have this in the bag, – the biggest stumble will be not permitting complacency to decide the day. You’re right Alden, ‘this has taken a very ugly turn’ but in a very introspective way.

  8. Anonymous says:

    This is the height of rudeness and disrespect. All we want are answers. They are unable o provide any. That tells me all I need to know about this project. This is not just going to effect us but our children and their children. Too arrogant to speak to your own people. Who do you think you are???

  9. Anonymous says:

    Shameful! Who is going to gain the most from this if a port agenda passes? Better ask yourself that! Certainly not the Caymanians!

  10. Anonymous says:

    The end of funding for conservation.

    What happens when the $3.60-$5.20 per head on cruise ship passengers, per the Travel (Departure Tax and Environmental Protection Fund) Law (2003 Revision)(as amended) is cut by the dock?

    It essentially removes the majority funding of the environmental protection fund, 100% of which is directed to the National Conservation Council for management, per section 46 of the National Conservation Law, 2013.

    So it would seem that not only does the dock destroy the marine environment, it will gut the majority funding of conservation programs For the next 25 years thereafter?

    • Anonymous says:

      Section 46 of the National Conservation Law, 2013.has never been implemented. The Environmental Protection Fund is wholly in the control of Cabinet for any misuse they think will earn them a few votes.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wrong! The share of passenger fee that goes to the environment fund remains the same. When passenger numbers go up the environment fund will end up getting more.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is incorrect. It was clearly stated that the amount collected for the EPF will NOT be affected.

  11. Anon says:

    “ He said the piers would ensure the arrival once per week of the single Oasis class Royal Caribbean ship that sails the Western Caribbean in the summer.”

    If only ensuring ONE mega ship per week, why are we willing to destroy what people come here for for ONE ship?

    • Anonymous says:

      I work downtown and aside from killing our rare corals, I do NOT WANT 250,000 more tourists here a year! I would prefer LESS cruise tourism, no $2billion dollar budget 2020-2021 and a new government they doesn’t increase 3000 work permits in 2019? How about less spending, vocational advancement for teens, and budget our money?
      Construction industry here “rules” and we should discourage this profit-only business (by the way the developers make the $ not the cheap labor)

  12. Anonymous says:

    You can’t make this crap up? Why hide from the people or force them to write down their answers…Doesn’t anyone see anything wrong with this? Is Michael Bayley or Alden or Premier?

    • Anonymous says:

      Because when unna spouted out questions and they then had to take time to get the right answer or answer accurately off the top of your head, you complained that they didn’t want to give the information or enough.

      Written questions allow them to dig up the requested information thoroughly beforehand instead of answering off the bat.

      • Anonymous says:

        Except, they are still having to answer them off the bat at the meeting. The only difference is they can sort through the questions in advance and choose the ones they like or don’t like, i.e., not every question will get answered, and you can’t ask follow-ups if you don’t understand their answer the first time.

      • Anonymous says:

        Theyve claimed all this time they had all kinds of information so why do they need to go dig up anything to answer simple questions that have been asked umpteen times for months and still cant get answers?

      • Anonymous says:

        Nope – it is so they can choose which questions to answer and set about answering them politically rather than factually.

      • Anonymous says:

        3:40pm – this is information they should know off the bat you dingdong.
        Just look at the other responses to your comment and you have the reasons…

    • Anonymous says:

      I attended and I liked that questions were asked and answered in a orderly way. You couldn’t get some people off the mike at the last one.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Sanitizing the questions..are we living in Cuba or some other communist countries now?..Even Trump takes questions directly from the people…

    Alden,Moses, people are going to remember this..Why are you afraid to interact one on one with your Red Bay constituents and the people of these islands?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Come on Al! you know better than this. We want to support you, but give us something to support except YOU. Please do not take your own supporters as fools too

  15. Anonymous says:

    I am neither yes or no on the port but imma still vote no. Reason being is Alden said he would resign if he loses this referendum and I really wanna see him go.

  16. 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!

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t you get it… WE are not getting saddled with a debt. THEY are paying for it and getting repaid by the passengers THEY bring.
      If THEY don’t bring passengers THEY don’t get repaid. What do YOU think THEY are going to do? Exactly!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Government is doing all it can to sabotage the referendum! Their bad faith actions alone should ensure that they fail and that the referendum succeeds in majority vote NO to the port!!

  18. Anonymous says:

    If i wanna hear all the negative naysayers babble on endlessly, i just listen to woody in the morning

    • Anonymous says:

      Essentially every government project goes over budget usually by good chunks of the original cost and are delayed by a year or more such as the airport or the schools Alden commissioned

      Im sure if someone made a list of all the projects the PPM have commissioned in the last 20 years the vast majority would show those consistencies across the board

      But if you don’t think past projects are indicative of future issues then don’t be surprised when this project goes over-budget or is delivered late
      They were already talking about the clause in the contract that allows them to extend the contract to an undetermined date tonight at the meeting if (and more likely WHEN) it does not deliver the numbers of persons that the cruise lines claim it will bring
      The cruise lines have incentives or no reason to actually bring an increased number of people here, they get paid either way because there is no cutoff date

  19. Anonymous says:

    The reason why they wanted written questions is because they didn’t want to look like fools like they did the last time they had public meetings. Remember the video where the lady asked Moses a direct question about the cruise jobs, and neither he nor his panel could answer? Yeah…they know they’re up the creek with no paddle and just throwing public monies at this “inconvenience” for them hoping it will go away. VOTE NO folks!!!

  20. A. Lovinggood says:

    But wait…. didn’t Verdant Isle have their “Open House / Job Fair” at GTYC last week?

    Why is Michael Bayley (of Royal Caribbean “who has become the lead spokesperson for Verdant Isle, the group selected as the preferred bidder, and dominated the night’s proceedings”), speaking and dominating what is supposedly a GOVERNMENT MEETING?

    Are these big time Government officials not man enough to speak on their own and take questions from their own people? If this is a project that Government wants so badly why isn’t Government able to speak for themselves – why do they need a foreign spokesperson?

    Does Michael Bayley have a work permit for Verdant Isle? Why is Verdant Isle dominating a Government meeting? Stand down Michael Bayley — Let our Government officials take their licks on their own – if they are man enough to bring this ordeal on our precious island STAND UP AND TAKE THE QUESTIONS ON YOUR OWN. DO NOT SHIELD YOURSELVES WITH MICHAEL BAYLEY!!!

    Why are they only handing out one piece of paper per person to write a question? And why do you have a moderator at your meetings? Afraid of the heated public? If you all have created this debacle surely you have all the answers and can stand up and answer all the questions yourselves. MAN UP!

    I thought all of you were Caymanian – ones that loved these islands! Boy did I have it wrong… you might be Caymanian but it is definitely not these islands you love…

    VOTE NO!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Clearly they take you for fools.

    • Tony Ward says:

      You tell’em Al!

    • Anonymous says:

      But Lovingood I thought we wanted more info on the Port? We are now getting the info I need to make a decision. Why is this a bad thing?

      • A. Lovinggood says:

        But “Anonymous” @ 12:21 – you missed the point – WHY is a Royal Caribbean spokes person speaking for our Government and dominating a Government meeting? What kind of information are you getting from a foreigner? Why isn’t our Government able to speak for themselves???? Do you not see this as a bad thing?

        • Anonymous says:

          Because when government told us what the cruise lines were saying we didnt believe government and wanted to hear it direct from the cruise execs.. Now the cruise lines are talking to us directly you’re still complaining. Sheesh…can’t please some people!

      • Anonymous says:

        Really? Are you actually getting information or are you getting pro-port talking points from the people who spent years behind closed doors arranging this and ignoring the publics concerns who also are also giving you no chance to ask a question directly and ensure that it is answered despite having years to prepare for presenting this project to the public

        Where is the updated EIA?
        Where is the draft agreement in full along with all commitments being made by both sides
        Where are the list of jobs that the cruise lines ensured would be made public at their last meeting
        Where is the proof that this project is in the best interest of Cayman and not foreign companies who have dozens of other destinations they can shift to if this project goes awry

    • Anonymous says:

      Truth Vote No

  21. Anonymous says:

    Another report on this meeting states Bayley said the Oasis-class mega ships were currently simply bypassing Cayman. That’s an interesting spin on things. Royal Caribbean and all the travel companies handling bookings for them are marketing the Oasis-class along the lines of ‘one-stop shopping’ with itineraries that appear designed to provide as much time onboard as possible, several trips spend over 70% of the cruise at sea. I don’t think they’re ‘simply bypassing’ us, it’s all part of their business plan and there are probably two very good reasons for that. The first is obviously that, while the vessel is at sea, the passengers are a captive audience who will hopefully spend lots of money. The second is that an Oasis-class, like any other large vessel, operates best at optimum cruising speed in a straight line – like the run from Jamaica to Mexico passing to the South of Grand Cayman. What he’s saying doesn’t quite add up to me, it sounds like a come on.

    The other comment he’s reported to have made suggests that passengers on the Oasis-class will be more affluent. Bluntly, I’d respectfully suggest that’s BS. Does he really believe that people who are well-off will want to mix with passengers booked on $700 specials? I don’t think so. If they want to cruise it’ll be on the smaller, more exclusive ships, particularly if they’ve read some of fairly uncomplimentary reviews about overcrowding on Oasis of the Seas.

    Another area (and one that should be of concern to some of the people backing the dock) I’m curious about is the impact of direct competition from the facilities onboard, which include a PADI dive centre. From what I hear it’s already getting pretty difficult to get cruise shippers to part with their money at the shops in the GT and that certainly won’t help.

    Personally, I’m currently neutral on the dock (can’t vote on it anyway!) but it does worry me just a little bit that some of the things being said in support of it don’t sound exactly honest.

    • Anonymous says:

      7:41 Not just over-crowding on Oasis but rip-off bar prices. Getting hit for $10 for a beer on a cruise deal that originally worked out about $100 a day doesn’t seem to be going down very well with people posting on the various cruise forums.

      This is another area of concern. It looks like to me like some of the cruise lines are deliberately under-pricing the trips then making good the deficit from onboard sales. If true, that doesn’t leave much in it for us does it? We already have evidence that cruise lines are charging $80-$90 for trips but only passing $18-$20 of that on to the local businesses doing the work, how much worse is that going to get? You can pretty much guarantee that if the cruise lines (aka Verdant) pay for the dock it’s going to be, ‘our house, our rules,’ when it comes to granting business concessions there. If Robert Hamaty thinks (as it seems from some recent comments he’s made) his Tortuga Rum shops are going to be welcomed on any property owned by Verdant he’s kidding himself.

    • kate says:

      Your assessment and take on this is definitely on target. I find it astonishing that our learned politicians, do not have the acumen to grasp, that the cruise lines’ priority is the implementation of their business plan, which will be advantageous to them. The plan is designed to increase profit margin and very little cruise passengers’ cash will be collected by the local Land/Sea Operators and yet CIG have brainwashed some of these operators into believing that they will make a fortune on the completion of this venture. I personally find this to be such a sacrificial act and can not understand government’s reasoning on this particular project.

      • Anonymous says:

        kate – Someone will make a fortune out of this if it goes ahead but, as always, it’ll be the chosen few not the people working for a living.

  22. X says:

    No point attending without the opportunity for proper questions and answers.

  23. Anonymous says:

    There is nothing at all wrong with this process as it allows the meetings to run efficiently and with out all the rude behavior from the anti port people. It has been said that if a person shows support for the port or our goverment, then the anti port hooligans belittle and degrade that person/persons because they only want anti port sentiment/ anti goverment views expressed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hah hah hah, thinly veiled manipulation.

      • Anonymous says:

        HAH, HAH, Hah – more from the anti port group who hate us expressing our pro-port opinion. Pure bullies!

        • Anonymous says:

          Who is bullying you..I do not know of one person anti-port that is bullying anyone…The only people I see doing bullying are those politicians in the house when they have immunity…and trust me none of them where anti-port supporters..

    • Anonymous says:

      I love how easy it is to tell who is a shill when they post like this.

    • Anonymous says:

      The pro-port people are angels..

    • SSM345 says:

      “with out all the rude behavior from the anti port people.”

      Can you read, hear and comprehend the basics or are you really that stupid? Or are you so far up Govt.’s/port stakeholders ars*s it to warm and cosy to leave? You clearly do not understand a thing going on.

      • Anonymous says:

        And this is EXACTLY why gov is running the meeting is this way. Anti-port people refuse to be civil and do not respect the opinions of others.

        Gov1 – anti port 0

        • Anonymous says:

          This debate has never been about civility, where was the outrage from the pro port side when Austin was in the house calling people useful idiots, muppets and political opportunists, discounting vast swaths of the country

          This is about your side being unwilling to tolerate any criticisms whatsoever, because at the end of the day, when it comes to the PPM the plan always sounds good on the surface, but as soon as people start asking questions the plan falls apart like a house of cards

      • Anonymous says:

        I do know where my dog is though.

    • Anonymous says:

      That you writing Alden?

  24. Anonymous says:

    An “ugly turn” what about Alden and Austin’s disrespect for the members of CPR calling them “muppets” and attacking two individuals (regardless of what anyone thinks of those persons) on the floor of the LA behind the guise of parliamentary privilege.

    Not to mention the Speaker involving himself in the debate with not just his opinion but choosing to attacking the individuals who exercised their democratic right to petition the government for a people initiated referendum by calling them “Rascals”.

    Time to stop the insanity on Dec 19 VOTE NO.

    The Caymanian people have finally woken up and I implore the government to consider careful what they are doing because many of us who will come out and Vote No voted for the PPM in the last election and mark my words they will not be making that mistake again in 2021.

  25. Anonymous says:

    We are going to disrupt their sham meeting party at the Family Life Centre. CPR may not like it but we will not allow Alden, Moses and Michael Bayley to just bully Caymanians into submission. We are fed up listening over and over to these lies while they rob our future. Caymanians will pay the price while the cruise lines and government people make all of the profits. Giving people those little squares of paper to ask questions was an insult to our intelligence. Come on Caymanians do not let them play tricks on us again at the family life centre on Thursday night, we want to ask the directly, time is now to stand up for our FREE SPEECH RIGHTS, if we do not stand up then they will take it away.forever.

    • Anonymous says:

      The best option is to boycott the meeting and picket the entrance to the hall. Nothing is more embarrassing to a politician than an empty hall.

      • Anonymous says:

        100 people? Nobody wants to listen to their bull !**** what’s the point of going just to listen to their lies which change daily………..#voteno to koolaid drinkers…….#staywoke

        • Anonymous says:

          Yeah now they are saying they need the Port so the big ships can come in the summer months when it’s slower…….new spin….. #voteno

      • Anonymous says:

        They would just call the police and have protesters arrested, protests have to be approved beforehand by the Police, and likely wouldn’t be approved because there are no checks and balances in our system

      • Anonymous says:

        7:48 I agree, it is much easier to stay at home and cry “no information”

    • Anonymous says:


  26. Kurt Christian says:

    Vote No

  27. Anonymous says:

    Note that as they approached the 10pm hard stop, they promised to post unanswered questions on the FAQs section of verdant.ky. They most definitely have not. Only one of my questions was read and addressed, and I’m not the only one waiting for more answers!!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Of course they’d make these meetings as one sided as possible, just like when they go on radio shows and keep the phone lines closed

    The government isn’t interested in listening to people or having an honest discussion

    This entire process is a sham

  29. Anonymous says:

    Alden and crew are officially running scared and are not interested in a debate or serious questions. Real cowards.

  30. Red Bay Voter says:

    The meeting was a complete waste of time. It felt like a cheesy infomercial with loads of embellishments by Verdant Isle and the Premier and Deputy Premier.

    The Q & A session proves how scared government are of the people. Submitting written questions that are vetted is intended to guarantee less questions and debate or rebuttals.

    Nothing new was shared and the government confirmed they were repeating their lies reading the same scripts.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Are we now living in a Communistic Society? #VoteNo

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re living under dictatorship

    • Anonymous says:

      Really love people who have no idea what defined terms like communist and socialist are while insisting on throwing them around anyway because we are stuck in the 1950s red scare mindset

      A communist society include the absence of social classes, money, and a state in general.
      Does that sound like Cayman to you?

      What you are referring to is authoritarianism which is entirely separate from communism or socialism
      Its not hard to use the right term for something, you don’t have to like communists or socialists, but at least have a shred of integrity

      • Anonymous says:

        1:38 You’ve clearly never spent time in a communist country – I have. The way it works is the ruling elite run everything and eliminate anything and anybody that gets in their way. Bit like Nazi Germany.

        In the Soviet Union they used to say that Lubyanka was the tallest building in Moscow because from the basement you could see Siberia. I remember people scared of being seen talking to foreigners like myself because that’s where they might end up.

        After the break up of Yugoslavia I was in a hotel in Belgrade watching TV news that rather conveniently ignored the fact there was a full scale war going on in the North of the country – I’d just come from there. The headline item was the installation of plastic netting to stop pigeons c***ping on the historic buildings.

        Sounds like still believe the BS that communism creates an egalitarian state – trust me it was never true and never will be. Look at North Korea.

        Are the Cayman Islands going that way? Hard to tell but reading some of the stories being published by another news outlet does remind me vaguely of Pravda.


        • Anonymous says:

          Again, you can attribute your beliefs to whatever cute anecdotes you can dream up

          Doesn’t change the actual definition of terms or ideologies like socialism and communism
          They are not just words to be thrown around because you are unable to shake your red scare programming
          You are entitled to your own opinions, not your own facts

          • Anonymous says:

            6:10 Sounds to me like your Mom needs to reset the parental controls on your internet access.

            Don’t accuse me of making things up unless you’re prepared to do it to my face and take the consequences! I was not only there but still have all the photos and the stamps in my old UK passport to prove it.

            You can live in your own little fantasy world if like but the only person you’re kidding is yourself – it’s known as being delusional and the leaders of the old communist countries had that down to a fine art.

          • Anonymous says:

            6:10 = Troll!

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