Less than 20 per cent of the 482 respondents to the most recent caycompass.com online poll wholeheartedly agree with the port redevelopment proposal.
The main elements of the plan include the building of two cruise ship berthing piers at the port site and the construction of a new cargo operations site in the harbour just to the north of central George Town.
The two-week poll was marred by some 20,000 duplicate votes that had to be deleted by Cayman Free Press staff. More than 19,500 of the duplicate votes were made by someone who voted that the port redevelopment proposal was great as it was. After the duplicate votes were deleted, however, only 91 of the respondents (18.9 per cent) thought the project was great as proposed. None of those respondents submitted a publishable comment with their vote.
Nearly half of the respondents (233 people or 48.3 per cent) thought the whole idea of the port redevelopment was a bad idea.
‘The additional concrete structures will cause long-term damage to the marine environment,’ said one person. ‘What we have going right now is working for us. I see no reason for change, especially in this economy. Hog Sty Bay cannot support many more tourists at a time anyway.’
‘The Ritz Carlton has provided the Cayman Islands with an introduction to five-star tourism,’ commented someone else. ‘Why are we looking to invest millions of dollars to help second-hand tourism that we cannot sustain?’
Another respondent commented: ‘We shouldn’t be doing this right now, even if someone else is supposedly paying for it.’
More than 26 per cent of respondents liked one element of the proposal, but not the other.
Sixty-five people (13.5 per cent) liked the idea of building a cruise berthing dock, but not the moving of the cargo dock where proposed.
‘What’s the difference what I think?’ commented one person. ‘The government is just going to do what it wants to anyway.’
‘It depends on the environmental impact of the berthing dock,’ said someone else.
Another 64 people (13.3 per cent) said they didn’t like the idea of the cruise berthing dock, but that cargo operations should be moved elsewhere.
‘George Town is disgusting after dark because of all the container truck traffic,’ wrote one person.
Twenty-nine people (6 per cent) responded ‘I don’t know’ to the poll question.
‘I feel this is a no-win situation,’ said one person. ‘There will always be environmental concerns, not only in building the port, but the use of the ports by the cruise ships.
‘There is also the issue of overcrowding when more tourists are able to berth here. On the other hand, to not build a port with berthing abilities means losing some of the cruise lines. We need both types of tourists. We can’t escape how many areas depend on the cruise ships. There is no way we can lose the cruise sector.
‘Hopefully the EIA will be able to clarify my environmental concerns and hope that there is a compromise.’