We highlight some, but not all, of the numerous significant and unquantified risks where mitigation strategies could be (i) high cost (ii) unidentified (iii) based on unreliable data or (iv) subject to environmental uncertainty associated with this project.
Information has been obtained by CPR Cayman from publicly available reports found on the websites for the Department of Tourism www.supportourtourism.com and Department of Environment www.doe.ky.
Cruise industry jobs provide average monthly income of US$1,662 (BREA report). How will (1) short-term construction jobs and (2) more of the same cruise industry jobs, regardless of the number, help Caymanians obtain financial security for a decent standard of living?
The EIA (Baird Report) estimates direct losses of US$9‑10.5 million per year of revenue and associated jobs from the loss of the harbour reefs including two historical shipwrecks, the Balboa (directly) and Cali (indirectly). What is the net number of jobs after water-sports businesses can no longer operate in George Town harbour, and restaurants have closed from noise pollution during construction?
Cruise vs. stayover constraints: With only 76 square miles, Grand Cayman’s infrastructure and natural environment cannot handle mass cruise tourism which displaces overnight tourists as well as local residents from our most desirable locations. In 2018 both a record-breaking 1.9 million cruise passengers arrived by tender, and stayover visitors reached 463,000. The Department of Tourism (PwC Outline Business Case, Appendix D, page 7) gave a limit of 2.1 million cruise passengers “to maintain the delicate equilibrium between cruise and overnight tourism”.
What is the projected or committed passenger increase with the cruise port? A comprehensive assessment of Cayman’s carrying capacity needs to be undertaken for long-term planning and identifying tourism caps, which many popular travel destinations are being forced to implement. Cruise-ship itinerary re-routing: Cayman’s geographical location places us ideally as a stop between Jamaica and Mexico on a cruise itinerary. With cruises departing on a weekend from the southern US states for both clockwise and anti-clockwise tours, most ships arrive on a Wednesday or Thursday.
The Minister of Tourism indicated we would not receive an increase in passengers per year, rather the cruise schedule will smooth out over the year. Will the cruise lines re-schedule their itineraries and departure days just to avoid Wednesday or Thursday being Cayman’s busiest days?
(2) Will cruise lines stop repositioning their ships to Europe and other northern routes during the summer months to make sure that Cayman gets passengers instead?
Air pollution risks, monitoring and mitigation have not been highlighted by the government despite an entire section of the Baird report dedicated to air quality (Appendix G). Perhaps this is unsurprising as the Cayman Islands has no numerical standards on ambient air quality. There will be significantly more air pollution as a result of ships closer to shore and increased road traffic.
Does government have any pollution mitigation strategies? How is government planning to prevent health related illnesses from increased air pollution? Will government provide better health insurance over and above the SHIC plan? Is it fair that those working and living in the immediate George Town harbour area are exposed to these toxic fumes?
Low-lying George Town residents and merchants risk an increased susceptibility of storm flooding once the natural occurring coastal coral reef defences are permanently destroyed.
Seawalls are costly, unsightly and protection is not guaranteed.