Cousteau signs Carnival deal, gets over deep port concern

| 05/12/2019 | 132 Comments
Cayman News Service
Jean-Michel Cousteau campaigns against the cruise pier project in a recent CPR video

(CNS): Jean-Michel Cousteau of the Ocean Futures Society, who expressed his deep concerns about the impact of the Cayman Islands Government’s cruise port project on the reefs in George Town Harbour, has walked back those reservations. The change of heart comes after he appears to have signed a lucrative deal with Carnival Corporation, one of two cruise lines that are part of the group selected by government to build the controversial dock. The renowned ocean explorer will be providing the cruise line with environmental advice.

The cruise line has been charged and convicted of breaching environmental regulations and polluting the oceans, which has led to worldwide criticism and condemnation of the company’s approach to the environment. But despite Cousteau’s public concerns, documented in a video for the Cruise Port Referendum campaign, he said he was now looking forward to working with this controversial cruise company.

“As we look to the future, we have a responsibility and opportunity to demonstrate the importance of the world’s oceans, while supporting and protecting them with sound environmental policies. We look forward to working with Carnival Corporation to further enhance its environmental initiatives, and we commend the company’s long-term commitment to environmental stewardship and excellence,” he said in a press release following the deal in September.

In the release Carnival made no mention of its forthcoming court appearance in Florida over its environmental charges, for which it has already been fined around $60 million in relation to its previous failures to comply with court directions. The cruise line did, however, claim environmental credentials and its record of recycling soap.

With Cousteau’s new partnership with this cruise line, despite its questionable record, he has now reviewed his opinion on protecting reefs. In a statement about the current cruise project, Cousteau appeared to have made a complete u-turn and his previous deep concerns seem to have been alleviated.

Since appearing in the CPR video made late this summer, just a few weeks before he appears to have entered into the Carnival deal, he said that things had changed.

“I have spoken with the preferred bidders Verdant Isle Port Partners, and reviewed the most recent plans, and I am impressed by the amount of work that has gone into responding to the concerns raised by members of the Cayman Islands community,” he said in a surprising statement issued on Monday, given his previous comments.

“Now is the time for all interested parties in the community to get an understanding of the latest plans and collectively determine what is best for the Cayman Islands,” Carnival’s new environmental expert added.

Cousteau even went as far as to praise what he said were the significant efforts being made by Verdant Isle Port Partners and the Cayman Islands Government to ensure that a “delicate but ever important balance is struck to ensure sustainable development”.

Just a few months ago Cousteau was berating government for pressing ahead with the project even after a people-initiated referendum had been secured. He had spoken about his own experiences regarding development of cruise berthing facilities and the destruction of reefs, not just from direct dredging but also the sediment that kills the coral.

“I hope the government will see the wisdom of protecting is natural heritage for all generations to come,” Cousteau said in the CPR video.

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Category: development, Local News, Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (132)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    this just goes to show his calibre. Not very nice at all.

  2. Bandit’s Reef says:

    As Beaufort T Justice said in Smokey and the Bandit “get away from their Junior before you get it on ya and Junior says “Who’s Dat Daddie”.? “It Sure AIn’t Jack Cousteau” But this one is trying hard to put a carnival Calypso on our underwater environment now!

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s got me to thinking. How much would it take for me to sell out my principles and sell out the world for future generations. Right now I’m in decent financial shape in my retirement.. but I could be better off. I’m thinking that for about mmm $800,000.00 I would say piss on the environment, I’m older now and it’s not all my fault we’re in an ecological melt down. Yeah, about $800,000.00 US would do it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sellout !

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hmm, – if I’m a Govt leader looking out for the land and those I’m chosen to represent, this is perhaps a partner that I’d be contemplating aligning the country with in pursuit of a common interest.

    What do you think Mo$e$ / Aldart, enough Ka-Ching there for you ?

  6. Anonymous says:

    I guess the Ambassadors of the Environment program at the Ritz developed by Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society is now training little ones to work on the cruise ships?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Lets all post what we think of his change of mind and his relationship with Carnival on his varies Twitter sites.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The muppet patrol is already in full troll mode. Attacking anyone that stands in their way. such a shame.

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is wonderful news

  10. Anonymous says:

    Cousteau’s credibility is now significantly diminished. Having an ‘interest’ with the cruise lines means his public rhetoric is now virtually guaranteed to be biased in favor of the cruise industry’s activities.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Dearie me. What a shill.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sad to see all of the negative attacks on this famous man. Will the no voters do this to every one who changes their mind as new information comes?

      If that is the case then it is going to be a sad times in cayman because I suspect the new environment impact study is going to change a lot of minds. I also agree that the delay is fatal to the No campaign.

      • Anonymous says:

        pipe down! It’s his DAD who was the famous one, and he’s riding on his last name! He was never an environmentalist, his Dad was! And he deserves all the backlash b/c he’s the epitome of a SELL OUT!!!!!!

        • Anonymous says:

          Unnah wasn’t saying that a couple weeks ago tho.

        • Anonymous says:

          Basically he is an 81 year old man who has lived off and cashed in on his fathers name with no great accomplishments, unlike his father.

      • Anonymous says:

        Only if the change of mind involves money.

      • Anonymous says:

        He changed his mind not because of new information, but a new arrival in his bank account.

  12. Anonymous says:

    What happened? He actually listened and look at the eureka moment that Dr. Vaughn has discovered. He started to do his own research and looked at the science and not the emotion. We have had an EIA before, what could possibly be different by placing pilings in the sea? It’s just a little further out.
    How can all the ports in the tropics not have all this destruction of the reef and loss of sand?
    Every tourists sees chickens and wants to photograph them. The pretty feathers and their actions within their group. Children loved them and want to make them pets. But we still eating them as fried chicken, stew chicken and roast chicken. I have two eggs every morning with bacon. Are we running out of chicken?
    We can now farm corals of many different varieties in less time than were previously thought let us move forward, we still have many other important things to do. Roads are on top of my list. We building another school in George Town 1200 students. Isn’t the malfunction the amount of schools in Town? Why not build them in Frank Sound next to Clifton High School? We can start building a town outside of Town. People wouldn’t need to travel to town. It’s time!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m sorry but you are very misinformed about growing corals. The things that Dr. Vaughn is suggesting doing with these corals is being frowned upon by all other coral experts around the world. Did you notice that all people not being paid by the cruise lines are saying this is a bad idea and all the ones being paid are saying this is a great idea. If Dr. Vaughn and Polaris are so sure that this will work, ask them to sign a contract that if their coral transportation and micro-fragmentation doesn’t work and the corals die in 5-10 years they must pay back all the money that they were paid to do the project. Then we’ll see the truth come out.

      • Anonymous says:

        3pm, never be sorry for being right.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wow sounds like a great idea. Let’s start with Dive companies. First lets guarantee the weather. You will need to guarantee that the day anyone goes to dive that we want to see a 20 ft Manta ray. On the next dive a whale shark at least 20 ft long. It must be guaranteed unlimited visibility every time a customer goes diving or else their money back. If boat breaks down for whatever reason customer must get all money paid. You can just about pick any company or industry and do the same. Let’s come back to reality, ok

    • Anonymous says:

      Or maybe he just took the money? Remember that he was employed as a tourism advisor under the McKeeva Bush administration.

      As for the ‘we can now farm corals of many different varieties in less time than were previously thought’? Where did you get that? The majority of coral farming is for use in aquariums, it’s not being used for conservation and certainly won’t produce the volume we’ll need for restoration if the dock is built.

      This is just one long, dumb comment. Typical of the pro-dock lobby.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hahahahaha for aquariums only? Really don’t get the internet do you? The man has been on TED talks. This is the problem with CPR, research and you will find a lot of things have been making advancements in science and Technology. Instead of putting down Mr Cousteau you all should look at the science, he obviously did.That is why you all can’t see past your nose. The reefs have been dying all around the world. Scientists have been trying to repair the reefs, some are more successful than others.

        • Anonymous says:

          6:15 No, I don’t just do the internet but I guess that’s your specialty from that comment.

          I’ve worked in the research and while I may not have Dr Vaughn’s qualifications I also know BS when I see it.

          Whatever you read, rebuilding damaged coral reefs is about as credible as a universal cure for cancer. They way you tackle both is to find the root cause of the problem and eliminate it, not try to repair the damage after it’s happened.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bo bo you drinking the same kool aide as Alden and McKeeva??

  13. Anonymous says:

    i guess money really can buy “love”…lol….sad!😇

  14. Anonymous says:

    J-M Cousteau interviewed in March this year, ‘Today, we are taking more and more natural capital and we are losing species because of it. As we lose more and more species, the whole system becomes weaker and the system can crash – we don’t want to go there. We’re the only species on the planet that has the capabilities and the knowledge to make sure we don’t disappear. We have the privilege to decide not to disappear. No other species can do that.’

    He goes on to talk about coral, ‘Everything is connected and the species all depend upon each other. The structures have been built by creatures similarly to us on land. There are creatures under the water that build structures but they all depend on each other because they are connected to those structures. They cannot move and go away except, for example, when they move once a year to release and fertilize their eggs. They all depend on food and in this case the other plants and algae which are growing right next to them to feed themselves.’

    I’d be interested to hear how he balances those comments with his support for the creation of a dock, which will destroy large areas of corals. He’s even conceded there that coral re-location, assuming it might work, isn’t a smart idea.

    As many other people have posted, ‘money talks,’ and I’d say there’s a fair amount of it involved here.

    Going back a bit further, in 2012 while talking about reducing carbon footprint, he was quoted as saying, “It starts at home and by better managing our home, we save money and by the same token we save energy and emit less CO2,” and, “The other one is our consumption. People eat too much. People are FAT!” The combination of pollution and over-indulgence pretty much sums a cruise ship doesn’t it? Yet he’s promoting them?

  15. Lester Sussman says:

    Fifty plus years ago when my family and I started to go to Cayman there was one hotel a few restaurants, a few cars, and a small beautiful down town. Later cruise ships came and moored out at sea bringing visiters to the dock by tender. There were two banks: Cayman National and the Royal Bank of Canada. On Cayman Brac the only hotel was the Buccaneers Inn. Now it seems the almighty dollar(s) has taken hold on the Caymans, just has it has in the USA. I’m sorry and SAD. I really miss my old Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      50 years ago people were hoping for more banks in Grand Cayman. I know I was working for Barclays Bank. You probably were a kid back then. You missed the large bank on Cardinal Avenue. One of the main streets that didn’t have cows on it. 1966 we finally had an electric company that started to produce for the whole of GT and going east. Public bus was the back of a flat bed or Alden’s uncles’ school bus from East End. 7 mile beach had Pageant beach hotel next to where Ports of Call restaurant. They served no liquor. Royal Palms,Coral Caymanian, Beach Club and Galleon Beach hotel were the other hotels that hardly had tourists except in the winter season. Most places closed down for the month of Sept. Only when Cruise ships started coming did this island start to see tourists in larger numbers. When you drove down South Church Street you had Seaview hotel, Sunset house and Casa Bertmar. I worked for all of them as divemaster or bartender. Only Sunset house had more customers than any hotel in Cayman except on Friday or Saturday because of Barefoot man. The customers were local residents.
      Time changes nothing stays the same. But lucky for people like you Little Cayman exists 175 residents. You have a choice Cayman Brac 1700 and counting. You can get back that lifestyle. But I bet you won’t go and you and I know why too.

    • Anonymous says:

      I do too but the US has changed too. There was a time when I could go stay in a hotel in down town Miami, walk to the stores and walk back with my shopping with never a fear. Now I would not dream of doing so, heck I am afraid to be driven to the mall and back. Sad but everywhere is changing and not for better.

  16. Anonymous says:

    This news perfectly sums up the state of Cayman.
    Greed, aka “Cayman disease” will take over anyone.

  17. Anonymous says:

    You sold out your fathers name and legacy. For the love of Money, Money, Money. Disgusting man!

  18. Anonymous says:

    the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, says the good book.

  19. Anonymous says:

    The power of money.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Its 2019…many have yet tonsell out but most already have….for what id it to sell your soul and gain the world? Wisdon (not ‘education’) is surely worth more than silv and gold.

  21. Anonymous says:

    If you check you’ll find that his original letter to Moses was dated 28 September and Carnival announced the contract on 23 September – that’s a heck of coincidence and a heck of a quick turnaround!

  22. Ralph Hydes says:

    Don’t let someone else’s financial windfall trick you. He doesn’t care one bit about the Cayman Islands or it’s people, because he knows otherwise!!

  23. Anita Motard says:

    What a f_____g sellout. He is a disgrace to the Cousteau name.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Follow the money… I look into the face of many of our politicians knowing they shouldn’t be doing this but the love of money continues to drive them…..

    We see the extent to which the cruise lines will go to get the job done..Folks, please watch the money trail because it doesn’t stop at Cousteau..

  25. Anonymous says:

    Tried to be like his father but failed miserably.

  26. MERVYN CUMBER says:

    Jean Michel Cousteau is a flake! Years ago when we sank the Russian Destroyer off Cayman Brac he chartered a small plane we had in the Island Air fleet to photograph him standing on the bridge as the vessel sank! After the act he and his company said that they had expected no charge! Months later we were paid. He knows no more about the Cayman Islands and its diving marvels than the man on the moon!

  27. Anonymous says:

    Gut wrenching to see the famous Cousteau name, long synonymous with ocean conservation, now associated with the mass destruction of a coral reef environment. Can you imagine what his father would say if he were alive?


    • Anonymous says:

      His father would disown him

    • Anonymous says:

      Slowly most people will wake up and realise that the piers and port development is an absolute must for cayman.

      Whether we like it or not every thing the Premier has stated has turned out to be true.

      The delay of the referendum will be fatal to the No campaign.

    • Anonymous says:

      His father would probably still be pointing at random objects and asking “Zis is a coral, no?” All your heroes have feet of clay.

    • Anonymous says:

      He has indeed used the famous Cousteau name to his commercial advantage. That’s all he has ever done, so let’s stop worshipping every word he speaks.

      • Anonymous says:

        7:56 That’s one of the reasons the family feud over his father’s legacy. He sold out France for the USA because there was more money there.

  28. Anonymous says:

    He was already contracted before he made the original comments. The criticism cannot be linked to a contract he had long before even those original comments.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I got check with Shirley see if Carnival offered her anything to go away….lol

  30. Anonymous says:

    Carnival has no shame and will go to any extent including buying people to get this port done..Caymanians, I hope you all stand up and take note that they intend to get this one way or the other…and they have the money to spread around.. Don’t believe the crap that they are doing it for us..they are doing it for their own benefit..We are the crown jewel of the Caribbean, they need us much more than we need them….VOTE NO!!

    • Ray Wolcott says:

      He has not only sold out the Cayman port referendum, he has sold out all environmental efforts. He is a turncoat and deserves to have all his funding revoked by all who respect the environment

    • Anonymous says:

      This is so true!!

  31. Anonymous says:

    This man is a disgrace to his family’s name and already Alden has it on his facebook page that Cousteau has changed his mind..not one word about his deal with Carnival.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Worry about Cousteau!! Better worry about our sell-out politicians here. Follow the money!

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