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Port project $$ in balance, Kirkconnell: ‘Referendum will change offer’

Tourism Minister Hon. Moses Kirkconnell says the cruise lines have committed funding for Cayman’s cruise berthing project.

However, he says the current financing offering may not remain on the table should a referendum be triggered.
Mr. Kirkconnell made the comment Wednesday (14 November) in the LA as he responded to a question filed by George Town Central MLA Kenneth Bryan on government’s funding for pro-port advertisements. He also fielded questions from Opposition legislators on the issue.

He pointed out that if a people-initiated referendum was to happen it would affect the project’s financing.
“The whole timing of where the project is will be stopped and then negotiations will start all over again. It will then, based on higher interest rates or maybe not as good an offering, will have a completely different financial meaning to the country,” said Mr. Kirkconnell.

The minister agreed to meet with Opposition MLAs to address their concerns on the project.

He also denied Government was paying for ads claiming that signing the referendum petition would kill the port project.

A Ministry of Tourism statement issued late Thursday (15 November) revealed that the government spent CI$ 25,292.50 on advertising for the ‘Support our Tourism’ campaign for the period August through to the end of November 2018.

The full statement reads:

Ministry of Tourism Releases

Public Education Campaign Spend

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands (15 November, 2018) The Ministry of Tourism has today released details of its spending on the cruise berthing facility public education campaign, which began in August, 2018.

Responding to a Freedom of Information request, the Ministry confirmed that a total of CI$ 25,292.50 had been spent on advertising for the ‘Support our Tourism’ campaign for the period August through to the end of November, 2018. This expenditure includes a series of full page advertisements in both print newspapers, as well as radio ads on a variety of local stations. Also included in the cost was the creation of a facebook page and website which serves as a central repository for all of the reports and studies related to the project to date.

The Tourism Ministry’s Chief Officer, Stran Bodden explained that the rationale behind the campaign was to provide the public with information about the project and make accessing the reports easier. “Since 2013 a tremendous amount of research, data and other relevant information regarding the cruise berthing project has been posted to the Ministry of Tourism’s website, but over time it has become harder to locate, in between other Ministry related information. We, therefore, wanted to provide the public with a more convenient, central location for retrieving the cruise berthing project information.”

In addition to the advertising expenditure, Mr. Bodden stated that the Ministry engaged Fountainhead, a local communications company, for a period of six months at a cost of CI$5,000 per month to assist with developing and running the campaign, as the Ministry does not have the resources available internally to fully take on this responsibility.

“We have a single member of staff handling PR, communications and speechwriting for all of the Ministry’s portfolios and felt it was prudent to provide additional support so that a high level of public engagement could be consistently maintained for the duration of the campaign. Consequently ‘Support our Tourism’ is being administered by the Ministry’s PR Manager along with her normal daily duties and support from Fountainhead is included within their contracted scope of works. The Ministry is not incurring any other costs or salaries with respect to the campaign to date.

To access information related to the cruise berthing project, please visit the Support our Tourism website or connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/supPORTourTourism.

About the author

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath is a Trinidadian journalist with 18 years media experience with a strong background in print with her most recent stint at The Cayman Reporter. She has a BA in Mass Communications, as well as, an Associate degree in Journalism and Public Relations.

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