Opposition Leader Hon. Ezzard Miller is setting his sights on Government’s cruise berthing facility, he says there’s no need for it.
He told Cayman 27 that the cruise ship arrivals figures do not show a port is needed.
“We have all kinds of numbers thrown around, but every year the government brags of increases in cruise tourism, that doesn’t indicate to me that our facilities are so lacking that the cruise ships are not wanting to come,” said Mr. Miller.
Taking a look at the latest numbers released Thursday (11 January) 1.72 million cruise ship passengers were recorded in 2017, which has been a consistent trend with 1.71 million in 2016 and 1.716 million in 2015. Government projects this year will be similar and with bigger ships coming our way, the facility is needed, but Mr. Miller disagrees.
“We were told that they couldn’t possibly service the Genesis class ships with tenders, that has been proven wrong, because the Genesis class ship has called at least once if not more and we have serviced it with tenders, my position is that we need to improve the experience of the tourist,” said Mr. Miller.
Mr. Miller recommends upgrading the tenders.
“Change them for moor-hull to multi-hull for stability reasons and safety, absolutely, but that is a lot less costly to future generations, than building a $300-350 million pier,” said Mr. Miller.
Mr. Miller added that he believed money would be better spent investing in facilities to enhance the Cayman experience for cruise ship passengers like building a facility at the Spotts Cruise Terminal.
“We should put down a building under which we can sort the people out, air condition and cover, we should be able to enhance the spots ghetto facility that we have up there, the idea that we expect to service cruise passengers with porta-potties is ludicrous for a country like the Cayman Islands,” said Mr. Miller.
Mr. Miller also suggested that building a facility in the Spotts Cruise Terminal could cost about $1.5 million. We reached out to the Port Authority for comment on the issues raised, we are yet to hear back.