Alden backs off support for cruise tourism

| 23/02/2021 | 79 Comments
Cayman News Service
Premier Alden McLaughlin at Tuesday’s press briefing

(CNS): Premier Alden McLaughlin has said there will be no commitment to build a cruise ship dock in the ‘coalition’ manifesto. In a reversal of his previous staunch support for cruise tourism, McLaughlin said the business community and the wider public have made it clear they want a more balanced approached to the overwhelming numbers that come with the cruise ships.

Speaking at a press conference Tuesday to announce that the proposed Aster hospital will be in West Bay (related story will be posted shortly), McLaughlin spoke about medical tourism being one way of filling the gap left by cruise tourism. He stated that the coalition had made a decision that it will not be including plans to proceed with a dock in its manifesto and so there will be no mandate to build one.

Despite being a champion of cruise tourism in the past and doing everything in his power to thwart the potential success of the referendum against the dock, McLaughlin made a complete U-turn on his position, saying that supporting medical tourism instead was “part of a conscious effort” to diversify the whole tourism industry. He said that if his coalition retained government, there would be “less focus on growing cruise tourism”.

After the significant efforts he and his Cabinet made to undermine the genuine grassroots opposition to the dock that the government was pursuing until the successful petition derailed it, McLaughlin appeared to finally accept that the majority of people in Cayman no longer support mass cruise tourism.

“I think that we have a very clear signal from just about every source… that we can survive without those large numbers and we need more balance… to not overwhelm the systems that we have with sheer volumes of people,” he said, noting that this was the result of not having cruise tourism for a year.

He said that those who depend on cruise tourism will need help to find better opportunities at making a living.

“But the clear signal that we have from the business community and from local people is that we don’t want to go back to the large number of visitors,” McLaughlin said. He added that if we are not going to build a dock, then we will not be receiving the larger cruise ships, so the logical conclusion is that government looks elsewhere for business.

Instead, he said, things were coalescing to give government the opportunity to move things in a different direction, with an emphasis towards medical tourism. He said it was not about doing away with cruise tourism but instead about capping the numbers and improving the experience of those who do visit.

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Category: Business, Tourism

Comments (79)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Alden is so out of touch with reality. Can’t wait to see the back of him and his stooges especially the donkey from Bodden Town.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Haven’t you heard…new port and dock by Ossie’s liquor shop.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Didn’t he once say that if the “Port did not go through, he would have to question his leadership and possibly step down”.


  4. Anonymous says:

    Cannabis tourism ?

  5. Anonymous says:

    No dock, no vote.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I wish some of you people would think before you talk, in what way does the cruise ships stop any one from viewing the ocean, cruise ships are only here for couple hours and they are gone, with over four thousand people employed in cruise tourisim it wount be easy for any government to just get up and stop cruise ship from coming here,yes they can limit the amount per day but they cannot just wake up today and say no more cruise ship that madness, traffic is still terrible in George Town and still They blame cruise ship, but where are the cruise ship, for many donkey years caymanian make a living from cruise industry its not just today cruise ships coming here, so please enjoy watching them coming here, a lot of people will be voting in this election that works in the tourisim industry and their votes do count

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, the flip side is that you can now finish high school.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you want to know how much money cruise shippers bring in? A lot less than you think. Basically think of your number, subtract half, than divide by 5.

      • SSM345 says:

        Everyone in the cruise / tourism industry must love the cruise ships taking 80% of their fees………as opposed to stay-overs who pay full fair?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Or in simple English, ‘We’ve milked every last cent out of this and it ain’t going to fly so we’re dumping it and selling you out to the property developers.’

  8. Anonymous says:

    $9M plus fighting his own people to get a Cruise Port and only now he decides it isn’t a good idea.. He wasted our money that the poor people of this country could use right now.

    Give to him him, he got balls!

    Are we really going to trust him again?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Why is everyone so negative? It’s simple. The Covid situation made them realize that it was a mistake.

    • Anonymous says:

      And it needed a worldwide pandemic to do this? I shudder to think what it will take to make them fix the dump. WWIII maybe?

    • Anonymous says:

      Seems like you are simple. Are you listening to yourself..You are as gullible as some of them that worship at his feet..then again maybe you do.

  10. Anonymous says:

    This is good news. I realise it’s not financially sustainable for the long term but I have loved my drives through town since the cruise ships have gone. Views of the beautiful harbour and sea and no worrying about what day it is and do I need to avoid the waterfront for the gross congestion that the cruise ships bring.
    I hope we can turn our cruise tourism focus to the luxury cruise lines to attract a similar clientele that we get from a lot of our stay over tourism. They will spend more and create demand for higher end businesses and weed out the junk that tarnishes the charm GT once had and should continue to have.

  11. Political Slut says:

    Hahahahaha Alden unnah match, he playing unnah like fiddle he need your votes now but after 14 of April unnah it don’t mean Shite! Watch the protege of Kurt and Mckeeewa With his political numbers game of trickery and swindle of the Red Bay voters and his handpicked Puppet NO show Roy quiet like a Mouse who has the full backing of his Double blank business voters in his constituency but needs all you people of lesser means in Randyke and Silver Oaks Crewe road to make it happen, no worries his brown Crayons are out bearing gifts $$$$ and the Moose is on the loose wid wads of the building consultant and the building pariah of Old Crewe road $$$$$$ to fill your pockets. Hear ye All ye of Crewe Road better maketh good because after the 14 th Day of April in the twenty first year of our Lord you ain’t going to get doo doo from your political saviors .So get your Freak on now and GP get paid yo !

  12. Naya Boy says:

    He needs to because those who keep touting this rubbish about opening up La la land so they can get to their high intensity lavish destructive way of life cannot and will not make it in the new Normal. This little Covid 19 event in their little minds is a prelude for unfortunately even greater changes in our Catastrophic ever changing world and those selfish greedy narcissistic pariahs who just don’t get it are in for a real rude awakening . Standby and watch Mother Nature teach us all collectively lessons about taking care of this wonderful gift of life and just how fragile our existence is when we fail or refuse to protect our environment. Watch Newton’s third law of motion every action has a equal an opposite reaction playout before us.

    • Anonymous says:

      Job well done Naya Boy, – I know CNS doesn’t usually like to post YouTube links but this yesterday from David Attenborough’s UN speech hopefully brings a realisation and activation to many.

      CNS: I will always post links to David Attenborough.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Don’t vote for people that had dealings with Drugs, women beaters and shady deals just for kick backs. Remember, these criminals will go back to doing the same as before. Caymanians knows who they are, don’t make them fool you with vote buying, vote sensible this election day,

  14. ELVIS says:

    Its horrible just horrible.

    The more i see of these people unable to do the right thing i realise you Caymanian people have little chance of fairness.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Focus on medical tourism? Health City just admitted their projections didnt occur. They projected 75% and realized less than 40%. Although i agree with the plan to reduce cruise ship tourism, Alden continues to state uniformed, unsupported “ideas”.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Vote for SAMMY!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Just another big mouth idiot. Wish someone if quality would have come out to run against Alden

      • Anonymous says:

        Anyone running against AlDart is quality after his incompetence. Only Makeeva could be less quality than AlDart.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Comments from the Minister of Tourism? Give him a box of Kleenex.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Really hope cruises don’t come back.

  19. Anonymous says:

    so he’s swapping a long standing tourism product for a pie in the sky ‘investment scheme’ that has already proved to be nonsense in east end????

    • Anonymous says:

      for votes only…he is struggling now and the Indians are coming through with two big hospitals…What else has he got..he already tried building schools and a cruise ship dock..neither became anything..

      why don’t the people of Red Bay see this? He is not God. Promises are simply that, promises.

      Please Red Bay people, I beg you please don’t let this one back in.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Just imagine if this had been a signed contract or this disaster had actually been built! What a mess we would be in. This is the leadership caymanians elect. These people will take us off a high cliff and then parachute themselves to their mansions while we crash! Caymanians need to get real and wake up. There a select few here who hold the reins.

    • Anonymous says:

      Had Alden’s regime successfully obstructed and steamrolled as they had intended, the Port would have been partially built and abandoned, having already irreversibly dredged the marine park to 60feet, choked most of coral and sponges north and south to 5 miles, and already deep into cost overruns with the usd$250mln projected build cost spent…that’s what the PPM does. Disposable shell, Verdant Isle, would be in receivership owing millions to local vendors and construction companies. The PPM owe the people of the Cayman Islands at least $9mln more in public-opposition propaganda expenses, and a written apology. Whoever our next leader is, should investigate each Cabinet member that abetted this regime going back 8 years.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Leave the man alone. He has been the best leader we have ever had

  22. Anonymous says:

    He who speaks with forked tongue …

  23. Anonymous says:


  24. Anonymous says:

    If medical tourism is the focus, broader expansion medical cannabis legislation (allowing for domestic cultivation, cannabinoid extraction and export to lawfully authorized jurisdictions) is a necessary and complimentary pairing requiring focus and attention. This will produce massive revenue for government coffers.

  25. Dr. Spin says:

    If you fall for this, then you are probably the type who thinks roads can only be repaved every four years.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, I believe you Alden…when pigs fly..

    He is riding the medical tourism train right now to take our mind of this..don’t let him fool you. Remember he still has the Governor in his back pocket and he is like Al’T with the rubber stamp at Planning..

  27. Anonymous says:

    Wow…. pay attention.

    Talk about a snow job.

    Look how much money he spent FIGHTING the citizens he was elected to represent on this very topic.


    Send him the bill for the costs personally. He owes the people of the Cayman Islands.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Really dodged a bullet there with that cruise port. Glad the people of Cayman had more sense than the government to block it.

  29. Anonymous says:

    “Medical Tourism” clearly has failed, and yet now becomes the focus of any new Government over any other kind of tourism, that is people on holiday and relaxing, be it on a cruise ship or over night stays. The tourist industry in Cayman employs hundreds of people, far more that any hospital, even if the they build ten of them! Wake up Government!

    • Anonymous says:

      Employs hundreds of expats ….that we frankly dont need.

      • Anonymous says:

        You don’t but …. you kinda do?

        A lot of money from work permits etc. go into the government pot so you don’t have to pay the money in taxes to sustain the government and services in Cayman…

      • Daz says:

        Who do you think is going to staff these medical centers? These expats that you hate so much. They are almost single handedly providing medical care for the community, if you are under the illusion that some gigantic herd of Caymanian doctors, nurses, surgeons and techs are waiting in the wings to staff these medical tourism facilities, you are sadly mistaken. There certainly are none staffing the HSA and health city. Keep being hateful to the expats and drive them off the island, and you will be without anyone to take care of you.

      • Anonymous says:

        Who pays your rent? Ahh… those expats…

      • Anonymous says:

        And why aren’t caymanians the ones filling these jobs? Because your government let you down by defunding school while also, oddly enough, funding it more. You take that up with them and then you can get back to work in a decade or so.

      • KY1 says:

        Yes – hundreds of peaceful hard working expats that save Caymanian lives, reduce Caymanian medical costs and create employment for Caymanians…..all of which we frankly DO need

      • KY1 says:

        Yes – hundreds of peaceful hard working expats that save Caymanian lives, reduce Caymanian medical costs and create employment for Caymanians…..all of which we frankly DO need

  30. Anonymous says:

    Yeah until the election is over. This guy really thinks we are idiots. Vote them out!!

  31. Anonymous says:

    Time to let Cruise tourism go.It only employs 4,000 Caymanians.
    Medical tourism should generate a lot of new employment.
    Lots of incentives too.

  32. Cayman says:

    Hallelujah! Common sense prevails. I will give credit when it is due, thank you for focusing on overnight tourism which will benefit Cayman and George Town far more.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do not forget how much he paid with OUR money fighting to put that port through, even with everyone saying no.

    • Anonymous says:

      and you really believe that Alden is saying this other than to gain your vote..

      We are so gullible sometimes.

      Please remember every election season we get these same old recycled politicians telling us want we want to her to ensure we vote for them again..

      Well, not me this time!

      All new people for me this time around, I don’t care if it’s Willie Jerusha..

      • Anonymous says:

        Stop being so disrespectful to the memory of a humble person “Mr. Willie”. He was also a family member too – and these persons are still alive.

        Just crawl back into you should know where, sick little person you!

  33. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t it interesting how every time it’s election season, our government actually DOES their job towards election day ? Just a ploy for votes. Don’t fall for their bs, cause once they’re voted in, they won’t do 💩 for the next few years; only lining their pockets with shady business deals and unnecessary trips to Monaco.

  34. I am sooo encouraged to hear this change of focus from our Premier! I will gladly explain to ANY candidate running, how we can reap huge benefits in our attractiveness to stay-over tourism and our long term food security at the same time. If we act soon enough we can save some extremely valuable reef fish species from impending local extinction, reap huge economic benefits, store up food reserves and improve our fishing experience all at very little expense. I know CIG prefers to spend heaps of money on projects, but this one will be super cheap compared to the returns. Please call me ASAP.

  35. SSM345 says:

    Absolute bo**locks; does anyone believe anything this crew says?

    Hilarious that they now sing the tune everybody has been stating for years since this idea was floated.

    I wonder why that is?

    Election time and nothing more. Would love to get all the duty-free shop owners thoughts on this, you know the ones who were peddling this with their Uncle as MOT.

  36. Clearly an election ploy! Vote Smart

    • Concerned says:

      Amen. About time! Now what about ethical standards in public life and if you are convicted of a crime you are prevented from running for office!

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