Something has to be done about the Boatswain’s
Beach/Cayman Turtle Farm morass.
This is a government-run facility
that has, by our count, cost the taxpayers more than CI$30 million to support
since 2004 – not including the millions of dollars in loans that have gone to
prop up this giant sinkhole of public funding.
Our comments here should not be
taken as criticism of new managing director Tim Adam, who is doing all he can
to cut costs – including taking the extremely unpopular steps of laying off
employees and raising the price of turtle meat. Let’s face it: both of those
things should have happened long before now.
As well as the apparently wanton
disregard for public funding, this facility has blatantly ignored the law with
regard to properly monitoring its effluent discharge – that’s the waste being
pumped into the sea – and now, we have learned that half a year’s worth of
financial data has gone missing. The agency might be able to recover that data
in its paper records, but then again, it might not.
These embarrassing instances of
slack management – to say nothing of Turtle Farm officials running up some
serious happy hour bar tabs on the taxpayer’s dime – are an utter disgrace.
Imagine how much better the Cayman Islands’ financial position would be today
if it hadn’t squandered millions on this boondoggle.
The issue here is no longer, in our
view, whether or not the Boatswain’s Beach/Cayman Turtle Farm can become a viable
tourism attraction; it obviously can’t.
Nor is the issue whether or not the
Cayman Islands Government should be operating tourism-related ventures; based
on its lack of success in its attempts thus far, it obviously shouldn’t.
The question is, how long will the
government continue operating an entity that is bleeding seas of red ink,
especially in these austere financial times. The Cayman Islands simply cannot
afford to continue throwing good money after bad. It’s time to stop the bleeding and move on.