To berth or not to berth? The decades old cruise port debate is still raging in Cayman, and Monday night, candidates for George Town East gave their views on the project, and whether the decision should go to the people.
On the yes side: the Progressives’ Roy McTaggart and independents Sharon Roulstone and Kenrick Webster.
“With the required numbers that are required under the constitution, I fully support it and would say let’s do it, if that’s what the public wants, but that has to be driven from the general public,” said Mr. McTaggart.
“I would not want to have it said of me that I destroyed a perfectly beautiful gift given to us, I would not want to have that decision, that decision should be made on a national level,” said Ms. Roulstone.
“I think something of this magnitude should involve all persons that live and work here in the Cayman Islands because it’s a major investment,” said Mr. Webster.
But CDP candidate Tessa Bodden took an opposing view.
“Rather than throwing it out to a referendum, I would prefer to sit down and talk to people, especially environmentalists and old sea captains and see what they recommend,” said Ms. Bodden.
And further to the issue of a referendum, the candidates expounded on their positions as to the cruise berthing issue.
“Taxi drivers depend heavily on being able to take passengers to the beach, there’s no beach access available, that’s deteriorating. I think it’s important if we are going to entertain the ships we have to have the facilities available,” said Mr. Webster.
“Investors on Seven Mile beach are extremely concerned about who is going to get in in the next government, and what they are going to do, because if the dock goes in George Town, they are worried about their investment on Seven Mile beach,” said Ms. Bodden.
“We need to give the tender operators the assurances they need so they can make the investments they need, but the long term sustainability of paying for that port, I don’t think that works,” said Ms. Roulstone.
“There is a desperate need, in addition to the cruise berthing facilities, for an expansion to the port facilities, because they are operating at 80 or 90 percent,” said Mr. McTaggart.
Will Cayman finally see a resolution to the cruise berthing question come 24th May? We’ll have to wait and see.