No EIA for cruise berths

| 11/08/2009

(CNS): The development of cruise berth facilities will not be held up by an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), the Leader of government business has revealed.  Plans for the development of the George Town Port have now been changed to just a cruise development, with cargo now proposed to go East, but there will be no major EIA conducted to assess either the impact on the immediate marine environment, which is Seven Mile Beach, or the socio-economic impact on the land environment of the development.

Expressing his desire to get a cruise berth project up and running under a private financing initiative as soon as possible, McKeeva Bush said on Monday that there was no need to wait for a major EIA as the George Town marine harbour was already destroyed, and provided no structure was allowed to be built that would affect the currents, Seven Mile Beach would not be at risk. “The cruise port must be done now,” he said. “We can’t wait for these studies. We know the area is a disaster already and not an environmental zone.”

Bush said that by securing a cruise berth development under a private finance initiative it would create jobs and stimulate the economy without government have to pay anything until later. He added that the country could not afford to get tied down in arguments about it and have people who wanted to throw themselves down in front of bulldozers — referring to East End MLA Arden McLean who told Net News this week that if the UDP government tried to develop a cargo port in East End he would do just that.

Although not offering details of where and how the cargo port will be developed, Bush did say he intended to separate the two and develop the cargo port in the eastern districts. “Cayman needs a new cargo port but we can’t build that in George Town — the two don’t go together. George Town has to be a Mecca for tourism with nice streets,” the LoGB added.

He said the next best place, if people don’t think that it should happen in the North Sound (a private proposal by McAlpine several years ago), is East End or Breakers. Bush said he hoped to develop home porting, transhipment facilities and a mega yacht marina within the cargo port development and probably move the oil terminals there as well.

“Had we done those things in the past Cayman would not be suffering today,” he said stressing the urgency of development. Bush said that as Cuba was opening up Cayman had to act fast. “We can’t listen to the yappers” he added, referring to those who might be opposed to the developments, as he said the interest of the country was at stake.

However, a number of environmentally concerned people, who did not consider themselves ‘yappers’ but who wished to remain anonymous, told CNS that developing the pristine waters in the eastern districts for an industrial port would be a potential disaster. They noted that the quality of the reefs and the water on that side of the island was what attracted divers to the islands and that to consider that scale of industrial development out there would be a tragedy. Some said they would indeed be willing to put themselves in the path of the bulldozers if it came to it.

Not ready to commit to the bulldozer, but certainly against the development of a cargo port in the east and concerned about the lack of an EIA for the cruise development, the former minister for tourism and environment, Charles Clifford, told CNS that despite the poor environmental state of the George Town Harbour, an EIA was still  essential.

“Not to undertake an EIA is a huge mistake as we won’t be able to measure the extent of the impact or, more importantly, how to mitigate it during the construction. The EIA would influence the method of construction and the materials used to minimize environmental damage,” he said.  Clifford noted that under the proposal he had put together there had been a considerable amount of time spent soliciting input from stakeholders, in what he described as difficult meetings, who had shown very real concerns about the overall impact of the project.

“I hope those same individuals will demand an opportunity to discuss the proposal that the UDP government comes up with,” Clifford added saying that there were other implications. “The EIA was also about the impact of the development on George Town itself and the socio-economic implications on residents and business owners.”

Lamenting the idea of going east with the cargo port, which Clifford said simply has to be in George Town, he wondered if Bush had read the Go East policy document and noted that the development of an industrial port in the east would undermine any hope of developing tourism in the eastern districts. “I believe Mr Bush needs to stop blabbering and use some common sense with regard to the port development,” Clifford added.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    East Enders, you mark my word soon Big Mac will propose to move the dump o East End, don’t be fool.  Mac is only feeling you all out.  Mark my word today August 13, 2009

    • Me says:

      You don’t have to tell me that…there have been rumours about putting both the airport and the dump up there…it don’t rest easy with me.

      No dump is going to be placed on top of the Cayma Islands water table if I have anything to do with it! Just like I na going stand by and watch him try put a dock up there!

  2. Anonymous says:

    East Ender for the Port Poster, you need to sit yourself down.  WE DON’T WANT IT UP HERE. 

    Big Mac you want everything for West Bay, put the dock in West Bay.

     

  3. Anonymous says:

    First of all Mac is suspending the CUC deal to save Govt money but take more money from the people. I guess he’s using the money to build the new port which we do not need at this stage. Caymanians are out numbered in OUR island. We have no say in anything. It is us the REAL Caymanians NOT PAPER Caymanians who are suffering! UDP does not care about us. Why do you all think its so hard to get a job? Let me give you the answer – work permits and status grants (which also include the family members who came here!) I am sick of this bull! I am young Caymanian and I am sick and d of it! We NEeD to take our islan

  4. Plain Common Sense. says:

    I find it really funny that all of the dangerous, industrial, polluting things can blissfully stay in the centre of Town with our tourists but somehow if they are put inland in East End that is the end of the world. Nothing significant is going to change at the port that does not currently exist in the middle of our capital. No great increase in containers, or ships, or noise, nor exploding fuel to kill the inhabitants. It is far more likely to have the poor Montessori school go up in smoke in South Sound than anyone in East End 2 miles away from the proposed site! That is a fact.

    Folks let us get serious and forget the PPM/UDP nonsense…we Caymanians need to do what is best for our long term growth and development. I agree we need to do an EIA study but these arguments being irrationally put forward seem more politically motivated than based on true reason. Let us continue this debate but not at this amateur level….let’s move ahead.

    Now…here is how I see it:

    1. the port needs to be in an area with deep water access, ideally protected from norwesters and hurricane waves.

    2. The port requires land to properly deal with the containers and movement of same. Also requires land for expansion as population increases.

    3. Port needs land that is relatively free from residents or development so to minimize any disruption to them.

    4. The port should have good road access to the population, etc.

    5. The port should accommodate ships large enough to allow efficient loads, which will allow better shipping costs. Case in point, containers to and from jamaica are half price of Cayman–partly because they have exports but also because of larger ships.

    6. the port should be able to store regular and refrigerated containers without having to distribute them immediately.

    7. The port should be able to be secured to the new international standards, not allowing public access to the property.

    8. the port should be designed to be operated efficiently, ideally in the day when labour and insurance rates are 40 % less.

    9.The port should not mix pedestrians with the trucking and container movement.-obviously.

    If I thought longer I could probably come up with some more items.

    Now UDPers and PPMers….tell me…how do you see the port in George Town fitting any of that description or functionality??

    I know change is difficult but the silly discussion on this website that seems to be a lot of politically motivated techno babble needs to stop and we need to get to the real issues of building this country for the future. lets us discuss these issues and see if we can find a real solution…The elections are over, all hands on deck please.

    • Anonymous says:

      Plain Common Sense, I don’t see anything "funny" when what is being proposed will disrupt the whole rythm of the Island, adding more stress to our already frazzled lives.

      quote "I find it really funny that all of the dangerous, industrial, polluting things can blissfully stay in the centre of Town with our tourists "

      Is that all it is about? Our tourists? What about us who live here?

      Ironically I agree with most of your points…The port now fulfills most of what you mention.

      Looks like we are hell-bent on developing everything in sight until the shoreline stops us. We are a small island with an infinite future ahead of us. Lets take our time and pace this out.

    • Anonymous says:

      My comments at least have nothing to do with partisan politics and EVERYTHING to do with commonsense. Clearly you are trying to sell this for your political masters. There is no natural port in EE to protect  against Norwesters and Hurricane Waves. Did you visit EE after Hurricane Ivan?  Do you understand the envrionment damage that would be done to create one? Do you understand that the tourist industry (hotels, diving operations) would be adversely affected? Do you understand that this would have the effect of significantly increasing the costs of goods? These are not irrational arguments. Cut the crap.

      BTW what on earth does "the port should not mix pedestrians with the trucking and container movement" mean?     

       

  5. Anonymous says:

    So let me get this straight—- we are going to destroy our main, if not , only natural resource – our environment to bring more cruise ship passengers to our shores who ironically seek our island because of the high standard we have managed to maintain this said resource?  What do you think will happen when we destroy our main natural resource?? The cruise ships will bypass us quicker than they did Mexico who had the swine flu outbreak. We will be cut out of itinerary and those same cruise ships will be flocking to the more pristine and beautiful islands whose leaders had foresight to plan and think ahead and not make stupid decisions in a mad panic.

    Come on Mac get real! Stop spouting off at the mouth before thinking. It’s not a good look.

    People of cayman I hope this is not going to be yet another issue where we kick up a fuss for a hot minute and then crawl back into our holes. Enough is enough with this non-sense already.

  6. Someone please tell me that this is some kind of misunderstanding.  I cannot fathom any leader of any developed country saying they would proceed with such a major project without first assessing the environmental impacts. But if it is true, then the government in the Cayman Islands needs to get into the 21st century and understand that what they fail to do today will seriously impact many, many generations to come.

    The sea has been this Island’s livelihood since it was first settled.  Serious mistakes have been made before because people ignored the potential impact of their decisions on the environment (which by the way = our livelihood) – destroying the turtling industry by fishing out too many turtles, for instance.  But aren’t we more educated than that now?  I cannot believe anyone, especially the leader of a beautiful country with so much to offer in the way of fishing and diving and other watersports, would allow the construction of a cruise ship berth to destroy it.  Please tell me cruise ship passengers are adventurous enough to step off a big boat onto a smaller boat.  If they aren’t, maybe they shouldn’t be travelling.

    Take a stand on this cruise ship berthing issue, Cayman Islands Government.  We’ll be respected for being a country that decides it’s not worth destroying our marine environment for the sake of a few.

  7. Anonymous says:

    To the uninformed poster who said that Chuckie didn’t have a coastal works permits for the Coe Wood Public Beach project – you shouldn’t open your ignorant UDP mouth without the facts !!!

    Not only did the Cabinet approve the coastal works permit for the Coe Wood Public Beach, but the permit was also posted and displayed on the site for ALL interested parties to see !!!

    You see the PPM Government is a law abiding government. Can you honestly say the same about your UDP government ? Allow me to answer that for you since you couldn’t possibly answer that question truthfully – NO !!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    This is the most ridiculous and short sighted thing have heard. A duly elected minister and self appointed Dictator making decisions he is not qualified to make, or is he also a self appointed environmental expert.  It is all about the money.  I wonder whose pockets it is going into.

     Do the study; let the people know the results.  Build if it can be done and preserve Cayman, don’t if it can’t.  This is the ethical way to do it.

    • Anonymous says:




      Actually. In this time of worldwide economic upheaval and at a time when our Govt is straddled with debt and having to borrow funds to pay recurrent expenses and ongoing projects – Do we really need to get indebted further by interfering with the port facilities? 

       

      It is working well as far as I can see. Will new port facilities bring more tourism dollars to Cayman? Or take away what we are already getting? The ‘off-load by tender system’ is one of the few ways that Caymanians get a piece of  the tourism action. This cruise tender service is owned by Caymanians who have invested heavily in infrastructure and provides employment, pay import duties on the fuel they use, and all the other economic benefits that results from the service they provide.

       

      The cruise tourists are really not spending very much as is and I see restaurant revenues for example declining because if the tourists can simply walk back aboard the boat for free lunch – why would they patronize onshore food establishments? That’s just one of many examples of setbacks to local businesses that will result.

       

      As far as the relocation of the Port to East End – this will serve to increase costs for everything we consume because of the added fuel expenses transporting containers to George Town, because of the wear and tear on our fragile road system, AND because of all the increased costs of these new facilities.

       

      We have a lot of pressing needs in our society that should be addressed. Too many to be listed here. Please don’t go fixing things that are not broken.

  9. East Ender for the Port says:

    I am an East Ender and lots of people up here want the port project. With the port comes roads and even quicker drives home. Arden only speaking for some.

    It is not fair for me to get a job in my country I have to drive all the way to George Town or even WB. My children are in the car for over 2 hours per day just trying to get to school. We need jobs and opportunity up here too. I remind you that Arden only got support from 300 folks up here and thus cannot speak for everyone. It is blind of him to object to something he has not seen–only irrational people do things like that.

    It is a pipe dream that one would think that East End will stay just the way it is now….i do believe that we need to make sure as East Enders that the Port is done properly. Finally the Government is doing some planning for the future.

    I am also sure that while the project is being planned at then Government can do the relative studies

    • Me says:

      There are just over 500 registered voters in East End…just to put it in context

      • Anonymous says:

        Correct. Arden was the only PPM member to get a majority of registered voters (not just of those who voted) in his district.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ifyou are really an East Ender then you need your head examined.  Bush & Co only want the port in EE because they do not value EE, not because they want to provide jobs to EEers. There is no natural port there and they will do incredible environmental damage that destroys any potential for developing tourism in that area. They also want to put the fuel storage tanks there.  Why? Because if they explode EEers are expendible.

      "It is blind of him to object to something he has not seen–only irrational people do things like that"

      Huh? Only irrational people fail to consider all of the implications of such a project – not only whether there could be employment opportunities and more roads.  That is the reason for such things as EIAs. You don’t plan the port and then do studies. You do the studies to decide whether such a port is feasible.

      "With the port comes roads". More like with the Port comes increased traffic, including heavy industrial traffic, noise and pollution. Having to transport imports from EE to GT will only make them more expensive to the consumer.   

  10. Caymanians for long range Planning says:

    Keeping the cargo port in George Town is a crazy idea. In 30 years are we still going to be running containers through George Town? If it cannot go in the North Sound(which is the best location technically) it needs to go to East End. Arden can talk any nonsense…he has it made with his $10.000 per month salary …let some of the poor land owners in East End get something now…Arden please stop displaying your hardheadedness! You spent $160M on roads adding to the situation we have now…let real progress happen.

    Chuckie??…He should remain quiet too…he started the Coe Wood Beach excavation without a EIA and even without Coastal Works Permission!!! and he was the Minister of Environment!! He needs to find a job and keep quiet….his government made a mess and he did the least of them all. He held up enough progress when he was there in Government…go away…you were rejected at the polls.

    Far too much noise from two empty barrels!!!

    • Me says:

      Let the poor land owners in East End get something? If you were not aware the land that it is proposed to be developed is owned by Joe Imparato…no poor land owners will be getting anything out of that

    • Anonymous says:

      Can you blame Mr. McLean for wanting to preserve the environment. Look at the amount of mangroves already destroyed due to greedy bastards having no respect for the environment. Hell, you people swear this place is as big as Cuba or Jamaica! 

      A port in the North Sound? Maybe they should build it through your yard! God put our mangroves there for a reason. Respect it, or we will pay the price in the long run. 

      http://www.nationaltrust.org.ky/info/centralmangrove.html

  11. Please! says:

    Please Governor intervene, stop this madness and impose and EIA.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I think the port dock should go West Bay!

  13. Anonymous says:

    The EIA was in progress when Mr. Bush took office…..why don’t you ask Mr. Bush what he did with the EIA when he took office.

    The EIA which Mr. Clifford started included very detailed terms of reference that included everything from the marine environment to the onshore environment to the socio-economic impact on GT businesses (both positive and negative). So ask McKeeva what he did with the EIA.

    I cantell you that there are a lot of upset employees in the Department of Environment because of the UDP’s attititude towards the environment. Minister Scotland has been given responsibility for the environment because he won’t dare open his mouth in opposition or the Dictator will push him back down on the backbench and bring Ellio up !!!!

     

  14. Anonymous says:

    Mac makes the rulers up as he goes along. Thats nothing new.

  15. Anonymous says:

    This is the kind of non-sense why we need proper leaders. We need Rolston and the other Ministers to pull the LOGB aside and explain that despite his intentions they are right ways and wrong ways of doing things. As much as I am sick of the status grants debate this is the same principle an important decision desperately has to be made and he actually has the cohones to make a decision unlike the previous LOGB but he does it rash without any foresight and proper planning and without following the RULES!!!

    Mr. Bush has to learn proper protocol, respect and tact!!!!

    One thing Caymanians do well is remind our politicians every four years who is in charge, it would do Mr Bush very well to remember this fact!!!!! Stop the bullying it is NOT effective!!!

     

    • Me says:

      He doesn’t have respect for proper protocol, and tact….so he won’t learn it.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I like Mr. Cliffords comments….. at least he has the guts to tell Mr. Bush how it go.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The LOGB needs to come back down to earth if he feels as though he can go throw with developing a birthing facility without a proper EIA. I’ve agreed with many of the things that he has proposed so far but this is rediculous. If you are going to conduct a project like a cruise berthing facility, then an EIA ABSOLUTELY MUST be conducted. If we don’t conduct an EIA with this project then who is going to force any other developer in to conducting and EIA. They can simply say ‘Well the government didn’t do one so why do I have to?’. This is BY FAR the most foolish suggestion that Mr. Bush has made since being the new leader.

    Now with that being said I find it funny that Mr. Clifford would think that he is in any position to say anything. Last time I checked Mr. Clifford dished out $35,000-$45,000 to an overseas company to conduct an EIA when he proposed the cargo and berthing facilities. My question to Mr. Clifford is what happened to that EIA. Where is the $35K? Ifwe can have the results from that assessment then maybe Mr. Bush doesn’t need to do an assessment.

  18. MEaMama says:

    Not saying that there should not be a dock in east end, but I wonder if the rest of the people in this country should say they will be political prisoners if anything  that will help the employment  of their people should lay down as political prisoners also, the big up attitude of Arden sounded so stupid, you wonder if he has started to campaign already for 2013.

    I dont know if there is other areas that is suitable for a cargo dock it is needed as we all know, Mr.David Foster had a brilliant idea, to use the dock daily for cruise ships and at night to unload freight, get it moving, since they have the dock side now spruced up for cruise ships why not move the cargo area and give Arden control of it, maybe he wont be so angry seeing he has nothing to brag about now. That is still part of his buddy Chuckies go east inititive, guess it was ok then.

  19. Paradise lost says:

    Wow, little concern for those above the waves, now even less concern for those below.  If bigga mac wants a banana republic, then a banana republic bigga mac gets.

    What the h*ll is happening to our paradise???? 

  20. Anonymous says:

    My, my, my. What next to come from this man’s mouth?

    What can I say? I am certainly not a "yapper", but sometimes with this sort of stuff we all need to get yapping!!

    So when he comes to Breakers/East End there will be no EIS either. "We must hurry! No time to waste!"

    Let us try to remember that Cayman is not the size of Cuba, nor Florida,  not even Texas. The locals are already outnumbered. When every birch tree is rooted up and paved over, Breakers barren, East End ended, container trucks driving the length of the island day in and day out, what next? WHAT NEXT????

    This little rock is the only place in the world I can truly call home, and by God, I want it to remain my home.

    "There is no calamity greater than lavish desires.

    There is no greater guilt than discontentment.

    And there is no greater disaster than greed."

    -Lao-Tzu

  21. Anonymous says:

    I support moving the cargo port out of George Town and think it is the best for the future of the country. Those whe plan to lay down before the bulldozers are selfish and complain about jobs and costs but don’t accept that these things come with a cost.

    EIA are necessary for all major projects and the DoE need a strong role in the process.

    Those at the DoE sponsored meeting last year knew that no one wants the cargo port in George Town, except Charles Clifford.

    • Me says:

      We’re selfish for not wanting to start an industrial revolution in East End?? Is that the only way to provide jobs for those of us who need them? I know that can’t be right.

      I hope you will be happy when the prices shoot up, not only because of the trucking distance from up there, but also because of the development costs that  WILL be passed on to us.

      George Town is the ONLY place that makes sense to have the dock and the airport (yea, he plans to move the airport to East End too).

  22. Anonymous says:

    This is all, respectfully, what we call utter bollocks.  Chuckie knows he was hardly doing justice to the idea of an EIA.  Arden knows full well that a proposed cargo port would not go in ‘East End’ proper.  McKeeva is the biggest yapper of them all.

    The only thing is that is certain is that there should be no cargo port in George Town.  Every other option has drawbacks that are more tolerable and it should be noted that McKeeva as the ‘Father of the House’ and person with most ministerial time in his career must take his (rather large) share of the blame for the situation.

    George Town should not, however, become a ‘Mecca for tourism’.  We have enough tacky crap as it is.  All those old ugly buildings need to be torn down and replaced with attractive, modern office buildings with retail on the ground floor – a ‘Mecca for BUSINESS’.  That is how we will drum up genuine interest in Cayman.  "You really have to go see George Town – it’s like a little New York!"  We will all love it because of the improvement to services and infrastructure, and the rest of the country can stay quaint and small.  Except High Rock, which will have to become a port.  Too bad.  We have plenty of dive sites.  Tell them to go to Little Cayman.  They don’t spend money anyway.

  23. Stupidity says:

    Risk our losing main asset, Seven Mile Beach, forever, our avoid a short delay on starting a crusing berth which we canot afford to start building right now.  Mmmm.  Whose money has been doing the talkingt his time?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Here we go again.

    Mack must be listening to the local Australians on this one.

    Too bad he cant see the light at the end of the Tunnel.

    There is only one place suitable for Port development on Grand Cayman. The almighty gave us a natural place to build our Port and Harbour. Open your eyes and stop dreaming along with the dreamers hanging on to your coat tail.

  25. Me says:

    For those who oppose a cargo dock in East End, please visit and join the facebook group through the following link :

    http://www.facebook.com/photo_search.php?oid=145345275008&view=user#/group.php?gid=145345275008&ref=nf

    The East End people are not going to take this laying down. We DON’T want it there, and anyone who knows the East Enders know that we are a force to be reckoned with!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Governor JACK lets implement the new constitution without delay so that we can initiate a referendum to remove this rogue government !!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Remove them and replace them with what. The PPM??????

    • Anonymous says:

      “We can’t listen to the yappers”

      Fi Real…build it and thety will come.

  27. Anonymous says:

    With all this rhetoric coming from the mouth of the LOGB i am wondering if he is not in need of a brain assessment? To be so blatant and not to worry about the damage or the wishes of the caymanian people tells me we have our first dictator not premier on our hands.

    Are you in such a rush because you promised your rich buddies a big piece of the pie with returns in your favor like the Ritz deal?

    Little Mac I think you need to step down and spend more time in church because you already sold us out with your status grants and we will not sit idly by to let your selfish greed get the better of us. There are alot of us that are willing to do more than lie down in front of heavy equipment.

  28. Anonymous says:

    He no change

    • Anonymous says:

      I hope that you did not think he had or would. Mac has always only looked at the "now" and the money to be made. In his 25+ years as an MLA/Minister this has always been the case. This type of thinking is why we now need 3 high schools/community centres/hurricane shelters. Future planning does not cut it in his view.

  29. Anonymous says:

    a complete travesty… Driven by legacy and fueled by ignorance!!