We reckon when the auditor general puts his two-cents in on
a topic we should all sit up and listen.
That’s just what he did at a 19 May meeting of the Port
Authority of the Cayman Islands Board of Directors when he warned that delays
in constructing a proper cruise berthing pier in George Town could “negatively
impact on Cayman’s cruise business, especially as there are now so many berthing
facilities elsewhere in the Caribbean”.
The Caymanian Compass learned of Alastair Swarbrick’s
comments when details of the meeting were made public under a Freedom of
We also learned that during that meeting former port
chairman Stefan Baraud agreed with him and went further to say that at least
one major cruise ship line – Royal Caribbean – has plans to pull out of Cayman
and take its adventures to the Mediterranean.
The problem is the Cayman Islands doesn’t have a large
berthing pier where big ships can dock and passengers may disembark.
As it is now, the ships have to anchor or stay at engine
while passengers are tendered – or ferried – off the cruise ships and onto dry
line. It’s an unpleasant experience for many and downright dangerous when sea
waters are swelling.
And when the weather gets too bad in George Town we treat
our visitors to a disembarkation spot at Spotts Dock; not the best foot forward
for our tourism product.
The Cayman Islands has to determine if it is going to continue
to woo cruise ship passengers or return to the days of old when only a few
showed up to our shores at a time on select days. A disservice is being done to
our tourism product, and indeed our visitors, as long as we don’t offer them
the comforts and niceties they can find in other Caribbean destinations.
We’re no longer the prettiest girl at the dance, but we are
still pretty; for now.
Or, for another cliche: It’s time to fish or cut bait when
it comes to attracting cruise ship passengers to the Cayman Islands and giving
them once and for all what they need and deserve.