Today’s Editorial April 18: Readers support Sandbar safety

We asked and the people spoke.

A whopping 64.5 per cent – nearly two-thirds – of those who responded to a poll about who should govern the Sandbar agree it should only be closed in consultation between the Royal Cayman Islands Police, the Department of Environment and watersports operators.

We made our online query via our poll following an incident last month in which the Marine Unit of the Police Service closed down the Sandbar on its own authority, which is has the right to do under law.

The decision was made because of windy conditions that were making it dangerous for boaters to be on the water and after visitors were stung by jellyfish and one person received a stingray barb scrape.

The decision understandably upset watersports operators who depend on money from the visitors they haul out to Stingray City and the Sandbar.

But everyone should be in agreement that someone or some well-informed group should have the responsibility to make the decision on the safety of the Sandbar area.

And like our readers we agree that group should include RCIPS, DoE and the watersports operators.

When current gets too strong and waves get too high someone needs to make the decision to keep people away from the area, not just for their own safety and that of their passengers and responding marine officers, but for the marine environment as well.

On the day the Sandbar was closed two boats almost collided.

When boats sink they introduce all kids of toxic matter into the water from fuel to oil and whatever they may be transporting.

The trash that’s washed off can get clogged in the coral and marine animals can die.

So it’s not just about the almighty tourist dollar when it comes to making a decision about closing down the Sandbar.

It’s about safety for the emergency personnel called to the scene of an accident, our visitors, our operators and our marine resources.

We think that if the three groups get together and develop a good, solid policy, well thought-out decisions can be made quickly to ensure our watersports operators save face with their fares and all are safe on land.

Sure, a few tourists might get disgruntled. But isn’t that better than having a bad experience – or even dying – in the Cayman Islands?

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