The cruise industry generates employment for more than 4,000 people in the Cayman Islands, according to a research report compiled for the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association.
Amid vocal and organised opposition to the cruise berthing project, a group of likeminded businessmen formed their own lobby group to spread a different message about the port.
Everyone in the Cayman Islands supports tourism. Everyone encourages cruise ship tourism, let’s get that straight. There are many of us, however, who consider that our current complement of cruise tourists (approximately 1.9 million last year) is too many.
On social media, in the cinema, on the pages of internet blogs and newspapers, the battle for votes on the port project referendum is heating up. Citizen campaigners claim they are locked in a David vs. Goliath public relations fight. Government insists it is trying to educate and inform the people in the face of a tide of misinformation.
While general elections typically have guidelines around how much each candidate can spend on advertising and PR in the run up to a poll, there were no such rules written into the Referendum Law for the port.
The large floating mats of algae provide shelter for juvenile fish, eels and sea turtles. Flying fish lay their eggs amid this tangled mass. A vast cast of eclectic critters, like the thumbnail-sized sargassum frog fish, live their entire lives within the weed.
At sea, sargassum provides vital shelter for a variety of species. Young turtle hatchlings even hitch rides on these floating mats, as they venture into the open ocean. But when the algae comes ashore in significant quantities, this beneficial relationship is betrayed.
When Johanan Dujon began harvesting sargassum in Saint Lucia in 2014, he collected 1,500 pounds of the seaweed. This year, with his company Algas Organics, he is on track to harvest 1 million pounds.
Inspired by memories of his grandparents’ adobe house, a periodic place of refuge, Omar Vazquez developed a low-cost alternative to cement, using a substance that has invaded Caribbean shores in recent years – sargassum seaweed.
To protect the paradisiac image of Caribbean beaches, sargassum control has risen as another pillar of the region’s tourist industry – and in Mexico, securing sargassum-control contracts has become competitive.