We must begin today’s editorial by congratulating Premier
McKeeva Bush on putting forth a wide-ranging list of topics aimed at boosting
the economy of these Islands.
One of our reporters recently had a chance to sit through
an overview of plans for Cayman’s new economic development zone and that does
indeed sound like an exciting opportunity for the country.
We are also generally encouraged by continued
negotiations for Dr. Devi Shetty’s hospital and the downtown cruise berthing
facility – both of which should provide plenty of jobs and improve tourism once
they get under way.
It is no secret that Cayman’s economy has suffered of
late and needs (no pun intended Dr. Shetty) a shot in the arm. Some of Mr.
Bush’s proposals are far-reaching and innovative, and deserve full public
consideration if not outright support.
However, one of the projects mentioned by Mr. Bush – an
oil refinery – is not included in our list of praiseworthy plans introduced by
the premier. Mr. Bush, with due respect, we believe it is time for this
government to stop mentioning this refinery in public forums and move forward
with much-needed work on the many realistic and potentially profitable projects
it has planned.
The oil refinery project does not have the support of
this community, and for good reasons.
Oil refineries are hazardous and create air, water and noise pollution.
No one wants the Island’s clean air fouled with the smoke and stench of an oil
Although we have mentioned it in past news stories, the
Caymanian Compass has declined even to write a full report on the matter,
partly because we view it as so far-fetched.
The Compass supports, and has always supported,
responsible and realistic economic development in these Islands, even when
others in the media have not. But we cannot support what we believe would be an
environmentally disastrous and economically risky proposal for this country,
and we will vigorously oppose the refinery if it moves forward.
There’s plenty of other work to do to start repairing
this country’s economy. Let’s focus on that, please.