Opposition members held their first public meeting Tuesday (2 October) on the proposed cruise berthing facility, nearly a week after the Government held one of its own. Opposition members opened a series of town hall-style meetings, taking turns picking apart the Government’s rationale for the project estimated to cost at least $200 million.
“Right now 90% of the people who arrive on the cruise ship come off, so what they are telling us is that we need to spend $200 to $300 million to get a percentage of 10%, does that make any sense?” said Opposition Leader Hon. Ezzard Miller.
Mr. Miller and his colleagues also questioned whether having a pier would indeed lead to cruise passengers spending more time on the island.
“The departure of a cruise ship from George Town harbor has nothing to do with George Town harbor, it has to do with the scheduled arrival for the next port stop,” said Mr. Miller.
East End MLA Arden Mclean said last week’s public meeting left the public with more questions than answers and questioned the impact the port will have on the environment. The last environmental impact assessment of the project was done in 2015.
“The Government has lied to the people of this country and they need to stop it! They are trying to justify these piers without the underlying statistics to prove that they need them. You cannot move a ship from that dock unless you disturb the sediment, that silt is going to destroy all things alive within a mile of that port and I am against the dredging of George Town harbor,” said Mr. McLean.
In the end, Mr. McLean said Cayman could prove itself to be a unique destination by not following the trend of building piers.
“Every country in this world has a unique culture and so do we. Everybody else have dock why do we need build dock? Which Miami harbor do you see that you can have diving and is as pristine as what we have here, why are we going to destroy that?” questioned Mr. McLean.