Bernie defends Stingray City floating restaurant

| 11/01/2010

(CNS): Critics of the floating Sandbar-bar have missed the major point regarding the planned project the licence holder has told CNS. Bernie Bush says his boat will be providing food to patrons around Stingray City and not just alcohol. The deputy director of Pirates Week and local small business man Bush said that the goal was to serve small, high quality, tapas like dishes of local food prepared by local chefs to give visitors a real taste of Cayman. He said that the alcohol license was secondary to the food and that even if that had been turned down he would still have gone ahead with what he says is a restaurant, not a bar.

“The one thing that the critics have missed is that this is a restaurant and I want to showcase Cayman food to people and give them a chance to try things they ordinarily wouldn’t do. People get hungry too when they are out on the water and there is no where for people to get food while they visit but yet everyone is already drinking out there,” Bush added.

He said that though at least four of the tour operators have licensed boats that are serving alcohol none of them are offering food and he said that his initiative would tap into that market. He said that from the very beginning he wanted to make sure that the restaurant would not have a detrimental environmental impact on the area and everything he will be using from plates to cutlery will be bio-degradable and drinks will be served in souvenir cups. He said he will have a waste area on the boat and that he intends to make sure that he collects not only all the garbage generated by his restaurant but also that left behind by other boats.

“The objectors are missing the point and those who started the petition against it are making this look like ex-pats against Caymanians and it shouldn’t be like that,” he said adding he suspected some of the characters involved have hidden agendas. “For every signature on their petition I can get the same number of people who support me. Not all of this is about genuine environmental objection it’s getting personal.”

Acknowledging that it is a Wildlife Interaction Zone that has special protection, Bush said he could understand why some people would like to see alcohol banned from the area altogether. But as so many boats already had licences and with people taking their own drinks on private boats our there especially at weekends he said what he proposed to do was at least offer food into that mix.

“The boat won’t be right on the Sandbar it will be anchored a little way off and won’t interfere with the rays,” he added saying the boat was not going to be a permanent fixture but would go out with the tour boats or at weekends when there were high numbers of local boaters out and he would sell small portions of what he said he would be great food.

 “I hope to further the experience of those coming to Cayman and give them a taste of some of our best local dishes. At the moment we already have the booze out there what we don’t have is food.”

Bush said that sooner or later someone was going to want to do this and he was certain that it would end up being one of the big firms which is why he kept his project under wraps until he was ready to go as he didn’t want to be squeezed out before he got started.

“I am confident that we have covered every issue from the safety to environment and that this will enhance the experience that visitors have when they come to Stingray City,” Bush stated. “Everyone knows me I am not going to do anything to hurt my country.”


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  1. Anonymous says:

     I say let the people vote.


    Get a petition Bernie. Let the Caymanian people speak. Exclude the expats. You still won’t win!  The people of Cayman love their islands. Your plan will help destroy an already fragile ecosystem.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Which morons on the board approved this venture?  It is a terrible idea to go and encroach on nature.  I as a Caymanianwill not be supporting this idea, especially knowing that the prices will be outrageous considering the price of fuel for the boating facility or bar whatever you call it.  This is not even considering the danger to the environment.  Mr. Bush, you appear to be a selfish person and if you go ahead with this, I will never respect you again.  Mr. Premier Bush, you must stop this nonsense.  All that is needed is a drunk tourist going after a stingray and getting stung.  Next thing you know the international media will be all over it and Mr. Bernie Bush will be sued to the eyeballs and Cayman’s reputation will be in shambles, as if we need it.  Please rethink your plan and think about country and not yourself.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Bernie it looks like if you take the time and money to "babysit" the children its ok, but if you try and make money these people see you as a bad man. The alcohol is simply the easy issue for them to try and prevent you from entering the tourism industry.

  4. Anonymous says:

    All this will do is increase the amount of trash and pollution at the sandbar… and increase the rate of drunk boat driving…

    Unfortunately if there is money to be made then the politicians will let this XXX man go ahead with his scheme… XXXXXX

    I am so angry at this abomination to one of the few natural wonders of Cayman.

    As a four generation Caymanian nothing pleases me more than to go out to the sandbar on a quiet Sunday afternoon and feed the stingrays… It shouldn’t be like going to the local club or restaurant for that matter- Rum Point is just a few mintues away for food and drink. Make them go there if they want some sustenance

  5. I own a dog says:

    Is this not the same person that said – “I have been a strong advocate for the educational development of young Caymanians for a long time and intend to continue to push for this, as a representative of the people.” and “I believe our Government must be diligent about providing a wide range of youth programmes, facilities, recreational activities and the opportunities and environment in which our young people can succeed and realise their full potential.” ????

    So pushing a bar on the sand bar can "suceed and realise" our youths potenial???

    Am I the only one who thinks this is a bit of an………………….!

    Way to go Bernie!!!! Just the role model our youth need.



  6. Anonymous says:

    Mr Bush ,

    You Must be Crazy to do this …. you want people to get drunk in water and then not be ableto swim if some thing happens and then just die.

    Booze and Sea dont make a good Combination.

    • Anonymous says:

      For an aspiring politician I would have taught that Bernie would have acted more responsible and shown more respect for the environment and our beautiful Cayman Islands. This venture is a disaster waiting to happen as people get drunk and drive their water crafts under the influence. Pray that nothing like that happens and we end up saying: I told ya so!

      • Anonymous says:

        …… you mean a "former" aspiring politician, because after 0-3 I would suspect that any aspirations of politics as a career for Mr. Bush is over.0-3 is not a good record!

        • Anonymous says:

          You don’t know history. Check the salary of the Speaker of The House who took a 6-love in political elections. You just gotta love a domino player who doesn’t give up until the last card is played.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I think this is the worse idea that has ever been proposed on the island.  I am not a resident, but I visit quite often, and this is just bad.  Cayman is so beauttiful especially that part of the island and that part of the waters, this almost makes it commercialized and that is not why people flock to this area day after day, and weekend after weekend.  I think most would agree this is a horrible idea.

  8. Captiain Kayman says:

    Not  EXPAT vs. CAYMANIAN; rather those who have learned the hard way that you never get a chance to go back make things like they were vs. those only in it for $hort -term personal gain.

    How many proper Caymanians want to go see the wonder that is Niagara Falls?  

    Ask any Canadian or American what they think about how this natural wonder.  What you will most likely hear, after they roll their eyes, is that it has been over-commercialised and turned in to the poster child of the entrepreneurial spirit gone overboard (well, at least those who don’t think it is an ideal honeymoon destination). For many is has become a stereotypical example of when the entrepreneurial spirit runs roughshod over nature.

    I am sure the situation that createdthe cliché that is now Niagara Falls started off innocently enough, probably with a young lad just wanting to make a few bucks satisfying the hunger, thirst or need for lodging of tourists.

    If this is what we want to turn Cayman into than so be it.  We all really know Bernie is just trying to stake his claim to the prime territory and set-up shop to be able to service the cruise ships when the North Sound Channel is created. 

    Peace and Think,

    Captain Kayman

  9. Anonymous says:

    Bernie this for your attention:

    I have always know you as an Individual in the destrict of West Bay who the Youth other looked up to.

    And in respect to Football Association and other Sports..etc.

    and also helped other espically the young adult in the right way, and I do believe too that you would discourage the Youth to keep away from drugs.e.t.c.

    Have you changed your standards now? ….. a floating  Bar? how stupid!!

    Have you gave much taught on the following

    1.)Insurance (as you know those tourist loves a good Law -Suit)

    2.) Ambulance Services"???


  10. Anonymous says:

    I dread to think how Mr. Bush intends to advertise his floating bar and restraurant.  In my minds eye I can see the signage, the Caybrew flags and the flashing lights bobbing up and down in North Sound all day long.  There are certain things the Authorities should not allow to be exploited for personal gain — even a Caymanians personal gain — and it’s clear that many people who love the natural beauty of the Cayman Islands believe that Stingray City is one of them.



  11. Anonymous says:

    Bernie has skillfully manipulated the issue into a poor Caymanian’s attempt to scratch a piece of the pie from theforeigners. If it was a white man who wanted to do this then no one would say anything. WRONG BERNIE

    Anyone who would try this would be desecrating the natural environment of stingray city. This floating bar will be close enough to stingray city where those in the water can walk over to the bar in the shallow water. Don’t kid yourself Bernie is going to be as close to the cruise shippers as possible and the sound of his music will cover the site.

    As for the alcohol already at the location, the boats that take cruise shippers who sell alcohol sell it on the return to the dock after the interaction with the stingrays is completed.

    It is clear that the communication in this debate is not working, hopefully this play will be stopped by clear thinking people of the liqueur licensing board.

  12. Joe Average says:


    I am considering a gay bar at the Turtle Farm.  Would you be interested?

    It would of course serve local food on Sundays.

  13. Anonymous says:

    So serve your food – forget the alcohol!  A little conch or fish tea never killed anyone but alcohol has a series trail of casualties.

    Seems to me most tourists are families and I would not take my children to a spot with possible drunks in water, with stingrays that can kill if one is careless.

    I don’t think I am alone when I say that I think progress has brought Cayman more trouble that it is worth. 

    • Play Fish Tea For Me says:

      If the bar focuses on fish tea and conch stew then this debate will be about a business that would last a month.  This will be another Senor Frogs, albeit a floating one next to one of the very few quality tourist attractions Cayman has.  We have destroyed SMB and taken the soul out of Geroge Town to do nothing but make money for very wealthy Caymanians.  Let us not sell out any more.

      By the way I really miss the butterfly farm.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please Mr. Bush, don’t divide Cayman anymore as someone with the same name has drastically divided Cayman and brought deep hatred among Caymanians. It truly is a shame the hatred that has been brought into Cayman Politics by a certain Politician and this venture ( the floating bar) is turning into "hatred Politics".

  14. Anonymous says:

    I will have to admit that I think that the restaurant idea is not bad. Given what has been outline in this article; that it will not be a permanent fixture, will not located right on the sandbar and that there will be no waste/garbage to destroy the marine environment and such.

    However, I do strongly oppose the idea of the bar. Ok fine people can take there own liquor out there now, but when we start selling it thats a whole other topic. Lets keep stingray city as ‘family’ oriented as possible.

    I think we can deal with a restaurant but NO bar.

  15. Don't worry I wont stay says:

    I wanted to stay quiet on this matter.

    A place to buy a cold beer that is served in a cup that you would be compelled to not throw away and take home as a keepsake. OK… Maybe.

    But the notion of food served in the water is outrageous! This is a back peddle to appease that was almost as absurd as the concerns raised about the "Ice Bar"  a few years back. 

    The complications with serving food safely, added to the issues about packaging waste or food spillage are massive.

    Bernie please lets have some common sense. Modify your business plan to get some support from the community because you will be doomed without it.

    I went to a floating bar 20 odd years ago in the Virgin Islands. We anchored nearby, swam over, were served drinks in glasses (no take away) relaxed on deck, used the clean bathrooms and swam back to our boat. The next day we tied the dinghy alongside and climbed aboard for sundowners before heading ashore for dinner, beautiful.


  16. BS meter goes haywire says:

    Serving traditional Caymanian foods?  The BS meter goes haywire.  What  an obvious and pathetic attempt to swing public opinion to get this up and running.  American tourists want American food.  They will get it from Bernie.

  17. Anonymous says:

    "To be honest I like the idea. It means I can get have a few beers every time I take guests up there when they come over. But then again, I’m only here for a couple of years then going home, so the long term future of the island is of no concern to me. If you all want to sell out then do it."

    The above is not actually my view. But since a few have turned it into a Caymanian Vs Expat argument, I thought it shows an ironic point of view. Caymanians say expats are here to leech the system for a couple of years and then pack theyir bags of money and go home. Why then are so many expats interested in preserving stingray city as a natural envirmonment.

    Either way we can’t win. If we don’t care about it, you tell us to go home. if we do care about it, you say we are holding back Caymanians from making a profit, and then tell us to go home.



  18. Anonymous says:


    Stand your ground. I think this is a great idea and I wish you all the best.

    I’ll be glad to buy the first drink and maybe some conch stew.

    North Sound Boater.


    • Anonymous says:

      I reckon a couple of weeks and he’ll only be selling burgers and beer. None of the tourists want authentic cuisine and they are the only ones buying. Locals bring their own food and drink.

      • Dithers says:

         This was exactly my thought.  A lot of your Average Joes are not particularly adventurous in their eating habits…  My bet is burgers and patties (and beer, of course) will get top billing within no time.


  19. Lifeguard says:

    Will the restaurant have signage advising patrons to wait 45 minutes after they eat before swimming again? That’s what my grandmother always told me I had to do

    • Anonymous says:

      What about wetting your head before you get in the water? My grandmother always insisted upon that. How am I supposed to wet my head first if I am already sitting in the water?

  20. Insurance says:

     I hope all the charter boats realize their liabilities in this – what happens if a patron gets blasted drunk, comes back on their boat, then falls and gets injured or drowns at the next snorkel stop…

    Are they going to deny reboarding to a guest who is intoxicated?  Make them swim home?

  21. Need capital says:

    Anyone want to invest in a boat we can take out to Stingray City each day with a giant billboard calling for the public NOT to support this insane idea?

  22. Unite and conquor says:

    I call on all charter boats to include the following in their safety speach to guests:

    "We hope you enjoy the interaction with our rays in their natural environment.  Sadly, in pursuit of the mighty dollar, an individual has chosen to set up a bar and restaurant in the area.  Whilst you are free to make your own choices, we feel this encroachment into the area is a slippery slope and would encourage you to boycott the bar and support keeping Stingray City a safe, natural family environment."


  23. Anonymous says:


    Trying to rally support by announcing that this a "ex-pats vs. Caymanians" only furthers my belief that you are doing this for all the wrong reasons. Be honest, your "restaurant" was anafter thought.  Have you not ever heard the old adage " don’t go swimming until an hour after eating" ?   What you are attempting to do is unsafe for the people, as much as the environment.  If you want to showcase delicious local dishes, open a sea side Caymanian restaurant. Being in the tourist industry, I can tell you they do look for a true taste of Cayman… but not in the water they don’t!  People aren’t there all day. Tours only stay there an absolute maximum of one hour.  And locals will bring coolers with sandwiches if they’re planning to stay out for an extended period. 

    Also, Insurance !? Who is going to insure this boat ? If a drunken fool or someone with cramps from eating needs medical attention – Whos responsibility will it be to see them to safety !?


  24. Anonymous says:

    “Everyone knows me I am not going to do anything to hurt my country.”

    The Sandbar is part of Cayman.


  25. Sherona says:

    It isn’t going to make a difference if he serves caviar on silverware at his floating bar, nobody wants the floating bar – period. It isn’t the “critics” who have got it wrong, somebody should draw him a picture as to why we are boycotting the disastrous plan because clearly HE doesn’t get it. 


  26. Anonymous says:

    Bernie, you are quite mistaken to think that most of your detractors are expats, thereby in your words, "making this look like Expats against Caymanians". I am a born Caymanian with Caymanian lineage as far back as the mid-1700’s and I am one who STRONGLY opposes your proposed bar/restaurant. I notice that as opposition grows, your concept seems to be diversifying; firstly a bar, then a bar/restaurant then it is a restaurant/bar feauturing Caymanian cuisine. The later is a fine consideration and one which would certainly get a lot of support, IF IT WERE ON LAND!!

    This is your Cayman too and that of your children and hopefully grand-children. Have you stopped to think what environmental effect this will have (if the venture is successful)? No matter how you propose to contain the garbage, some (too much) will end up in the water.Really, why not find a building or plot of land and do this on terra firma?

    Sorry I can’t sign my name as i appriciate my privacy but if I see you anywhere I’ll make myself and my concerns known to you personally.


  27. Too Cold says:

    Bernie, thanks for the clarification. As you stated, many have missed the point. We wish you success on your project.  Hang in there!


  28. Shoddy Opinions says:

    How can people be so ignorant?

    You say he will destroy the environment, but you all are so vague with you reasons why. Please be detailed with facts in hand and not just assumptions! Now some of you may have valid arguments but most of you just jump on the band wagon of OMG this will destroy Cayman!!! But it is so easy to say these things without facts in hand. I don’t have a problem with people having issues with developments that are put on the table but far too often people just assume every development is a bad one. Some people say we are over developed and we should stop but then I ask you how do we expect out GDP to grow if our mother land is not growing? If we hault everything that is and don’t touch anything for the next 20years and leave Cayman untouched let us see the position that we will be in.


    • Don't worry I wont stay says:

      Ok how is this for a fact.

      The licensed tour boats are limited to the amount of squid they can take to the sandbar for a reason.

      There is NOTHING that is going to stop a single day visitor from feeding a stingray the last bite of there patty or the hot dog. Tourists see signs everywhere at a zoo that say "PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS" yet they do.  

      And what if you do not feed the ray on purpose? What will happen if you drop your sandwich, or to the 10 year old child who dribbles a little turtle soup or conch chowder on their chin.

      The food component to this business plan is stunningly flawed.

      Bernie… you are missing the point!

  29. Anonymous says:

    We have a alcohol free Stingray attraction in Jam, come on over here and be safe …….

  30. CaymanLover says:

    I’m trying to be as open minded as I can but I still worry that the refuse this venture will create will harm the delicate balance that exists at the sand bar.  I believe in this case that "if it aint broke, don’t fix it" (or sell it off).  If people want to drink, do what has always been done – bring your own.  If people want to eat, do what has always been done – bring your own. 

    So a few tourists want to know where to get some food/drink – NOT HERE!

    The sand bar is untouched, natural and a pleasure as it is.  Mr Bush says he wouldnt do anything to hurt his country, if you continue with this project you break its heart. 

    I respect your entrepeneurial spirit but if this continues I am one Caymanian who won’t patronise your business.  My two dollars may be of no consequence to you but have to follow my heart and my heart is with my country.

  31. Mr. Patty says:

    You mean like the Turtle Meat patty? How’s sales?

  32. Anonymous says:

    Excellent – more rubbish to add into the mix – plastic plates, utencils, paper napkins – gets even better for the environment!

  33. Anonymous says:

    How are they planning on controlling the litter that this "resturant" will produce? This is just all wrong from the get go. How can we have these people wanting to lead our country be involved in the distribution and comercialization of the main downfall in our youth (Alcohol and Tobaco)?

    Yes they paint great portraites of " local chefs", but are these local chefs going to be local work permit holders? Why is alcohol or trash being considered to further destroy what we have left? We can’t touch our own stingrays to entertain guest but yet we can feed them burgers and their own "sting-ray brew"?

    Come on Cayman, we must realize that fun is fun but we need some more back bone to let these people know that localizing our tourism industry does not call for us to have the world look upon us as drunken fools.


    Just my 2 cents.

  34. Island Girl says:

    Bernie, I would fully support your venture if you omit alcohol. 

    • Don't worry I wont stay says:

       Bernie, I can not support your venture if you include food.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Ok Bernie, the petition is growing.  Lets see who your "supporters" are? 

  36. Anonymous says:

    This will cause more damage to the environment and especially the sand bar. It is not "eco" friendly and exactly how this fits in with a "wildlife interaction zone" is beyond me.

    Tourists have many options to eat "local" food…on land. Food and alcohol on the open seas for landlubbers will spell DISASTER.

  37. The Dogs Bollox says:

    We all know this is cr@p PR spinning…

    On the other hand, perhaps the Ritz could open some underwater suites off Seven Mile.  They could put a restaurant and bar – even a nightclub – the music won’t disturb anyone…

    When does it stop?

    Best way to solve this – if it goes ahead – BOYCOTT IT!!!  

    • Anonymous says:

      Boycotting it will make no difference unfortunately. The majority of patrons will be cruise shippers that are here for the day and won’t give a flying fork about the long term tourism prospects of the island and will purely be there to get drunk, wear a stingray hat and pollute the ocean.

      • Anonymous says:

        Reply to”boycotting it will make no difference”

        Add to your comment..the following.. ”drink between dives and

        snorkelling”., have an accident….then hire a lawyer…..

        People drink enough before going out there they don’t need a

        bar on site….