Panton calls for careful consideration of cruise port

| 08/05/2017 | 13 Comments
Cayman News Service

Wayne Panton at the Chamber forum

(CNS Election): The environment minister has said that government will need to ensure that there are clear ongoing benefits before it makes a decision to go ahead with the cruise port project. Wayne Panton said careful consideration needs to be given to the project to ensure that if it goes ahead, it is right for the country and right for the environment. “Sustainable development involves a compromise between the environment and development,” he said, as he answered questions at the Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum on Friday.

Appearing in Newlands with Alva Suckoo and Raul Gonzales, Panton said he accepted that in order to grow, the Cayman Islands may need a cargo expansion and a cruise port, but said that “we have to be smart about it” and ensure it is the right decision made in the right way before government commits to the project.

He pointed to the financial risk and said government was still waiting on the KPMG report on the recommendations for the potential financing model. But he warned that the public purse should not be exposed.

“We need to ensure that the cruise lines have skin in the game… and equity involved,” Panton stated, appearing much less certain that the project should go ahead than his party leader.

When Alden McLaughlin spoke about capital projects in the next term during the debate last month in Red Bay, he said it was a key priority for his government if it was re-elected. The premier described the cruise berthing facility and cargo port as critical to the country’s economic growth.

The proposal has received mixed responses from candidates regarding their commitment to the project. While some independents have criticised government for taking too long to get it done, most of the non-party candidates are either against or indifferent towards what remains a very costly and controversial project supported by a limited number of tourism stakeholders.

The CDP are not opposing the principle of a port but they say they don’t like the current proposal. In their manifesto the opposition party stated that they would “review the current cargo and cruise port operations and reports and studies on expansion or relocation and determine the best solution for stakeholders and Cayman”.

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Category: Candidates

Comments (13)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    No to the port!

    I would rather having all public school children not only leaving school with the ability to swim, but to all be certified scuba divers with an extra course to teach marine conservation.

    No Caymanian should have the privilege of the beautiful waters and its wonders underneath destroyed for a few dollars. This port is extremely short sighted.

  2. Anonymous says:

    People talkin about Caymaians not having jobs, the next government better make sure they build a port or that will be one quick term.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The only reason George Town exists is because our port is there.
    If we don’t secure our cruise tourism with at least one pier for berthing you can kiss our capital goodbye and crown Camana Bay the new capital. Then Dart will have us right where he wants us.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Where is the business case for the need for an expanded cargo port? That is the crux of the matter. We are operating under-capacity for many years to come even using generous growth assumptions on projects that haven’t materialized yet….and, of course, we don’t have any money or loan capacity for an infrastructure project of this scale, nor passenger commitments from the liners themselves. This would have to be FULLY financed 100% by other parties. At least Wayne is honest about these realities. To me, it just looks like the Tourism Kirkconnell stroking the Port Kirkconnell with the pretext of the Vendor Kirkconnells. Frankly, all of these inter-related family members and interests should have been recused from the discussion at the outset. None of them can pretend to be impartial.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are mean and biased. Of course you want to protect the Briggs tenders service , but I guess that bias is ok.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m cool with the liberalisation of the tender market. Go buy your boats and get in the game. Piers are in no way needed.

  5. Caymanian says:

    This is called being semi-neutral so as to garter both sides votes.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Panton seems to be contradicting Premier McLaughlin. Does the PPM right hand know what the left is doing?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Cayman SkyBridge remains the most environmentally sound and unique solution to Cayman’s cruise-port issue. This is how you stand out from the crowd.

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