CITA accuses PACT of stealing tourism hope

| 15/09/2021 | 220 Comments
Cayman News Service
CITA Meeting with members of Cabinet, May 2021

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) has said its members are “dismayed” by the announcement of the indefinite pause in the reopening plan and continued closure of the borders. Following the announcement yesterday that there will be no lifting of quarantine measures until the end of the year, the body representing private sector businesses in the tourism sector asked other community leaders to stand up and oppose the government’s abandonment of the reopening plan.

Accusing government of stealing future hope and prolonging the agony, the association said the decision demonstrated a complete disregard for thousands of Caymanians.

“It is incredibly disappointing that the Government has reversed course, responding to emotion and fear rather than remaining guided by sound logic and scientific evidence,” a statement signed by four members of the CITA executive stated.

Speaking at the press conference yesterday in answer to questions from CNS, Premier Wayne Panton said government had not yet discussed the decision to pause the reopening process with CITA, but he was aware that their main concern was that, whatever government decided to do, they wanted as much notice as possible.

Panton said he knew that this was not the best news but the sector now knows the opening is being paused. He did say that government will have to consider offering more support to businesses in the sector and extending the stipend and possibly even increasing it.

The reaction by the association was not unexpected. For many months President Marc Langevin, VP Michael Tibbetts and Treasurer Markus Mueri have all been vocal advocates for reopening the borders and lifting quarantine requirements.

But in the statement, which was also signed by CITA Executive Director Jay Ehrhart, they claim that tourism is now going to die as many tourism-dependent businesses will be forced to close because there will be no meaningful level of tourism in 2022. They claimed that it will take four to five years for the sector to recover, though they did not explain how they arrived at that conclusion.

They criticised government for an emotional and illogical response based on fear, saying it should not be a shock that the virus has reappeared as officials have been saying for some time that they expected it would be in the community at some point. They said that Cayman is more prepared to deal with it than many places and this decision undermines government’s confidence in its own plans.

“We have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. We have world class health professionals and first responders. Our Public Health Department has done a remarkable job and will continue to enhance their protocols,” the CITA executives said. “At some point, we must understand that we cannot escape COVID and closing the borders to visitors indefinitely will have disastrous long-term repercussions for the Cayman economy and the Caymanian people.”

The tourism leaders said there were several inconsistencies in the “government’s policy reversal”, particularly the decision to increase quarantine in the absence of vaccine mandates.

“The borders are now closed indefinitely, and the quarantine period increased, yet the government has not issued vaccination mandates for frontline workers, educators, and others at risk as many other countries have done. The Government has also not acted on opportunities to control and contain through combined layers of protective measures and the use of technology.”

The said they had recommended “measures such as rapid testing, smartphone-based contact tracing and vaccination requirements for large group gatherings”.

CITA accused government of making an “unsustainable policy choice of border closure” at the expense of “thousands of workers, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders” instead of targeted measures and policies specific to the proven threats.

The board also claimed that “returning residents inherently pose a much greater risk for community spread within their homes, workplaces, and churches than vaccinated visitors”. They said it didn’t matter when the borders reopen because community transmission of the virus has already occurred, and it wasn’t the result of tourism activity.

The organisation dismissed the risk to children, suggesting that they have less than a 1 in 50,000 risk for serious illness and less than 1 in 500,000 risk of death. They also said the risks for the vaccinated population are incredibly low, with the risk of hospitalization 1 in 20,000 and the risk of death 1 in 80,000, according to the latest CDC data. CITA said government should be reiterating these numbers to calm residents’ fears.

But the premier made it clear yesterday that the government was especially concerned about the risk to unvaccinated children.

Panton has said consistently that the decisions government is making are influenced by public opinion as well as the science and balancing risk. Allegations were being made that reopening would increase the threat to the Cayman community for purely economic reasons and the government has been accused of greed. He also noted that the advice government was getting was coming from the same place as the advice given to the previous government.

He explained that the community needed more time before we open because people are not prepared yet and government wanted to be more cautious and put in place stronger measures to control community spread.

See full statement from CITA in the CNS Library.


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Category: Business, Health, Medical, Tourism

Comments (220)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Honestly what did we expect when we put in a bunch of rookies to run a country in the middle of a pandemic? they so worried about being liked and getting votes for the next election they can’t stop to think clearly.

  2. Anonymous says:

    And why three months from now? Which on of these clowns has the crystal ball?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Get Woke, go Broke

  4. Anonymous says:

    Diversify the economy! Legalize & regulate numbers, decriminalize and regulate ganja, encourage/establish light industries with a foreign trade component!!

    We’ve depended on 2 pillars of our economy for 60 years – far time we establish other revenue sources!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    🥷🏻 I saw a social experiment on conformity a while back and how we are all predisposed to respond to it.

    In a city park those conducting the experiment figured it takes approx a group of three to appear actively engaged in something to create interest from bystanders. The select ‘three’ in this experiment looked up towards a high branch in a tree when sure enough the first by-passer stopped asking what they were looking at. ‘There’s a snake in the tree’ said one of the three, – ‘no there isn’t’ said the by-passer who was immediately rebutted by the second of the three, ‘yes there is, right there, can’t you see it ? It wasn’t long after before the passer by had convinced himself there was a snake in the tree. As the experiment progressed the group grew larger (to I believe around 20 people) with newcomers convincing each other as well as introducing other interested passers by that there was a snake in the tree as the the experiment continuing to gain momentum. At some point those conducting the experiment conceded to the group that they were all part of a social experiment and that there was in fact no snake in the tree. A few of the group were outraged, not that they had been deceived, but how someone in their group, was now trying to convince them that there wasn’t something up there that they could clearly see.

    Browsing through these articles with their associated comments I can’t help but think there are many looking at the snake in the tree. Argue all you like but first have an honest look inward before attacking the keyboard

    • Anonymous says:

      Interesting in your retelling that you fail to say whether or not there was actually a snake in the tree (though it’s suggested there isn’t). Covid is not an imaginary snake, so while your post is an interesting tale of human behavior, it’s not particularly relevant to the situation at hand.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes correct 1:37 – no snake in the tree, personally I do find it relates to COVID with many jumping on and continuing the narrative of mis-information/ false narratives by conforming to and continuing the stories perpetuated by the influential different groups, thank you for your perspective.

        • Anonymous says:

          I see what you mean, but the big difference here is that misinformation camps seem mostly divided along political lines, with the U.S. leading the way (the proof of that lies in the fact that the Qanon phenomena has spread to countries across the globe). Sure, there are other factors motivating the different groups here – money being a big factor, but ease of movement in a society where the majority of people weren’t born here being another, but I often find even these groups are repeating the party lines of the two major American political parties and the two major news networks (Fox and CNN) that support them. This tribalism is making some see snakes in trees that aren’t there and other deny there are snakes in the grass when they’re everywhere. Either way, you have one thing right for sure: It’s a study on human behaviour and perhaps a sad reminder that humans really haven’t advanced intellectually as much as we like to think we have.

          • Anonymous says:

            a fun short conversation, thank you.

            With the question of intelligence posed should we consider which is smarter, the unconscious intelligence or conscious. The conformist will primarily navigate to the unconscious, becoming part of and adhering to ‘the group’ and it’s design in order to optimise their collective chance of survival. The non-conformist free thinker will steer away on their own exploring an individual path but possibly perhaps to their own not so smart demise. Should a space ship show up however requesting the single most intelligent person we have, which is the person that goes ? Whilst the aliens wait for the nominee I’m pretty sure the consensus would be that of being excruciatingly perplexed what a sad state of affairs during their observation. For the coming generations who I know can only do better, I hope there still is time.

            • Anonymous says:

              Fun analogy – and a clue to which form of intelligence dominates in you. And therein lies the crux; I believe each of us has both conscious/free thinking and unconscious/conformist intelligence, though to varying degrees and with different responses to various stimuli. As for the coming generations, they will undoubtedly possess more knowledge than us, but I’m not sure how effective they will be in contextualising it. You know the old adage about those who don’t understand history … And thank you as well – rational discussion doesn’t happen here too often!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I believe after this is all over CITA will understand that they play a role and they do not dictate Cayman Islands policy.

    For too many years successive governments have allowed unbridled influence of CITA to do as they please. This very undiplomatic, “spoilt child” press release could have been better handled. The Government has a country to run and tough decisions to make that means all of us not just the members of CITA.

    This is an evolving situation and nothing can be set in stone and hard and fast. We are dealing with a deadly virus and we will have to adjust as we move forward. I strongly believe we cannot stay closed forever so at some point we will need to find the point of least risk and I believe that right now the children are of the most concern. Hopefully, the vaccine will be approved for them fairly soon. Once we have had the entire cross section of people vaccinated that will only leave us those who cannot have it for medical reasons and those that chose not to be vaccinated. We will have to find ways to protect them as we move forward.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The children are at risk because of unvaccinated adults. Vaccinated travellers do not pose a significant risk to the children, however unvaccinated travellers do, so here is the solution: Stop allowing unvaccinated travellers into the country regardless of where they are from, that means Caymanians, Residents, permit holders. If you leave Cayman you must be vaccinated to return. This is where the risk is, this is how Covid got into the community. stop punishing the whole country over a small number of stubborn anti vaccine idiots.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you saying the current spread is cause by unvaccinated travelers?

    • Anonymous says:

      The children are NOT at risk.

    • Anonymous says:

      The current spread has been caused by vaccinated persons. Not the unvaxxed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nonsense, being vaccinated does not necessarily stop you from contracting Covid-19, nor does it always stop you from being a transmitter of SARSCoV2. I agree that only fully vaccinated travelers should be allowed into the country, but a FULL period of quarantine (not 5-days) with pre-release testing for everyone is the only way to make sure the risk of community spread is reduced.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Pact not consulting with CITA before announcing continued border closure – unconscionable. CITA must feel like the guy in front of the firing squad just before being shot. At least that guy got a cigarette before they pulled the trigger. Thanks PACT for creating mass hysteria.

    • Tony Stank says:

      Kudos to the CIG for not catering to every whim of the CITA and not allowing the tail to wag the dog.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The island itself will be fine. Expats with money and skills will be fine. Caymanians and CIG will be broke. I wonder who will hire them then? No matter. Life will go on and get better for most people (well maybe half). Patience. There is still full life ahead.

    • Anonymous says:

      So only the expats are creating the benefits of the country, then?

    • Anonymous says:

      This is why changes are needed, how can the people live in a country and cannot benefit from it. The work cheap labor is creating poverty and the increase in crime.
      This must be fix before the island reopens.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nothing to do with patient, all to do with hysterical idiots

  10. Anonymous says:

    This backtracking not only steals the hope of tourism, it steals the hope of CAYMANIANS!!!!

    Many of us were looking forward to being to able to have family visits once flights come back, many of us were looking forward to not being stressed out about getting kids to/from college, many of us were relieved to be able to do medical trips without getting stuck in Miami hoping for a spot on a flight home, and so much more.

    Being cutoff from the world is negatively impacting citizens in so many ways. We can’t be expected to crawl into a hole every time there is a positive case. It doesn’t matter how much PACT delays (chickens out!), we will have Covid here…..like we already do!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Couldn’t agree more. The cost of travel with repatriation flights is astronomical and the limited availability of flights and the uncertainty of future flight schedules makes it near impossible to plan travel. I’ve not seen my family for a long time; the continued separation breaks my heart. There’s a way to continue to keep the risk of serious outcomes very low (high vaccination rates, masking, rapid testing and contact tracing) and still be able to safely loosen border restrictions. I’m fully vaccinated and still being punished by this government, who have zero tolerance for any risk, however low that might be, from this virus.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Wayne, you said, you are aware of the ills of the country, yet you were you planning to open before fixing the ills facing the people and the country.

    Stop the importation of cheap labor to the island, as this is hurting the local people and the country.
    While they develop their countries with the remittances, the locals are finding it difficult to survive in their own and are becoming needs of the state.

    Also the importation of cheap labor is putting a strain on the country’s resources and infrastructure, thus causing the prices of houses to rise and out of reach for many people, while increasing the standard of living.

    The minimum wage is driving the poverty amongst the local catering to the cheap labor.
    What is needed is a livable wage which takes account of basic accommodation to get the locals into employment.

    This should make the price of services goes up and therefore catering to whoever can afford, not just the billionaires.

    Billions are made on the backs of cheap labor whine creating poverty. This is unconscionable and cannot continue.

    Also the livable wage will raise the standard of living, and allow the people to adopt to healthy life choices and to reduce the need for Heath care services. Healthy people are not dependent on medications but in their own healthy immune system.

    The government should be sole provider of affordable health insurance on the island and it shouldn’t be mandatory. It should be a choice.

    The expiration of animals need to stop as what is coming in is revengeful. Therefore the consumption need to stop. This is most important.

    Wayne the people vote you in for change. We would have been closed for the past months for nothing and You should be aware by now how special the island is, this should not be taken for granted.

  12. Anonymous says:

    stop.
    cita’s mian concern is government is acting on peoples ‘fears and anxietys’ and not medical advice.
    why is this not reported?

    • GT East says:

      The Headline should read How to Kick Start a recession…
      A one off property boom which was really a correction of the market price and some overseas panic buyers …and a one off Pension withdrawal….
      These two items saved us this last year and a half …the tourist industry will be looking at long term impact …all the people saying we are ok need to look at the dive boats the charters the East End resorts …scary times

  13. Anonymous says:

    Well said CITA! This government is a joke. Open the damn borders like you promised.

  14. Kman says:

    Please Wayne do the right thing and take your PACT clowns with you and pack your bags. I’ve never seen a poorer leadership of Government in Cayman and your inexperience now cleary shows a lack of competence, confidence and transparency which you claim would be the backbone of PACT. Alden wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea including me yet he does possess leadership in times of struggle, Premier Panton please consult with CITA and the other NGOs about future opening plans.

    • Anonymous says:

      Poor leadership in getting people vaccinated and poor leadership in enforcing the laws for quarantine breakers. Mind you PPM were not better.

  15. Anonymous says:

    If I was the government, rather than pandering to the unvaccinated, I would introduce vaccine mandates for all those eligible. For those who are unable to get the shot and those who refuse to be vaccinated, we test them once a week. No more unvaccinated persons except returning Caymanians allowed on any flights and when the Caymanians get here they should be escorted in to a private room of the airport and given their first shot before heading to quarantine. When they get out of quarantine they should have to wear their GPS tag for another 2 or 3 weeks and then get the second jab. No work permit holders allowed on the island unless they can provide a verifiable vaccine card and a negative PCR test within 48 hours of flight time.

    I would have announced that we would reopen as soon as the vaccine is approved for kids under 12 which could be as early as next month. Once they are protected out people will feel more at ease.

    Anyone can catch covid vaccinated or unvaccinated. It is the survivability and health care costs that we need to be wary of. Undoubtedly, this will be high amongst the vaccinated and unfortunately as much as many of us would like to see it differently it will our taxpayers money to provide them the care needed to ensure they have the best outcome once they are infected. You can’t change their minds so let’s just move on and we deal with them as the cases happen.

  16. Anonymous says:

    CITA in only their selfinterest mindsetlike other slave owners do not give a damn about employees abd others.

    CITA’s slave wages is shameful

    Safety first.

  17. Caymanian says:

    Time to lock down. Too many stupid people who don’t care about human life posting. Lock us the hell down because all we care about is money.

  18. Pastor Alfredo says:

    Quick survey

    Thumbs up if you support CITA

    Thumbs down if you support PACT

    Pastor Alfredo

    • Anonymous says:

      With respect Pastor Alfredo this is just dumb. You’re positioning CITA as a singular objective political oppositional party against a Govt party with responsibility to all.

      A quick survey, I advocate for a closure of churches, thumbs up if you agree, thumbs down if you don’t 🤷🏻‍♀️

      • Pastor Alfredo says:

        I take your point. It’s an oversimplification of a pretty complex issue and not meant to be a ringing endorsement of either side’s wider policies and desired outcomes. Purely as it relates to the current situation regarding the border opening or remaining closed, or the increase or decrease of restrictions on our freedom, I agree with pretty much all the points that CITA have made (and I have no affiliation with them or with the businesses they represent). I’m happy to say, based on the responses on here so far and on another poll being run by another local media outlet, that I’m in the overwhelming majority.

        I wouldn’t advocate the closing of churches. To each their own. I’ve not been in one for years though. I prefer establishments serving fettuccine with butter and cheese.

        Pastor Alfredo

  19. Anonymous says:

    6:53 pm, yes the 7 days quarantine need to be changed,need to be changed to 10 days .

  20. Anonymous says:

    WHAT EVER YOU SAY it can’t be anything negative about China go unleashing the virus to world. That was rrrrraccist!

  21. Anonymous says:

    I wonder what Marc Langevin would have to say for himself if, God forbid, one of the children falls very seriously ill. I wonder if he would continue to spout the 1:500,000 statistic then?

    • Tony Stank says:

      Someone should ask him about what’s going on in America with the pandemic, and why he thinks there’s some magical forcefield to prevent it from happening here

      • Anonymous says:

        Life is going on in America! Concerts, vacations, sports. The unvaccinated are the ones inundating the hospitals right now. If you read or watch any proper news it has it all there for you to see.

        • Anonymous says:

          Death is also going on in America. One in 500. The equivalent of 140 deaths here. I do not mind if you live by your convictions, but I will be damned if anyone is forced to die by them.

    • Anonymous says:

      I see the dislikes, you all are a special wonderful kind of sick.

    • Jacob B says:

      CITA members are obviously concerned about them snd only them. Sad isn’t it. Sad when in three small islands nobody is talking about the 900 +++ deaths since 01/01/2021. Large number isn’t it does anyone care of causes of such an usual amount of people dying in 9 months? Obviously not ey CiTA maybe you should pay attention both you and PACT.

    • Keith says:

      Statistically…. What are the chances of that? Statistics more important than paranoia and retrospective analogies. Thanks for the input though!

    • Anonymous says:

      Has he started hiring Caymanians in management yet ? Or are we still getting the scraps ?

    • Anonymous says:

      Would you still hold Marc accountable if a tourist ran a kid over? Give me a break! We can’t live in this bubble forever. Zero COVID is not happening. This is not March 2020 – we have a lot more info and tools available to manage COVID. Get vaccinated and calm down. Children are at a much higher risks of many awful outcomes than death from COVID.

    • Anonymous says:

      Truly. He seems to be like most blind outsiders living here in a rich caymanian bubble benefited by the local people and community.

    • Look it up says:

      The risk to children of dying from COVID is 1 in 500,000 according to a UK study as reported by the BBC. Governor Roper noted this at a press briefing. Look it up: “Covid: Children’s extremely low risk confirmed by study” http://www.bbc.com/news/health-57766717

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you saying the statistic isn’t accurate, or that a 1:500000 risk is too high of a child is involved? Because if its the latter, you should worry about all the other risks to children that carry way higher risks before condemning the tourism industry on the basis of a risks more improbable than being hit by lightning or being shot – remember the Barnes boy.

    • Anonymous says:

      Its a statistic for a reason – lol.

    • Anonymous says:

      I know dozens of children that have had it – including my own, and my sister’s. They suffered with the flu worse than the corona virus. Roughest case was a 12 day cold – best case was 3 days with a tissue.
      The statistic applies to just about any other illness that you freely accept every single day.
      Get a grip.

  22. Anonymous says:

    It was only recently that the government said we needed to open up to support the tourism industry that is struggling.

    A handful of cases of Covid and the government introduces protocols that not only further damage tourism but also makes things harder for the retail and food and beverage industries.

    None of this makes sense.

    • Anonymous says:

      It makes sense when you consider that for months now it’s been clear that there’s an agenda to dispense with short stay tourism. If the borders are closed for long enough hotels etc will eventually find that it’s not economically viable to stay open. Regular tourism can be replaced with medical tourism and high net worth individuals moving to Cayman, and the island remains pristine for those living there. So it’s no surprise that any excuse to delay opening is being seized on.

      • Anonymous says:

        You may be right about the agenda but I seriously doubt medical tourism will amount to a drop in a bucket. Besides – the next panic message will be “why are we intentionally letting sick people in when we would not let healthy people in?”

    • Anonymous says:

      He shouldn’t open up to support tourism but to fix the country and take care of the people first. Get the people off the stipend and into employment instead of work permits.

  23. Anonymous says:

    People are making an alarmist assumption that mass hospital resources will be needed.

    The CDC this week indicated that vaxxed persons are 5 times less likely to get infected by the Delta variant of COVID, and if they do become infected, they are 10 times less likely to develop serious disease requiring hospitalization.

    With 90% plus of adults vaccinated, it is highly unlikely our hospitals will get strained. And this isnt a serious pathogen for kids.

    We have had close to 1,000 infections in quarantine so far (many of which are pre-fully vaxxed). How many have been hospitalized.

    We are ready. And we’d be “readier” in 4 weeks given that many vaxxed holdouts have been spooked enough to get their butt (and arm) out to get vaxxed.

    Let’s go!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Are all CITA members vaccinated? Just askin.

    • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

      YES, fine, but people like you are ever patient to allow a system to process. We have community spread. While that isn’t the end of the world, please allow the government systems to track and trace and hopefully regain control of things.

      I feel patient — much as I want to go see my family — to wait until things are level. Do I want any of my actions to risk the health of anyone else? Hell no! So, let’s just chill a bit and see what the year brings, okay? All right?

    • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

      *never*

    • Anonymous says:

      Vaccine giving you fortune teller abilities too. What next lol!?

    • Anonymous says:

      PACT- the worst government Cayman has ever had. A self induced crisis

    • Anonymous says:

      And the stats for the Mu variant, now present in Jamaica?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Extending the stipend? And how the hell are we going to pay for that? Prices are increasing on almost everything as it is. Gas, $1 dearer than this time last year, utilities dearer, C3 putting up their prices, Digicel putting up their monthly prices, grocery shopping now through the roof. Kirk’s basically profiteering now. More free money for people. So much for getting people back to work. Where is the incentive?

    PACT has collectively peed their pants and conned us all with the October opening. They had no intention of doing that. Meanwhile those of us looking to get home for Xmas or have friends come to visit have had their hopes dashed by a pile of panic merchants. Disgraceful behaviour.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Gas $1.00 dearer” — Walk a few miles or get a bike and leave home earlier. It will be good for you.
      “Utilities dearer”- Cut back on the number of times you use the washing machine, turn down your AC a little.
      “C3 putting up their prices” – Cancel your subscription, listen to the radio or read a book.
      “Digicel putting up their prices” – Cancel your data plan, get off your phone a bit more.
      “Grocery shopping going through the roof” – Budget better, eat a little less it will be good for your health.

      Oh, and God forbid you can’t get home for Xmas or have friends come to visit. What on earth are you going do?
      You’re in the middle of a pandemic! P-A-N-D-E-M-I-C: Look it up.

    • Anonymous says:

      7:42 – you’re suggesting that inflation has correlated directly to the stipend. Please correct me if I’m wrong but I haven’t seen any evidence of that to date.

      Your last paragraph is also selective without consideration to a large percent of the community. You can still go home and have people visit as long as it falls within the new protocols; is an additional two days really ‘disgusting behaviour’ when considering the well being of the country and all of its population ? If anyone is panicking it may well be yourself by creating in your mind conditions that don’t necessarily exist

  25. Anonymous says:

    Does this mean cruise ships won’t be back in January 2022 🙂

  26. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully some of you people who are gloating can make a donation to Cayman Acts of Random Kindness. You clearly have no idea of the effect of extending the harm to thousands of people who are directly and indirectly impacted by this indefinite deferral.

    But you clearly dont give a FXXX as to how many people and businesses this affects. These employees were never making $100K a year, and the owners of these direct and indirect businesses are not accounting and law partners earning millions/

    Panton made a bargain with the people and pulled the rug out.

  27. Anonymous says:

    This government is so weak. A few paranoid voices make themselves loudly heard and government caves in. Pathetic. What do they expect will miraculously change on 1/1/2022? We either stay closed forever or we open and learn to live with it while taking all reasonable precautions. Dr Lee described how he was living a more or less normal life while on his trip to the UK. We can and must do the same here. PACT, please show some courage and get a grip.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dr. Lee had lateral tests. Do we have any here? No. Dr. Lee was in a totally different position than us plus the UK just let their people die and didn’t even try to do anything in the beginning so why should we follow them? People are still dying there.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Selfish jackasses with no regard for the rules have now ruined it for everyone. Good job assholes!

    • Anonymous says:

      Greatly helped by an ineffectual police and prosecution service. Too little. Too late. The treatment of Skylar Mack should have applied to everyone. Can someone in authority explain trainergate? It looks corrupt, but worse, might actually kill people.

  29. Cayman Ebanks says:

    Poor Dart, i mean CITA haha

    • Anonymous says:

      7.20pm – why do you think a billionaire like dart is most effected? What about the thousands of people currently relying on a tourism stipend to pay for their rice and beans from kirks because they can’t afford anything else whist tourism is gone.

  30. Anon says:

    American Airlines now cancelled all flights up to New Year …. RIP Cayman Islands

    • Anonymous says:

      Uggh. Now have to rely on unreliable CAL…who post a schedule only 4 weeks ahead without advance announcement, randomly cancel flights….

      Good luck getting flights or trying to plan Xmas or US Thanksgiving trips to see family. It will be like this summer with full sellouts and waiting lists.

      Uggh times 3. Likely back to the Cayman Facebook site trying to get a seat on a charter at a few thousand dollars (that is a lot for me).

      Uggh.

      (My family was supposed to come here this December for a special trip but cant now with the quarantine rules. I couldnt get a flight out this summer. Im a special needs teacher so couldnt leave before early July but there were no flights after then. I havent seen them in two long years…..writing this with tears in my eyes…)

      • Anonymous says:

        You and everyone else need to organize and let your voices be heard. The loud panic mongers are the only ones that the CIG can hear. They need to know that many more who want the Islands open.

    • Anonymous says:

      I love the Caymans and have been going there for the last 45 years. My parents are buried on GCM and the island will always have a special place in my heart. That said, I have now sold our place and moved on. The govt’s ongoing waffling gave us no other choice. PACT needs to realize that COVID is here to stay and that a policy needs to be devised that takes that into account. Instead they’ve extended the bubble and provided an ongoing incentive NOT to get vaccinated. At the same time, they claim that vaccinations are the cornerstone of their policy to reopen. Good luck with that.

    • Anonymous says:

      You greatly overestimate the importance of mass market tourism and greatly underestimate the Cayman Islands.

      • Anonymous says:

        Soon you won’t be able to use tourism and the Cayman Islands in the same sentence without the word none.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I would hazard a guess at neither. Realtors have literally had to go out and rent a Bobcat to shovel the money they have made on commissions during the last 18 months , during the pandemic. They win either way, even in a shitty sellers market or a Stellar buyers market, they win. The financial crowd need an Excavator to move about there gains. I doubt they would be too worried about the next 3 to 6 months of further border restrictions. When you can lease a G5 to fly the family over to Cap Ferat or to Quebec , they couldn’t care less if the quarantine is 7 days or 7 weeks.

    • Anonymous says:

      Im an accountant working for one of the largest accounting firms in Cayman, and I am deeply disappointed in Panton’s decision on the reversal, and the vast majority of the people in our firm, expat and Caymanian feel the same (oppose Panton’s rash decision).

      You are right, this closure is predominantly affecting lower income people and small businesses and restaurants (might be full Friday and Saturday, but crickets other nights when tourists would normally pick up the slack for nightly dinners).

      We had a plan and everyone was pacing themselves for it. Highly vaccinated population with exceptional vaccination protection for vulnerable ages.

      We were ready to take on some risk and that was all in the plan. Willing to mask up etc to moderate the risks. But now back to a Zero-Covid policy at all costs, which is wholly unsustainable and delays the inevitable.

      Broadway is opening this week to packed houses. That is midtown Manhattan, teeming with tourists. You see…people are moving on, and we are much better protected than NYC with higher vax rates, relatively younger active population, and warm sunny humid winter weather where we spend a lot of time in groups outside.

      Meanwhile, lets deprive those that are directly and indirectly dependent on tourism from getting some stability before Xmas. Its been 18 months.

      • Anonymous says:

        This decision by PACT makes zero sense. What did they expect to happen come October 14th?! They should have known they would have to manage infections. The fact there is community transmission now is meaningless. What does have meaning are how many are ill enough to be in hospital, and how many need ICU and a respirator. The money the government is wasting having to pay a living stipend to the unemployed should be put into health care support for anyone needing hospitalization. This is currently NOT efficient use of resources, and only the working class an low income are suffering.

    • Anonymous says:

      You literally do not understand the laws of economics particularly microeconomics. Such a naive few will see the end of the Cayman economy.

    • Anonymous says:

      When you can’t run your financial service business because you cant persuade the thousands of accountants and lawyers to be based here knowing they will be unable to see their relatives or send their kids to boarding school because the handful of flights’ and the quarantine make that practically impossible, then yes, they will care. briefly. then they will relocate their business to another offshore island that doesn’t have those restriction’s.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wrong friend. Most are super concerned about the most financially insecure businesses. Water sports operator and restaurant are on their knees as are the hotels. Guessing CIG is heavily invested in the food delivery business as they’ve scared the remaining restaurant customers back into there homes. Complete incompetence full stop.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Simple question for those in favor of the delay – given there is no reason to think we will escape transmissions in January either, and given we will may well not be rid of COVID globally for years, what is the plan here?

    Is the plan really to keep the borders closed indefinitely?

    What change is circumstances do you think is likely that would allow for a reasonable opening of the border?

    • Anonymous says:

      We need definitive leadership. If the opposition had half a brain they would stand up for the majority of the population that wants to open up and get back to normal life. They should be calling for a vote of no confidence and removing the government. We have no representation. It’s absolutely Pathetic!

    • Anonymous says:

      I would be fine with this. Our tourism and development plan has been entirely unsustainable. Let’s invest in other sectors, like making Cayman a global IP / tech hub, instead of relying on this all too fickle and susceptible industry.

    • Anonymous says:

      The change is when the government cheques stop coming – that will get the islands open.

      The change is when the government loans run out and worse when they must pay them down.

      The change is when the financial district starts to move to other locations.

      The change will be when the government starts looking for another revenue stream to tax after the work permits, real estate stamp duty, construction, and the coming drop in imports when the mass exodus starts.

      The change will come when Caymanian citizens have to leave the island to find employment.

      Right now they are only dealing with first domino of tourism – the lost of airport tickets and cruise ship fees. The rest of the dominos soon fall.

      Right now the only thing CIG is doing extremely well is selling all the other locations to the tourists. Future stay over customers are going to be extremely leery of booking anything in CI because of the erratic actions of the CIG. They will not put there travel plans in jeopardy of having a vacation ruined either at the last minute or when they arrive.

  33. Anonymous says:

    It is ironic, hilarious and sad that this decision was entirely foretold, but ignored by CITA. Did they really think they would be consulted? Shoot folks, CIG cares nothing for your input, they operate on what will benefit them personally.

    • Anonymous says:

      Could have sworn you were saying the same about CITA. Quit complaining and deal with it, file a grievance with the FCO and see how far you get.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well that like the pot calling the kettle black..What benefit does the Government get from this? What benefit would have CITA gotten if it went the other way.

      I disagree with waiting until New Year. If we can get the booster shots for our most vulnerable and the FDA approves the shots for our kids under 12 than we should open once the majority is done,

      Open up the field hospital for the unvaccinated and ensure that they pay for it. They had their chance and we should not stay closed for them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, government stole my hopes to travel this Christmas to see family and friends.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Hi CITA,

    If you can prove that you can handle the overspill from the hospitals in your own facilities at no cost to the country and ensure no deaths or long covid-19 then I support you, otherwise find a corner and…….Coca-Cola and…….up!

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh utter complete nonsense! With our high vax rates, there will be no “overspill” at the hospitals. (How many of our 800 quarantine infected to were put in the hospital? 4 or 5 and briefly? And mainly pre-vax).

      Under your argument, regardless of when we open up (January or March 2022?), we are unavoidably doomed and our hospitals will inevitably be completely overrun.

      Its nonsense like this that led to this thoughtless, reactionary, panicked decision by Panton.

  35. Anonymous says:

    What makes Cayman appealing right now is that we are a healthy destination. Naturally, CITA is in a hurry to spoil that (“Hog Sty Bay is unique, let’s destroy it with a cruise berthing”). Why doesn’t their membership sit down and come up with packages to entice the locals to support them every weekend? People are willing to spend their money with you if you prices are reasonable given the situation. Tourism WILL come back when we reopen-especially if we are healthier than the rest of the Caribbean.

    • Anonymous says:

      You sound sensible. What’s your problem? 😎

    • Anonymous says:

      Honestly, travelers want to travel to a place with a relatively low covid risk, but the main thing they are looking at now a days is the covid protocols to get there. How much testing is involved? Travelers are used to masking up. It’s not a big deal to them. Travelers are used to covid being around and have learned to live with it. It is not something they panic over every time there is a case. They do not want to travel anywhere that there is a quarantine. They do not want to wear geo trackers. They want convenient testing as they assume testing will be a part of travel, so it must be somewhat convenient.

      Being closed for 2 years, do not expect tourism to come running back. People have been traveling to other Caribbean islands that have been open and offering specials and easy protocols. Cayman is going further and further into the rear view mirror for even the repeat tourist. You had a chance to get people back this high season, but with adding back (and adding an additional 2 days) to the quarantine has sunk it for most, if not all.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your argument is completely illogical. You are saying we are remaining “healthy” because we are not allowing in tourists. So tourists are going to want to come here…because we are “healthy” from not allowing in tourists. But if we allow in tourists, we arent going to be “healthy” anymore, so tourists aren’t going to come here anymore……

      You know, Yogi Berra once said “Nobody goes there anymore because it is too crowded”

    • c says:

      It was government that wanted the cruise dock not CITA

    • Anonymous says:

      A healthy destination? HUH????

  36. Anonymous says:

    Covid has been in the community since January 2020, anyone who thinks there’s been no community transmission since July 2020 are morons.

    Half of these recent cases would have gone unnoticed and we’d have been carrying on as previously towards a 14 October opening.

    Get a grip folks.

    • Anonymous says:

      Darling, if covid was in the community before we would have known. But it was always inevitable so CIG did what they do best, avoid dealing with it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why would you/we have known? Do you honestly believe everyone on the planet is going to get a covid test the first time they wipe their nose or sneeze? Wake up. It’s been around the world at least twice by now. The world was living with it for 3 months before before it was even announced, let alone before any countries started doing anything about it. I find it hard to believe that the first case in months that conveniently pops up the eve before opening for commercial flights isn’t some form of scaremongering tactics.

    • JS says:

      6:03pm – I agree with you 100% and was saying the same thing yesterday.
      Dr. Lee even said this in the press conference – we’ve probably alway had a little bit in the community, but the vaccine helped to keep it in check.
      If not for the other medical conditions causing the lady to visit the hospital last week then we probably wouldn’t have known about the COVID positivity.
      This should reinforce our confidence in the vaccine. If government wanted to take a strong stance then a vaccine mandate would have been more effective.
      This reaction tells me that the government had not thought about what would happen upon reopening on Oct 14. I hope they can stop and figure that a reopening in January (or any other date) will bring COVID into the community and that’s ok.
      The goal was never to have zero cases here. The rest of the world is learning to live with this virus and we need to do that as well.

  37. Anonymous says:

    We had a plan that everyone was going to adhere to, and then the rug is pulled out from under us. Complete amateur hour. No transparency, flip flopping, untrustworthy Panton, and a minority of overly panicked population that Panton just fuels.

    Over 90% of adults are vaccinated, we are wearing masks again anyway.

    What the hell is going to change here or the world by January?

    Time to move on.

  38. Anonymous says:

    There is ONE the most important question that remains unanswered: Are Cayman Hospitals ready?

    If the answer is Yes, provide the proof.

    If the answer is NO, keep borders closed and start the recall election process.

    The entire territory could be vaccinated. All visitors could be vaccinated. Face masks, social distancing could be mandated. But if hospitals are not ready for the influx of covid patients, the borders can’t be open. Viruses are like water, always find the weakest points to get through.

    • Anonymous says:

      That has been my question for some time now. More questions to which we need answers: How many ICU beds do we have? How many ventilators do we have?
      Do we have enough health care workers? Are they qualified/trained to treat Covid patients? The rest of the world has had over a year to get experience treating Covid. We’ve been in a bubble for so long, so our health care workers haven’t haven’t had anywhere near that much experience. What happens if we have more patients than ventilators? Where will the excess patients go? The surges in other countries are alarming. Can Cayman handle a surge?

      • Anonymous says:

        So stay closed forever???

        You left out a few facts, Cayman has one of the highest vax rates in the world (and climbing), with a proportionately younger, active population (relative to other countries), with a winter climate (warm, sunny, breezy and humid) that is the least favorable environment for spread of aerosols.

      • Let's eliminate Covid says:

        Add to this effective treatment of COVID through ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine and other similar drugsand mononuclial antibodies that have proven safe and effective with high rates of success especially if taken at the beginning of Covid symptoms.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s utter nonsense. Science and data proves if you are vaccinated there is basically a zero chance you will be hospitalized, never mind in ICU. Stop spreading fiction and fear.

  39. Anonymous says:

    What would be the difference if community spread started in mid October? And NO date as we speak to look forward to. Everything is so random.
    People will find other places to go for vacation and chances are we will never see them back.

    • Anonymous says:

      A 7 day quarantine does nothing except destroy tourism more than a 5 day quarantine. No tourist will spend their holiday in quarantine. There is no reason the reopening needs to be changed. Covid is not disappearing no matter how long the delay. Learn to live with it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly! If borders opened October 2021, January 2022 or August 2023 or later…..Covid cases will come. I’m actually really glad these current positives showed up before the borders open to prove that there is NO escaping community cases. Thankful that all persons that tested positive are doing well!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes. Even though the goalposts moved a few times, the goal line was always high vaxxed then lets live with it. We have SUBSTANTIAL vax protection in adults. We are good.

      Wayne gave that speech in June at the Chamber of Commerce lunch, put up the slide on the 6-step plan, and I took back my comments on lack of transparency. A well-laid out, paced plan, with incremental risk offset by incremental vax protection.

      But now?

      (Was looking forward to family visiting this Xmas, but this wont work with the quarantines)

    • Anonymous says:

      I would add: Who in the hell will believe anything CIG says going forward?

      Really who would. Are restaurants, hotels, dive shops going to staff up when Panton comes out and says March 1, 2022 we will open? The answer is obviously no.

      Stay over tourism is completely hosed. In the same manner, who would book a trip on any date that the CIG states? No one I know would risk a ruined vacation.

      When the day comes – everyone will be waiting and I would bet not even the airlines will bother until they see CI open for at least three months.

      So, the January 1 date is the next date up for consideration and if the CIG all of a sudden discovers testicle fortitude and makes the announcement – I would not expect anyone to budge until the date actually comes to pass and everyone can see that they will stick to it for a minimum of three months.

  40. Anonymous says:

    @CITA can 🎶 kiss my uh-oh 🎵 Hold an employment drive and hire more Caymanians. Your member establishments have time to train before the borders open.

    • Anonymous says:

      employ caymanians for what purpose? There is no longer a need for the tourism industry right now since the government back tracked… again.

      • Anonymous says:

        CITA, many of your members shunned and derided Caymanians for a generation. You destroyed livelihoods. I think this is called Karma.

    • Anonymous says:

      To hire for when? Who is going to hire people without knowing when they actually will be needed? Which month? It should be happening now. For October/November 2021.

    • Anonymous says:

      Seriously – how many Caymanians will be willing to work in the industry? Pretty sure if you want to work hard for the prevailing wage you could have had a job already.

      I’ve been here since the 90’s so I’ve been told not to let the door hit me on the way out before…

      …but I also know that people don’t really want to bus tables or clean hotel toilets etc.

      And before you talk about the wages being too low, what do you pay your helper and gardeners?

    • Anonymous says:

      Because if you are a CITA member you would be falling over yourself to hire anyone at this point, right? After Kenny told them to gear up for a re- opening, and then pushed back the opening date indefinitely. Right now no sensible person would be making any hiring or investment decisions that were dependent on predictable behaviour from the government, or given the recent 180 degree changes from Kenny and Wayne in short order, anything they promised.

    • AnonLC says:

      They did. 60 showed up.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is the best comment ever. That’s why the foreigners dislike it so much because they don’t want to lose their jobs to us locals.

  41. Anonymously says:

    Looks like CITA wants government to become a FULL FLEDGE VACCINE DICTATOR! And then to open the borders, as if that will jump start the economy … ??? . Guess what? Don’t be surprise not many people will come.

    • Anonymous says:

      CITA is just saying that Panton keeps pointing to the vax rate as a weak excuse (which is in the top couple percent in the world), yet Panton has done nothing to nudge people to get vaxxed, even very low hanging fruit.

  42. Anonymous says:

    CITA the proverbial PITA

  43. Anonymous says:

    The board does not represent the Caymanian majority so who are they sticking up for on their behalf?

  44. Anonymous says:

    Dont blame government blame the assholes who are caymanian that broke quarantine and started the community spread

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry, but if the government didn’t realise in advance that selfish assholes would be selfish assholes, they are as much to blame as anyone. Seriously – did anyone expect people to be any different?

    • Anonymous says:

      Community spread was always going to happen- we knew that. Covid is not going anywhere after all. It is with us for good. At 93% vaccination (not including children) the decision to keep the borders closed is pandering to fear and is irrational folly which is now causing irreparable damage and destroying livelihoods. The blame lies squarely with the government. If you read the CITA letter, you will see that It is erudite and unanswerable. We should all be very angry.

      • Anonymous says:

        “Pandering to fear”? Fear of catching Covid-19 is irrational? You should watch someone die of Covid-19 in fear, agony, and regret at not being cautious. Fear is “destroying livelihoods” You must be in denial on what’s going on in the world? Covid is killing families. Open the borders? You going to pay the medical bills of the people who get a moderate breakthrough illness despite vaccination and whose respiratory systems are shot for the rest of their lives? Delta variant is in Cayman, and Mu is in Jamaica and soon come. Look at Bermuda and understand the potential devastation, and be afraid. . .be very afraid. This is the beginning of the Pandemic for us. Despite being vaccinated, do all you can to protect yourself and your family against Covid-19. Don’t wait until our respirators are fully occupied before you appreciate that this disease can take or devastate your life, and the life of your dearest. Do ALL you can to avoid this disease. Becoming infected is NOT inevitable.

  45. BrSm says:

    These special interest groups are at it again. It seems like they will not be happy until and unless the delta variant washes across the land and kills as many people as it can. If they could earn CI$1.00 it might be worth it to them.

    • Anonymous says:

      No, they are like the majority of the people, who say lets move on with things as COVID is not going away.

      It is still going to exist in January numbnuts.

      • Anonymous says:

        Love the word “Numbnutts”

        And yes you have to be a complete idiot to think this virus will be gone next year.

      • Anonymous says:

        Unless you have proof it is a majority why don’t you zip it!

    • Tony Stank says:

      Exactly! They never mention the horrors facing America. It’s all about the bottom line to them, no matter the danger it puts the people in.

    • Anonymous says:

      right now the “special interest group” of the unvaccinated control the country and its economy.

      • kurt ma says:

        that ‘special interest group’ of the unvaccinated includes a huge proportion of the children in the country…..

    • #fantasyisland says:

      BrSm you state the variant washes across the island and kills as many people as it can. How many people in Cayman are hospitalized from covid (can’t count the one patient hospitalized without symptoms but with other health issues) how many have any symptoms beyond a runny nose. Don’t be so friggin dramatic it’s here to stay same as the other covid the common cold and the flu.

    • Anon says:

      BrSm

      You my friend can say that again. CITA needs to relax & enjoy a covid free country – plus look for other areas of business they can thrive in. If anyone isn’t happy here, feel free to relocate. We’re sure you’ll enjoy the stringent covid rules & risks you’ll have elsewhere. Adios complainers, and leave our government alone – they have handled this covid situation better than most governments on the planet.
      Expatriates with big mouths but no action, leave Caymanians out of your ill driven comments too, we’re not hearing or reading your foolishness.
      Thanks to the ones that fit right into our communities and support the well being of us all, we’re glad you came when you did.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Greedy, selfish CITA. It is one sided self-serving blabber and accusations like this that wish we could stay closed forever…

  47. Anonymous says:

    So when will people be prepared and who is preparing them?

  48. Anonymous says:

    100% support CITA’s message. This is a sad day for the territory of the Cayman Islands.

    • Tony Stank says:

      You in real estate or finance?

      • Anonymous says:

        …that comment makes no sense.

        Open or shut – the financial services industry ploughs on and pays for all of this – directly (CIMA & ROC fees) and indirectly (salaries & benefits, office rental etc.).

        Real estate seems to be bursting at the seems trying to keep up with overseas demand….

        Neither industry is anything but REMOTELY and TANGENTIALLY associated with tourism in the Cayman Islands – as consumers only, maybe?

      • Anonymous says:

        That’s right! you must be foreigner or expat which is the same thing. Locals ain’t surviving right now only your gangs.

    • Anonymous says:

      And I 100% disapprove of CITAs message. It just serves big tourist companies like dart and the hotel groups. Caymanians will lose big time if boarders open now.

    • Anonymous says:

      100% agree. Caymanian to the core and definitely agree.

  49. Anonymous says:

    I’m not understanding this,

    ‘Accusing government of stealing future hope and prolonging the agony, the association said the decision demonstrated a complete disregard for thousands of Caymanians.‘

    Either CITA or Kenneth is lying from what Kenneth said about his ruse to get more Caymanians before before applications for work permit holders into the tourism workplace, – Kenneth, CITA ❓

    • Anonymous says:

      You really expect an answer? I remember the thousands of promised jobs at the Ritz……blah blah. CITA you don’t have the right to speak for me!

  50. Anonymous says:

    Marc, Michael, Markus, the MMMs

    Sure glad the only authority that you all have is the fleecing of our tourists with extortionate prices and shitty service, all delivered on the backs of cheap and poorly treated imported labour.

    Karma can be an uncomfortable bitch – I know, I’ve been there with you.

    • Anonymous says:

      All they care about is more $. They all need to pool together, build a fake touristy floating island and cut loose on the high seas. Their operations don’t really trickle down any significant revenue for Cayman anyway. Sad bunch of self serving complainers.

      • GT East says:

        And what do you suppose we do with Cayman Airways …The 3 Ms put bums on seats and fill hotels

        • Anonymous says:

          Scale it back to a sensible level.

          Overstaffed, over-equipped, over…

        • Anonymous says:

          CAL BFFs namely politicians & and their families and the usual suspect friends & family club put more bums on seats. And all this happens at the expense of resident duty payers. At $25M a year in govt. subsidies we should all be flying on CAL for free. SMFH

    • Anonymous says:

      While I am sorry for the nine or ten genuine Caymanian tourism businesses suffering due to the continued border closure, let me tell you that I am enjoying some schadenfreude right now.

      Triple M get meetings with cabinet, get to sit in press briefings and seemingly get everything they want. Admittedly, as a member of the public, I will never actually know how much Triple M get from the government as there are lot of things not covered by FOI requests.

      I am Caymanian with a small business who has written every current member of cabinet (and previous members of cabinet) to request a meeting to discuss an issue with a government department. I am sure the readers can guess that I have been ignored. For years.

      My only other regret after reading this article is that Marc did not have any GIS cameras on him when this news was announced so I could have watched that on a loop. His waning self-satisfied smirk may have surpassed Dwayne ‘my wife is a sacred vessel’ Seymour’s 2020 crying temper tantrum as the funniest moment from government’s press briefings.

      Enjoy paying full price for goods and services at the Ritz now, PACT. You can afford it.

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