Progressives, Cayman Brac West and Little Cayman
Minister of Tourism, Deputy Premier
“For many who turn out, this will be the most important decision they will make at the polls for the economic benefit of the Cayman Islands in their lifetime.
The result will have a very real and direct impact on the lives of thousands of men and women who work in the cruise tourism industry in this country, as well as the economy of these islands…”
“Our willingness to head to the polls at the earliest date possible serves to demonstrate that we are just as keen as the petitioners to have this matter settled.”“It is vital that the public is able to make an informed choice and weigh up the issues very carefully based on facts, not hearsay, opinions or assumptions.”
Independent, George Town Central
“They [the government] are using the public’s finances to campaign against the people. You don’t think those people from CPR are Caymanians too? They are paying their taxes too. …
“Give the data [of how each constituency votes] broken down. I want to know what the majority says in George Town Central because if the majority comes back and says ‘We want the port’, then I am going to have to swallow every word and get up and support the government. I will get a shovel and come out there and dig the hole with you.”
“The cargo operations have to move from the capital… Where is your vision? Where is your plan for the revitalisation of George Town.”
“Which high-end customers want to go look at cargo cranes?”
Independent, Bodden Town West
“We are in competition to some extent with the cruise lines. We try our best to work with them, but we are still fighting for what people call share of wallet. We want them [tourists] to spend money when they are on shore and the cruise lines want them to spend when they are on the ship.
“Despite not having a port, and our competitors have piers and everything else, Cayman Islands continues to box above its weight.
“We are not into mass tourism; we have always been into quality over quantity. It is that mindset that is why the cruise lines and everyone else wants to come to the Cayman Islands. If something is working, our uniqueness is selling, what are we doing [by building piers]?
“I would have preferred if the government had went out to do a partnership where we build three or four more hotels across the island at a cost of $200 million or $300 million. That is sustainable tourism…”
Progressives, George Town North
Minister of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure
“It is a question of, do we want to remain in the [cruise] business or not? Do we want to attract the high-end cruisers that are on the mega ships or do we want to attract the masses on the smaller ships?
“If we don’t want to remain in the business, then don’t build the piers and we might as well limit some of the cruise passengers I see coming in.
“We might as well turn those ships back.
“I have to say that [if that happened], we as a government would have to take drastic steps and perhaps pass legislation similar to affirmative action to put Caymanian North Sound operators in the hotels and stop the monopoly that Red Sail Sports has in there.
“We can decide we don’t want to be in cruise tourism but there are ramifications. It is the one area of tourism that Caymanians participate in. You are not allowed in the hotels, you need $11 million in insurance…”
“[If we build piers] we can get the quality passengers from the highest in class cruise lines – those with the most disposable income, not those who received a four-day cruise for taking a time-share tour.”
Progressives, George Town East
“The Cayman Islands is experiencing another period of growth in population and economic expansion.
“It has become abundantly clear to me that we are again at a very significant inflection point in our development, where we desperately need enhanced facilities for cruise and cargo operations. The facility, as it presently exists, is no longer really fit for purpose…
“It makes absolute sense to do so now while we have a partner who is willing to design, build and finance both (cruise and cargo) under one umbrella…
“In all of my professional years, I have never seen an agreement like this…
“I really struggle to see any significant downside in financial risk to the model that we have created and have been successful in negotiating with our partners in this development.”
Independent, West Bay South
Minister for Financial Services
“The people and the public should take note of those members who vote no against the will of the people to deny the people’s call to have their say and a people-initiated referendum on the port. …
“The people should take note of those members who abstain from the vote, those members who ride the fence so hard that they are at risk of becoming chafed. Those members choked because of talking out of both sides of their mouth on this issue. …
“Is that the kind of representation that the people want? Is that the kind of leadership that they deserve? It is for that reason why I will be voting yes for this bill. I vote yes in support of democracy and I vote yes in support of the people having a voice in a people-initiated referendum on the port.”
Independent, Bodden Town East
“We encourage everyone to educate themselves and make their yes decision when they vote. I believe the port is good for the country and the adjustments made to the design makes me as a representative more comfortable. …
“Yes, I had my concerns too about the Seven Mile Beach and the method … being used, and after a few meetings with the deputy premier, I was made more comfortable. … It is controversial … since it’s a large project but it’s more good than negative.
“In my opinion … the country needs the enhanced cargo port and cruise port to continue to grow and develop the economic opportunities and this is the government’s responsibility.”
“We had a very lengthy session in Cayman Brac. We had a very strong debate and concerns came up then about the potential impact on stayover tourism. The government soon reports, gave warnings that if we continue down this road, there a risk of overcrowding of tourist attractions; there is a risk of infrastructure issues.
“We simply have a maximum capacity because we are an island. We are three islands, limited square miles and you can only pack so many people in. After a point in time, you are going to have that overcrowding, over-capacity issue to deal with. It would be fine if we had the ability to suddenly increase infrastructure, but we are already struggling… with roads, traffic, congestion in George Town generally, [including] pedestrian.
“We are here, as 19 representatives, we do not have to like each other, but the people put us here to work together. We can fix this bill before it becomes law.”
Independent, West Bay North
“Another major concern is the [Environmental Impact Assessment], this is where I have my major problem. [The EIA] was in 2015, this is 2019 and the plans have changed two or three times since 2015. The EIA should have been done over before this is done. We cannot take a chance, we cannot take a chance, I repeat, on our environment with that Seven Mile Beach.
“Two things we know, we have Stingray City, the diving and Seven Mile Beach, and if that Seven Mile Beach goes, then guess what? We will be the cause of it. …
“A scenario where ballot boxes are transported in the night to be counted is not reflective of a free and democratic country. We should never ever put our elections in any scenario where anyone has doubts.”
“I want to know when we are dumping 10,000, 12,000, 15,000 people into George Town at one time with the limited facilities. We have restrooms and so forth. How are we going to deal and cope with this? How are we going to divert the traffic, route the traffic through George Town, South Sound and wherever?…
“Friday or this morning’s paper, they were drawing a parallel of the amount of money stayover tourists spend – $650 million, compare… that to the cruise tourism, which was, they said, just about $200 million. We just want to be careful… that we don’t cause a problem for those people who spend the most money and come here for rest and relaxation, peace and quiet, and getting away from the concrete jungles and get into George Town with it being so crowded.”
George Town South, Education Councillor
“In recent months, I have been deeply concerned by the misinformation that has been peddled by those who oppose the construction of the port. The cynical manner in which they have tried to undermine this project is unbecoming of us as a mature society. However, I have faith in my constituents and trust that they will listen to both sides and come to their own conclusions.
“The truth of the matter is the health of our economy is at risk if we fail to move forward with the cruise berthing and enhanced cargo facility. We are risking not only a slowdown in economic growth, but possibly even a recession. So, while many opponents do not relay on cruise tourism for their direct income, there is no doubt in my mind that they, like everyone else who calls the Cayman Islands home, will feel the effects of an economic downturn when it hurts most.
George Town West, Tourism Councillor
“The choice is not to pick cruise ship passengers or stayover versus the other, we need them both. We need the proper balance of both to satisfy the wide range of jobs and capabilities of Caymanians workers today and for the future. Any attempt to say that we must choose one over the other will result in a decline of our tourism as a whole.
“As the older ships are decommissioned, we will lose our cruise industry. That is harsh truth. The business case estimated that cruise arrivals will be reduced by half, or basically one million passengers. I would expect all of you in this room to remember those lean times for our cruise industry. People were genuinely suffering. It is a terrible feeling not to be able to provide for your family.”
Independent, East End
Leader of the Opposition
“The premier says that CPR had all kind of tactics to get people to sign the petition. … Not once during that entire period did I ever think that there were any tactics being used by those young people to try and get people’s signature people to sign that petition. …
“I have more questions about the members in here than I have about them. …
“[Government] announced the preferred bidder, again showing their arrogance that they were moving ahead regardless of what people say. Then they proceeded to allow some of those financiers from the cruise industry to come into the country to do the job of explaining to the people what the project entails – a job that they alone … were elected to do, a job that is wholly and solely the responsibility of the government. They’re bringing people from America to dabble in the politics of this country and I don’t want to hear that they’re a company here. Until a contract has been signed, they have no business in this country.”
Independent, North Side
“I have always opposed the building of a cruise facility in George Town Harbour. … Way back in the ‘80s, Mr. Speaker, you remember the alternatives that we were offered. We were told in the 80s that if we didn’t build a cruise pier, that the cruise industry would never grow. … I’m sure everybody in here and the listening audience clearly remember the purchase of huge anchors because you were going to put buoys in George Town Harbour as an alternative to cruise port. … I opposed that then.
“There’s no question that the anchors have destroyed some of the coral here but that’s a result, again, because the government wouldn’t listen to the mariners in the country … They were completely ignored as they are being ignored now. My greatest opposition to the cruise port is the fact that the mariners in my family tell me that what is being proposed is going to be very difficult to operate because of the design.”
“My views and why they had changed over the course of the past year … have been distorted by lies and confusion intentionally brought about by the CPR group and their leadership muppets and chaos has become the order of the day, proudly funded by private donors with commercial or political interests, not so much national interests. …
“To be clear, I refer in a derogatory manner admittedly only to the persons I define as the leadership muppets. … The CPR group, many of whom who either are or were my friends, have to consider how gullible they have been to have allowed two rotten apples to spoil the bunch.
“After all, the CPR group have gone from saying, ‘We don’t oppose the port, we just want more information,’ to now, ‘Down with the port, no matter what the cost, no matter what the information may be.’”