Port needs upgrade not piers

| 30/05/2014

(CNS): The member for North Side has said the government doesn’t need to build expensive piers in George Town and hand control of the local cruise sector to the cruise lines. Speaking in the LA on Thursday, Ezzard Miller said it was important that the Cayman Islands improve the experience for people visiting on cruise ships but he said there were ways that could be achieved that would be far more cost effective than the current plans for two piers. Miller also queried how government could be spending some $2.5 million on an environmental impact assessment (EIA) when they have no idea yet what will be built there.

Miller said he backed investing money on the enhancement of the cruise experience but he said the country did not need to build the piers. During his response to the budget debate Miller said bigger and better tenders and more of them, along with the beautification of the terminals would be more beneficial to Cayman than the massive investment the piers would require. The North Side MLA said he believed passengers just needed "somewhere to step on to” that’s safe and clean, and if that was a luxury tender rather than a pier, they would be happy.

He criticised the recent business case undertaken by consultants to justify the project as he said it didn’t properly evaluate alternatives. The member said he believed the introduction of high end, multi-hull, glass top, comfortable, quality boats could be part of the travel experience for visitors.

“Cruise berthing does only one thing which is give the cruise lines greater control,” Miller warned, as he urged government to re-think the issue.

He questioned where the real benefits would be for Cayman’s tourism industry, as he said the cruise ships would still not stay overnight and there were no guarantees that it would translate into more business. He said what was needed was a full scale review of the experience, regulate what was happening at the terminals with the tour operator issues and beautify the area with more trees and greenery.

The independent member said he could not support the plan to develop cruise berthing piers and was concerned about the cost of the EIA, which was being paid out of the public purse, especially as there were no plans yet for the assessment to review.

“How can we do a $2.5 million EIA if we don’t know what we are building,” he asked, and raised concerns that once it was done, if the government presses on with the plans it may cost it another million dollars to update the plans and revise the assessment.

“Things can be done to greatly enhance the experience for a lot less and that’s what we should be doing,” Miller said as he pointed to many possibilities, including employing some of the country's senior citizens to dress up in traditional clothes and spend time helping and assisting arriving passengers and acting as tourism representatives.

In his two hour contribution Miller raised a catalogue of concerns with government and highlighted what he said was the continued disregard for the constitution, with the erosion of the Throne Speech and the emergence of a Policy Statement, as well as the Budget Address.

He pointed to his worries about the medical standards at the Health City hospital in East End as well as government’s failure to address the many problems relating to health insurance.

Miller railed about the excessive bureaucracy and incompetence people encountered dealing with and accessing government services and the MLA also begged for government to add a staff room and classrooms at the newly renamed Edna Moyle Primary School in his district as he pressed home his constituency needs.

He noted government’s failure to mention 'one man, one vote' in its legislative calendar for this financial year and warned the people that despite the PPM promise on the campaign trail, it was obvious that they were not going to bring in the change. By the time they got to the start of the 2015/16 financial year, the North Side member said, the government would be full of excuses about not enough time to make the change and teach people how to vote.

The failure by government to mention the introduction of a minimum wage did not get past Miller either, who has been a tireless advocate for the introduction of basic pay but whose constant efforts to press this government, and the last, to introduce it via various motions have been thwarted.

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Category: Politics

Comments (59)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Please show us DOT exit surveys and what percentage of cruise passengers say they like the tender ride vs those who do not like the tender ride and would rather piers.  Come on, show us!  Also show us where you gotthose figures about more tourists because of piers.  Show us why cruise lines will stay here longer.  Turtle Farm said they were going to get more customers with a beter facility and charge a higher fee to that expanded customer base.  You can put figures on paper and wish they were reality, but it is too late when you are in the hole and cannot see the rim at the top in order to get out.  So, plain and straight, show us how you arrived at the conclusions you have come to.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I was watching ezzard on tv and he called the cruise ship people REDNECKS

    He is so Gross

  3. Anonymous says:

    Focus on overnight tourism – not on pesty cruise ship passengers who may buy a $ 20 T-shirt!

    • Anonymous says:

      You are obviously ignorant to the amount of money that cruise passengrs really spend on island tors, the beach trips and Stingray City, not to mention the Turtle Farm and Dolphin parks, or the high end Jewelry stores.

      • Anonymous says:

        20:47, you are clearly ignorant.

        People book the Cayman tours (as they do for all the other islands) ON THE SHIP, and the ship takes 80%+, leaving crumbs to the tour operators.

        They dont spend any money on island, unless they are filthy rich (Carnival passenger? Yeah right!) or they haven't gone on an outrageously expensive tour with their families.

        Building piers is not the answer, these are going to make very little change to those that get off the ship.

        The piers are going to destroy the reef in GT and SMB is going to disappear due to the disruption of the currents.

        Add the dump destroying the North Sound and Stingray City to the mix and there will be no more cruise ships stopping here at all.

        People need to open their eyes, ears and thought process to what is going on around them.

         

        • Anonymous says:

          And while I am in agreement with you most people that take the tours on board actually do so to relieve themselves of having to worry about a criminal element where they go. The cruise line to a certain extent must evaluate people that they deal with afterall their reputation is at stake.

           

          On he other hand as a Caymanian I see the cruie lines a power and money hungry inividuals taking money from the poorer indiviuals in society.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Other paper has reported that Moses Kirkconnell has gone on the record as saying that the port is going ahead – that the time for debate is over, that a construction and design RFP will go out in August and award made in September – before the $2.5mln Port EIA is even completed by year end.  Discuss.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The Dump should be a priority!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Two hours of moaning from the niggardly Mr Miller.  That is the first time I have ever felt sorry for the MLAs.

  7. Whodatis says:

    Not only will the $200+ million port not be owned by the country, its ultimate benefits and proceeds will not go to Caymanians primarliy. A clear understanding of the cruise line industry tells us this.

    Granted, similar projects may have been implemented elsewhere, however they were in jurisdictions that have very little in common with Cayman in regards to economic status, currency strength, population ratio, standard of living, quality of infrastructure, tourism accolades etc.

    We tend to take pride in having one of the highest standards of living in the western hemisphere, yet at times like these we allow the powers-that-be to bamboozle us into believing that we are akin to the 3rd world nations across the way simply because we share the same waters?!

    Come on Cayman – we're better than this. Shake those colonial shackles off your mind, please! The year is 2014 – if it ain't ownership then it don't make sense.

    Furthermore, we ought to be focusing on our stayover tourism as that is the sector that carries the greatest potential to benefit a greater number of Caymanians. (However, that reality makes up a great portion of the selling point of the counter-argument.)

    If anything, we should focus on improving and extending our airport facilities with the ultimate aim of attracting more visitors via flights from Germany, Denmark, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, India etc. … you know – countries that are driving the global economy forward today and will do so tomorrow.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Really Ezzard…get a grip.

    Having senior citizens dress up in traditional clothes…welcome to Disneyland!

    The Cruise companies have said plain and simple that tenders will not do it for them. We either get piers or they will not continue to come. Unfortunately they have the bargaining power here…they can go elsewhere (and do).

    You can make a tender as pretty as you like but if the captain sees the swell in the sea he isn't going to offload passengers.

    You can beautify Georgetown as much as you like but if the passengers have to disembark at Spotts and be shuttled into town it isn't goig to be fun.

    A cruise passenger is going to remember sitting (wasting time and Cayman 'experience') under barely adequate shade canopies waiting for their boat much longer than how pretty the tender was.

    We may not have a good track record of negotiating good deals but simply telling the Cruise Operators that they are wrong is not going to do anythign to make them come more frequently.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I don't think someone who only gets 326 votes running against a convicted crack-head should be taken very seriously by anyone on anything.

    • Anonymous says:

      The proposed port will only benefit very few and mainly the merchant families yet we all will have to pay for it. Cayman cannot afford this project it is that simple.

      • Anonymous says:

        Couple the fact that the cruise ships will literally be at eye level with the dump when they pulll in to GT, the tourists will be tasting the dump from the top decks.

        Yep, I can see them all racing to get off the ships.

    • Anonymous says:

      Have respect for our elected MLA from NS. He's doing more to help Caymanians than most 

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. Miller I think you should focuss more on the disenfranchise Caymanians. Those that are having their jobs and businesses rail roaded by new comers into our islands.

      Fight to stop the selling off of certain industry to these foreigners, be it Caymanians fronting or not, it needs to stop.

      Leave the Port alone, we should never try to stiffle infrastructures for long term planning. 

    • Anonymous says:

      He did not run against a "convicted" crackhead. Be sensible enough to examine what Ezzard has to say on its own merits rather than dismissing it because he said it.   

    • Anonymous says:

      You sir, have won the prize for dumbest post in this article. You can pick up your award at the dump at 11pm on Wednesday. . Idiot

  10. Anonymous says:

    I STRONGLY SUPPORT EZZARD ON THIS

    Why spend so much money for a 15% increase in the shared market makes no sense. Upgrade our existing dock and it will do us find.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Yawn! Once again more hot air from Millar and no concrete suggestions. When will this man get a real job? He is a disgrace to the Islands

  12. A concerned citizen says:

    Mr. Miller I am a frequent cruiser. I have been to destinations with and without piers and I can guaranrtee you that more passengers go ashore on ports that have piers as opposed to those that don't. Isn't our goal to have as many passengers leave the ship to enjoy the true Caymanian expereince. They cannot support the local economy if they remain on the ship.  I have chosen cruises in the past that come to Cayman and sometimes the experience is horrifying for the passengers during less than ideal weather conditions. I have seen crew members of a cruise ship having to physically pick a passenger up to put her back on the ship, because  she was terrified to board using the gangway.

    Perhaps you should take a few cruises to see see for yourself, how this all works. It is either we are in the cruise business or we are out. 

    Just my two bits.

    • Anonymous says:

      If all of the punters on the ship got off, there ain't NO "Caymanian experience" t be had by anyone. It is already choked as it is when there are 3-5 ships in port. I keep seing the descrption 'sleely little island'. The cruise industry changes everything about every country that they build  port in. It becomes just that. A cruise ship port.

      Sorry but you get a thumbs down from me.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am a frequent cruiser too and have stopped at destinations using tenders. They advise passengers up front on the weather conditions so you have a choice. It takes awhile longer to load with people in walkers :-).  It's all part of the experience and quite frankly the few that don't go on shore doesn't justify spending millions on cruise berthing facilities. 

  13. Anonymous says:

    I must agree with Ezzard on the cruise berthing facility.

    It has been discussed for over a decade with nothing done and perhaps that is a good thing.

    Rebuild downtown George Town make the boardwalk along the waterfront plant some trees and clean things up.

    The cruise ship companies don't care about Cayman rather just their bottom line. Stand up to them for once.

    Sniveling is not a good negotiating position to take with the cruise ship industry.

    • Anonymous says:

      Reply to 07.43

       

      You are absolutely correct , the Cruise ship industry does not particularly care about the Cayman Islands,what it does care about, is that  passengershave   the best experience at the variious destinations they visit and sell,not forgetting that cruising is a multi billion doller industry,and the various cruise lines are in it to make money,bottom line,its a business like any other.

      Cayman really needs to stop pussy footing arround,get with the times,get proper piers in place or build a dock,go look at Nassau. it's roughly the same size as Cayman,no awful tenders needed there. 

      Its  a horrible experience in Cayman,to wait in that blistering hot sun for a tender,leaves a bad memory . Maybe the various cruise lines will get fed up with Caymans non commitment,and just  delete it from it's  ports of call.

       

      • Grandfather Troll says:

        "Maybe the various cruise lines will get fed up with Caymans non commitment, and just  delete it from it's  ports of call."

        I wish they would!!!   Upgrade the airport and get quality tourists.

        • Anonymous says:

          Do you know how much comes in by way of berthing fees? Throwing that away before we have a substitute is a recipe for disaster

  14. Anonymous says:

    He might also have observed that, despite making vague promises about future arrivals, the cruise industry has to date showed absolutely no serious interest in becoming a partner in buildng the proposed dock. I would have thought by now that should have started a few warning bells ringing.

    What point is there in spending money on an EIA when there isn't even a viable cost/benefit assessment or feasibility study available? So far all the figures being quoted seem to have been plucked out of thin air then spun to fit whatever case was being made at the time.

    Before this fiasco goes on any further someone needs to go to the cruise operators and get a firm (as in legally binding) committment that, even if they will not put any money into the project, they will guarantee to use it at a level sufficient and for long enough to cover the costs. It's no good putting money we don't have into a project this size without getting the potential customers signed up first.  

     

     

  15. Anonymous says:

    Nicely said Ezzard

  16. Coconutz says:

    Mr. Miller, I'll tell you how they can spend 2.5 million on an EIA – simply, and without a second thought.  It's not theirs and they couldn't care less how much they waste.  One more thing that Alden et al can pat themselves on the shoulders about.

  17. West Bay Voter says:

    I have to agree with Ezzard on this. There are many ways the cruise tourist experience could be enhanced without spending money that we don't have on cruise piers, and in the process, running the risk of doing extreme harm to seven mile beach and our marine environment overall. The tourist will also probably appreciate our commitment to save the environment. 

  18. Laughable says:

    Ezzard, have you done ANY research? The new class ships are NOT being built with tenders so the only ships that would stop here will be the outdated cheap $399 per person cruisers who do not spend $.  This has been a silly political football and I think St.Kitts is a good example to follow (simple dock forget the massive cronyism retail plan) this time wasting to see how Retailers and Casino wannabes are doing this country a dis-service.

    just build a SIMPLE dock and get on with it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Reality check needed here. The new class ships will never be used on routes including the Cayman Islands because we are, and always will be, part of the $399 itinerary. 

      • Anonymous says:

        The only reason Cayman is getting the $399 passenger is we cannot accommodate the newer larger ships that bring the more affluent passengers that spend money. The older ships are being transitioned to destinations newer to the cruise business without the infrastructure or experience of the older destinations like Cayman.  Ezzard does not understand economics, without the better customers Cayman losses on all the duty paid on merchandise sold. There will be more empty buildings and the ones that are open will be paying much lower rents. GT is already a ghost town now we have cheaper stores they will not be able to sell the higher end goods giving Cayman an even cheaper feel.  Chasing even more affluent customers away and the money they spend. Now there will not be as many Caymanians employed downtown.  Look and see how many vacant offices there are in GT now and the price of rents on the ones that are occupied are down as much as 50% from 5 or 6 years ago. More will move to Camana Bay and leave GT, similar to a Detroit. Look now at the crime  now at night, if you really think Cayman Government can put a few million dollars into GT and compete with a Camana Bay that costs $600 million. Lets look at the schools Dart built the school in Camana Bay for under $40 million what did Cayman spend? Where would you send you kids if you had the chance?  The dock is the only way to bring the money in to revitalize George Town. God Bless Cayman.  Last but not least, older Caymanians in the hot sun in costumes all day come on we can see there is not much thought going on here just more uneducated hot air.  

        • Anonymous says:

          12:39 – prove it! The cruise lines have no interest in using thenext generation of vessels on places like Grand Cayman or making any long term committment to continuing to use the island as a destination. Check out the itineraries or, better still, talk to someone who actually works in the industry before posting nonsense like this.

  19. Anonymous says:

    As a West Bay voter, I haveto say, pleasantly surprised with the independent member today.

    • Anonymous says:

      Judging by your comment, we can all still see that the WB voters still haven't taken their heads out the sand.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I agree with you MR.Miller

     

  21. Just Sayin' says:

    Ezzard for Premier, no wait, King of this sovereign banana republic.
    I don’t. Know about the rest of you but I, for one, am sick and tired of the prosperity we have endured for decades!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard, sometimes you can really make sense.  You are absolutely right.  No matter who does the piers, as long as it isn't Cayman's money building it, they will have control.  And when you think of it, building 2 piers for 200 million dollars, we will become pawns for the cruise lines.  We will have to hang on to every word they say.  No longer will we be in a position of strength.  We will need them so desperately that it won't be funny.  Another Turtle Farm in the making, only 100 times worse.

  23. 4Cayman says:

    Mr.  Miller a great speech and I concur with your recommendations 100% especially the idea of providing employment for retirees as Ambassadors to these islands. Better to give them work to support themselves than to be a burden on social services.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Hear hear Mr. Miller. All excellent points!

  25. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Ezzard on this. urbread and butter nst in the sea port but the airport!

    If the Kirkonell's want it or Dart, let them build it!! It would be high time the "prestigious famlies" give something back to cayman!

  26. Anonymous says:

    I like Ezzard. He is, and always will be the best possible person to lead the opposition. 

  27. Walmartian says:

    Since Ezzzz is now in his 60s, maybe we could use him as the first senior citizen greeter. He would have to take some courses on being friendly to foreigners though.

  28. Annie says:

    Some of his ideas are really positive. I like the idea of employing seniors, and glassbottom tenders. That could really be a unique experience. I like that Ezzard is thinking creatively, and positively, and for once not bashing expats. But….I know that weneed at least one finger dock.