The National Trust for the Cayman Islands has called for government to follow the recommendations of the National Conservation Council on whether or not to proceed with the cruise berthing project.

The council is expected to make a recommendation to Cabinet on whether to approve the Coastal Works License for the project after the Environmental Impact Assessment is updated next year.

In a position statement, Friday, the trust endorsed the decision to update the EIA, initially carried out in 2015, saying that should be a “prerequisite before any work is approved.”

“Failing to secure an updated independent EIA would inevitably raise questions of conflict and accuracy,” the trust said in its statement.

“This could in turn result in long-term damage to our precious marine environment given the extensive dredging and other submarine works which are forecast to be required in connection with the project.

“The National Trust would request that Cabinet then follow recommendations made by the National Conservation Council (NCC), as it is the NCC’s responsibility to act as an independent watchdog to safeguard our environment.”

The National Conservation Law requires Cabinet to consult with the conservation council on such matters, but it is not required to follow its advice.

The trust said in its statement that it understood government’s desire to build cruise tourism and appreciated the information given about the project at a meeting in September, but questioned the economic value of the project.

It added: “The National Trust is of the opinion that several critical questions remain unanswered, and it is also felt there is a lack of research and data to support the assumptions made in the Outline Business Case. As a result, it is difficult to make an informed decision on the impact the proposed Cruise Berthing Facility would potentially have on Grand Cayman’s environment and its economy.”