PROCUREMENT

Who is the preferred bidder?

The selected preferred bidder is a consortium called Verdant Isle Port Partners (VIPP) which consists of four businesses in partnership. The consortium includes McAlpine Ltd, Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and Orion Marine Construction Inc.

Together they offer a high degree of local and technical expertise and have the relevant experience and key personnel who are familiar with working on projects of similar scope and scale as the Cruise Berthing Facility and cargo facility enhancement (CBF) proposed for George Town.

Was the Procurement process open and transparent?

Yes, the procurement process for the proposed CBF followed best practice and transparency as outlined by the Public Management and Finance Law, and the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility. Throughout the process, the PWD’s Major Projects Office has been leading the CBF project team in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Port Authority.

How was the preferred bidder selected?

VIPP were selected as the preferred bidder after a careful analysis of their bid by the Ministry of Tourism, the Port Authority Cayman Islands (PACI), PWD’s Major Projects Office and specialist consultants KPMG, Hatch, Royal Haskoning DHV, and Appleby/Pinsent Mason’s who provided technical, financial and legal services during the procurement process.

The bid was assessed against established evaluation criteria and a recommendation was made to the Central Tenders Committee which granted approval to select a preferred bidder.

Which company was chosen to build the port?

Verdant Isle Port Partners (VIPP) was chosen through an open procurement process. VIPP is a consortium which consists of four businesses in partnership – McAlpine Ltd, Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and Orion Marine Construction Inc.

Together they offer a high degree of local and technical expertise and have the relevant experience and personnel who are familiar with working on projects similar to the Cruise Berthing Facility and cargo facility enhancement project (CBF).

Was the procurement process open and transparent?

Yes absolutely. The procurement process followed best practice and transparency guidelines as outlined by the Public Management and Finance Law, and the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility. Throughout the process, the PWD’s Major Projects Office has been leading the CBF project team in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and the Cayman Islands Port Authority.

How was Verdant Isle Port Partners selected?

Verdant Isle Port Partners (VIPP) was selected after a careful analysis of their bid by the Ministry of Tourism, the Port Authority Cayman Islands (PACI), PWD’s Major Projects Office and specialist consultants KPMG, Hatch, Royal Haskoning DHV, and Appleby/Pinsent Masons who provided technical, financial and legal services during the procurement process.

The bid was assessed against established evaluation criteria and a recommendation was made to the Central Tenders Committee which granted approval to select VIPP as the preferred bidder.

FINANCING

How much will the cruise berthing and cargo port enhancement project cost?

The actual project cost approved by Cabinet CI$196.5 million.

Is government borrowing to pay for the project?

No, the Cayman Islands government is not providing any bonds, loans, guarantees for this project. All of the costs for constructing the cruise berthing facility and enhancing the cargo port are being paid by Verdant Isle.

How is the berthing facility being financed?

The CBF project is being financed through an arrangement called Design, Build, Finance, Maintain (DBFM). This means all of the costs to design, construct and maintain the cruise berthing facility and enhance the d cargo port are being met by Verdant Isle Port Partners (VIPP).

How will the CBF be paid for?

The CBF will be paid for using passenger fees over a period of 25 years. The financial investment required to build the piers will be repaid to the preferred bidder using a portion of the passenger fee that is charged for each passenger brought to the new CBF.

What are Passenger Fees?

The cruise lines pay a fee for every passenger aboard whether cruise passengers disembark or not. These fees are bundled into the cost of a cruise in much the same way that taxes are bundled into the cost of airline tickets and they are allocated to different services related to the Port and tendering operations.

Who is paying to construct the CBF?

In actual fact, it is cruise passengers who are paying for the CBF. The preferred bidder is merely advancing the funds required to construct the piers now and will be repaid over 25 years.

How will Verdant Isle receive a return on their investment?

Verdant Isle will be repaid from passenger fees over a period of 25 years.
Verdant Isle will not begin receiving payments until the facility is available for use by cruise passengers.

How are passenger fees distributed now?

Cruise passenger fees are currently divided in four ways:
o The Port Authority
o Environmental Protection Fund
o Cayman Islands Government
o Tender boat service

How will passenger fees be distributed after the project is completed?

At that time, passenger fees paid by cruise lines will still be divided four ways but the portion previously used to pay for tender boat services will instead go to Verdant Isle to repay their investment.

This will be supplemented by a portion of the passenger fee that government receives. At present, the supplemental amount is $2.32 per passenger but that is a worst case scenario. Negotiations are underway and that figure will decrease.

If government is contributing a portion of their fee to Verdant Isle, doesn’t that mean Caymanians are paying for this project?

No, we are not actually paying anything because even with the $2.32 going to Verdant Isle government is still not losing revenue.

Here’s why:
Without cruise berthing government currently receives a passenger fee of $12.27 per passenger. On 1.9M passengers, that amounts to $23.3M per year.
When the cruise berthing facility is built, passenger numbers will rise to 2.5M. – that’s an increase of 600K.

Even with a $2.32 reduction in the passenger fee (to $9.95), the increased volume of passengers’ means government will receive more on an annual basis than it currently does now.

2.5M passengers contributing $9.95 each in fees amounts to government receiving $24.8M.

Instead of receiving $23.3M per year without the piers we will receive 24.8M per year with them.

Will the passenger fees paid to the Port Authority or Environmental Protection Fund change?

The dollar amount paid to the Port Authority and the Environmental Protection fund from passenger fees will not change. But because passenger numbers are increasing they will actually receive more revenue annually.

After 25 years what will happen to the passenger fees paid to Verdant Isle?

After 25 years, passenger fees that used to go to Verdant Isle Port Partners will go to the Port Authority as a new revenue stream and will be used to maintain the piers.

Why must we provide berthing facilities?

The Cayman Islands is a popular cruise destination and cruise lines want to keep calling here. But they will not be able to do so in the future the way they do now if we don’t have a berthing facility. Mega ships are changing the face of tourism in the Caribbean and require berthing. If we cannot service their needs the mega ships will simply sail past the Cayman Islands to other destinations as they do now.

Why do we need a cruise berthing facility? Isn’t it better to be unique?

The cruise industry is evolving and more mega size ships are planned for the Caribbean region. Cayman is distinct from all the other destinations for not having a berthing facility. Rather than this being an attribute and something positive for our cruise industry, it presents a serious risk and will ultimately place our cruise tourism industry in jeopardy.

Will the cruise berth facility place the country in long-term financial hardship?

No, the country is not providing any loans, bonds or guarantees with respect to the cruise berthing development.

Will the cruise berth facility lead to the implementation of direct taxation in the Cayman Islands?

No, there will be no changes to direct taxation as a result of this project.

How will the preferred bidder get their money back for building the CBF?

The cruise berthing facility will be paid for by the cruise passengers who use it. Passenger fees are bundled into the cost of a cruise in much the same way that passenger taxes are bundled into the cost of airline tickets. The fee for tendering services plus a portion of the Governments fee will be used instead to repay the preferred bidder for financing construction of the berthing facility. After 25 years when the investment has been repaid, that portion of the passenger fee will be remitted to the Port Authority, increasing the revenue that PACI receives per passenger.

Passenger fees currently paid to the Port Authority and the Environmental Protection fund will remain unchanged.

Will the cruise companies still contribute to the environmental fund?

Yes. The dollar amount paid to the Port Authority and to the Environmental Protection Fund from passenger fees will remain unchanged. The increase in passengers means the Port Authority and the environmental fund will receive more revenue annually.

Will the funding for the piers be paid from head tax only from Royal and Carnival ships or head tax from all ships?

The piers will be funded using a portion of the passenger fee that is collected from every passenger not just those who arrive on Royal or Carnival.

Will there be any business continuity /income loss insurance for damage to the piers after a storm if ships cannot dock and the piers are being repaired?

The piers are insured against damage and would be repaired in the event of damage.

If the cost to build this facility exceeds the estimated cost will Verdant pay that extra amount without government having to contribute?

If the project goes over budget, Verdant Isle will meet those costs. All of the costs to build the cruise berthing and cargo port facility are being met by Verdant Isle. There is no risk to the country’s finances. For more information on this topic please check pages 17 through 19 in the CBF booklet.

Is the true cost $250M or $450M?

The cruise berthing and cargo port project will cost CI$200 million which includes the cost of coral relocation and maintain the facility for 25 years. For more information on this topic please check pages 17 through 19 in the CBF booklet.

Will the cost of maintenance be covered by the cruise lines with no cost to the country?

The cost of maintaining the facility for 25 years will be met by Veran Isle. For more information on this topic please check pages 17 through 19 in the CBF booklet.

If arrivals do not increase what does the contract to provide as the backup plan if we end up with a shortfall of $4million a year (i.e. 200,000 passengers) which could mean we still owe anywhere between 25-100 million in 25 years. This question is not how or why this won’t happen, what is the backup plan?

The people of the Cayman Islands will not owe anything to Verdant Isle if passenger numbers are less than projected. If passenger numbers do not meet the required levels to repay Verdant Isle at the rate required, the 25 year repayment term will be extended. There is no risk to the country’s finances. For more information on this topic please check pages 17 through 19 in the CBF booklet.

Who takes responsibility if the passenger numbers are not enough to pay Verdant Isle back in 25 years?

If passenger numbers were not enough to pay Verdant Isle back for their investment within the allotted 25 year period, then the period of the repayment would be extended. There would be no burden on government.

What if verdant isle gets repaid before the 25 year period has elapsed?

The surplus would be split between the government and Verdant Isle and a provision would be in place in the contract to outline how that split would be effected.

What if the forecasted 600,000 in additional arrivals don’t come to fruition? This could be caused by economic recession, public awareness of negative environmental impact, scheduling of the proposed cap of 23-25K passengers per day, or the fact that we’ve gone and destroyed our own reefs to attract them. The math only works with 600,000. Who covers that shortfall

If passenger numbers were not enough to pay Verdant Isle back for their investment within the allotted 25 year period, then the period of the repayment would be extended. There would be no burden on government.

Please provide the breakdown of the amount per passenger the Cayman Islands government retains now, and with the CBF show how the 12.27 and 9.95 per person is split between the Port Authority, the Environmental Protection Fund and the Cayman Islands Government at a minimum?

Government currently receives a passenger fee of $12.27 per passenger. On 1.9M passengers, that amounts to $23.3M per year. When the cruise berthing facility is built, passenger numbers will rise to 2.5M – that’s an increase of 600K.

Even with a $2.32 reduction in the passenger fee (to $9.95), the increased volume of passengers’ means government will receive more on an annual basis than it currently does now.
2.5M passengers contributing $9.95 each in fees amounts to government receiving $24.8M.

Instead of receiving $23.3M per year without the piers we will receive 24.8M per year when with them. For more information on the breakdown of passenger fees please refer to pages 17 through 19 of the CBF booklet.

How will government income not decrease when head tax, or a portion thereof, goes to repay the loan to Verdant Isle?

Government currently receives a passenger fee of $12.27 per passenger. On 1.9M passengers, that amounts to $23.3M per year. When the cruise berthing facility is built, passenger numbers will rise to 2.5M – that’s an increase of 600K.

Even with a $2.32 reduction in the passenger fee (to $9.95), the increased volume of passengers’ means government will receive more on an annual basis than it currently does now.
2.5M passengers contributing $9.95 each in fees amounts to government receiving $24.8M.

Instead of receiving $23.3M per year without the piers we will receive 24.8M per year when with them. For more information on how the project will be funded please refer to pages 17 through 19 in the CBF booklet.

If we assign the head tax to Verdant Isle (or a portion thereof) how is Cayman/Caymanians not paying for the port?

Please see the response above and to learn more about how Caymanians are definitely not paying for this project, please refer to pages 17 through 19 in the CBF booklet.

ENVIRONMENT

What does the cruise berthing facility consist of?

The CBF will consist of two-finger piers constructed on pilings to allow the sea and marine life to move freely underneath. Pilings are commonly used all over the world in the construction of piers and bridges situated over water. The existing cargo facility and quay walls will be upgraded as part of the works

How will the environment in George Town Harbour be impacted?

The design of the new pier reflects Government’s mandate with respect to minimizing the environmental impact. Locating the piers in deeper water has resulted in the need for less dredging and less coral relocation than previously considered in the 2015 scheme submitted for environment impact assessment and there will be no dredging in Hog Sty Bay. Government gave the mandate to minimize environmental impact and this has been achieved.

Will the berthing facility increase flooding in the George Town harbour front?

The proposed CBF will not increase the likelihood of flooding in the areas to the North and South as a result of the new development. Furthermore wave walls have been incorporated within the footprint of the design for extreme weather conditions which will further reduce potential flooding and wave overtopping into the road and will add more protection to the central George Town area.

Why can we not keep tendering cruise passengers to and from the ship?

Cruise lines have been clear they will not consider using tenders for their mega ships.

What is upland development?

Upland development is the term used to describe the on shore facilities that are located at a cruise terminal and the retails units are typically owned or operated by cruise lines but this is not the case in the CBF as the new retail units will be owned and operated by the Port Authority.

Does the Cayman Islands proposed CBF include additional upland retail development?

No. Government has been clear from the beginning that under no circumstances would there be any additional retail upland development. George Town is our upland retail development which means the money cruise passengers spend on shore will continue to circulate in our economy and provide maximum benefit to Caymanians.

Will the EIA and Business Case be updated based on the bid?

The plans put forward by the preferred bidder will be submitted to the Environmental Assessment Board for a scoping opinion and a final business case will be submitted prior to execution of contract.

How will we accommodate the increased passenger numbers?

The Construction of the CBF will allow better management of passengers and cruise ship arrivals. What will be immediately noticeable is the flattening of the arrival schedule, as the cruise lines will schedule their arrivals on the days that they have access to the berthing facilities. Arrivals at present are variable – there are days with no cruise ships and other days with as many as six or seven in harbour. Levelling out our passenger arrivals will allow for passenger numbers to grow sustainably. Further, this will benefit companies and workers in the cruise sector as it will mean fewer days of the month with no work and fewer days with overcrowding as arrivals will be spread more evenly across the week.

While the rest of the world is focused on the critical importance of protecting remaining coral reefs the proposed project calls for dredging over 20 acres of George Town Harbour by directly removing and largely destroying over 10 acres of coral and indirectly destroying world famous dive sites like Eden rock. How does the C.I. Government intend to manage the potentially negative impact to our reputation?

The project footprint is 30 acres. Within that footprint 5 acres is classified as coral and 5 acres is classified as hard compressed bottom with coral here and there. It is not 30 acres of coral being damaged. The five acres of coral is what is being relocated to another site.

The Cruise Berthing Facility and Cargo Port Redevelopment Project will actually affect less than 1% of our coral reef habitats. While even less than 1% is regrettable, everything possible is being done to mitigate and minimise the impact to our environment.

In addition to relocating coral impacted by the project, Verdant Isle plans to significantly increase the overall cover and diversity of corals around Grand Cayman through a long-term partnership with Dr. David Vaughan and the Plant a Million Corals Foundation. Dr. Vaughan is a world-renowned coral reef scientist and one of the pioneers of a coral reef restoration technique called micro-fragmentation.
His research and knowledge is being brought to Grand Cayman to supplement the coral relocation initiative.

The cruise berthing project will not destroy Eden Rock, in fact it will not have any direct impact on that site. The South pier has been moved an additional 350ft north and is now 660 ft away from Eden Rock which is the distance of more than two football fields away.

How will the boulders used as the foundation for Coral remains stationary in bad weather?

Natural limestone boulders sourced from Cayman quarries will be secured on the sea bottom to provide a suitable foundation, or substrate, to attach relocated corals to. Engineering analyses will be undertaken to define the requirement for attaching to stabilize the boulders to resist storm waves and currents. Depending on the seabed conditions, a variety of methods may be utilized to secure the boulders, including epoxy and grouted bars.

Under water visibility in the harbour averages 100’+. How will ships in shallow water affect visibility at harbour dive sites such as Eden Rock, Cali and Soto’s Reef?

Noting concerns from the public after the initial design as part of the EIA in 2015, the design of the cruise berthing and cargo port facility has been modified to reduce the dredge area and volume, which will have a significantly less effect on the surrounding area than originally proposed.

The strong water flows generated by cruise ship props and thrusters during arrival and departure maneuvers may cause sediment resuspension and turbidity plumes. Numerical modeling of this complex process was completed as part of the 2015 EIA study. The model results indicate that the extent/severity of this turbidity primarily depends on the presence of fines on the seabed. Given the exposed nature of the project site, the existing seabed materials do not include significant fines.

Based on practical experience at similar sites, it seems unlikely that turbidity plumes will be a significant problem with this project. In particular, three sites where sediment resuspension by cruise ships is known to be a problem (Key West, Bermuda and Venice) are all characterized by long dredged channels across shallow, sheltered areas comprised of fine sediments; these conditions do not exist in George Town Harbour.

That being said, dredging of calcareous rock present in George Town Harbour may leave behind some fines on the seabed; however, these fines will be rapidly dispersed by waves, currents and the early operation of the facility. As such, no significant long-term impacts on underwater visibility are expected.

Best-in-class silt management techniques will also be deployed during dredge operations that will keep loose sediments from drifting and moving and to ensure minimal impacts to the surrounding marine environments. These include mechanical dredging and real time monitoring buoys that conduct readings every 15 minutes and relays that information to the dredge and other entities. These monitors will be set with ranges turbidity limits. If at any time during the dredging or construction of the project these monitors detect turbidity exceeding the limits of maximum turbidity; then the dredging / construction will slow down, stop and or move depending on the situation.

It is also important to note that the piers have been designed as open structures and therefore do not interfere with sediment transport in any direction, their design allows for the free flow of water, sand and marine life.

In 2015 you said you can re-dredge to minimise thruster silt. Is that still the plan? Who will pay for it? Please describe that plan.

Re-dredging of fines after the primary dredging is completed is not currently included in the project cost. Sediment resuspension by cruise ship traffic is not expected to be a long-term problem. Sites where sediment resuspension by cruise ships is known to be a problem (Key West, Bermuda and Venice), these are all characterized by long dredged channels across shallow, sheltered areas comprised of fine sediments; these conditions do not exist in George Town Harbour.

Regardless, the Port Operations Plan will include various measures to minimize this risk, including a preference for bow-in berthing (which puts the main props in deeper water), a wind speed operational limit (high wind speeds require greater power application during berthing and de-berthing) and limiting vessel approach speeds and power application to the minimum necessary for safe vessel handling.

In 2015 we were told that using all known mitigation we could expect near total coral death outside the pit two at least 200m. How will you save those areas from silt death?

The EIA study indicated that dredging and land reclamation works could cause lethal and sub-lethal turbidity and sedimentation levels that extend up to 200m beyond the project footprint. This was based on review and analyses of numerical model results for both hydraulic and mechanical dredging operations, with different assumptions for the level of sediment generated by the different dredging operations. The 200m distance represents an upper bound estimate derived from the EIA model results.

The Verdant Isle Port Partners design has reduced the requirement for dredging, and has also eliminated the requirement for offshore disposal. In addition, Verdant Isle Port Partners will use a mechanical dredge, real-time monitoring of turbidity levels and adaptive management of the dredge to minimize adverse impacts on the marine environment. This approach is generally consistent the lowest impact scenario considered in the EIA, whereas the 200m distance was based on the highest impact scenario.

Assuming the project proceeds, updated modeling of turbidity and sedimentation due to dredging and cruise ship props and thrusters will be undertaken to define the anticipated impact zone around the project based on the proposed dredging method. This information will be used to finalize the coral relocation and dredge management plans. Corals that are located within the project footprint or within the estimated high impact zone around the project footprint (where high levels of turbidity and sedimentation may have lethal effects on coral) will be relocated. Subsequently, real-time monitoring and adaptive management techniques will be used during dredging to maintain turbidity and sedimentation levels below pre-determined thresholds. These thresholds will be defined based on a review of practical experience from similar projects around the world and consultation with the DOE. This approach will minimize the risk of adverse impacts on corals around the project.

In 2015 and a gain recently you said you would move the Balboa. Has the new site been chosen and what will it cost?

The Balboa will be moved to a recipient site approximately 1 kilometer to the north. The cost of performing a detailed underwater archeological survey and the relocation cost of moving the Balboa is included in the cost of the project.

Are you comfortable destroying the reefs?

We are not destroying them we are restoring them and relocating them to a new location. A massive amount of damage has occurred in the GT Harbour over the last four or five decades as ships have dropped and dragged anchors over the years. Once the piers are done we will cease to have the same assault on the seabed in GT Harbour.

CORAL RELOCATION

Why does the coral in George Town harbour have to be relocated?

The coral needs to be removed in order to protect it. However, it is important to note that the total area of impact is 32.5 acres along the coast, which is barely 1% of the coral reef habitats in Cayman. The Benthic Habit Characterisation Study in 2015 confirmed this.

Sadly, damage has already been done to the reef in George Town. Decades of dropping and dragging anchors have resulted in accidents and extensive damage to the coral reefs and seabed. The marine environment in the location earmarked for the piers has suffered and is no longer pristine. It is a working harbour.

How will the coral be protected?

A coral relocation plan and comprehensive mitigation measures have been put in place to make sure we do this right. The plan is ambitious, and we are drawing on global best practice and utilising the most cutting edge scientific and technological advancements to maximise positive results.

What exactly does the coral relocation process consist of?

First, all of the existing coral will be mapped by hand by divers. Coral directly impacted from construction and dredging will be relocated to an area similar area nearby which offers very similar conditions to the area where the coral was originally located. This increases the displaced coral’s rate of survival.

Where will the coral be relocated to?

The coral relocation area is approximately half a mile north of the project site and away from the working port.

Why was that location chosen as the coral relocation site?

Two sites were chosen out of 15 possible sites due to their similarities to the donor site as it relates to depth, wave action, habitat, biodiversity and nutrition.

How will the coral be attached in the new location?

Natural Caymanian limestone boulders will be placed on the sea bottom to provide a foundation on which to attach the coral in order to grow new coral structures.

Who will be relocating the coral?

Renowned coral relocation experts will be overseeing the transplanting of the coral. The team includes Polaris Applied Sciences Inc., a specialised team that has extensive experience working on coral relocation. Polaris has previously worked on coral relocation projects in Grand Cayman with an 89% success rate.

What else is being done to protect Cayman’s coral?

In addition to relocating coral impacted by the project, Verdant Isle plans to significantly increase the overall cover and diversity of corals around Grand Cayman through a long-term partnership with Dr. David Vaughan and the Plant a Million Corals Foundation.

Dr. Vaughan is a world-renowned coral reef scientist and one of the pioneers of the micro-fragmentation technique. His research and knowledge are being brought to Grand Cayman to supplement the coral relocation initiative. To date, most coral gardening techniques successfully grow only a handful of coral species. However, Dr Vaughan’s technique of micro-fragmenting is able to grow and outplant all 28 coral species found throughout the Caribbean.

What is micro-fragmentation?

This is a technique that consists of breaking the corals into smaller pieces of 1 to 5 polyps. This stimulates the coral tissue to grow and heal 25 to 50 times the normal growth rate.

What is the coral nursery I’ve been hearing about?

Verdant Isle’s plans also include a coral nursery that will be located in the vicinity of the port on a site that will be open to the public and will also serve as an educational opportunity for ship guests, local schools, and the wider local community. The community and visitors to Grand Cayman will also have the opportunity to outplant these corals to help achieve the goal of planting one million corals across the Caribbean.

If we displace the coral will it be lost forever?

The goal of the coral relocation and restoration project is to replace 10 times the amount of coral that is removed from the project area.

Can coral be successfully relocated?

Yes, it can. While it is true that success rates vary, several cases of successful relocation projects similar to the George Town Harbour exist worldwide. For example, after 1000 coral colonies were removed from a site in Broward, Florida, the coral stability and health at the reattachment site over a three-year period showed a 97% success rate.

The largest coral relocation project was done in Dubai where over 20,000 coral colonies were transplanted in 2008. Today the success rate is 69%.

Can coral IN CAYMAN be successfully relocated?

Yes, and it has been done before. Shipping incidents have dislodged and fractured large sections of the limestone reef and damaged thousands of corals in West Bay and Eden Rock. Polaris Applied Sciences Inc. – Verdant Isle’s coral relocation partner – restored both of these sites in 2016 and 2017.

Coral fragments broken and disturbed by vessel anchors and ship hulls should arguably have lower survival than those removed more carefully. Yet monitoring studies have reported 89% survival of tagged specimens in the West Bay site two years following the restoration compared to 93% of unaffected coral colonies.

JOBS

What jobs will become immediately available?

Once pre-construction and construction gets underway, it is estimated that 100’s of new jobs will be created. The kinds of jobs that will become available range from unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled jobs in construction such as labourers, electricians, welders, masons, heavy equipment operators, ironworkers, planners, crane operators, etc. The project will also require a variety of specialist jobs specific to marine engineering and marine construction.

How will government ensure that these jobs go to Caymanians first?

The recruitment process will be overseen by Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman (WORC) to ensure that jobs go first to Caymanians who have the requisite skills.

CARGO PORT

Why is the cargo port being upgraded at the same time?

The current port is 40 years old and operates under conditions that are cramped, inefficient and less than ideal. It needs to be upgraded and enhanced to accommodate the higher volumes of cargo that we need for our growing population. The Cargo distribution centre has recently been enhanced but the Cargo facility also needs to be enhanced to keep pace with a growing population.

Will the Consortium also pay for the cargo port?

Yes, the Verdant Isle consortium will be financing the entire project which includes the enhancement of the cargo port as well as construction of the cruise berthing facility. The expansion of the cargo port is included in the project because it makes practical and economic sense to handle both at the same time.

Who will manage, operate and maintain the piers?

The Cayman Islands Port Authority will manage and operate the piers. The cruise lines will not be involved in the day to day operation of the facility. The CBF will be maintained by the Consortium.

CRUISE TOURISM INDUSTRY

How can we be sure cruise ships will not keep coming here if we don’t build the piers?

For many years cruise lines have been telling us that they would be upgrading their fleet to include bigger ships which would not dock in Cayman if we did not have a berthing facility.

Royal Caribbean now has four of these larger vessels serving the Caribbean and more are planned for the future.

Since 2009 when Royal Caribbean introduced its first mega ship to the Caribbean, it has sailed past Grand Cayman just as we were told. There are now two Oasis ships serving the Western-Caribbean route and their itinerary does not include Grand Cayman.

Will there be overnight ships?

There are no plans for ships to overnight in Cayman at the present time.

CONSTRUCTION 

Will government be hiring engineers to oversee the project?

CI Government will not be hiring for this project. All of the jobs will be advertised on Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman (WORC) but will be with the Verdant Isle consortium.

When the sea is rough will the ships be able to stop or will they have to cancel?

The cruise berthing facility will reduce the number of calls that are lost due to bad weather as ships can dock in weather that would be unsafe for tenders.

During the referendum debate one of the members had concerns that the piers will be too close together for ships to turn around. Please clarify.

It is not necessary to turn the ships around in between the piers. The pier spacing and width of the berth pockets is sufficient to allow the largest cruise ships to berth, either bow-in or stern-in; if necessary, the ships would turn around offshore, prior to berthing or after deberthing.

Of note, detailed navigation simulations were undertaken for the 2015 EIA layout to confirm that the prior design allowed for the safe arrival and departure of the full range in cruise ships expected to use the facility. Assuming the project proceeds, additional navigation simulations will be undertaken to support the final design of the project.

What happens to cargo and to existing businesses while the dock, harbour front and George Town area are turned into a massive building site? How do we go about our day-to-day business then?

During the design and bidding process all bidders were required to provide a comprehensive phasing plan so that there would be no disruption to the existing cargo or cruise operations. The project has been divided into several phases which allow for the tendering, cargo and cruise operations to continue. The redevelopment of the Owen Roberts Airport was handled using a similar phased approach and the airport operated normally and no flights were cancelled due to the ongoing construction work.

What does the Cayman Islands look like if we don’t build the piers?

In terms of the economy:
All of the information that we have tells us that the status quo will not continue. The choice is either we build the piers and we go along the track that has been talked about or over time the number of cruise visitors will significantly reduce. That is because the cruise companies have told us they will not tender their big ships and as a consequence, the Oasis class ships operating in this region do not stop in Cayman.

When a larger vessel is introduced, the smaller, older vessel it replaces is retired from service or redirected to other destinations. As the smaller ships are increasingly replaced, our islands will continue losing passengers and revenue from the smaller, older ships without benefiting from their replacement. For additional information on this topic please refer to page 8 the CBF booklet.

In terms of jobs and employment opportunities:
There are 4600 jobs which depend on cruise tourism. Unlike stayover tourism which employs high degree of expatriates 90% of the workers engaged in the cruise industry are Caymanian and this is how they earn their living. In the past two decades we have had two cycles when cruise passenger arrivals declined significantly and during those times, the persons working in that industry were screaming for government to do something about it. The reality is this – either Cayman decides that we don’t want the cruise business and we want to develop some other industry to employ that sector of our people OR we do what every other jurisdiction in the region has done and provide modern cruise berthing facilities so that there is a welcoming aspect on entry to these islands for the people who are coming here to enjoy what we have to offer and to help benefit our people and our economy. The status quo is not viable even in the medium term.

Who will be responsible for the insurance of the piers during construction and after?

Verdant Isle will be responsible.

Please explain what the image on the cover page of the booklet is showing. Where is the rock in Hog Sty bay? Where is Elmslie Church and the National Museum? Is this the plan for George Town?

Elmslie Church, the National Museum and all of our other landmarks and historical buildings along Harbour Drive will still be in place and will not be affected by this project. The image on the front cover is just an artist’s rendition. The only things that will change will be improvements to the sidewalks and roads as part of the George Town revitalization project. Other than that everything will be the same.

It is said that the port project will take about two years. The Ritz roundabout this past year took three months! How long did it take to build your last port project? What do you believe will be the biggest challenge to construction once it begins?

Orion has built a number of ports in the Caribbean and in the United States, such as Amber Cove with Carnival cruise lines and Labadee in Haiti. Amber Cove was a single pier and took 18 months to complete. This project is a dual pier with cargo facility and a lot of bulkhead so we plan to have a lot of people working on it at the same time to try to overcome the seasons.

Weather is always a marine contractor’s biggest issue so the biggest challenge that we are likely to have here is the Nor’easter season. It is difficult to work out on the ocean on a barge so we’ve overcome that too by looking at a top down approach so that were working on the deck and not on the barges so that we can work throughout the season.

How does the weather affect berthing versus tendering?

The percentage for successful berthing is much higher with the large ships than it is for tendering. Due to the sophistication of the navigation systems for example, the large ships can almost always be brought in to berth whereas the smaller tenders are affected to a greater degree by adverse weather and consequently have a much higher miss rate.

GT REVITALISATION

Has any consideration being given to aspects of the revitalization of George Town in the building and management of the cruise and port facilities?

The development of the cruise berthing facility and the upgrading of our cargo port are integral elements of the George Town Revitalisation Initiative. Please refer to page 30 of the booklet for additional information on the redevelopment plans.

VERDANT ISLE

Will there be a contract in place between CIG and the cruise lines that will prohibit them from strong arming Cayman by pulling ships in the same way that Carnival did to Grenada in the past?

When the cruise berthing facility is operational, a schedule will be in place that outlines which ships are due to call on each day. This is typically provided to the Port Authority 18 months in advance. If a ship is not able to call on the day it is allocated, the Port Authority can offer that slot to another cruise line.

We are not aware of the ‘strong arming’ that is being referred to and are therefore unable to provide a response to that comment.

Who are VIPP? Who are the shareholders behind the Verdant Isle consortium and what is the asset value of the consortium group?

VIPP is a consortium of 4 companies comprising of McAlpine Ltd, Orion Marine Construction, Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises. Together they offer a high degree of local and international technical expertise and have the relevant experience and key personnel who are familiar with working on projects of similar scope and scale as the cruise berthing facility proposed for George Town.

McAlpine Ltd is a long established local company with significant and wide ranging local construction experience. Their most recent projects for Government include construction of Phase 2 of the Owen Roberts International Airport expansion project and the John Gray High School gymnasium.

Orion Marine Construction has extensive experience in the design and execution of pier constructions projects marine as well as marine works and coral relocation in the Caribbean. They have previously worked on coral reef restoration in the Cayman Islands.

Carnival Corporation is the world’s largest cruise company which attracts approximately 50 percent of the global cruise market. The company operates 10 cruise line brands through a fleet of 102 ships visiting 700 ports around the world.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd is the largest cruise line by revenue and second largest by passengers counts. In 2018, Royal Caribbean International controlled 19.2% of the worldwide cruise market by passengers and 14.0% by revenue. It also operates many of the world’s largest ships.

For additional information on the Verdant Isle consortium please refer to pages 38 and 39 in the CBF booklet.

PASSENGER SPEND

Ships do their utmost to sail with no empty rooms often discounting to fill capacity. How does this result in more affluent passengers? They must spend more on board but in port how much more?

The highest rates that Royal Caribbean charges are for the Oasis class ships. Based on data that Royal Caribbean collects from its customers, the per capita income of passengers who travel on the Oasis ships is 20% higher than is typical on the rest of their fleet. Additionally these ships book up very quickly so there is very little need for Royal to offer discounted cabin on the Oasis ships.

GENERAL

Why aren’t the youth more involved in the port campaign, like the Youth Assembly and the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors?

The public education campaign being carried out by the Cayman Islands Government is geared at providing information on the CBF project to all sectors of our society, including our youth.
The Youth Assembly and the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors Programme were developed to increase awareness among youth about national, regional and international policies and programmes. We trust that the information on this website along with the other information that has been published or discussed via local media channels is not only raising awareness among young people about this issue, but is also answering questions they may have.

The government stated that they would respond to any unanswered questions from last week. If yes – where are those answers to be found. If no, why not?

The questions and answers have been posted here on the Support Our Tourism website. On the FAQ tab there is a drop down box which has each of the meetings.

Why doesn’t the CIG arbitrarily raise the per passenger fee to say $20.00 and negate the need to partner with ANY outside partners? FYI – Galapagos charges $28.00 per person per day. $20pp x 1.9m = $38m PER YEAR!!

Raising the passenger fee would not immediately provide the amount of funding required to build the berthing facility and enlarge the cargo port. Government would have to take a loan and incur debt to pay for the project, which they are not in a position to do under the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility (FFR). Incurring debt would mean that the project would be paid for from the public purse. The arrangement with Verdant Isle is structured so that all of the costs to build and maintain the facility will be met by Verdant Isle without any contributions coming from the public purse. The cruise passengers who use the facility will be paying for it, not the people of the Cayman Islands.

Is Government not informed on this project? Why are they letting outsiders run the show?

Government is very informed about this project. However, Verdant Isle is the preferred bidder that has been selected to construct this project. Verdant Isle designed the cruise berthing facility and enhancements to the cargo port and have technical expertise and experience gained from building many other similar projects. This is why they were invited by government to explain the project in detail and answer questions from the public.

Verdant Isle is comprised of 4 companies, one of which is McAlpine which has been established here for over 50 years and has built many of our public buildings including the original port in 1977 and the Government Administration Building on Elgin Avenue.

The other partners include Royal Caribbean and Carnival who have been bringing cruise passengers to Grand Cayman for decades. Given their long established ties with Cayman these companies can hardly be considered as outsiders. For more information on Verdant Isle Port Partners please refer to pages 38 and 39 in the CBF booklet.

How will we spread 20K visitors to not overfill our attractions?

The cruise berthing facility will allow us to take advantage of the fact that in this region, the cruise industry’s peak season is from May to October which is the slow season for our stayover tourism. During the summer we don’t get the number of ships or visitors as we do in the winter months and as a consequence, many of the businesses such as tour operators, taxi drivers and others really struggle during that slow period. The reason for this is because the Oasis mega ship will not tender and therefore even though there are at least two of these mega ships operating in the Caribbean in the summer, neither of them stops in Cayman. With the piers they will be able to stop.

The second important point to note is that even though the number of passengers is projected to increase from 1.9M to 2.5M per annum, the actual number of passengers here on any given day will not significantly increase. The increase is being achieved by bringing passengers here in the summer months when our cruise arrivals would typically be at their lowest.

Additionally, the Port Authority is in charge of the berthing facility and will still be able to say how many passengers we are willing to accept on any given day. The result of all of these factors working together is that we will have a much more consistent through-put of passengers for more days of the year. Instead of having slow days and slow months we will have a steady number of passengers on a more consistent basis.

Can Polaris and Dr. Vaughan say where they have worked successfully?

Polaris recently completed two large coral re-attachment projects in Grand Cayman, one in West Bay and the other at Eden Rock. In both cases, shipping incidents dislodged and fractured large sections of the limestone reef and damaged thousands of corals. Polaris restored both sites in 2016 and 2017. There were approximately 3,000 corals involved in these projects and many large pieces of broken reef. Coral fragments that are disturbed/broken by vessel groundings and dragging anchors and then re-attached would be expected to have a lower survival rate than those carefully removed as part of a pre-planned coral relocation project. Regardless, a monitoring study of Polaris’s West Bay coral re-attachment project reported 89% survival of tagged specimens two years after the restoration effort as compared to 93% survival for unaffected coral colonies. Additional detail is provided in the following technical paper:

Precht, W. Challenger G., Warrender T., Rogers K., Hudson H., McCoy, C., Chin P. and T. Austin. 2018 Cooperative Natural Resource Damage Assessment Leads to Successful Restoration of Injured Coral Resources. 71st annual conference of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, San Andres, Colombia | 5–9 November 2018.

Coral colonies that survive for a year or more in good condition following reattachment are likely to mimic natural survival patterns of unaffected corals in future years. The same coral species in the same vicinity relocated by the same teams provides the best evidence of likelihood of success for this project.

Premier, please explain your red line statement on Seven Mile Beach. That is a real concern for those of us still undecided.

“What I have said and the Verdant Isle consortium knows and agrees is if there is any evidence at all or any concern at all that this project would in any way impact the Seven Mile Beach that is the end of the idea, regardless of how far we’ve gone or how much we’ve spent. That’s the red line; that’s always been the red line. But all of the indications are and all of the evidence is that the Environmental impact Assessment said clearly that the West Bay area and the Seven Mile Beach is not at all impacted by this project because of the way the sedimentation moves. So that is the red line and has always been the red line.”

How much coral is actually being affected? I have seen everything from 1 acre to 30 plus acres?

The project footprint is 30 acres. Within that footprint 5 acres is classified as coral and 5 acres is classified as hard compressed bottom with coral here and there. It is not 30 acres of coral being damaged. The five acres of coral is what is being relocated to another site.

Is it true that the cruise ships will be bringing their own busses and taxis and will stop using local ones?

That is absolutely not true.

How do we justify this project when Oasis class ships are in short supply, with only 3 in the Caribbean?

Royal Caribbean has four Oasis class ships operating in the Caribbean and several are on order within the next decade.

The next class of ship for Royal Caribbean is called the Icon which is marginally larger than the Oasis. Carnival also has several larger ships on order, which they call their XL class.

Over the next decade the cruise market will be dominated by Oasis sized ships. That is the trend in the market and that is the direction that Royal Caribbean, Carnival and other cruise lines are moving towards.

A building contractor can build a 1000sf or 5000sf house. The size doesn’t matter it’s the method that counts. Is the same true for coral relocation - is it the method that counts rather than the size of the project?

Yes, the same is true for coral relocation and it is absolutely the method that counts. In much the same way that if a contractor is building 100 houses and he builds them well, the last one should be just as good as the first if his methods are sound and of a good quality.

For coral relocation, the method is the same whether it is one coral being moved or a hundred corals. The method entails starting in one spot and systematically moving along the reef moving each of the corals. The things that matter in coral relocation are things like:
• knowing how to handle the corals;
• knowing where they like to live on the reef as not all species live in the exact same places;
• it also important to use methods of re-attachment that are proven and have been successful; and it’s important to use people that are experienced and have done coral relocation many times.

What is going to happen with the traffic in George Town?

As part of the GT Revitalisation project Government is already improving the road system and capacity to handle traffic more efficiently. But even if government were not putting in new roads, the traffic situation would still be improved because the cruise port project is designed to work in harmony with the revitalisation initiative and therefore much of the congestion that currently takes place due to lack of space on Harbour Drive will be eliminated.

The way tour buses and Taxi’s pick up and drop off passengers will be much more efficient and will take place dockside rather than curbside. This will remove the crowds on the street and will ease the pressure on infrastructure and services downtown.

Please refer to pages 30-32 of the booklet for additional information on the George Town Revitalisation plans.

The Premier stated that the government has spent $9M on reports and studies over the past six years. Was that money well spent in order to give our people credible advice?

From the inception of this project Government has sought to engage the very best experts in their respective fields to provide advice on the various technical aspects of this project. The government and the people of the Cayman Islands deserve to have accurate information from reputable, credible sources in order to make informed decisions. Please refer to page 37 of the CBF booklet for additional information on the reports, studies and decision making process.

We are not against the cruise or cargo port berthing facility; it is the location in GT Harbour that we do not want destroyed. Why not put both at Pedro Castle where the water is very deep, and we would not have to worry about destroying the reefs?

The CIG is not proposing to destroy the George Town Harbour. The area that is going to be impacted is about ten acres in size – five of which is coral and the other five is classified as hard bottom. The government is not downplaying the fact that there will be an impact to the environment but we have to bear in mind that everything has a trade-off. What we have to ensure is that the tradeoff in this instance is the right thing to do and that the economic impact significantly outweighs the impact to the coral. To help mitigate the impact to the environment, Dr. Vaughan and others have been engaged to relocate the coral and to restore ten times the amount that was originally displaced.

Please refer to pages 20 through 29 of the CBF booklet for additional information on the coral relocation and mitigation plans as well as information on why the project will be built in George Town if it goes ahead.

If we have to build this project, why does it have to be in George Town?

As long as our Islands have been settled the Harbour has been in George Town because it is on the Lee side of the island in deep water. We do not have any other protected area for a Harbour. For decades and certainly for the past 50 years that area has been impacted by anchors dropping and dragging. Consequently a massive amount of damage has already occurred to the sea bottom in that area. In addition, over the course of those 50 years, shops and other businesses have developed in that vicinity to accommodate and service visitors from cruise. Moving the cruise terminal outside of George Town would require a lot of this infrastructure to be replicated elsewhere which is not a feasible option. The best place to build this project is in George Town where the harbour has been established for hundreds of years.

By way of comparison the average depth of the North Sound is 12 feet and would require a massive amount of dredging – far more than is required in the George Town location. Please refer to pages the CBF booklet for additional information on this topic.

3. If the referendum result does not reject the project, what key activities will get underway and what will be achieved by 17 January 2020?

Nothing

Is it true that work has already been started on building a coral laboratory?

That is absolutely not true.

Can you explain the EIA scoping document and also the role of the Department of Environment?

The EIA scoping document that is currently being produced by Verdant Isle is looking at the differences between the 2015 design and the new design that has less environmental impact. Meetings have been held with the Department of the Environment and the EIA scoping document document is expected to be finished in early December. At that point the scoping report will be submitted to the DoE and the EAB for approval and they will advise on the next steps in the process.

Before this project can go ahead, a coastal works permit is required in order for more work to be carried out. That work includes the development of the coral relocation plan, the dredge management plan and the environmental management plan. Water quality and turbidity thresholds will also have to be established.

A great deal of preparation work will be required which means work will not be able to begin on relocating any coral – which has to happen first to protect them – until the third quarter of 2020.

What are some of the differences between the 2015 design and the 2019 design?

After the first design was presented to the public in 2015, a further year was spent trying to enhance that design in order to minimise the environmental impact. When we compare the footprint of the two designs now:
• The dredge volume has shrunk by 30%
• The dredge footprint has reduced by 10%
• Hog Sty Bay is not going to be dredged
• The piers have been moved into deeper water and the piers have been narrowed as much as possible

How deep will the dredging be?

To build the piers we will need a total depth of 36ft. The current depth of water at the wall of the GT Harbour is 16ft which means dredging to a maximum of 20ft is required at that location.
As we move further out, the water naturally gets deeper which means that less dredging will be required the further out we go and will eventually taper off to zero because the water is naturally at the required depth of 36 ft.

Are the Verdant Isle representatives attending the public meetings being paid?

No, Verdant Isle is not being paid to attend the public meetings to provide information to the public.

If we put the berthing facilities outside of GT wouldn’t the cruise passengers have more of a choice of transportation taxi to and from GT and even to the turtle centre?

Constructing the piers outside of George Town is not a viable option. The Government has considered many possible scenarios and is satisfied that George Town is the best option for the environment. George Town is already a working harbor and its marine habit is already impacted from cruise and cargo vessels using the area over the past decades. Building the piers elsewhere on the island would require impacting a new environment and the construction of land based infrastructure. Please refer to pages the CBF booklet for additional information on this topic.

CRUISE SHIP ITINERARIES

If the port gets built what other ports will be dropped from itineraries to add us back to the mix.

Over the next decade there are a number of Oasis ships on order and almost every year there will be a new ship. As Royal grows as a company there will be many opportunities to add Grand Cayman into the mix without necessarily having to drop one destination in favour of another. If the cruise terminal does not get built that will be a lost opportunity for Cayman.

What is to stop the cruise lines dropping us from the cruise itinerary?

The cruise lines that are part of the Verdant Isle consortium e putting up $200 million dollars to construct the cruise berthing facility and cargo port. It will be very very difficult for them to walk away from that level of investment when the only way they are going to get repaid is to actually bring passengers here to our shores.

CRUISE TERMINAL FACILITY

Who will own, manage the shops on the piers. Can Caymanians bid for them?

The Port Authority will continue to manage and operate the retail space in the cruise terminal area just like it does today. The decision regarding who will occupy the retail outlets rests with the Port Authority but it is important to note that cruise lines will NOT own or operate any of the commercial or retail space in the cruise terminal area.

The commitment is that the same square footage that currently exists at Royal Watler will be rebuilt in a new area, in a more user friendly way to allow for a better flow of passengers through retail pathways.

Will Caymanians still be allowed to use the port facility for event such as concerts?

The port is a secure and highly regulated area much like the airport. The same security protocols that are in place now will still be in place in the future. If no concerts are permitted to be held there now, the same rules will apply in the future.

Who will own and manage the shops on the pier? Can Caymanians bid for them?

The Port Authority will continue to manage and operate the retail space in the cruise terminal area just like it does today. The decision regarding who will occupy the retail outlets rests with the Port Authority. It is important to note that cruise lines will NOT own or operate any of the commercial or retail space in the cruise terminal area.

CAPACITY MANAGEMENT

Stayover guests are already trying to book boating activities on days to avoid cruise ships. More visitors across more days will make the Cayman experience even more unpleasant for stayover visitors. Have you factored in a cost to the lost business form a degraded experience of stayover guests?

Over the last two years stayover visitor arrivals have increased from 400,000 to approximately 500,000 per year. We also know that over 50% of our stayover visitors are repeat guests. During this time, cruise arrivals have grown from 1.7M to 1.9M passengers which tells us that the increase in cruise tourism has not impacted stayover visitation.

Leaving that aside, Even though the number of cruise passengers is projected to increase from 1.9M to 2.5M per annum, the actual number of passengers that will be here on any given day will not significantly increase. The increase is being achieved by bringing passengers here in the summer months when our cruise arrivals would typically be at their lowest. This is also the slow season for stayover visitors.

Additionally, the Port Authority is in charge of the berthing facility and will still be able to say how many passengers we are willing to accept on any given day. The result of all of these factors working together is that we will have a much more consistent through-put of passengers for more days of the year. Instead of having slow days and slow months we will have a steady number of passengers on a more consistent basis.

All of the above factors taken together should lead to an increase for businesses, not a decline.

Given that a number of tourist destinations are advocating for reducing the impact that visitors have on their natural resources why are we looking to increase impact? There would be an impact of increasing stayovers too!

We are not looking to increase the impact on our natural resources. The cruise berthing facility will allow us to take advantage of the fact that in this region, the cruise industry’s peak season is from May to October which is the slow season for our stayover tourism. Currently we don’t get the number of ships and consequently the number of visitors in those months as we do in the winter months. As a consequence, tour operators, taxi drivers and many other businesses that depend on cruise tourism to make a living, really struggle during that slow period. There are at least two mega ships operating in the Caribbean in the summer and neither of them stop in Cayman. They have no intention of stopping here while we rely on tendering. But if we had piers they would stop.

The second important point to note is that even though the number of passengers is projected to increase from 1.9M to 2.5M per annum, the actual number of passengers that will be here on any given day will not significantly increase. The increase is being achieved by bringing passengers here in the summer months when our cruise arrivals would typically be at their lowest. Additionally, the Port Authority is in charge of the berthing facility and will still be able to say how many passengers we are willing to accept on any given day. The result of all of these factors working together is that we will have a much more consistent through-put of passengers for more days of the year. Instead of having slow days and slow months we will have a steady number of passengers on a more consistent basis.

While there are plans to evenly accommodate cruise arrivals year round, the numbers arriving at our port should be fairly evened out. Should we be overly concerned about further overcrowding in the Capital George Town, or will this be minimized by trips taken to visit the Eastern Districts?

You are quite correct that the cruise berthing facility will allow the arrival of ships to be spread more consistently throughout the week, particularly in the summer months, and this will enable passenger arrivals to be maintained at a steady, manageable daily quota year round.

Additionally, the cruise port project is designed to work in harmony with the revitalisation initiative and much of the congestion that currently takes place due to lack of space on Harbour Drive will be eliminated. The way tour buses and Taxi’s pick up and drop off passengers will be much more efficient and will take place dockside rather than curbside which will remove the crowds on the street and ease the pressure on infrastructure and services downtown.

These types of improvements will give passengers more time to explore the Eastern Districts and will enable the attractions outside of George Town to derive benefit from the growth in cruise passenger numbers and passenger spend.

If the number of ‘day visitors’ increases wont it make it harder for local people to find space at the beach?

The beach experience will not be too much different to what it is today because the number of cruise passengers is not going to dramatically increase on a day-to-day basis.

The increase will be achieved by having passengers arriving more consistently throughout the year, particularly during the Summer months. Right now, cruise ship arrivals are unbalanced. We can have four ships one day, two the next and none the day after. Can you imagine what that is like for workers in the industry trying to provide for their families? Balancing daily arrivals will help to keep the daily passenger quota steady and for more days of the year.

To what extent will increased numbers of ‘day visitors’ be detrimental to the enjoyment of stayover tourists?

Over the last two years stayover visitor arrivals have increased from 400,000 to approximately 500,000 per year. We also know that over 50% of our stayover visitors are repeat guests. During this time, cruise arrivals have grown from 1.7M to 1.9M passengers which tells us that the increase in cruise tourism has not impacted stayover visitation.

Leaving that aside, Even though the number of cruise passengers is projected to increase from 1.9M to 2.5M per annum, the actual number of passengers that will be here on any given day will not significantly increase. The increase is being achieved by bringing passengers here in the summer months when our cruise arrivals would typically be at their lowest. This is also the slow season for stayover visitors.

Additionally, the Port Authority is in charge of the berthing facility and will still be able to say how many passengers we are willing to accept on any given day. The result of all of these factors working together is that we will have a much more consistent through-put of passengers for more days of the year. Instead of having slow days and slow months we will have a steady number of passengers on a more consistent basis.

How much will an increased number of ‘day visitors’ increase crowding at Stingray City?

The experience at Stingray City will not be too much different to what it is today because the number of cruise passengers is not going to dramatically increase on a day-to-day basis.

The increase will be achieved by having passengers arriving more consistently throughout the year, particularly during the Summer months. Right now, cruise ship arrivals are unbalanced. We can have four ships one day, two the next and none the day after. Balancing daily arrivals will help to keep the daily passenger quota steady and for more days of the year.

Is there not a risk to Cayman that if our environment is destroyed the tourists will no longer desire to come here?

Less than 1% of our coral reef habitat will be impacted by the CBF project. Building the piers and enhancing our cargo port will not destroy our environment.

99% of the marine habitat that visitors come to our Islands to see remains completely unaffected.

Why are we willing to destroy the environment that we as Caymanians enjoy and that attracts tourists to our shores?

Less than 1% of our coral reef habitat will be impacted by the CBF project. Building the piers and enhancing our cargo port will not destroy our environment.

99% of the marine habitat that visitors come to our Islands to see remains completely unaffected. For more information on how carefully and responsibly this project is being undertaken in order to protect and enhance the marine environment in the George Town Harbour, please refer to pages 20 through 27 in the CBF booklet.

WHY BUILD THE PIERS?

With cruise tourism numbers steadily increasing each year why is the pier being built at this time? Future cruise tourism appears to be guaranteed, port or no port.

The future of our cruise tourism industry if not guaranteed without a port. The global cruise industry is increasingly moving towards bigger ships and major cruise lines are investing heavily in these larger vessels. Cruise lines have repeatedly told us that they will not tender these larger ships and as a consequence, the Oasis class ships operating in this region do not stop in Cayman.

When a larger vessel is introduced, the smaller, older vessel it replaces is retired from service or redirected to other destinations. As the smaller ships are increasingly replaced, our islands will continue losing passengers and revenue from the smaller, older ships without benefiting from their replacement. For additional information on this topic please refer to page 8 the CBF booklet.

Both Carnival and Royal have said they will keep coming to Cayman. So why do we need the piers?

In terms of the economy:
All of the information that we have tells us that the status quo will not continue. The choice is either we build the piers and we go along the track that has been talked about or over time the number of cruise visitors will significantly reduce. That is because the cruise companies have told us they will not tender their big ships and as a consequence, the Oasis class ships operating in this region do not stop in Cayman.

When a larger vessel is introduced, the smaller, older vessel it replaces is retired from service or redirected to other destinations. As the smaller ships are increasingly replaced, our islands will continue losing passengers and revenue from the smaller, older ships without benefiting from their replacement. For additional information on this topic please refer to page 8 the CBF booklet.

In terms of jobs and employment opportunities:
There are 4600 jobs which depend on cruise tourism. Unlike stayover tourism which employs high degree of expatriates 90% of the workers engaged in the cruise industry are Caymanian and this is how they earn their living. In the past two decades we have had two cycles when cruise passenger arrivals declined significantly and during those times, the persons working in that industry were screaming for government to do something about it. The reality is this – either Cayman decides that we don’t want the cruise business and we want to develop some other industry to employ that sector of our people OR we do what every other jurisdiction in the region has done and provide modern cruise berthing facilities so that there is a welcoming aspect on entry to these islands for the people who are coming here to enjoy what we have to offer and to help benefit our people and our economy. The status quo is not viable even in the medium term.

BUSINESS CASE

When will the final business case be provided to the public?

We are working on the final business case and we estimate it will be ready during the first quarter of 2020.

ECONOMY

How will Cayman replace the $200M loss to the economy if the cruise industry declines because we don’t build the piers?

If the cruise industry is allowed to fall into decline, we do not have another industry that can make up the $200m short fall to our economy. For more information on this topic please refer to p10 and 11 in the CBF booklet.

How much of the head tax does the CI government currently get? How much will it go up?

Government currently receives a passenger fee of $12.27 per passenger. On 1.9M passengers, that amounts to $23.3M per year. When the cruise berthing facility is built, passenger numbers will rise to 2.5M – that’s an increase of 600K.

Even with a $2.32 reduction in the passenger fee (to $9.95), the increased volume of passengers’ means government will receive more on an annual basis than it currently does now.
2.5M passengers contributing $9.95 each in fees amounts to government receiving $24.8M.

Instead of receiving $23.3M per year without the piers we will receive 24.8M per year when with them.

How will building a bigger better cargo port decrease our cost of living?

The space at the cargo port will be almost doubled and it will have a new third berth to accommodate larger ships. By enabling the port operations to be carried out more efficiently and more cargo to be brought on larger ships will result in lower shipping costs and ultimately lower the cost of goods.

Why don’t we pay for the port rather than financing over 25 years?

Government is not financing the cruise berthing and cargo port project. All of the costs are being met by Verdant Isle. The country does not have the funding to pay for the cruise berthing and cargo port project and no provision has been made for this during the 2020/2021 budget.

How can you say that this is not costing the people of Cayman anything? What about head tax that used to go to our environmental account?

The dollar amount paid to the Port Authority and to the Environmental Protection fund from passenger fees will remain unchanged. The increase in passengers means the Port Authority and the environmental fund will receive more revenue annually.

How about the loss of stay over tourists who provide four times more revenue than cruise passengers do?

The cruise tourism industry has not been shown to negatively impact stayover arrivals.
For 2018, cruise passenger arrivals topped 1.9 million while stayover arrivals also grew to the highest level in our history.

20% of stay overs generate 80% of our tourism revenue. Why do we not do things to encourage the stayovers and forget the mass tourism?

The Department of Tourism has a number of advertising campaigns primarily running in the USA, Canada and UK to encourage visitors to vacation in the Cayman Islands. Stayover visitor arrivals are up 10% over arrivals for 2018 and we expect to end the year with 500,000 stayover visitors.

But that volume of stayover visitors is not enough to provide employment for thousands of Caymanians or to sustain our tourism industry into the future. Plus, we can only grow stayovers in line with the growth in Hotels as stayovers need accommodations. For more information on this topic please check page 10 in the CBF booklet.

Why not dare to be unique and make Cayman a quality destination?

We take pride in highlighting our unique culture and heritage and promote our Islands as a high quality, diverse destination. For stayover visitation, our uniqueness in this regard works in our favour but it is quite the reverse for the cruise tourism sector. In that instance our uniqueness comes from being the only island in the Caribbean without a berthing facility and rather than that being an attribute, that it is a competitive disadvantage which represents a threat to the future sustainability of our cruise tourism industry.