The Deputy Premier said on Thursday (21 February) that, while the addition of Disney to the financing of the cruise port is welcomed news, there is still a way for the project to go.
They are the third cruise line to join the project: Carnival and Royal Caribbean have already committed to put up the money to finance the facility.
Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin announced the new addition during the Chamber of Commerce Legislative Luncheon.
He addressed the benefits, along with environmental concerns.
The Premier also revealed the government will select their preferred bidder for the port project by the summer.
“It’s one step, the procurement step, in the process we’re going through, it’s one step along the way,” Hon. Moses Kirkconnell told Cayman 27.
The Tourism Minister said he was pleased with the Premier’s announcement that Disney will be adding its weight to the financing behind the cruise berthing project.
“It’s the third line to come on board with the berthing facility and preferential berthing rights and offering financing,” Mr. Kirkconnell explained.
Premier McLaughlin announced the new addition, acknowledging the environmental concerns being raised by objectors.
He stressed it was the duty of a “responsible government” to push on with the project.
“What we can – and will do – is ensure the final design of the new piers will avoid as much environmental impact as possible. Where we can avoid it, we will aim to mitigate the effects,” the Premier promised.
He reiterated the financing deal means no public money will be needed for the construction of the facility.
“Do the benefits outweigh the costs?” he asked, answering: “in my judgment, and my government’s, $245 million of net economic benefit, hundreds of construction jobs and decades of increased employment and business opportunities for Caymanians in the tourism industry definitely outweigh inevitable environmental costs.”
The cruise berthing project is touted as essential to keeping Cayman’s buoyant tourism growing at pace.
The Deputy Premier shared that tourism numbers are coming to back that up.
“Well January numbers are coming out and February’s going to be very good as well, especially KAABOO is going to do a lot of great things for us,” Mr. Kirkconnell predicted.