Independent MLA Kenneth Bryan, who represents George Town Central, said a Thursday night meeting on the pending cruise ship port project was meant to provide his constituents with relevant information and a forum where the future of the project could be discussed.
The government and Opposition have sponsored previous meetings on the issue in past weeks. This is the first held by Mr. Bryan, who said he hopes to hold at least one more.
Opposition members attended the session at the Town Hall in George Town, along with about 50 members of the public.
As with some Opposition members, Mr. Bryan said he is not wholly against a new port or pier that could accommodate the cruise ships that frequent Grand Cayman. He just wants to make sure that whatever is built does not compromise the resources it is meant to tap into.
Mr. Bryan said he invited Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell to also attend the meeting, but that did not happen. He said, Mr. Kirkconnell had agreed to attend a future meeting where Mr. Bryan hopes to also have members of the Opposition.
Gina Matthews, spokeswoman for Mr. Kirkconnell, said the deputy premier is “happy to speak with MLA Bryan,” but no open meeting is scheduled .
Concerns about the current plan, which calls for dredging to deepen George Town harbor, include the possibility that silt resulting from the construction would damage or kill coral and other sea life on nearby reefs that are popular with both local divers and tourists.
Mr. Bryan also expressed concerns that a deeper harbor could mean higher waves when the seas turn stormy, which could potentially damage nearby businesses and homes.
“The dredging part seems to be the most important issue to me,” Mr. Bryan said. “I’m hoping the government will investigate and come up with solutions. We do need to remain competitive (in cruise tourism).”
He said he is hoping all interested parties can attend a future meeting on the port project.
“We should be mature enough to have that dialogue in the same room,” he said.
The last in a series of Opposition-sponsored meetings is planned for 7:30 p.m. Monday at the East End Civic Centre.
Editor’s note: This story has been amended to reflect Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell was the government official MLA Kenneth Bryan had invited to the meeting.