PPM continues to push for cruise dock in port plans

| 15/03/2023 | 72 Comments
George Town cargo dock, Cayman News Service
George Town cargo dock

(CNS): The opposition is again calling for a cruise berthing facility in George Town, despite the lack of public support for such a project and pushback against the idea when the PPM was in office. A grassroots campaign secured enough voters’ signatures in 2019 to trigger a people-initiated referendum, making it clear the public wanted a say. But to date, no ballot has been held, and the current administration has turned its attention to cargo alone, which the Progressives say is a mistake.

Following the tourism ministry’s recent revelation that Cabinet has approved a strategic outline case to explore the possibility of expanding or possibly moving the George Town cargo port, Opposition Leader Roy McTaggart issued a statement urging the government to include cruise in this emerging but “flawed” plan. He has instead proposed a cargo and cruise dock, claiming that the two cannot be separated.

McTaggart said the government could not address cargo without addressing the question of the future of cruise tourism, an area he accused PACT of neglecting. He said the strategic outline case shows there is not enough revenue coming from cargo to cover the cost of an expanded dock without a significant fee hike.

He suggested the government should instead speak to the cruise lines about a financial partnership to develop a dock that could accommodate at least smaller cruise ships.

“The question of the future of cargo and cruise is inseparable and cannot be viewed in isolation,” he said in the statement, which also criticised the government’s failure to specify a cruise policy and the uncertainty about the future of that tourism sector. The opposition leader even proposed that this government should add a question about cruise tourism in its anticipated referendum on ganja and gambling.

McTaggart was finance minister in the last administration which was accused of trying to manipulate the people’s referendum, leading to a legal challenge with mixed results for both sides. But in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the PPM abandoned the plans for a cruise facility and refused to hold the vote.

But now he is arguing for a return to the development of a cruise pier, albeit on a smaller scale, and for the people to vote on it.

McTaggart criticised Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan for his failure to address the cruise situation and said he should be “spending more time persuading the cruise companies to bring smaller cruise ships” all year round “to even out the passenger flow”, suggesting that “a walk-off/walk-on cruise pier may incentivise them”.

He said that involving cruise lines in the financing and building using a passenger head tax would avoid the public having to pick up the tab or the need to increase port fees.

The opposition leader berated the government over its neglect of cruise tourism, saying it needed to be more explicit about plans for the future in the face of declining numbers and after plans to develop a cruise tourism strategy did not materialize. “The tourism minister should end the uncertainty and focus on how to reimagine and strengthen our cruise tourism business for the long term,” McTaggart said.

The PPM leader also made it clear that the opposition does not support the proposal in the cargo business case for a new port in Breakers.

He said that Bryan “cannot genuinely believe that he will get a cargo port by dredging through a pristine reef at Breakers, through to the land and excavating some 65 acres to construct the channel and berthing basin for an inland cargo port facility. And that is just one of three phases of a project that will cross several election and budget cycles. The cost, the time, the risk, and the environmental impact will be too significant.”

The opposition leader said George Town was the place for the new cargo facility as well as “one or two walk-off/walk-on piers for smaller cruise ships”, and he urged the government to work with the cruise companies for a combined modern cargo and cruise berthing facility.

According to the tourism minister, the next step in the proposed redevelopment of the cargo port is for the government to issue a request for proposals for consultants to conduct the outline business case. When that is published, the consultants will be expected to examine the pros and cons of expanding the existing facilities in the capital or developing a new facility elsewhere.

Both possibilities pose significant environmental threats, and given how important the threat to marine life was in the Cruise Port Referendum campaign, it would be hard for any government to move forward with any port project, cruise or cargo, without a national vote.

See the full statement below:

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Category: Business, development, Local News, Tourism

Comments (72)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Apparently the NCC appointments have been allowed to lapse again. Why?

    • All that glitters says:

      CNS i know tnhis postis kind of late but ill submit itanyway.

      with all the vjtriole of prks and cons on cruise ship piers , no one seems to be noticing that we now bave the monster class ships coming to Cayman and “anchoring” and tendering passengerz without the pjers they said theyMUST have to bring thos3 ships here.

      PPM and UDP swallowed that garbage from thecruise lines. Along comesCovid ,big loss3s for tne big bys,wereooenandall theBS aboiout not tendering goes quietly into the sunset.Money money money i hopeyal,can now see willalways be the end fame tnatourrepresenfativesare lured into like little sheep.cant trust them or the cruuse lineswt least ppm and udp. pact hmm hmmm.

  2. Anonymous says:

    McTaggart, aka Alden’s dogsbody, needs to retire. He’s almost as bad as Anthony Eden except without all the phobias of societal evolution. The people have spoken…no cruise ship terminal…end of story.

  3. Anonymous says:

    To all the Cave people, research all the islands in the Caribbean and try and find islands that have lost crystal sea water by building a cruise ship pier?
    Try and find out if people throughout the Caribbean benefited their country and their people by building a cruise ship port.( Did the people improved their lives?)
    Ask the Dive shops own by Natives in the Caribbean if Cruise ships help to improve their business?
    How many Dive companies belong to native Caymanians? How many Divemasters are Caymanians? Where is the Dive instructor schools or colleges located in Cayman? ( we have had dive businesses since 1957)
    We have more then 150 dive sites all around Grand Cayman for less then 20 dive shops ( what areas on this island are reserved for local fishermen?)
    Since people are so concerned with preserving the Eden Rock and Balboa dive sites, when can they dive Balboa?
    The first cruise ship the Atlantis visited Grand Cayman in 1937, (http://www.caymanpost.gov.ky/portal/page/portal/poshome/pressroom/2007/70years)
    Since 1937 cruise ships have been dropping anchors that have gotten heavier and heavier with time.
    Why are you CAVE people not concerned with the coral reef on the drop off being destroyed over and over again? Every day that a ship drops its anchor in the sand approx. in 60 ft. the links of chain which weigh 200-400 pounds drags across the coral and plows the coral reef. Anchors can weigh fro 10-20 tons.
    Modern ships have dynamic positioning technology this has reduced the need for traditional anchors meaning that they use propulsion and thrusters instead of anchors to maintain a steady position. Maintaining the position of a ship in this way may be better for the seabed as an anchor doesn’t have to be dropped but it does use more fuel and therefore produce more emissions. The initial cost to install this technology is also high.
    In all, a cruise ship port is better for preserving coral reefs, passenger comfort and for carbon reduction its a win-win.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sure, the two preferred Verdant ships that enjoy priority to berth might optimize a few extra minutes for their passengers (that still won’t disembark until they have to). But what about the other 4-5 ships dropping anchors as usual and tendering still? Piers create an uneven playing field that repels the disadvantaged liners used in passenger volume expectation calculations to prop this recurring bad idea. Cayman still doesn’t make money. In our best year ever, CIG netted less than $4mln in passenger fees.

    • Anonymous says:

      The easiest thing in the world is to be just another Caribbean island that accepts cruise tourism en masse. Many Caribbean islands accept cruise ships because tourism is the pillar of the economy. They don’t have a strong financial and reinsurance industry.
      Cayman depends on tourism to a much lesser extent (thankfully). What a gift!

      With this advantage, why not differentiate even further and not have cruise ships at all?
      Think of islands like Anguilla, St John in the USVI, St Barts who have little to no direct cruise ship traffic.

      Instead they focus on stay over tourism and do it really well. Cayman could do the same for the Western Caribbean.

      Without hordes of cruisers there are far fewer people to move in and out of George Town at rush hour. This itself would improve the quality of life for many on the island.

      Continue to convert George Town to more residential and mixed use commercial for residents, not t-shirt and trinket shops for the budget minded cruisers.

      7MB would remain less crowded and the quality of experience for residents and stay over guests would improve.

      Imagine DOT being able to market Cayman as a destination that does not accept cruise ships- only luxury mega yachts. It would be a gift and make marketing more effective.

      When one reads the various online Facebook groups, one of the most frequent questions is “where I can find information regarding the number of cruise ships in port? I want to avoid 7MB/George Town on those days.”

      The cruise lines are predatory and create a race to the bottom for tour operators on island by dictating pricing and restricting tour operators from selling direct to their passengers.

      Life in Cayman would be better for all, without the cruise lines. Anyone who currently serves the cruise visitors would have transferrable skills to serve hotel/condo guests or could be offered retraining fill some of the many vacancies in other industries- think of the trades alone- many opportunities.

  4. Anonymous says:

    they are literally just trying to take this island away from us.

  5. PhenomAnon says:

    I work live in WB and work in GT, so I have to pass the GT waterfront a few times each day. I’m always amazed by the clarity of the water in our harbour and the stunning variety of shades of blue as the deep waters of the harbour meet the shallower waters of the shoreline. I’m also amazed at the number of tourists that I see each day, bathing in the waters in and around the harbour area. Tourists can literally walk for 2-3 minutes from the cruise ship terminal (in either direction!) and get into the crystal-clear waters of the Cayman Islands. The don’t need to take a bus or a taxi or a ferry. 2 minutes from the terminal and you’re in beautiful clean clear water, with your cruise ship floating 200 yards behind you in equally pristine water, allowing you to take the perfect selfie! That, in my humble opinion, is a NATIONAL TREASURE. How many other places in the world can you travel to and do THAT? I’m not the most traveled person in the world, but I’ve seen cruise port berthing in Miami, the Bahamas and Barbados, as well as docks for big ships in Amsterdam, Germany, and Athens, so I’ve seen the murky, clouded, and often polluted waters of cruise and ship berthing facilities. So Roy and his buddies (and their backers!) want to destroy our national treasure, just so cruise ship companies can have their way? It was a dumb idea 3-4 years ago, and it is a dumb idea now. We should not have one of our national treasures taken away, just so a few politicians can garner the favour of the cruise ship companies.

    • Chris Johnson says:

      Thank you for such an excellent article. I have owned that parcel of land for almost 50 years, long before the arrival of fishmongers. In days gone by Red Spot Beach was used by persons living at Rock Hole and others who learnt to swim there. As Hog Sty Bay can no longer be used for swimming Red Spot has become a popular beach for cruise ship passengers and others. On a busy over 100 people can be seen swimming there and enjoying the spectacular waters. It has been my intention not to commercialize the beach unlike my neighbour to the south. I have plans to install a wheelchair ramp thus enabling the less fortunate to use the location and hope this meets with the approval of our CPA. We need preserve what is left of our beaches.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I forgot how much I miss the obvious conflict of interests and outright pay-offs that come with a ppm gov…good times!

    • Anonymous says:

      Wasn’t the CHEC cruise port deal being pushed through by MacUDP..?
      Just a matter of time before UDPact little Mac Kenny and cohorts succumb to the generosity of the Chinese.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Any cruise pier, assuming it survives first blue water Nor’Wester season, would have a couple parking spots reserved for Verdant Isle patrons, priority ranked in order of proportionate contribution. There would still be majority tendering, except with irreversible destruction, no more snorkeling/diving/glass bottom marine attractions, and with a whole new uneven commercial playing field. That’s what this is about. NYSE stock prices. It has nothing to do with visitor experience or destination quality – in fact, material degradation is accepted on that score by PPM.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Clearly somebody in PPM made a golden promise to someone they gotta keep.

    • Anonymous says:

      Treason-level promises are a hallmark of our governments, partly because voters still allow conflicted felons to stand for highest office.

    • Anonymous says:

      Read what Roy is saying.
      If you are going to expand the port only, all the cost is borne by the Government.
      If you are going to dredge and dig a big hole to accommodate cargo ships, you may as well provide for a couple of cruise ships as well.
      If you provide for cruise ships, the majority of the cost will come from the cruise lines.

      A remote cargo/cruise port will cost many millions of funds which CIG will have to borrow at ugly rates, the cruise lines will help but at much higher cost to us all.
      Transport costs will rocket as will cost of goods. Traffic jams will be unbearable when hundreds of buses are added to trucks making their way into George Town or beaches.

      Put aside your blind political hate and think it through.

  9. Anonymous says:

    so why did ppm not get it done in their 8 years in power. because they are called do-nothing-ppm for a reason.

    the port is a great idea if it makes financial sense and can be done without considerable environmental damage.
    the current situation in gt is a disaster for everybody.
    ‘cave'(caymanians against virtually everything) people that are against the port…need to come up with some solutions instead of just saying no to everythng

  10. Anonymous says:

    Building a port at Breakers would cost billions and be the most monumental environmental disaster ever to have happened in the Cayman Islands.

    It is so plainly, ridiculously stupid that it could only ever be considered by an abject moron or someone who will get rich by it.

    • Anonymous says:

      To your latter point…welcome to the Cayman Islands where greed is encouraged.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you have hit the nail on the head. The PACT government contains both kinds of individuals that you described.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just the cost of transport will put up the cost of everything…and the added traffic jams caused by truck and cruisers buses will put up everyone’s blood pressure…

    • Tired of ignorant people who can read and write. says:

      Mount trashmore is and will always be the most monumental environmental disaster to ever happen in the Cayman Islands because so plainly, ridiculously stupid people can’t fix moronic ideas they keep coming up with instead of just copying what others do successfully all over this planet. Can’t fix culture. Just blame others.

    • Anonymous says:

      Abject moron?… or someone who will get rich by it??? By Jove…. You have the answer! I agree! You must be tattlin’ on one of our abstract morons………….?

  11. Anonymous says:

    soooo damaging the reef at breakers is bad but destroying multiple dive sights and reefs in town is ok? Roy…. do the things you say make sense even to you?

  12. Anonymous says:

    thanks for reminding us all why we chucked ppm out in the last election Roy. Great timing too, with the election comming up again it’s good to know you all are as money hungry and short sighted as ever.

  13. Anonymous says:

    This reminds me of the 4000 people who signed the petition in west bay.

  14. Cheese Face says:

    With all due respect Mr. Roy McTaggart piss off.
    And take that ship of PPM fools with you!

  15. Wha Ya Say says:

    Can we please have a proper, evidence-based analysis of the risks vs costs and benefits to the islands of cruise tourism, before the current or any future governments embark on any major infrastructure projects?

  16. Anonymous says:

    PPM with more cruise port nonsense they didn’t learn that embarrassing lesson or what?

    • Anonymous says:

      PPM wants to get back in the Get Rich Quick activities they used before. Their number one goal was to get everything they could for themselves and no thought of anyone else! Absolutely no interest in the people of the Cayman Islands!

  17. Anonymous says:

    To see Mr. McTaggart become a bumbling talking head for Sir Alden is truly a sad chapter of a once decent man

  18. Who ya gonna call? says:


  19. _||) says:

    I asked an AI to “compare the fuel efficiency per passenger, per mile, of travelling from Miami to Grand Cayman via an airplane versus travelling on a cruise ship. elaborate on the carbon footprint of each passage.”

    This was what it said:

    When it comes to fuel efficiency per passenger per mile, traveling on a cruise ship is generally more efficient than traveling by airplane. Cruise ships use less fuel per passenger than airplanes because they have a lower speed and a larger carrying capacity, which allows them to spread the fuel cost over a greater number of passengers.

    However, when it comes to carbon footprint, the story is more complicated. According to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), the average carbon dioxide emissions per passenger mile for a modern cruise ship is around 0.4 kilograms, while the average for a modern airplane is around 0.24 kilograms. However, the carbon footprint of a cruise ship trip also depends on factors such as the size and age of the ship, the route taken, and the onboard amenities and activities offered.

    In the case of a trip from Miami to Grand Cayman, the distance is around 480 miles. A typical flight from Miami to Grand Cayman takes around 1.5 hours and emits around 115 kilograms of CO2 per passenger. On the other hand, a typical cruise ship journey from Miami to Grand Cayman takes around 3-4 days and emits around 130 kilograms of CO2 per passenger, according to a study by the ICCT.

    It is worth noting that the carbon footprint of a cruise ship can be further reduced if the ship uses cleaner fuels or employs energy-saving technologies, such as hybrid engines, LED lighting, and solar panels. Additionally, some cruise lines have started implementing sustainable practices such as recycling, waste reduction, and carbon offsets to minimize their environmental impact.

    In conclusion, while traveling on a cruise ship is generally more fuel-efficient per passenger per mile than flying, the carbon footprint of a cruise ship journey depends on various factors. If minimizing your carbon footprint is your top priority, it is important to consider the specific details of your trip, such as the size and age of the ship, the route taken, and the onboard amenities and activities offered.

    AI is the future.

  20. Vote em out says:

    McTaggart is supposed to have sense but he needs to go with the other puppets Joey David Barbra in 2025.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Please stfu ppm nobody interested in your lies

  22. Anonymous says:

    PPM just don’t get it and never will

  23. Anonymous says:

    Sad to say it but Roy has become an embarrassment every time he speaks

  24. Anonymous says:

    Roy McTaggart and his deputy Joey Hew are a disgrace and completely out of touch if they think the people want what they want. Both need to be voted out for being stooges and talking pure shite

  25. A. Rascal says:

    Thank God for people like Shirley Roulstone and the CPR crew that exposed the lies and flawed plans of the PPM. It is a major reason why they deserve to sit in the Opposition benches for a very long time.

    PPM showed Cayman that they can never be trusted. They are owned by special interests and will continue to sell out this country and majority of Caymanians.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Even if we wanted a cruise pier, and all the risk, irreversible damage, habitat and recreation loss, and of course the crippling debt that comes with it (and we don’t), we’d still only have parking for a couple of the more than 6 ships that routinely call on our shores without a pier. So how will parking be handled and apportioned fairly, Roy? We can be sure that these corrupt regimes and their hand-picked Port watchdogs will do things fair and square and for no extra money. Always an angle.

  27. Anonymous says:

    “He said the strategic outline case shows there is not enough revenue coming from cargo to cover the cost of an expanded dock without a significant fee hike.”

    But without a port how do you land all of the imported items, many of which generate duty revenue to government?

    I guess we shut down Cayman Airways since there is not enough revenue coming from passengers to cover the cost of running the airline.

    The cruise situation is ridiculous as it is. The VAST majority of people who live here want LESS cruise ships.

  28. The PPM Leader makes many very reasonable points. says:

    Seems to me from reading the actual statement and not just the CNS version of it that what the PPM leader is saying is that if the Government is considering dredging for a cargo port, then they should consider including cruise piers for smaller cruise ships as well. That does seem to make sense. And I think he is right about the extent of the work and impact that would be done at breakers. What the PPM did not mention is that the road will need to be moved northward and likely impacting more pristine land. Plus the loss of the land that will be taken up/lost by excavating the port.

    What his statement also highlights is how will this be paid for? Cruise passengers paying for a new port is preferred to residents paying for it through more fees at the dock.

    Lastly he did suggest that the future of cruise ship business should be on the referendum. So he did not ignore this.

    Overall the PPM Leader makes many very reasonable points. This bit from the story especially striking:

    “He said that Bryan “cannot genuinely believe that he will get a cargo port by dredging through a pristine reef at Breakers, through to the land and excavating some 65 acres to construct the channel and berthing basin for an inland cargo port facility. And that is just one of three phases of a project that will cross several election and budget cycles. The cost, the time, the risk, and the environmental impact will be too significant.”

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said 7.06.
      There are so many asinine knee jerk responses , without reading and understanding what was said.
      Thank you for your post, which inevitably fall on deaf ears.

    • Anonymous says:

      9.03 I think you are describing Mac’s UDP days.

  29. Bird says:

    The ppm nor the pact will never get it, incapable of basic comprehension!

  30. Anonymous says:

    PPM showing their true colours!

  31. Anonymous says:

    This is the reason one of the reasons why we should not have sat quietly as the PPM pulled their plans for the cruise port and then axed the referendum as well when they had no legal basis to do so – the threshold had been met that meant that a referendum was legally required as stated in law not optional for the government to cancel
    If the referendum had been held as it should have been we could have settled the matter once and for all and stopped the PPM from acting as if it is still an open question as to what the people of Cayman want – if the PACT government have any sense they will include the referendum question in the vote they are planning so that the matter can be settled and that the PPM will not be able to claim they are acting in the people’s interest on this issue

    Reminder the PPM did not campaign on a cruise port in 2021 nor was it included in their manifesto because they knew that it would likely lose them votes – for them to turn around and act as if they have a mandate to call for one now is farcical they

    If the PPM had their way we would have likely entered into the arrangement to build the cruise port in 2019 and the entire thing would have come crashing down during the pandemic when there was no tourism and no cruise ships – Caymanians will never really understand how fortunate we are that we managed to pressure them away from their plans in the way that we did

    • Anonymous says:

      Bring the vote then if you so confident. You’ll be surprised by the result.

    • Pete says:

      and what would you have done if the majority wanted the cruise port?

      • watcher says:

        “We” would have honoured the will of the people, which unfortunately was not allowed to be expressed.

        It is the reason that the last election was moved up by the PPM — to have an election prior to the agreed upon Referendum date. Dirty, dirty politics. Shameful.

    • Just saying says:

      @5:21. Reading the statement from the Progressives, they did say:
      “Perhaps the future of cruise
      tourism should be included in the upcoming referendum.”

      I think you are right – the PPM did not campaign on a cruise port in 2021. But that is not the issue. They are responding to a proposal by Kenneth & PACT for a new Cargo port.

      No one in PACT campaigned on a Cargo port either, and they are the ones raising the issue. A larger cargo port would mean dredging to accommodate larger cargo ships. If you are gonna dredge for large cargo ships, why not include cruise ships as well? Seems daft not to consider it.

      • Anonymous says:

        There are so many idiots who have not even read or understood what PPM said.
        They’re just interested in anti PPM rants…9.11 you are absolutely correct.

    • Anonymous says:

      Looks like there is no legal reason for the old referendum. See this story on CNS-https://caymannewsservice.com/2021/05/cpr-call-for-transparency-over-cruise-port/

      ‘Kenneth Bryan, stated Wednesday that the attorney general has advised PACT that there is no need for a referendum on the issue now. In light of this, campaigners are demanding transparency on all aspects of this issue as they remained concerned about the project and the public’s right to vote on this issue.

      Answering questions from CNS at Wednesday’s press briefing, Bryan said the legal advice was that unless it was the same plan, “a referendum wouldn’t stand”. However, he stressed that the current administration had no plans to develop such a facility and said that if that changed, the premier would inform the country.’

      Looks like they are planning for a bigger cargo dock but Premier did not mention this at all. Only Kenneth. I found that interesting.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yu are not reading between the lines. The only feasible plan that will get cargo sorted will be to fund it with the revenue from wait for it….cruise tourism. If the Cruise piers are not factored where will the hundreds of millions of dollars come from ? Answer: Your pocket!!

      The simple answer is build both cargo and cruise or do nothing. Unless Kenneth plans to hit up some very rich investors for the cash but teven they will ask for a return and for that returnt o be realistic, we will have to increase visitor numbers and that means guess what? Cruise piers.

      At least the PPM are being honest and realistic. Kenneth is just dreaming in colour at the moment.

    • Anonymous says:

      PPM are masters of avoiding responsibility. Don’t want to risk taking a fat L on your corrupt port project? just don’t let the people have a say, then they cant tell you NO, don’t want to deal with your speaker being the sum of the earth? just call an early election so its not your problem.

    • Anonymous says:

      While Cayman is definitely the Gem of the Caribbean it has really struggled to move forward with any major infrastructure project that can’t be completed in a 4-year cycle. Dump, airport expansion, runway lengthening, East West Arterial road and port facilities. These projects have been ongoing and was proposed at least for the past 20 years. The UDP had some proposals which included DART and others and then Big Mac latched unto China Harbour which brought an end to those plans. The PPM criticised those plans and won the election by promising better alternate solutions which never materialised, and they lost the election to a PACT administration that criticised the PPM plans and are now recognizing that they have to address the same issues because they aren’t going away. In the meantime, opportunities are being missed and the issues aren’t being addressed. The opening of the HCCI Radiology and Oncology facility today should serve as a good example that Governments are required to lead sometimes even in the face of significant opposition. Many will have forgotten the significant opposition to Health City Cayman plans when the then Government initiated that process but most families on the island now have a personal experience of how that facility has served them. In this world staying still means we are falling behind so let’s encourage our leaders to move us forward.

      • Anonymous says:

        Agree with you on every point except the first 9. Sadly we already lost that title to the greedy, corrupt and poor leadership you describe.

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