We in the writing business usually have a fairly ample inventory of words.
After all, they’re the tools of our trade, and our job is to string ‘em together in the right order to inform, entertain, and, at times, apparently infuriate.
One should not minimize the power of stringing words together — after all, they have been known to cause wars, and every successful courtship depends on them.
Nevertheless, because we have plenty of our own, we rarely need to borrow someone else’s, but in this editorial we’d like to share what one commenter on our website recently had to say about the George Town dump.
Referring to Minister Osbourne Bodden’s comments in the Legislative Assembly on the landfill, and keeping it in its current location, the reader wrote:
“Blah, blah, blah! Just get the @#%! thing moved! The stench on the bypass is intolerable and must make a lasting impression on our visitors; I know it leaves one on me every time I drive by.”
Couldn’t have sworn it better ourselves ….
Like any business, the Cayman Islands has a brand image it strives to project onto the minds of our customers (tourists): clean-scented trade winds, clear Caribbean waters, the crystal sands of Seven Mile Beach, etc.
Unfortunately, as our astute reader observes, visitors arriving in Cayman actually are greeted with an austere highway, foul odor and 80-foot-tall eminence of garbage.
Opponents of creating a new landfill on another site often argue that the dump is near light and heavy industrial operations to the south and east. According to their logic, the current location is good enough — never mind the dump’s neighbor to the north, Camana Bay.
This editorial board acknowledges, and laments, the existing situation where stay-over visitors must journey from the aging Owen Roberts International Airport, through the industrial center of George Town, down a spartan portion of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway and past Mount Trashmore, before finally reaching the shores of Seven Mile Beach or the impeccably landscaped boulevard near Camana Bay.
A signature of well-planned cities across the world is a grand entryway, an esplanade, that presents the best the community has to offer to incoming visitors. Ask anyone who has arrived at the Singapore airport, driven up Congress Avenue in Austin, traveled the Magnificent Mile in Chicago or entered Palm Beach, Florida, via Royal Palm Way.
The experience in Grand Cayman is closer to the situation in Kingston, Jamaica, where roads linking the airport to the picturesque mountains around the city wind through rundown slums.
Granted, attempting to change the land use in the entire area of Grand Cayman’s Industrial Park would most likely neither be feasible nor fair.
Something far easier and about as effective, however, would be for the government and/or tourism association to designate an official, “preferred” route for taxis, vans and shuttles to take from the airport to Seven Mile Beach, and appropriate resources to ensure the corridor is properly landscaped and flanked by visually appealing properties.
That won’t mean banning industrial activities that are occurring. Take, for example, the Cayman Spirits Company distillery, a working facility that is also a point of interest for passersby on the highway.
In fact, we can think of only one operation that is absolutely incompatible with tourism: the George Town landfill.