Premier Alden McLaughlin indicated this afternoon that
government intends to proceed with plans to build cruise berthing facilities in
George Town harbor.
Speaking to business leaders at the Chamber of Commerce’s
legislative luncheon, the premier said the piers were needed if Cayman wanted
to stay in the cruise business in a meaningful way.
He said the project would protect jobs and create new
employment opportunities during the construction phase.
“While Cabinet is still to make a formal decision which is expected over the next few weeks. I can say today that government has considered the matter carefully and has agreed on the merits of building a cruise port and enhanced cargo port and to allow the project to proceed to the next stage,” Premier McLaughlin said. “The next stage involves discussions with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Government and cruise companies which are needed regarding the design of the piers and the structure of the project’s financing.
“The cruise companies must have skin in the game as they are needed to guarantee the necessary volume of cruise passengers over the financing period.
“There will not be dredges in George Town harbor tomorrow or next week or next month – we will proceed carefully and seek to do whatever it takes to ensure minimum environmental impact.”
The premier told the gathering at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman hotel that
the environmental impact assessment had indicated that the project would not
harm Seven Mile Beach, which was the government’s primary concern.
Mr. McLaughlin added that the next step would involve
discussions with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the cruise lines on
the design and funding model for the project.
See Thursday’s Cayman Compass for the full story.