National Trust details port deception

| 18/12/2019 | 52 Comments
Cayman News Service
Coral reef within George Town Harbour (Photo by Courtney Platt)

(CNS): The director of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands has outlined, in a sworn affidavit supporting its case for a judicial review, what the non-profit organisation states are the deceptions surrounding the government’s proposed cruise project. Nadia Hardie has said that while government has created an expectation that it will protect the environment, it has mislead the public about the extent of the damage to the marine environment and the limits of the mitigation that the cruise development partners intend to deploy.

In a 40-page sworn statement on behalf of the National Trust and its part in the legal action against government, which is now being led by the Cruise Port Referendum campaign, Hardie painted a damning picture of government’s deception over the significance of the destruction to reefs and wrecks in George Town Harbour. She pointed out that what is proposed with this project is “one of the most significant, deliberate destructions of a marine environment that has ever occurred”.

The affidavit outlines a catalogue of problems regarding the lack of available environmental and geo-technical information, as well as the conflicts and paucity of experience surrounding those who have been paid to claim they can relocate, restore and protect the reefs in the face on contradictory independent scientific research.

Hardie said the government had been “obscuring the environmental costs and risks… to mislead the public” in its efforts to undermine the opposition to this project.

Throughout the affidavit the Trust director pointed to a number of failings by government regarding transparency around this subject and how it has dodged its responsibilities to both the environment and the public.

Hardie said that government stifled informed debate about the environmental issues at the centre of this project and is not living up to its obligations to protect Cayman’s natural environment. She also noted that two extremely significant shipwrecks, from a culture and heritage perspective, which have become renowned reef systems are at risk from the project.

The extensive, pristine, unique, ancient coral reef system in the George Habour is in the direct firing line from this project, and Hardie pointed out that these contain millions of species, including critically endangered coral protected under the National Conservation Law. But she warned that many more corals are in danger outside the direct dredge footprint from sediment during construction and, if the project is completed, from the ships that will be using the facility.

Pointing to the impact of sediment in other ports in our region and in the port of Miami, she said that reefs were damaged and killed miles from the dredge pit because the corals were smothered in silt. In Jamaica, in both cases mitigation measures failed and the overall impact was much worse than had been suggested before the projects were started.

Hardie expressed her concern that far more marine habitat is at risk from the proposed project in Cayman but the government is heavily promoting mitigation measures that are completely unproven. She said government had been presenting coral relocation as though it could replace what is going to be lost, which is just not true. Most coral relocation attempts result in failure and no one has ever succeeded in moving coral on the scale that would be required in this case.

Hardie said that at public meetings government had fed people biased statements and incorrect information. She also noted that the government removed its own independent technical experts from the Department of Environment from any involvement in this process.

As reported on CNS last year, DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie was booted off the steering committee for this project, which is now being managed by the tourism minster and the Major Projects Office, silencing government’s own local, impartial marine experts.

While the government had opted to ignore its own experts as well as other scientists, including those at the CCMI on Little Cayman, it is happy to be doing business with cruise lines that have a questionable reputation when it comes to the environment, Hardie said.

Carnival Coporation, which has been fined tens of millions of dollars over pollution and dumping, is one of the government’s partners, but whenever the premier has been challenged about this cruise line’s poor environmental record, he has refused to answer. Hardie said government had given no indication why it opted to trust the marine habitat here to corporations convicted of environmental offenses.

See Hardie’s affidavit in the CNS Library

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Category: development, Local News, Politics

Comments (52)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    My eternal gratitude to the National Trust and CPR for trying to save the Cayman Islands and its integrity in the tourism market. Stayovers bring in the real cash. Do something to make it easier for people to come here and stay here for their vacation. The cruise ships, in my experience, take the money from those who cruise with them. It leaves little to spend on shore. Placating the cruise industry is NOT a sustainable industry and not what is best for the Caymans.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Here is the REAL Deception from leftists:

    1- Man-made structure harm the environment (Docks, Bridges, Pilings, Sunken ships, Rocks, etc,. etc. etc) – Fake News, any fisherman and diver can tell you otherwise.

    2- Buildings do not cause beach erosion, currents, waves and wind does. It also fluctuates.

    3- If trenching a hole by the port can cause the sand to drain from SMB into the trench because it create a depression, then why hasn’t all the sand already drained into and over the wall into the abyss just a few hundred of meters away? Not only is it deeper, but the ocean floor its also at an incline towards the abyss.

    4- Man affects the climate – This is pure emotional lunatic hysterics and pure pseudoscience. In FACT climate change does NOT observe the scientific method, it’s OPINION of very well funded groups whom are very interested in global taxation, wealth redistribution and _reparations_. It basically liberalism forced on everyone on a global scale. Listen to AOC here blame white people for climate change:

    4- FACT: A man can never be a woman. A woman, can never be a man.

    More craziness from whackjob leftists:

    • Anonymous says:

      Where is the LOL button? I find those who use the terms leftist, fake news and whackjob leftists in one comment are almost certainly whack jobs.

    • Auslander Raus! says:

      Dude, please go back to the US or the UK or wherever the hell you came from, and take your Colonizer divide and conquer, instigating, antagonizing, nonsensical, idiotic, left vs right, liberal vs conservative, black vs white, Us vs Them, division creating bullshit rhetoric with you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Chill out, Alex Jones!

    • Anonymous says:

      Never ever considered myself a leftist. In fact, I am a conservative, but I am opposed to the dock. I also have the view that climate change is a serious problem and that scientists have identified the problem with data.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately for the Cayman Islands it is you and other people like you who are really the shills. You are not in the Cruise ship business. You have no experience in heavy equipment. You really don’t know anything about climate change or the environment.
    You think because you live here, you have the right to destroy an industry so that other Caymanians will have less choices. Your group, are the ones that offer no opportunities with more pay then CI$ 6-10 per hour.

    • Anonymous says:

      Jobs that no longer exist:
      Switchboard operator, VCR repairman, lamplighter, telegraphist, knocker-up, milk men, film projectionist, aircraft listener.

      Jobs that didn’t exist before 21st century:
      Web analyst, genetic counselor, drone expert, app developer, data analyst, social media manager etc.

      Plastics pollution may lead new era of jobs. When you choose to recycle, jobs will be created in: collecting, processing and preparing materials, making new products from recycled materials (manufacturing), reuse and remanufacturing.

      Occupations in Recycling
      Mechanics, Technicians, and Machinery Maintenance Workers
      Material Recovery Facility Managers
      Route Managers
      Sales Representatives

      And this is just one example.

      “other Caymanians will have less choices” NOT. They will have more choices if your myopic government starts finding viable solutions to the real and very destructive, very toxic and negatively consequential effect of plastic pollution regardless of it’s source.

      There are many jobs in Public transport bus service, from drivers to mechanics and everything in between.

      Lastly, turning Grand Cayman into exclusive preserve for well off people would create many jobs as well.

      • Anonymous says:

        Turn Cayman into something its not or was never designed for? Why??

        Leave it alone…if it aint broke…dont break it..surely it aint broke because your kind i$ here….

      • Anonymous says:

        @9.20am “turning Grand Cayman into exclusive preserve for well off people would create many jobs as well.” And that my friends is in my opi?ion the real motto and intent of some of these so called environment warriors

    • Anonymous says:

      If you look at who the people are that are on the board of the Trust you will see who dey fa. Before you try and turn this into a local vs. foreigner thing you need to understand that it simply isn’t. locals and expats are on both sides of the debate.

  4. Anonymous says:

    In the Cayman Islands there have been more than 700 shipwrecks. Are they all historical and part of out heritage or is it just those two where we need to build a port? We all know that the history of these ships were both blown up with dynamite to unblock an area for navigation and a ship full of rotting rice so people could breathe. With one voice we hear the reef is dying throughout the world and in another breath everything is beautiful and how could you destroy the reef. You all have to stop getting confuse with your narrative. Tim Austin said it was dying years ago before there was anything said about a port. Now the video cannot be seen in our part of the world. We also hear that the reef takes a LONG TIME to come back. But Bob Soto started diving as a business in 1957. Eight years after Cali was blown up!! So the reef made a quick return after a huge explosion. It became a spearfishing reef for lobsters and fish when I was 15 years old. So it was good for hiding fish and lobsters. As we move through time we have eco-warriors who are the future of every road, school, highway or any other project. It will need to be fought tooth and nail to be justified in the future be careful what is hiding in their file cabinets. There is enough foreign Caymanians to change the way we think and do things in Cayman. How about Sol and Rubis Storage facilities? Should we move it ? Should we move the people? So probably the Storage, where would you put it? N,S,W,or East? Swampland, shoreline, probably somewhere on the sea? Will there be a referendum? How about a EIA before we make another house anywhere in Cayman for now. Everybody on board?

    • Benton Huddleston says:

      Get lost, 2:36! It is blatantly obvious that you are a shill for those willing to destroy everything in their path to get an unwanted and unnecessary dock for them to make millions and millions of dollars……. for themselves, not the Cayman people. I find it interesting that you don’t want us to know who you are!

    • Anonymous says:

      Any report on the CPR Rally that was supposed to be held in Savannah on Wednesday 18th evening?

    • Anonymous says:

      “With one voice we hear the reef is dying throughout the world and in another breath everything is beautiful and how could you destroy the reef.”

      So your argument is “the reef is dying so let’s kill it quickly and get it over with”?

  5. Anonymous says:

    People take so much crap from their ‘leaders’.
    It’s always amazed me why politicians aren’t derided in public and laughed or voted out of office.

  6. Anonymous says:

    At the end of the day, most of the LA doesn’t care about the environment if it stands to get in the way of their making a buck. We all know this. That’s the history, and the prevailing character that occupies our “law making” assembly. This is exactly why the Standards in Public Life Law was required by our Constitution, to root out conflict, and why the law makers deliberately stone-wall its enactment. Let’s use this time to petition for immediate retroactive enactment and change the tempo of all of these symptomatic discussions. Nothing changes until we open the books on the LA, the Boards, the Judiciary…all of it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Alden knows deep down in his heart that he is/was totally misjudging voter sentiment on this project.

    But, in so opening the can of worms and having been such a stern supporter of the project for so long, he also feels that he has passed the point of no return and has to follow through with the project to save face.

    This pride will ultimately be his and the PPM’s downfall come next election.

    Alden – It is still not too late to do the right thing.

    It takes a real man and quality leader to admit he is wrong and change course.

    • Anonymous says:

      As I said before I really feel sorry for the Premier. I believe he had his misgivings from the get go. Everyone who really know him should be aware that he is not a very relaxed confident person that is why he puts on this air of arrogance and false assertiveness. I believe that he has been played royally by Moses and McKeeva ( and others who will remain nameless)who are both strong personalities. I believe that the Premier would resign before he stand up to those two and cancel this port fiasco. He also does not realise the power he has a Premier. He needs to stop this and do not give a hoot about Moses or McKeeva – they did not elect him!!

    • Anonymous says:

      For Anonymous 10:34 am; You say “It takes a real man and quality leader to admit he is wrong and change course”. Too bad we don’t have one!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Fix the damn dump.

  9. Zoe Foster says:

    Bravo Nadia Hardie. Proud of our National Trust.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Dredging out portions of George Town – which already flood out as is – hmnn doesn’t make sense.
    Adding more and more tourists onto our congested streets – hmmn doesn’t make sense.
    No sort of performance bond – hmnn doesn’t make sense.
    Environmental protection from current government – hmnn doesn’t make sense.
    Conflict of interest with tourism minister as point man – hmnn doesn’t make sense.
    Stay home and basically be counted as a yes – hmnn doesn’t make sense.

    How far will the current politicians go to sell out Cayman? Well it all started with the Styrofoam cup guy and now moving on to the cruise ship people.

    Between the cruise port issue here and moronic attempt to impeach President Trump – I no longer have to watch Comedy Central, as the Caymanian sellouts and liberals are providing the laughs nowadays.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Really ? How do they feel about the destruction of turtle nesting beaches in Beach Bay?

    • Anonymous says:

      The Trust totally oppose it – read their comments in the press on this matter. Look at the minutes from the NCC general meeting. They called it ludicrous I believe.

  12. MERVYN CUMBER says:

    Very well put National Trust and Nadia. I have my own experiences with Carnival Cruse Lines and the Minister of Tourism is fully aware of the concerns I expressed. They will do the same to The Government of Cayman, as they did my company and others. They preach “partnership” all over the Caribbean, it is a fallacy and total nonsense. They look after them selves and nobody else.

  13. Anonymous says:

    VOTE NO!

  14. Anonymous says:

    There needs to be a full enquiry into how those pushing this deal (and their families) stand to personally benefit from it. There is simply no other rational explanation

  15. Disgusted. says:

    A damning indictment – selling out our birthright for the almighty dollar to be put in the pockets of those who cannot see beyond personal profit.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I think if you check the documents there is no *Final* 2015 Environmental Statement.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Just a slightly off-topic observation on that photo. The diver nearest the camera appears to be using SNUBA – that’s a surface supplied system developed by the Israelis in Eilat back in the 1990s. I worked out there using SNUBA and a similar set up called Nargila. There’s a very basic rule with both systems – you don’t use them in areas of dense coral like this because the hoses can catch up and cause damage. In fact the last time I worked in Eilat in 1996 another instructor caught a hose on a fairly isolated coral head off Coral Beach and got hit with a $2000 fine. If we’re talking about conservation and protecting the coral that’s not a good image to use.

  18. Anonymous says:


  19. Anonymous says:

    F@&$ing right !!!

    Vote NO !!!

  20. SMH says:

    Great job Alden Moses Joey Roy Dwayne Juliana Tara David Barabra McKeeva Eugene and Austin.
    You lot are a disgrace and hopefully Caymanians will have the sense and evidence to vote the lot of you out of office in 2021. SMH

    • Anonymous says:

      But will they? Too many Caymanians are too easily bought with trinkets and baubles. Microwave anyone?

      • Anonymous says:

        Spineless like the uk lot

      • Anonymous says:

        Great comment – on Brac we can get refrigerators, washers/dryers, water tanks, mattresses, and driveways paved. A couple more elections and my place will have been completely refurbished – can we have elections every two years please.

        Note: I even got an apple, bottle of water, t-shirt and hat delivered to my house from a family member of a representative in a different voting district!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Turkeys and refrigerators are my favorites.

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