Farmers warn of water risk over proposed cargo port

| 02/07/2010

(CNS): East End farmers have joined the growing opposition to the controversial suggestion of a cargo port in East End. Both Arden McLean the opposition member for the district and Ezzard Miller, the independent representatives for North Side made their opposition clear in the Legislative Assembly recently. Residents of the area also raised a number of objections at a public meeting held by McLean last month. Now the local farmers are pointing out such a development could undermine the local water supply used to grow crops in the district which has the highest number of farms on Grand Cayman. (Photo Half Moon Bay)

Evelyn McLaughlin and Kent Rankin both told News 27 that the fresh water basin would be contaminated by the sea water and bring an end to what little farming there is on the islands. This issue adds to fears in the district over what would happen in a hurricane, the pollution, the potential damage to the environment, the industrialisation of the area and the concern that the dock is merely a façade for what both Miller and McLean say is an excuse to quarry the valuable fill on the land owner’s property.
Although government says it has not yet seen any concrete plans, the premier has said on a number of occasions that he wants to move the George Town port to East End. Joe Imparato the owner of the land that could be used says he is only in preliminary talks with government at present and there is no commitment to develop the dock.
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  1. vocal local says:

    There is very real increased risk that a port at this location brings (the SE part of the island, where most storms/hurricanes come from). Additionally with ocean water/no reef this makes the entire proposal one of plain foolishness..and surely about quarrying the rock, for short term financial gain…of a few already rich people.

    This port would then act as a funnel for massive ocean water storm surge across East End and North Side creating untold of damage and loss.

  2. vocal local says:

    Let it be known…there are a growing number of otherwise law abiding citizens of Cayman, especially of East End and North Side, whom are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that this foolishness does not happen!

    If Mac must have such a dock he can try cutting into and digging out the centre of West Bay.

    There is no sensible purpose for such a project in EE, other than the short term financial interests, to build a port at this location (to quarry what amounts to be some of the hardest rock in Cayman)…while also destroying the EE water lens and natural woodlands.

  3. Anonymous says:


    The wise men from the east are right because any huge port dug and built at East End WILL certainly cut into the East End water lense, the largest and best fresh water lense on the island.

    All from the east and northside must rise up in opposition against this madman who wants to destroy so much for his own self interest.

    East End Port

    East End oil refinery

    East End dump site

    East End hospital for Dr. Shetty

    East End airport 

    The East End port is all about the enormous profits of selling the fill and construction aggregates from the site to Govt. to build roads, highways, extend or reconstruct the airport etc etc etc.

    As Arden rightfully said, "just an excuse for a quarry" with the real numbers equating to CI$150m-$200m profit for the owner and developer. How much of this money will be shared around.

  4. peter milburn says:

    I cant believe that someone on here would say that the farmers are insignificant.You have the right to your opinion but to say that is totally uncalled for.Farmers do play a real part in Caymans growth over the years and will continue to do so.Many of the olderCaymanians relied on home grown produce in order to survive and we may well have to rely on them again if this madness of destroying everything in sight continues just to satisfy the ego(s)of some of our govt.members.To you farmers out there continue to do the good work.

    • Adam Smith says:

      This is exactly the kind of illogical romanticism mentioned below.  It makes no sense to jeopardise the broader economy because of an economically insignificant group such as farmers.  Their contribution is at best negligible and in reality because of inefficient land use it is likely that farmers are a negative influence on Cayman’s economy.  To put them at the forefront of any thought process is economic Ludditism.

      • Anonymous says:

        I suggest that we consider the cost of this infrastructure and the small numbers within our endemic population that will shoulder the weight of this added infrastructure for generations to come, before we say what or who is insignificant. If it is a significant benefit then it matters little who speaks against it. If it is more a detriment than a benefit over time, then it should not be done equally regardless of who says it. There have been times in this country when the richest of our numbers have had to turn to the farmers to survive.

        To say they are insignificant is perhaps shortsighted. No, agriculture is not a significant source of industry for us however in times of great crisis, when perhaps we could not import food they would prove to be one of our  saving graces. They raise cattle, fish, poultry, produce honey, and sundries of essential crops. There is an old saying, you never know the good of the water until the well runs dry. It pains me to imagine the future of Cayman without farmers, there could come a day when when Caymanians and ex-pats alike would cry tears of blood for the lack of them. No, they should not be the loudest voice. But, God help the man who ignores the one who knows the land. We were taught not to cut off the hand the once fed us. 

        • Nuclear Winter? says:

          Barring a nuclear winter it will always be more more efficient to source our food from off island by reason of sheer economies of scale. 

  5. They are insignificant says:

    The greater good is more important in any event.  Farming is irrelevant to this economy and the only way to protect what we are good at it is build better infrastructure.  Let us ditch any romantic notions of protecting farmers.

    • Roy Tatum says:

      Who decides the Greater Good? 

      The words to the song Big Yellow Taxi come to mind.  I guess this thinking might also be used to outlaw public parks and green spaces because this would not be efficient use of land:

      Joni Mitchell sang this song in 1970.  

      "They paved paradise and put up a parkin’ lot
      With a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swingin’ hot spot
      Don’t it always seem to go 
      That you don’t know what you got till it’s gone
      They paved paradise and put up a parkin’ lot

      They took all the trees, and put em in a tree museum
      And they charged the people a dollar and a half to see them
      No, no, no, don’t it always seem to go
      That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone
      They paved paradise, and put up a parkin’ lot"


      • They are insignificant says:

        Big Yellow Taxi is a break-up song.  It is not the best basis for economic development plans. 

        But to answer your question, public parks, if we had any, have clear broad social utility.  A field with a few scrawny cows in it probably does not.  But since Cayman has no real public spaces or parks to speak of, I think your point is hypothetical.

        • Roys says:

          Regarding parks – You need to get out more.  We certainly do not have enough, but we do have some.  There are the various Dart parks; there is the airport park; there are several smaller ‘park areas’ in different districts (including Cayman Brac); and in my mind the public beaches are parks.  Do we need more – yes we do.  

          Finally – Here is what Joni said about the song she wrote. Sounds appropriate to me:

          "I wrote ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ on my first trip to Hawaii. I took a taxi to the hotel and when I woke up the next morning, I threw back the curtains and saw these beautiful green mountains in the distance. Then, I looked down and there was a parking lot as far as the eye could see, and it broke my heart… this blight on paradise. That’s when I sat down and wrote the song."

          • They are insignificant says:

            Forgive me, but there are no parks in Cayman.  A park takes at least 30 minutes to walk across, and Dart picnic parks take about 2 minutes.  Maybe we should shut down some farms and turn them into parks.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The obvious place for the cargo terminal is at GT Barcadere.  A large portion of the route inside the Sound  has already been dredged (the area dredged is allegedly now good lobstering territory). The environmental impact of this will be much less than carving a huge hole in East End then spending a fortune on new roads and destroying virgin forest etc to get there. Not to mention that the farmers of EE have a valid point about the water lens.The dock would be right next to the Port Authority compound.

    It would mean tampering with a small part of the N Sound reef which happens to be close to the District of West Bay.

  7. Caymanian at Heart says:

    We need to listen to the farmers on this, they of all people understand the impact of this project.  Has an impact study been done on this issue?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hat’s off to the farmers and the people of East End stand una grown dont let this man distroy what is left of this country. Mr. Bush leave what  God has created and STOP selling this counrty for the almighty dollar . It will come back to bite you where it hurt.

  9. Anonymous says:

    This reads like there is a debate available.

    Hope you all realize this is a done deal. DART bought the berthing facility and there is no way He is going to want to share the space with cargo.

    Maybe the Spotts Landing but I would wager that BigMac has already sold you all out!  AGAIN!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Wise men from the East!