Conservation Council questions Ministry of Tourism role in pier project

The National Conservation Council has questioned the role of the Ministry of Tourism in pushing for the cruise pier project. 

In a pair of public statements Friday the council suggested that the ministry was now acting as both “investigator and adjudicator” of the project. 

Saying the ministry had assumed the roles intended for the Project Steering Group and the Environmental Assessment Board as well as advocating for cruise piers, the council suggested it risked creating a conflict of interest. 

“Not only should no man be a judge in his own cause, but with a proposal such as that with which the Cayman Islands are now faced, where the government is cast not only in the role of evaluator but also as a joint proponent in a proposed public-private partnership, the question of impaired objectivity must be raised,” the council wrote. 

The council took issue with the ministry’s decision to release a preliminary report on possible mitigation measures for the port project, saying it was an incomplete draft that omitted supporting analysis and involved no consultation with the Department of Environment. 

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It suggested that the ministry had taken over some functions, including the release of environmental reports, that were intended for other bodies. 

“The commitment to proper procedure in the evaluation of the Cruise Berthing Facility proposal began with the appointment of a Steering Group and an Environmental Assessment Board (made up of the Department of Environment, National Roads Authority, Department of Tourism, Department of Planning, National Museum and the Port Authority). 

“It is the council’s view that if the role of the Ministry of Tourism is to act as the Government proponent, then, in order to counter the reasonable apprehension of bias created by a party acting as both investigator and adjudicator, it is important that the Ministry should not, and be seen not to, interfere with or pre-empt the evaluation function of the Environmental Assessment Board.” 

The council welcomed recent statements from government that the proposed layout of the cruise piers would be re-evaluated, with a view to moving the structures to deeper water. 

But it said this process should be led by the Environmental Assessment Board and not the ministry. It also suggested that the process may have to update parts of the Environmental Impact Assessment.  

The mitigation measures, outlined in the preliminary report, including some coral relocation, do not adequately offset the environmental damage, the council argues. It suggests the measures outlined do not measure up to international standards for offsetting risks to the natural environment and that the new layout should seek to achieve “no net loss” to the wider ecosystem. 

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  1. Here are some youtube videos in Juneau Alaska on a cruise ship they use mostly in the summer:
    This is a pier with tourist scuba divers in Bonaire:
    This is a pier in Ami , Fla. :
    This is a pier in Anna Marie Island:
    Fort Frederiksted Beach on Cruise Ship :
    SCUBA Dive @ Frederiksted Pier, St. Croix, USVI :
    If you want more I’m sure that will be no problem. If this doesn’t prove that life becomes more abundant after a pier is built . Then it will be obvious you are just against the cruise ship industry.
    We knew we were building a cruise ship facility from the past Gov’t ???? Why all of a sudden its now a problem ? We know that consultants said that GT was he best place to build the pier because of the environment from 30 years ago . Mr. Linsford showed me and several other tour operators over 20 years ago. ( "TAC" ,Technical advisory committee ). The more you find fault with a thirty years old solution ,the more it’s costing the public. Because the dock will be built , we need it , its overdue, The UK said it was necessary , The governor said so. What more do you need?

  2. @David mille
    Thank you for the links, quite interesting.

    My objection to the project mostly based on the fact that because of the very small size of the Grand Cayman it is inherently not suited for accommodation of millions of daily cruise visitors without sacrificing the quality of life of its residents and stay-over tourists.
    Where is the study of carrying capacity of tourism in the Cayman Islands in terms of infrastructure and natural resources? Where are the surveys of local residents and visitors that would assess perceptions about environment and tourism problems and threats?

    Grand Cayman is already experiencing dramatic growth and urbanization and is facing significant problems of congestion and risk to the island’s natural assets and increasing needs in terms of new infrastructure. This suggests conditions of possible excess in the capacity of the island to accommodate additional tourists and related development.

    Compass had already run an article about it :More cruise passengers: Their impact on Cayman.–Their-impact-on-Cayman/

  3. The NCC has admitted in their minutes that they have no bearing on the project or any legal rights to be involved. The truth of the matter is that you save major influence from the Department of Environment director who conducted an interview on her own for the Anti-Port group to give them a private press release against the dock.
    I think there is much greater concern for the intentions and actions of the director of the DOE than there are for the ministry of tourism.

  4. I’m glad you looked at the links. It shows that the environment will be fine like I was saying from the start. Remember I am a retired Diving Instructor, I don’t want to hurt the coral or the fish.
    But as you saw in the links in different places, they have only helped the environment. First with ships being able to tie up to a dock. Which was the reason that Rhapsody went aground and they dredged by 7 mile beach. Sorry you were probably not here or too young.
    Second the corals and sponges with crabs and eels are amazing. The amount of Macro photography will be phenomenal.
    Miss Bell Grand Cayman is not small. It is 76 sq miles and Manhattan is 22 sq miles. We have plenty of room to expand. I don’t want to see 8 million people show up. But 20,000-30,000 people per day is nothing, smaller then most universities in the states. We will not impact ,because there are plans afoot to secure more commercial space to help coordinate the extra customers.
    The residents and tourists are seeing growth to an island that time forgot. Since then we have been growing very slowly. We are not keeping up with other caribbean islands that are leaving us in the dust. They have docks, they have more tourist attractions. We have people who are just copying what they see. There is room for a lot of new ideas that may not be accepted by cruise lines but could open up new attractions.
    For instance why not offer a floating dock in the North Sound for yachts who would like to come and show-off their yachts? Yes, they would have to dredge but we have been dredging since the 60’s . Nothing happened. We only have to dredge to 10 ft since most of the North Sound is 10 ft. Why not build apts in the sea like Maldives? How about a zip line? How about sky cable cars from GT to Camana Bay? We could park there and come over 50-80 ft off the ground? People living there in the new residential area wouldn’t need to use a car, less traffic. Sound interesting? How about jumping off the cliff into the water? Bodden Town first capital of Cayman , nothing is going on . How about putting up cable car systems from west Bay to GT? Stop more often in slower cable stations like hotels or condos? So many ideas

  5. The ideas are good, it is just I prefer small island atmosphere to Manhattan or Bermuda. The Cayman Islands should focus on elite, not on Walmart crowd, charging premium for exclusivity.
    Protecting SMB must be a priority, without it you have nothing. And you can’t guarantee it will not be affected should you proceed with the pier.

  6. But Lucia you still have the small island atmosphere . The people won’t be all over 7 mile beach at the Ritz, westin or Marriott. Nor will they be at any of the Condos, They will be at the Public beach at 7 mile not at the governor’s beach. They will be at Burger King, Kentucky, Dominoes ,Pizza Hut not on 7 mile beach or Camana Bay unless they are coming from the higher decks where the rich go. In that case you want them to come to Camana bay and rest. on 7 mile beach? True?
    You saw on 2 of the links Piers on the beach corals and fish and sponges etc. They don’t have any damage it has become a serious dive site. Plus the EIA says it won’t.
    But remember Lucia you can always live in Little Cayman or Cayman Brac. We have it all except for snow or ice.