Today’s Editorial December 16: Spotts dock still deplorable

Unfortunately we once again have the opportunity to editorialise on an issue that should long ago have been properly addressed.

It’s the time of year once again when we can expect our Christmas breezes thanks to Nor’westers and other weather conditions.

When that happens, cruise ships can’t drop anchor at Hog Sty Bay in George Town. Those who want to visit Grand Cayman must stop at Spotts where they have to keep engines running for the entire visit because they can’t drop anchor.

While that’s an inconvenience to the cruise ship company and the crew, it is good for the environment because anchors aren’t hitting precious coral.

But what greets our cruising visitors at Spotts is less than stellar treatment.

We have been imploring Government or private industry for years through this column to do something about the Spotts dock to make our visitors realise they aren’t in some third-world country.

Things have gotten better with what appears to be a more orderly routine for buses and taxis and the blocking of a portion of the west-bound lane to traffic, but it’s still a messy situation for those who are coming to our shore to drop their pennies into our coffers.

For starters, there should at least be some signage at the Spotts dock letting visitors know which direction George Town is in and how long it will take them to walk there, if they so desire.

Too, it’s hot at Spotts. There is little shade or organisation. Why can’t Government or one of the private sector members that benefit from cruise tourism put up some tents?

Essentially what we are doing is telling potential stayover tourists who arrive here via cruise ship that we aren’t really interested in their return or their dollar.

How many unhappy cruise visitors get a negative impression of the Cayman Islands because of the Spotts facility and make up their mind then and there to never return? Worse yet, how many have gone back home and told their family and friends about their poor treatment on our shores, advising them to make a wide berth away from Cayman?

First impression is everything, especially in the tourism industry; an industry that our economy depends upon so heavily.

Nor’westers and similar weather conditions are not new to the Cayman Islands. We know they’re going to happen and we know that when they do, cruise ships will be averted.

The Ministry of Tourism has once again assured us that ‘future plans call for improving landscaping, shading, seating and staging for easier access to public transportation.’ Still, no timeline has been given.

How many years have we heard those empty promises? Too many, in our estimation.

When it comes to docking at Spotts, it’s time to fish or cut bait. We are doing our visitors and our country a disservice as long as these deplorable conditions are allowed to continue.

Essentially what we are doing is telling potential stayover tourists who arrive here via cruise ship that we aren’t really interested in their return or their dollar.

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