We have three main areas of concern for Cayman: the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of the country and its people. The proposed cruise berthing facility will affect all three of these areas, and we are dedicated to making sure that all people understand the likely impact of such a project.
- QUALITY OF LIFE. CPR is concerned about how the quality of life of those who live here, both as the facility is being built and after it is in-use, will be affected.
- CARRYING CAPACITY. In 2018, the Cayman Islands had a record 1.92 million cruise visitors. In order to pay for the cruise terminal, passenger numbers may increase to 2.5-3.5 million over the next 10-15 years.
- TRAFFIC. How will traffic congestion, overcrowding, disruptions to cargo operations, pollution and the safety of those that live in downtown George Town be handled effectively while accommodating so many people?
- OVERCROWDING. Areas such as George Town, Seven Mile Beach, Stingray City and other key visitor attractions are already at capacity with our current passenger numbers. If we are overflowing our tourist attractions, how exactly will the lives of those that live here be affected?
- CAN WE AFFORD IT? The revenue that will be generated from this project is a major driving force for its creation. We ask, however, can we truly afford to build a pier and required ancillary infrastructure?
- WE WILL PAY. Government projects are notorious for exceeding budget by millions of dollars; which citizens will bear the cost of this?
- SUSTAINABILITY. We acknowledge that heightened tourism is a money-maker, and we accept the fact that tourism is an essential part of our economy. However, Caymanian tourism has been built for decades on the natural beauty of Cayman.
- IRREVERSIBILITY. As tourism morphs, what will Cayman transform into as the market demand is pulled toward the cruise boat facility and our environment begins to die?
- ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT. The destruction of our coral reefs is not an if; the government has admitted that there will be an impact to our environment.
- CORAL DESTRUCTION. Over 12 acres of coral reefs will be destroyed as well as significant deterioration of coral reef health at popular snorkel and dive sites surrounding the harbour.
- DREDGING. Over 22 acres of the seabed will be dredged.
- SILT. Sedimentation from dredging will smother surrounding coral reefs and permanently transform our now crystal clear aquamarine waters to murky white.
- EXECUTION OF THE GOOSE THAT LAYS THE GOLDEN EGGS. If the government is concerned about enhancing tourism, they will be destroying the most precious money-making machine they have, and with it, a Caymanian ecosystem.
Let’s review the issues a little closer shall we…
Cruise Tour Operators and Retailers
Tour buses, water sports operators, taxi drivers, downtown shops and other such businesses that derive most of their earnings from cruise passengers have been told by the Government that a berthing facility will bring bigger ships and more tourists. How well are those current tour operators and retailers benefiting with the cruise lines right now? Is it a fair environment? What happens when the cruise lines open their own onshore tours or better yet, roll off their own tour equipment from their mega cities?
Harbour Watersports Operators
Caymanian businesses that benefit from the cruise and stay-over visitors through selling shore dives, snorkelling, submarine tours and other water-based activities, will lose their livelihood.
7 Mile Beach & Stay-Over Tourism
Many businesses and property owners who depend on our world-famous “Seven Mile Beach (SMB)” are concerned about a decline in stay over tourism as well as overcrowding of key attractions like Seven Mile Beach and Stingray City. World-famous dive sites such as Eden Rock and Cheeseburger Reef will also be severely affected - harming our tourism even further.
George Town Infrastructure
We have seen the ravaging effects of storms like Hurricane Dorian. With the construction of the port and the loss of God’s created protection, we know that a destructive storm surge will affect the buildings and residents of downtown George Town in a magnitude not yet seen in Cayman. Protection from natural disasters should be a crucial priority in the discussion of building the port.
The current coalition Government says their primary concern is fulfilling the Progressives “Manifesto” promise (representing only 31.33% of electors that voted for a Progressive government). They claim that if Cayman does not build the cruise piers, Cayman’s cruise tourism industry will significantly decline. Evidence for such has yet to be presented.
The Environmental Interest
An environmental Impact Assessment commissioned by the Government in 2015 indicated that the levels of silt during the construction and operational phases of the CBF would have deadly consequences for the surrounding marine ecology. The death of George Town harbour’s coral reefs is irreversible.
What You Need to Know
It is expensive
It will cost a total of CI$200 Million to construct the port, and we will have to repay over CI$400 million incl. interest over 25 years
There is too much at stake
The estimated economic value of the affected coral reefs will equate to a loss of CI$19 to CI$22 million per year, or CI$550 million of natural capital loss over 25 years.
It is a man-made disaster
We will be destroying over 22 acres of Cayman’s natural aquatic habitat. Coral reefs are the backbone of life in our oceans, the blue heart of the planet.
Jobs will be lost
During construction, Cayman will lose approximately CI$30 million from loss of other tourism endeavors.
This is the largest project in Cayman’s history: will we be able to accommodate all of the people that will soon be coming to George Town?
Cayman will pay... are you prepared to suffer the consequences?
He Hath Founded it Upon the Seas – Protect It
Our Island is one of the most beautiful and sought-after places on this planet. We must and should dedicate ourselves to fighting for a better life for those that live on it and the natural environment that not only provides us happiness, but gives joy to thousands of people that visit every year.
Unfortunately history is full of human errors
Other tourist destinations have "killed" their tourism product with over tourism and destruction of the very things that attracted tourists in the first place and are now spending millions and billions to try to save and or rebuild. We should be learning from other’s mistakes.
In the search for economic prosperity, we should turn to empowerment of our people’s talents rather than exploitation of our land. Tourism has been a staple in the Caymanian economy, but overtourism as we have seen in many of our neighboring countries could have detrimental consequences to our society. We are lucky enough to have the choice to invest in more socially sustainable, environmentally-friendly tourism. Let’s choose what is right.
It’s in our hands...
People’s Initiated Referendum
In 2015, the business case for the proposed CBF provided questionable economic justification for what would be the largest and most expensive infrastructure project undertaken in Caymanian history. The EIA included socio-economic and environmental impacts, including damage to the area’s coral reefs, such as Eden Rock and Soto's Reef.
On 27 August 2018 a petition to trigger a People Initiated Referendum (PIR) on the proposed CBF was launched. Nine months later, our petition was submitted to the Government after gaining the constitutionally-required 25% of registered voters in support. The Elections Office have just completed the verification process, and Cabinet must now set the referendum date.
Your Vote. Your Future
We Want to
Hear From You
Why do you think your vote won’t count?