Cruise boss still eyeing Grand Cayman piers

| 29/04/2021 | 119 Comments
Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley on Zoom

(CNS): Michael Bayley, the CEO of Royal Caribbean, has said he has not abandoned plans for a cruise berthing facility in the Cayman Islands. In the face of community opposition to the project, the outstanding referendum and the election of a new government that did not support a cruise port on the campaign trail, with a premier who actively supported the bid for a referendum, Bayley is still hoping to park his ships in the George Town Harbour. Speaking via Zoom at a Caribbean Tourism Organization forum on Wednesday, Bayley said the project had “faced resistance” and “we paused it”, but that he planned to revisit the proposal.

The live media event was streamed via Facebook. When asked about the Cayman proposal to build the dock, Bayley said it was complex.

“The Cayman project, which was a project that, I would say, was in place for many, many years, literally came to a halt as the pandemic hit. It was a complicated project because there was some resistance to the idea of the project. It was going through a community political process,” he said, misrepresenting the actual set of circumstances.

The Cruise Port Referendum campaign had successfully secured a petition for a referendum, stalling the project, but the PPM-led government’s mishandling of that had landed the issue in court. When all cruises stopped because of the pandemic, the PPM administration claimed the entire project was dead, as it began to appreciate that the public was largely opposed to pursuing mass cruise tourism.

Bayley claimed the project here was also complicated by the fact that it involved multiple cruise companies and a developer. Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruises, Orian Marine and McAlpine had come together to form the Verdant Isle Port Partners to bid for the project.

“We will come back to that project in the coming months and we will make a decision,” he said about what he described as an undecided project, saying they would consult with the government and community.

However, regardless of Bayley’s desire to resurrect the cruise port project, any return to the previous or similar plan would be subject to a referendum, as per the successful petition of CPR.

Bayley pressed home the position of the cruise lines that berthing facilities are imperative for tourism development, despite growing opposition to the idea in Cayman and many other ports in the region. “The development of piers, improving port infrastructure is part of the development of tourism that has to be done,” he said, adding that the cruise line would continue to engage with destinations all over the Caribbean about these types of projects.

However, since the start of the pandemic it has become clear that, when visitors return, the broader public and stakeholders in the sector want to see a significant shift in focus from mass cruise tourism to stay-over guests and a greater emphasis on quality not quantity. Most of the members of the PACT Government made commitments on the campaign trail to pursue this goal.

CNS has contacted the new tourism minister, Kenneth Bryan, and the CPR for comment on Bayley’s position and we are awaiting a response.

In the video below Michael Bayley talks about the Cayman Islands cruise port project at 23:00.

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Category: Business, development, Local News, Tourism

Comments (119)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Michael, the issue is a dead horse, pal. Just like your ships…

    • Anonymous says:

      Absolutely outrageous. Do we not have any laws to prevent this vandalism of our environment?

    • Anonymous says:

      To bring those numbers into perspective for anyone who thinks cruise-ship tourism impact is acceptable in the environment, the waste-water discharge shown for George Town is 12 to 13 times the figure over ports such as Port Everglades (FL) Barcelona ( Spain) & Sydney Harbor ( Australia).
      What say you, Mr. Bayley ?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Build the port. We need jobs for Caymanians.

    • Anonymous says:

      Surely building something else would also give jobs to Caymanians, why does it have to be a port ? 🤔

      • Anonymous says:

        OK , let’s build something else…whoops we are now anti development, so let’s eat mangroves instead.

    • Anonymous says:

      Train for a job at a hotel. Too many work permits in that industry. Why leave those jobs to expats? You drive a taxi or bus? Do bar hop charters for stag or bachelorette parties cruise ships are not everything.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yea and it’ll be expats building it and politicians profiting so not sure what jobs you think that would create.

      • Truth says:

        Why don’t Caymanians build it? Why don’t Caymanians work the many jobs on island? Why do Caymanians follow leaders that aren’t going anywhere and wonder why they still in the same place? Why blame Dart? Many questions, same answer. See the answer, fix the problem.

    • Anonymous says:

      All Caymanians who want to work construction already have jobs. Don’t need the Jamaicans and Chinese who would build the port.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Take a hike. We don’t want it.

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