‘Cruise lines are not our friends’ says MLA

| 02/12/2019 | 55 Comments
Cayman News Service
Chris Saunders at CPR meeting (Photo by Courtney Platt)

(CNS): The official opposition has produced a video urging the community to vote no in the forthcoming referendum, as members step up their own campaign just two weeks before Cayman goes to the polls. In the video MLA Chris Saunders (BTW) repeats arguments he has been making for several weeks that the cruise lines are not our friends but our competitors. At a recent Cruise Port Referendum campaign meeting, Saunders said cruise companies are fighting for the passengers’ budgets too and are not interested in helping destinations take any of it from them.

Although the National Trust and a CPR member are asking the courts to step in and put a hold on the vote, the campaigning is continuing becauae there are no guarantees that the issues can be fully aired before the 19 December, and even if they are the courts may still not defer the vote as requested.

The video shows Alva Suckoo, Bernie Bush, Saunders and Opposition Leader Arden McLean urging voters to reject the government’s plan for a cruise project as they all agree it will be of no benefit to the overwhelming majority of people here, including those working in the cruise sector.

Saunders argues that government is wrong when it suggests this is a win-win situation, because cruise companies have sold a ‘bill of goods’ to many destinations where piers have been built but have often resulted in causing more problems than they solve. The Bodden Town MLA urged the people to see the cruise companies for what they really are.

He has said that the government’s argument about a significant increase in spending is not supported by the industry’s own statistics.

“The cruise lines and ourselves are in competition,” he said at the CPR meeting in George Town last month. “They are not our partners; do not let anyone fool you. They are fighting for the same share of wallet that we are fighting for. Their objective is to get as much money spent on their ships just as we are trying to get as much money spent on land.”

Saunders pointed out that the cruise lines are making some US$3 billion a year but the bulk of the money goes to the US, with only a tiny fraction of the money being spent in this region.

Over the years, as larger cruise ships have sailed this region, those ships have offered their passengers more and more on-board amenities, including shops designed to attract more of their spending. And where destination tours are sold directly on board, the local operators are getting increasingly less of the share of the trip cost than ever, with operators complaining of getting as little as 20% of the price.

Nevertheless, government has made many promises about the benefits of the project, with increased spending one of them, though in recent months the government appears to have dropped previous claims that passengers would be spending more than $200 per head.

Saunders said that maybe they are telling the truth and good things might happen, but asked, what if they are wrong? He questioned what the country would do if the project does impact Seven Mile Beach, as he pointed out that once the work starts and the damage is done, it will be too late.

In the video Alva Suckoo also raises that concern and points out that government is ignoring the scientific information that warns that the beach as well as the reefs and marine life in George Town Harbour could be at risk and that the vote next month gives people the power to protect our famous beach.

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (55)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The latest news from the first ever The Ocean Cleanup project, lead by 24 yo Dutch man.

    The Ocean Cleanups Latest Invention Collects 110,000 Pounds of Trash From Rivers Each Day

  2. Anonymous says:

    The cruise industry is a sustainable indusry ONLY to the cruise lines. They pollute the seas and they create havoc for those tourists who come as stayovers and really spend some money and create local jobs. As far as I am concerned, I would like to see them drift by while their guests drool over the beauty of our islands wishing all the while they could jump ship and come be here instead of there.

    • Anonymous says:

      And more and more we find dead sea creatures with bales of trash in their bellies. Cruise ships are allow to dump ALL of their waste out at sea. Like it disappears???
      KILLING the animals that do not know that trash is not for consumption.

      • Anonymous says:

        While young Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, 24 is working on cleaning oceans of garbage (The Ocean Cleanup), cruise ships shamelessly and boldly pollute it.
        Actions to Boycott Cruise ship industry are coming. They would have two choices: cease to exist or reduce, if not eliminate its carbon imprint and pollution.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians need to stop thinking of the port controversy in isolation. Play out the trends in your mind. Imagine we do build a super-duper fancy cruise ship dock. What then? The dock won’t be the end. Then something else will come behind it, something that just must be built regardless of cost to the environment.

    Think. What is the end result of continued environmental destruction and poor urban planning? The consequences are as obvious as they are guaranteed. We will have a shattered, worthless tourism product. Why would anyone want to pay money to visit a small island with a dead coastal zone, more concrete than trees, and a soured population of locals filled with regret and resentment?

    We are not developing or building Grand Cayman. What we are doing is destroying something that took nearly four billion years of evolution to create. Grand Cayman’s development over the last three decades has been a textbook example of negligence, greed and ignorance. If our leaders cannot see this and correct course, then we need different leaders.


  4. Anonymous says:

    Look at Falmouth in Jamaica, they built a port and since then their cruise numbers have been declining, I’ve read an article about it.
    Its finna be a big waste of money and catastrophic to the environment if this port is built.

    2 months ago the reports came in saying our public schools are STILL failing academically! So we got bigger fish to fry than this damn port!

    Vote No.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Whether you consider them friends or not they are partners and they bring hundreds of millions to our shores and the business they bring supports thousands of Caymanian jobs.

    • Anonymous says:

      To determine value you have to compare. Especially when you talk about mysterious $$$ and jobs. And when you do, you’ll see that 4%, is not even 10% and that is without counting for mass tourism associated expenses caymanians carry on their shoulders..
      So stop being a parrot. It’s getting tiresome.
      For fun, roughly estimate the cost of garbage collection, the dump maintenance and sewage treatment that is directly associated with 2mil. tourists. Then, deduct that number from the tourism revenue $$$.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly! If they woke up tomorrow and said they dont want to stop in cayman, Guess what! they dont have too LOL!! then were all screwed

      • Anonymous says:

        You read the comments from Verdant that they will still come even without a pier, right? That it’s just the additional volume from oasis that won’t be added to the existing hordes. No one is taking your rice bowl away. Just stopping you getting extra helpings but at the expense of the environment and quality of life on the island as we disappear under a tsunami of low spending tourists that clog up our infrastructure, cause traffic chaos and deter the high spend over nighters on whom the hotels and restaurants depend.

      • Anonymous says:

        We are not screwed. We have stay over tourism and will have a higher quality of life on Grand Cayman without cruise ship tourism.

    • Believing in our own BS says:

      Thousands of Caymanian jobs? You are seriously exaggerating, more like hundreds but not even breaking near five hundred. You might be one of them but you’d be a fool to think that a new pier and bigger ships will be good for your long term prosperity. And you might be needing new flip flops if god forbid it does happen since you’ll be so stuck in gridlock you might have to walk to work.

    • Anonymous says:

      Eco-tourism is a product we should be pushing not cruise ships.

      This is a long term solution not a get rich quick scheme (that some politicians are directly benefitting from) !

      • Anonymous says:

        We should be carving a niche for ourselves in this region with high end eco-tourism not low end cruise ship tourists.

    • Anonymous says:

      Leaving us the scraps as they collect billions annually isn’t exactly something we should be thanking them for

      Without OUR islands (Not just Cayman the Caribbean as a whole) the cruise industry as it currently exists would not be viable
      No one is getting on a cruise ship because being stuck in a floating hunk of metal is fun, they go on cruises to see destinations

      Until the Caribbean islands work together and negotiate fair prices from the cruise lines we will always be exploited
      We are not competitors with the other islands, the cruise lines stop in multiple places, until we form an international organization like OPEC to protect our interests they will continue to treat us like this and we are too busy being short sighted to realize they rely on us, not the other way around

      Where else are cruise ships from Florida and the eastern US going to go if not the Caribbean, and Latin America?
      We hold all the cards

    • Anonymous says:

      Hundreds of millions and thousands of Caymanian jobs? Where are you getting your facts from?

    • Anonymous says:

      8:33, Try millions not hundreds of millions and try hundreds rather than thousands of Caymanian jobs. What world are you living in. Suspect you have a conflict of interest.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Chris….the next Finance Minister!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Actually, for once, Chris may be right, it’s a good point. Who knew?! Vote no, we don’t need this dock, the ships still coming anyhow. We got bigger problems.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Vote YES.

  9. Anonymous says:

    This sums it up nicely – ‘Over the years, as larger cruise ships have sailed this region, those ships have offered their passengers more and more on-board amenities, including shops designed to attract more of their spending. And where destination tours are sold directly on board, the local operators are getting increasingly less of the share of the trip cost than ever, with operators complaining of getting as little as 20% of the price.’

    A politician talking some sense for a change?

  10. iindie says:

    One question i would like to raise in the whole cruise line shenanigans is how come the cruise lines do not embark passengers from Cayman Islands ? There is no shortage of ships coming to and from Cayman , are they trying to hide something from the people in Cayman in term of practices while at sea that would be detrimental to their business ? I have looked repeatedly at their website and they don’t seem to pay any attention to that potential line of business.

    • Anonymous says:

      2:46 Maybe because there’s no business sense in that at all!

    • Anonymous says:

      The cabins/bookings are from Ports of Embarkation and the return to, not from Ports of Call on the average 5-14 day Cruise Itineraries.

  11. Kurt Christian says:

    Vote No

  12. Anonymous says:

    Please review the below link….I think we should listen to Mr. Miller… l…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQ2auaphqk8…..Kenny? not sure whether he should flip or flop….Bernie not sure if he did the right thing….West Bayers calling him Judas…its all about securing there seats people….and then they move on with there spending.

    • Anonymous says:

      it’s “their” not there. How is anyone going to take you seriously when you can’t even use correct wording? go away @ 8:44 pm

    • Anonymous says:

      please use “their” instead of “there.” Your argument would be more persuasive if your grammar was better..

  13. Anonymous says:

    If you look at today’s Gleaner, Jamaica is all excited that their four ports, some of which built at great expense, and on similar faux assurances from these liners, might enjoy their busiest month of the year, with an aggregate of 66 ships expected. That’s an average of 16.5 ships per port for the 31 day period, or one lone ship every other day. That’s flippin sad. Observe and learn Cayman. We shouldn’t need to replicate and live the mistakes of others just because our leaders are morons.

  14. Anonymous says:

    You mean when a cruise ship passenger pays US$100 for an onshore excursion in Cayman that is advertised on the ship and the local operator only gets to keep $20 for actually doing the tour/all the work and the cruise ship keeps $80 isn’t a partnership ?

    Yes sounds more like slavery …

    • Anonymous says:

      Cruise lines are not our buddies, or our partners

      They are exploitative corporations looking to wring every cent out of us as possible

      We ought to slam the door in their faces

      • Anonymous says:

        Let’s stop the Carnival, at the very least. The burden of that cruise line in particular far outweighs the cost.

        • Anonymous says:

          Carnival owns about 3 other major cruise lines so be careful what you wish for….

          • Anonymous says:

            Disney, Celebrity, etc. would continue to come and would be welcomed. Quality over quantity. I am very deliberate in what I wish for. You cannot get better advertising than “Island bans mass market tourist ships.”

    • Anonymous says:

      8:08 It’s been going on like that for at least the past 10 years. Back in 2007 I spoke to the owner of one of the Stingray City boats who refused to do business with the cruise lines because they were offering him $18 for a trip their passengers were paying $94 for. He said that didn’t even cover his operating costs.

      What’s so annoying about this is everybody knows it’s going on but nobody does anything. Seems to me like there are too many well-connected people in the pockets of the cruise lines for anyone to risk rocking the proverbial boat.

      • Anonymous says:

        They were recently offering 40% for me and 60% for them which is still a rip off imho

        • Anonymous says:

          9:48 I’ve been talking to people doing business with the cruise lines for years and never heard anyone say they’ve been offered anything near that split. But if correct it’s probably not too bad a deal. Bear in mind that the cruise line is doing all your marketing, they’re typically charging 25%-30% more than the on-island prices, they’re paying their staff commission (I’ve been told it’s 10%) on the sales and, as the vendor of whatever you’re offering, the one’s who could take the legal hit in the USA if anything goes wrong. If you can’t make money on that maybe you need to review your current business plan.

          • Anonymous says:

            BS there are simple flyers with excursions for each destination you can sign up for it’s not rocket science.

            Total rip off !

      • Anonymous says:

        YES!! This right here 4:37am – But it’s been LONGER than just 10 years…

      • Anonymous says:

        Sound to me like some cruise lines may be carrying on a trade or business in the Cayman Islands without being licensed. Isn’t that an offense?

        • Anonymous says:

          12:02 Not if they’ve got Caymanians willing to get into bed with them and they certainly have a few! Maybe name and shame time?

          • Anonymous says:

            There do not seem to be any Caymanians involved in the ownership and operation of any onboard agencies booking local tours and keeping 80% for themselves…

            Happening in Cayman waters though.

          • Anonymous says:

            We never name and shame in Cayman. Not our culture.

            • Anonymous says:

              Caymanians follow the Pirate code. Everyone knows this. It is the basis of Government and culture here. And it is the culture not to talk about it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Calling it slavery is a bit extreme…

      …more like indentured servitude.

  15. GTC voter says:

    So where’s Kenny?

    Why isn’t Kenny in the Opposition video?

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