The Cayman Islands Government is
set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with a Chinese company that will
dredge a channel in the North Sound deep enough to allow the passage of mega
Premier McKeeva Bush, who has long
advocated the creation of such a channel, addressed the matter during the
Fidelity Cayman Business Outlook on Thursday.
Mr. Bush said he believed that a
channel in the North Sound would provide the potential for recreation, habitat
preservation and development, as well as offering integration opportunities for
local hotels and residents.
“Rest assured, these projects will
provide numerous benefits to residents and visitors alike,” he said.
Mr. Bush said he wanted to make it
clear that the government was not seeking to impact the entire North Sound.
“We are simply turning our thoughts
to the smallest but most practical channel being developed within the North
Sound, traversing the West Bay side of it and coming up to the airport and
beyond… leaving the vast remainder of the Sound untouched,” he said.
Mr. Bush said the Government is
exploring an interest in major investment expressed by a Chinese company “to
provide the necessary infrastructure to take full advantage of the channel from
an economic perspective, while mitigating any potential adverse impacts on the
Although he said he knew there
would be naysayers who would claim the channel would destroy the North Sound,
Mr. Bush challenged anyone to show him scientific evidence why the channel
shouldn’t be done. He said the water in the North Sound had already lost a lot
of its clarity over the years because of the number and size of the many boats
heading to popular sites like Stingray City and the Sandbar.
Speaking after his Business Outlook
appearance, Mr. Bush said the new channel would begin at the current main
channel and head toward the Barkers area and then run south along the North
Sound side of the Seven Mile Beach corridor all the way to the airport. It
would then move east. He said he envisioned the channel stopping around Harbour
House Marina in Prospect.
Mr. Bush said that since many of
the projects along the Seven Mile Beach corridor had already dug deep water
channels to the North Sound, there wouldn’t need to be as much digging.
“We just have to hook up with
them,” he said.
Although Mr. Bush didn’t go into
details about the Chinese group, he said he was discussing several other
infrastructure projects with the company, including the development of a pier
and related facilities near the Cayman Turtle Farm in West Bay; the development
of a cruise pier and related facilities in Cayman Brac; major road works in the
eastern districts of Grand Cayman; and enhancements to the airports both in
Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac.
“I have high expectations that we
will sign a memorandum of understanding in the near future, in order to
commence definitive work on these projects I’ve outlined,” he said, adding that
if the current negotiations for a cruise berthing facility in George Town don’t
lead to an agreement, the Chinese group was prepared to take that on as well.
Mr. Bush said people might ask why
the government was willing to enter into so many MOUs with just one company,
but he said the country needs to move forward and has already waited 20 months
to get some of these projects started.
“The country cannot – and I’m not
prepared to – wait any longer,” he said.
In addition, Mr. Bush said, that
once the government commits to even one project in Grand Cayman with the
Chinese group, it had committed to do a project in Cayman Brac.